record store day news roundup

I’m late to the party, but I wanted to gather and share the good news in one place. Chuck Mosley’s covers single is coming out april 13th 2019 via record store day and blocglobal records. It is an a seven inch vinyl limited to 1000 copies. Here’s what we have so far. If you see/hear anything, please send it our way!

Jim Brown, who runs put together a short teaser for the release:

BlocGlobal released a press blurb about it:

FaithNoMoreFollowers did an interview with me:

LouderSound included us in the must-haves list alongside giants and legends of music!

two years and a thousand dreams ago…
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A Knight of Cups…a review?

For some unknown reason I popped awake at 6 a.m. on a saturday. Perhaps it was the late-night onion rings. Thanks mom. I am not a morning person, hell, I’m barely a brunch person, but there I was staring at the ceiling. I flipped on the movie, Knight of Cups, which had waited in my Amazon Prime queue for over a couple of years. The cast is full of familiar names and faces, though most of the dialogue is delivered via whispered narration and the action rarely matches the words. The cast could be anyone…anyone rich and beautiful and searching for more. Even the burn victims have plenty to smile about.

The cinematography is stunning, subduing, morose, relatable, angst-filled, and full of character and yet following the thread of story proved difficult. An hour into the film I felt like I was watching several cologne commercials edited together.

My mind drifted, hypnotized by the movie’s delicate messages of longing, and doubt, and frustration and, directionlessness (is that a word?). I thought about my writing, in particular a manuscript I wrote about four teens who embark on an adventure. It’s the first thing I’ve completed that I felt had grown into my initial vision for it, but since it’s still sitting on my harddrive, doubt has crept in.

You can always second and third and fourth-guess your decisions on POV, character gender fitting the market, the clarity of your overall message, and thousands of word choices, but at some point you just have to step off the ledge and believe you’ve taken the correct path.

Christian Bale plays a writer who has lost a brother and he can’t get a grip on his new reality. He awakes during an earthquake, quickly showing the audience how shaky his foundation has become. He slips and slides through parties, business meetings, writer’s rooms, and various women searching for his place. He confronts his other brother and his father about what they could’ve/should’ve done to keep their brother alive and how to keep on going.

Synths and relaxing music and atmosphere rise and fall like the the waves in low tide as Christian’s character, Rick, visits an art gallery or a zen garden full of feng shui elements presumably maintained by an elder man speaking with a bass-toned voice, relaxing and full of experience. Rick’s Australian stripper girlfriend glides over a crowd on a zipline. A gathering of hollywood elite brings Antonio Banderas and Ryan O’Neal briefly into the fold, but aside from background bits of dialogue, I was left with little to cling to and wondered how long this commercial could last. Beautiful women and men dance and prance and laugh and strive and thrive and come and go and through it all I drifted.

Though I doubt Terrance Malik, the film’s director, intended to send viewers soul-searching during the movie, I reflected on past and current mistakes, failures, missed opportunities, and all that damn self doubt. Have I squandered my chances to create music and art and stories? Did I build walls around myself to avoid the work? Have I abused my escapist impulses to stray too far from regular life?

Sometimes I see the world as it’s portrayed in King of Cups, or at least I view myself as an extra in it. I’m there. I see what’s happening around me. I can relate to the joy, the sadness, the victory, the excitement, the danger and yet, I have no idea how to become a part of it.

For better or worse, I look to art and music and stories to find a connection to everything and everyone else. In theory, I love you all and want to share these moments with you. In practice, I spend a lot of time reading books, watching movies, and staring at paintings by myself. Call it awkwardness, call me a space case, but please never feel like I want to keep my distance. I have a constant barrage of stories playing out in my head in, through, and around the songs bubbling there, so excuse my distant stare. I am listening.

Throughout the film we are kept distant from the characters. Emotions, plot, decisions, thoughts are all portrayed through facial expressions and body motion. At times, powerful and at others frustrating. How can we sympathize if we have no backstory? How can we feel for the burning frustration etched on Rick’s face as he contemplates the future alone out in the wild? Then again, we’ve all been there, right? Do they want us to internalize and reflect on our own story, regardless of how different our lives have played out from the characters in the film?

