Saturday, December 31, 2016


Hey guys, Dana here. Happy New Year's Eve!!! We've only got a couple more hours until this year comes to an end. Tonight, I've got something special for you all; my annual End-of-the-Year blog post! I would have done a New Year's blog post last year, but I was kind of on the other side of the planet without a laptop, so I couldn't sum up an entire year while on my cell phone in Japan. So, I'm re-doing the annual New Year's blog post tonight. Now, I'm not going to lie, 2016 was pretty rough on us this year. Aside from electing a reality TV show host as our soon-to-be 45th President of the United States, we lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, George Martin, Doris Roberts(Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond), ex-WWE wrestler Chyna, Harambe, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Florence Henderson(Carol Brady from the Brady Bunch), Joseph Mascolo(he played Stefano DiMera on Days of our Lives...the sometimes SOAP I watch on and off), Cindy Stowell(the Jeopardy champion who had terminal cancer and died a week before her Jeopardy debut aired.) George Michael and Carrie Fisher...a lot of my friends lost loved ones and friends and I give nothing but love, support, and my deepest condolences to them. My heart also goes out to the innocent lives of people who were killed from acts of terror in the world. However, for me personally, 2016 was by far one of the greatest years I ever lived in. Tonight, I'm going to sum up all of the highlights that happened to me month by month up until I sign off for the night. Let's dive into what happened to me in 2016!


Yours truly in an authentic Japanese yukata.
So as the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2016...I was sitting in a restaurant in Osaka, Japan with my parents and brother...missing Eddie and all of my friends who were together with their loved ones on New Year's Eve/Day. A day or two later we went to Kobe and I had kobe steak for the first time in my life. It was literally the freshest most delicious beef I've ever eaten in my entire life. Let's just say you didn't need teeth to eat it. The next day we went to Kyoto, and I saw shrines, temples, and all kinds of gorgeous architecture. The next day we took a bullet train from Osaka to an old fashioned Japanese hotel in the mountains...along with a hot spring right outside the hotel room. There is nothing more amazing than sitting in a hot spring by yourself and looking at the stars while remembering that your co-workers in America are already back at work and you still had a week off. My time in Japan was coming down to an end, as our flight back home was just around the corner. Our flight left Japan on Wednesday, January 6th at 5pm. We landed in New York on the same 3pm. That's when I realized that I experienced time travel for the first time in my entire life. You can't say that happens every day! After re-cooperating from 14 hours of jet lag and adjusting back into the New York time zone, my band played our first show of 2016 at Sinclair's Pub in West Babylon. We met Vigil Antics for the first time, along with NFU, Limelight, and shared the stage again with our old friends The Nightmare Police! It was great seeing all of my friends again after being on the other side of the world for two weeks. Once that fun weekend was over, it was time to get back into the swing of things and be an adult again. I returned to work and found my inbox overflowing with emails...duplicate ones getting snippier and snipper as the dates got newer. It took me nearly a week just to catch up on a few days worth of emails. It wasn't all terrible, though. The rest of January consisted of hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, and watching hilarious movies. We did get a foot of snow dumped on us, though; that sucked.


Praise Jesus, Leo finally won!!!!
February was a pretty dull month, then again, not a lot of eventful things happen in February. Aside from Valentine's Day, it's a pretty terrible month. It's too cold to go out, local band shows are pretty scarce, and no one really wants to do anything besides watch a movie or binge watch Netflix shows. For me personally, I didn't really see anyone except for on the weekends. I'm not going to lie, it was depressing to repeat the same mundane tasks day in and day out: wake up, forcefeed myself, go to work, come home, eat dinner, shower, sleep, repeat. It wasn't all terrible, though. On days where it wasn't brick outside or getting buried in snow, I either had band practice with the guys or did end up hanging with some friends here and there on the weekends. So yeah, there really wasn't anything memorable this month, but if I didn't include February in this post, the OCD in me would have gone through the roof. I do have a good highlight, though! And the funny thing about this highlight is that it didn't affect me at all. The one thing that I'll never forget about February is the moment where Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar! All of those potential "Leo didn't win an Oscar again" memes were officially thrown in the garbage. May they rest in peace.


This was a fun month, I made up for all of the time lost in February by having an eventful March! We kicked off March with our first show since January; once again it was back at Sinclair's pub. This ended up being a last minute show; a band dropped out and the promoter asked us if we would fill in. Of course we hopped on it, especially since we were sharing the stage with our friends in Logan's

At Sinclair's with Logan's Room, Vigil Antics & Cherry Pop
Room, reuniting with Vigil Antics, and for the first time ever, our friends in Cherry Pop! Aside from playing this awesome show, I realized that this was also the month of birthdays for three of my closest friends in the world. The weekend after playing that show at Sinclairs, my friend Rosalie had her birthday party at Dave and Busters in Islandia! I discovered an incredible drink that got me a little tipsy: ANGRY BALLS.(Sounds dirty, I know.) It consisted of Fireball Whiskey and Angry Orchard hard cider...and man, was I thrilled to be there with some of my favorite people in the world. Then about a week later, Rosalie's awesome boyfriend, and my close friend, Matt had a birthday too! Not only did we bake him a cake, his band Logan's Room played a show at Revolution so he got to do his favorite thing in the world on his birthday! Then, the following weekend was Brendan's birthday! We hung out at his house, had dinner, played multiple rounds of Mortal Kombat, and had a carvel ice cream cake. A few days later, I reconnected and had dinner with my friend Kelly for the first time since we both graduated high school in 2009. We talked and caught up as if the 7 years never passed; that was definitely needed. Another highlight towards the end of March was that I saw two of my favorite Long Island local bands within the same week as each other. First I saw Bad Mary at Mulcahy's in Wantagh, and then the following night, I saw Fawkes at Amityville Music Hall.


