Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year That Was 2011

Wow! What a year it's been! This was a year of music, travel, discovery, recovery, and much more!

The year started a bit slow, but picked up steam when I began designing the creature vocals for a prequel to "The Thing". This was a challenging and fun movie to work on, but alas the movie going public didn't turn up. Perhaps Universal didn't promote it properly? Who knows...

But then in May I was off to the UK for a tour with my band Maple Mars. Our bassist Trevor couldn't make the trek so we enlisted our buddy Jeff LeGore (who later that summer appeared live on the Jerry Lewis Telethon with Brokedown Caddilac!) to handle bass and vocal duties. Had some great shows, some not so great, but a fantastic time overall with the guys. Saw Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle, and some amazing places in between!

Then it was off to Italy to eat, sleep, and drink the great Italian cities for 8 days! Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, and Rome. I brought my son out to share the experience with me!

In late June I was back with my family on a short Mexican cruise. My wife likes these trips as we can take all the kiddies on vacation without having to fly somewhere and spend a lot of money.

The rest of the summer saw my wife back to work and I became Mr. Mom! This was an amazing chance for me to bond with my two year old daughter Layla! But changing diapers and pushing strollers to the park wasn't all I was doing. I also rebuilt my home studio, cut a small indie film, and composed and recorded some garage rock cues for a music library company. From these sessions I became inspired to start on a new music project that is now tuning into a full length album. The "yet to be named" side project features my wife and I doing our best early Wings sound, with a little help from a few friends, including Jim Laspesa on drums! I'm super excited about the record as the music definitely strays from my typical 'Mars vibe! I hope to have the whole thing finished by spring.

Also during the late summer I was contacted by a fellow musician I met on Facebook by the name of Tom Löffler from Germany. His band is Two Sheds Jackson, and they create some really fine power pop/psychedelic music. So when Tom asked if I was interested in collaborating on a song called "Beautiful Sunchild" I agreed and sang lead vocals and helped with the lyrics. Three other singer/songwriters also appear on the Two Sheds Jackson EP "Collaboration Series 1", and all the tunes are top notch! I also shot a promo video for the project that should be available early in the new year.

The Fall brought some good times too! The Halloween party we threw was great fun! My brother-in-law's cool props were all over the house and really set the tone. This may become an annual thing for us!

Finally in late November the job I'd been chasing since last Christmas materialized in an offer from Dreamworks Animation as an "in-house sound guy" at their Glendale studio. Forbes Magazine rated this company #10 for being one of the "best places in America to work", so this was a really sweet deal for me! Sound design, mixing, and music are all creative aspects of my livelihood, and I'm excited to have the chance to do all of that at Dreamworks!

Christmas was fantastic as usual, and having my father in from CT helped make the season a little brighter! (sorry for the campiness!) And once again Maple Mars' song "Christmastime In The City" made the rounds on some radio and internet music stations. Thanks to all who downloaded it!

I'm very grateful for all the great things that happened this year! I look forward to a better economy in the new year, and little more world peace might be nice. An upcoming election may bring about a new president, or hopefully a revitalized old one.

Once I can get my side music project finished and released I hope to begin writing the next Maple Mars album at some point during the new year. Hope all goes well for everyone! Here's to a great 2012!