Just So Dang Fun…

2017-25-The Only Childs

the only childs

A little back-story:  About a year ago, I sent a text message to Tony and Alex, sorta along the lines of this:

“Hey fellas!  How’d you like to do a recording project, where we try and write modern day hymns and record them together with acoustic guitars”.

Crickets.

“Or we could use electric guitars?”

Tony called me immediately.

That’s not exactly how it went.  But we did talk about doing something different, but the same, alone, but together.  See, Tony and I were in a band together on and off for something like 10 years.  Then we quit that band and started a new band.  Then Tony quit that band, and Alex replaced him. Then Alex and I quit that band.  So you can see how it made sense to me to bring us three together to make the greatest collection of modern day hymns.

But you know what?  Hymns are NOT easy to write.  And we didn’t want to suck.  We spent a few months toiling over songs, scrapping ideas, working out arrangements, then just thinking, this is gonna take forever! And we don’t want to spend forever making ONE record!

So we decided it was best to just do what we do best.  Write rock and roll songs alone, and record them together.  And that is what we did.

Then we booked studio time.  Or – used my studio.  Our dear friends Tommy C and Steven J came in and laid down rhythm tracks.  Tom’s daughter Anna sang on a song.  We reconvened a couple times to put finishing touches on.  We had a couple beers.  We talked about how fun this is.  And man – this was so much fun to make!  I feel 30 years younger!

The result is the debut EP by the newest, coolest, grooviest, rockin-est, awesome-est rock band to come out of the Minneapolis suburbs since – well that last cool, groovy, rockin, awesome rock band.  That band is The Only Childs.  And the record is named the same.  And you’re welcome!

The record comes out everywhere next Friday.  But as our gift to you, you can buy it NOW on Bandcamp.  Go check it out, let us know if you love it.  And if you don’t – call your local congressman and let them know how disappointed you are in us.

We’re hoping to book a show or two.   We’re hoping you like the record.  We’re hoping we can still be friends when super-stardom bloats our egos.  We’ll see how it goes, and we hope to see you soon!

Love,

The Only Childs

 

 

3,000…

3,000…

That is the reported number of how many babies are aborted every day…

3,000 human beings, eliminated, for various reasons…

And who am I to argue?  I mean – I’m a man, I shouldn’t be talking about women’s rights to abortion (Unless of course I support that right).

If that baby in the womb is not a human being, I would agree with that statement completely.  If that baby is just a growth, like a finger nail or a tumor, then yes, it is part of the woman’s body, and it is her choice whether to carry that growth to birth.

But really, are we still arguing that is the case?  Why?  Why is this subject SO politicized?  Why is abortion seemingly celebrated?  (Google “Shout Your Abortion”, and you will find several people arguing for the right to not only HAVE an abortion, but to celebrate it or at least be supported in this decision – as if it is good…

Again, if that child is not a human being, then I would wholeheartedly agree.

DNA at conception.  Unique DNA, that shows this child is human.  We’re not talking about DNA that mutates into human, from something else – the same DNA that child would have at birth, as they grow, into adulthood.

A heartbeat in 19 days.

We can SEE the child forming in the womb, thanks to technology we have today!  It’s pretty amazing, and any expected parent is beaming as they show their pictures and videos of their child.

THEIR.  CHILD.

Because they chose?  And that’s it?  If I was trying to have a kid, or decided to keep my kid, then it’s human.  But if I don’t want him or her – it’s just a thing?  A growth?  We don’t really believe that, do we?

I wrote this song from the perspective of the child in the womb.  A child that knows he or she is going to be killed.  From the perspective of a mother or father who lives with the haunting knowledge of a decision they can never take back.  I do realize that doesn’t fit the description for everyone who chose to have an abortion.  But it does for many.  There was a song written about it, from the father’s perspective, in the 90’s.  It was very popular, and very sad.  There are studies that show statistics around how a mother is affected after she has an abortion.  Again – I know that doesn’t fit everyone.  You are not a statistic.  But it certainly affects many.

So – I am sharing this song, at no cost to you (Other than your time).  However, I will be giving $5 for every download or stream of the song from Bandcamp, to an organization called “New Life Family Services”, specifically for a program they have called “Conquerors”.  This program is designed to minister to mothers who have had abortions, and are struggling or hurting.  If that is you, you are not alone…

You can read about them here and here.

If you want to help, great!  You can give directly from their website, or pay for the song if you so choose.

I’m NOT intending to raise money or awareness to further legislate.  We have enough of that.  I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t fight for that – I just feel that is not my job.  I want to reach your heart.  I want to talk about this.  Of course I want to change your mind on this subject.  As passionate as you are about what you have been conditioned to believe about this being a women’s right issue – I am about you knowing what you already know.

