Monday, November 16, 2009

Dan Krikorian - Words

Hey Guys!

Here's a video taken this past weekend at Angel's Serenity in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The song is called "Words", and it's on the new album "Colors and Chords."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Colors and Chords" receives some kind words!

Bob Boulding, guitarist for the famous Young Dubliners, recently spoke about "Colors and Chords" on his website.

Bob lended his talents on the album and was a pleasure to work with...

You can check it out here:


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Orange County Marathon... about a year ago


(This is an old blog I wrote on myspace about a year and a half ago...my mom just ran a marathon so I thought I'd share my own account of when I tried to run one...well it was only a half marathon...but tough none-the-less)



The OC Marathon

Sunday January 6th…….


I don't exactly remember why, but a few months ago I decided it would be a good idea to run in the O.C. half marathon…well actually my mom sort of just signed me up. But anyway, Sunday was the big day and it was quite the experience. So while I sit here with my body hurting in places that I didn't even know existed, I thought I'd just jot down some thoughts about the day…


Wake up time: 6:30am…

I immediately regret that I am actually going to attempt to run a marathon…well half marathon. I also regret not really training for it. But what I regret the most is that I ate way to much Jack in the Box at midnight the night before…


7:00a.m… Madness

We arrive at the start line…and its nuts…and I mean nuts. People really go all out for these things. I've never seen so much spandex in one area at one time.


7:30 start/Mile 1…Ipod troubles

The race starts and I immediately encounter trouble. My brother's ipod jams and I can't get it to work. The last thing I want is to be alone with my own thoughts for 13.1 miles so I have no choice but to stop on the side of the road and attempt to fix the damn thing. It takes me a good 3 or 4 minutes but thanks to some McIver-like abilities, I finally get it to work. Kudos to myself.


Mile 2… I realize how hard it is to drink water and run at the same time

It always looks so cool on TV when runners take the water from people on the side of the road and gulp it down in the middle of a race. What they don't tell you is how difficult it is to actually do that. My first attempt at a drink of water from the Dixie cup is disastrous. Half the water splashes onto my face and down my shirt, and barely any goes into my mouth. Not only am I thirsty, but now I look like I'm sweating profusely after only a mile of running…


Mile 3…Jim Doti

At the start of the third mile I spot the President of Chapman University (my alma mater) a little ahead of me running with a Chapman flag. Then for some reason I got what I thought was a great idea. I ran up to him and shook his hand (I was actually surprised he remembered me). Then I made a friendly suggestion…that if I beat him if he would pay off my student loans for me. He just smiled and said…"Well we'll see"… I'm awaiting confirmation


Mile 4…The old lady

I've put some distance between me and Jim now and I thought I was running at a pretty good pace until something unexpected happens…this little old lady goes zooming by me and on the way past…WINKS AT ME! She was at least 65 years old and my ego had taken a big hit. But I made myself a promise…that I would not let that cocky old lady beat me no matter what it took…


Mile 5…Another water stop

Same story as before…only this time I get less water into my mouth and I am completely soaked. 3 little kids also pass me.


Miles 6 and 7…I pick it up

I had had enough of saving my energy and I decided to really pick up the pace. I zoom past tons of people and feel like a real stud. A voice in the back of my head tells me to slow down because I'll die at the end, but I don't listen to it…this is my race now.


Mile 8…Confirmation of the voice in my head

Exhaustion sets in… I am really pushing my body's limits and my legs and limbs start feeling numb…but I won't stop. Things start to get a little fuzzy. I start singing a little too loud to my own songs on my ipod and people turn and look at me("I don't wanna be the one that has to burn no more"). I start wishing I would have trained. I start wishing I was no longer running…I realize that the last 5 miles were going to be all mental, and that scared me. Then I see the old lady.


Mile 9… Gotcha bitch

It may seem sad now that I resorted to attempting to beat a lady at least 35 years older than me…but it's the little things in life, you know. I catch up to her as we are running by a nice little pond and just as I pass her…I turn and give her a little wink. She glared back at me but she knew what was up. "Gotcha bitch" is what I said when I got a step ahead of her but I don't think she heard me cuz she was fiddling with her hearing aid…


Mile 9.5…

I feel like death. I imagine this is what a comma is like. I'm hallucinating.


Mile 10…Work

At mile 10 we pass a street very close to my work. I wished to God that I was at work that very moment, sitting at a warm desk helping rich people set-up retirement accounts. But then I knew that the next day I would be at work wishing I was outside running a race, and then I had a real conundrum on my hands.


