A short article I posted over at Medium. An observation drawn from 15 years of interviewing front-end candidates.
I’ve been in Kirby Krackle longer than any other band. Longer than my college-era bands. Longer than Explone. Longer than I spent in high school and college combined. We’ve recorded albums and singles, created videos, toured both nationally and internationally, occasionally bumped shoulders with celebrities on the way in and out of backstage dressing rooms, and generally had a fantastic time doing it. I’ve been fortunate to do things with this group that I never thought I’d ever get to do in my lifetime.
It’s time to step aside and let someone else in on the fun. This Friday I’ll be playing my last gig with Kirby Krackle at our 8th Annual Kracklefest concert at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. Kracklefest is an official ECCC event this year, and we’ve got Lucia Fasano, we’ve got Megaran, and a small strike force of comedians to entertain you between sets.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wife and partner Megan, who had my back from beginning to end. And also to all former and current members of KK, all of the musicians we shared a stage with, and particularly to Kyle, whose enduring talent, belief, and drive built this whole machine and keeps it moving forward. And of course, the fans who came even when it wasn’t con season, who knew the songs by heart and sang along with us.
And is it the end, really? For now, yeah. I plan to spend a good chunk of this year taking a breather, working on my own stuff and deciding what to do with the rest of my life.
Here are some notable moments of my just-shy-of-a-decade tenure:
First announcement on my blog in 2009.
Bungie’s The Taken King party where Kyle managed to stay alive.
Australia and D23 from last year.
Here’s us playing “Tony Stark” at our 2010 Emerald City Comic-Con appearance, joined by Joe Quesada (then Editor In Chief of Marvel Comics, now Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment) on guitar.
One of my favorite songs from the Super Powered Love album, “Nerd Money.” Try and guess all the references:
In 2011 we wrote the theme song to Marvel’s web series “The Watcher” and this was the official video:
Here’s us leading an audience sing-along of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Paul and Storm, Nerds With Guitars and the Doubleclicks at Kracklefest 2013:
“Booty Do Math” at the 2011 Seattle Interactive Conference, part of a battle of nerdy bands. I spiked up my hair at the last minute and this is probably the coolest I’ve ever looked onstage.
The official video for “World Full Of Heroes,” featuring a horde of fans in costume and filmed at Nick’s Jr. Burgers and Gyros just up the road from our rehearsal space.
Covering A-ha’s “Take On Me” for Kracklefest 2012:
In 2013 we went to the Calgary Fan Expo to open for “Weird Al” Yankovic in front of the most enormous crowd I’ve ever played for to date. The whole concert can be seen here. Here’s a fan-shot video of us playing “Roll Over”:
The official video for “One More Episode,” another one of my favorites:
Also in 2016 we got to contribute some original songs to Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy animated TV show. This is “Gotta Get Back”:
The 2016 single “New Infidelity” is another personal favorite (and I did the cover art, which has nothing to do with it I swear):
Covering “Let’s Go Crazy” at the High Dive in Seattle, early 2016:
Gentlemen: it’s been an honor. Excelsior.
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since I released my first and only full-length album Save You From Yourself. A bittersweet milestone. So much good stuff happened in 2008.
Why not mark this occasion by doing some good? Let’s try this: for the rest of 2018 all net proceeds from Save You From Yourself will be donated to the Girls Rock Camp Foundation which helps girls all over the planet learn to rock. That includes download and streaming net income, from all sources.
While we’re at it, let’s throw in my entire discography including Kin To Stars and Car Trouble. Bandcamp lets you name your own price for digital downloads, so I recommend them if you want to add a little more cash.
Add a few tracks to your playlist:
You can also just donate directly. Happy 10th birthday, solo album!
- Took almost all social media apps off my phone
- Started grooming my blogroll again
- Took steps to indieweb-ify this website
- Started making plans again
- Quit doing some things I didn’t want to be doing
- Widened my Patreon and Charity Navigator contributions
- Started writing down ideas again
- Started reading books instead of the internet before bedtime (this one is hard)
- Trying not to believe things because I want them to be true (this one is super-hard)
A compelling argument regarding interface engineering: solving interface problems that have largely already been solved leads to underdeveloped solutions, because we tying to improve on decades of UX development in the space of few underfunded agile sprints.
To pick a specific example: the problem with an over-engineered form is that the amount of code required to replace no engineering (i.e. native form controls with basic styling) is enormous and almost always only partially successful (i.e. under-engineered).
They are under-engineered because they are over-engineered — tried to replace native controls.
That said, I don’t think it’s true that the UX pattern implementations we developers know and love are well-matched for the ever-evolving device landscape.
Ostensibly a call to businesses to break from the shackles of Facebook and other social media silos from —GoDaddy? I laughed out loud at this line:
The IndieWeb is a social web of independent websites.
And then I stopped laughing, because it’s true that many people don’t know that they can have a website they own and control. I’m the ultimate hypocrite: giving a hard side-eye to attempts to rekindle interest in blogging, while muttering curses as Facebook prompts me to pay them to show new Neat Hobby! content to people who’ve already voluntarily opted in.
Select from a number of pre-made CSS animations, customize and generate the code as needed. Fantastic.
Fascinating account of the period following Nirvana’s Nevermind during which record companies booted their flagship pop and hair metal acts to the curb in favor of noisy “bands with one-word titles, like Truckdriver.”
Ah, those heady last days of the seven-album-deal-with-“recoupable”-advance.
Too much good stuff to quote:
Every major label sent platoons of A&R scouts all over the world, armed with yearly expense budgets of up to $100,000 to wine and dine every halfway-decent (or sometimes not-decent-at-all) band in flannel shirts making dissonant guitar noise. Helmet, an unknown band that had Nirvana’s bludgeoning power but none of its radio-friendly melodies, signed to Interscope Records for a reported $1 million. Dave Katznelson, a Warner Bros. Records A&R vice president, paid In the Red Records’ Larry Hardy $5,000 per band to simply alert him to new discoveries, such as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Virgin Records spent more than $1 million on Royal Trux, not realizing there were only two people in the band; Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty had to scramble to find musicians to back them so they could play a showcase at Los Angeles’ Viper Room, on the Sunset Strip, for the many label scouts involved in that bidding war.
Content warning, for details on the death of Mia Zapata. But also: a twist ending worth getting to.
A five-episode documentary podcast exploring Hüsker Dü’s formative years. Includes an additional mini-episode eulogizing drummer Grant Hart.