Update from the NZ album release

[Two blog posts appear below: one from April 3, 2011 and the other from April 11, 2011]

Update from the NZ album release [April 3, 2011]

What a week…arrived in NZ on Monday morning kind of exhausted after a busy time over there, and then hit the ground running in NZ.  There were a couple of tense hours on the flight from NYC to LA as a substantial delay made a tight connection even tighter, but luckily my fellow Kiwis at Air NZ still let me check in for my flight with only 45 minutes before departure for an international flight.  I love Air NZ.

We’ve had a number of band rehearsals this week to learn the new songs.  I love these dudes – Richard Mrkusich on guitar, Chris Grant on drums and vocal harmonies, and our newest addition, Chip Matthews, on bass guitar.  Photo (well, an attempt) attached.  It’s very exciting for me, because this is the first time I’ve played these songs with a band!  Up until now, the songs have existed only in the studio or on my acoustic guitar.  Now I’m unleashing my electric, and we’re arranging the songs for live performance, which is always a challenge because the layers of guitars and various melodic instruments that are at our disposal in the studio, all get reduced down to two guitars (Richard’s and mine). Luckily, Richard is studious and talented, so between several Skype conversations and some detailed emails, by the time we had our first rehearsal on Monday night, all of our parts were pretty much decided on, requiring only some tweaking.  And I’ve had my own fun experimenting with some new electric guitar sounds…I’m using a Line6 M9 this time, because it’s compact, simple and versatile.  Everything I need.

As much as I love Air NZ, my NZ band, my NZ mates and the beautiful early autumn weather we’ve had this week, I have to say I CAN’T STAND the time difference from NYC to NZ.  Every time I arrive here, I experience great difficulty adjusting to the new timezone.  I find myself waking every night at 3am or thereabouts and incapable of falling back to sleep.  By this stage, I’ve finally reached the point where I believe my tiredness will override the fading jetlag and ensure that I sleep well tonight.  Early night tonight, that’s for sure.

Well, tomorrow, April 4th is the Four-Letter Words NZ release day!  A lot has been achieved this past week with the team here and the band, and we’re all ready to go for the upcoming release week – one final rehearsal tomorrow, interviews throughout the week, the Good Morning show on Wednesday, I think C4 and Juice TV sometime this week too, and then the release party on Thursday night.  Yeah  (hey, I just realized that ‘yeah’ is a four-letter word too…yeah.  Word.  Word to your yeah.)

Update from the NZ album release #2 [April 11, 2011]

It’s official: Four-Letter Words is out. In my homeland. Good old NZ. Thank you to all who supported the album’s release last week: Classic Hits; the NZ Herald/Canvas; Good Morning; Drew & Shannon Live; Marbecks, JB Hi-Fi; the whole team at Isaac Promotions and Frequency Media, and also everyone who showed up to the release party on Thursday night to rock out!

Speaking of which, I’ve been told that it’s a sign of good luck that I broke a string in the first song. I’m sure the case for it being representative of bad luck is just as strong as that for good, but I’ll take the optimistic view…it was the first string I had broken for about ten years. After our false start (we adjourned for two minutes after Knocking On An Open Door – the first song – for me to restring the high E) it was back to the music. It’s a real thrill playing with Rich, Chris and Chip, and I love playing the new songs. This was the first full-band show with the songs off the new album, so until the night, it was a process of seeing how the songs would work in our live, four-piece arrangement. I’m happy to report that the songs came together very well in our live setting. Now I’m just getting impatient for further opportunities to play the songs live in NZ…now it’s back to NY this weekend for me to get the ball rolling over there. Yeah!

A little update on appearances: this week I’ll be speaking with U Live on Tuesday, Juice TV for an NZOWN interview, and bFM’s Freak the Sheep show hosted by Silke on Wednesday. Current single A Four-Letter Word is playing on Classic Hits throughout the country, and other radio stations around NZ, and the Liberate Your Love music video is now playing on Juice TV’s NZOWN and C4’s Homegrown…the song is also playing in the store playlist for the Hollister clothing label throughout the U.S.

I don’t know how many photos I can fit into this blog/note, but I’ll try for three: a couple from the launch party and from the Good Morning show trip to Wellington, and one from the summit of Rangitoto. The day after the release party was the first free, low-pressure day I had had for a while, and given that the sun was shining, I took a ferry to Rangitoto with a friend (the volcanic island in the middle of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour) and walked to the top and back. Nice.

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