101 degrees

101 degrees. That’s my body temp right now — yep, a week before our 10th annual Halloween show and album release I’m sick as a dog. This was my last weekend to be out promoting, but I’m down for the count. Thankfully Jim is picking up my slack: he was all over downtown San Jose last night and will be at the Papa Wheelie show tonight, happening at the Time Out up in Concord.

I’m not the only one who is sick right now. Matt is just recovering from a bug as well. And it’s no surprise. It seems every year something happens to us around Halloween to keep things interesting.

The band has a saying that goes “No knives, no extreme sports, no yard work” which we start telling each other in late October. It basically means: Be fucking careful! One October I sliced my hand open on a knife doing dishes, Jim hurt himself mountain biking and using a power tool, Matt twisted his ankle, and I threw my back out. But every year, we laugh it off and find a way to keep going…

Can’t wait for next Saturday. Hope to be back 100% and ready to kill.

I think I’ll cover myself in bubble wrap until then.

Giving Birth

After five years of writing, recording, trashing dozens of ideas (we have a special folder called the “jank hole” for that specific purpose), and a few direction shifts, it’s finally done. Our new album is, as they say, in the can.

When I listen to the completed songs, it’s impossible for me to just sit back and enjoy them as a finished album. I wish that I could. By now, I’ve heard the songs literally hundreds of times, and for every part of the finished song I hear, I remember at least a few ideas that either didn’t work in that same place, or how the song was stitched together piece by piece. I’m sure that a lot of musicians and artists feel this way. I really wish that I could listen to the new album with no expectations – just like you can (well, on Oct 29 anyway).

Being so close to the album, I have absolutely no idea what you, and most people, will think of it. Totally impossible…

All I know is that we poured our damn hearts out on this thing. The music, lyrics, and actual recording represent the best that we can do at this point in time. The subject matter (which I’ll probably babble on about in a future blog) is honest and speaks to me as a “thirty something” as much as our 2001 demo spoke to me as a early twenties kid trying to find his way. The band feels, as we always have, that as long as we make honest music, it matters less if we miss a chord or two, or aren’t the most popular band in the world (or even San Jose)…If you get something out of this, then we have done our job.

Even if it’s using our new album as a drink coaster.

(Hear the first track “Problems and Solutions” here.)

- Zack Rivals

Early October Sucks

Early October sucks.

It sucks because I’m up until 2am every night doing random Rivals projects – from mailing tickets to album artwork to flyering at shows. It sucks because the late nights make me groggy at work and keep me from hanging with friends. Early October sucks because, every year, we try to do more and more with seemingly less and less time and money. And it sucks because it seems that every project has a 3-week turnaround, which means that if we don’t do it NOW, it won’t be ready by Halloween.

Now, before you think that I’m complaining – Let me tell you what doesn’t suck: Late October.

Late October rocks.

Late October rocks because we get to throw a huge Halloween party and rock out with a bunch of people who are just as crazy as we are. It rocks because we get to provide an escape for people who work just as hard (if not harder) than we do. Late October rocks because at some point in those 40 minutes on stage, everything is as it should be – a bunch of people, of all sizes, races, and beliefs – enjoying the one thing that still brings us together… Beer.

(On a serious note, check out today’s news about the first rock concert in Afghanistan in 35 years. I hope the kids keep rocking and continue to give peace a chance: http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/03/8029289-kabul-rocks-with-music)