These people seem illuminated, enriched via their burning desire to live each moment. Questions are posed about happiness, fulfillment, creativity’s role in society. One character states, “nothing lasts forever.” Another tells Rick, “Let’s live like no one has before.” And Rick, a writer with very little to say in this movie, shares, “See the palm trees? They tell you anything’s possible.”

As satisfied as they appear, the characters are hellbent on excess, on indulging, on exploring the limits of connection with each other and with themselves. Is the high fashion L.A. scene enough? Can love conquer over a barrage of temptation? Does it need to?

I write to communicate how I see the world in the hope that people can digest my words and converse about it. Bring us together. Find common ground. When I think about pulling away from everything for weeks and months at a time to type 80,000 words about people and places and plots that don’t exist in the hope that it brings me closer to you, it seems quite insane. How could that make sense?

Rick meets with his brother, who repeatedly punches and pushes Rick, goading him with calls of, “I gotta feel something” and “Come on, feel it.”. A direct approach that I hadn’t thought to try.

Rick asks, “Why do you hold back?” Don’t we all? I paused the movie to seek an answer to the question. I come back to the same, tired self doubt, or is it that I haven’t held back, and the lack of connection is a commentary on a lack of success? Of course creativity isn’t about success, its just the measure used by others to judge its worth rather than the actual content. I wrote a book, I am successful. I played a concert, I am successful. I found a wife, I am successful. I followed the guidelines, I am successful. I avoided the guidelines, I am successful. It’s a beautiful saturday morning and my kids are playing with dinosaurs while I type away and watch a film by myself…I am successful? I am a fool? I didn’t need this third cup of coffee.

The screen shows snapshots of beautiful things and broken things and refuses to allow for the souring and rusting and heartache and respect and dedication and stress and appreciation and power that comes with committing to life for more than a moment. Is that view due to my own cynicism? Am I too jaded and negative to simply enjoy the ride, to appreciate the work that went in to highlighting thousands of moments that happen everyday, which go unnoticed. A man clips and shapes a bush in the midst of a concrete jungle, a woman walks on the beach and takes in her surroundings, a man kneels in prayer and fights his aging body to stand back up, Rick and a woman share a bonfire in the mountains, these are all real, but we don’t see the ripples they cause. Every moment is beautiful when seen singularly, even when Rick’s girlfriend sobs on a sunlit balcony.

Questions are posed and questions are posed and questions are posed, but as the film ends, I don’t find any answers. Hell, I still have no idea which cologne they want me to buy.

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Indoria Post Lyric Video For Ode From The Road

Just before the end of 2018, I started to research lyric videos and began learning a bit about imovies on my computer. Throughout january I searched my destroyed hardrive for video clips (damn, I lost so much good stuff) and found enough clips of our kids and videos with chuck to through together, what i consider) a good representation for our band and the song.

Ode From The Road was inspired by missing family as we toured and also Owen, Mara, and I missing michele as she traveled extensively for work. In fact, the kid you hear singing a tune at the beginning is Owen, who wrote a song about missing mommy when she flies to “Canyafornia”. If you look at the title of the song there is another nod to my son, Owen Dean Esper. His initials are ODE. And yes, we were nerdy enough to plan his initials to form a music and writing related word.

My parents only had MTV for a short time before I moved out and by then music videos only got played here and there between reality tv shows, so I didn’t grow up with them (though I heard about Faith No More for the first time via their Epic video). I don’t know a lot about music videos, but I knew enough to understand we didn’t have a budget or enough found footage to make something to compare with mainstream bands. I also guessed that if our band tried to show skin like Madonna, we would only manage to scare more people away.

Luckily, the song’s subject matter and tone fit us adding in clips of our kids and each other as they are who the song was about. While I put the final touches of the clip, our guitarist Donald Spak and his wife had their first child. Perhaps, down the road, I can do a remix of the video and include footage of their family. He brought the original guitar riff and demo to the table, so it only seems fitting.

