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Thursday
Jan302014

TIM REVIEWS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S "HIGH HOPES"


I wrote a review for the new Bruce Springsteen record HIGH HOPES for SPIN MAGAZINE. Turns out Spin Magazine is no more. I should have realized something was up when the email came from TimItsSpinMagazineHaHaHaIdiot@Hotmail.com

I love Bruce. Always have. One of my first tapes when I was very very young was BORN IN THE USA which ruined me for a while because I thought EVERY tape I’d get would have like 10 hits on it and all amazing songs (I quickly realized this wasn’t the case when I got Debbie Gibson’s “Out of The Blue” HEY STOP MAKING FUN OF ME THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS) and when I was like 22 I was having a rough 6 months where I wasn’t winning much at life and lived in a weird little place in Delaware called LITTLE HEAVEN, and I played Bruce’s “THE RIVER” over and over, it just was the right music for the right time…and let me tell you if that’s “little heaven”, I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners have much more fun (My Uncle Billy said that)

So anyway I have this review of “HIGH HOPES” and heard that some weren’t really feeling the new Bruce record, I know the feeling, and Bruce puts a new one out every 3 weeks or so, so it’s really easy to write one off (I never connect with the HAPPY Bruce records, I like my Bruce records to be about dirt and gas pumping and working on highways). However, High Hopes is sneaky sneaky good little record. From one Bruce-head to all current and future Bruce-heads, here’s me doing my due diligence.

“HIGH HOPES”. Ok title track, it’s a throwaway song. I wanted to like this one, it’s not very fun or has any real flavor to it, feels like we’ve heard Bruce do this one already. Then there’s “ HARRY’S PLACE”, you know Bruce is good when 35 years after a song called “Mary’s Place” he does “Harry’s Place” (Just looked it up, “Mary’s Place” wasn’t 35 years ago, it was in 2003. Bruce songs are like our children, we have no idea how many there are and we certainly don’t know how old they all are, AM I RIGHT? Wait, what) however, the quality dropped significantly on “Harry’s Place”, the only take away from this one is that Bruce likely still has and wears all his clothes from the 80’s and probably still wears that red cap from the BORN IN THE USA cover. At this rate though, I expect “Larry’s Place” on the next record and hopefully “Gary’s Place” sometime in 2022. Other than that reassurance, toss this one too.

Ok, so with those 2 in the trash bin. Your copy of HIGH HOPES now kicks off with “41 SHOTS”. I heard this a million times on bootlegs, heard the folker version and now we have this version, and chills every time. What a stunning recap of that poor guy in NYC who got shot 41 times by the cops who was only holding his wallet. Bruce really brought this to light. I get 100% of my news from Springsteen songs, (speaking of which, do you guys know people DANCE IN THE DARK with cast members from FRIENDS?)

Then we go right into “JUST LIKE FIRE “ and here we go, just vintage perfect perfect E Street. All Bruce fans do all sorts of air kicks when Bruce is killing it, Bruce kills it here, I air kicked like 5 times and THEN halfway through, the song hits us with that trumpet? I loved that song already, but by the trumpet I got so happy I flipped my kitchen table. I need to clean this mess up.

“DOWN IN THE HOLE”,this one feels and sounds like a sequel to “I’m On Fire” from BORN IN THE USA and I just realized that record came out like 30 years ago. I’m decrepid.

“HEAVEN’S WALL”, ok, if you’re not feeling this one, I understand. Every single middle aged white man at that age, needs to go jam with soul singers. Paul Simon does it, Peter Gabriel does it, Sting has been doing it for 406 years. Not just singers, middle aged white mailmen invite soul singers on their mail deliveries too, middle aged white guy bartenders serve you drinks while soul singers are back behind the bar with him. It’s an old white guy thing. Bruce does it here, and there’s enough hooks and things in this song to keep it interesting for me, but I can’t really say anything to change your mind and if you’re not digging this one, totally understand.

“FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE” vintage Bruce, “vintage” in the way where he slurs some of the lyrics (example I’ve heard BADLANDS a million times, but when I’m singing it I have NO IDEA what Bruce says after BADLANDS! I think it’s” hurrr hurr ha hurrrrrrr” I just pick the song up again right around ‘it’s the price you gotta pay”) anyway with Bruce slurring through this one, I swore he was saying “REGGAE, PHILLY AND LOVE” and I was thrilled, those are 3 things I’m very fond of. This one is a winner (seriously, it sounds like he is saying REGGAE PHILLY AND LOVE).

