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Yesterday, I got to work hungry.

I felt depressed and angry at the same time – so I was hangry and low-energy.

But here’s the thing – we were busy and as time went by I still hadn’t sneaked off into the office to eat.

I am a friendly guy – and people kept coming into the store. I knew many of them and I hope I was cordial enough – and I am sure I was professional enough to everyone. But this sense of edginess would not go away until I ate, and I knew it.

I imagined that many people don’t ascribe this edginess to a lack of nourishment, but rather it becomes some sort of existential dread…

I can see why.

If we don’t understand what’s going on in our bodies on a physical level, our default is sometimes to blame our minds for our sense of ennui or unease – and then our emotions take over to amplify this situation.

You feel that you are spiraling out of control.

Every task you do in the moment feels herculean and somehow inadequate.

You lack enthusiasm, find it hard to engage with others and have trouble being genuine. Thank God for the masks in this case, right? You might be squinting, but it looks like you are smiling.

This is not like you.

You are a nice guy. Most people agree that you are a nice guy.

There is a good reason you feel like bitch-slapping a complete stranger, and you don’t need therapy to figure it out.

Eat!

After years of hemming and hawing; after false starts and heaping helpings of procrastination, my brother and I finally launched our podcast…

Episode 33 – "Airwolf Blitzer" Yale Brothers Podcast

The twins are not fighting. It might seem like that, though. This episode covers everything from health and fitness to guitars and pencils – from CrossFit to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, Billy Preston to Paul Williams and so much more – including a cool instrumental from Chris. SHOW NOTES: 0:00 – "Airwolf Blitzer" – Instrumental by Chris Yale 1:43 – Greetings and about the instrumental / Logic Pro 2:47 – We're not fighting / Fuente Anejo 888 4:00 – Health & fitness / Chris' flip-flops / Achilles heels 5:01 – Eating seeds as a pastime activity 5:35 – Kretschmer 6:05 – Roger's son and coach / More fitness / Nutrition / Insect protein / Cricket protein / Buddy Holly's Crickets 7:45 – Roger's son competed in Fittest of the Coast / CrossFit Wando 8:52 – Riffing on CrossFit 9:23 – Coloring and hunting for Easter Eggs 9:35 – Neil Young "After the Gold Rush" 10:05 – Harry Nilsson "Without You" / Eric Carmen "All By Myself" / Celine Dion "All By Myself" / Eminem "Without Me" 11:10 – Paul Williams interviewed by Brian Koppelman 12:10 – Wytheville, VA and "The Pencil" 12:57 – Pencil quality check / Dixon Ticonderoga 13:35 – Quality and the Global Marketplace 13:30 – Quality and guitars / Chris' guitars / Quality can be found everywhwere 16:32 – Returning guitars / More guitar talk / SansAmp Acoustic Flyrig / Sansabelt pants 19:41 – Popeil Pocket Fisherman 20:45 – Recent gigs at LuLu's North Myrtle Beach / The mix / PreSonus / QSC 23:49 – "Let's unpack this" / "Let's stick a pin in this" / "Hey there" / Jen Psaki 24: 56 – Busy Myrtle Beach / Vaccine talk / Hygiene / Chemicals 26:50 – Inner Space ride at Disneyland back in the day / Billy Preston "Outta Space" 27:48 – Chris' session with Billy Preston / Joe Hicks / Roger Dollarhide / Paramount Recording Studios 29:37 – Drinking in Hollywood / Four Aces / Frolic Room / Firefly / Old Drunks / Drinking at lunch / The Old Spaghetti Factory with Mark Mulkeen / The People Tree / Gower Gulch 33:22 – BUZZ WTR / New booze versus old booze / Seltzers / White Claw / Jameson 34:08 – Roger's daughter is a Hibernophile 35:02 – Freestyling versus talking points 36:15 – 33 Episodes already / Jesus died at 33 / Elton John "21 at 33" DeBarge "All This Love" 37:20 – Happy birthday to our friend Stan Obrycki            
  1. Episode 33 – "Airwolf Blitzer"
  2. Episode 32 – "French Twist"
  3. Episode 31 – "Steve Fuji: Machines Breathing"
  4. Episode 30 – "Bob's Your Uncle"
  5. Episode 29 – "Intercontinental Hiss"

The first time we tried this, embarrassingly enough, was in 2008, when podcasts were still gaining steam and long before they became ubiquitous. Over a period of a years, we made several more stabs at this – and then we just stopped.

