Throw Another Log On The Fire

I haven't written much on the blog recently, but it's not because I'm not busy. In fact, it is (to the consternation of my wife) quite the opposite. Here's what's going on:

After building and growing the Columbus music discography database in preparation for the oral history book project currently titled "Down To High Street," I've actually started scheduling and conducting interviews. This is going to be a long process, based on the flexibility to chat with interview subjects, so I have no designs on completing it this year. My hope is by end of 2019, interviews will be done and I'll be on to organizing and editing.

Upon the release of Small Stories last year, in addition to raised eyebrows about some of the stories from certain family members, I also got a barrage of, "Hey, you know what story was hilarious that you left out? This one!" I compiled those stories, and managed to recall a few others that were not previously written up, and have started the process of fleshing out the full stories for a second volume of Small Stories, which incidentally, is now available over at Amazon via Kindle for just .99 cents.

Last year I joined my old The Stepford Five bandmate Keith in his Pearl Jam cover band RVM on bass, and then we did a set of Afghan Whigs tunes with part of his full-ish time band Rival Cities for a charity gig. This spring, that turned into joining Rival Cities on keyboards and guitar. It's been fun writing bits and pieces to existing songs, and hopefully sometime in the near future we'll be adding some more gigs as well as heading to the studio to record a few songs.

In addition, I completed a new collection of instrumental electronic/ambient/experimental recordings that will be out later this month via all the streaming places and CD's at Amazon.

I mean, I teased it in the title when it was released in 2013, Power Ballad - A Definitive Guide to Hard Rock's Softer Side, Vol. 1. Eventually, a new volume would be coming. Slowly but surely, I'm building up a list of songs and going through them, judging them worthy or unworthy. This will be 2020 or later, most likely, just based on the amount of stuff I have going on.

What's this, a new, previously undisclosed project? Here's the backstory. Last fall while visiting my family in Buffalo over Thanksgiving, we went out to dinner with my Great Uncle Mike Carestio, brother of Grandfather Dan on my mom's side. Uncle Mike is a wonder, a spry, sharp 96-year old WWII vet with three kids, six grandkids and six great grand kids. After dinner, we stopped by his house so I could borrow some tools to do some quick projects at my parents house, and we got to talking about a picture box he had hanging in his living room that displays his WWII medals, pictures and documents. When I was growing up, none of my WWII-veteran family members really wanted to talk about their experiences, which is understandable. However, in recent years, Uncle Mike has opened up and shared his stories, and has been invited to take part in a number of state and federal veteran events honoring those who served in WWII.

Inside the picture box was a interesting item that I inquired about - a handwritten journal. Uncle Mike was a bombardier on a B-24 that flew out of England into France, Belgium and Germany in the summer, fall and winter of 1944. In the journal, he documented all thirty-five of his flights with the dates, locations, bomb loads, flight times and detailed accounts of each mission. I was floored that he had this, and when I visited again this summer over the Fourth of July, I asked if he'd be interested in being interviewed to share his experiences and expand upon the journal. He was, so we sat down at his house for a few hours and talked about his life before, during and after the war. It will most likely be the first of a few interviews, as having listened back to our chat upon my return home, I have dozens of more questions swirling around in head.

What will this turn into? I don't know yet. It could be a book, I could be a series of articles posted at a site like Medium, or could be something I post here. I'm currently in the process of transcribing both the interview and a copy of the handwritten journal, but for now I'm calling the project "35 Days In The Air." More to come as this begins to take form.