Mile 11…2 terrible things

This was a bad mile. First, my ipod runs out of battery so the last 2 miles I am left with nothing but the extremely pessimistic thoughts in my head…and then I see my friend Humberto Rojas. Humberto was a state champion long distance runner in high school and college. He wanted ME to finish the race with him!! I was already ready to lie down in the street and die…but now I had to pick up the pace 10 fold. And he would not take NO for an answer. So we began to run…


Mile 11.5…I don't know where I am

All my senses are messed up and I genuinely thought the race would never end. I can no longer tell the difference between hot and cold. I run through a bush but don't feel it. A guy attempts to sell my a beer on the side of the road... i am tempted, very tempted...but i lacked money and figure i should stick to water during a marathon


Mile 12…I meet Jesus

At the 12 mile mark I hallucinate that I see Jesus. I figure it's because I was as close to death as I've ever been. I start to apologize to him for all the things I've done wrong and for the time when I was 10 and faked being sick so I didn't have to go to church. He tells me it's all ok and that he didn't remember that I did that… but thanks for reminding him. I said that I thought he knew everything. He said he does and that he was just kidding... and then gave me a wry Jesus smile…we both had a good laugh about that.


Mile 13…The Hill

Right before the end I grab my last drink of water from a nice lady. She tells me to "hang in there" and the only thing I think to say back is "God bless your soul"(I had just met Jesus) Then the jerk who designed the race thought it would be funny to put a nice little hill in the 13th mile of the race. In my head I began writing a death threat to him. Humberto urges me to keep up and keeps smiling and running like this is the greatest thing in the frickin world. I make a mental note to fight him once I recover.


The Finish Line… Salvation

The last 200 yards or so are lined with tons of cheering people. I make believe I'm in a movie and that they are all cheering for me. I wave at a few people and they look confused as to if they know me or not…I figure I've just run a marathon and I can wave at whoever the hell I want. Pure madness awaits me at the finish line. I feel like a rock star.


It was a great feeling, one of the best I've ever had actually. I couldn't feel any parts of my body, but it didn't matter. I finished. I had learned a lot over 13.1 miles, conquered large feats (the old lady finished well behind me), and was genuinely glad I had raced.


What a day, what a day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tangerine Eyes/w Traci Hines

Hey Guys,

This week I had the privilege to meet up with the super-talented Traci Hines and do a live acoustic version of "Tangerine Eyes", a song she did back-up vocals for on the new CD. She's awesome! Album will be available on iTunes in October!






Tour starts tomorrow!



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Colors and Chords(Part 1, Intro)


*This is part 1 of a series about the making of the new album "Colors and Chords"


He stood in the back corner of the restaurant with a cup of coffee in his hand. Wiry, white hair flowed from the sides of a face that looked worn from years of hard work. His face had stories. It had had songs. Oh it had songs. He talked with a slight grin on his lips, as if he might know something about life that you didn’t. His eyes looked like they had answers he would never tell because, well, there’s some things you have to learn on your own. When his name was called to play, he shuffled gingerly up to the stage, tipping his hat to the crowd as he settled into his seat. Then he sang. He sang old blues and country songs of his that wove stories about love, loss, and growing old. When he had finished he made a brief comment about a CD he had and then returned to his spot in the corner.


I don’t really know why, but I was hooked on his every word. Everything he sang about felt so real, so powerful. This old man had no record deal, upcoming tour, or facebook page. Just 15 minutes at a Thursday night “Open Mic” night and that was it.


There was a part of me that wanted to be like him and write songs with that much power. I wanted to make people feel like he made me feel when he sang.


I decided to buy one of his CD’s so I walked over to the corner where he stood and politely introduced myself. "Hi I'm Dan" I told him. “My name is Bobby” he said as we shook hands, “you can have the CD for free.” I tried to pay him but he insisted I take it.


I said my thanks and turned to leave when he tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you playing tonight”? he asked. “Yes I am” I said. Then do me a favor,” he paused and moved a little closer, “Rock the shit out of this place.”


“No problem” I said.



I went home that night and started to work on the then unnamed new record. I set out to make an album that told a story from start to finish. I was proud of “Oxford Street” and all the opportunities that had arisen because of it, but I wanted to go farther with the new CD. I wanted to craft better lyrics, be more vulnerable if I had to, and push myself musically. I wanted to get better.



So with the words inspired from Bobby a few hours before, I wrote the new album’s first lyrics:


“Son do you have enough soul to rock this coffee shop”?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome Back(Things Ahead)

Hey everyone,

I know it's been a while since I've written anything here, and I apologize. I've spent the last 3 weeks finishing up the album and attempting to get things ready for the tour that starts in September. It's been a little exhausting to say the least.

But the album is done and being manufactured as I type! I can't really express how excited I am for it's release. It's difficult to put a project that's taken 10 months of your time, energy, and self into words. And it's probably better that way.

What I am going to do is this...

I will be posting different stories about the recording process during these weeks leading up to the release. I'll talk about the people involved, the decisions we made, the artwork, the mistakes that sounded cool so we kept, booking the tour, the stories behind some of the songs...and so on.

