Lennon P. Bone

Midwest based composer, musician and producer.

FEBRUARY UPDATE

As always, many many thanks for checking in! This has been a stressful and exciting month for me. Aside from everyone in my house being sick except me (so far), the stress has mostly been for good reason. I’m getting closer and closer to the release of my EP, I purged a bunch of things on social media including deleting my personal account, booked some studio time with some returning artists that I’m VERY excited to work with again, got to attend a few days at the awesome Folk Alliance festival, and I RELEASED A NEW SONG! 

artwork by Chance Bone

artwork by Chance Bone

If you’re here, you’ve already been prompted to enter your email for a free download. If you haven’t done that yet, please consider it. You’ll get a copy of a tune called “Cut The Line”. That song is from the upcoming EP that’s due out in the spring, and is an homage to my mom, her death and my coping with it. Kansas City’s 90.9 The Bridge did a preview of the track here

The tune is also up on Spotify! So for all you streamers, feel free to add it to a playlist! If you prefer to help monetarily, you can download it on bandcamp, as well as amazon, iTunes, etc. etc. Basically any major platform should have it. 

That alone is enough to process for a monthly update - so please, go download that track and pass it around. I’m doing continual updates on twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well so you can keep up with the progress as it happens. This is a very exciting time for me. Thank you for being a part of it. 

with Love.
Lennon

JANUARY UPDATE

Happy belated New Year everyone! I’m so sorry it’s been a million years since my last update. I’m back on the train and ready to keep you all informed! As always, a MILLION thanks for checking in on what’s happening in my little world. LOTS IS HAPPENING! New music that I produced by Clay Hughes, as well as Joplin based band The Too’s is now ready for your aural consumption. You can hear some from each in the updated playlist below. Clay’s track “Atmosphere” has been getting some love from Kansas City’s radio station, The Bridge. The Too’s are on the road right now pushing the new album, “Outer Sounds”, which also happens to be pressed on Vinyl! Siiiick. It’s always a pleasure to be involved in what I feel is such good music. 

2016 saw some really fun things for me. I got to do production and mixing for people in Germany, the UK and random parts of the U.S. I got hired on as the drummer for the Life Church campus in Overland Park, KS. I wrote more music than I ever have in my life… and I HAD ANOTHER BABY! WHAT?! Yup. September brought our new daughter into the world. She was born in our living room. How cool is that? I think it’s pretty cool… and she’s an absolute beauty. But there was also some tragedy with the loss of my mom, and cancer seeming to run a muck among way too many. We lost a ton of incredibly influential artists, and had the nation seem to be more divided than ever with the election of a new President. 

But, I’m here to declare that 2017 is gonna be a great one. I only know this because I’ve decided that the only way for it to be great is to make it great! I’ve been doing some serious personal development and getting things in order for what I think is going to be my most productive year yet. Here’s what’s up. 

  1. Sound and Patterns Music is NOW LIVE. This is my commercial music company. I’ve been working hard to get everything up and running, and the LLC is fully in place and ready to rock. So, if you’ve got people that you know that do film, commercials or the like, please hit me up or pass the page along! 
  2. I’m going to release a solo EP! This is terrifying. After Mom passed, I went away for a few days and wrote some songs. I recently went into the studio and tracked almost everything myself, but am getting a few friends involved, including my brother Chance. I’m expecting to release a single in late February and am very proud of this work.
  3. I’ll be producing more music with more awesome folks! If you want to work on some music, PLEASE hit me up! Let’s talk and make something happen! I enjoy working with other people more than anything else! 
  4. I’m going to take chances!

Ladies and gents, I truly believe that we hold the power to make our lives great, and I’m SO excited to see this year start to take shape. In less than 40 days I’ve felt like I’ve made more headway than I ever thought possible. What are you doing to make your dreams a reality?! What ARE your dreams?! Email them to me! Seriously! If you ever want to talk about things like that, let me know! Anyway - go out there and MAKE GREAT SH*T! BECAUSE YOU CAN! 

More to come! 

Love.
Lennon

JUNE UPDATE

Summer is here! The change of seasons are always a time when I start to feel excited and pushed to try new things. In the midst of my current work, I’ve been doing everything I can to expand and get out there to meet and learn from other people in the game, or simply from people that are doing something different than me, but are driven in the same ways. 

