Running Away From Home

I was recently reminded of this time I ran away from home because I wanted to be a werewolf after watching Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox..  Dead serious folks, I wanted to be a runaway werewolf so bad, and the runaway part was not even in the movie: that was my special addition to the special edition—my parents hated it.

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We—well, you see (*sigh*), I dragged my poor friend Brandon along for the ride—and long story short, that was the end of our friendship by the power invested in his mom and dad.  Yeah.  

If it makes you feel any better about it, I tried to pack accordingly.  I emptied out my binder, my Mead folders, text books, pens and pencils all over the floor of my closet (so as to not attract suspicion from the parental units) and stuffed a big blanket in my backpack.  I think I might have managed to cram an orange and a few bananas in the remaining space available, perhaps a loaf of bread and some lunch meat.  But, definitely had that blanket. Being warm is very important, you see.  It was 4A.M. or so when I woke up and prepared to flee the safety of my mother and father’s sanctuary; I’m sure I wasn’t thinking straight.  I was probably banking on a hunter/gatherer mentality for future nourishment.  

So, how did this all play out?  Brandon and I nearly made it to the outskirts of Visalia before a police officer found us.  He was so polite!  Brandon and I were tired of walking, not to mention hungry, and the officer offered us a ride home.  I am guesstimating that I was around 8 years old at that time. 

I’m not quite sure what I liked about Teen Wolf so much.  All I know is that I watched it over and over and over again.  I embraced all the finer details of the main character’s woes and let them parallel my own, tracing the movies subtleties until I had a self-portrait that was near perfect if not half-shabby for a kid still in the single-digit age bracket.  I felt like there was something deep down inside of me that made me special and different from everyone else.  Is this the heart of a child?  Hell, I’m pretty sure is this the heart of an adult.  Then again it’s probably just part of being human.  Maybe I just really dug Michael J. Fox.  Teen Wolf was hot off the heals of Back to the Future—but, in all fairness, as much as I couldn’t get enough of that 1980's goodness, you didn’t see me slipping off toilet seats and careening into bathroom sinks while trying to hang a clock, just to invent the flux capacitor.  Sounds dangerous and ridiculous.  Nope, I stuck to the far more plausible and credible realm of teenage lycanthropy.

I started beefing up on my knowledge of werewolves, seeking out the most renowned, accredited, and trusted sources of literature regarding the subject: Scholastic Children Publications.  I tried with the zeal of a true Michael J. Fox Teen Wolf believer to turn myself into a werewolf so that I could be just like him.  I recall, specifically, from this Scholastic publication, mention of ancient folklore that suggested drinking the muddy water of a werewolf footprint could change me (a dog print was the closest thing I could find, and it didn’t do dick).  Another method is the age-old tradition found in countless macabre fiction and Hollywood classics that involve werewolves: get mauled by one.  Unfortunately, there were no werewolves handy (as they don’t exist) and I knew that, so I let my imagination do the writing at that point and convinced Brandon that what we needed was over the hills, far off in the distant Sequoia National Forest.  There, we would find werewolves, or at worst case, wolves.  I’d absolutely love to revisit that conversation with Brandon, now, as an adult spectator:

Brandon:  “So let me get this straight.  There are werewolves over those mountains there?”

Me:  Uh, yeah.  Where else would a werewolf be?  Do you see any werewolves here in Visalia?

Brandon:  Huh.  Yeah I guess so.  Cool!

Brandon must have found something in my absolute certainty agreeable and set out with me, early the next morning, for those distant mountains.  The same ones that make Visalia such a popular tourist pitstop in lieu of their quest for California wildlife.  

We traveled almost exclusively through several canals that run through the city, below surface streets—I knew, deep down, that people would be looking for us.  After all, it was a school day, and our seats were empty in that second grade classroom.

We made a couple of pits stops.  We crawled out of the canal, at one point, to rest in a park that would later be a haven for my high school friends and I to smoke illicit substances, talk about life, ruminate on religion, discuss music and art, contemplate the opposite sex, and brainstorm on how to acquire a keg of beer for the night: you know, Teen Wolf kinds of stuff.  Go figure.

Brandon and I resumed our journey through the undercurrent of Visalia’s aqueducts, only to eventually collect at a large tunnel covered by steel grating.  We ended up climbing out of the channel and over a fence and emerging on the busy thoroughfare of Lovers Lane.  A squad car slowly crept up next to us.  The passenger-side window rolled down slowly revealing a smiling officer in sun glasses: “Hey fellas!”  He was curious as to where we were heading.  I informed him that we were heading for the mountains.  He replied, “That’s a long ways a way, guys.  Are you sure you don’t want a ride?”  How could we turn that down?  We hopped into the squad car.  We were pumped!  Neither of us had ever seen the inside of one before.  I am happy to say that I think that was my first and last ride in a police car, as far as I can recall.  Let me ruminate on that last assertion for a little longer though; I could be wrong.

NOTE TO READER:

This blog became a song.  I wrote it as a Christmas gift to my mom and dad a few years ago.  It's be latest single.  It's called "Running Away From Home."

It's available on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and all other digital streaming services right now, if you want to hear it:

 

 

My Journey

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I transferred to California State University Fullerton as a music major in 2002.  It was one of the most important experiences of my life.  It taught me the value of balancing feeling and logic to decide what is best for my future.  This is something that I realized, just recently.  Let me explain.

I transferred to Cal State Fullerton as a Classical Guitar Major.  While it was definitely something that I had fun doing, I had an unsettled feeling that my interest in classical guitar was only true up to a certain point.  I was interested in the techniques that it was teaching me: voice leading, harmony, fingerpicking, etc.—but I was unsure that a life devotion to it would satiate my desires in the future. 

I spent a lot of time studying classical guitar, because one of my heroes at the time, Michael Hedges, was a classical guitar major and used many of his studies to shape his own unique style of music.  For those of you unfamiliar with his work, he was a brilliant composer who used alternate tunings on his guitar almost exclusively.  He was a steel string acoustic guitar player and also played harp guitar and a number of other very unique instruments to compose music.  He developed his own methodology behind playing guitar with fingerpicking that included using fingers to mute unused strings to limit sympathetic vibrations due to the overtone series; this would allow for his music to resonate with pristine and exact nature and purpose.  He also would swap out string gauge sizes on his guitar (often using high bass strings) in order to allow him a larger and lower palate of tunings for his compositions.  For musicians interested in exploring his technique, look up a book called "Rhythm Sonority Silence."  He crushed my skull as a musician and to this day, I search for my own unique voice and my own unique contributions to art because of people like him.

My desire in 2001 was to transfer to Berklee School of Music in Boston because they offered a commercial music program.  I had put a deposit down on a dorm room with what money I could scrape up from working my day job.  While it wasn't a tremendous deposit that I put down, it was non-refundable and it was a lot of money to me.  My mind was set on getting the best musical education that a person could receive.  I was anxious.  As the deadline approached for me to enroll at Berklee, my parents asked if they could take me out to dinner at Ryan's Place, which was a restaurant that the two of them frequented a lot.  I was expecting for them to glow with their approval for my choice of visiting Berklee and to be proud of my decision to try and receive the education I desired: this couldn't have been farther from the truth.  

