Dec 24, 2015

Christmas Time Is Here, Podcast, New Band and More

Feeling very jittery today.

Early this week we released the video for Christmas Time Is Here. If you haven't seen it yet:

Besides the song itself coming out amazing, really happy with that drum and bass groove and the trippy vocals, the video was a blast. A lot of small in-jokes and really fun things came out during the making of it.

BTW, big thanks to the amazing Alan Smithee for helping us out. Also big thanks to everyone for watching and giving kind words. It is very appreciated.

This is that start of something much bigger. We are going to be releasing more content starting with this video. I'm also announcing a project that I have been alluding to for a while.

First is our podcast:

Why Didn't I Write That?

It's my brothers, our friend Jack, and myself, talking all about songwriting and pop music and our deep love for everything that is catchy and cheesy. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have done a few already and I know if you are into this kinda stuff you will dig it.

I also have to mention the new band:


It's fun, dancey, catchy, heard it described as Texas Night Club music. Still with a vintage flair, but more modern, more to come soon. I know you'll like. I love writing it. And I will definitely be going in-depth into the songwriting of that soon. 

Don't panic Hacienda still exists and we will be doing things in the future. 

But for a good while now we have been building our studio Saxet Sounds, been writing for ourselves, and others, and have a lot of material, so even though things have been quiet. This is going to start happening very soon and very fast.

There's a lot more I won't get into yet because this is so much to take in, but I am just so happy that it is finally happening.

And so ready to share this journey with you.

so much love


ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, facebook and twitter

Dec 17, 2015

Unfinished Business, Let's Do An Opera!

Unfinished Business

We finished last weeks song, went with a solo btw, and right away we went back creating a new song. It will be the final song in a 5 song set about one relationship. And I have to admit writing this has been really amazing. I have never done something so interconnected over this length of a composition.

It's almost Rock/Opera-ish, but not so deliberate as that genre usually is. The whole thing for this piece came about as we went. I didn't sit down and say "let's do an opera!" 

I was brainstorming about what to do with the first song. And I had this vision of high school type love song and putting this singer in that situation. 

What did he think? How would he act? Were they together? Would they break-up? and a hundred other questions...

And from that I started to create a personality, for the lyrics, a voice and a point of view and eventually a world for these songs to exist in. Then as I did the second and third, the songs just built off of each other. And this relationship became such a center piece that I had to see through.

One song explains the relationship, one is about the break-up, one is about a trip to Las Vegas he takes to think, one is a revelation that he has when he is there, 

So at the fifth and final one will be the resolution. Where our characters end on a "hopeful-desperate" emotion. The most exciting thing will be to add in the female character's voice. We will be bringing in a guest-vocalist for that. Honestly if we were to add in more songs than the 5, I would probably have her come in earlier in the story, there is so much good story there, getting her perspective, but that's up to the future who knows?

So I want to retain that desperation of the blues but have this be a more positive piece still? I think that's how I want this to go but it's all in development which means re-writes can happen at any second.

Jaime and Abe just finished the drums and keys and today I'll probably be working on bass, and then my vocals for the next few days. 

Then after I get all this done, I'm celebrating by seeing The Force Awakens. 

So no spoilers...

till next time


ps. as always if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, facebook and twitter

Dec 10, 2015

To Solo Or Not?

Back in the studio today, finishing up the mix of a song. Nightly. A solid groover that I could just vibe with all day. I mean this song really is on a new plane of grooving.

Really happy about it. Just need to work out the bridge and have several options, and as you can tell from the title of the post, one of them is maybe a solo...
I have a hate/love relationship with solos. Fun to play, but unless the melody is both substantially connected to the song and inventive fluid then I get lost.
One of the biggest tenants of early Hacienda was no long solos. We had a less is more approach to everything that carries on today. Lately we haven't putting room for solos in the songs because they were moving so well with out them, but on this new one, it feels like there is room. So why not?

We will run through a few things. See what happens!

Next week we are starting on the last song for our EP with
Larry G(ee). And it's gonna be great.

This whole project with his is definitely different than our normal music (different but connected like long lost family) and that has been infinitely helpful for me as a writer to work with Larry and explore this new territory.

I'm a little bit foggy cause we spent all day yesterday working on our calendar for next year - so glamorous.  Anyway, word of some SXSW activity is coming in, so if you guys are around I'll be filling in details about it as it comes.

Till next week

much love


ps. as always if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, facebook and twitter

Dec 5, 2015

After New Orleans And The Stars

After New Orleans And The Stars

I was feeling buzzed after our set. Good. Lost in the delicate web of New Orleans; that kind of floating. Detaching me from everything.

It was my first show in this new group, and I made it through the first performance sober, though I wasn't completely loose yet. No disasters on my end. That's cause enough for a couple drinks to celebrate.

So I packed my bass up, cleared out my part of the stage for Jesse and went to our green room.

Around the drums, past the house crew, the storage of mic stands and cables, through a narrow slit of doorway and an empty refrigerator to the room.

Not really a room, more of a long narrow hallway with a makeup counter/mirror with those giant yellow bulbs circling around, and a cheap couch filled with backpacks, laptops and trash, and in the corner most importantly a little 24 pack ice chest. Only heavy craft beers, IPA's and Mexican imports.

You should know by now I'm an unapologetic light beer drinking. And without a Lone Star, my next fall back is whiskey, which was also missing from our room. It's nice to be in charge of your own rider.

That's alright...