I’ve met with other super rad engineers and producers. I’ve met with tech creators. Had google hangs with video producers. I’ve started collaborating with new musicians. I’ve began to open my horizons again and expect growth and expansion in not only my business, but my knowledge. I’m working on a tune with a guy from Australia. I’m making video’s. I’m making lists. Thinking. Working. Composing. Studying. And gardening. :) Yes… aside from time with the family, spending time in the yard has become the go-to wind down. 

I’m also learning how to just put the work down when the day is done. As those of you that work for yourself know, it’s not easy to let the work go at the end of the day, so I’ve been spending more time in outside places to try and allow more separation when it’s needed. There’s also hope for physical expansion in my business in the not so distant future, but there’s still 100 logistical things to work out, so for now I’m just keeping the positive vibes coming. 

There aren’t any newly released projects for me to share this month. I’m working on more content to share that relates to my day to day activities, so hopefully that will be circulating soon.  

In the mean time, go out there and be social. Talk to other people about the things you love. Talk to the one’s that do what you do, and talk to the one’s that don’t. There’s plenty to learn from all of them… but find the one’s that are passionate about what they do. That’s where the inspiration comes from. 

Love to you all.
Lennon

MAY UPDATE

Well, I’d like to apologize for taking so long to do an update, but apologies in this situation are almost always to cover bases and not genuine, so I’ll skip it and just say that it’s been the hardest 5 months of my life. I think it’s fine to not do an update on your website when that’s the case. I won’t dwell on it all, as I am now in a place where I feel thankful for everything in my life, despite the hard situations that have occurred recently. 

In February my mom died after a wild and short bout with cancer, as well as dementia. Losing her changed my life. I miss her a great deal. I had to (and continue to) work out a lot of things internally, but she’s with me still. In everything. I think about her constantly, and there are much fewer tears, but they still creep in there sometimes. When she left, the safety line was cut. I feel like an adult now, for the first time. 

As a complete flip to the losing one of the most important people in my life, my wife and I found out that we will be having another baby girl in September. This news came in the heat of all of moms difficulties, and is finding it’s place now, along with a lot of joy. Mom was able to know about the pregnancy, which also makes me very happy. We will be taking a little vacation to Florida this week, just the wife and I, to prep for very little alone time for the rest of our lives. Ha. In all honestly, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

All of the craziness really set me back professionally, but I’m finally finding my footing again. Writing again. Working again, and doing it all with a bit of a perspective shift. 

Here’s a few musical highlights from the last few months. 

 

Playing drums behind my brother, Chance Bone for some tunes that are featured in the new Susan Sarandon film, The Meddler. You can hear one of the tunes that’s used during the movie in the trailer below.

 

Getting to jump on stage with the Lucius crew when they were in town a couple of months ago playing a show for 96.5 The Buzz. 

A video posted by Lennon Bone (@lennonpbone) on

 

Writing and starting the recording process for some songs that will hopefully become a solo record or EP of some sorts.

 

Tracking and finishing an upcoming EP for the always awesome Clay Hughes, that includes some great players. Drummer Vincent Williams of Delta Saints, as well as winner of the 2015 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet competition, and semifinalist in the 2014 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition, Hermon Mehari. Some of KC's finest folks. 

A video posted by Lennon Bone (@lennonpbone) on

 

 

In closing, as I always say, I feel very lucky to have the life I do. But maybe a bit more lately than I have in the past. Please remember to grab the whole thing by the horns and go for it. Who knows how long we’ll have, and I don’t know about you, but I want my legacy to be that of a man that no matter what, did what he loved to do, and loved those around him while doing it. I hope this finds all of you doing amazing, and I appreciate you checking in on me, and for all of your support. If you want to make some music with me, hit me up in the contact section. I’d love to make it happen. 

All the best.
Lennon

NOVEMBER UPDATE - A 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Well, it’s here. The holiday season is upon us, and I’m feeling extremely thankful. It’s a special month for me, because this month marks my official one year anniversary being fully on my own. No agent. No support team. Nobody to blame for anything but me. This is far from my first year in the industry… I think I’ve actually hit 11 years professionally, but I put aside a good thing last year to lean on my own to try and support and be with my family. It’s been a terrifying year, and quite honestly the most rewarding I’ve had in a long time. Now please, don’t read this as me bragging, but I think it’s important that we share our successes. If anything, it’s to show that if I can make this shit work, anybody can. 