Some earlier attempts went up on SoundCloud, sort-of complete but not quite actual episodes. But we had stories to tell…

And we still do. Stories about growing up in Hollywood in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a period when the town was what my brother called “beautifully grungy” – well before a Build-A-Bear Workshop appeared across from the Chinese Theater.

We lived at the foot of the Hollywood Hills at Franklin Avenue and Orange Drive, in an apartment building wedged directly in between the fabled Magic Castle and a 40-unit hotel our father managed called The Magic Hotel. The hotel is now called The Magic Castle Hotel.

At that time, not only the names of the buildings were magic. Our young lives were as magical as could be.

This podcast will be cathartic for us, and I hope the stories of twin boomers coming of age in lotus land will strike a chord with those curious enough to have a listen.

But we’re not just about looking back. Expect to hear original music in each episode and updates on what’s going on with us now in Myrtle Beach.

Still 12

I am a writer. I should write daily. I should write without restraint. I should say what I want to say without some people-pleasing inner troll telling me to watch out – that I might offend somebody or that I might piss somebody off. After all, isn’t good writing meant to elicit an emotional response?

As writers, our goal is not to deliver a lukewarm version of what we intended to say.

Author Seth Godin put it this way in a 2006 blog post:

“Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Average people are good at ignoring you. Average people have too many different points of view about life and average people are by and large satisfied. If you need to water down your story to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. The most effective stories match the world view of a tiny audience—and then that tiny audience spreads the story.”

Godin has written extensively about the importance of finding one’s tribe, and that concept makes sense to me. The right people will gravitate to your message. The substance of what we have to say will resonate with some, and that some is enough.

It’s like the old Faberge Organics shampoo commercial. One person tries it. They’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on…

I have been a people pleaser, and that has not worked for my emotional well-being. I have learned over the years that this phenomenon stems from deeper self-worth issues, and I need to get to the bottom of that. Where the hell did these issues come from? It would be easy – and intellectually lazy – to blame somebody else for this. Was my mother the culprit? If I were to point fingers, I’d be sure to include those misguided phys-ed teachers who, brimming with toxic masculinity, failed to see that not all boys were the same.

Over time, I have learned to say “no” more often. It’s pretty liberating, and I need to do more of that.

How about the bullies?

I didn’t suffer much at the hands of bullies, but not all kids get beaten up physically – and I am very good at beating myself up.

Now nearly six years sober, I always thought that I intentionally started using drugs and alcohol because it was simply what aspiring rockers did. But something happened somewhere, and I intend to find out what it was.

Photo: City of Myrtle Beach

Last week, I had the opportunity to play a very interesting and serendipitous show with my brother at a really cool venue in the heart of Myrtle Beach.

The Historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot is a landmark brick structure that was built in 1937 and for 30 years welcomed both passenger and freight trains to the area. It later belonged to a beverage distributor and almost fell victim to the wrecking ball until the community went ballistic.  After painstaking restoration, it opened in its current beautiful state in 2004 and is now rented out for events.

 I officiated a wedding there not long ago, and was also on hand for the inaugural CreateSouth conference there more than a decade ago. I also played a fundraiser there with Sick Stooges, a cover band that I co-founded and played in for ten years.

Sick Stooges at the Train Depot (the longhair on the right is yours truly)

This wonderful setting is also home to the South by Southeast Music Feast – a regular gathering hosted by a nonprofit called South by Southeast (SXSE), which provides assistance and support to local music education programs. The organization is all about helping young people offset the costs associated with this – and as their website says – “to help young people in their pursuit of all the joys of music.”

South by Southeast was founded by Jeff Roberts, a guy I was happy to meet when I moved here. Sadly, he passed away in 2009. Ask anybody who came into contact with him, Jeff was the fountainhead from which a torrent of musical knowledge sprung. He owned a couple of longstanding independent record shops here, and one of his isms was, “You gotta hear this…” He was irreplaceable.

Roberts’ son, Hunter, was at the event. That was a full-circle situation if ever there was one.

Jeff invited us to play an opening slot at the music feast on the bill with Dangermuffin years ago – and we did 30 minutes of Chris’ original music – much like we did this time.

In October, The Yale Brothers did a fundraiser called Wicked Wishes at the Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet to benefit Make-A-Wish South Carolina. We were glad to see that our old friend Seth Funderburk was running sound for the event. Seth is an entrepreneur in his own right, with several businesses in operation as I type this. He’s also an organizer for the Waccamaw Getaway Festival and the IrieSun Reggae Festival. He’s also been involved with SXSE for as long as I have known him.

Fun fact: Funderburk and Roberts went way back – and Funderburk worked in his youth for Roberts at his first shop, Sounds Familiar Records.