April...was an extremely eventful month, and one of my favorites this year. I apologize in advance to anyone who doesn't like to read long segments, but this month was so good that I had to include every detail possible.
The first weekend of April, my band played at Grizzly's Sports Den in Bay Shore for the very first time, thanks to Patty Dodge. Not a lot of our friends were able to make it because they were playing shows, or had prior engagements to attend. But one of my close friends surprised me to no end; my friend Alex, who I haven't seen in years, showed up at Grizzly's with his friend Julian and videotaped my band's set. Neither of them are really into punk rock, but fell in love with our music. That is a really beautiful thing to do for a friend...unconditional support. It turns out that we have a lot of mutual friends, so that was a good laugh too.
After the show ended, we ended up at our usual post-show food joint, Massapequa Diner. That emotional high was unfortunately shortlived, because the following weekend, I got sick for the first time in three years. I'm dead serious; the last time I felt so sick that I couldn't even get out of bed was in February of 2013. And no, this was not the throwing up kind of sick; it was an upper respitory infection kind of sick. I was prescribed ammoxicilin and probiotics that were supposed to last me for two weeks. For the very first time since working at Kravet, I called out of work that Monday. That's how my boss knew that I was a mess; I NEVER call out of work an hour before I'm supposed to come in. It sucked, in retrospect, my body could not have picked a more perfect time to shut down on me because it was literally the only weekend where I didn't have something to do. So, I spent that Monday binge watching movies on whatever movie channels had something good. I finally saw the movie The Fault In Our Stars and nearly cried at the end of the movie.
I was pretty much back to normal that Tuesday, but I was drowning in emails since no one covered me while I was gone. I was mess that week, but I was determined to make myself better by the end of the week because I had something amazing to look forward to that Friday: my first solo trip out of New York to 
support my friends Joe and Tyler in Ashes to Oranges for their CD release show at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey

My 25th birthday :)
Eddie and Dillon had to work, and Brendan wasn't available until later that evening, so I took this trip alone. I left my job at 2pm thinking I'd be able to beat the rush hour traffic, but I was dead wrong. It took me an hour and 5 minutes just to get to the Verrazano Bridge from my job in Bethpage because the Belt Parkway is a nightmare, and then more traffic through Staten Island to the Outerbridge Crossing. Once I hit the Garden State Parkway, it was smooth sailing from there. Seeing Joe and Tyler for the first time since December was really great; I missed them terribly. However, there were A LOT of people I didn't know, so the social anxiety was getting to me really bad. Tyler's girlfriend, Mia, kept me company and stayed with me a good portion of the night since I didn't really know anyone and made sure I was comfortable enough in such an intense setting. She's such a sweetheart. Aside from her, Joe, and Tyler, I did break away from my wallflower mindset and aquainted myself with some cool Jersey people who also came out to support Ashes to Oranges; like their video guy/friend Jarred, and long time supporter, Pichael. When the night came to a close, I was sad to leave, but I was also extremely exhausted. I had to drive a good hour and a half back home to New York that night after being awake since a quarter to 8 that morning. Joe was really worried for me, so he said something that I will never forget for the rest of my life: "I need you to text me as soon as you get home. I need to know that you're safe." Only a true friend would say that. I love you, Joe!
After recovering from a crazy week, I voted in my first presidential primaries since I wasn't old enough to vote in the primaries in 2008, and in 2012, there were no primaries. I voted for Bernie Sanders and I miss him terribly. But the following weekend, my band played a show at The Hub in Island Park for the first time in over a year. Although it's a bit of a hike for a lot of our friends, it's a great venue with a nice open room and a decent sized stage. Then that Sunday, my parents got me and Eddie tickets to see Jersey Boys on Broadway for a matinee show as my 25th birthday present. Joseph Leo Bwarie, the guy who played Frankie Valli, had his final performance that night, so Mom and Dad made sure we didn't miss it. Jersey Boys became my favorite Broadway show.
And then finally, the highlight of this whole month: my 25th birthday; I missed a handful of friends who couldn't make it due to prior engagements, but I still enjoyed it with the ones who did take the time to see me. What a perfect way to end an amazing month.


With the boys at Eisenhower Park on Memorial Day/Eddie's birthday! :)May was pretty eventful, and went pretty fast. I kicked off May by venturing into the city to see one of my favorite bands for the first time, Local H, at the Bowery Ballroom. I brought Eddie and Dillon with me, and we met up with our favorite Jersey boys, Joe and Tyler(Ashes To Oranges♥), and Jarred! This was Local H's 20th anniversary of their album As Good As Dead, so not only was Scott Lucas performing with his current drummer, Ryan Harding, but also played a set with  the original drummer, Joe Daniels. It was awesome to say that I've seen Local H's original line up as well as their current line up. They literally played all of my favorite songs, like  "The One With Kid," "California Songs," "City of Knives," "Freshly Fucked," and the entire As Good As Dead album. It was definitely my favorite concert so far. Unfortnately, since I had work early the next morning, I had to leave before the concert ended so I didn't get a chance to meet Local H. I didn't fret too hard, I knew they'd play a show in New York again soon. That weekend, we once again shared the stage with our friends in Logan's Room, and networked with other local bands that night. The following Monday, however, was a sad day. It was the 4 year anniversary since the death of my friend Casey, so I was pretty emotional that day and night. To this day, I can't thank Matt and Rosalie for consoling me as  I cried on their shoulders from missing Casey so much. They're amazing friends, and I got to spend almost every weekend with them. We either ended up at a bowling alley, Applebee's, karaoke, or back at Eddie's house to play Cards Against Humanity. Another weekend, I took Eddie and Brendan to see Captain America: Civil War and I thorougly enjoyed it; first half was pretty boring, but once Ant-Man and Spiderman made an appearance, it got so much better. It's one of my favorite Marvel movies now. Towards the end of the month, my friend Phil came up to visit New York and brought his lovely girlfriend(now fiancĂ©e) and introduced them to Rick and Morty.  And finally, the highlight of May ended up being the end of the month. We played a show at a Memorial Day festival; also Eddie's birthday. This festival is definitely up there in my top favorite shows of all time; good handful of our friends showed up, and we got to celebrate Eddie's birthday too.