My mom and dad sat down with me and explained life to me in the form of debt.  They took a piece of paper and added up all the expenses I would accrue from a two year education at that school (which was low balling it).  I probably would have spent more than two years there.  What they showed me is that I would be over $100,000 in debt from attending there for two years.  They asked me: is it wise for a musician to embark into the world with that much overhead?  I was absolutely crushed by what they were trying to show me.  I was around 22 at the time and wanted so badly to fight the logic that they were trying to display to me when it came to my desires.  My mother and father offered me an alternative: use my father's veteran grant to pay for an education at a UC or CSU within the state of California.

As much as I didn't want to listen, I knew deep down, they had a point.  I began searching around for UC's and CSU's with great music programs.  The three best that I could find were UCLA, California State University Northridge, and California State University Fullerton.  The crux of education offered at these universities revolved around the pedantic methods used to teach music.  You are pigeon holed into an education that is derived from either classical music or jazz.  While I deeply loved both of these styles of music, neither one of them was where my heart truly lived.  However, I followed their advice and continued to narrow down a choice based on what I had available to me by following their advice.  I visited various colleges and universities including Berkley and San Francisco State University, but neither felt like home.  It wasn't until I visited California State University Fullerton that something resonated within me.  It felt like home.  That's the best way I can describe it.

At any rate, my choices there were as follows: classical guitar or jazz.  I decided on classical guitar and went to audition in front of a panel of instructors in order to be accepted into the music department as a transfer student, with my general education completed.  While I did a stellar job of passing my exams to forgo further music theory instruction, I found that the audition was the most critical part in fully understanding the new direction I was heading in, and it was one of the most unnerving experiences of my life.  I remember complaining about how cold the room was.  In actuality, I was so nervous that my hands were paralyzed, sweaty, and unable to perform their muscle memory dictation.  I butchered every single etude that I attempted to play for the committee.  It was a humbling outcome to an experience I had spent so much time preparing for.  They accepted me into the department of classical guitar and music, but it was as a freshman level player.  I was a junior level student.

This bruised my ego a great deal.  However, one of the people on the panel approached me afterwards.  He was the head of the jazz department at the school.  He asked if I would be interested in auditioning for the Commercial Music Department at the school.  It was brand new curriculum that he was trying to build and thought that I might be a good fit.  I jumped at this opportunity to redeem myself.  I showed up at his office for the appointment that he assigned to me, I auditioned, and was accepted into the department as a junior transfer student.  However, this was only the beginning to truly finding where my heart and head was taking me.

I spent that first semester working harder than I ever thought I was capable.  While I was a decent music reader, I found that I had to work ten times harder than the average student because my sight reading abilities were akin to using the Rosetta Stone to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (especially when it came to funk charts).  

I would spend hours every night trying to interpret music charts for the big band.  I would transcribe jazz solos for my jazz composition class.  I would spend hours working in the choir room to brush up on performances we were preparing for in the choir ensemble.  I would study the ancient origins of secular and sacred music from my text book (something I now appreciate).  Each of these performance classes were worth one unit and I was trying to carry somewhere between 18 to 21 units that semester.  As the end of the school term drew near, I was feeling miserable and I disliked all my studies in music aside from one glimmer of light: I was starting to write my own songs. 

I began a slow transition towards finding comfort and solace in creating my own music.  It began to consume my time and I found myself disinterested in pursuing the life of a guitarist in a commercial music program at a university.  The first song that I ever wrote, that I finished, was was addressed to my older brother called, "Between Me and You."  It was a great song and definitely carried flavors of Jason Mraz, who I was listening to a lot of at the time.  I was proud of it and it felt good to get out a lot of the frustration I was feeling towards my lack of good communication skills with my brother at the time.

By the time my first semester drew to a close at Cal State Fullerton, I realized what I truly wanted from life: to be a songwriter.  I stopped working so hard in a lot of my music classes and began to explore all of the qualities that make good songwriters.  I checked out books from the library and began to read incessantly, as I used to do, before becoming a music major.  I studied my shortcomings and found that where I was weakest, was in my lyric writing.  Suddenly, I had this moment of clarity: English Major.  It was the best decision I ever made in my life.  All of my teachers were outstanding to me, but there was one particular instructor I had that changed my life forever.

While I wasn't a poet, I did write songs incessantly and asked this particular instructor if she would be so kind as to let me submit my songs for her classes rather than poetry.  She was excited by this proposition and gladly accepted the challenge.  She was relentlessly hard on me and picked apart every single thing that I ever wrote.  She kept saying things to me like, "don't tell me, show me."  I didn't get it.  I had to have submitted around 8 to 10 songs before we finally arrived at one song that she deemed worthy of me understanding what she was trying to teach me.  It carried these qualities: it was a memory from my own life, a character I created.  It was told from the perspective of a woman that used to visit me at a grocery store I worked at—and I was very detail oriented with my memories.  It was a song called "The Grocery Store Clerk."  

I played the song for the class—and they went bananas.  That was all the encouragement I ever needed.

To this day I use her methods to construct lyrics:

    •    Be as specific as possible with details regarding your own life and with anything that you write about.  You would think that people relate more to general details, but it is in fact, the very opposite..  The more specific you are about every little detail, the more people will find honesty and truth in it, which is very important.  This makes good art.  I use this method in nearly every song that I write.  Even if it is a work of fiction (song, prose, or poetry), I try to inject a bit of my own life into it.  

    •    Don't tell people what is happening.  Show people what is happening.  This was a harder concept for me to grasp, initially.  What she meant by this:  there are two different ways you can show people an idea.  You can tell them what you are feeling, which doesn't do anything for the audience.  It doesn't resonate.  Or, you can use senses to show someone what you are wanting them to experience.  By engaging people's sensory perception, you help to bring what you are trying to convey, to life.

I am very thankful to her for teaching me such wonderful techniques.  I use it in everything that I write.  Sometimes, I find that people read into things too much, however, that is out my hands entirely.  I know what I intend when I commit to words, and I feel like I need to work harder when people misinterpret what I set out to be the point of a song.  It's disappointing to me and I feel that I missed the mark and need to do better next time. 

Everything that I write carries positivity to it as that is the main motivation behind good art: to create something beautiful out of the worst that life throws at me—and in equal measure, all the good vibes that come my way as well.  In this regard, every song I create is like a child that I bring into the world, in the hopes that they grow their own legs of truth, and live longer than my body ever will.

The Wayfarer - March 1st 2018

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I'm playing my first show of 2018 at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa with my friends in Bearcoon and Abby Litman on March 1st 2018.  The show starts at 8pm.  It's 21+ and $5 at the door.  I've got the band coming out to play that night, featuring Tom Bremer on guitar, Paul Jones on Bass, and Matt Lesser on drums,

Advanced tickets are available here:

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1647723?utm_medium=ampOfficialEvent&utm_source=fbTfly

You can also find an event invite on Facebook, here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/168183500633256/

 

Randy Newman

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Randy Newman is a national treasure and the dude's got brass balls.  In more recent years, he has won critical acclaim for his compositions in such Disney classics as Toy Story, Monster's Inc., Cars, The Princess and the Frog, and many others.  But before all of that, he was laying a firm foundation as the man who had the nerve to write tongue-in-cheek songs about racism through the perspective of a racist southerner (REDNECKS), and in more recent years, has written songs from the perspective of Russian President Vladimir Putin (PUTIN). However, I will always hold a special place in my heart for this song, SHORT PEOPLE.

