Ebooks & Comics & Plumerai

So I guess you all probably already know that the majority of my past few weeks have been working on the QRD ebook.  I ran into tons of problems getting the epub format to work in the way I wanted & I even tried to hire someone to get it to work as I wanted.  But in the end I had to admit some defeat in that department & say, “This is what I can do for now.”  So the PDF is great, but the epub doesn’t have a table of contents.  Whatever.  I did my best for the moment.  Hopefully in the future I’ll figure out how to work an epub to do what I want, but I feel I have a valiant near first attempt.

In other news I’m getting some new comics laid out & ready to go.  In a good news/bad news scenario this marks the fulfillment of a fourth of the comic subscriptions I got last fall through Kickstarter.  Which means I need to decide if I want to do another Kickstarter to keep doing the comics with the current payrate I have for artists or cut the payment.  I’m getting pretty worn out on the idea of going back to the Kickstarter well for a comic project every three months & I’m not sure at all what my idea would even be for a next Kickstarter project.  Just more subscriptions?  Ugg.  That doesn’t seem exciting in any way.

Here’s a new video from Plumerai:

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Dreams, Comics, & Compilations

It’s been a long time since I posted a blog, so I guess I have a lot of things that have been going on & to talk about.  First off is some stuff from some conversations I had with other creators at the SMUDGE comic convention up in DC.

So on my merch table I always have stuff available for a dollar.  I always want people to not have an excuse to not buy anything.  I do this with bands & comics.  All the people I’m friends with seem to generally have the same philosophy.  But I was talking to this guy at the convention who I respect as both a creator & businessman & he intentionally puts nothing on his table priced under $10.  He said that by having nothing under $10 he can have a decent day without many sales & that people that think his stuff is cool & just want to show a token of support are still in for the $10 price point.  It makes a lot of sense & I know I am undervaluing my work & effort with $1 items.  I mean, making $100 on $1 items can happen, but it’s hard to do & the reality is I really need to sell $300 a day to actually cover all of my expenses to actually make an event worth doing.  So I should probably move my one dollar items to being a fourth of my table instead of 90% of my table.  Something to think about for my upcoming events for sure.

Andrew White (Just A Man & REH) was at SMUDGE & I got to meet him in person for the first time after probably five years of collaboration.  He was talking about a new book he’s working on & I told him he should put it on Kickstarter because I’ve had a lot of luck with comics on Kickstarter.  He said the reason he didn’t want to do a Kickstarter was he felt like there was a limited amount of money available to people from Kickstarter & he didn’t want to take it from people like me who are really trying to make things work when he knows for him it is essentially a hobby.  I get where he’s coming from & it’s noble or whatever, but I don’t think he understands that a lot of the Kickstarter money people are spending is money they want to go to support the best things that they care about & so you should offer good projects up.  It is worth noting that I still think Kickstarter is a fad in general, but for comics it is the thing that is getting people honestly excited about independent comics for the first time in almost 20 years.

As a lot of you know I’ve been working on the SPACE Anthology for the past few years.  I talked to a guy at SMUDGE about how hard it is to get people to do stuff for anthologies & he told me that he looked at anthology appearances as five pages of his own work he wouldn’t be able to get done.  Then I’ve been having some problems with a couple of musical compilations I’ve been working on in a similar way, with people saying they can’t do something for a compilation because anything good enough to release they want to save for their album.  I get it.  Compilations/Anthologies don’t pay & the idea that they give real exposure is kinda of bogus as I know that I often don’t even listen to all the other tracks/read all the other stories on thing I appear on/in.  So I know that I really need to do more with when I do something, it needs to be something people can get excited about.  But I do feel like if people want to be part of a community, that anthologies/compilations are kind of an important aspect.  I also personally feel like anthologies/compilations give an opportunity to experiment & reach outside of your comfort zone & an excuse to get content out.  Now I feel kinda crappy for so rarely appearing in comps/anths that I’m not putting together myself.

Recent Dreams:
February 24, 2014
I’m at a Low concert in a high school gym.  In addition to Alan, Mimi, & Steve there are three women singing harmony with one of them on banjo & another with an upright bass & then a choir that looks like it was formed from the residents of a local retirement home.