Summer was finally around the corner, and I began my summer schedule at work: every other Friday off, so I was actually able to do more summer activities during the week and getting three day weekends instead of being confined to a desk in a room with no windows when the weather is really nice for 40 hours a week. One highlight was seeing two of my favorite bands, Fawkes and Logan's Room, play a show at Revolution! Another weekend consisted of playing mini
Coming home from NYC with Eddie, Brendan and Dillon.
golf with Eddie, Brendan, and Dillon, and then finally watching Deadpool once the night came to a close.Mini golf became a common activity this summer; especially when Matt and Rosalie joined us and we ended up back at Eddie's where I made everyone milkshakes and/or root beer floats. We even ventured into NYC to celebrate my friend Sarah's birthday at Fort Tyron Park! However, if there is one thing that stuck with me this month, it was the morning of June 18th, 2016. My friend Patrick Keenan asked me if I wanted to jam with his band consisting himself, my friend Matt and their other guitarrist Eric on a Saturday in June. I accepted the invite, but like I said in my previous blogpost about Heartstone, I was terrified because I didn't know what to expect. However, I faced my fears and discovered that I had some serious chemistry with these guys; I discovered Matt is a fantastic drummer,(I'm only used to seeing him as the guitarrist for Logan's Room) and I clicked with him immediately as a bassist. I met Eric, who is a very talented guitar player and sings very well too. Pat was nervous, but determined to make his dream of being in a band come true. Because of how well my "audition" went, Pat was thoroughly impressed with me. The next day, Pat asked me if I would like to be his permanent bassist, and I originally said no because I was afraid of commiting myself to another band when I already had my hands full with Bending Over Backwards. However, he told me that this was going to be based around OUR availabilities and won't have a strict schedule. He'd never do that to us. So, I changed my mind and became a part of a project outside my comfort zone. I've never been happier. My confidence and self esteem skyrocketed, and I feel that I'm slowly growing into a developed musician. Thank you Pat for asking me to be a part of this amazing project and allowing myself to see my full potential.


We kicked off July by playing a backyard show at our friend Conor's house(He's the lead vocalist of Vigil Antics, by the way) along with other acoustic artists. Unfortunately, we couldn't play in the backyard because it was raining, so we moved the show to his basement, and we had our very first acoustic show with Dillon. I must say, it was one of the most fun and intimate shows we've ever played. Every single person who was watching us was really into us; singing along to our covers, adding chants and making circle pits during every song. I still smile about it. The next day, we returned to Grizzly's in Bay Shore and shared the stage with Gutterlife, Straw Away, Cherry Pop, and other local bands who played both the indoor AND outdoor stage. The next day was Amy's 25th
Amy's 25th birthday at the Nautical Mile
birthday at the Nautical Mile in Freeport. We couldn't have asked for the most perfect weather. It wasn't humid, and there was no wind either; usually when you're by the water, it's naturally cooler. The next day was 4th of July so I was off from work and spent it outside, stuffing my face with your typical BBQ cuisine. Around that time was when Pokemon Go came out, and virtually anyone with a mobile phone was able to download the app, walk the streets of their neighborhood and catch Pokemon. Since I was playing Pokemon X, I didn't want to download it since I was already in the middle of playing a videogame; I can't multitask like that! Not to mention if I downloaded it, and since everyone on Earth was playing it, all it would have done is freeze and lag due to the high traffic on the app. So, Dana never experienced Pokemon Go. I'm not losing sleep over it, though. I didn't really have interest to begin with anyway. However, I did accompany Rosalie in an epic Pokemon catching quest Port Jefferson on a beautiful summer night and got Ralph's, and then the next day I had "pre-planned hooky" and went to Jones Beach with my longtime friend Kate; the ocean was like a washing machine, but it totally beat going to work. I even discovered a new favorite book that Dillon recommended to me: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. That weekend, we played a show at Hollis Wood Community Church and met new bands we've never played with before, like Canker Blossom.