  • You are a human being with intrinsic value
  • Your value comes from the fact that you are created in God’s image
  • You are valued ultimately by God Himself – in a way nobody, including yourself, could fully comprehend
  • This is the same for your, eternally (“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3)
  • This was the same for you, when you were a baby in the womb…

So I again open this up for discussion.  And I pray that you accept the truth.

3,000, every day…

I love you…

T.

3,000…

 

The Songs

old-dogs-cover

Old Dogs

I made this EP as a sort of “tribute” to my friends who played with me in the Moondogs for many years.  Steve Parenteau, Derek Kosch, Tony Preston, Tom Carlon.  We did a lot of shows, made a lot of crappy records – we had a lot of fun.

We did a reunion show last summer, which would have also been 20 years.  Crazy…  It got me thinking, I’d like to re-do some of those older songs.  So – I did!  Here is a rundown.

Burning Bridges – This is really a mish-mash of riffs from various Moondog songs, put into a new song.  I didn’t want to just recreate what we created 20 years ago.  So I opted for something new out of the old.  I like how this song turned out, it has a cool groove.

“Burning Bridges” is not meant to “cut ties with those who are not like me”.  It’s more cutting ties with the temptation to fall into sin.  “I’m a wrecking ball on sin”, applies to my life only – I don’t see myself “wrecking sin” in others’ lives, I think Jesus does that just fine.  🙂  BUT if this song can serve as an encouragement to others, wonderful!

She Don’t Know – I always loved this song, though I’m not sure we ever played it live.  I was trying to reproduce “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne.  I didn’t really get it 20 years ago, and I didn’t really try to get it this time around.  But I like how this rendition turned out.

Tears Are Falling – Yes, the Kiss song.  This song has nothing to do with my old band.  Although Steve and I did play “Heaven’s On Fire” in our high school band (and horribly).  I put it on, because I thought it fit the tone of the record.  I was listening to this while running, and the thought came to me, “What if Crowded House did this song?”  So I tried to record it with that in mind.  I did keep part of Bruce Kulick’s guitar solo (the only part I could play).  But it’s definitely different than the Kiss version.  I’d like to get them a copy, because Kiss is the reason I ever picked up a guitar.

Cry In Vain – Another song we never played live in the Moondogs.  Not necessarily my favorite.  I can’t recall why I chose this one to re-do?  But I kinda like how it turned out.  Musically, it flows better than it did 20 years ago.  And lyrically, it’s a bit different.  It used to be a song about relational hopelessness.  I changed a few words, and it became a song about hope.  So I like how it turned out.  And I’m getting more into playing the Fender Rhodes on my songs.  Some day maybe I’ll get good at it.

How You Hurt Me – I wanted to write a Rick Springfield song with this one.  It’s a fun song.  We did play this one a lot in the Moondogs.  It was a fun one to play, especially as it explodes at the end.

It’s really kind of a dumb rock song.  I’m ok with that, really.  Rock and roll can be dumb from time to time.  We all need to be silly from time to time.

As I mentioned in my last post, you can get this record on cassette!  And soon on 8-track as well!  Both versions will get you a digital copy – or you can just buy the download if you prefer.

And there is always itunes, Spotify, Amazon, whatever you prefer.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

I really hope you like the record.  There will be more…  🙂

Old Dogs

Look, I’m Just Gonna Make Records…

Yes, I just put a record out in October.  And the one before that, in June.  And a few songs here and there.  AND I am working on another record as we speak.  I’m just going to do that.  It doesn’t matter, because I’m not doing this for a living, I just like to write songs, and make records.  I like how records of old told stories.  I am trying to do that, in some way.

Soooo – I have one out TODAY!  It’s called “Old Dogs”. It was originally going to be a collection of old songs written in the time I was in a band called the Moondogs.  And it mostly is still that.  But I added a cover of Kiss’ “Tears Are Falling”, because I loved that song as a kid, and because – well just because.  🙂

old-dogs-cover

5 songs.  Out today.  I also have it available on CASSETTE TAPE today!

cassette-1

Because why not?  If you have a tape deck in your car, or maybe on your boom box in the garage, why the heck not right?

You can just head on over here to make your purchase.  You’ll see options for cassette, and – yes – 8-track too!  I’m still waiting on the pressing for the 8-tracks, but they will come.  And if you are so inclined, buy one of those too!

A purchase of either tape will get you a digital download as well.  So you can put it on your phone, tablet, PC, iwatch, Google Glass, what have you.  And if you don’t like tapes – first of all what is wrong with you?  – but secondly, you can just buy the digital download here.  Scroll toward the bottom, and you’ll see the digital download.

