Welcome or Welcome Back!

This is a blog created/kept unkempt by the band A Relative Term to express the process of recording their next full length album. They will poke each other in the eyes, whack each other's noses, butt heads repeatedly, and run in circles on the floor for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

electric ponytail

duane allman

flint's finest

less hungover than last week

dragons awake!

unseasonably warm

eric daehn stole the stolen map

bass face!

mark is still trying to finish a story

i'll just watch some band of brothers

always a noble goal for a sunday rehearsal

These little town blues...

Monday, July 16, 2012


In the process of mixing the new album, there are a couple of satellite projects being completed to keep everyone from going crazy. One of those projects is a cassette split with Blind Pelican which is nearing completion. Here are a couple pics of the silkscreened artwork-

It's going to be a limited release of probably around 50 cassettes, download included. Should be releasing them in a month or so. It's the first recording with all the current members in the band, which means it's going to be loud. Get ready.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Your wish made light of my body

Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Red light

I stayed late at work. It's a Tuesday and there was an event so I stayed. When I left I had a text to go to Esssex, a bar on my way home. I went. On my way I passed the corner of Delaware and Utica street. There were police blocking off the intersection but being on bike I took the curb to the near by hotel parking lot and proceeded to the Deleware sidewalk. When I looked towards the intersection I could see a motorcycle on its side on the road. I've ridden that intersection many times and know that the pavement running the length of Deleware buckles at that intersection and that if you're planning on bisecting there, you'd better slow your ass down, even on bicycle. Seeing the motorcycle lying there though, I could already imagine the worst.

I went to Essex. Long enough to get drunk. Eventually I left but when I made it to my house I decided I was not ready to sleep yet and that I really needed to climb something. I continued riding my bike towards Delware and decided to head to the city. I once again came upon the Deleware and Utica intersection which was still blocked off, confirming my earlier suspicions. I hopped the curb and headed west on Ferry. There was a smell I was unfamiliar with but could somehow identify. A chemical smell, something I'd akin to cleaning products. Like being in a hospital.

There was a roof along Utica that peaked and although I normally climb flat roofs, I felt the need to try this one. While not the easiest climb, I did eventually get onto the roof, where I sat at its peak for a long time. While I was there I watched five cars pass by and wondered if they could see me, coming to the conclusion that, even if they could, no one would look at the roof of a building at 2 am anyway. Also during my time there I began to think about why it is that I make music. I remember distinctly that while mastering the last album Jeff was asking me various questions about how I wanted it to sound and I told him I wanted it to be nonabrasive. I hadn't prepared for him to ask me those questions and when he did, that's what came out.

I'm often called a negative nelly and/or a pessimist. I understand this. I can easily see the downside of situations. It is what I've experienced and how I view the world. It has also effected what I've tried to put back into the world.

Eventually I decided to leave the roof and ride back home. Crossing the Deleware/Utica intersection again, which was now open, all but one police car had left the scene. The smell still penetrated the air and now there was a sole police car; headlights at the motorcycle on its side, tail light still on. I waited at the red light. No cars came. I looked at the tail light on the motorcycle, and back at the red light above me an decided it was better to make a left on red in front of a preoccupied police officer than to stay. The drying puddles on the road smelled of cleaners and disinfectants and I nodded at the officer in the car acknowledging that maybe all he wanted, maybe all I ever wanted, was a breath of fresh air.

Monday, April 30, 2012

the growing band

our fearless leader speaks

the new drummer hides  (he doesn't even like bbq)

i got finally tenure this year!

rookie's pedals
 cleet-o-caster in action

b wheat?

"and then schmitt said to trickey, 'boz scaggs and townes van zandt walk into a bar'... "

the rookie

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mostly Dead

But not all dead. And by that I mean mostly done, but not all done. It's getting there.

In the meantime we're keeping ourselves busy with a couple of shows- one which was this past Thursday with Vox Humana and Applennium. I took some video of these guys under a haze of low light and Genesee mind control so it may not be my best work- but at least you get to see the bands in action. This is Vox Humana:

I haven't edited the Applennium footage yet but I'll post it by the end of the week for sure. Back to the headphones for me...

Sunday, January 22, 2012


About a project completely unrelated to music, I said to my friend Paul "it's good, I think it'll come to a nice apex" and for a moment I became concerned that maybe it shouldn't be an apex but more of step in an ever continuing improvement towards a constantly increasing standard of quality.

And then I remembered. No, it shouldn't.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Let Her Down

Don’t Let Her Down:

Yes, that’s an important thought. Just don’t do it man, don’t let her down.

What does it have to do with this?

Well, it’s a lesson I suppose. 