I was dating a girl named Katie several years ago.  Her parents are hilarious and she very much carries their lineage of comedic sensibilities.  Her dad used to sing this song to her when she was a little girl.

However, fast forward to now.  I live next to a daycare center full of kids building imaginary skyscrapers with plastic hammers.  I hear them play games with each other all day long, and few things are as beautiful as hearing children using their imagination.  Bless them for that.  But, its a little rough waking up to them at 9 a.m. in the morning with three hours of sleep because I was up until 6 a.m. making music.  It's not their fault—but I would be lying if I said that their active playtime wasn't a bit frustrating on occasion.  Also, recording music with a condenser mic during daycare hours in next to impossible if you want to have a track that resembles a professional quality recording (i.e. you only hear the desired instrument and not a kid shouting "da, da, da, da, da" as if his life depends on it). 

With all that being said, this is dedicated to all the kids at the daycare center next to me, as well as to the precious time I had with Katie and her family.

The kids next door make their cameo at the very end of the song.  You can hear them if you listen on headphones.  

The performance of this song is from a place of affection.  I kid because I love, and I will always be a kid at heart.

As a special note, I have read and watched interviews conducted with Randy Newman, discussing this song, and apparently it is about people of unusually short stature, once again from a biased and prejudice perspective against dwarfism.  However, as far as I'm concerned, those noisy little criminals next door fit the bill too. 

With Love and three hours of sleep,

- Mike

Thank you to all of my friends who are backing me on Patreon and helping me to make stuff like this video happen:  Erik Gomez, Ron Feldman, Fernando Gallegos, and Bridget Mackiewicz.  If you are interested in learning more about Patreon, you can visit my page, here:  https://www.patreon.com/mikevitalemusic

Rereleasing Old New Things?

You know, there is nothing quite like rereleasing new old things with a new old name and then trying to act like they're new.  They're not—yet they are depending on who you are.  

While I'm sure that less than one percent of the total human population knows me, there is also 99.5% of a human population that doesn't even know I exist.  I'm targeting them, but I'm writing to you, the .05%.  Confusing?  Where are these percentages coming from?  Yeah, I confuse me too, and I have no idea—it's just math.  But, let's proceed anyway.  Just act like you understand this half-wit-crossed-eyed buffoon putting one word in front of another like they mean something.  He's got a good heart.  I promise.  Pat him on his head, give him a cookie, and he's back to typing.  Delicious cookie, by the way.

So, I made this video with my friends.  It was under the name The Hawkline Monster.  But, I went back to using my own name, Mike Vitale.  So, I had to re-upload it to my new old Youtube channel:  www.youtube.com/mikevitalemusic  

I took down the old video, which had a lot of views. I don't want to have two videos for the same thing. That's confusing—like this blog entry. So, I'm going to donate my old new Youtube Channel and its contents to science. Wait, Science just got back to me, and said, "we're good," so scratch that last sentence.

I'm following suit with all of my online streaming services as well.  This may take a week or two to fully happen.  I'll let you know when I get 'er done.

In the meanwhile, I appreciate your patience.  You can find anything and everything concerning me at Mike Vitale Music.  When I play by myself or with myself, I am Mike Vitale.  When I've got all my friends playing in the band with me, like this video above, we are Mike Vitale and The Hawkline Monster.  The cast of musicians playing with me in the studio and at live shows, is a revolving door or awesomeness and I am grateful for their immense talent and wonderful hearts.  Every song I write is only as good as the people playing them with me, and these guys are amazing.  My undying gratitude to them for our friendship and epic musical orgies.  I would compare us to the movie "Caligula," but I've never seen that movie, so it would be coming from a place of ignorance if I did—so I won't.

That's it for now.  Love you!

- Mike

A Brief Interview with Myself

Me, with my eyes closed.

Me, with my eyes closed.

I recently had the luxury of sitting down with myself to conduct an exclusive interview and wanted to share the intricacies of this conversation.  While, on a surface level, Mike seems like a wonderful person, in my own humble opinion, it became increasingly apparent as our interview unfolded that he doesn’t handle questions very well—you decide.

Mike:  So, what was the inspiration behind this interview with your self?

Mike:  Well Mike, I think a one-half serving of Playboy’s Playmate of the month interviews, and God knows what else—I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.  It’s like the story behind the breasts, except—I don’t have breasts.

Mike: Well, we should probably be moving forward to the first question.

What are your biggest turn-ons?

Mike:  Definitely when someone asks good questions—and a sense of humor.  You seem to lack one of these traits.

Mike:  What are your biggest turn-offs?

Mike:  Talking to myself: this conversation is over.  Just kidding.  

Mike:  What’s the worst place for a guy to hit on you?

Mike:  Pretty much anywhere.  I mean that politely.  I mean, it’s nice feeling attractive to either sex, but, you know…  I had a guy hit on me at a karaoke bar a few years—I was shocked by his horrible singing voice, and he was taken aback by my preference for vagina.

Mike:  What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?

Mike:  It’s less of a pickup line, and more of an effort to get my attention.  The same guy I mentioned previously was snapping pictures of me from the table next to ours trying desperately to make eye contact with me—I think he had his fair share of wine that night and was craving some Italian.

Mike:  What’s the best or most creative pick-up line you’ve ever heard?

Mike:  What is it with you and pickup lines?   I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone use a pickup line on me before—I’ve had someone buy me a drink.  Does that count?

Mike:  What approach is most likely to work with you?

Mike:  Are we talking about boys or girls?  Where the hell are you getting these questions from?

Mike:  What signals do you give to a man when you want him to make the first move?

Mike:  You seriously took these questions straight out of a Playboy Playmate of the Month interview, didn’t you.  Did you consider reversing the gender to make this appropriate and applicable in terms of a standard interview?  What can someone possibly walk away with here?  They’ve learned nothing about me!

[I seem noticeably flustered].

I don’t know—maybe you could ask me some questions about my recent name change back to Mike Vitale from The Hawkline Monster.  Maybe you could ask me about why I did that?!

Who knows, we could even go out on a limb and talk about how I am re-releasing some material from the last The Hawkline Monster album, as well as the previous single, Running Away From Home in the next week or two, on all streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music—or we could talk about the new full band E.P. I’ve spent the last few years writing and producing with friends.  It’s really beautiful and I’m very proud of it.  How about the acoustic album I’m working on as well—or the new Youtube Channel I'm working on building at www.youtube.com/mikevitalemusic  Can we talk about that, please?

Mike:  I’ll ask the questions, thank you very much.  Have you ever been in a situation when two men competed for your attention at the same time? Who won, and why?

Mike:  This is ridiculous—I’m done [removing microphone from collar and throwing it on my chair as I walk away].