I'll do my best to be non-geeky and technical about things. I'll just give the inside scoop as to how we made this album.

Cya soon.

Dan


Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts(Courage)

I spent last week with my cousin who was visiting on leave from the Marines...

I'd like to send my thoughts and prayers out to the men and women who defend our country. It's something we don't think about enough, but these people allow us to do what we do; to pursue what we love while they spend summers in the Afghan heat, or deserts of Iraq.

And not only them, but those who sit at home and wait and worry about them, my thoughts are with you as well.

"Courage is endurance for one moment more…" 
Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam


 


Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts(Make it Rain)

Just coming off quite a busy last couple of days. We had 3 shows this weekend, which makes me feel like a little bit of an actual musician:)

* I got a first hand lesson this weekend as to what works and what doesn't work as far as making a live performance sound good. We played at the Doll Hut on Thursday and had a lot of trouble with feedback, monitors, and all sorts of stuff all night. The show went ok, but I spent 2 hours at Barnes and Noble the next morning reading about how to properly mic a stage with a bunch of instruments so that wouldn't happen again. No joke haha. You gotta learn to love the details.

* I was a little upset about how things went at the Doll Hut, not that it was a bad show by any means, but we all knew that the sound problems didn't allow us to really give people the type of show we would've liked to. But life is funny. At the end of the night we got asked to play the next night at The Gypsy Lounge, a place in Lake Forest I've wanted to get into for a while now. We happened to be celebrating my friend Pat's birthday that night as well and everything turned out better then we ever expected. 

* To add to that last point...I don't think the dance floor at Rudy's will ever be the same after what we did to it Friday night. 

*I got some great advice this weekend about all this music stuff..."One tough show or performance is not going to break you. And on the flip side one great show it not necessarily going to make you. It's what you do day- in and day- out over a long period of time that gets you somewhere." I obviously think applies to anything worth pursuing.

* Last night we ended the weekend with a show in Long Beach at the Blue Cafe. It went amazing. The sound was awesome. The fans were great as always and I got to perform a song with my cousin Andy who is back on leave from the Marines. I can't express enough how much fun I have being on stage with all my family and friends.

* My brother performed Prince's "Kiss" as a special guest at the show last night. We got the whole thing on video and it should be up on YouTube soon. All I'll say is, "You're welcome, world."

* I don't think I'll ever be able to end a show in a more dramatic fashion then how we did last night... During our last song a guy from the bar came up to the front of the stage and showered the stage with $1 bills... yes he literally made it "rain" on my sister's and I. I'm pretty sure it was meant more for my sister's, but who cares. It was $40 is $1 bills, not too shabby. Beat that John Mayer.

Have a great week.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
-Scott R. Adams



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts(Sorry I was in Vegas)

I know I'm late, and I'm sorry. But I was in Las Vegas til Monday night so I hope I get a bit of a pass and you can forgive me...


* I think that 2 days in Vegas is the perfect amount of time for me. Just enough to get in and have a good time...and short enough so I don't do anything too stupid (Like say, put all my money on Red and let it ride. I was probably one drink away from that).

* I did run into a few NBA players this weekend(we frequent the same hot spots) because the NBA Summer League was in town. I talked to Hasheem Thabeet, saw Earl Boykins gambling at the $500 minimum table ALL WEEKEND, and my brother gambled with Darren Collison.

* I don't know which was hotter in Vegas...the temperature(110 degrees)...or my friend Zach in his salmon(PINK) colored button down shirt with 3 buttons undone, exposing his freshly burnt chest. I could have also started this sentence with "What did we complain about more this weekend"? or " What are 2 things women try to get away from in Vegas"?

* My friend Pat requested "Kick Away the Blues" to the DJ on Saturday night and the guy looked at him like he had no idea what he was talking about. Vegas is so behind the times.

* We had a brief "Hangover" type of moment went we lost Zach on Sunday night. We didn't go looking for him because we all figured his shirt got him arrested for "Disturbing the Peace."

*  I told the Black Jack dealer that I was going to "count cards" when I got to the table. I proceeded to lose my $40 in 2 hands. I never said I was good at counting cards.

* On a non-Vegas note...we have 2 shows this week...the first is tomorrow night at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. And the 2nd is on Sunday at The Blue Cafe in Long Beach at 7:30pm.

Have a great rest of the week!


"My own thing is in my head. I hear sounds and if I don't get them together, nobody else will."
 Jimi Hendrix




Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts(4th of July)

This is the first Monday that I am not jotting these down sporadically from a cubicle in Irvine. Instead I'm writing before I take off for the day to coach basketball. I've given up the 8 to 5 desk-job life and traded if for one of music, coaching, teaching, and maybe a pyramid scheme or two(joke).  The mornings are filled with more uncertainties, but more possibilities...
and for now, that makes me happy.