When I first heard the song, I enjoyed the vibe, but Indoria has always favored short songs so it took me several more listens to attempt patterns and lyrics. Man, typing that out makes me sound truly lazy…which, I am.

As it usually happens, Adam and I got together to work on filling out the song. I recorded several scratch tracks of vocals as I trimmed and edited the lyrics. Chuck and Michele then came over and brought the lyrics and melody to life. Chuck spent several hours working on a few dozen ideas for the end of the song, building and layering one track over another. He took a simple idea and made it better and better and better, though before we had all the separate tracks playing together, Adam and I had no idea where he was going with his backing tracks. Chuck did this a lot. He heard layers of sounds and knew how to take all these random lines of notes and get them to gel.

Adam had his work cut out for himself now, with all of these tracks he needed to make sense of. He paired things down to a manageable mix. Ode From The Road was one of the first couple of songs completed for what was then a new Chuck acoustic project, but before long we realized it made more sense to release it as an Indoria EP.

We never got to play the song live with Chuck, but may play it live in his honor someday. I can’t promise to do Chuck’s voice justice, but…well, no promises, okay?

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Old Mike Patton Email Interview

I had a chance to email a quick interview to Mike Patton as he promoted the Peeping tom album. The interview was posted on a site, but got lost over time. I found the email while organizing and thought I would post it in case anyone cared and so I made sure not to lose it again. BTW, though he was proven right about the Cavs, we eventually won a championship while Mike’s Lakers have been bad for over a decade.

Douglas caught up with Mike Patton to get his views on the Cavs and Lakers, his starring role in Steve Balderson’s film, Firecracker and the self-titled debut release from Peeping Tom.

Douglas R. Esper: The Lakers are looking good this spring. How far do you think they will go? And will you be mad if they lose to The Cavaliers in the finals?

Mike Patton: No offense, but the Cavs are not even on my radar. We got a lot to do to get there, as do the Cavs. The Pistons are going to be impossible to beat in the east. We are finally gelling, but I don’t see how we would be able to beat the Spurs if we meet them. You never know though. NBA is FANtastic.

D.R.E.: In Firecracker, you were originally cast as a henchman. How did you end up playing two main characters in the film?

M.P.: I believe Dennis Hopper dropped out, believe it or not.

D.R.E.: Did you ever take the mortician at his offer and sneak in to see some dead bodies while in Kansas?

M.P.: Of course! What else are you going to do in Kansas? I met some very interesting people.

D.R.E.: Steve Balderson said of your acting that, “Patton is willing to just be vulnerable onstage and just let it loose, while still maintaining control, so his voice and his being is doing what he planned. That makes an awesome actor.” How did you prepare for your roles and how do you feel you did on set?

M.P.: I listened to Steve as much as I could and the other actors as well. I tried to get as far from being me as I could. Focus can be difficult. I think I did ok. I’m not giving up my day job!

D.R.E.: You had been offered several roles in other projects before this. What made this the right one for you to try?

M.P.: It was a bizarre story, bizarre parts and the timing was right in my schedule. Plus Steve is very persuasive!

D.R.E.: Will you act again?

M.P.: I hope so! It is out of my hands to some degree.

D.R.E.: How was Steve Balderson as a director? What was his style/demeanor on set?

M.P.: He was great. Always in control, yet not overbearing. I would hate to work with a director that does not listen to the actors. Don’t get me wrong, this was Steve’s baby, but he really helps and supports the actors.

D.R.E.: In May, you are set to release the self-titled debut disc from Peeping Tom. How good will it feel to have it out after such a long period of working on it?

M.P.: A relief! Of course, then I have to put the touring band together. We are playing the Conan show on May 26th, so I have a deadline. This project has been a struggle at times, but well worth the sweat. I’ll be happy to buy a copy of it at a record store! We just did a great video for the song “Mojo” with some cool cameos in it.

D.R.E.: Looking back on Ipecac, what surprises you about the catalogue you have released? And looking ahead what are you looking forward to releasing?

