Exactly How?

I recently had a conversation with a young performer. This performer has a college education in music, but still feels a strong conflict about how he is valuable as a musician. I wrote him this letter: 


Thank you for reaching out! 

We all feel confused sometimes as to why art or music is valuable. Think back to the time in your life when music was obviously valuable to you. Revisit that magical feeling often! The people who don't study music and play on stage - they feel that magical feeling about music still. They are not conflicted. They love it and they will make time in the their lives for it and pay you to give it to them.

You’ve studied music at a very high level and that is exceptional in this world. Many thousands of people in New York City alone would love to have the skills you possess.

As artists living and or working in a place like Bushwick - it’s easy for us to forget that there are so many walks of life. Those walks of life need music! Recorded music to be the soundtrack to their lives, live music to inspire them, and music teachers to guide them.

You seem like a dude that likes to rock. Rockers are often contrarian, I know I am. Consider this: The recent history of recorded music will have you believe that fame and poverty are the only available artist lifestyles. The media have reenforced this narrative because it is a profitable story to sell. It is bullshit. There are millions of community minded people in this world (like yourself) who focus on their music daily but are not famous, and are also not broke. 

Joining this group is first a mindset. You must be honest with yourself about EXACTLY how you want to be valued by the community of people you want to support your art. Write it down and keep it in you mind daily. Mine is: “A piano rock concert where the people sing along beautifully”. I want my community to know me first and foremost as a dude who makes concerts where the people sing along beautifully. I have only achieved this on a small scale, but since it is aligned with my passion I feel no conflict. It is a solid place to grow from. They are getting exactly what I want to give.

We are all similar in this way. So tell me: EXACTLY how do you want to be valued in your community of people who support your drumming?



A Nice Chlorinated Feeling

I would like to say at this point in my career that I have won a songwriting competition. I guess maybe I don't really want to achieve that goal because I sat down the other day with the concerted intention to craft a hit and all that came out was obstinate blackness. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

back in 1961 Paul McCartney turned to John Lennon and said:
let’s write a swimming pool, let’s write a swimming pool 
and we’ll be sipin’ cocktails at the top of the Standard
walkin’ ‘round town in a VIP lanyard
then they got out of Liverpool, yea they made a suit look cool

now John’s watery grave is a song competition that bares his name
dougboy never make a wave, dougboy never make a wave
but it does have
an nice chlorinated feeling

back in 1991 Kurt Cobain turned to Dave Grohl and said:
Let’s write a stomach ulcer, let’s write a stomach ulcer
so we can get my songs on the hit parade, David knew he was unafraid
then they got out of Aberdeen, yea they made it to the tv screen

now Kurt’s abdominal pain is heavy weight vinyl in a plywood rack
back in vogue at the suburb mall, back in vogue at the suburb mall
and it does have
an nice chlorinated feeling

back in 1976 Steve Jobs turned to Steve Wozniak and said:
let’s make a bicycle, let’s make a bicycle
and we’ll be flyin to Asia on a private jet, thinkin’ up things that we ain’t done yet
then they got out of their garage, new kid and the woz

now Steve’s bicycle thing is choking everyone over in Beijing
they used to ride everywhere, they used to ride everywhere
well, it does have
an nice chlorinated feeling

la la la

New Barbershop Harmony On The Streets Of New York


We should have more singing in this world. I am making street performance art to that end. Here is the vision: 

How awesome would it be to turn a corner in New York City this spring and find a fantastic barbershop quartet harmonizing? Would it not be more awesomer still to learn that that quartet was singing new original songs composed by the members of that group? Yes!

This project’s creator Derrek Wayne is a gold medallist champion singer in the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international organization founded in the United States to promote the incredible joy of a cappella vocal harmony. 

Famous American choir nerd Deke Sharon calls Barbershop Quartet Harmony the “martial arts of a cappella”. Derrek has been studying the art for more than a decade. 

Composing AND arranging AND performing barbershop quartet harmony music is rarely done these days. This aspect is truly unique to this project. Derrek would like this project to shine like a beacon to others and signal that it CAN AND SHOULD BE DONE.

The money will be used:

1. To pay the composer arranger for his time:
- writing the songs
- arranging the songs
- learning, performing and recording the learning tracks
- scheduling and running rehearsals

2. To pay the performers for their time learning the songs and performing them.


1. (At The) Four Part Harmony Ragtime Society Summertime Jubilee Ball

A big, modern, key-center modulating uptune.

2. Anywhere

A simple art song with a big hook. Frequent use of ritardando.

3. Annadel

A lilting tale of talking to a child. Frequent use of rubato and time-signature changes.


I finished "Anywhere", a song I started writing while experiencing a long distance breakup while playing in a hotel in Thailand. Here is a simple demo of the verse and chorus. 

Here is a documentation of the writing process in journals, a first draft of the song in four part vocal harmony, and recording a demo.

Here is the first page of the lead sheet (sorry it's kinda messy, computers.) 

The subtitle "The Sweetness Of A Man" comes from a real conversation I had with a woman after a show. I love these sort of conversations with my audience. I had just finished writing Anywhere at the time, and I sang it for her as she had a cigarette. Then she asked:

You know what I would call it? "The Sweetness Of A Man".

We talked all night.

2015 Begins in NYC

For those of us just joining the story, your humble narrator is joining the 2015 class of hipsters in Brooklyn New York. He has his outfit. He borrowed a bike. He borrowed an apartment. 