Like April, this was one of my favorite months this year; extremely eventful and memorable, so once again, please forgive me for another long segment. First, I discovered that I don't need to drive to Queens or take a train into NYC to get great quality halal food. There's a halal joint right off Route 107 in Hicksville; I go there for lunch ALL THE TIME. Then later on that week, I spent the afternoon and evening with my relatives in Long Beach since they rent a house out there every summer; I discovered a really great sushi joint literally called "Asian Fusion" and I wish I could go there more often. The following weekend, I ventured into NYC to see my friends Kate, Sarah, David, and my other friend who is also named Kate; we watched Sarah and her mom perform in a short play,
Playing at Grizzly's on the outdoor stage :)
and then grabbed lunch/dinner at an English sandwich joint called "Pret A Manger." It was a bit pricy, but I enjoyed the company of friends I don't get to see as often as I'd like. That night, I took Eddie, Brendan, and Dillon to see Suicide Squad. It was a good movie, but I felt there was just a little too much exposition and not enough Joker, haha, but it was still a lot of fun. I have a confession: it took me SEVEN YEARS to admit this, but I truly do enjoy Lady Gaga. Thank you Brendan for making that happen, haha. Thanks to newly discovered music, rediscovered To Kill a Mockingbird, I got through an exhausting and stressful week at work. However, I had something amazing to look forward to: a full week off from work in the summer; something I thought I'd never have. I kicked off that week off by playing a show at Grizzly's in Bay Shore with Logan's Room, and a select few other bands who played that outdoor stage. It was a pig roast, so not only did we get to play music, we were well fed! The only crazy thing that happened was that in the middle of our set, my guitar strap broke off completely. But did that stop me from performing the song? NOPE. I took that microphone and continued the song as the sound guy and maybe a few others were taking care of my bass. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can stop me from performing with my band. I finish the song no matter what happens to me. Despite that little hiccup, I had something amazing to look forward to the following day: I was going to see Baroness at Webster Hall in
Me, Joe, Tyler, Jarred and Dillon at Mighty Quinn's in NYC :)
NYC with Dillon, and reuniting with our favorite Jersey boys: Joe, Tyler and Jarred. That was an eventful day, let me tell you. Now, I've spent an entire day with Eddie, and I've spent an entire day with Brendan. But I've never spent a full day and evening with Dillon before, so this was truly a first for me.(Eddie and Brendan aren't really into Baroness, hence why I only took Dillon with me, and Eddie had to be up at 4:30am for work the next day.) We took the train from Mineola and got to the city around noon; what we didn't know was how ungodly hot it was going to be that day; wandering the streets of NYC in the blistering heat and pure humidity was exhausting, but it was so worth it because I got to spend an entire day with some of my favorite people in the world, who I don't get to see as often as I'd like due to the distance. Since I was the only one who had excellent navigation skills, I was the designated NYC tour guide as I took the boys to visit smoke shops, comic shops, a vintage videogame store, and ended up at a kickass BBQ joint a few blocks away from Webster Hall called Mighty Quinn's.When we got to Webster Hall, a doom metal band called Pallbearer opened up for Baroness. Oh my God, they were so terrible that I nearly fell asleep standing up; this happened FOUR MONTHS AGO, and I STILL can't get over how terrible they were! But that disappointment was expunged, as Baroness took the stage and put on one of the best performances I've ever seen. A few days later, we played a backyard show in East Meadow and actually got to perform in said backyard since it was a beautiful afternoon/evening. The next day, I needed a short break from Long Island, so I took it upon myself to take a little roadtrip to Brick, New Jersey and got to hang out with Joe, Tyler, Jarred, and my newest friend from New Jersey, Krystin. It was the first time I saw these guys without one or both of our bands playing a show, or attending a concert in NYC; it was very much needed and I intend to go back there in the near future; especially since I returned home with two beautiful glass pendants(One shattered, unfortunately) that Joe made me. The next day I had a beach day with Eddie; we spent the entire time in the water because it was just too perfect to leave. We ended that weekend by ressurecting "bro night" with Evan by having Eddie's homemade halal food, and playing Mortal Kombat like the old days. That week off was polished off by watching Summerslam with Eddie, Brendan, Dillon, Matt, Steve, and Amy; that was an eventful WWE pay-per-view. We spent the final weekend of August by playing a show at Mr. Beery's in Bethpage where we met Mia, Dillon's soon-to-be girlfriend, and going to a carnival down the block from Eddie's house the following night. The ultimate highlight? I discovered the TV show My Name Is Earl. I think that just about covers the month of August. On to the next...


Sarah sent me a Beatles postcard from Liverpool!
Summer was coming to an end, and so was my "every-other-Friday-off" work schedule; I had one last "hurrah" by taking one last Friday before Labor Day off so I enjoyed a four day weekend instead of a three-day one. That was my last paid day off until the last week of December, so I had nearly three months to wait for time off during the week. In retrospect, I truly couldn't have asked for a more perfect summer; not alot of people get those benefits. During Labor Day weekend, I kicked it off by going to Long Beach with my family one more time before the rented house closed up for the summer. The same weekend, we played a show at Amityville Music Hall and shared the stage with our friends Bad Mary and Fawkes. The same night, we became friends with a new out-of-state local band from North Carolina, Skylight Heights. I wasn't sure about the music at first since they're electronic metalcore and I'm more of a punk/hard rock kind of girl, but I enjoyed them! They're really talented and freindly guys; especially their drummer, Chase Hamlett. Met him once and he's one of my close friends; did I mention he was super talented? Another highlight was that I now have life insurance as well as medical, dental, vision and 401 k from my job; I'm well covered for if God forbid anything happens to me. We played our first Friday night show in a long time, and returned to Shaker's Pub in Oakdale for the first time since last winter (before I went to Japan!).  The next day I went to my first street fair all year, and discovered that Rick and Morty has a comic book series! I even returned to Hurricane Wings with the boys, along with Matt and Rosalie. My favorite highight of September was when I received a postcard from my friend Sarah who visited England. I got a Beatles postcard from Liverpool; I've never gotten a post card before. 
Something amazing happened towards the end of the month, though. When I was driving to practice with Heartstone, my car's exhaust pipe decided it didn't want to live anymore, so it was hanging on by a thread and dragging across the cement as I drove. So, I stopped on the side of the road and saw what happened. All of a sudden, a guy and his sister come to my aid and just so happened to have tape and wires to keep the exhaust pipe from dragging on the ground. I couldn't believe how kindhearted he was to me; and when I tried to give him some money as a token of my appreciation, he refused it and said "Just paying it forward." What a perfect example of restoring someone's faith in humanity. Karma, my friends.