An Open Letter to Myself

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NOTE TO READER:  This is a very old blog I wrote in 2009.  It was published on mikevitalemusic.com and then swiftly erased several years later due to a custody dispute with my brain.  Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of Mike Vitale.  However, in a childish attempt to shuck responsibility, I have reposted this entry as a means or further alienating myself from myself.  You had it coming, me.  Wow, I just made my head hurt.  Proceed:

Dear Mike,

I want to be upfront with you about the way I’ve felt lately, and I know that you feel the same way I do considering how close we are (both figuratively and physically).  I need you to know that the decisions you make have a profound effect on my happiness and general comfort level—and I must say, your decisions lately have inevitably led to a great deal of discomfort and unhappiness on my part, hence this letter.

You see, it all started with your latest purchase: a pair of briefs, underwear, at the local designer clothing store.  For years now, you have done right by me, taking great care in purchasing what I prefer: boxer briefs.  Generally, and in my humble opinion, I think you look far more attractive in them; they are loose and casual, comfortable and dynamic in their flow and adhesiveness.  I feel quite at home in them.  

Now, I am all about self-exploration.  I mean, come on.  We’ve had our fair share of creative shenanigans together (you remember that time with the rubber bands?), and I certainly want you to try new things, or, in this particular case, retry new old things that you used to do twenty to twenty five years ago, when you didn’t have a choice.  Christmas was always socks and Fruit of the Loom briefs from mom and dad (hi mom and dad).  But I digress.

Look, I was fine when you came home with the first pair of brand new designer briefs from the store a week or two ago, but then, as if to add insult to injury, just a few days ago, YOU BOUGHT TWO MORE PAIR!  What on Earth were you thinking?!  I feel dizzy and sweaty just thinking about it.  It’s like I’m stuck with this decision in much the same manner as I am your leg, and I don’t like it!  No sir!  

It’s like my creativity and general comfort level suffocates as the borders of your briefs draw closer and closer to me with every wash and dry cycle  Those 100% cotton abominations of nature!  YOU should be ashamed!  That wedgie you are feeling right now up your fault line is no fault of mine and you know it!  Think of the cocoa brown stains that could happen if you weren’t thorough!  What would a lady friend think of that?  Answer me!

[deep breath] I’m sorry…

I need to know: is it something I did or said?  Look, I love you, and I want you to be happy.  Talk to me.  We can work this out.  I just want everything (specifically, underwear) to be more like how they used to be—when the things between us were young, new, fresh, more boxer-brief-like, and consensual.

Sincerely,

Your Testicles

New Single Available on July 20th 2017

Running Away From Home by Mike Vitale 

TOP LEFT: Mike Vitale and Matthew James Vitale. TOP RIGHT:  Mike Vitale.  BOTTOM RIGHT:  Donna Vitale and Mike Vitale

Hey!

Did I ever tell you about that time I ran away from home when I was in second grade, because I wanted to be a werewolf?  

Well, the single for "Running Away From Home" is being released tomorrow (July 20th 2017) on all major digital distribution sites including iTunes, Amazon, Etc.  It is also available to stream on all major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Pandora, and so forth.

I'm very proud of how the song turned out and I have a wealth of wonderful musicians who made this track what it is.  Thank you to Frank Reina for his drumming and engineering skills on the kit, Brad Cummings for his work on the bass, and to Tom Bremer for his country guitar chops.  Holy shit: you guys knocked it out of the park.  Also, thank you to Chris Karn for such a great mix.

This has been a long time in the making and I would be thrilled if you all help me spread the word to friends and family if you like the song.  I have two more singles that I just wrapped up the mixes on today: No Vacancy and The Needle of the Human Race.  As always, thank you so very much for your continued enthusiasm and support and for being a part of this journey of mine.  It is so deeply appreciated and I am humbled to have your attention.

Friday July 7th 2017 at Hotel Cafe

Click the flyer to purchase tickers in advance!

Click the flyer to purchase tickers in advance!

Tonight, I'm playing some songs I wrote at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles for Lilac Sessions Presents.  

I'm aiming for a good time, and your heart (in no particular order).

The show starts at 10pm with Marcus von Rittberg, I go on at 11pm, and Chris Loggins hits the stage at midnight.

$8 for advanced tickets.  Click the flyer to visit the website and purchase your today.  It's going to be $10 at the door.

Hope to see you all on Friday July 7th!

- Mike Vitale

Hotel Cafe on June 7th 2017

I'm playing a full band show at The Hotel Cafe on Wednesday June 7th at 8pm. I've got Frank Reina and Brad Cummings as a rhythm section.  Damn.  These guys are fucking incredible.

The show is 21+ and it's $10 at the door.

Scott Mickelson is going to be in town from San Francisco, CA playing at 7pm.  He is a great singer songwriter and totally worth checking out.  Come early!

Advanced tickets are available by clicking the image to your left, or the link below:

https://www.hotelcafe.com/tickets/?s=events_view&id=6379

Plan B?

I am currently sitting outside and writing this on the patio in front of the rented space that I call my home.  I was working on writing something else but now I'm writing this.  I was enjoying a cup of coffee as I often do every morning. 

I just went to reach for my coffee mug, but stopped mid reach because a bee has just landed on the table right next to the handle of my coffee mug.  I'm starring at it right now. 

It sits there motionless, with what appears to be no immediate intentions of moving.  I wonder what it is thinking.  It doesn't appear to have any ill will towards me, and I too have no ill will towards it.  I imagine that it has no desire to cause me any harm, nor do I to it.  So, here I sit, continuing to write and express myself while it lightly brushes its wings and does the secret beautiful things that bees do when you have the opportunity watch one up close like this.  After all, for whatever reason, it flew to this table where I am sitting and decided to land by my enormous green Rainforest Cafe coffee mug.  However, I don't want to be stung simply because I desire another sip of coffee, so I'm waiting and continuing to type away on my iPad.  Well, no intention of leaving still, so I begin to appreciate it for its subtle parallels to life and just as I do that, it flies away to continue its busy day of bee things.  

I take a big rewarding sip of my coffee and I can't help but think back to a few weeks ago when something remotely similar happened, but we both reacted to each other in a completely different manner: the results however were just the same; the bee flew away.  I was sitting outside and writing just as I am now, and a bee landed on the table next to my drink, however, on this occasion, it took flight and decided instead to fly around me cyclically, repeatedly, and eventually landed right on my shirt. 

I remained motionless and let it do its bee things that only bees know, for about 5 or 10 minutes, and I could feel myself growing impatient.  I had things to do, but I didn't feel comfortable returning to them with a bee on my shirt.  

I started feeling resentment towards the bee for taking its sweet ass time doing whatever the hell it was doing.  It eventually launched into the air again, only to continue to fly around me.  I sat there trying to remain calm, but this time, it was flying closer to my face and I could hear it's buzzing wings as it continued to make its rounds. 

At this point, I freaked out and jumped from my chair and tried to distance myself from the bee as I had no clue as to what its intentions were and I didn't want to be stung.  I ended up running over to the opposite side of the patio and it followed me there, continuing to find interest in me and fly around me half hazard.  I didn't want to hurt the bee so I had no choice but to once again remain perfectly still and let the bee do its bee stuff.  