A cramped hallway right behind a loud rock band is not really a great place to chill, even though I love Heartless I also love my hearing. And after all the build up, the thinking, traveling, practice, now that the first show was done, I just wanted to breath a bit. Celebrate it for myself. 

So I left down a long service hallway of broken tables and spare chairs towards the front bar. The club had a front bar that was something like a Victorian Hotel decorated by Aerosmith with its velvety purple wallpaper, purposefully-musty antique mirrors, tasseled light fixtures, and dark oak everything.

Only a few people were hanging around the front bar, most were in the main room watching the show. I found a bar stool away from a small group and pretended to check my phone while I waited for a bartender to show up. From out the front window I saw a few of my band mates were having a smoke and chatting with people.  

I looked across the bar again... still no bartender but the couple at the end were looking at me and whispering. 

I put my head back in my phone and gave it a second before I looked up again... 

They're still looking at me. And they're smiling.

She's short. Blonde. A young twenties. Dressed in tight jeans, boots and an oversize boyfriend hoodie. He looked older. Fresh shave. Thinning hair with a slick leather jacket.

Where is that bartender? Maybe this place was a bad idea. I could go with the guys... Just need to order then go...

Then a beer slides up next to me.

"On us?" she said taking a stool next to me, "We bought too many." 

The older guy she was with was picking up his stuff to move closer.

"Can't even get one drink," I joked.


"Never mind," I smiled and took the beer, "Thanks."

"We're having such a fun time tonight," She flipped her hair to the side with that smile again, as he brought over their drinks and stood behind her, "really liked the music. The way you guys played together."

"You guys were great," he lifted his glass.

We all drank.

Matt and Holly gave me proper introductions and told me some story of how they met at another bar down the street. The first band was great and the second was slow, and the third was a bore so they went out looking for another place with a "really great funk band" I think and then ended up here watching our set.

"How long have you been doing this?" Matt asked. He had a strong unblinking stare punctuated by his thick eyebrows.


"Yeah. With this band."

I thought for a second about how much I felt like telling my story, "Been touring for a while but honestly this is my first show with these guys."

"I can't believe that," Holly leaned in close to my arm, "We thought... no. You all seemed so intuitive."

I took the last drink and the empty can clinked on the bar.

She reached over and shook my can, "Could you?" she asked Matt.

"No you don't have to," I jumped in.

Matt looked at me for a second, "Don't worry," he laughed and took all of our drinks, "I'll be right back." 

"The bar inside is better," she laughed as Matt went off to the bar in the next room.

"Is this one even open," I joked, wondering how long I wanted to stay here with Matt and Holly... wondering where the bartender was. She was telling me about her favorite show she had seen. And how she was just in love with everything about it. How she loves to talk with musicians afterwards.

"You guys are too nice," I started.

"Oh Matt?" she started then turned to look for him, "He's happy to do it. He's been buying for me all night. And we really like you."

"Me?... What?"

"Your band... And you."

"Didn't you say you just meet him? Matt?"

That sounded weird to me... Did it? Or is it a normal thing to just meet someone a go out together? I can be really bad at reading people. My wife is so intuitive with emotions, but my instincts are usually all over the map. I usually come off as cold, or aloof, when I'm busy thinking of a new story or lyrics in my head. It's not that I'm not interested, my head is just somewhere else. 

Something about her and her story was putting my instincts off. She was sweet. The whole time just talking about themselves and music. They were fans. And for Matt's age and size he seemed pretty harmless. But the more I thought about it the weirder it seemed. Why are they hanging out with each other? With me? Why are they here?

Holly looked down at the bar, "He's celebrating something I think."

"And you?"

"I'm just going with the night. See where it goes. Not everyone has a plan Rene..."

"Fair enough."

"What are you going to do? The mysterious musician. Traveling."

"Getting ready for the next town I guess." Out of the window I see my band walk back into the bar.

Holly dipped her shoulder into mine, "You're on a bus then?"

"Yeah. And I think I've got to,"

"That's so exciting. I can't imagine what that must be like. Don't pretend like it isn't great."

"It's pretty great. I wouldn't complain."

Matt came back from the second bar with another beer for me, and two drinks and three shots saying, "We've got to!"

And I'm smiling but all I'm thinking is: shots are gonna hurt me tomorrow... ugh... Just the one.

He stands right in between where Holly and I are sitting.

We all drink.

It was strong, syrupy and cheap. The kind that puts a chill down my back.

Holly whispered something to Matt. He puts on hand on the back of my chair as he leans into hear. And Holly gives me a gentle kick me with her foot. Then it swings away and comes back.

That little hold. This is weird. 

"Guys it's been really nice," I pointed to the band that was heading back stage, "I've got to get back."

They looked at each other as I took the beer.

Matt threw out a "maybe we will see you later?" and handed me the napkin that was under the beer.

And before that could go on any more, I went back down the hallway to catch up with the guys. They were already gone.

It took me a second before I thought, what just happened? Everything about it... why did he hand me that napkin? And the look he had... and how she kicked me, that could've been an accident but it lingered.

That's when I saw what Matt had written on the bottom of the napkin.

Before you leave 
(504) ***-****
- Matt and Holly

That kinda stunned me. I opened the beer and threw away the napkin. Then took a second in that service hallway collecting myself.

I could hear the band playing, and the guys laughing in the green room ahead. I saw the lights from the front bar coming into the hallway behind me. I thought of the dark street we were on, and the city around us, and the miles of highway that connect here to the next city and all the way back home. And all the people that were around and all the different things they were doing. And the night that covered it all. And the stars.