A couple of things I’ve learned in the last year. 

  1. Being a parent is the best… 
  2. I’m a professional. I’ve had a hard time saying this in the past, but having nobody else behind the wheel, I can officially say that I am indeed, a professional. I’ve also developed more pride in my work than I’ve had in a long long time, and have tried to use every work opportunity as an opportunity to learn. I owe a huge amount of gratitude to a couple of guys for helping me feel like this. Joel Nanos & David Lizmi. They’ve taken some chances on me and helped me grow, and respecting them both as much as I do has really helped me feel more confident in my work. 
  3. Professionals SHOULD and WILL get paid for the work they do. EVEN IN THE ARTS! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Why am I saying this? Because I hear so many friends complain about not getting paid as a musician or an artist. It’s time you commit and demand it of yourself and others, with both humility and respect for everyone involved in the project. Your circles will change, you just have to change them yourself. 
  4. You can still learn LOTS of new things in your 30’s, and you can still get better at a lot of things. :) 
  5. I’ll always be reaching beyond what my capabilities are, and understand that I always have more room for growth… and I hope that ends up making me better each year that passes. 

To those of you that have worked with me in the past year, thank you a 1000X over. I’ve had so much fun making music with all of you. You have no idea. I’ve done way more projects than I anticipated in my first year, and it’s been a blessing. From the guy that recorded a cover song for his wife, to scoring random video’s, to playing drums on odd gigs and albums, to my favorite regional bands that I’ve gotten to do records and EP’s with, it’s been so fun, and I hope we’ve all learned something from each other. I also hope we get the chance to do more in the next year. You’ve kept me from having to get a “real” job, and you’ve proven to me that being a musician/producer IS a REAL job that is attainable. Most importantly, thank you for seeing value in my work, and I truly hope that I’ve helped you make your project better in some way/shape or form, because you deserve it. We all do. 

As for November, I started a project with Joplin based band, The Too’s. We’re doing a full length, and using some tracks that they recorded with the late Lou Whitney. We’ve still got some tracking to do, but what we’ve done so far sounds great. I can’t wait to see how it all ends up. 

Photo by Elijah Chambers

Photo by Elijah Chambers

We also started tracking a single for a new KC band, The Good Hearts. The project consists of 3 super talented gals, and an interesting arrangement of acoustic guitar, violin, cello and vocals. Working with brand new projects is fun, because we’re all just discovering what the opportunities are. The single should be out soon!

Photo by Roshelle Pekarek

Photo by Roshelle Pekarek

Aside from those things, I started scoring a video for a resort out in Colorado and continue writing commercially.

Guys. I’m so excited about the next year, it’s unbelievable. I can’t wait to make new music with old friends, and new music with NEW people. Here’s to always growing and learning! 

Happy Holidays everybody… and as always, THANK YOU for supporting.

 

-Lennon  

OCTOBER UPDATE

Holy crap... it's October. I can't believe I haven't updated since April! I'm a negligent internet user. Forgive me.

Let's get to it, shall we?! 

Things have been a really great kind of nuts on the music front. TONS of fun projects since April. Some studio, some not. I recently got hired on as a freelance writer for PremiumBeat.com, a subsidiary of Shutterstock, which is fantastic for me. Is it the most hip and artistic music I've ever written? No. But to do what I love to do, and to make money doing it is truly a blessing. As artists, we work hard to be able to do our art, and if supporting my art involves making commercial music and continuing to better my craft, I say bring it on! I actually really enjoy the challenge of trying to write something that is immediately catchy. As far as studio projects go, I've updated my Sound and Patterns playlist to include some new tracks that I've been doing out of Element. I love that I've gotten the chance to work on quite a few different styles. That combined with the commercial writing has been filling up all of my time, which is an incredible feeling. I'm getting close to wrapping my first year off the road, and it feels SO GOOD to have been busy nearly the entire time. 

Here's the playlist :: 


And what do I do when I have spare time? Well, I don't have spare time, so I fill up my time with more things! I'm back at the Blue Valley High School Marching Band, teaching my 4th season with them as a visual technician. The kids are looking great, and we're about to roll into the final leg of our season with a fist full of competitions. This is where the rubber meets the road. I'm really really proud of these kids. They're my favorite group I've gotten to work with in a long long time. 