It flew over to the opposite end of the patio and buzzed around something else for a little while.  It landed.  It flew away.  It came back and flew around me some more.  I remained motionless and watched. 

No sooner did I decide to return to a state of calm, than it decided to fly away.  I wonder what it was thinking?  Did I look like a flower?  Was I a layover from its busy day of work doing bee stuff?  What attracted it to me in the first place?  I will never know for sure, but I can't help but be curious; it's the way I've always been.  

Patreon

I recently setup a Patreon account in the hopes of speeding up the process of releasing new music and new music videos.

Visit me on Patreon

Visit me on Patreon

I'm very grateful for friends, family, and fans who have been so kind as to be a part of this process thus far:

Ron Feldman, Bridget Mackiewicz, Fernando Gallegos, Heather Renz, Brenda Prisk Mattea, Carey Brown, Tim Grobaty, John Sinambal, Matt Vitale, Joshua Jon Day, Megan Kaplinsky, and Yeggi Kaela Watts.

While I realize that this sort of thing is not for everyone, I deeply appreciate the people who resonate with the idea of participating in something like this.

I've been trying, with very little success, to release music on a consistent basis paying professionals to do quality work in the fields that they are good at.  

As a singer/songwriter, I am required to juggle a great deal of tasks, and if I were to be completely honest, it takes a toll on me over time.  It is very stressful and strenuous work being your own booking agent, manager, band organizer, graphic artist, mixing engineer, recording engineer, marketing person, show organizer, etc., while also trying to do the very thing that all the other stuff I just listed is in support of:  write and perform songs, with a band or just solo acoustic.

I have been very fortunate to have artistic friends who have been kind enough to help in any way that they can, from time to time, but at the end of the day, things happen faster and move much more quickly when people are being paid for what they are good at.

I've tried my hand at several different fields within the realm of music, partially out of interest, and also, mainly out of necessity.  For example, I mixed the audio for the video below.  It took me roughly two and a half months.  I read some books.  Did some studying.  Made about 49 mixes of this song (approximately).  Treated my room for recording and mixing.  I had fun doing it to begin with, but it became more difficult, the more time I spent working on it.  During those two and half months, I wasn't writing songs or successfully maintaining the other aspects of doing music business related stuff listed above; I was concentrating on mixing this song.  I became exhausted and depressed after about one month of work on it.  I kept chugging along though.  I took several breaks because it became difficult to have a good objective outlook on the work I had put into mixing the song:

However it turned out, I worked very hard on this, and did the best I could.  However, in the process, I realized that I can't do everything by myself.  I need help.  That is why I am writing this: to ask you for help.  If I have a budget to work with, I can reduce my work load by hiring professionals, and effectively, create more quality art.  Ideally, I hope that I can focus on that, mainly.  This is my goal.  In the meanwhile, I appreciate your attention on the art that is being made, and hope that if you find yourself in a place to pledge even a small amount of money, you would have my sincere and deep gratitude.  Here is a link where you can learn more about how you can help:

http://www.patreon.com/mikevitalemusic

The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost

This is a short story that I wrote several years ago concerning many subjects that I find fascinating.  Perhaps you might as well.  Perhaps not.  I humbly offer it to you though, either way.

 

 

The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost

By Mike Vitale

“Oh Jesus,” Edward says as he leans away from his wife and closer towards his passenger window, getting a better view of the protestor’s primal volcanism.  The crowd outside just noticed his limousine and begins to ooze from the sidewalk, into the roadway, blocking his driver’s path.  Edward’s eyes languidly survey the crowd of activists as he shakes his head in disbelief and rests his nose on the cold glass for a moment.  His view of the estrangement outside is gradually lost as his passenger-side window fogs up from the warm air of his breath, pulsing against his chilled view of the world outside.  

The soft and eloquent leather of Edward’s seat squeaks and crackles as he sits back.

His wife, Lauren, breaks the silence with a soft sympathetic click of her tongue.  She says, “People are equally as fickle as they are thankful Edward, especially when new ideas challenge the beliefs they were raised on.”

Their driver slowly parts the ocean of protestors with their brightly painted signs, chanting, “Life is sacred, death should be respected.”  The limousine eventually settles in front of an elegant architectural tower of steel and glass—the epicenter of the crowd’s disdain: Cosgrove Industries.

Lauren leans in towards her husband and says, “Perhaps faith is like that foggy window of yours,” kissing him on the lips, and then fading back towards her seat with his chin resting on her delicate fingertips, “and science… science will allow those people outside the opportunity to get their nose off of the glass and clear away the condensation that obscures their view.”  She slowly draws her hand back and adjusts the geometry of her head so that she is staring up, squarely into Edward’s eyes.  She smiles.

Edward does his best to return the smile, but his efforts more closely resemble a guy yanking his cheeks up towards his eyes.  He looks down at his feet.

Lauren can’t help but giggle from his effort and says, “Are you smiling or wincing?

“That was supposed to be a smile.” Edward fidgets with the handle on his door.

“Could have fooled me, Clint Eastwood.”

Edward chuckles.

“Ah, there he is.”

He smiles, this time, of the far more authentic variety.

“I feel like a magician—I just made that furrow in your brow…” she claps her hands together and then pushes them apart from one another with a glitter of dancing fingers, and whispers, “disappear,” with a slight lean towards macabre entertainer, as if she has yet another trick up her sleeve for her make-believe audience.

They both laugh for a moment.

The driver exits the vehicle and sluggishly elbows his way around the protestors surrounding the limousine in order to open the door for Mr. Cosgrove. 

As Edward’s passenger door opens the furious clatter and chants of the protesters pierce the silent steel bubble they had a moment ago.  He puts his right hand on the roof of the car to exit, looks back at his wife and shouts over the noise, “Today is the day.  I can feel it.”

Lauren wags her head in understanding.  “Tell mother I said hello and give your father my love,” hollering over the commotion from outside. 

Edward leans in to kiss his wife goodbye and silently mouths the words I love you before stepping into the street.

The intonations from the protesters echo off the face of his huge downtown skyscraper, housing 37 separate business endeavors first began by Mr. Edward J. Cosgrove nearly 44 years ago at the tender age of 18.  Nearly all of his business efforts have reshaped human existence.  His inventions, discoveries, and philanthropy have allowed the blind the basic human right of reading their personal mail or gaping in awe from a vanilla-orange sunset; the deaf to listen to an ocean and appreciate the numerous works of Beethoven; the paralyzed the ability to walk to the bathroom and relieve themselves, not to mention the necessary clean up afterwards, in privacy.

       He pushes forward, trailblazing with his arms and elbows amongst the hysteria surrounding his enormous place of business and slowly works his way forward, away from the limousine behind him.  Peripherally he hears a break from the two-tone chant emanating from all around the tight sphincter-like pathway of human beings.  He hears a man.  He hears his violent words strike him like the sound of colliding steel amongst the everyday noise of commuter traffic: “You’re a fucking monster.”  He feels something wet hit his face.  Cosgrove digs through his jacket pocket, stops, and then wipes away the sulfur-hued snot from his face with a handkerchief, resuming his efforts towards the front entrance of Cosgrove Industries without looking back.  