I’m hiking on a gravel trail.  The trail gets so steep that I have to crawl to go up & it gets even steeper so that I’m essentially on my belly swimming through the gravel & my arms are getting sore & tired.  A woman walking down the slope drops a bolt snap with a key on it & I grab it & reach up & offer it to her.

February 26, 2014
I’m in the eighth grade in Sunday school.  My friend Chris walks into the classroom with a woman walking behind him that I assume is his mother.  As he walks by me, I see the woman is actually my grandmother.  I say to her, “Ethel, it’s me, Brian.”  She reaches out & puts her hands around my throat & starts to choke me.

March 6, 2014
I’m at a thrift store near closing time & I have a lavender tuxedo shirt that’s way too big for me & a shirt pattern in my hand.  I guess I’m planning on modifying it.  I decide it’s too much work & something I’d never actually do, so I just set them down & leave the store.

March 9, 2014
I’m a ghost in the studio where Guns N Roses are recording Appetite for Destruction.  They do an incredible live take of a song as a scratch track & everyone high fives & then leaves for smokes except Slash who changes his high E string.  He waits for five minutes & then leaves to look for the rest of the band.  They aren’t on the studio steps smoking, so he walks down the street to a bar in line of site & they’re all in it already on the way to getting wasted.  He says to them, “Come on guys, we’re paying for studio time right now.”

I’m working on a piece of art that is essentially varnishing a piece of wood after I’ve put in some mild accents to compliment the natural grain, like replacing knots with watch gears & integrated circuits.

March 11, 2014
I’m at a Three Brained Robot show, but instead of being dance music it’s fairly caustic noise.  Sam is still using the same dance moves.

I’m in an old house for a weekend party with ten other young people.  I wouldn’t call these people my friends, but I would call them my peers.  I eat some pizza & I can feel it’s laced with something before I finish a slice.  I’d guess psilocybin & hydrocodone & who knows what else.  It makes me paranoid & on edge.  It also makes me realize I’m in a horror movie.  I grab a pair of scissors out of a drawer in the kitchen & go to my room.  On the way to my room I pass another bedroom where two girls with their shirts off are making out.  I guess at least they’ll die before I do.  I lie down on my bed which is just a mattress on the floor.  I have the scissors clenched to my chest as I fall asleep.  I wake up to a silhouette of a man with a machete in my doorway, but the drugs have made it impossible to move & I can’t even let out a proper scream.

March 12, 2014
I’m at a Kraftwerk concert in a large theater.  The stage is way too large for their setup & they’re taking up just a small bit of it at stage right making them difficult to see from my center position.  In addition to that they just really aren’t very good.  I wish I’d never seen them at all over catching this show.

I’m walking down a flight of stairs at a mall & as I get to the bottom floor I notice I can’t feel my own weight on my feet & that I’m starting to levitate.  I’m trying to will myself back down before I’ve lost control & draw attention to myself or maybe just find something to hold on to.

March 16, 2014
I’m at a live art event & the woman painting isn’t using paints, but fabric dye.  Chelsea says, it may look fine tonight, but it’ll look like shit tomorrow.

My grandfather died & my grandmother gave me his car since she never learned to drive.  It’s a 1960s faded lime green Cadillac.  I’m driving it the 500 miles home & a car in the right lane starts shooting out huge plumes of smoke & the car behind him slams on his breaks & cuts into my lane & I rear end him.  The dude in front of me’s car is clearly totaled, but it looks like all the Cadillac will need is a new grill & headlight.

I’m packing my equipment for a show & when I grab my pedal board I notice the bottom is bulging out.  I guess I put too many pedals in it.  I touch it where the bulge is & it gives a little & then something inside pushes back & I realize the thing is pregnant.

March 18, 2014
I’m staying with a friend at some kind of artist residency thing.  He’s telling me a story about when his last relationship ended.  They were splitting up the dishes & he had all of his sitting on the counter & knocked them off smashing them on the kitchen floor.  I’m not sure if the story is about controlled anger & violence or just an anecdote about life.