I'll also be a judge at the Missouri Western Tournament of Champions next week in the caption of Field Visual. I'm excited to pass on some knowledge, and get a chance to meet some new folks in the field of marching band nerd-dom.  

That's the nuts and bolts of it. I'll try to be better at posting the updates once things slow down. But then again, let's hope they don't slow down too much. 

Thank you, as always, for checking in and supporting. It always means the world! 

-Lennon

APRIL UPDATE

HEY! You’re back! Or, you’re here?! Either one, thank you. So much. It’s really nice to know that people are checking in on me once in a while, wondering what’s up. So, I’ll tell you already… 

I’ve spent the majority of April holed up in my home studio working on commercial music and scoring some music to picture. I got to do a cool project with Rockbox Video that took up the bulk of my time this month. By the time we wrapped, my brain had turned into a mush that could only play three chords over and over, so it was time for a break. I also got word that a little tune my brother (Chance) and I were hired to write for a Prius commercial ended up getting canned, only due to the fact that the whole project got canned, but I was still pleased with how it turned out, so you can take a listen to it below. It’s some stinky cheese, but hey, have you heard commercials?! They LOVE that shit. The Rockbox thing hasn’t been released yet, so you can probably expect to see it in my next installment. Needless to say, all of this stuff (as fun as it is) has me chomping at the bit to do something weirder. Not sure how or when that will be executed… so, you should probably just remove that portion of the blog post from your memory for now. Thank you.  

I’ve finally gotten back into playing some drums as well. Ended up filling in for a buddy of mine who just had twins (Congrats to Layne & The Ryantist!) doing a handful of gigs playing about 4 hours worth of material. You want to talk about a work out. Go from 6 months off the kit to pulling a 10 hour solid day of playing to make sure it all comes together! That shit hurts! Anyway, I’m a wuss. Deal with it. It was a great time, and I hope I get to do some more gigs with the guys soon. I’ll also be filling in with a couple of bands in the area over the next couple of months. I’m excited about these gigs, as there’s some cool shows we’ll be doing, and I’m always honored to be asked to play. More on that as we get into May and June. 

Aside from that, the family is great. Got to take a mini-vacation with the wifey that was amazing and very much needed. The little gal is learning colors at 1.5 years, and it’s blowing my mind. Maybe that’s normal… I have no reference… but whatever she’s doing always has me enthralled. She runs around the house making up gibberish songs already as well. We should have her first record cut and printed on vinyl in two to three weeks. I’ve also dove head first into doing daily group meditations. If you know me, you know that I’m a very anxious guy, and so far this has been a step in the right direction as far as getting control of my thoughts and focus. I’d highly recommend it. 

Anyway. I know that we’re all used to 140 characters or less, so I’ll leave it at this for now. As always, if you’re looking to do some music, please let me know! I’m open to new projects, and love getting the chance to meet and work with new people. 

All the best to all of you!
Lennon

MARCH UPDATE

Greetings friends, colleagues, clients, people I hope to meet in the future, people who might be from the future, etc.! It is March! Wow. I seriously can’t believe it. As the weather gets warmer, I immediately start to smell Lone Stars and the remanence of stagnant body oder as if I’m already on the streets of Austin for SXSW. Ah, but alas… I’ll miss the festivities this year. Work to do here at home. A great problem to have! Still a bit of a bummer. To those of you that are heading south for the fest, do enjoy what you can! It’s not everyday you get to be crammed in a 10 block (ish) radius with thousands of other people, hoping you don’t get trampled or slapped in the head with some sort of street meat. It’s awesome presence and sheer mass will always hold a strange but special place in my heart. 

The biggest thing that’s happening in the Bone household this month is the opening of my wife's (as well as others) coffee shop, A Cup On The Hill. It’s located in downtown KCK, and the grand opening should be VERY soon! We’ve been moving in a bunch of furniture that she reupholstered, and they’ve been getting all of their ducks in a row. Final inspection was passed yesterday, and it seems like all systems are go. To be clear, this isn’t a typical coffee shop. It’s been Jamie’s goal from day one to have a non-profit, curriculum based shop where inner city kids, kids with disabilities and troubled youth can find their first jobs, and actually learn about the stuff that matters… like managing finances and creating a career path. The shop must become sustainable before the program can be implemented, so if you live in or near Kansas City, KS, please stop in and support! More information can be found at www.acuponthehill.com. You can also find them on Facebook. Plenty of work to be done, and room to grow, but it’s amazing to see this finally getting off the ground!