Of course, there is itunes, Amazon, Spotify and the like.  You can buy or stream to your heart’s content.

I give the money I make away, because I like to and someone else can use that money.  This time around, I chose an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms”.  They are a wonderful organization, their mission being:

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

EVERYONE knows someone who struggles with depression or addiction, and/or might even be that person.  While I know money thrown at a problem doesn’t just fix the problem – money given to people who want to fix the problem is never a bad thing.  And my heart’s desire is for people to know they MATTER.  God cares for His children, loves His people.  I want them to know that.  I want YOU to know that.  More than anything, I want you to KNOW that.

If you feel so inclined, you could give to TWLOHA directly.

So, that is my new record!  I hope you enjoy!  OH!  And I made a video!  Well – sort of… I did submit it to the Bon Jovi opening band contest.  Who knows maybe I’ll win.  But short of that, you can watch that here.

Thanks dear ones, and I’ll see you soon.

Love,

T.

Song Story #8 – Wedding Coat

sins-of-the-father-final

Wedding Coat

A little more than a year ago, I released a record called “The Wedding Coat“.  The record was written from the perspective of marriage, divorce, the pain around that.  It was a response to not only my past, but seemingly so many that I love, going through similar things.  I did a campaign around that record, ultimately raising $3000 for marriage counseling.  My hope was, and is, that God would use that for SOMEONE.   Some couple, or couples, where money might be the obstacle to getting help.  I still believe that the God who raised the dead to life can restore a dead marriage.

By the way – I’ve seen it with my own eyes, very recently.  God is so good…

So this song, I wrote with the theme of wrapping up the record.  The first verse was my past, how I treated my ex-wife.  Many can relate.  Some would still be proud of that.  Some, like me, not so much.

The second verse is actually my son-in-law.  See, at their wedding (an outdoor wedding in October, and we had SNOW.  It was COLD).  He stopped their wedding, mid-swing, to take his coat off and put it on his bride.  I still tear up, when I think of it…

The last verse is Christ, and we are His bride.

So – a couple things.

  1.  This song.  The original version is acoustic.  I wrote it that way.  I recorded it live, with a mic on me and another on my guitar.

    Note:  The original recording is actually two takes spliced together. If you listen closely, you can hear where I spliced together.  🙂

    Anyway, I played this song at a show last spring.  A friend came up to me, commenting on how he loved the song.  He told me, “Man, I hear a full band doing this song…”.  Huh…  I’d never thought of that…  So I did.  🙂

  2. These two records.  When I put together the “Wedding Coat” record, I would have loved to have done a full length.  I just didn’t have enough material.  In FACT – when I was writing, I wasn’t even planning on doing the record, or the campaign.  I was working on another record at the time.  And most of the songs on the “Wedding Coat” record were slated for that one.  I pulled them out, making two records.

    I did record some covers, that would have fit into the “Wedding Coat” concept.  But they weren’t my songs, so I opted to just give them away to those who supported the campaign instead.

    Then, I started writing new songs.  And the material for “Sins of the Father” materialized.  I thought, “THESE songs could have been side two of ‘the Wedding Coat'”!  Alas, it was a year later.

    So I think of this new record of mine as “the Wedding Coat, Part Deux”.  Where “The Wedding Coat” was about marriage, “Sins of the Father” is about family.  To me, they go hand in hand.

So to me, it seemed appropriate to do a full-on electric version of this song.  I really love how it turned out.  And so did my friend.  🙂

So there you have it!  That’s my new record.  Hope you enjoy!

Love you!

T.

Wedding Coat
I’m gonna buy myself a wedding coat
My life is over now, that’s all she wrote
I am no longer free, she killed my joy
Sucked the life from me, gave her a girl and boy

Toil and heartache is all you gain
A lifetime’s wages, such a waste…
Why am I so selfish, so self-absorbed?
There must be something better…
Better, Lord…

I’m gonna give my woman my wedding coat
To keep her safe and warm, this world is cold
But she belongs to me, I’d die for her
And a family we soon will birth

Joy and goodness, you give to us
What can I do, Lord, to measure up?
Why am I so blessed, so favored Lord?
There must be someone else…
Someone else…

I’m gonna waive my banner over you
You are my bride, I made you new
By my blood you gain my holiness
And my wedding coat shall be your dress…
And my wedding coat shall be your dress…

And my righteousness shall be your dress…

Wedding Coat

Song Story #7 – This Is Weird…

sins-of-the-father-final

The Lord Has Won My Soul

This song…  Is…

Weird…

I did not intend it to be.  I had the title, and the line came from it, “I’m gold, for I know the Lord has won my soul!”.  I really liked it.  It is a play on the passage in Romans 8:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39)

But then, as I was playing it, it sounded too much like an older gospel song we do in worship from time to time, called “Bless the Lord”.  Like this:

Now, I’m not opposed to “borrowing” from songs or songwriters – there is no original thought.  And I am sure I sound like a pale comparison of my favorite artists.  But this was just too close for me.

