Be Careful What You Wish For…

Alternate post title: “I Assure You that I Didn’t Kill JD Salinger.”


I posted a while ago that I’ve been waiting to hear of the death of JD Salinger because I’m a big fan and there’s been a long-time legend that he’s stashed away a bunch of other books/stories that he’s written but never published.  Well…today, I “got my wish.”  JD Salinger died at the age of 91.


Okay…I didn’t ACTUALLY want the guy to die.  I just figured that it’d be coming up soon and as a fan I’m naturally curious about his personal archives.  It wasn’t an actual death-wish.  It’s just a super-creepy coincidence that it happens to have come to pass shortly after I blogged about it.  I, of course, wouldn’t actually WISH death on anyone.  In fact, when I heard about it at work, I got a little bummed out.  I’ve read “Catcher in the Rye” once a year every year for probably about the past 10.  (Did I start in high school?  Wow.)  Few authors have meant as much to me as Salinger.


I mentioned my once-a-year reading at work.  Matt (our company’s president) asked when I do that and I said, “Usually in the winter…in fact I’m probably about due.”  Matt suggested that maybe this should start a January 28th tradition for me.  Every year, read “Catcher” on the anniversary of Salinger’s death.  I think I’ll incorporate that next year.  I’d start tonight, but I’m still finishing up Robinson’s “Home” (which I’ve been raving about on the blog)…I’ll probably pick up my well-worn copy of “Catcher” over the weekend.  All in all, though, I think that’s a nice idea.


So…yeah, I’m kinda eating a little bit of crow on the prior post…hopefully everyone knows that it was tongue in cheek for the parts that are now inappropriate.  But the parts about loving Salinger’s work, never having read “Carpenters,” and so on…that was true.


So, rest in peace, JD.  Please give our love to Kurt Vonnegut Jr and Frank McCourt.  It really sucks to be able to read and not have you guys around to write new books.

Abandoned Art

Following is a piece of art I’d designed for Blue Tattoo that was eventually rejected.  I like it though, and I may still force the others to use it, or take the name off the door and use it myself.  There was going to be a background, but there was a very vocal opposition to doing something cartoony (that I really wish I hadn’t listened to in hindsight)…so I never finished it.  Anyhow…here you go.  Thought this might be fun to share.


You can click on it to make it bigger.


In case you’re wondering, I started out by drawing it by hand, then scanned it in to the computer and did some addition of weight to the lines…colouring…etc…  I like it…but like so many other things, I listened to the voice of others and let it go—my fault, really…I too often cave under criticism.


Maybe a future Derek Brink album image?

“Wrecked?” More like “Totaled”

I mentioned yesterday that the Blue Tattoo record (to have been titled “Wrecked”) looked to be in serious doubt.  Well…after a very long discussion tonight, I can make it official.  The record will not be happening.


I’m not going to get into the “whys” or “whos.”  That’s band business and as much as it depends on me, I’m not going to air our laundry in public.  I will say that I’m not happy about it and if you’ve read my blog over the past year, you know that this certainly wasn’t my first choice and how massive a disappointment and shock this is for me…but it’s how things are.  No record…even though most of it’s already recorded.


Just to be absolutely clear about it, we’re STILL A BAND.  We’re not breaking up or anything like that.  In fact, based on discussion tonight, we should have a couple of us working pretty hard on getting some gigs on the calendar soon.  We’re talking about what to do with the material we have recorded…we’re definitely doing a new demo with a few of the songs (in order to better present our sound to clubs vs. the “Logan County” EP) and that may or may not be made available on CD-Rs at the gigs—no final decision on that yet (I think…I don’t know…I got sleepy toward the end and missed some stuff). 


Who knows?  Maybe the stars will align and we’ll get a CD together sooner or later…but not now.  I certainly hope there’s a finished product in our future.  I don’t really see the point of being in a band without putting out a record (to have as a keepsake if nothing else)…  I’m kind of bummed about it and I feel like I lost a LOT of my life over the past year on working toward a CD that isn’t going to happen…but it’s spilled milk at this point…so this post is probably the most I’m going to publically cry about it.


Anyway…I mostly just wanted to say that I’m sorry to my friends/blog readers/fans (if any) who were expecting to buy a CD soon.  Please know that I’d much rather put a product in your hands, but when the cards fall, sometimes you get a Royal Flush and sometimes you get a two 2’s, a King, a Jack, and the “Rules of Poker” card.  Sorry for the bad hand.


…on a semi-related note, I do want to say something about my solo career—and don’t misread this as a direct result of anything happening in Blue Tattoo.