The phrase, for me, is inexorably linked with a song of the same name written by our fearless leader and first brought to me years ago in a dank basement or a dank old warehouse space to add a little bit of low end.

I was not immediately captivated by the tune but at some point it really became one of my favorite songs.  You can hear the version that I fell in love with here

You can ask anyone who has paid attention to me and find out that there are times when one certain song will grab hold and I will carry it with me like it’s embedded in my DNA.  This is certainly one of them and I’m sure that I may have foisted it upon a few of you over the years.  I recall mosaic-film flashback snapshots of my life, mostly shot in black in white, of me singing loudly along with the fearless (or fearful) ponytail as the drums came crashing in to what turns, in that moment, from a dirge to a triumph.  It is still exhilarating to hear these years later. 

That’s the magic of songs, to push and pull you into their world and together you create a space of our own.  The space is unique but in more cases that not I am not only eager to share that space, I am insistent.  This is one of those cases.  And, my point dear reader is that not only can you hear the original recording of this song but you can also hear it live, in person and in color on Thursday January 26 at the venerable Mohawk Place small stage (47 E Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY) where much of this Buffalo madness of songs, bands and music began for me.

I tried, sporadically, for years to get Mark to add this tune to our set lists to no avail.  I tried bribery (Baked goods) , deception (Everyone wants to hear it!), filibustering (Gerd Muller was arguably the best goal scorer in World Cup history.  He had this incredible burst of speed that he seemed able to turn on at any time…) , threats (I’ll cut that damn ponytail!), general strikes (I won’t play another note until we play ‘ Don’t Let Her Down), before finally giving up and considering the song lost to time and history.

I had glimpses of success in my campaign for the song’s greatness.  At some point (around 2008 it seems) Mark added it to the myspace page (the link you just heard and if you didn’t click it yet and listen… do it!) but would not relent to it’s live performance.  He’d say that he didn’t remember it or that he just didn’t want to, both clearly shortcomings of his.  But then a funny thing happened…

Well, it wasn’t all that funny, I guess.  We were rehearsing a potential set for the upcoming show and it turns out the only thing missing from my campaign to play this song live was: timing. 

As we were discussing which tunes to play (can’t play the new ones, those are still classified by the powers that be) so we were throwing out the names of older tunes and I tossed in ‘Don’t Let Her Down’ expecting the same reaction I always get which is some kind of mix of nervous laughter and utter disdain for my opinion.  But, to my surprise, there was neither.  In fact, Mark began to play the chords for the tune and just noodle around it a little, proving once and for all that he DOES remember the song! 

We played through it a couple of times and it sounded great. Now, it’s our set closer for January 26.  The show starts at 8 pm- We are on first!

I post this here for two reasons:

 I love this song even after literally hundreds of listens.

 If I tell the blogosphere that it’s in the set we can’t back out and close with some Thin Lizzy cover.

So, enjoy at your leisure and please come down to the show on the 26th.  Also performing will be the recently Paul Morin-infused Vox Humana and Applennium.


Friday, January 13, 2012


Definition of GROSS

a archaic : immediately obvious(1) : glaringly noticeable usually because of inexcusable badness or objectionableness <a gross error> (2) : out-and-oututter <a gross injustice>c : visible without the aid of a microscope
a : bigbulkyespecially : excessively fatb : growing or spreading with excessive luxuriance
a : of, relating to, or dealing with general aspects or broad distinctionsb : consisting of an overall total exclusive of deductions<gross income> — compare net
: made up of material or perceptible elements
archaic : not fastidious in taste : undiscriminating
a : coarse in nature or behavior : unrefinedb : gravely deficient in civility or decency : crudely vulgar<merely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic impropriety — Aldous Huxley>c : inspiring disgust or distaste <that sandwich looks gross>
7: deficient in knowledge : ignorantuntutored
— gross·ly adverb
— gross·ness noun

  Van Halen

Monday, January 9, 2012

Magic? You just pissed on a gypsy in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Recording on top of recordings.  My computer allows me to use somewhere around 28 tracks of audio before it starts turning tracks off. This is me hemming and hawing about having to mix down 20 some odd tracks so that I can add more and still hear it all. It doesn't make me happy.
And what instrument is so important that I need to mix things down just to add it?
You guessed it.
You know, it doesn't get a whole lot of credit as an instrument- even in the recording process-it's a kind of an "add on at the end" thing but I feel like it's one of the few instruments you can't fake. It forces you to move. You can't half ass it and have anything sound anywhere near good. You have to get into it, which is why my hand is now red and the recording session turned into more of a workout than anything else.

And in the end, the tambourine gets put low in the mix.
If nothing else, a lesson in the importance of process even in the smallest of sounds.