There’s not much to speak of as far as releases in the last month plus, but work is getting done… rest assured. And I’m alive. Which is nice. 

And rather than spend more time writing about stuff that’s either not been released, or should be worked on, I’m going to just go work on those things! :)

Much love to you all. 

Lennon

JANUARY UPDATE

Sitting here listening to The Wandering Wolf podcast episode with Glenn Howerton and realized that I haven’t done my January update yet. It’s funny how entertainment has started to feel like a time waster at home, even though it often ends up stirring up some sort of inspiration. Anyway, I’m trying to type between interesting parts. So, forget about it if some of this comes across as scattered. 

With the release of “The Mayor of Strawberry Hill - A Great Offer”, I started to fear that people thought I had completely turned my back on pop music. I’ll admit, it’s really freeing to do things that aren’t typical for me, and I hope to do a lot more music that pushes those boundaries, but I figured I’d go ahead and release a little pop tune as well. Stewing over the new year coming around, I wrote and recorded a little ditty and called it good. You can download it, or stream it below. If you decide to use your hard earned money to purchase that, or “A Great Offer”, your support goes to making more musics. That, my friends, is awesome. And a HUGE thank you to those that have bought it and allowed themselves to try out something that’s a bit different on my end. I’m forever grateful. Your encouragement doesn’t go unnoticed. 

I’ve spent the first half of the month making a point to go to more shows and re-aclimate myself with KC. It’s funny how being a touring musician sort of takes you out of the loop locally. It seems that people know I exist, but I’m still in a different circle than most. I’ve managed to team up with a few artists on their upcoming projects, so I’ll just have to let the work speak for itself. I will say that I’m very excited to devote 2015 to helping others make their music better. Not because I’m the only guy that’s capable of doing that, but because when I work on a project, that’s what I have every intention of doing. Trying to make it better the ways that I know how. Currently I have 5 projects that I’ll be working with during the winter, and hopefully a few more will come around. I have high hopes that this will be my most creative and fruitful year yet. 

Here's to all of us doing something awesome this year, and if you live around KC and we end up at the same gig, please come say hey! 

- Lennon

THE MAYOR OF STRAWBERRY HILL - A GREAT OFFER // NOW AVAILABLE

SO, It's here! You can snag it or stream it directly below. The entire album in video form is at the bottom of this post.  

All of the non-tonal audio (minus some bell tones) was taken throughout parts of Europe during the Ha Ha Tonka tour of 2013, and the music was either composed around it, or simply added to see what would come of it. 

I wanted to write something that could only be liked, or disliked… not picked apart because of a lack of form, hook or predictable nature. Hopefully I've achieved that, or at least taken a step in that direction. 

I hope that you'll listen to this piece with the same abandon that I wrote it. With a notion to discover something new. With the knowledge that there were times I went out on a limb simply to go there… because there are so many times we don't get to do that in our business. We have to hold back in order to make it marketable. What happened to writing things for ourselves without fear of rejection? What happened to wanting to have our own voice?  

I wanted these real moments that I experienced to live in a new way, and find a new life through other peoples ears. It's seems seldom that we get to think of our surroundings in that way. 

This project may have only been written for my own personal growth, but that doesn't mean that I don't want you to experience it. I hope that it encourages those that listen to go out on a limb once in a while… for nobody else but you. 

To those of you that have decided to pay for the music that I make, I can't say how much I appreciate the fact that you see value in the art that people create. Thank you for supporting the artists that you enjoy in their creative endeavors. 

Lennon P. Bone

Here are the accompanying video's. They're created from home movie footage of many of the same places where the source audio was recorded, only 70 years earlier. I felt an identical draw to these movies. To give them new life in a way that the creator never expected them to be used, and I feel that each individual composition within the album is part of the piece as a whole, so I wanted the video's to reflect that as well.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER UPDATE

Apologies in advance for this post pulling double duty on monthly updates... and here I’ve been doing so well! 

November and Thanksgiving weekend saw the last of my Ha Ha Tonka shows, and the last of my Movember Mustache. Both were beautiful things.