The opulent ground floor of his building houses a lovely fountain with holographic images projecting onto a dancing wall of water.  Structural pillars double as towering, concise, digital screens, projecting relaxing computer-animated simulacrum to the visitor: flowers, ponds, stone gardens, flowing water, aquariums.  Edward waves to the on-duty security guard.   He calls the elevator.  Going up.  Edward feels close to home.

       110th floor.  The elevator chimes; the doors slide open.  Edward takes a deep breath, exhales, smiles, and then moves forward saying, “Good morning, Mother.”

       “Good morning, Son.  How’s my baby doing?”

       “Oh, better—now that I’m here.”

       “That’s good, baby.  That’s wonderful.  Don’t let the troglodytes outside bother you.  Today is the big day. Your father will be so proud.  We should wake him.”

       “I agree, Mother.”  Edward points with his thumb like a hitchhiker. “I’m going to go grab a cup of coffee down the hall and we’ll get started.”

      “Oh dear, I wish you wouldn’t rely on coffee so much.”

       Edward walks briskly towards the break room, conceding to his mother’s testament with a simple gesture: both hands, raised in front of him.  “I know, I just like the way I think afterwards.”

       “I’ll wait for you here,” she says with a fine-have-it-your-way laugh.

     After Edward pours himself his first cup of coffee, he turns away from the kitchenette and leans his body against the countertop.  He takes a cautious sip and stares at the wall adorned with his various accomplishments: A Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from MIT, a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in Anthropology from Harvard University, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, American Medical Writers Association Awards, an Inventor of the Year award from MIT, The Nation Medal of Technology, and honorary doctorate degrees from several major universities, amongst many others.  Like his Mother and Father, both MIT graduates and scientists, he has focused his life on the pursuit of knowledge, and the betterment of humanity.  Many of the exponential leaps in modern medicine and computer science all have Edward J. Cosgrove to thank for his contributions—both intellectual and financial.  While still attending Harvard Medical School, Cosgrove sold his first business venture for $500,000 to Reed, Sterling, and Deerworth.  He in turn used this capitol to finance his ideas and subsequent business ventures, eventually becoming a billionaire philanthropist.  If he hasn’t thought it up, he’s most likely financed it.

    His recent accolades have all stemmed from his research and breakthroughs using nanotechnology, focusing on the medical benefits of these devices.  Edward’s current financial and intellectual endeavors are centered on the mapping of the human brain, using advancements in nanotechnology and his subsequent development of artificial intelligence.  He, as well as his mother and father, have worked diligently to answer questions regarding self-awareness.

       Edward takes another sip of his coffee and saunters back into the main laboratory, hand in pocket. “So, how is father doing?”

       She settles on a sighing, “Oh,” a very low pitch emanating from the primal basement of doubt and worry, before continuing: “His vital signs are stable however I am especially worried about him today.  He’s been pretty unresponsive to most of my conversation this morning… I imagine he’s just a bit nervous.”

       “To be honest, Mother, I’m a bit nervous.”

       “Oh, you needn’t be dear.  He’s a strong man—this is why I love him.  Everything will work out just as planned.”

       As Edward walks towards his father’s medical quarters, he asks, “Is he still sleeping?”

       “Yes, we should wake him.”

       Down the hall from the main laboratory, a frail Joseph Cosgrove rests comfortably on an assisted breathing device.  Granted, there were the salad days without the bedpan, but on the other hand, there was a time in Joseph’s youth when he used to relieve himself in an outhouse.  He has seen the advent of the automobile.  He’s witnessed a human being escape the confines of Earth’s gravity for the first time, conquer the math behind acquiring an orbit, and finally landing on the moon.  He’s gaped at the advent of nuclear energy.  He and his colleagues were responsible for the first functioning quantum computer at MIT.  He’s discovered, first hand, the benefits of nanotechnology.  And in his old age, he has witnessed the first unique artificial intelligence to display, at least what appears to be, human emotion.

       Edward Cosgrove slowly runs his fingers through his dad’s hair and whispers into his ear, “Good morning dad.  How are you feeling this morning?”

       Joseph groggily opens his eyes, lifting his volatile left hand to move the breathing apparatus from his mouth in order to speak.  However, Edward gets there first and gently urges his father’s erratic hand back to a resting position. Joseph smiles softly and says, “Hey Tiger, good morning.

       “Today is the big day, dad.  Are you ready?”

       “Ready as I’ll ever be, Edward.  However, I’m wondering if you’re prepared for this.”

       “Oh believe me, father, I can hardly contain my excitement!  Think of the possibilities!  Eventually, you’re going to be able to run again!  The subcontracted development of a full-body prosthesis for you has been completed and is in testing as we speak.  We are continuing our efforts on the fully organic equivalent.  After I am satisfied with their results on your new organic body, I will give the green light on testing.

       Joseph’s brow furrows suddenly during his son’s excitement as he sighs and looks away.  He says, “Son, I’ve been avoiding this conversation for far too long.  We need to talk.”  Joseph takes a moment to gather him self before beginning what he knows to be an uncomfortable exchange of words. “Have you ever considered the spiritual implications behind what you are attempting?”

       “What do you mean dad?  Like whether or not God would approve?”  He chuckles, “Dad you know that I’ve never been one to believe in century old cults—some omnipotent grandfather who observes my scientific trespasses from some ethereal cloud, passing judgment on what he views as my indiscretions.  Besides, I don’t need that anyway.”  Edward points emphatically towards his father’s 110th floor window.  “If I wanted or required anyone to pass judgment on my actions, I could simply visit the mayhem happening down stairs; I’m sure they would be more than happy to accommodate.”

       “Oh son, that’s not what I mean.”  Joseph closes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep and difficult breath, “I don’t know where I am going—I don’t know whether there is somewhere for me to go.  I know that I am here right now, with you, but will I be when everything is complete?  

       Edward leans in to his father with deep sincerity, “Yes,” he whispers in a breathy confidence, “absolutely!  I know that everything will be just as it is now.”

       “How do you know that for you sure, Edward?  Despite all of the research, despite all of your hard work, despite all of your success, as scientists, we can only make conjectures when it comes to the unique nature of self-awareness.  You have mapped the human brain, and we think we understand the biochemistry behind its function: but, does that really lend towards any further understanding of the human soul?” Joseph leans on those last two words with all the urgency and passion he can muster—his words, then, like a dead body, slowly lose their buoyancy, sinking into the dark depths of a calm lake of silence.  He tries to make eye contact with Edward.  “Here you are talking to me right now—I want you to ask me a question.”

    Intrigued by Joseph’s request, Edward leans in slightly.  “What question would you like me to ask you, dad?”

    This pleases Joseph, “I want you to ask me whether I’m alive.”

    Edward pauses, “Are you alive?”

    “No,” Joseph whispers, delicately.

    Edward scoffs, “That’s obviously a lie, pop.”