So I decided to scrap the song, and instead use it as an odd transition piece.

The last song, “Shedding My Skin” , ends with a hallelujah chorus, because the subject of the song is finally free from the shackles of life on earth and are before their heavenly Father.

So I thought it appropriate to get ridiculous and praise the Lord as ridiculously as I could.  I mean – when I’m before Him, won’t I be filled with awe and wonder?  And – with COMPLETE PRAISE?  I mean, no holding back, I’m before YOU, LORD!  HALLELUJAH!

So – I thought, why not?  Why not make it completely weird?

Why not put peacocks in the song…

And it transitions right into the last song on the record.  More to come on that one…

See, I like to make complete records, not just collections of songs.  So it’s important to me that they flow in some way.  Whether that be stylistically, or thematically – I want to try and create a story with my records.  I don’t know that anyone else would get that?  But that is my goal.  So – given that, this song ain’t so weird.

And who is Joe Pyeweed anyway?  More on that some day in the future…  😉

The Lord Has Won My Soul

Song Story #6 – Shedding My Skin

sheddingskin

Shedding My Skin

Odd title, I know.  Odder still, if I tell you this song is about death?  And why would one want to talk about death, on the eve of Thanksgiving???

Death is one of the few guarantees we have in life.  It’s the most painful, terrifying thing.  We have NO CONTROL over it.  And we like control, don’t we?

I came up with this title 23 years ago, when my grandma passed away (she drew the picture you see above, by the way – I have it framed in my studio).  See, when my grandpa died in 1988, I watched my grandma turn from this feisty, firey, sweet old lady, into a depressing, depressed person just begging to die.  My memory of her may differ from others?  But I distinctly recall her saying, more than once after my grandpa’s passing, “I’m sick.  I’m dying.”, in a “life sucks” tone.  This was not her prior to his death.  Not to me anyway.

But I also remember, in her last days while in the hospital, a sense of renewed LIFE!  The last time I saw her, she looked younger than she had, maybe ever in my life.  Like she had shed her skin, and a new Grandma was there!  She was glowing, and vibrant.  So beautiful… Then she was gone…

So I wrote a song, trying to capture that.  I can’t remember much of the original version I wrote so many years ago, other than the chorus, which I used to write this one.

This new version is about those dear loved ones, who are left behind.  Specifically a spouse.  See, much like my grandma, who lost her life when she lost her husband, I have witnessed the same or similar in my own mother and mother-in-law.  It’s so sad to see…  Yet, at the same time, so beautiful…  You see how these couples really were “two becoming one”, when you see that person left without their life-long love…

The death of a long-time spouse – your lifetime friend, lover, confidant, basically YOU – that death is the death of two who had become one.  I’m describing this as one who has witnessed it but never experienced it.  I wonder if I have it even close to right?  But that is what I was trying to capture in the writing of this song.

And also, the ultimate freedom that comes in our physical death – for those who are in Christ Jesus.  The lines, “To be with you, I’d give everything just to be with you”, were written from the perspective of my mother saying this to my father who had passed on.  But personalized by my desire to be with my Jesus.  I’d give it all up – my wonderful family, the life he’s blessed me with here, my own wife – all of it – to be with Him now.

Who have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You…

This is my favorite song on the new record.  The beauty and sadness in the lyric.  The fact that I accidentally stumbled upon a Phil Collins vibe in the music (I’ve spoken about my obsession with Mr. Collins before, so it may not come as a surprise when I say, this was a treat for me), the chanting crescendo of “Hallelujah” at the end of the song.  I hope I don’t sound braggadocios when I say, I love this song…

And I hope you will too…

Shedding My Skin
I’m so alone
Nobody knows
Nobody understands
I’m waiting to die
Cause maybe then I would matter
At least for a little while

And to be with You…
To be with You…
I’d give everything just to be with You…

Why am I waiting?
Why am I here?
Why can’t I remember…

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

I’m less than normal
I’m less the free
Trapped in this bag of bones
I’m searching for comfort
I’m waiting to die
So maybe I’ll live again

And to sing to You…
To sing to You…
I feel so alive when I sing to You…

Why am I waiting?
And I’m still here praying
“Lord, help me remember”

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

Hallelujah…

Shedding My Skin