When we finished our set at Wicked Wished, Seth invited us to play the SXSE show. We were excited about the prospect.

The idea of playing only originals was appealing, and the serendipitous part of this was the fact that we would be opening for a duo called Admiral Radio, made up of Becca Smith and Coty Hoover – both of whom attended College of Charleston and both of whom know my daughter, Taylor, through our friend Clyde Moser, who studied there as well. Admiral Radio recently played a series of shows in New York – and Taylor and Clyde saw them there. This in itself is cool, but the fact that we randomly got invited to play with them here is proof that this is indeed a very small world.

The Yale Brothers Photo: Tami Sluss Ashley

The vibe at a SXSE event is refreshing; the people come to actually listen to the music offered – and this coupled with a preshow potluck and New South Brewing‘s Chris Barnes set up at the back of the room with beer and wine makes for a welcoming experience for the musicians as well as the audience.

WAVE 104.1 radio personality and program director Scott Mann, our brother from another mother, introduced us in a way that solidified that point – and off we went. It was gratifying to feel the love from the folks in attendance, who responded enthusiastically to each song.

Admiral Radio delivered a great first set with originals and thoughtful covers. Their harmonies were ethereal and stirring. These two are seasoned pros, and it was an honor to share the bill with them. I am sure their second set was great, too.

It’s always nice to play a show in the presence of like-minded people, to reconnect with friends and to make new ones.

For more about SXSE, click HERE.

The Yale Brothers with Admiral Radio / Photo: Seth Funderburk
Roger Yale with Scott Mann and Seth Funderburk / Photo: Chris Yale

Two of my friends died recently. Both were excellent musicians, and both were doing what they loved right to the end. One collapsed onstage at Wild Wing Cafe in Myrtle Beach, and one died in his sleep.

They were roughly the same age, give or take – and I was closing in on them.

My dear friend Tim Hoback was also a former member of Sick Stooges, the Grand Strand-based classic rock outfit of which I was also once a part. His passing sent ripples of shock and grief across the music community here.

The other friend was Nick Walusko, a guy who was always obsessed with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. I always found this fascination curious when we were young men in Hollywood. If there was anybody who knew all there was to know about Wilson, it was Nick. I hadn’t seen him in years, but damned if he didn’t wind up playing in Wilson’s band for many years. He was still playing guitar with Wilson when he died.

It’s tough to get my head around this – my friends dying – and the last thing I want to do here is to go off on a self-serving existential tangent or start lamenting the march of age. The idea here is to honor my friends.

Let’s start with Hoback. I called him Hoback, and many of us did. It seemed incomplete to just call him Tim.

Tim Hoback, Tim Dyer, Barry Allen, Kenneth Auerbach, Roger Yale

Hoback joined Sick Stooges after the departure of bassist Steve Panetti (yes – we called him Panetti (there is a through-line of middle school-style last-name calling), who left to work with a band called One I Open.

A left-handed bass player who was quick to laugh and smile with a gravelly voice and wicked sense of humor, Hoback was from Southwest Virginia like my girlfriend – and this was a great source of bonding between them, even down to calling each other “bitch” when they saw each other. “Hi bitch…” “Bye, bitch…” You had to be there. In their accents, it sounded almost like “beach.” Hilarious.

He was a monster bass player – just as comfortable with classic rock as he was with R&B and funk – and he knew his theory, too. Much of that was over my head, although I was a music major in junior college – like, don’t tell me about, the circle of fifths and relative minors. This was a classic rock cover band – and I wanted to party like a rock star.

Hoback did too, and so we did. Thankfully, that distracted him from explaining a turnaround to me.

I have been sober now for more than five years – but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my fun.

Hoback was a sweet soul. What confirmed it the most to me was when he was talking to one of my neighbors about a guy they both knew in Roanoke who had died. After a while, Hoback became overcome and started crying midway through a sentence. I will always remember that moment. He loved his friends. He loved me. And I loved him. And he knew it.

Nick Walusko was a sweet soul too. When we hung out with him in Hollywood, he still lived at home with his parents, who I believe were Russian immigrants. He was all about music – production, history and culture – and from what I remember was not only big on the Beach Boys, but also British Invasion bands. He too had a wicked sense of humor.

In the circle of friends he hung out with, my twin brother factored in to this much more than I did – as did other friends like Steve Kobashigawa, whom I knew since my brief days at Hollywood High. He was also, briefly, a bandmate in one incarnation of an outfit we had in Hollywood with my brother. Another friend, Darian Sahanaja, formed The Wondermints with Nick.