March 15, 2014
It’s after the apocalypse & I’m living in an old high school with a couple hundred other survivors.  I’m walking in the hallway & I see my grandmother with her walker & the ill-fitting baseball hat she’d wear when we sat outside in the summer.  I run up to her & I pick her up, but I’ve gotten so weak over the years that I have trouble keeping my balance holding her & I spin & crash against a wall careful to only hurt myself in the process & then we both slide to the floor as one lump.

It’s 4am & it’s dark & snowing & I’m at work at the airport in my four layers of clothing.  I have to use the bathroom & I hate the idea of how long it takes to get dressed & undressed to do it.

March 19, 2014
I’m using a Hot Wheels racing set that I had as a kid.  When I was a child I thought the secret to a winning car was having a boxy back that fit well into the spring loader, but now I think the secret is just having a newish car with straight wheels & axles.

I’m walking & staring at the ground because there’s a nearly blinding light permeating the entire sky starting just a few inches above my head.  I know exactly what the light is, but I fear it & hope by just ignoring it that I can somehow avoid it until it goes away.

March 21, 2014
I’m watching an old movie on this machine that has fist sized potentiometer dials on it to let you alter the appearance of the lead actors.  I think the intention of it is to be able to make actors look more like yourself, but instead I use it to make the main actor of a noir film have huge ears & no nose & it seems off that people still treat him as a leading man.

March 23, 2014
I’m taking my grandmother on some sort of outing to a factory & when I manhandle her a little to get her to sit in her chair properly in the car, she tells me to stop being so fresh.  When we get there they need to call on the radio to see if we’re allowed in because we have a mink on a leash that my grandmother has as a companion animal to keep her calm.  I take the mink to walk on the lawn & it moves so fast that it’s pulling me behind it leaned back like I’m water-skiing on the grass.  It comes to a sudden stop & I go tumbling over the little guy & I’m scared I’ve hurt him, but when I pick him up he kinda smiles & makes a little clicky noise.  I go back into the lobby & the guy with the radio says all tours have been cancelled because of an upcoming snowstorm.

March 24, 2014
I’m in middle school & my dad is supposed to drop me off at school for 7:30am & he’s bitching at me that there’s 5 minutes to go & I should be doing yardwork in the meantime.

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New Releases & New Grouchiness & More!

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Trying to get actual work done instead. For example the new Slicnaton & the new Feel No Other are both up to purchase or stream on the Silber site.

I have also been working on putting some of the free releases on Spotify & iTunes. I just got my check with the 2013 earnings from those & while it is 50% less than 2012, it’s still a couple hundred bucks that Silber wouldn’t have otherwise.

I got in the art for Pow Wow #3 & it will be debuting at SMUDGE this weekend. It’s a comic convention in DC. We’ll see how things go. I really haven’t gotten myself as prepared for this convention as I normally do. I guess I’ve gotten a bit more realistic about sales & don’t feel the need to assemble $1000 worth of merch when I have never broken $400.

I also have been working on the QRD guitarist ebook. It’s going to end up being 2300+ pages. Totally ridiculous. My plan is to get it up on Amazon as soon as it’s ready & ask people to review it on Amazon when they are getting their copies from me. I’m hoping this has some backend earnings through Amazon down the road. Because even though it made it’s funding goal, it’s hard to say that something that made around a dollar per hour of work is truly successful. I guess the same thing can be said for Silber generally. I am trying to be upbeat about things, but sometimes life feels like it’s been trying to break me down.

For the curious, here’s the Silber February charts.