My solo career has been very, very good to me.  My record sales have always resulted in a profit (I’ve made my money back and MORE on each CD).  I’ve had some really good gigs.  I’ve met some really good people.  It’s been the freaking Giving Tree of musical fulfillment.  Foolishly, in the past year, I’ve down-played my solo act to focus on Blue Tattoo.  While I was still working on the “Out from the Light” record (still available at and at iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster), I wrote in SEVERAL places that I was “going on vacation” as a solo artist and would be focusing on Blue Tattoo.  (I think that’s even still written on my website somewhere.)


…but I miss it.  And I miss writing new songs and records as a solo musician.  Already.


So, I’m going to be reviving my solo career a little bit.  I’m going to be in touch with some musicians to try to get a gig or two together, and I hope to bring my music to your ears in both live and recorded form again soon.  I’ll keep you posted.  Again…that’s not as much to do with Blue Tattoo as it is just that I feel like NOW is the right time to say that.  So I said it.  I just feel like I need to sh*t or get off the pot, musically speaking, and I’ve always met with an almost supernatural success with my solo-career…so that seems like something I might want to try again. 


There you go.

Random on a Sunday

I’m writing on a Sunday night, but the time-stamp’s going to say Monday, probably.  That whole “midnight” thing…  Anyhoo…no real subject this time…just random thoughts.


  1. Been reading Marilynne Robinson’s last book “Home.”  I think I’ve mentioned it on the blog before.  I know I mentioned when I read “Gilead” and “Housekeeping,” but I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned “Home” or not.  It’s set at the same time as “Gilead” but focuses on different characters.  (Sort of a “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” thing…)  It’s breathtakingly good.  I’m only about half-way through…but to be fair, it IS long.  It’s as long as the other two books put together, and those both took me FOREVER to read because of the depth to Robinson’s writing.  Anyway…so far, so great.  🙂
  2. The future of the Blue Tattoo record looks financially bleak.  I’m not quite sure how much is tasteful to say about it, so I won’t go into detail…but it looks like a major delay is coming due to money.  That’s hugely disappointing to me, and I’ve completely stopped working on it from an engineering perspective until we have something of a timeline.  Hopefully it’ll work out soon…but it’s looking like a major, major delay is going to take place.
  3. The new Michael Feldman record is being put in the mail this week.  After that, there’s about a 2-4 week period where artwork is created and CDs are replicated…then we get them back.  Looking forward to that.  I worked really hard on it, and it’ll be good to have the final product in-hand.  By the way, I also did a ton of background vocals on this CD, so I’m listed as a performer as well as an engineer.  That’s kind of cool.  Plus, I feel like this is Mike’s best record to date—and I know I’m biased on that…but having had a performing role on all of them, I like this one the best.
  4. If you’re wondering, my “official” studio name is “Music from the Brink.”  Cheesy, I know…but I’ve got the name, so I may as well use it.
  5. I didn’t mention it on the blog for some reason…but recently, my good friend Doug went through a pretty major health-scare.  He has had an undiagnosed hole in his heart since birth that just became a problem (he’s in his 50s).  It caused him to have a series of strokes and be rushed in for surgery.  Miraculously, he’s on the mend and will probably be heading back to work soon.  You probably don’t read this blog…but stay healthy, Doug!
  6. In case you missed it, Conan O’Brien has officially been screwed out of The Tonight Show.  His last show was this past Friday, and it was excellent.  Ended with a massive jam-session on “Freebird” featuring most of the Tonight Show band, Beck, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Will Ferrel (vocals), and Conan himself also playing a pretty mean guitar.  Really cool send-off…but it still sucks that CoCo lost his show-show.
  7. I promised my Uncle and Aunt (mostly my Aunt) that I’d attend their church sometime in the month of January…guess that’ll have to be this week, since the month ends on the 31st.
  8. I’ve been a mix of exhausted and bored for about a week.  Need something to break the monotony.  Any suggestions?
  9. So it’s official…the Superbowl this year will be a showdown between the Idon’tcares and the Neverheardof’ems.  Going to be a boring game.  I see it now.  But whatever…at least Favre’s sitting at home.  And also, there’ll be shrimp at the party, so that’s cool.
  10. I need to get my emissions tested on my car and then renew the plates.  Problem is, I don’t have time to do it.  I didn’t think I needed the emissions test this year.  I was apparently operating under a misconception of the new law that says that if your car is less than 5 years old, you don’t need a STATE INSPECTION–you DO still need the emissions test.  Frankly, I wish it were the other way around.  I went online to renew the plates and it told me that I couldn’t renew because they couldn’t confirm the emissions test.  So now I’ve got until the end of the week to get this done, and working late in the city, I don’t know when I’m supposed to do that.  This sucks.  A lot of states don’t even have this stupid crap.  Must be a major cash-cow for Missouri…don’t know how we haven’t gotten a group together to rally against this yet.  (Also the red-light cameras and speed-zone cameras are stupid, too…but one thing at a time…)
  11. Not much else to say at the moment…  Mostly, I’m just looking forward to seeing if I get a decent tax-return this year.  (Probably not…last year was good, so this year will probably suck.)