Photo by Jason Gonulsen 

In all sincerity, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to leave the Tonka crew and that part of my career. The entire weekend was filled with old and new memories, friends, hugs, tears and great times playing music for some of the best fans around. I’m so grateful to have been a part of that for the past ten years, and am so glad that I was able to do those shows with the guys. I wish them the BEST as the band continues forward. We shot a video for Lessons that was released by the AV Club today, so I’m posting that below. It was directed by Brook Linder. (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Arctic Monkeys, etc.) We also recorded our show in St. Louis, and plan to release some sort of live EP in the near future.

December see’s a couple of releases that I’ve been involved with. One is my own project, “The Mayor of Strawberry Hill :: A Great Offer”. That will drop on Tuesday the 16th, so there will be more on that once the date arrives. You can see a couple of video’s from that project on the Videos portion of the site

The other is the new Hidden Pictures LP, Ottomans. My good buddy Richard enlisted me to play drums on about half of this pop gem, and I think it turned out really great. Mixed at Tiny Telephone studios in San Francisco, CA and tracked here in KC. We’ll be doing a release show for the record this Saturday at the Brick in Kansas City! If you’re here in the hood, come hang and have some brewski’s. I’ll be kicking some 4/4 time like you’ve never seen. My favorite track from the project will stream below for the pleasure of your aural senses.

More and more things in the works as I’ve been doing some composition for commercials and the like, and have a couple of projects that will start tracking in January. All that mixed with our daughter now running around the house (well, it’s more like a slow zombie walk) and getting into everything possible. She’s an absolute riot and plays a helluva good double shaker. 

Here’s to continuing to move forward, and loving every minute of it! 

OCTOBER UPDATE

It would be an insult to baseball fans everywhere to put myself in the "fan" category, but the Royals are in the series, and I, like many others in my fair city, have become enthralled in the action. A baseball metaphor just seems appropriate... so, here goes. 

Sometimes life throws you a curveball or two. Sometimes you take a swing and it all works out, and sometimes you just go after it and have to wait for the next pitch. I'm still in the heat of my re-adjustment period after leaving the road. In so many ways it feels awesome to be home and rebuilding my life. In others, it's extremely terrifying. To just be me after so many years of being under one umbrella is a very humbling experience. I'm back to all of my faults, and just trying to find the right leg to stand on. If something screws up, there's nobody to blame but me, and I've been busting my ass to cover all of my bases. (Okay. I promise that'll be the last of the baseball metaphors.)

All of that being said, I'm feeling pretty damn good. I got to see my daughter take her first steps! And even though she's finally figuring out how to walk, she still loves to have me carry her around while pointing and telling me all kinds of things that I can't understand. Despite me not speaking her language, she is very intent to fill me in on all of her latest findings, and I love it. 

Business has been cruising along thus far. I've got 3 EP's and one record that I'm currently working on. Two of those I'm fully producing, engineering and mixing. Those two specifically are sounding good, and I'm finding myself learning a lot about who I am and how I work with others. It's made for a lot less time to work on my own music, but I'm learning to see these moments as collaborations, when they actually are, and figuring out how to place my voice amongst someone else's artwork. It's a delicate dance to take someone's songs and try to input your opinions and ideas. But when it works, it feels really really great. Trusting yourself in these situations is half the battle, when all you've done your whole life is be critical of anything that you've ever made. All in all I'm just trying to make people happy while doing something that also gives me joy. To still be making a living as a musician thus far feels like a huge victory. Here's to whatever's next. And at the risk of sounding like I'm fishing for work, (let's be real, we musicians are always fishing for work) if you've got a project that you need some help with, let me know. Odds are, I'd love to make some music with you. 

Amidst all of these things, I'm trying to work out a timeline for actually releasing the "Mayor of Strawberry Hill, A Great Offer" EP.  Although I've learned and re-vamped so much since I composed and recorded those tracks, they're still very important to me in a lot of ways. I feel like I still need to share them. More on that in the next installment, I'm sure. 

Thank you all for the many texts, emails, comments, etc. about my new ventures. I truly appreciate all of your support. We all just keep moving forward, hoping for the best. As Tom Petty said, "Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I'm concerned, that's success." 

Wishing everyone the very best.
Lennon

SEPTEMBER UPDATE

Well, here I am with quite possibly the biggest news in a hot minute. As some of you may or may not know, I've decided to step down as the drummer for Ha Ha Tonka. I wrote a letter to everyone that we posted to the bands facebook page. There's not much more to say, so I figured I'd post it here as well. It reads as follows.