Most Downloaded Albums
If Thousands – For
Electric Bird Noise – Kind of Black
Rllrbll – 4 Corners
Electric Bird Noise – Desert Jelly
Sarah June – Beneath Black Robes

Most Read About Albums
Electric Bird Noise – Kind of Black
Rllrbll – 4 Corners
If Thousands – For
The Wet Teens – Let It Pee
Dead Leaves Rising – Shadow Complex

Most Downloaded Comics
Lost Kisses #26
Come Home Safe #2
Lost Kisses #24
Walrus #1
Ultimate Lost Kisses #11

Most Read QRD Articles
Author interview with Erin O’Brien
Guitarist interview with Jason Hendrix
Guitarist interview with Agata of Melt-Banana
Guitarist interview with Alan Sparhawk of Low
Bass Player interview with Jill Palumbo of The Torches

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Story from Youth

Ultra old story found in a notebook when my niece asked if I had a notebook she could have & this was the only used sheet.  Probably from 1992.  The opening (& all I ever actually wrote, though I think I wrote it multiple times) of my Joker story that will eventually become part of XO.  The idea of debauchery in here is pretty suburban high schooler, which makes perfect sense….

I feel like I am awakening for the first time.  I want to forget who I’ve been all these years & become archetypal & surreal.  There’s blood in my mouth, but it feels thick like honey.  I pull it out with my fingers & spread it across my chest & neck & face.  In the mirror I find myself more beautiful this way.  My skin looks very taut & I am proud of my thinness.  For a second I mistake myself for dead.  I leave the bathroom into the other room of the apartment; the walls & ceiling have turned yellow from the constant cigarette smoke.  Smoking another cigarette, the second since I got up, I burn holes in the flaking paint & pour myself a glass of tequila.  I can feel the alcohol’s promise of forgetfulness while hovering over it, my eyes & mouth watering.  My body shivers as I drink it, as if I finally took in enough poison to kill myself this time.
I put on shoes & a shirt & keep on the purple pants with silver pin stripes I slept in.  I burn some of my hair with my cigarette while running my fingers through it.  I throw the cigarette onto the unmade bed.  I take my wallet from the table, take out the forty-seven dollars & throw the wallet on the fire in the bed.  I put the crumpled bills in my pocket & grab the keys & leave.  I lock the door behind me & walk down the two flights of stairs.  After leaving the building I throw the keys in a trashcan & know I have finally destroyed myself.

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Plumerai, If Thousands, Rivulets, Dreams, QRD, Robocop

So a bunch of things going on right now.

Working on my comic for the SPACE anthology as well as editing it.  Mine is a really weird photo-comic about faeries.  Here’s a sample photo:
DSCF7883
I feel like I haven’t been pushing the QRD Ebook kickstarter too hard & in general the reason is that I don’t know how.  It’s been pointed out to me that the guitarists are obscure & ebooks in general are not something people want to pay for.  But it finally made it to $200 & I announced the stretch goal of at $300 I’ll make the bass player interviews into an ebook as well.  So, you know, contribute or spread the word if you can.  I’d really like to get 100 backers, but I am unsure of that as a real possibility.

If Thousands is in a contest to become band of the week on Flowers in a Gun.

Rivulets has a new track you can hear right here:

Here’s an acoustic duo version of Plumerai doing a track:

While I’m posting a bunch of stuff, here’s a short documentary about Robert E Howard that some British dude made:



Also,  I finally started watching the Robocop cartoon which is kinda terrible, but I have a hard time not watching it.

Recent Dreams:
February 17, 2014
I’m in Russia doing a tour where the shows are so spread out that I’m flying from city to city.  After playing my first show & going to the airport to get to the next gig the ticket agent tells me my pedal board can’t go on an aircraft for security reasons.  I tell her it just flew in with me the previous day, but she doesn’t care.

February 19, 2014
I’m on a nine day nine state tour with Lycia to promote their new record.  In Philadelphia we’re staying with Tara’s brother at his new house.  When we get there, it’s actually my grandmother’s old house.  I can’t really handle it & I want to just wander the streets for a while, but it’s raining.  Her brother has a roll-away cot for me in the basement.  I ask him if it came with the house & he says, “It actually did.”  It’s the same one I slept on 30 years ago.

February 21, 2014
I’m driving my car & I fall asleep for a second & wake up when my car runs over one of the reflectors between lanes.  It scares the crap out of me & I am wide awake & feel like an idiot.  A few seconds pass & I fall asleep again & I’m woken up by my car running over the rumble strips on the side of the highway.  It’s just a matter of time until I kill somebody.