Oh, October. Where do I begin with how much of a perfect month this was for me? The beginning, perhaps? First and foremost, I learned how to play the bassline to the Beatles song "All My Loving." I've been trying to learn that song for years, and I finally took the time to play along with it, as you can see here. It's not perfect, but I'm really proud of this one. I still have no idea how Paul McCartney was able to play this bass riff AND SING LEAD VOCALS at the EXACT SAME TIME.
About a week or two later, I got a touchup on my hair; it was getting too damn moppy, and I also wanted to look my best for the following week which consisted of my band playing THREE SHOWS in the same week. I got through that week and began that weekend with my last rehearsal with Heartstone before our DEBUT PERFORMANCE on October 14th at Backstage Pass in Ronkonkoma. The same night, I discovered my newest Netflix addiction: Stranger Things. I couldn't believe how addicting that show became. Literally, in 48 hours, I binge watched the entire first (and only) season. 
The next day, we played at a venue called The Space in Westbury. I met and became friends with a band called Maybe Later and truly enjoyed their sound; they've got great potential and a lot of talent. I was also super thrilled that my friend from high school, Kelly, came out to support us that night. And then, the following Friday became the most memorable moment of my entire 25 years of existing on this planet. 
So, as previously stated above regarding Heartstine's debut on Friday, October 14th, the line up also consisted of my band, Vigil Antics, Ashes To Oranges, and Logan's Room. Heartstone's first performance went really well; most first performances tank, but we pulled it off well. We ended our set with Rob Zombie's "Living Dead Girl" which came out flawlessly, but when we had it videotaped, the battery died so unless you were there that night, you didn't see it. Then Vigil Antics followed, and they were solid! Then, my band was up next and I couldn't believe how many people enjoyed our set. Some people were singing along, wanting to dance, joined in with gang vocals, it's still my favorite performance.  Ashes to Oranges was next, and since I'm a huge fan, I was pumped and was singing/shouting the lyrics from the audience; heading banging included. I was so into it, they even gave me a shoutout for being the most supportive fan they had. I was more excited to see these guys play a show because the last time I saw them live, it was in April. I waited six months for that to happen again. After they played their single "Mirrors" and then "Mother Goose," the most magical moment of my life happened around 11:30 that night:

Tyler: Hey Dana, do you know the words to all of our songs?

Me: *bashful* Yeah, pretty much...I've listened to your album at least a dozen times...

Tyler: Do you know them well enough to sing the next song with us?

*crowd EXPLODES and cheers as Joe and Tyler motion me to go up on stage with them*

I walk onto that stage, and I'm not exaggerating here; the ENTIRE BAR was cheering and CHANTING MY NAME as if I was the most special human being on Earth. Never in my life has an entire room of people been so happy to see me; I was covering my face trying not to cry happy tears while saying "oh my God" at least twenty times while this was all going on; it was like a dream. I'm 25 years old and this was by far the most overwhelming experience of my life, and I sang that song with them; my friend Meg videotaped that performance here: 

I felt so alive; and cried the happiest tears afterwards. Guys, call me pathetic, but it's been two months since that happened, and I still think about that moment every single day. No one comprehends how special that was for me. Later on, it was brought to my attention that "Euthanasia" was not supposed to be on the set list; they made that change just because they wanted to let me know how special I was to everyone. I still get emotional over it. Thank you Pat, Joe, and Tyler for giving me that special moment. I love you guys so much.
The night ended with Logan's Room, as they took the stage with a brand new look and new sound with new songs. Literally, the debut of new Logan's Room.

The next day, we played our third and final show of that week at The Hub in Island Park; not as big of a turnout at the night before, but The Hub is still one of my favorite places to play. I wasn't even that disappointed from the lack of a turnout because I was still glowing from that surprise the night before. Then, on October 18th, I celebrated my EIGHT YEAR anniversary with Eddie! That's right; EIGHT YEARS TOGETHER. We went to our favorite place to get sushi, then went to Witches Brew for dessert; a perfect date for our anniversary, and many many many more anniversaries to come.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
The following weekend, I ventured into NYC to see my friend Kate and she introduced me to SUSHI BURRITOS at a place called Pokeworks, located on the corner of 6th avenue and 37th street...later on that night, we saw the movie The Girl on the Train. It movie was literally the film adaptaion of the book in almost every single way, with the major exception of the setting: the book took place in England, the film took place in New York. And finally, Halloweekend. Since Halloween landed on a Monday this year, I threw my first Halloween party for the first time in about 12 years the Saturday before Halloween. I was especially happy that my friend Brian came out that night since it was the first time seeing him a very long time. Man, was October perfect; I wish I could relive that month over and over and over again. I literally saw all of my favorite people that month. I love you all so much.


November was a lot more quiet than October, especially due to the fact that we didn't play three shows in the same week. Since the holidays were coming up, shows were getting scarce as winter was slowly approaching us. 
One night during the week, I was looking to add new music to my iPod, and I re-discovered a band I haven't listened to since I was maybe 16 or 17 yers old: NoFX. The only CD I had was their greatest hits CD, so I downloaded all of my favorites from that album, along with new songs I've never heard before. I believe the reason why I stopped listening to NoFX was because I kept hearing that the lead vocalist, Fat Mike, was disrespectful to his fans. However, I saw the punk rock documentary The Other F Word and saw that he is a loving father to his daughter; nothing but respect for that.
A couple of days later, I got a Snapchat notification from my friend Alex; I was assuming itg was something silly, funny, or just a simple hello. I opened up the message, and it's a picture of himself wearing our band t-shirt. I was so overcome with emotions that I silently let tears fall from my eyes because I had no idea people actually rock our merchendise. So many times I've wondered if people actually wore our t-shirts and our CD's are just collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Alex is one of my closest friends, and I'm thankful to have him in my life.