The Wondermints were lucky enough to have contributed to the soundtrack of “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”  And they were ultimately hired on by Brian Wilson.

Darian is Wilson’s keyboardist and musical director.

Nick wasn’t a partier, preferring lofty conversation and music over such nonsense. Nonetheless, he had an almost pathological aversion to the police. I never really understood why, but usually found this vaguely entertaining. I wonder what made him feel funny about that.

But he was tolerant about the excesses of others and never judgmental. I am sure he put friends first. Well, at least second to Brian Wilson.

I hadn’t seen Nick in almost 30 years, but Chris and I got an email from him, inviting us to Raleigh to see the Brian Wilson Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Show in 2016. We both declined because of our schedules, but Nick’s last words vie email to me were, “Let’s keep in touch, please.”

I said yes, but, to my regret, I failed to do so.

I will miss these guys.

Earlier this month, we spent four days in and around New York City. The trip was much anticipated, and it came about because of Elton John.

I’ll explain…

In February 2018, my daughter and I were having a back-and-forth on Facebook messenger – discussing  Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. New dates were about to be added, including Brooklyn and Columbia, South Carolina.

Taylor lives in Brooklyn and I live in Myrtle Beach. We discussed the possibility of her coming here for the Columbia show, but she would have had to return to her work in New York quickly – which would basically give her only a couple of days here. In short order, a new plan gelled. How about we (with my girlfriend, Brenda) come up there…

That was it. The show would be more than a year later, and we figured it was doable. We could spend time together, see the City and catch Elton at Barclays Center. See my post about that show HERE.

When all was said and done, we packed a lot of living into those four days.

DAY ONE

We flew into LaGuardia via Spirit Airlines on March 8. My daughter gave us two tickets as a Christmas present. I had only been in New York once before over Memorial Day Weekend in 2017. At that time, I flew into JFK on American Airlines. Taylor met me there and we took a couple of trains into Brooklyn without any problems. I stayed with her at her place in Bedford–Stuyvesant.

Quite frankly, I heard a lot of negatives about LaGuardia – from ongoing construction issues to delayed flights and transportation snarls. Add to these the fact that we would have no clue about the lay of the land and you would be right that I didn’t think I’d want to deal with any of that.

We must have gotten lucky, because flying in and navigating the airport was fine – and Taylor opted to greet us at the airport. Strangers in a strange land, as it were – it was good to see Taylor get off the bus at the terminal. We got immersed in the MTA system immediately; first with a bus and then a train into Manhattan.

First up was a tour of Taylor’s work, SPOTCO, an entertainment advertising, marketing and branding agency in Midtown. I was taken with how genuinely nice the people were – to me and in what they had to say about Taylor. The offices were smart, inviting and no doubt conducive to productivity. What a great vibe! I am by nature a hugger, and many of her coworkers were huggers as well. For those that weren’t, I was on a roll and hugged just about everyone anyway.

At Ivanna’s Desk at SPOTCO

SPOTCO represents a dizzying array of clients, currently including “Kinky Boots,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Beetlejuice,” “Mean Girls” and much more. I am thrilled that my daughter is involved with such an awesome organization and so many wonderful people.

But we had places to go. Taylor and her friend, Erin, helped us over to our hotel with a couple of boxes of clothes we shipped to avoid having to check them on Spirit. That was too kind of them both – they wouldn’t let us carry them. Thanks, Ladies!

Row NYC is on 8th Avenue just off Times Square in a neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen. It boasts 27 stories and more than 1300 rooms and opened in 1928 as the Hotel Lincoln. In its long history in good times and bad, it was also called the Manhattan Hotel, the Royal Manhattan and the Milford Plaza.

During renovations in 2013, the building was briefly named the Milford New York Hotel before it became Row NYC in 2014.

Whenever I book a hotel, I am a bit hyper-vigilant and sometimes afraid to hit the button to finalize the purchase. I looked at too many reviews of Row NYC and other properties around Times Square. To my satisfaction, the room was just what we thought it was going to be. Recently-renovated but tiny. Modern. No coffee maker. But decent city views and a comfortable bed. We were going for economy, of course – and we had no complaints.

We wanted to be in Times Square because Taylor’s work was nearby. We considered staying in Brooklyn but preferred to be right in the thick of things – ideally to have the freedom to mosey around from this centralized location. All good.

But this was just the beginning. Taylor had it all worked out: We would go eat pizza and then head to a place far from Kansas but close to “Oklahoma,” as we shall see.