* I always find it funny that people send weight and height measurements of their newborn child to friends and family. It's the only time in life that we do that. 

*  We had a great turnout for our first show in Hollywood at Genghis Cohen last Thursday. I'm not a big fan of L.A. in general, but it was nice to visit for a show and hang out with friends after.We'll be back again soon!

* There are 2 major projects I'm working on at the moment, each which take up considerable amounts of time. The first is finishing the album "Colors and Chords", and the second is putting together a West Coast Tour once the album is released. I'll talk about both of these things more once the get closer to completion.

* I did a couple of things to celebrate the 4th of July. In the morning I rode down to Newport Beach for about and hour. And then in the afternoon I went to my friend's house in Irvine to hang out the rest of the night. Riding my bike around in the morning felt like I was in some sort of "cool contest." Everyone in Newport was trying to look as hip and impressive as possible on every corner...in the afternoon my friends and I jumped around in a "bounce house" and reenacting "Free Willy" in the pool... not hard to guess where I'd rather be any day.

* I've used my business degree in my music career far more than I ever did at my former job.
The toughest thing to do at the moment is coming up with marketing tactics for the new album. Not that I'm void of any ideas or advice. It's that fact that there are SO many things a musician can do these days that it's almost overwhelming. You obviously can't do all of them and have to pick a few that will benefit you the most and just go for it.

* We have 2 big shows this month before the album is released: July 16th at The Doll Hut in Anaheim, and July 19th at Blue Cafe in Long Beach. More info to come.

*  Have a great week!


"Music should go right through you, leave some of itself inside you, and take some of you with it when it leaves."




 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

L.A here we come!!

It's about 10am...about 12 hours before our show tonight, but I can't relax. I'm usually a mixture of nervous/excited before a concert, but tonight feels a little different.

It's our first "Headlining" type of show in L.A. which feels like a bit more pressure than a coffee house in Orange. I know it's a smaller venue and it's not like it's at Staples Center or something, but it took a lot of hassling to get into the place and PROMISE that people will show up. (They take it way serious up there haha).

The best part is... once we get up there and start playing, all that stuff kinda goes away. 

We're really looking forward to tonight. It'll be a recorded live and that'll be available after the show. 

Only about 12 hours to go...

Genghis Cohen: 9pm
West Hollywood, CA

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts (Michael Jackson)

Last week the music world lost one of its biggest stars of all-time. Say what you want about his personal history, but musically Michael Jackson was untouchable. Time will tell just how influential his music was…but personally I already know. I spent countless hours as a kid dancing around my room to the tune of “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal,” or singing my heart out to “Man in the Mirror.” He was the ultimate performer and the world will miss him. Monday Morning Thoughts this week is a list of my favorite MJ songs as well as some of his great quotes…


10) “Scream”
9) “Beat It”
8) “The Way You Make Me Feel”
7) “Smooth Criminal”
6) “I’ll Be There”
5) “Thriller”
4) “Billie Jean”
3) “Bad”
2) “Man in the Mirror”
1) “Black or White”


I wake up from dreams and go "Wow, put this down on paper." The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face . . .”

“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.”

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

- Michael Jackson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Week in L.A.!!!!!

Just a quick update before this week gets a little hectic:

The band and I will be making our L.A. debut this week and next.
We have 2 shows in the area. The first is tonight at the Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica. We're opeining for the band Eloise's CD release party. We go on tonight at 8:30pm.

And then next week is our first big show in Hollywood at Genghis Cohen! We're really looking forward to this one as it's our first headling show in L.A. We promise it'll be a lot of fun.

Hope to see you there!

And if not I'm sure they'll be something to say about them in Monday Morning Thoughts :)

For more info on the venues and shows go here:
http://www.dakotalounge.com/
http://www.genghiscohen.com/music.html




"They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
- Andy Warhol

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts (Father's Day)

There's a lot going on at the moment, which is a good thing. A lot of studio time and shows are coming up this week and next. I hope things keep moving forward like they've been...


* I had a great father’s day. I respect my dad more than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s great to have a day to honor him, as well as all fathers.

* The band and I will be making our L.A. debut this week and next. This Thursday the L.A. based band Eloise asked us to play with them for their album release party at the Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica. Then next Thursday we’ll be headlining our own show at Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood! I’m pretty excited about both. More info about these later this week.

* For the first time this weekend I had Potato Wedges at a restaurant where the bacon was hidden UNDER the cheese instead of on top. What a pleasant surprise that was.

* Sometimes people just amaze me. During our show on Friday in San Diego a guy and his son walked right up to our drummer on the stage, Brian, and began trying to ask him questions about how the Cajon(a big box-like drum) he was playing worked. IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR SET! Brian was nice enough to tell them we were about to play another song and we got on with playing…but then they just stood there at the foot of the stage about 2 feet from Brian and watched him play. I guess he’s just that amazing.

