Top Ten Christmas Songs That Rock

December 25th, 2010

It's presumably little surprise that I love Christmas songs. Not, like, all Christmas songs. Christmas songs with a backbeat. Christmas songs that rock.

You, Dear Reader, may recall that it all began in the passenger seat of my brother's Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser station wagon, nog in the belly, weed on the brain (sorry, mom), WYSP on the radio, and mind-blowing luminarium along the culdesac streets.

In fact, it may well have been rocking' Christmas music that got me through those years. Those experiences (Band Aid's "Do They Know ...

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Home For Christmas

December 24th, 2010

Thus far, parenthood is riddled with cliches: chubby cheeks, bare bottoms, wide eyes -- the whole thing.

Unlike other things stretched to the point of stereotype, though, the scale and scope of these new feelings are so huge, this new love so massive and revelatory at every turn, that its very triteness is completely superfluous.

Especially Christmas, that most-commodified, angst-ridden celebration of all.

You, Dear Reader, may recall my tragic history with the holiday. It was, for logical, reasonable and defensible reason (I'm sure) ...

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Jeff Jacobson’s Abatab

July 23rd, 2010

I first met my pal Jeff Jacobson at singer/songwriter Casey Shea's wedding. He was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee with chanteuse Amy Hills. I sat down and slipped right into their conversation, one that continues to this day.

Jeff has a thoughtful demeanor and dry, self-effacing wit. He's one of the best guitarists and most capable singer/songwriters I know. He pitched in on the first two Holiday Benefit albums, and sings "Sweet Baby James" with me on my forthcoming "Forever Young" benefit album. He's an awesome ...

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Something To Say

March 29th, 2010

It wasn't until somewhere around Christopher Street that I realized that Thursday night's Rockwood Music Hall set was littered with references to breaking silence, speaking up and being heard.

From "Giving Up The Ghost" ("It's impossible to argue / It's impossible to scream") to "Live Forever" ("There's nothing left here to say"), "St. Anne (Of The Silence)" to "Dear Elizabeth" ("I still have something to say"), "Trying To Tell You" to "I'll Be Waiting" ("This is a message to you"), the set -- in this case drafted by my pal Chris Abad but ...

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The Year In Photos, 2009

December 31st, 2009

What a year. From The Inauguration to The Oscars to my tenth New York City Marathon, no previous loop around the sun has been more jam-packed with mind-blowing moments.

I played the Iowa State Fair, contributed a song to The Nadas "Crystalline" compilation, and helped raise four grand (and counting) for 826NYC with "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 3."

I spent a week on Bray's Island, one on Grand Cayman, and another in Nantucket. I took in The Brickyard 400 (and many Foster's oil cans), celebrated Abadfest 2: Electric Boogaloo, and narrowly ...

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Mazel Tov!

December 7th, 2009

Way back in 2000, my then-boss foisted an interview on me with a recent college graduate named Jonathan.

"Trust me," he said. "This guy's cover letter was so over the top, you're gonna' love him."

I won't front; I was dubious. But sure enough, the kid had moxie. So we hired him. In his first month, he asked Britney Spears to spit out her gum, and suggested Godsmack's Sully Erna to take off his baseball cap. He's had me over to Passover Seder twice, shot and directed my music videos, and been a terrific friend.

In 2004, I ...

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The Wild Rumpus

October 16th, 2009

For me, Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are" is mixed up with the wild rumpus of my parent's divorce.

I don't remember when Sendak's creatures first appeared in my life; his fifteen-page book was always present.

I do remember wandering the wide, book-strewn aisles of the Oak Park Mall's Kracht & Brentano's with my family (when we were one), pawing at books like "Scruffy" and "Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing." And I remember spotting a Wild Thing there, high on an off-white, corrugated-steel shelf. And I remember that I ...

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Pretty Good Shape (For The Shape I’m In)

September 21st, 2009

The Abads are a force to be reckoned with.

Example. Last Saturday night, The Abads celebrated Chris' 31st birthday with a roucous night of Cranium (yes, the board game). I showed up from VMA rehearsals well after one o'clock. The shenanigans didn't wrap until just before five.

The next morning, Chris send an email to the assembled: "Thanks for the birthday hang; a mellow night with close friends was just what the doctor ordered."

Another example? Last year's Abadfest put me in Lenox Hill Hospital.

Still, Abbi and I loaded ...

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Cadre Of Awesomeness

August 31st, 2009

After ushering in my thirty-seventh year alone on a strange Angelino couch, I wasn't about to let it happen again with thirty-eight.

Accordingly, Abbi and I kicked off my Birthday Week (what the heck, right?) last night with drinks, dinner, and a dozen dear family and friends. The criteria was simple: no one from work (sorry guys), and no one with whom I would feel stuck in conversation.

It was a cadre of awesomeness populated by friends who've known me since college, pals who picked me up on the Interwebs, and an adorable newborn ...

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Iowa State Fair (Summer 2009)

August 17th, 2009