Prince Street Pizza is located in the Nolita neighborhood – or “North of Little Italy” – on, well, Prince Street.   We waited quite a long time to get in – and the place was tiny – a counter up front and a small section to stand and eat if you could get a spot. We crammed in as best we could after receiving our pizza – their famous “Soho Squares” and chowed down. The pizza was gooey with scalding mozzarella, “old world” pepperoni and thick dough. Simple and delicious.

Whether or not this trumps any pizza slice I have ever eaten is certainly up for debate. When I brought that up later, Taylor got annoyed – but there it is. Photos of celebrities lined the wall where we ate, and even at close proximity, other customers were friendly enough. Nobody was rude.

We said our goodbyes to Erin, and then it was off to the West Village to a spot very near the Stonewall Inn, the epicenter of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a watershed event in the fight for LGBT rights.

The spot in question was Marie’s Crisis. An online reviewer summed up the place like this: ”Marie’s Crisis is a basement piano bar with cheap drinks and the opportunity to sing unlimited show tunes.”

Thomas Paine Died in this House

Marie’s Crisis is just off Christopher Street on Grove Street. I went there once before with Taylor on my previous trip. It’s tiny. With an upright piano surrounded by an enclosure and a bar to its right – folks are squished together and it is mandatory to check your coat.

But that place – that place might be the happiest place in New York – especially when the piano player starts in with the showtunes. Even the surliest, meanest looking motherfucker becomes angelic as he belts out “Corner of the Sky” or “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” Maybe it’s a tune from “Rent” or “Wicked” that does the trick.

For me, it’s almost anything from “A Chorus Line.”

We met up with three of Taylor’s friends – Rachel, Clyde and Mary. Thank God they let us get in line with them, because the line was getting longer as we arrived.

Taylor went to the College of Charleston with Rachel and Clyde, which is amazing in itself – I mean the fact that the three of them now live and work in The City.  I am happy to also call them friends. And it was great to meet Mary, too.

We spent a couple of hours at Marie’s – singing our hearts out. Rachel and I had spoken about our affection for “A Chorus Line” many times – including when she visited us in Myrtle Beach years ago. I am not sure if it was Clyde or Rachel that put in the request for a series of songs from the show – but singing together brought me so much joy.

I blogged about a production of “A Chorus Line” that Taylor and I went to see in Charleston in 2016 – with none other than Clyde in the part of Bobby Mills. Read that post HERE.

I am happy that Brenda got a taste of all of this too. Musicals are a part of my DNA – and now, thank God, they are part of Taylor’s.

We rode the train back to our neck of the woods with Taylor and friends. They went off to her favorite Bar, Hold Fast, which I will be blogging about later.

Brenda and I got some snacks at Duane Reade near Times Square and moseyed to our hotel.

I’d say this was a good day.

Waccamaw Getaway FestivalLast year, the Bucksport Marina in Conway, South Carolina hosted the inaugural Waccamaw Getaway Festival – a three-day event boasting more than 25 bands from near and far, including singer/songwriter Randall Bramblett, folk/blues/Americana outfit The Ben Miller Band and local “reggae jam rock” stalwarts, Treehouse!, who have been steadily gaining traction at festivals and venues across the U.S.

With the idyllic Waccamaw River as its backdrop, the event featured vendors and artists of every stripe and offered camping, boat docking, food and much more.

And it’s about to happen again over Memorial Day Weekend – May 25 through May 27.

This year’s headliner is Todd Nance and Friends. Nance was the original drummer for Widespread Panic. He left that outfit in 2016.

Scott Mann, radio personality and program director for local classic rock station WAVE 104.1 co-founded the festival with event production entrepreneur Scott Hyman of 3930 Music in Conway.

Scott-Hyman-Scott-Mann-1200x1200

Scott Hyman and Scott Mann – Photo: Myrtle Beach Life/The Sun News

I recently spoke with Mann to get the skinny for this year.

RY: How did you guys manage to snag Todd Nance and Friends for the headliner? Did you have to go through hoops?

MANN: A friend of a friend. A friend of mine is a friend of Todd’s and he came to me and said, “I think I can make this happen.” I said, “Please try to make it happen.”  So, thank you, Chris.

Q: What’s new with this year’s lineup? I see a mix of returning acts as well as some new names.

A: There are definitely some returning bands. As long as there is a [Waccamaw] Getaway Festival, there will always be a spot for Groove Fetish. We also have Dubtown Cosmonauts and Electric Soul Pandemic returning. This year, we managed to snag a lot of bands that we couldn’t get last year because we had such a short amount of time to put it together.