    Joseph’s face brightens with the opportunity of debate, grinning as he continues with his argument.  “How do you know whether my answer is truth or lie, son?  You don’t—it’s impossible for you to.  Any form of intelligence is capable of a lie, whether organic or artificial.  Think back on the early forms of artificial intelligence we created together using algorithms.  Our Talkbot application would learn to answer questions and hold conversations based off of all previous interaction with humans—much like how a human child learns to communicate.  Now, you tell me: if you were to ask Talkbot if it were alive, what would its answer have been?”

    Edward prods his tongue into the lower-right molars of his mouth.  He knows his father has a good point, and this is no comfort to their situation.  Having sufficiently milked his ego of its pride like a morning cow, Edward replies, “Talkbot would say, ‘Yes, I’m alive’.”

    “Exactly, son—and perhaps it was.  Who are we to know?  We are not Talkbot.  There is no certainty to science; we only pretend to lay a great foundation for our collective knowledge on some strange beast of lie we call fact: a well-thought-out and tested thesis arrived at, scientifically, and widely accepted as nothing short of actual.  And sadly, the more intelligent we become as a species, conversely, the more inclined are we to prejudice and ignorance, completely unawares of all our transgressions in those departments; we conduct ourselves with far more certainty than we deserve, even through our rigid observational methods and standards.  We’re blinded by our own scientific dogma and satisfied enough to elevate ourselves to the complexities and chaos of creation if not just to satiate our curiosity about its elegance… and deep mystery.”

Edward stares off at some indistinguishable point on a wall while Joseph continues.   “Look, son.  I know that I am.  I have experiences that are solely my own by interpretation.  I know that I think and perceive in a manner that is unique unto me, and my brain.  However, do any of us really know for certain how this equates to the soul?  My brain, in all its subtle intricacies, creates I, and I am my brain.  Can the two be separated from one another?  Despite your research and findings, I am not so sure.”   

       Edward is becoming noticeably flustered and Joseph pauses.

       “Well, what about Mother?” Edward asks.

       Joseph licks his parched and cracked lips and says, “Yes, what about your mother”—Joseph chuckles, “son you are an absolute marvel.  I am so very proud of you.  I need you to know that.  Within our lifetime, your mother and I have created great many a thing, but you, by far, are the greatest of our creations.  I remember the day you were born.  Have I ever told you that story?”

       Edward closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly from shoulder to shoulder.

       Joseph continues, “If I remember correctly, your mother and I were at a party celebrating the completion of a processor we had been entrenched in for the past several months at MIT.  I remember that we were both speaking with Richard Fulbright,” Joseph’s eyes gloss over with a sweet reminiscent glaze, “he was quite the character.  He had such a vivid imagination and a wicked sense of humor.  He was actually responsible for most of the databases compiled on human subjects in order to improve our artificial intelligence research—human experiences and so forth.  At any rate, your mother and I were nearly in tears from some story that Richard was telling us when her water broke.  I remember feeling like an absolute wreck as I rushed her to the hospital.  It was in the wee hours of the morning, and your mother was a few weeks early.  The doctor arrived in a posh tuxedo from a dinner party and didn’t have enough time to get scrubbed up before you came popping out—you were always in a hurry.”  Joseph grins and can’t help but laugh as he reaches the climax of his story.  “No sooner did you burst out of your mother than did you urinate all over the good doctor.”  His laughter segues into a violent fit of coughing.  Joseph regains his composure, smiles again up at his son, and does his best to clear his throat and continues with the story.  “Anyway, the doctor says, ‘Well, at least we know that works’.”  

Joseph puts his worn hand over his son’s.  “Mister, you were always destined to make a lasting impression.”

       Edward begins to cry and rests his head on his father’s chest.

       “Son, I need you to know that you weren’t responsible for what happened to your mother.  Complications are what they are.  No one could have foreseen the health issues that arose from her condition after she gave birth.  She lived a long and fruitful life and had the blessing of seeing you before she passed.  She would be so absolutely proud of you had she the opportunity—I know this in my heart.”

       Joseph anchors his shaking hand on Edward’s cheek, “You have done amazing things with Richard’s database and research.  She seems as real as the wife I knew and loved.”

       Joseph is suddenly overcome with a far more violent fit of coughing; his breathing becomes erratic and he loses consciousness.  Edward tries to help his father with his breathing apparatus. The electrocardiogram suddenly jumps from a steady rhythmic pulse to an erratic and random set of V’s along the screen.  Edward pushes away the stool he was sitting on and quickly moves towards the computer equipment permeating the outskirts of his father’s medical quarters with the composure of confidence.  

       “Mother, bring the servers online and begin the database transfer from father’s hippocampus and frontal lobes.  I need you to initiate a complete secondary brain scan.  Make sure that everything we have is current in terms of content.   Mother, do we have a compatible rhythm for defibrillation?”

       “Data transfer and secondary brain scan initiated.  Hold on, Joseph.  Current readings suggest cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”

       Edward moves over to his father’s bedside, crosses his hands over Joseph’s chest and begins rapidly compressing for several minutes.

       “That’s good, Edward; I have what I need to begin defibrillation.”

       Joseph’s frail muscles contract with each electrical pulse.  After several attempts, the electrocardiogram moves from frequent and erratic V’s, to a slow and wavy line.

       “Data transfer and secondary brain scan complete.  We have what we need, Edward.”

       “Excellent.  It’s 11:47 AM.  I’m calling it.  Go ahead and reboot the servers and let’s see what we’ve got.”

       Several minutes pass before Mother begins to laugh hysterically.

       “What is it, Mother?”

       She continues to chuckle as she says, “Oh, it’s your Father.  He’s always known how to make me laugh.”

       Edward sits back down on his stool and crosses his fingers together in the shape of a small temple, full of all his hopes, desires, and fears.  He comes to rest his mouth on this fashioned temple made of his own two hands, takes and gives breath to its fleshy and unique walls, and speaks from its altar: “Daddy, are you there.”

       “Yes, Son.”

 

A Time Machine

Every Saturday night, I play a gig at a resort in Carlsbad, CA.  The place is called Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.  I live in Long Beach, so it normally takes me about an hour or two to get there, depending on traffic, and about an hour on the way back.

I used to listen to music most of the way there.  It varies.  I normally do some vocal warmups when I'm feeling studious.  However, as of late, I've been calling my friends to talk while I drive.  It's a great time to catch up with everyone I love.

At any rate, one such conversation with one of my friends brought back a memory from my childhood. 

I attended an elementary school in Visalia called Crestwood.  I grew up right across the street from that school, which was pretty cool.  It was a giant playground right across from my house, so it was the perfect place to meet people and to engage in things to do.  Play basketball.  Play baseball.  Just play.  I really enjoyed playing sports growing up.  I dreamed of being a professional athlete for a small stint.

I was a very shy kid.  In some regards, I still am.  I try to get myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible, but, it's a constant effort to break out of that mold.  Perhaps you can relate.  Perhaps not.