* A business idea I thought of last week… “Music Lessons for Athletes”, or something of the sort. I think the reason I took so long to get into music was the fact that I was intimidated by it for so long. I thought it was only for people in “Band” or something like that. And being in sports my whole life, there was this stigma that “piano lessons” or “voice lessons” were un-cool or dorky, which is dumb. It’s too bad I didn’t start sooner. Not that I would open a music lesson company ONLY for athletes or whatever. But maybe a place that appealed to them more. As a kid I would’ve been more likely to take lessons from someone who was more like myself and ALSO played guitar rather then a music major and all that(which is great). It’s just less intimidating at the start. Like I said…this was just a daydreaming idea haha…but who knows…

* For a good read about conquering small goals one at a time, read here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

* I hope everyone has a great week.


"Every increase in your knowledge is a simultaneous decrease. You learn and you unlearn at the same time. A new certainty is a new doubt as well."
-Brian Eno

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts (I Try to Laugh)

It's graduation time, and though I don't have any of my own to attend...many of my family and friends do. The one thing I love about graduations are the speeches. They're usually pretty hit or miss, but every so often somebody will say something that is so spot-on, so perfect for the moment that it's quite moving. For this Monday's thoughts I've compiled the thoughts that others have given on Graduation Day:



…You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.


…So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives.

-J.K Rowling (at Harvard 2008)




"…Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

…Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish
-Steve Jobs (Stanford, 2005)




"…It doesn't matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping..."

"…Think of the world as a big glass of water with some salt in it. You have a choice. You can try to pick out all the salt or you can keep pouring in more water so eventually it gets less bitter. As you begin your new journey, you can try to remove everything that you find distasteful in the world, or you can just pour in more love. It's the only thing that the more you give away, the more you have."
Jerry Zucker (U. of Wisconsin, 2003)


"There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says 'Morning, boys. How's the water?' And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"
-David Foster Wallace ( Kenyon College, 2005)



"Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen, I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh."
-Anna Quindlen (Pulitzer Prized winning author, Villanova, 2005

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Paradise

I’ve been asked many times before, “Wouldn’t it be great to win the lottery”? or, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to write a hit song, get rich, and just hang out”?

My initial reaction… absolutely! Send me the check! I’ll take a free pass for a while. Get “Free Parking” (last Monopoly reference I promise). Wouldn’t life be better if you could wake up every morning whenever your bones felt completely rested? Spend hours each day lounging on a beach while the waves crashed softly in the background?

Ya that'd be nice. But that’s just a great vacation.

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE A GREAT VACATION. And I would gladly accept the benefits of a “hit song” anytime (like I said, send the check).

But in all honesty, getting rich quick and then twiddling my thumbs sounds fun for a while. I’d have a hell of a time… but not forever. To me, sitting around not really doing anything, beach or wherever, would become as mundane as sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day…there’s really no difference. Except the tan maybe.

Derek Sivers puts it nicely… “We all need some time off. A change of scene and pace. Silence and solace if we’re stressed. Reckless adrenaline if we’re in a rut.

But for those of us who think that an eternal escape from work would be paradise, don’t forget that we all need a playground…”

My real and constant vacation is in learning and doing new things. Even if I did win the lottery I’d still NEED to do something that excites me.

We all want to do things that add value. We want to get better and be better people. That’s why we volunteer, go back to school, start businesses, visit with family, and run marathons. Because it makes us feel good. Makes us feel alive.

That wouldn’t turn off just because you hit the jackpot.

My ultimate paradise is more a chord progression than a remote beach in Figi.


“If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert.”
Australian psychiatrist W. Béran Wolfe



And by the way… if you do win the lottery we should go to Vegas…

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Words of Wisdom

It’s been a little over a year and a half since I started seriously pursuing music. Up to this point the experience has been nothing short of unbelievable. But after a CD release, TV shows, concerts, newspaper articles, YouTube videos…and Twitter, there’s 2 things I know for certain:

1) I have a long long long way to go before I REALLY achieve anything of lasting value in the world of music.
2) I would be nowhere near where I am if it weren’t for the generous help and advice of others both in and outside the music industry.

I know everyone has to make their own way in their careers, “carve your own path” so to speak…but it doesn’t hurt to look at how others got to where they are. Especially those you highly respect.

This is just some of the advice I’ve received about music/life in the last couple of years from music professionals, friends, family, and random people along the way. The advice below has helped me begin carving my own path. It isn't the “Go to this website and follow these 7 steps” type of advice. These are things that last more then a website set-up or marketing plan. Those things can be figured out with time.