Q: You had three months to put something together that typically takes maybe nine months.

A: It’s something that you want to take as much time as you can to have the biggest number of bands that have the dates open. But we put the first one together in less than 90 days, so this year, one of the first things we did was go after the bands that we couldn’t get to last year because they were already booked.

Q: And you seem to still have a good mix of local, regional and national acts. Is this by design, or did the roster just come together that way?

A: Well, the first year, the roster came together the way it did because of time constraints and we got very lucky. The basic idea here is that this is a destination festival, but we would obviously like to get as many locals there as possible.  The idea of this festival is to present original music from around the country and make it a destination for people.

Q: Tell me about the late-night sets. Is this a new addition?

A: Last year we had some late-night DJ sets. That was pretty neat, but this year we also have some special late-night stuff lined up. First, we are going to have a late-night DJ set from Plenny G. And we also have – and this is so exciting for us – Tru Sol in a late-night set. Although the focus of the festival is original music, there are certain things that one does not say no to. When the opportunity to have a dance party with Tru Sol came up, we were real psyched about that.

Daniel Combs of Jahman Brahman (one of the bands we wanted for last year) has gotten together with Wade McMillan from Oracle Blue. They are going to do a late-night electronic jam kind-of-thing with whoever else is going to sit in with them. The great thing about the bands at this festival is that they are from all over the region and around the country. You’ve got bands coming in from Athens, GA and Boston. The Ben Miller Band is coming in from Joplin, MO. We’ve got bands coming in from Tennessee, and North Carolina is very well represented. A lot of these bands have been at different festivals with each other, and they have gotten to know each other. We really don’t know who will sit in with McMillan-Combs and Friends, but there will be friends.

 

 

Q: Tell us about the Artist’s Area and the Flow and Fire Area.

A: The Flow and Fire Area is once again manned this year – or should I say womanned – by our good friend Ann Virginia [Ann Winnard] of Over the Moon Productions.  Annie and all her crew are going to be there – spinning fire – spinning LEDs – and they invite people to bring their own toys and participate. You just need to sign a little waiver-thing.

We are also going to have the vendors area in a new spot this year – they will be right out there in the middle of everything – outside of the music area but also very much within earshot of the music. Everything is very close together this year, and the vendors will not be sequestered away in a separate building.

Right next to that will be the Art Tent, and a friend that we designated the Waccamaw getaway Festival’s artist superhero – Stephen Rullo – is going to make sure that the art tent is doing what it’s supposed to do, which is basically be a zone for artists who will come in and listen to the music and spend part of their day creating art live on the spot – painting and whatever. We have a limited number of art spaces – and just like we did last year, we gave them out to artists for free. Artists are an essential part of what we’re doing, and yet how many artists do you know that have any money.

Waccamaw Getaway Festival Band Lineup

Q: You must have learned what worked and what didn’t work from last year.

A: We did learn a number of things, which happens when you do something for the first time and you try to do it again. We are taking those things and putting them into action this year to make it just a better experience for everybody.

Q:  Tell me about the addition of Seth Funderburk [Sea Note Recording/Waterway Run Management] as co-organizer?

A: Seth helped out with a lot of stuff last year, and he was on the sound board quite a bit. He has a lot of experience with production, booking and promotion. He’s done everything you can do in the music business around here, and he is a great asset and a great resource. Seth and I both serve on the board of South by Southeast together, so we’ve known each other a long time.

Q: How are you guys getting the word out?

A: WAVE 104.1 is presenting the festival as the official Summer of Live kickoff. We have been giving away tickets and upgrades to three-day passes that include camping. We will do the same thing with support from 96.1 WKZQ. But WAVE is the presenting radio station, so I will be on scene the whole weekend.

We’ve done some promotion outside of town, of course. Like I said, this is a destination festival. We have done some radio and other promotions in Wilmington. We have some street-teamers in Wilmington, with posters, flyers, and the like. We also have a street-teamer in Florence, making sure the flyers and posters go where they need to go.

Oracle Blue

We have been promoting through social media, of course. We have promoted through all of the regional important jam-band websites and hooked up with the Homegrown Music Network.

Most of all, people are just spreading the word around because they are excited about it and want to share it with their friends. People are supporting it left and right. We have no big conglomerate behind us. This is a family-created festival, with bands being booked because one person knew another person.

Q: But you have sponsors. Tell me about them.