“THIS IS YOUR SWORD” Bruce added a new weapon in his arsenal in the last couple years, going Irish flavored Guinness soaked Celtic foot stompers on us, and this is where he’s using some of that new footwork, great song, great writing, this is a turning point on the record, it gets really interesting from here…because “HUNTER OF THE INVISIBLE GAME” is hidden deep on this record but Bruce’s writing game is in tip top form “Strength is vanity and time is illusion” Bruce snuck one by me here, stuck possibly the best written song on here and yet so deeply into this record. Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, you sneaky little devil, you.

Then we have “GHOST OF TOM JOAD”. Bruce did this one already as a folker, then Rage Against The Machine did their ragey cover of it and it all comes together like chocolate and peanut butter here in this arena rocker. Tom Morello from Rage doing guitar and trading vocals on this one. It’s heavy, another one, where I get it, but understand if many prefer the dark acoustic Bruce version, and some love the heavy Rage version..and I love this blissful Peanut Butter Cup of a song where they mix up the two.

“THE WALL” wow just wow, a love song to a fallen soldier at the Viet Nam memorial, “cigarettes and a bottle of beer, skin on the black stone”. Another one Bruce tried to sneak by us, what a heavy thoughtful song, one where I stopped everything that I was doing to listen to this one again. I’m glad he cheers us up with “DREAM BABY DREAM”, just designed-for-the-arena Bruce, after playing his first 6 hours into his live show, he slows it down for everyone to hold up a lighter and groove out to before he plays for us for another 6 hours.

Love this record. Without the first 2 tracks and how you feel about “Tom Joad” and “Heavens Wall” this is pound for pound a really solid Bruce effort.

I give it 3.5 pairs of Bruce jeans out of a possible 5


Sunday
Jan192014

BROADWAY 

Not a bad date night, went out for drinks, but ended up joining The Goo Goo Dolls instead. This is the cover of our next record. Sing it loud and proud with me " LALALA WELL I DON'T WANT THE WORLD TO SEEEE ME, BECAUSE I DOOON'T THINK THAT THEY'D UNDERSTAAAAAAAND..."

Thursday
Jan092014

THROWBACK THURSDAY 

So I put some “early” pictures up online for this week’s “Throwback Thursday” of a few (sillier) ads I did when I first started out in this business.

People had some laughs, asked some questions, and I found myself really having some fun with it too.

There are so many stories about how people break into this business, phenomenal stories about people walking down the street or finishing a workout and immediately getting spotted and discovered by some key ingredient to what became their successful careers. For me, um, not so much. I’d had some small early breaks on TV but wasn’t sure what to do with it, how to parlay that into other opportunities, how to go get some fancy agent that would be like “YES! CAHH WILL DO THA PIC-CHA” (my imaginary agent early on was always from Boston, because an agent from Boston? Who’s is more of a straight shooter than that?) so, being in a business I knew very little about and was learning on the fly, I did realize I needed to “expand the brand” a bit. That it may be easier to get something made if I was out there working, rather than holding out and sitting on my couch, waiting for my conference call (that never came) with my imaginary Bostonian agent (his name would be Connor Michael O’Flannery) and Martin Scorcese who wanted me for “MEAN STREETS 2” (Marty Scorcese if you’re reading this, and I like to think that you are, MEAN STREETS 2, SERIOUSLY. I see Harvey Keitel in the Village in NYC sometimes, I can pitch it to him)

So my first deal that I signed, wasn’t necessarily a “film” deal or even a “acting” deal, but it WAS a deal that would allow me to expand the brand a little bit, maybe get my profile up just a little bit higher to eventually get into the things I wanted to get into. So off I went. Around this time, other folks that’d signed deals were doing GREAT. Todd General ended up being crowned MR NORTH AMERICA, Kim O signed a deal and immediately got to Europe and a TV deal and BOOM. Some success story named Carli was OWNING the scene, she sort of was everywhere and had more buzz than a bee hive. I got the ads above. Now I know these ads are for laughs, but I’m eternally grateful to all for making this function, here’s why:

1. Did it “expand the brand”? Honestly I don’t know. I had a real “Don’t I know you from some sort of thing I saw somewhere about something” going on (I happily STILL have that going) and that definitely helped it along
2. Broke as a joke. This business will pay, sometimes it takes a VERY long time to get one of those checks. This gig was recurring for about 2 years, and around that time I lived in an apartment that measured from here I-------------------à to here-àI (Actual size)
3. Where these folks were doing marginally higher profile things, I was able to have a marginally “recurring” thing which also keeps the agents that were wonderful to give me that deal, happy

That said, at those fancy parties everyone would be like “CARLI congratulations on conquering the world!” “Kim what are you wearing to the Daytime Emmys?” “Todd are you actually lifting weights at this party?” (yes he was, I may be joking. I’ll never tell) and “Tim, um, nice farty catalog about farts, fart machines, good and services related to farts and OF COURSE, those farting shirts.”

When I look back on these things for stuff like THROWBACK THURSDAY. I look back on all of it fondly, that entire path took me to this moment, and this moment, I’m working on quite possibly my best work, and a really fruitful time for ideas, writing, developing and I’m inspired by how well some of this is turning out to be. 2013 was a big year for me to get out of the front of the camera and behind it and behind the scenes, and develop some things, some fun stuff for myself, my colleagues and talented folks out there. It’s been really great, working behind the scenes has charged my batteries and given me the energy to put my head down, shut up and get right back to what I really enjoy doing, and that’s getting stories out to folks to enjoy.

So with that, I look at Tim in that photo, and want to let him know he may not think it at the moment, but, buck up chap, it’s all going in the right direction.

Take care and be good,
Tim

Wednesday
Jan082014

THE SURVIVOR

51.7 Million people watched the finale of the very first season of Survivor.

I wasn’t one of them.

But during this season, the world of pop culture would become become intertwined with that cast, and more specifically, with a personable gentleman… a YMCA coach from South Jersey named Gervase Peterson.

About a year and half after doing his thing in front of 51.7 million people, Gervase and I were on the set of “13th Grade” working together.

From where I’m sitting. Gervase’s career trajectory is a story of inspiration, opportunity and why it’s smart to “always take the gig”.

After Survivor, G was EVERYWHERE commercials, appearances, hosting, and a recurring role on a soap. From there, he took more advantages of these opportunities…his brand expanded into merchandise, sales, appearances. Then after “13th Grade” appeared in films, TV shows, pilots, we’ve worked together about 4 or 5 times, and let me tell you, from the director’s chair, his performance in our TV show “WATCHING THE DETECTIVES” as sharp tongued and sharp witted detective “Otis Kaygee” was absolutely outstanding. Every take was gold.

Like any career in this business, it’s a serious pendulum, with the great moments come some not so great ones, and it can happen that quickly. However, Gervase never stopped working, as I sit here typing this, he must have ten jobs. I know this because I have ten jobs (our jobs hilariously intersected on the field at a Philadelphia Union soccer game last fall). Actually a lot of people from the Philadelphia area seem to have 10 jobs…Questlove of the Roots, G Love, it goes on and on. Must be something in the water.

So imagine my surprise when my cousin Brian sent me a facebook message “Gervase is back on Survivor!” I had no idea, I’d never really watched that show. But here we are, 10+ years later, something like 27 seasons later, and there’s Gervase in the final top 3 of Survivor, that million bucks easily could have been all his.

Gervase’s story is something we can all take into the new year with us. The opportunities, the opportunities to grow, to learn, to try new things, to just always keep going, to keep working no matter what, because life has a great way of rewarding those efforts. So raise a glass to the new year, and to all the opportunities and ideas that you’re all chasing. In 2014 one way or another you’ll definitely see his performance in WATCHING THE DETECTIVES because that show is too much fun to hold back on it any longer! Happy new year all, now, let’s get to work…

Take care and be good,
Tim

Wednesday
Dec042013

"So Many Ways"