The number one highlight of this month was an amazing one for sure. Remember how I saw Local H in May? Well, they returned to New York City again; except this time it was at the
Me and Scott Lucas of Local H♥
Highline Ballroom instead of the Bowery Ballroom. The even better part? The concert was on a Saturday, so I didn't have to worry about leaving early! My favorite Jersey boys couldn't make it up to New York, but hey, they saw and met them the previous month; we can't see Local H together all the time! We did bring Brendan with us so he got to experience Local H too. That day, I introduced them to sushi burritos, and then headed towards the venue.We did know that our friend Kevin was going to that show, so that was an awesome surprise as well. We stook literally in front of the stage, and Scott Lucas came out to either tune his guitar, or make an adjustment to his amp. Dillon said "EY, IT'S THE MAN WITH THE PLAN!" Scott responds with "There is no plan..." On impulse, I said "PLANS ARE FOR SQUARES!" Scott thought that was amusing so he turned to me, smiled and said "Yeah..yeah, that." The starstruck feeling began. A couple minutes later, Local H kicked off their set with "Fritz's Corner" and since I was standing literally in front of Scott, he noticed me singing along and smiled. They didn't play some of my select few favorites, but they played a ton of songs they DIDN'T play at the Bowery Ballroom. After they played, Helmet took the stage. Now, I gave Helmet a chance, I really did, but I didn't have that emotional connection that I usually get with a new band. All of a sudden, I get a text from Eddie: "DANA COME TO THE MERCH TABLE, SCOTT IS HERE!!!" I bolted from the front of the stage and went out to merch table, and there he was. I approached him, and said hello. He smiled at me, and noticed the shirt I was wearing. That's right; Joe and Tyler, if you're reading this, he remembered you guys after seeing your band t-shirt. I talked with him some more, got a Local H t-shirt from him, and then I said "Hey Scott, can I take a picture with you?" He said "Of course you can!!" so I snapped a selfie with him, and it's my favorite picture with a signed artist. He hugged me too; how could I forget that? The one thing I love about Local H is not only is their music phenominal, they adore their fans. Brendan asked for one of their shirts in a certain size, and it wasn't in the box displayed. Most artists would shrug it off; Scott was determined to find Brendan's shirt size, and when he couldn't find it, Scott was genuinely dissapointed that he couldn't find it for him. We even gave him one of our CD's, and the first thing he said was "What am I, a Bitch?" with a smile. I wonder if he listened to it? All  know is, that was by far my favorite memory from November. I hope I can see Local H again in the near future.
About a week or two later, we played a matinee show at Amityville Music Hall and shared the stage with out friends Maybe Later, Ashes In The Sky, and Urbanoid(half of Fawkes). It was quite an eclectic night; not to mention we were interviewed and then had our set videotaped. Our set went well, but the person who was running the show tried to make us cough up 50 dollars(pay to play douchebag) because we apparently didn't sell enough tickets. If you haven't heard, we strictly do not condone "pay-to-play" or anything remotely related to that asinine policy. Pay-to-play should be illegal. It's like hiring a plumber, but you charge him for fixing your toilet. I'm serious, if you charge local bands to play a show at a venue, you ought to be thrown in jail. Thanksgiving was around the corner, and I was truly thankful for people who had my back when people gave me trouble. They know what I'm talking about and who I'm refering to. Thank you again, guys.


And so we're at the final month of 2016; the last month of an amazing year. I must say, movies made a huge portion on my highlights this month. I either watched movies I've never seen before, or discussed movies that I have seen. First, I kicked off December by venturing into the city again to celebrate my friend Kate's birthday. The past few times I've gone to the city for her birthday, we either ended up at a pub or a sushi joint. This time, I went to a cafe that I never thought I'd ever go to: a vegan cafe. I've always wanted to try vegan food; aside from Witches Brew, I've never been to any restaurants or cafes that were vegan. Afterwards, we went to the movies and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It truly was one of the best movies I've seen this year; even if you're not familiar with the Harry Potter universe, you can still enjoy it because you don't have to know the events that took place in the books and movies.
I saw another movie the following weekend, but it wasn't in theaters, and it's been out for nearly 30 years: The Princess Bride. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Make fun of me for being late to the party; but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd watch it again if I ever catch it on TV or something.
On a random weeknight when no one was around to hang out with, I snuggled up in my bed and watched the movie Stranger Than Fiction as per recommendation of my friend Pat. I usually see Will Farrell in comedies, but I've never seen him in a dramatic role before. Most of the time, when an actor/actress is typecasted to comedic roles, they tend to not perform as well. Will Farrell is a major exception to that; he pulled it off phenominally. Since Pat recommended one of his favorite movies to me, I had to return the favor and recommend my favorite movie to him: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He loved it as much as I do; if not more.