A: We’ve got New South Brewing as sponsor, and you know they are as local as you can get. We’ve got sponsorships from Tito’s Handmade Vodka. While it’s a very well-known and popular vodka brand – it’s certainly not one of the giant big dogs taking over the world. It’s some guys from Austin, TX. We hooked up with  Waccamaw Riverkeeper,  and we will give them a portion of our proceeds so that they can keep the river that makes the festival so beautiful – clean and safe– and this whole thing is just an effort by a bunch of people who just want to see us have a good music festival.

Waccamaw River

For more information, visit www.waccamawgetawayfest.com.

For ticketing, go HERE.

Myrtle Beach-area locals can save money by picking up LOCAL’S ADVANTAGE three-day day passes at New South Brewing – 1109 CAMPBELL STREET, MYRTLE BEACH, SC 29577  (843) 916-2337   Info@NewSouthBrewing.com.  Hours: Tuesday-Friday from 4pm-7pm and Saturday from 1pm-5pm.

 

 

 

Rog - Liberty

I realize that the term blogfade has not yet made it into a proper dictionary – and I am not altogether sure what the term means to me.

For a few years, I have been staying true to my intention here by writing about the random and the relevant. But I am horrified – well, maybe just a bit troubled – that my last blog post was in October of last year. That was more than six months ago.

I appreciate the fact that a few of my friends have taken the time to read some of these posts, and I want to be sure to correct course by posting regularly.

I need to treat this blog like I do my writing assignments – and I can benefit from an editorial calendar and a little discipline.

I’ll be back.

Don’t let my blogfade fuel your schadenfreude.

Here’s a clip from a recent House of Blues show with my brother… a song called “It’s Not Love,” written when I had no real idea about love…

 

 

 

ICI Exterior

International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach

Over the years, I have frequently read about the value of saying yes to opportunities that expand our horizons and take us out of our comfort zones.

Even though I have been performing music professionally for years, work in a public-facing job at a high-end cigar shop and have interviewed hundreds of people for my newspaper features, I still consider myself a bit shy.

Many of my friends might scoff at this because I enjoy friendship and camaraderie, but at the same time I still experience a bit of social awkwardness in new settings.

Which is exactly why I said yes last month to take on two wildly different roles – as a judge in a culinary competition and as a wedding officiant.

The following is part one of my week of saying yes.

My friend, Joe Bonaparte, is executive chef at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach. I have profiled him a couple of times – once for The Sun News and once for the now-defunct Weekly Surge, an alt weekly that was under the umbrella of The Sun News and its parent company, McClatchy Newspapers.

When Joe asked me to participate as a judge, this was on the heels of a story I had just finished about a pitmaster named Phil Wingo of an outfit called #porkmafia, who visited the Institute for a barbecue intensive.

Naturally, I thought I was judging a barbecue competition.

Nope.

I was nervous enough about saying yes to this because I felt like I didn’t know enough about barbecue to be of any real value – but Joe assured me I would be fine.

But what I didn’t know was that this competition was a bit more, shall we say, complicated – than barbecue.

Judges' Table

The event for which I was to participate as one of three judges was the National Pork Board’s “Be Inspired” cooking competition for foodservice educators, part of the 13th annual leadership conference for CAFÉ – The Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education – a 3-day program chock-full of culinary events, breakout classes and presentations.

CAFÉ is headed up by executive director Mary Petersen, who founded the organization in 2002, but brings more than 20 years of experience to the table, promoting the professional development of foodservice educators.

Marilou Tate

Chef Marylou Tate

The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach, with Bonaparte at the helm, played host to this ambitious conference.

The cooking competition was put together by Chef Paul Sorgule of Harvest America Ventures, LLC, which according to its website is “a network of seasoned food service professionals who collectively have the ability to provide any service that an up and coming restaurateur may need.  This network covers all typical issues faced by a chef/owner as they set the stage for a successful restaurant venture.”

I was overtaken by the sheer awesomeness of the institute’s brand-spanking new, $15 million facility – gleaming in all of its glory. And folks – foodies, teachers, visiting chefs, culinary students – were swarming the place.

I felt outclassed and definitely out of my element.

But after I met a few people and said hello to Joe – I and relaxed a bit, realizing that the event, while earning the chef-contestants continuing education points, was meant to be fun.

Thankfully, I was able to get a few pointers from a fellow judge, Chef David Bottagaro of the National Pork Board as well as from Sorgule – the upshot being to enjoy the process while tasting some wonderful food from three outstanding chef-instructors – judging on categories like effective use of protein, taste and flavor, plate composition, plate presentation, and texture and temperature.

Sorgule, Bottagaro

Chef Paul Sorgule, Chef David Bottagaro

The other judge was Don Odiorne of the Idaho Potato Commission.