 

Most of you know that we (Ha Ha Tonka) have been at this for what will be 10 years this November. November 4th, to be exact, was the first day I joined the band back in 2004. I showed up to a stinky college house in Springfield, MO when a Boston terrier by the name of He-Man came running at me and proceeded to nip me in the arm as one Lucas Long told me to "Watch out, he'll bite your ass…" 

I had spent the last 4 years touring with a drum and bugle corps through the summers, and knew that I wanted touring to be a big part of my life for a while, so when Brian informed me that the guys were about to hit the road for the first time and needed a new drummer, I was sold. I moved in and we began writing and recording our first album, and from then on, it was one foot in front of the other down a rabbit hole that took us on one wild and amazing ride.

As rides and life tend to do, ten years later life has changed for me, and I have made the decision to step down as the drummer for Ha Ha Tonka.

I know... This is going to be the age old story of babies breaking up bands, but not long ago I was brought a little gal who, though she’s not yet good at it, intends to call me dad. This has brought a whole new level of expectation for myself not only as a musician, but as a person. Those of you who are parents will understand what I mean. Those of you who aren't, please let me tell you…for me, this is the BEST type of expectation. Given the family life that I was brought up in, I know that this is the right thing for me, to be here now for my family, and for me.

For the past ten years I've lived some of the most fun times of my life. I've seen (quite literally) the world with 3 dudes that have become my brothers. We've loved each other and hated each other, but we’ve always given everything we had to the next experience. I have stories that I'll tell over beers for a lifetime to come. I love these guys more than they'll ever know… and will never take for granted how lucky I've been to be a part of this group. Brian, Brett and Luke… thank you. Thank you for letting me a part of such an amazing thing. I love you guys. 

Everyone should know that there isn't one drop of bad blood that exists in this situation. Yeah.. it's going to be strange seeing someone else helping drive the ship, but I know in my heart that this is the right thing for right now. I'll still be at shows, and we've left all ends open. Knowing the relationship we all have, we don't want to rule out coming together again.

I also want to thank YOU all. The whole lot of you. If you're reading this and have ever supported our band, THANK YOU. Despite what the music industry has become, we've always been able to do so many things that many other bands have not, and will never have the opportunity to do… because of you. Despite the statistics on concert attendance and record sales, labels folding and bands who can't afford to do it, you, our fans, have helped us along. You’ve payed for our van when we busted a head gasket. You've come to shows over and over again. You've bought our albums. You've come up and shared your stories with us. You've brought your friends and your kids to see us. You've housed us. You've partied with us. 

You've become our friends. 

All I can ask of you is that you continue your support. Not just for Ha Ha Tonka, but for all the artists and bands you love. You are all amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

As for me personally, music is the only thing that I’m decent at, and though I'm giving up the road for now, I will continue striving to be a professional in the music industry no matter what, and I plan to teach my little girl to always go after the things she loves as well.

So, that's kind of that… 

As I will not be at the shows in October, we knew this would be the best time to let you all know what is happening, out of respect for your loyalty and friendship. If you're a midwesterner, please come out to our annual Thanksgiving shows, as those will be my last big hurrah with you and the guys. I'm sure it'll be an emotional weekend, but one that I look forward to. If you see me around there or elsewhere, don't hesitate to come say hey.

Thank you for sharing this experience with me. 

Thank you all as always for checking in, and for your support. 

THE MAYOR OF STRAWBERRY HILL - A NEW PROJECT.

With my series on Rediscovering Music giving you an idea of where my head has been over the last few months, I figured it was time to go ahead an announce my latest project, The Mayor of Strawberry Hill

All of the non-tonal audio (minus some bell tones) was taken throughout parts of Europe during our tour last year, and the music was either composed around it, or simply added to it to see what would come of it. I'm truly happy with the way it's turned out. 

As I've stated in previous posts, I've grown a strong dislike for pop music recently. Probably because it's been (and continues to be) a huge part of my business. I wanted to write something that could only be liked, or disliked… not picked apart because of a lack of form, hook or predictable nature. Hopefully I've achieved that, or at least taken a step in that direction. 

I hope that you'll listen to this piece with the same abandon that I wrote it. With a notion to discover something new. With the knowledge that there were times I went out on a limb simply to go there… because there are so many times we don't get to do that in our business. We have to hold back in order to make it marketable. What happened to writing things for ourselves without fear of rejection? What happened to wanting to have OUR OWN voice?  