I don’t want to sound overly mushy and “Tony Robbins-ish” in this post, but these are things I truly believe in and try to implement daily. I hope you find them useful or slightly inspiring yourself:



“Have Fun”!
I’ve heard this quite a bit and think it comes first and foremost. If you don’t truly enjoy what you are doing, regardless of whether you’re making money or not, STOP. Life’s just too short to spend years and years trudging along unhappily.


“You have to be Exceptional”
One of the world’s most influential thinkers on modern-day marketing, Seth Godin, once wrote about creating a product or art:
You’ll know when you’re on to something special, because people will love it so much they’ll tell everyone.
If people aren’t telling their friends about it yet, don’t waste time marketing it. Instead, keep improving until they are.
Sell one. Find one person who trusts you and sell him a copy. Does he love it? Is he excited enough to tell ten friends because it helps them, not because it helps you? If not, you must stop what you’re doing and start over.”


“You create your own luck”
I believe that sometimes in life you can “catch a lucky break,” something just happens by pure chance or coincidence. I tell everyone who beats me in Monopoly that they were just “lucky”. But most of the time, luck is a byproduct of something you’ve done to EARN that luck. People who sit around and wait for their “big break” are far less likely to be “lucky” then those out there working on their craft all the time. Think about anyone you respect who’s been successful at what they do…none of them got there by sitting around waiting for a producer, photographer, or CEO to call out of the blue and offer them the chance of a lifetime. They went and got it.


“Look people in the eye and say ‘thank you’ ”
I know this sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people (especially in music) just don’t do this. It takes no skill or talent to be appreciative of the people who have helped you in anyway. And the thing is…people remember those things and will continue to help you down the road.


“Remember people’s names”
I for one am HORRIBLE at this…but I really do try. As many have told me, this is a really big deal and obviously goes hand-in-hand with the point above. There are so many “Secrets to Networking” and “How to Impress People” books available… but I believe following the last 2 points covers most if not all you really need to know. The rest is just minor details.


“Picture where ‘whatever it is you’re doing today’ will lead you in 5 years”
This is hard for me to do, because ultimately, you just don’t know. You have hopes and dreams of where your art or job will lead you…but life is just so unpredictable. A fellow musician, who has been in the industry for a long time, told me this is one of the best ways to move your life in the direction you want. He said… “Are the people, jobs, and things you do daily taking you where you wanna go”?


“Rock the shit out of places”
Excuse the language, but this is one of the better pieces of advice I’ve received. It doesn’t matter how many people come to a show, or who’s in the room…rock the shit out of the place. This obviously carries over to anything in life…do it well… wait not “well”… exceptional. You just never know who’s listening.


There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
- Beverly Sills

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts (Catch-22)

I’m just coming back from a much needed and much appreciated week-long vacation. Life’s a little “up in the air” at the moment because job eliminations will be taking place at my work this week. Some things you just can’t control. But some you can. I’ve got my coffee and I’ve got my thoughts:


* On Saturday I performed at what I said last week was a “Special Event.” The event was a 16 yr old girl’s birthday party and it turned out to be one of the more gratifying shows I’ve done thus far in my career(I know that sounds odd, but it was great). She had about 50 friends and family members at the party and all of them were courteous enough to give me their full attention for the hour that I performed. A lot of them knew the songs(which was cool) and the birthday girl came on stage and sang a couple with me as well. Overall it was a good time. It’s too bad the kids got all pissy when I tried to charge them $10 a piece at the end of the night :)

* I wrote a post last week about having my CD sold in a store for the first time (you can read it below). I talked about the path I took to get it there. What I forgot to mention in the post, is how appreciative I am of everyone who has helped me along the way. It sounds cliché, but I really would be nowhere near where I am now if it weren’t for the people like you who come to the shows, buy CD’s and T-Shirts, help get me on TV and in newspapers, and read this Blog. I just can’t and never will be able to do all that on my own. I truly thank you and hope to have you around for years to come.

* In the past few months I’ve received quite a few pieces of advice from people in the music industry about the best way to carve out your own career path. I’m going to write a blog soon that speaks about this advice. Though it’ll be tailored toward music, the insights and advice should benefit anyone currently working toward some goal.

* I’m not a movie critic and you probably don’t come to me for a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs- down” on any particular film…but “The Hangover” is pretty damn funny. That’s all I’ll say.

* I never want a big corner office.

* This weekend I heard one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar… “First Cut is the Deepest”…the Sheryl Crow version. It made me laugh because my roommate at the time, Kyle, absolutely hated the song…I would play it as loud and as often as I could for him.

* I hope you get to do something that pushes your boundaries this week.



At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut tells his friend, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history.