I spent much of 5th grade and 6th grade recess playing football with my classmates.  I made what I thought at the time, were friends, participating in this daily activity.  It was fun.  I continued my efforts to reach out to some of these individuals, through extra curricular activities like Boy Scouts of America.  I enjoyed it very much, because it helped me to meet people and get out of my shell a bit, and I learned about survival and the wilderness. 

However, I made a mistake, as we all do, one day.  I upset my father with this mistake, and as punishment, he forced me to quit Boy Scouts of America.  The mistake I made was contrary to the code of conduct and ethics instilled in its participants.  Because of this, it affected by ability to further connect with my peers.

A few years later, during junior high, I tried my best to reconnect with one of the kids that I was in Boy Scouts of America with.  However, my efforts were met with a lack of enthusiasm.  I was bullied by this individual.  He took every opportunity possible to try and pick a fight with me.  It started as verbal putdowns, and eventually grew into physical engagements such as throwing basketballs at my head during P.E. or a shove to the ground for no reason.  I tried my best to not engage in what he wanted, which was a fight.  Instead, I just accepted the punishment and ridicule.  I didn't want to be hurt, but I certainly didn't want to be his enemy either.  I gave up and kept my distance from him, as I assumed that my absence from his life would better suit the both of us, and I was scared of what I might do if I allowed myself to become angry.  He was the son of the Cub Scout master I had in elementary school.  I wanted to be his friend, but he didn't reciprocate that desire.  So, we never became friends.

I went about life.  Found things I loved, like music.  I would see him from time to time.  We would not engage each other, even in junior college.

One day, I was talking to a mutual friend of ours at College of the Sequoias.  He asked me why I didn't talk to Paul.  I explained to him that my efforts were never reciprocated, and told the story I just told you. 

Our mutual friend, as adults typically do, explained to me that Paul had a bit of a rough go growing up.  His father was not very kind to him.  Paul's father physically and verbally abused him.

I was crushed by this information.  As a twenty year old, I looked back on Paul's behavior growing up, and realized that he was in a great deal of pain at that time.  It had nothing to do with me.  

To this day, I can't possibly process all the intricacies of what it is to be a human being—what it is to put yourself in someone else's shoes.  I try my best.  Any frustration or anger I felt towards Paul, was replaced with anguish and sympathy for what he inherited.

I'm thirty seven years old now, driving back from a gig in Carlsbad.  Music off.  I'm just thinking.  Remembering my life.  Building a time machine constructed of human experience.  This time machine can only travel to where I've been.  I travel to my past.  I have yet to manifest a future to travel to.

I've made a lot of mistakes that I regret.  I wonder how many times I have been the Paul to someone else's life, without even realizing it.  

I'm not sure that I will ever see him again.  But, should I ever, given the opportunity, I would love to get to know you.  Wherever you are, wherever the journey in life has taken you, I hope this finds you happy and well.  You deserve it.  We all do.  The future is what we make of it.

The First (sort of)

I am trying to eat a bowl of oatmeal right now.  If I were to be completely transparent, this is posing a challenge for me today—eating I mean.  I am full of anxiety.  I am about to put myself out there as I used to do, for years.  This starts off as a frightening experience.  I have been here before; I have been there before; and it is comforting to know where this road leads: to good places.  Life is about taking risks.  All the fun stuff resides on a horizon, riddled with land mines of mistakes on its forefront, on a field of hard work.  In recent years, I have stepped on quite a few land mines.

I was spilling all of my emotional entrails and sharing a lot of what I was feeling right now, on this very page, for the past hour.  However, the delete key on my keyboard has replaced the many paragraphs I had just written, with this sentence.  Now I am here.  I have managed to finish the bowl of oatmeal and I feel a bit better.

I used to do this a lot.  Journal my thoughts, I mean.  I might again because I find it very cathartic.

Believe this, because it is true: I stopped posting these journals (blogs) because my roommate told me he thought it was "kind of lame."  He had his reasons for sharing his thoughts on the matter.  Who is to say whether he was right?  I can say that words are powerful, both my own and everyone else's.  What I give credence to is my own decision, though.  In hindsight, I believe I shouldn't have listened to him.  Only I know what works for me.

Forgive me for not sharing all that is running through my head this afternoon.  I need to get back to what I am working on.  I am putting together a Patreon account to help fund more live recording videos on Youtube.  When it is completed, I will try to remember to post a link to it here.  In the meanwhile, here is a link to my Youtube page:  http://www.youtube.com/mikevitalemusic

Should you happen to find something to like on there, I would be honored to have your subscription and your attention.

I just completed making a video that I worked very hard on.  The recording was effortless because Frank handled that, but mixing the audio myself was very difficult (it took me nearly 3 months).  We have performed this song many times together live, so no rehearsal was necessary. 

The finished product is what it is.  It's a song I wrote called "Fool For You."  I recorded it live with my friends Frank, Tom, and Brad.  My friends Damian and John did the filming and the lighting for it.  They are all amazing artists and I absolutely adore making creative stuff with them.  The Patreon account is to help fund that desire.  People deserve to be payed for their talents and the money is going to them.  It will pay for rehearsals, production costs, audio mixing, video editing, and hopefully studio time.  I would like to focus exclusively on new material I have written, which will require rehearsals before recording the song live.  It will also ensure faster turnaround of a finished product.  Here is what we made together:

 

 

This, what I am writing, is for you as much as it is for me.  If I were to keep it to myself it would just be for me.  I prefer this though.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  I have much to share with you.

xoxo

- Mike Vitale

In Store Performance at Fingerprint's in Long Beach

I'm going to be playing three or four songs tonight for the Summer and Music Press Release at Fingerprints in Long Beach.

Joining me this evening will be The Pawnshop Kings and De Lux playing an In-Store performance at 7pm.

CD Release Show at The Constellation Room

Thursday March 27th 2014 is the CD RELEASE SHOW my self-titled E.P.    

All Ages show.  $10 tickets at the door.  I'm working on seeing if advanced ticket sales are available through the venues website:  http://constellationroom.com

This has been a long while in the making so I am very excited to be sharing my new album with all of you folks at such a great venue renowned in local circles for great sound and vibe.  The self-titled album was produced by Mike Vitale, mixed by Chris Karn (Production, Mixing, and Engineering credits with Daniel Lanois, Rocco DeLuca, and Joe Chiccarelli) and Barrett Slagle (Mixing and Production credits for The Steelwells).  The album was Mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound in Los Angeles, CA.

Last Night at Steamer's Jazz Club and Cafe

Mike Vitale played a full band show to a packed house at Steamers all there to support our good friend Nancy Sanchez and the release of her new album as well as the group Mariachi 3Generaciones.  

Last night was a ton of fun and I was super stoked for the invitation to play for fans of her music.

I had Ty Dennis joining me on drums, Brad Cummings on bass, and Cory Clark on electric guitar.

Thanks to Ashley Hectus for the wonderful photos.

 

 

NAMM Performance at The Marriott

Hey Everyone!

I got an invitation to play NAMM this year at The Marriott Hotel in Anaheim CA on Wednesday January 22nd 2014 at 10pm.

This is the first time I'm going to be performing this brand new material from my new self-titled E.P. with a cast of very talented musicians.  I would be honored to have you there.  Full band show.  Free to the public.