M.P.: The surprise is that we have been as successful as we have been without compromising our original vision. It has been an adventure, but a fun one. We have put out a lot of very interesting records and worked with some great people. I look forward to all of our releases including new records from the Melvins, Isis, Dalek, Mugison, Kaada etc etc. Get ’em all at

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the music career that wasn’t (part one)

In 1999 I joined my first band, Fromandafly. There was a lot of things that led up to that moment and a lot that has happened in the twenty years since. These are the stories of the music career that wasn’t:

I always thought of myself as a performer. I liked crowds. I liked telling bad jokes and doing dumb things for a laugh. I liked it so much, my brother told me I enjoyed getting into trouble because it meant I got attention. So, it seemed natural that I would sing for a band, right? My first tryout happened at a friend of a friend’s house when I was, I think, fifteen. There were three of us set up in a basement; guitar, drums, and me. The guys, Ben and Andy, started right up, playing Metallica and other 80’s thrash. This must’ve been like ’94. I didn’t have a metal background at all. I was deep into Faith No More, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Mr. Bungle, and, I dunno, Beck.

Beam me up the microphone, I’m too lazy to grab it myself.

Anyway, the point is, when they started playing “Sanitarium” and I didn’t know the words, that was basically the end of the try out. I had come thinking we would jam out new things together, but I get it…you need some common ground. We played more and I tried to sing, but I wanted to write down lyrics mid-tryout and they weren’t looking to wait around. I tucked my tail between my legs, got on my bike, and pedaled home. I questioned all my dreams and plans of performing live and went back to writing stories for a while.

My brother, Craig, joined a hardcore band called, Skipline, at some point in ’95. Watching him face his fear of crowds with reckless abandon got the juices flowing again. He owned the stage and the crowd. He was a force. He was T’n’T up there because he would say or do anything even if it hurt him. I was proud and jealous and itching to get a chance for myself.

One day Craig came home after spending the day in the studio. He popped in a cassette to play an unfinished version of a song called, “Can’t Deal With It.” Whoa, they had the ability to record multiple vocals tracks, so Craig and Mark, their guitarist, could do a call and response chorus. The guitars shredded and the drums thundered. I loved it.

They released a tape and started playing out of town and out of Ohio. I started to see their name in zines (this was before the internet came to my house, folks) and people wore their shirts around town. My friends started telling me how cool my brother was and other band’s started talking shit about Skipline, the surest proof that they were catching attention.

I shopped at Perry’s Rockpile, a local music store run by a unique dude. He had Skipline shirts hanging up and cassette tapes for sale right next to Ringworm and Integrity seven-inches. Skipline played a bill at the Odeon with a dozen other bands, and they had a song called, “You Can’t Win”, included on a compilation called, Industry. The comp was organized and released by Jason Popson (Mushroomhead, The Alter Boys, Unified Culture, State of Conviction, CrossFader, Integrity 2000, (216), Pitchblack Forecast, and others) under his Dog Collar label. Here, give the song a listen:

Skipline played a lot of shows until their van got stolen in the northeast of the USA while on tour. They hitchhiked home. They lost their van, the merch, their luggage, and a full head of steam. The band fractured due to this and to issues with my brother’s work ethic and his ability to help pay for stuff. Mark, Ben, and Jim were all serious about where music could take them, but my brother saw it more as a fun time with friends. By the time their 1996 Demo cassette and bio was ready to send to labels and radio, the band had split from my brother and Mark had taken over vocal duties.

The only song I recall them releasing from that time was called, “Refuse To See”, on the Uprise comp. They had originally played the song live with my brother on vocals, but the recorded version took the band in a vastly different direction. They sharpened their edge, favoring metal screams over hardcore yells. Ultimately the band split and the members moved on to new projects.

I met a bassist who was in a band looking for a singer. He liked Faith No More. In fact, we met at Ozzfest when I stopped to listen to “Last Cup of Sorrow” being played by a rock station that had set up a tent. It was June 3rd, 1997 the day Faith No More released Album of the Year in the USA. Their drummer, Mike Bordin, was in Cleveland that night drumming for Ozzy. At the time I was interning at a competing radio station so I had a media badge. I bullshitted my way backstage by telling everyone who asked that I had gotten sent to the show by my station to interview Mike Bordin. Anyway, the bassist gave me his card and we set up a tryout. After two years of self-doubt from failing my first audition, I felt poised to kill it.