I wasn't lying about the ugly sweater.
One of my favorite memories from this month was my friend Amy's annual Christmas party. The past few years, we either dressed up, or I couldn't make it because I either had work or the band had a show. One year, we had to dress up  threw her annual Christmas party; like the last few years, it was "Ugly Christmas Sweater" themed. Now, when you go to an "ugly sweater" party, you get a colorful, christmas/winter themed sweater. Brendan and I took it upon ourselves to take the "ugly sweater" detail literally, and got the most hideous sweaters at a thrift store. My disgusting sweater was literally the ugliest sweater I've ever seen, and it cost me 5 dollars. That's right; FIVE DOLLARS. It was uncomfortable, but if there was a contest for the ugliest sweater, I would have won.
One of my favorite things about this month? Not only does Christmas land towards the end of the month, but my job shuts down between Christmas and New Year's so I get a week off from work. Since I wasn't on the other side of the planet this year, I was able to do what I wanted duirng my time off. Once the Christmas festivities ended that weekend, I began that Monday by meeting up with Pat and Barnes and Noble; an afternoon with one of my best friends at one of my favorite stores with a cute little Starbucks cafe. The next day, I went on a double date with Eddie, Alex, and his girlfriend from California, Jumanja. We grabbed dinner at Dave & Busters and then headed to the arcade. The next day, I picked up Brendan and we ventured around Long Island; first we went to our usual stomping ground, the Smithhaven Mall. Then we ended up at Roosevelt Field Mall so I could grab a quick dinner and spend a little bit of my Christmas money. Out of all the days this week, Thursday was definitely my favorite; well, the afternoon and evening. That morning was my friend's dad's funeral; it was an emotional morning, but it felt good being there to show my unconditional love and support. After the funeral, I took a roadtrip back down to New Jersey and hung out with Joe, Tyler, his girlfriend Mia, and their friend Krystin! I experienced Chic-Fil-A, and it's my new favorite place to get a chicken sandwich. Joe and Tyler introduced me to my new favorite standup comedian, Anthony Jeselnik. He had me laughing so hard that my sides hurt. New Jersey also has a convenience store called "Wawa." In otherwords, it's 7-11 with a deli and it's a lot cleaner than 7-11. And towards the end of the night, they taught me how to play Rummy. The only card games I know how to play are Bullshit and Black Jack; never played Rummy before. I did surprisingly well for a first try. Funny, I've been to New Jersey more this year than my entire life, and I'm telling you right now; it will feel 100% wrong if I go to New Jersey and not see my boys in Ashes to Oranges and any of their friends as well.
Yesterday, I ventured into NYC for the last time in 2016 to see Kate, the big ass Christmas tree in Rockefeller Centre, and an off-Broadway show, Puffs. In essenence, this play took place in the perspective of Hufflepuffs instead of Harry Potter's point of view. It was HILARIOUS and I'm so glad Kate suggested that we see it.
And finally, today is New Year's Eve; the final day of 2016. I spent my morning and the first half of this morning rehearsing with Heartstone; I was so happy to see everyone again for the first time since our debut performance in October. We would have had practices earlier this month, but due to scheduling conflicts or health issues, we had to keep rescheduling. But today, we got two new songs in the works; perhaps at our next rehearsal, Pat will add lyrics. I cannot wait for where I will go in 2017 with Heartstone. 2017 will be our year.

Everyone, thank you so much for reading my year-in-rview. I never loved a year as much as this one in my whole life. I discovered who my true friends were, made several new friends, experienced so many things I never thought I'd experience, and I truly never felt so happy to be alive today. I love each and every one of you for being in my life, and I cannot wait to see how 2017 treats us. God bless you, Happy New Year, and see you in 2017. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Compliments v.s Creepy Comments

Hey guys, Dana here. It's been a while since I last posted here, and I apologize sincerely. With the holidays coming up, my job has been crazy busy with people placing orders for x yards of fabric to be delivered before the holidays. It's Thanksgiving Eve; I normally wouldn't be writing tonight, but because no one's around and a "pleasant" incident happened to me while I was at work today, it sparked inspiration. Let's talk about inappropriate advances via Facebook messages.

During my lunch break at work, a "friend" messaged me. The other day he was lamenting on how lonely he is and wants a girlfriend. If you know me, I'm the kind of girl who always lends an ear and wants to help friends as much as possible. So I didn't think anything of it. The past few times we talked it was music related since he was starting a band or something. So today, he asked me about how my band was going and then asked who my musical influences were. I told him about Joan Jett, the Ramones, early Green Day, The Distillers, The Gits, etc. Then this happened:

Now, when he first said "Off Topic: I like woman with a FAT butt,"(lovely spelling, I must say...) I didn't think anything of it. I thought he was simply telling me that he likes fat bottomed girls. (You make the rockin' world go round!) Sorry, as a musician I tend to break out into song and had to pay homage to Freddie Mercury. Anyway, I thought it was just an off the cuff general statement. Then once he said "Lookin good Dana" that's when I got that sick feeling in my gut. I played it off with a last ounce of hope that he was just complimenting me with "thanks hahaha I try", but the warning bells started ringing, and that's when I realized that the previous comment was directed towards me. He wants a "thick curvy woman with a lot of trunk"(whatever that means, I don't even WANT to know) and pretty much said that my appearance is what he wants to get with. I blocked him, and exposed what he did. Public humiliation.

Was that harsh? Did this person deserve public humilation? Let me get one thing clear. There is a significant difference between complimenting someone, and being inappropriate. I take compliments in stride; if anything, if I get complimented, I usually respond with this meme:

Now, I'm a modest girl. I try not to stand out as much because too much attention gets me anxious; especially if I'm wearing something formal. But, I happen to take compliments pretty well. Sure, I may blush but if someone says I'm pretty beautiful, I have a compassionate soul, or tells me I have a good singing voice, etc...I embrace those kind words. Those are really flattering comments. They're not flirting; they're just letting me see what I can't see within myself. There's absolutely nothing wrong with complimenting people; in fact, people tend to take it the wrong way. This world is negative and hateful enough as it is, so hearing someone say something nice is really uplifting. But then, there are people who think telling a woman that she is a "curvy woman with a lot of trunk" is flattering. I don't know who raised you, or made you think that it's a respectful thing to say to a woman, but you're on heroin if you think that's "cute" or "flattering." That sure as hell wouldn't get an available woman into bed with you, and most of all, it isn't cute to say that kind of thing to a woman who is in a relationship. Like, I've made it abundantly clear that I was unavailable, yet he thinks that was something that I would find flattering.