I wanted these real moments that I experienced to live in a new way, and find a new life through other peoples ears. It's seldom that we get to think of our surroundings in that way. 

The video is from home video's of Europe in the late 1930's. There are moments where my audio is from the same place that the video was being shot over 70 years ago. I felt an identical draw to these movies. To give them new life in a way that the creator never expected them to be used, and I feel that each individual composition is part of the piece as a whole, so I wanted the video's to reflect that as well. Although you only see one video here, there will be similar video's for each piece, created from the same source material. 

Most of all, I didn't want to over think any of this. Bits of the piece and video's might show that, and that's completely okay. 

This project may have only been written for my own personal growth, but that doesn't mean that I don't want you to enjoy it. If you don't, that's more than acceptable. I do however, hope that if nothing else, it encourages you to go out on a limb once in a while… for nobody else but you. 

I'm not sure when I'll be releasing the entire project, but it's all wrapped and finished. If you enjoy the above piece, please feel free to pass it around and be on the look out for more information in the coming weeks. Thank you so much. 


With love.
Lennon

REDISCOVERING MUSIC PT. 3

Once I hit this wall, I began to scour the internet for minimal composers. Avant-gard composers… noise musicians…  the men and women that paved the way for those that looked outside of the box. You’d be surprised at how hard it can be to find footage of some of these people doing their work, but I was able to come across some gems. During this search I found Arvo Part… and this video.

The way he so eloquently describes the beginning of his piece, and the story of the composer and his composition, is beyond superior to anything I could say in 15 paragraphs. So, if you’re truly interested, I ask that you put on some headphones, or get in front of some good speakers and listen. But please… only do this when you have 6 minutes to spare. I’m not writing this in the same way I post a video on Facebook for people to digest along with their Buzzfeed lists. Only watch this when you REALLY want to think about what he has to say. I think only then will you truly be able to appreciate it. When I found that mental spot and really LISTENED to this man, I was nearly brought to tears. He has so much passion for his work.

It’s not the tune here that’s important… it’s the combination of EVERYTHING. 

REDISCOVERING MUSIC PT. 2

I’ve shared this video on random social media things before… but this is the video that started it all for me. It was the beginning of my hatred toward what is now most popular music.


Hold on, hold on… do I think some of the things in this video are ridiculous? Absolutely. But you know what I love the most about Cage and his compositions? The fact that if you took some of those ridiculous qualities seriously for just a brief moment, it would make you question everything you’ve ever believed to be true about what music is! Cage has taught me to listen to sound as music. Any sound. Cars passing by, the wind blowing, people talking. I’m not the only one he’s taught to think in this way… there were many before me, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that when you think of your surroundings in this way, things become so much more beautiful. When music takes on a different meaning, what you’re able to create becomes LIMITLESS! Now THAT’S a revelation!  

So… why does this make me hate popular (or pop) music? Well, it doesn’t really. Pop music made me hate pop music. And I don’t hate all of it. Far from it actually. But once I started thinking of things on such a broad scale, I began to realize what a small box I’ve been put in all of these years, and what a small box so many musicians have put themselves in. And for what? Success?? Yeah, probably. To become popular. I always tried to be something I wasn’t when I was in middle school. I tried to be like the popular kids. It only made girls think I was weird, and the guys think I was lame. It wasn’t until I became confident in who I was as an individual that I truly started to be liked, and in a way that made me feel fulfilled. People started coming to me because they wanted to be around me. They wanted to be around me because it made them feel good, because I was just treating them the way it came natural. Did everyone come to me? Not even close. But the ones that became my friends were satisfied, and in the same way, the people that I became friends with satisfied me… because they were comfortable with who they were. It was a natural connection. 

I’m starting to embrace this mentality with music. STARTING TO. For many years I’ve tried to be me while still being what I thought people wanted me to be. Now, with music people sometimes want a very specific thing or sound, but I still believe that they come to me because they know that I’ll still make my own thing of it, while doing my best to fulfill the obligated guidelines. But when it comes to creating music just for the sake of creation, my world is now wide open, and that’s made me feel more alive and less judgmental toward myself than ever before. The music that I’ve created recently has been the most personal that I’ve ever done. 

And all because John Cage had the balls to make music from a rubber duck on T.V. a bunch of years ago… hell yes.

More to come.