DXM - a.k.a "Deus Ex Machina". Yep, we were one of those bands. Prog rock, fusion metal, whatever the heck you want to call it. We referred to ourselves as a cross between Metallica and Yes (a Mess) or Metallica and Rush (Mush). Great times being musical geeks with bandmates Dave Storm and Glenn Kukla. We recorded nearly every practice, and those tapes are comedy gold (well, at least to us).
C.I.Ain't Kiddin' - awesome band whose sound I can't adequately describe. But I'll put up some recordings for sure. Our crowning achievement would probably have been when we opened for Tool at Bogart's in Cincinnati. My bandmates were Mike Zagotti, Chris Laile and John Carrico
Did a bunch of home recording in Kansas, Virginia and Tennessee. Much of it ended up being on the Stemgrower "album"
Took the back seat out of my Dodge Colt, packed it to the roof with music gear and drove from Topeka KS to Covington KY to record at Back Stage Studios. I had demoed all the songs, and called the project Stemgrower. The album - for lack of a better word - was titled "I Miss My Mind The Most" or something like that. My buddies from DXM helped me with drums and some vox and bass - everything else I did myself. The project never got off the ground, because I had a good recording of some alt-rock songs I wrote - but absolutely no idea what to do next. I made copies on cassette and mailed them to friends. Such is life.
The Boodogs. If ever there was a time where things happened that can't be repeated to children, it was when I was in this band. The band logo was a dog that was "splatted" (run over) with the logo "Loud, Obnoxious, Slap Her On The Ass Rock". And that is exactly what it was. We played local gigs in Nashville as well as playing fraternity gigs around the Southeast for Crescent Moon Talent Agency. My bandmates were Andy Todd, Erik Elliott and Philip Kelly
I had a short hiatus from The Boodogs somewhere around 1997 with a band called Antennae Finger. I think we played together for maybe six months? Singer was Phil Pacetti, the drummer was a guy named Nathan, bass player's name was Drew, and the other guitar player's name was Mark (who had played with comedienne Sandra Bernhard's band). Really interesting band that just imploded before it got anywhere. Then it was back to The Boodogs
Around 1998, mr.twistyneck was born. I worked at a music salvage company from 1996 to 1999 called M.I.R.C (musical instrument reclamation corporation) as the sales manager. Part of my job was to grade the repaired guitars coming out of the shop. The shop foreman was Johnny Burns (nephew of Chet Atkins and son of the late Jethro Burns) and Johnny had a wicked sense of humor. He would get so frustrated repairing guitars - most of which were basket cases - that he started leaving snarky post it notes on them when he put them in the grading area. I would go to pull a guitar to grade, and there would be a post it note that might say "I SUCK KILL ME" or "someday I hope to grow up to be a real guitar". And one day, there was a guitar labeled simply "mr. twistyneck". I don't know why that stuck out from all the others, but mr.twistyneck became my eBay id, and my stage persona.