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Silber Cupcake Recipe

Here’s the cupcake recipe some of you have tasted at various Silber events.  It’s derived from a recipe my grandmother cut out of a newspaper.  It yields 20 cupcakes.

Cake Batter
¼ cup of cocoa
1 ½ cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup vanilla soy protein
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of oil
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquids & mix until mixture is consistent

Cream Cheese Top/Core
1/8 teaspoon of salt
8 ounces of cream cheese
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg

Leave pack of cream cheese out to reach room temperature, mix as thoroughly as practical.

Butterscotch Chips
Add 4-6 chips per cupcake, optional or change flavor.

You can either leave a white cream cheese top or attempt a hidden cream cheese core. To get a top, distribute batter to bottom of cupcake papers evenly among the 20 cups & add the cream cheese mixture to the top, sprinkle with chips. For the core put in enough batter to cover the bottoms of the cups, distribute cream cheese mixture, sprinkle chips, put remaining batter over top of cups hiding the cream cheese.

Cook at 350 for approximately 22-25 minutes.

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Nostalgia Equals Distortion: Woods Beer

woods-beerWhen I was a kid there was a park that was mainly woods halfway between me & my best friend’s houses.  It’s where we’d hang out every afternoon to do things we might get in trouble about at home.  Things like setting a creek on fire while swinging over it on a vine.  Typical middle school stuff.  But other folks that we never saw used the woods too.  Presumably folks just a couple years older than us & while there would routinely be empty beer cans around, occasionally we’d find half a case of unopened Budweisers.  Which to a twelve-year-old eager to be an adult was as good as gold.

Woods Beer was a right of passage for suburban punks in the 1980s & to be honest I have no idea if it is still something that happens.  I don’t think underage kids drink in the woods & stash their beers there anymore & I don’t really see middle schoolers wandering the streets on their own either.  But maybe people didn’t see me back then either, so I could be wrong.  Anyway a few weeks ago I bought some beers that I thought were kinda crap.  An apple beer might sound like it has potential, but for me it’s just candy crap.  So today I went out in the woods looking for a place off the path with some cigarette butts & I found some by a log.  I dropped the beers off there.  Maybe I’m contributing to the delinquency of a minor or maybe I’m littering or maybe, just maybe, I’m giving a future generation an experience they’ll remember fondly twenty-five years down the line.

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Snow Days

So I know haven’t been posting on the blog lately.  As some of you know, that usually means I’ve been working on a ton of stuff.

First off, the new QRD is up.  A continuation of the guitarist interview series & the last part that will be completed in our big ebook project.

On the comic book front I got completed scripts for Built #3 & Ultimate Lost Kisses #15 mailed out to the artists.

But as you most likely suspect I’ve mainly been working on promo stuff for the new If Thousands & Electric Bird Noise records.

Also, there was a bunch of snow here where I live (which doesn’t happen) & it’s slowed me down on getting some orders ready, including one of thirty comics which meant needing to print them all out, which takes longer than you’d think.

Just so this isn’t a completely boring entry, here’s a Clang Quartet video:

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Electric Bird Noise, If Thousands, Facebook, Dreams

So I got the new Electric Bird Noise & the new If Thousands up on the Silber site.  They are both available to purchase or free to stream.  In going with my recent goals of rebuilding the community feel on Silber, anyone who wants to write a little blurb about either of the records I’ll put them on the reviews page with links back to your sites.

James from Plumerai sent me this video about how likes & advertisements on Facebook work.  It helps to put things in perspective when you see smarter people than you having the same problems.

Recent Dreams:
February 6, 2014
I’m playing a house show in the front yard of a house a block from the house I grew up in.  The neighborhood’s kinda shot & I don’t feel comfortable walking up the hill to the old house in the dark.

February 10, 2014
I wake up & look at my left arm & all my scars are gone.  I guess this is what death is like.  It’s not so bad.

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Remora – Bring You In

So I got a demo for a new Remora song.  Might record it as a full band this afternoon.  We’ll see how it goes.

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