I met the band at a bowling alley parking lot in Parma Heights, Ohio. I followed them to their practice space, a warehouse on the near west side. The band started playing me stuff, but a friend of theirs took the mic and began singing along. He sounded okay. I mean, he at least had heard the tunes and knew when changes happened. His style varied sharply from what I was hearing in my head, so I started to second-guess singing. The guys pushed me forward a few times, but I offered lame excuses. The drummer, Sean, peered at me from his kit, annoyance clear in his disappointed gaze. I knew if I didn’t try something, I would lose my chance…possibly my last. I went to the bathroom. When I returned, I strode to the mic and took charge…by telling the guys I had gotten a page (yes, a page) from work and that I had to go in early. The bassist asked if I could just spare another few minutes to at least try one song so they could hear what I sounded like. I could not. I tucked my tail between my legs (again) and sped off.

If memory serves me, I drove to Chris’ Warped Records in Lakewood, Ohio for a Mushroomhead in store appearance. I think it was the release of their remix album or maybe it was that live video they put out, maybe both…I remember going to the Grog Shop for a release around the same time, so I can’t recall. I think the Grog Shop was the vinyl release and Chris’ was the cd and video release. I drove out east, getting lost as always when trying to find Coventry, and was relieved when I wasn’t carded for entrance. The band was passing a nasty flu around to each other. It was the only time I remember seeing them at the old Grog Shop. The stage was way too small for their show. Anyway, I never tried calling the band to ask for a second chance.

Though my brother’s band only had a short shelf life, people had connected with it. Skipline set up a reunion show, requiring my brother to make a rare visit home from college. It happened on February 14th, 1998 and is now known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre… to be honest I’m not sure anyone actually called it that until right now, but I like the name.

The band, full of nerds, had recorded a Star Wars themed song as a joke/hidden/bonus track on their tape and it always got a big response from the crowds. During the song’s breakdown, Mark had a death metal growl verse that proved difficult to pull off live while also playing, so they asked me to come up and fill in. I don’t know if there was any logic behind the decision other than, “oh, you’re here and clearly have nothing more important to do.” Which was totally legit.

Skipline had a flare for the dramatic, so they cooked up an intro including KISS drums loops, smoke machines, ambient/heavily effected bass and guitar, and they wore KISS make up that night. The guitar intro was played by my buddy Pooch, while I “handled” the bass. The two of us fumbled across the pitch black stage to find out instruments. I kneeled in front of the bass, having never played one, and scraped my fingernails up and down the strings, plucking random notes from time to time. Jim, the bassist, had engaged pedals that gave the thick strings a haunting, echoey sound. The band started to play. Pooch and I ran to the front of the stage and as the song kicked in the lights flipped on and we went airborne. I have only stage dove once, and this was it. Why? Well, I am not skinny or small. I leaped over friends and strangers in the crowd and saw the panic in their eyes.

Skipline 1998

The last song in the set was called, “Louie”, the secret Star Wars song. It had a gang vocal chorus, so the band gathered a few other friends to join them, including Brian, who actually wrote the lyrics and sang the verses in the studio. It would be my first time onstage…and the band asked me to wear a Yoda mask. For reasons unremembered, took my shirt off before I went onstage. This also was the one and only time this should ever happen without people holding singles up for me.

My first duty in the song was to imitate R2-D2 when…well, here have a listen to a recording of the event:

As we are playing, I am singing and holding the microphone out to crowd members to add their two cents as hardcore singers do. Someone reached out to grab the mic, but they latched onto my belt instead and as the crowd pushed and pulled them, my shorts got yanked down. No shirt, no pants, nowhere to hide. Of course my parents had attended to see their two boys sharing a stage. From their point of view, all they could see was one second shorts…the next second…no.

The song ended before I got my bearings, leaving me buzzing with excitement. I was hooked. I wanted more.

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