About 2-3 weeks ago I did a test reading for a studio film that shoots in London this summer. This pic came back to me this week saying “thank you”. It was unusual for me, because, first off, it’s a blurry picture of myself. 2nd, it was a screen test, it was basically a fancy audition. It was me on a job interview. A million people do a million job interviews, do we see accountants who interview get pics back from their firm? Do we see interviews for taco bell get a still frame of their job interview? So once the oddness of it passed, I started thinking. I started thinking about that room. How many times I’ve been in rooms just like that. How many times, all of us, in some way or another, have gone into a room, maybe like this, maybe in front of a crowd, maybe to give a speech, pitch or presentation. We all probably start in the same mindset, that initial bit of anxiety, you know it’s like for even the briefest of moments, we go back to the middle school version of ourselves “oh no, these people are going to hate me”. I think our success in rooms like this in any job and in any walk of life, is how long we keep that “middle school anxiety” in or out of our heads. I used to let it run me. In those VERY early days, I used to go in there and be so vanilla and bland, because that was me thinking maybe that was the flavor they wanted. Then one day, I just stopped thinking about that and just decided to just have a little fun with the material. The second I let it go, I let that anxiety go and just do what I do, results went in my favor immediately. Then a little while later, I was lucky enough to be on the other side of that table, where I was directing, where I had the “job interview” and I figured it all out,you all have more power than you think you do in rooms like this. These things, no one hates you, they’re actually rooting for you, they want you to be “the answer” so badly. So embrace it. Follow your instincts, trust yourself, get comfortable with your flavor, we’re all a little weird, embrace it. In my case, in a room like this, I may have 2 minutes to try and do the following things:

1. “wow” you.
2.Let you know I’m super fun to go be stuck on location with at 4am when we’re filming
3. Sell myself, that I can do this job, and do it well.

I walk in there as pretty much a complete stranger, and I have 2 minutes to do all of that. That’s no time. I have some friends who are musicians, and they have that same feeling “People give our music a few minutes to make an impression before they move on”, but again, this is any job in any walk of life. In corporate jobs, a friend told me that in her interview they said “look, we work in a small office, anyone we hire, needs to be someone fun we can work with”. See? How many qualified resumes/interviews did they look at and toss out? They were looking for specifics (she got that job by the way HOORAY FOR FUN). So many times, there are other factors involved BEYOND who we are and what we do, so sometimes the best thing, when these things are over,is to walk out of there and do our best to forget about it. Normally it works, except for a certain prestigious tv show that brings me in 3 times every season and says “Tim we need a 6’1 blue eyed Irish looking kid” then I never hear from them until the next time and think “I AM THE BIGGEST LOSER IN THE WORLD. THEY NEEDED A GUY WHO LOOKED LIKE ME AND I SOMEHOW BLEW IT”. (don’t do this, this is a dumb thing to beat yourself over the head with, plus no one in your life ever wants to hear you talk like that)

I was on the other side of that table in that room last year for a film called SUHANI, I wrote it and the mighty Mauro Giuffrida was directing. Mauro, who’s got a great eye, all across the board, his eye for the camera is outstanding, but so is his eye for talent. Those 2 days of auditions and screen tests, they were brilliant. It was just great theater with these wonderful actors that Mauro had brought in. It was the first time where I felt anxiety on the OTHER side of that table, because there was so much talent coming in, how was he going to narrow it down? It meant some of these brilliant actors and performances weren’t going to be chosen, I almost ran home to do a rewrite of the script, make it 506 pages long and with parts of everyone. But Mauro was looking for those “intangibles”, he was, in his mind, matching these characters up, “who works here in this key scene?” “Who can be funny there?” “How does this couple look matched up?” he was looking for so many other things. By the way, I’ve seen the finished “Suhani” and it really works, Mauro knew what he was looking for, and he did it. He doesn’t like it when I give him compliments, so I imagine he’ll probably hate that I’m putting this online.

So, back to looking at that room. Looking at that blurry picture. We’re all in this together. Me making that face, it’s a face we’ve all made (though I bet you all made it look way sexier than I did YOU DID DIDN'T YOU). We’re just trying to go in there, do our best, and get the job. Will I be in London this Summer? Seriously, no idea. I went in there, got as comfortable as I could, and for 1-2 minutes, did my thing. So go, go give a speech, give that presentation, go for a dream job interview, do your thing, go big, have some fun, show ‘em all what you got. I think if you stay true to yourself, you’ll do great. 3 weeks left of 2013, let’s make ‘em count…

Take care and be good,
Tim (AKA that guy in the blurry picture)

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