My only regret is that I didn’t have anything meaningful to say afterward when the chefs were called in for individual critiques.

Sorgule was gracious when he told me that all I really had to do was think about whether or not I enjoyed the individual dishes and whether or not I would have ordered these in a restaurant. Thanks, Chef Sorgule.

Stay tuned – I will have more about Chef Bonaparte and the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach in future blog posts.

Culinary Contestants

Chef-Contestants

 

 

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I’m so stoked to be a part of Jeff Yalden’s creative team.

Here’s a recent blog post from Jeff’s site.

In tandem with the release of his Amazon bestseller, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, author and speaker Jeff Yalden has launched his BOOM Podcast – the perfect companion to bring the BOOM into your life, reinforcing the principles laid out in his life-changing book and digs even deeper, featuring people who have implemented the BOOM in their lives as well.

BOOM Cover Hal Elrod Endorsement

A leading youth motivational and mental health speaker for more than two decades, Yalden has addressed more than 4000 teen audiences in all 50 states, every province in Canada and 49 countries including Singapore and Vietnam.

His message has always been hard-hitting, bringing a world of actionable principles to the table and inspiring his audiences to take personal responsibility in all areas of their lives.

And now he has taken these principles and given them life in his book and in his podcast.

In this inaugural episode, Jeff explains with astonishing honesty and self-reflection where the BOOM comes from, what it means to him and why he decided to write the book.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “In this first episode, I want to come clean and give you guys a sense of where I have come from to where I am now, and how the BOOM really impacts everything I do.”

As he talked about in the book, coming to his BOOM moment involved a series of major setbacks that could have stopped him in his tracks, or worse.

About four years ago, Jeff went through a divorce which ended a 14-year marriage. Instead of placing the blame on anybody else, he went straight to the mirror and asked himself tough questions, coming to the realization that his mental health issues were much more severe than he thought them to be at the time.

Jeff was pre-diabetic and putting on weight. He said he knew what to do and what to eat, but was basically ignoring the warning signs.

“All of a sudden I was a full-fledged diabetic, but I still didn’t pay attention,” he said.

He vividly recalls the time he went to his parents’ house, physically exhausted and mentally drained and with his diabetes flaring up.

“I told them I felt like I was going to die and I didn’t want to die alone. They gave me some orange juice and something to eat, and I went home a few hours later.”

But his parents intervened that night. Jeff’s dad came to his house, woke him up, and called an ambulance for him. Jeff was a mess. His triglycerides were a jaw-dropping 2784, his blood sugar over 500 and his A1C level was 15.5.

“My endocrinologist said to me that at any moment something catastrophic was going to happen,” he said, adding that even despite these serious warning signs, he still didn’t make the necessary changes, citing his grueling speaking and travel schedule as a deterrent to a healthy lifestyle.

And that’s not all by any means. He endured a spinal cord fusion because of a CrossFit injury and was immobilized for six weeks.

“I couldn’t speak for almost four months and I ended up having a mental breakdown. My diabetes was flaring up and my depression got worse. I wanted to give up, and I did,” he said.

He quit speaking and got a 9-to-5 job, thinking at the time that he just wanted to have what he calls a normal job.

He packed up his office – his life – into cardboard boxes: Computer, fax machine, mementos, awards – even his varsity letters and photos – essentially getting rid of everything near and dear.Yalden Pic2

But something awesome began to happen when he started going back to counseling once a week.

“When I walked in there, I was emotionally broken. I was not the Jeff Yalden that many of you know. We started at the beginning and built a toolbox, and I began rewarding myself for small victories.”

As a result of building this toolbox, Jeff eventually made the decision to go home and restore his office and get back to doing what he loves.

This was his first BOOM moment.

Jeff also started taking care of himself – including a gastric sleeve surgery that might well have saved his life.

“That was something I needed to do for me, and when I did do it – it was like – BOOM! That was the reward. I don’t have to let my weight be something that monopolizes my every waking thought anymore. I am down 80 pounds. I am free of diabetes. I brought the BOOM into my life. I celebrate with the BOOM every single day.”

Jeff Yalden has come back stronger than ever, reestablishing his place among the best of the best.

“The BOOM is about you taking responsibility. The BOOM is about you saying, ‘I can do this.’ And the BOOM is about rewarding yourself for your accomplishments and little victories. Remember: Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

To listen to the BOOM Podcast, click HERE.

The BOOM will change your life. Grab this Amazon bestseller now by clicking HERE.

Join the BOOM Facebook community HERE.