Heller said, “Yes, but I have something he will never have: Enough.”
-
From Derek Sivers’ blog

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bad (2nd Spin Records)

When I was a little kid I remember listening to the old records my mom and dad would play on lazy Sunday afternoons. I'd just lay there and drift away to the sounds coming out of that old record player while the rest of the family took a nap or read. It wasn't long until I knew every song by Elton John, Michael McDonald, The Beatles, James Taylor, and yes...Michael Jackson. I'd proudly sing along to every line like it was my own and pretend  I was on stage in front of thousands of people, sweeping them off their feet with my powerful lyrics. I thought I was in fact "Bad."

I wanted to be those artists. I wanted to capture people's imagination with a melody or lyric...But I was also 10 and liked basketball, baseball cards, the girl who sat next to me in the 4th grade, and sporting a mullet(years later I would figure out the mullet was working against me getting the girl, thanks a lot mom).

Flash forward about 9 years... I'm a freshman at Chapman University trying to decide which elective class to take during the Spring Semester. I had just finished my first long and stressful season of college basketball and wanted to take a class that was fun and easy, something I could basically go to half the time and still get an A in. I scroll through the list of GE classes and finally just pick one without a whole lot of thought..."Screw it" I said, I'll just try this one:

Intro to Guitar 100

Maybe it was life's way of circling back. Maybe it was just dumb luck. Probably a little of both. But from the moment I first strummed my guitar in that class I wanted to write those songs again. There was something so fascinating in the sound of those chords. Something real I couldn't quite describe. I didn't care if I looked stupid in front of my basketball buddies for carrying a guitar around campus...I was hooked... and I NEVER missed a class(well maybe one or two but that's just not as dramatic).

Flash forward 5 about years... It's last Sunday afternoon. The band and I are jamming to our new song "Something Good" in the middle of Second Spin Records...life is good. Then after the show the store manager comes up to me and says, "We'll sell your record in the store if you'd like us to"? 

I try to pretend like it's no big deal, try to act cool. I try not to act like the kid who used to rock out by himself to Michael Jackson with his mullet when no one was watching. Or the kid who would get a fake guitar from Chucky Cheese's and pretended he was in Aerosmith. Or the kid who would spend hours upon hours in his garage working on his voice so he could muster up enough courage to sing his own songs in front of people...

"Oh sure that'd be great", I say.(very cooly, I might add)

I give her some information. They make the little plastic divider with my name on it...MY NAME ON IT...and that's that. We shake hands and I'm gone.

I walk out of the store and try to hide my smile, but I just can't. It's a lazy Sunday afternoon and I'm dreaming again.  

If you go down to Second Spin Records and browse the aisles you'll find all the classics... Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones...and yes, Michael Jackson.

And in the same section, if you look hard enough, somewhere between Damien Rice and Deathcab For Cutie, you can find "Oxford Street."

And that feels pretty cool... feels pretty,"Bad."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts(On Another Tuesday)

I apologize for another day-late post. I'm on vacation right now and just getting a chance to collect my thoughts. This past weekend was unbelievable. Bonfires, shows, seeing old friends, and a day-trip to an old town where my Grandmother grew up...life is good.

* Music still remains such a mystery to me...Yesterday I spent 2 hours working on a new song and made very little progress. Then my brother and I started fooling around on the guitar and piano for 5 minutes and BAM!... we have a song we're both really excited about called "Better Days." I'll never figure music out, and in a way...I think that's the best thing about it.

* I truly believe that Monopoly teaches you everything you need to know about a person and life. I played it with family and friends about 5 times this weekend(we party) and had forgotten how much I enjoy that game. Competition, deals, chances, BOARDWALK, Free Parking, fighting, forgiveness, laughter, hatred(for 10 minutes), greed, stamina, love(money), and on and on. WHAT A GAME!  I'm a fairly terrible loser during board games so I apologize to my family and friends for the swearing and derogatory comments. I do actually love you Mom.

*I'll write about this more in an upcoming post, but 2nd Spin Records is now carrying my first album "Oxford Street" in their store! I'm gonna go back and take a picture of it on the shelf in a week because...holy shit I have a record in a store! I'm so thankful for everything that's happened in music thus far and try not to take even these little things for granted. Please feel free to go purchase one if you're in the Costa Mesa area :)

* WARNING: EMO MOMENT...I was on a road in the middle of the desert this weekend and noticed that the view in my rearview mirror looked exactly the same as the view out my windshield. How often can we say that in life? EMO MOMENT OVER.

* I'm performing at a "Special Event" this weekend. I won't say what it is yet because it's supposed to be a surprise...but I think it'll be pretty comical and a lot fun. I'll let you know about it next week.

* Now that I have a full band, people have asked me if I'll change the name of the band for live shows. So instead of  just "Dan Krikorian", maybe "The Dan Krikorian Band"  or "Dan Krikorian and the (fill in the blank). I guess we'll see what we come up with. I feel like my band is trying to overthrow me but that may just be me.