This is REALLY weird but my friend Erik Elliott and myself worked for the Zippo Lighter Company as "brand ambassadors" under the stage names Booty and Mr. Twistyneck, respectively. Put simply, we did tricks with Zippo Lighters. At one time, there was a website called www.zippotricks.com (eventually rebranding as www.lightertricks.com) started by my Norwegian friend Morten Kjolberg. I stumbled across it and became fascinated. On long road trips with The Boodogs, I would drive with one hand and practice Zippo tricks with the other hand. Erik would usually ride shotgun and if I dropped a lit Zippo while driving too many times, he would take possession. There wasn't much to do driving down the road, so he started doing tricks with lighters. The Zippo Company figured out two guys who were some of the best "Tricksters" lived in the same town, and actually hired us to go around to Camel Casbahs to do tricks. Around the fall of 2002, Zippo's VP of Marketing Mark Paupp arranged for Booty and I to travel to Norway, where we filmed a Zippotricks.com promotional video. Later in 2002 we went to Zippo's International Distributor meeting in Bradford, PA. When the promo video was played to an audience of distributors, we came out from behind the curtain doing the same tricks and as they say "shit went bananas". Zippo had a potential hit on their hands. We signed our contracts in early 2003, but a couple of things happened that foreshadowed the eventual demise of Zippo-endorsed tricking. First, the fire at the Station nightclub in Feb of 2003 made playing with fire in a nightclub a REALLY bad idea. Zippo's legal department wanted nothing to do with us, but their Marketing department had other ideas. At the time Camel (owned by RJ Reynolds) had a couple thousand Camel Casbah events scheduled for 2003, and Booty and I were to train other tricksters to do these gigs. We actually did a training with about a dozen(?) people - what a disaster. The Camel Casbah project was not to be - RJ Reynolds posted a 67% loss and canned the Camel Casbah events for the rest of 2003. Zippo rebounded and came up with "The Hot Tour" - basically Booty and me doing events at local clubs involving the local Zippo distributor. Owing to the Station fire, Zippo went through eight insurance companies before the ninth would insure the tour. Did I mention Zippo's legal department really didn't like us? All seemed to be going to plan, but at a gig in Flint, MI, Zippo decided to take 30 second clips of the promo video and air them as commercials on local TV to advertise the Hot Tour event at a local club. The fire marshall in Flint saw Booty performing a lit aerial trick (lit Zippo flying through air) and blew a gasket. He hounded Zippo to stop the event. Zippo refused. He then went to his buddy at the NFPA (national fire protection association), who insisted to Zippo that they stop the events. Zippo again refused. At this point, the head of the NFPA went ot a couple of senators/representatives in Pennsylvania, who in turn went and had a chat with Zippo. Zippo relented, and shut down the zippotricks.com web site and canceled the Hot Tour.... in the US. We discretely finished a few events already scheduled outside the country, and maybe a couple on the East Coast in the US. And then it was all over. Zippo rebranded the Hot Tour as a musical tour and ran with it. Understandably, they did their best to wipe all connection with Zippo tricking. But Google says otherwise, as does The Internet Archive. There's even a Zippo book that has me, Booty and Morten in it. There's also one issue of the ZippoClick magazine (for Zippo enthusiasts) that has Booty and me on the cover.
One last thing. The Boodogs were actively playing up until 2003, and we saved up $2,700.00 to purchase a Le Maitre pyrotechnics board capable of controlling around 12 pyrotechnic "pods". A pod could have a confetti cannon, or 8 foot high flames, or showers of sparks, or percussive sounds and lots of other similar effects. The "charges" were expensive, so we used them sparingly. So basically my band was doing the exact same thing that Great White was doing when they set The Station on fire - using "gerbs" that emitted showers of sparks. I thank my lucky stars that of all the times we fired off those effects, nobody got hurt. Overnight, our expensive pyrotechnic equipment became worthless - and unusable too. I ended up with it after the band broke up and ended up trading it all to a guy in Nashville for a Black and Decker crosscut saw and a pipe clamp. When I was working for Zippo doing tricks with lighters in venues, we were HIGHLY aware of safety, and the only flames on stage were about 1 inch high - coming out of at most, four lit Zippos at any given time. Ultimately it did not matter, because lenience for performers who used fire was at an all time low for several years after The Station fire. Rest in peace to those that lost their life.
The Boodogs folded in 2003, and I had to go find a stable job and stop concentrating on music and Zippo lighters. After several years of being miserable, my friend Todd Austin (Toddzilla) invited me to sit in with his band JonesWorld. If you haven't seen JW, it's like a funk rock avalanche of outrageous characters and performers, headed by Toddzilla. So all I had to do was show up and play what I was supposed to and that got me out of the doldrums.
At some point in 2011, various friends started having some jam type gigs and out of that came The Entertainment Band (TEB for short). TEB is a live karaoke band, and we started playing local shows. Eventually we hooked up with Prime Source Entertainment and played corporate events around Nashville up until Covid hit in 2020. We also had the pleasure of being the Thursday night band at The Sutler in Nashville for three years. At time of this writing (July 2021) things are starting to wake up again. TEB expects to be back very soon
I ended up subbing in a 90's themed band called Polly's Pocket. It appears PP is going to be playing a bunch of shows, which is exciting since there weren't any shows for nearly a year and a half