The airplane company has really upped the ante: they put on a soundstage musical to meet the requirements. It was entertaining, but I had seen it before and popped open my laptop to continue what I was writing. It was a game. A 21st century parlor game called “Ballsdeep In The Facebook”. I had conceived the game with my ex-girlfriend while staying with her while we were both between cruise contracts. She lived with her surrogate family, as many musicians do. One of her surrogate family was a programer of social media. He and I had had an in depth clan credential session the night before, so I suppose I was still thinking along those lines when I said,

Why don’t we invent a game? Give me your phone.

Girlfriend and I were not connected on the social media because I had had quite enough of that sort of thing, but I did want to play with it like a toy for my own pleasure. So I invented this game. We played the first ever game together, there on the couch, she had my phone and I had hers.

Seven months later I was visiting Paige’s house in San Francisco for New Years Eve. She wasn’t there. She was always rushing off to pet farm animals in some other part of the world. Since she wasn’t there I made her a nice gift - a card that I put on her bedroom mirror. On new years day, while waiting for my plane to New York, I thought she might like a copy of the rules for Ballsdeep In The Facebook. So I wrote it out on my laptop on her couch. I credited Elyse, my ex-girlfriend, in the subtitle. I printed it, drew some color markers on it in circles representing the connections the game was made of, and slipped it into the envelope.

By the time the plane was half way to NYC, I had finished the final draft. I took Elyse’s name off the subtitle. 

Next stop, Michael’s loft in Bushwick, where I would find his beautiful little world, still very much like the one I had known in Seattle, 10 years ago.


Rules for

BALLS DEEP IN THE FACEBOOK (BD in the FB, for short), a 21st Century Parlor Game

“I couldn’t figure out even the littlest reason to paint a picture like that.” - M.T. Anderson, Feed


Balls Deep In the Facebook - the fun party drinking game combining your mildly interesting social internet with the sex life of your present company. Browsing and sexy socializing in meatspace AT THE SAME TIME - hooray! 


To talk about others and drink.


Setup: The couple exchanges their mobile devices and load FB timeline view. 

Turn based Gameplay proceeds as follows: 

1. Someone goest first, that person is the Turn Player. The Turn Player will Show-And-Tell a “Game-Pertinent Feed Item” from the Feed Owner’s FB Feed by reading it aloud and then showing its media. GPFIs are non-advertisement non-video non-clickbait status updates from a non familial individual. GPFIs are read in the order your FeedCorp deems appropriate. Picking and choosing is meg against the rules.


Turn Player (Player A) reads aloud the next item on Feed Owner (Player B)’s Feed: “So-And-So says: ‘Celebrating with my besties!! Cocktails at Mason & Cask. Best night out ever!’” Picture is shown.

2. Next, the Feed Owner will Respond by saying three (3) things about So-And-So.


Feed Owner responds: “So-And-So and I went to college together in Oregon, she plays short stop on our kick ball league, she likes hoppy beers.”

3. Turn Player may choose to then say that they believe Feed Owner has had sex with So-and-So by Accusing them. If Feed Owner did, they drink, if not, Turn Player drinks.


Turn Player: “Look at that beard. Totally your type. You guys so diiiiiiid iiiiiiiiiiit”.

Feed Owner: “We sure did do it, look at that sexy man. His beard was so soft, I think he told me once he would like, rub oil in it or something.” Feed Owner takes a drink.

4. Next turn, roles reverse. 

Play continues until make-out-session and/or players’ networks have been sufficiently been squeezed.


Setup: Best in groups smaller than eight players. The group makes a circle and passes their mobile devices to the left hand side and load FB timeline view.

Turn based Gameplay proceeds as in Two Player Mode. Turns move left around the circle. At the start of each round (one revolution, ie. everyone has had one turn, two turns, etc.) the devices are again passed to the left. 

Devices are placed face down by everyone except the Turn Player.

Anyone in the group can Accuse. Play continues until inebriation. 

During a verbose Show-And-Tell the group can vote the GPFI to be a Good Rant or a Bad Rant by thumbs up thumbs down. The Feed Owner does not vote. If the vote is unanimously for bad, the turn ends and the Feed Owner drinks. If the vote is unanimously good, Turn Player drinks.

A Feed Owner may Take A Pass (possibly because they do not remember So-And-So) but must drink. When this happens the turn continues and Turn Player then reads the next GPFI.

Strive for quality attention on your turn, after all it is your turn. 

Have good etiquette! Pay attention to the group discussion thread as it will investigate the juicy details of the connections. Wait to begin your Show-And-Tell until the entire group is ready. After all, this is a parlor game


Take the game to another level! Similar to wild cards in playing card games, certain kinds of Game-Pertinent Feed Items can be given special significance. Said another way, a GPFI can be redefined to include or exclude certain sorts of Feed media, and/or ascribed special rules.


If the GPFI is a picture of a cat, Feed Owner drinks.

If the GPFI is a picture of a dog, Turn Player picks someone to drink.

If the GPFI is a group party selfie deemed “too cool” by the Turn Player, the party posts a group selfie en masse on all Feeds tagged #ballsdeepintheFB.

Videos are allowed during the third round; If the GPFI is a video, all drink and watch the video.

If the GPFI is food and beverage porn, all drink.

Of course there are more mods, so, as always, please use your imagination and run experiments.