* I'm heading to the studio as soon as I'm done with this post. I'll be doing the vocals on about 3 songs today, which will move us ever closer to the completion of the album. 

Have a great week everyone.


"The poem the reader reads may be better than that which the writer wrote. 
Try to make things that can become better than what you thought you were doing."

  -Brian Eno


Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Musical Blueprints

Many times during the recording process Shawn(producer/engineer), myself, and any of the number of people who have been working on the album with us, will listen to what we call a “reference point,” which simply means… listening to other albums to get ideas on musical concepts like…arrangements, vocal harmonies, electric guitar sounds, rhythms, production techniques, and on and on and on. Basically we’re saying, “These people made great records, how can we do the same”?

There is SO much that goes into making a record and these artists mentioned below have laid out some unbelievable blueprints to follow. Honestly, there are tons of great artists and songs that have shaped the sound of this CD, but here is the short list of the ones that we spent the most time with…

I highly recommend you check out these artists and albums when you get a chance, they are all fantastic in their own ways:


Joe Purdy: Last Clock on the Wall, You Can Tell Georgia, Only Four Seasons
- Joe has by far been the #1 influence on the CD. You’ll hear bits of his sound sprinkled throughout every song. In my opinion, no one is making music as pure as he is right now.
Songs most heavily influenced by Joe on “Colors and Chords”: Tangerine Eyes, Something Good, Sidewalks/Mary Jones, Words, Bobby Jones.


Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, The Animal Years
- Josh is an absolute master with words. His music is a blend of folk, rock, and singer/songwriter. He has a very unique sound that we quite envy and referred to often. His song “The Temptation of Adam” is one of the greatest non-cliché love songs I’ve ever heard.
Songs most influenced by Josh: Lock on the Door, Words.

Damien Rice: 9, O
- You don’t quite understand how much of a genius Damien is until you start breaking down his songs. They make complete and incomplete sense all at the same time. Not many artists can write a song as moving and heart-wrenching as “Rootless Tree”, “9 Crimes”, or "Delicate" while remaining so artful and accessible to listeners.
Songs most influenced by Damien: Waste, Grey, Tangerine Eyes, Silence

The Fray: How to Save a Life, The Fray
-Many of the piano melodies you’ll hear on “Colors and Chords” were inspired by the style of The Fray. I enjoy their approach to piano-rock music.
Songs most influenced: Grey, Lock on the Door, Sidewalks/Mary Jones


Bon Iver: For Emma Forever Ago
- The sound of our CD’s are much different, but his originality is inspiring and thought-provoking. For Emma forced me to take a long look at my own album, and because of it, made some changes that I felt improved it greatly.
Song most influenced: Waste

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
- I picked up a copy of their album late in my recording process and I’m forever grateful I did. The vocal harmonies on this record are stunningly beautiful.
Songs most influenced: Words, Tangerine Eyes, Waste

The Beatles: The White Album
- Obviously these guys influenced much of all modern music. We listened to some of these recordings to get an idea of the instrumentation they used to produce those classic sounds we all sing-a-long to. They were masters at making the simple sound so grand.
Songs most influenced: Fixed on You, Words.


The album is not finished quite yet, so if you have any great music that you feel I NEED TO HEAR…let me know and I’ll be sure to listen.


“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts (On a Tuesday)

Since yesterday was a holiday and I was a little caught up with family gatherings and Wiffle ball games, these thoughts are a day late and I apologize. But here's some thoughts for the week.


* I saw Flight of the Conchords live in LA on Friday night. They were unbelievable. It made me jealous that they’ve become millionaires for cleverly fooling around on a stage for 2 hours. What a life!

* Here’s a joke that always puts a smile on my face…and I know it’s dumb:
You hear about the 2 antenna’s that got married? No? Well, the wedding was terrible…but the reception was great…”

* I’m probably the worst person to watch a scary/intensely thrilling movie with because all I can think about the whole time is how funny it would be if Will Ferrell were the main character instead(Try it it’s fun).

* I did some Spring/Summer cleaning yesterday and got rid of a bunch of old clothes. During the process I wondered how I ever found friends or performed on a stage with the wardrobe I owned. (god I loved Volcom shirts and Tommy jeans)

* I really don’t write much poetry, but I randomly gave it a try this week. You can read “Honey” in the previous entry below.

* I think my Company has started tracking my Internet usage and blog postings…so I’d like to welcome you new members who are reading this now. Please feel free to browse through previous posts and visit my website for more info about merchandise and upcoming shows.

* The record label I’ll be starting in the next week or two will be called…Sweet Face Records…I’ll explain why in a later post.

* The band and I have a show at 2nd Spin Records in Costa Mesa on Sunday at 3pm. Come on by for a free show if you’re around!

Have a great week!


“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”
-Jack Handey