That’s it…sorry most of that was boring.

First Robertson, then Limbaugh, then Sponge… Ball’s in your court, TNA…

This post will seem kind of disjointed, but hang in there…it all comes together.


If you’re not aware of who Bubba the Love Sponge is, you’re not alone. He’s a Tampa-based radio “shock jock” (re: failure). Basically, he’s Howard Stern, but with less talent and not as funny (and that’s coming from someone who HATES Howard Stern). He was also recently hired as a backstage announcer for TNA Wrestling.


People that know me know that I love wrestling. It’s totally lame, I know. (And no, I DON’T think it’s real!) It’s become almost embarrassing to admit that you’re a wrestling fan anymore, especially since the WWE became pretty much the only game in town. Fortunately, we who don’t care for Vince McMahon’s antics have had an alternative for the past 7-8 years in TNA. Crappy federation name aside, they’ve got some really talented wrestlers, and when they’re allowed to shine, they’re capable of producing GOLD.


Unfortunately, they’ve tarnished that gold by hiring Bubba the Love Sponge. His real name, by the way, is Todd Alan Clem. Just thought it might be worth knowing that you’re getting your morning shock-jockery from a guy named Todd Alan Clem.


When the earth shook in Haiti, most of us were shocked and filled with sympathy. I’ve posted before about how I’ve got some very deep ties to Haiti through various mission-groups I’ve been proud to stand behind in the past decade or so…so I’m not going to rehash that. Instead, I’m just going to post what Todd Alan Clem posted on his Twitter page.


Shortly after the earthquake, Clem wrote, “I say fuck Haiti. Why do we have to take care of everybody our country is in shambles. Bubba,” [sic]


He, of course, was blasted by readers, which led to him referring to his detractors as, “Douche Nozzles.” [sic]


If that weren’t bad enough, Todd then went on his radio show to defend his Twitting (and “Twit” seems a very appropriate word here). Todd Alan Clem (and I keep using his real name because only a coward would say such things and hide behind a stage name) stated the following on his show. “You know what, maybe this is actually a good thing. Here’s the thing, we would all agree that Haiti is just in shambles, it’s just a horrible country, it’s just dirt, it’s poverty stricken, they need a cleansing, maybe a half a million Haitians that will end up not being around tomorrow…It’s a cleanse,” [sic, sic, SICK!]


Clem would later issue something of an apology “Tweet,” writing, “Sometimes u say things that u can’t take back. So I’m man enough now to say I’m sorry for those I offended. Bubba.” Which, on the surface, seems like a nice piece of damage control…but you’ll notice that he does not apologize for the actual comments and in saying that he “can’t take back” his words, in my opinion, he seems to be indicating that he doesn’t WANT to take them back. He just wants his fans to listen again and stop sending death-threats to the station. (I don’t know that people have been doing that…but one can assume…)


Todd Alan Clem was apparently assaulted by a wrestler backstage at a TNA event after all of this happened…he was sent home for the week, but he has not been fired. Of the incident, he said, “some people can’t handle the truth.” Later, also on his Stern-rip-off show, he spoke with Hulk Hogan, who claimed that the (female, no less) wrestler who attacked Clem was having “menstrual issues.” Nice, Hulk.  (The woman who attacked Clem—known as “Awesome Kong”—has since given her resignation notice to the company.  Good for her—she’s 1/2 of the tag-champs in the women’s division, by the way.)


I’ve loved wrestling for pretty much all of my life. I’ve supported TNA pretty much since it started. But—and this is a BIG commitment, coming from me—I will not watch TNA again until Todd Alan Clem is fired. His hate, racism, and near Gestapo-esque deadness of soul is not welcome in my home, and neither is the product of any company that knowingly employs him, half-assed apology or no half-assed apology.  I encourage all wrestling fans to follow in this pattern.


So…to sum it up…in this case Vince McMahon is the lesser of two evils.  Think about that for a while.  Boo, TNA.  Booooo.