All I can say is, THINK before you speak. Never say anything that you wouldn't want someone to say to your significant other. Never tell a woman, who is NOT your significant other, that her ass is cute, curvy, or anything that is sexually suggestive. Have some respect; I'm not a piece of meat. I'm a human being with feelings just like you. How to prevent things like this from happening? You know, inappropriate messages, sexual harassment and/or assault? Use your brain, keep your mouth shut, and learn some respect.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Covergirl's Male Model

Hey guys, Dana here. A few weeks ago, I finally put my foot down and chimed in with my two cents regarding the Blue/Black/All Lives Matter hype. And funny, since then, I haven't seen much of it anymore. I guess my rant finally shut everyone up. But now we've got another controversial issue going on in various social media outlets. This time it involves cosmetics that now target more than just women: it's 2016, and the cosmetic company Covergirl now targets men, as seen in this contraversial magazine cover:

The guy featured on this magazine cover is 17 year old James Charles, a cosmetic artist mostly known on make up tutorials on YouTube. For the first time ever, Covergirl features a boy model instead of a girl. Everyone is appalled by this choice...but why? What's the problem?

Alright, alright, alright, before you scroll down to the bottom of this post and scream at me for having a whacked mindset and questioning why this is outrageous, let's play devil's advocate with this issue, okay? Good, you can take a chill pill. Now, I understand why people would be confused as to why Covergirl chose a male model instead of female. When you hear the words "make up," "cosmetics," "beauty," "skin care," what comes to mind? Female, girls. women, the XX chromosome. That's correct. Whether it's Covergirl, Revlon, Almay, Neutrogena, or any other generic cosmetic brand, these products all target women. We see it every day on TV, in magazines, any other advertisement on this planet because that's the social norm. But remember, ladies and gents, the social norm can change. Covergirl made a bold step in their marketting tactic before any other cosmetic company: targetting men. Covergirl is no longer female exclusive, and just gained a whole new target audience.

Now, if you see a boy or a man wearing makeup, what's your first reaction? He's gay, he's queer, he's confused, a he/she, shemale, all kinds of insults. I've seen it, I've read it. Not gonna lie, those are rather closed-minded remarks to think of, and to say to, a complete stranger. Let's be real here. Who the hell cares if a boy is wearing makeup? Hell, even if a man is wearing makeup, I wouldn't be phased by it at all. What if the man has an important presentation at work and has a bad blemish on his face? He wouldn't want to face his bosses and colleagues with a rash, would he? Now that a cosmetic company targets men, he can get himself some concealer before the big presentation. Or that boy you saw in the hallway wearing eyeliner who you might have called a faggot? Did you stop to think that maybe that boy is trying out for a role in the upcoming school play? What other people do with their skin (as long as it's not self destructive, like self-inflicted burns and cuts, of course) is none of your damn business. He has thin lips, so he wants to make them fuller by using lip liner? He wants to use concealer to hide some zits and pimples before a frst date with a new girlfriend? He feels like he has no eyelashes so he wants to use mascara to add more definition to his eye lashes? His borderline unibrow is ugly and uneven so he wants to get his eyebrows waxed to even them out? It's simple: let them.

I've read reactions to this add, and it's kind of frightening that so many people are bitter and angry that men are wearing make up, seen below:

"I am sick of it, and extremely sad at the destruction of our nation."

"Pray for all of the confused kids out there."

Just one more step towards making men less than what they should be. Born and bred to be tough, strong, providers to their family."

This is repulsive and disgusting. I'm ashamed of this generation and the pathetic excuse for men that are resulting from it."

"Liberals of course are hailing this as taken another courageous step towards our genderless utopian future."

Wait, hold on. Liberal america did this?  Are you serious? Left winged Americans made this happen? Okay, first off, why are political views being brought into a magazine ad? And secondly, this has nothing to do with politics. This never had to do with politics, and this certainly has nothing to do with "making men less than what they should be." This has nothing to do with the death of masculinity, people. With this ad, this corporation is making more money than any other cosmetic company since they target everyone instead of just women and girls. It's brilliant, actually. This company took an idea and made into reality, and I'm pretty sure Revlon, Almay and Neutrogena will follow suit since Covergirl will be making more money than them. It was simply a business tactic, not to "promote a genderless utopia" as the media likes to say.

Before I sign off of the night, I'm just going to point out one little thing here. These people failed to realize is that James Charles never once identified as female, or disowned his male identity. He's a boy who wears make up. And guess what? Male models do, in fact, use cosmetics in their commericals and photo shoots. Even when you cease to exist, and your family has a viewing; your face will be made up to be presentable for your loved ones. That's right, even the deceased use cosmetics.  Your teenage son, who just got the lead role in the high school musical, will be wearing make up on opening night, through the closing. And guess what? Your favorite actors on TV, in the movies and on Broadway all wear make up; every single one of them. And  here you are being all offended that a boy is wearing makeup in an advertisement. What a tragedy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Black/Blue Lives Matter Movement

Hey guys, Dana here. Hope you're all having a good week so far...only a couple more days 'til the weekend. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I gave you all a sneak peek at my little side-project Heartstone and our debut performance with my band, Logan's Room, Ashes to Oranges and Vigil Antics on October 14th at Backstage Pass in Ronkonkoma.(I'm serious, come through!) Tonight's topic unfortunately isn't as light hearted as the last post I wrote. I'm talking about current events; the ugly stuff. I've held my tongue with this particular topic for the longest time, ladies and gents. I've ignored it, kept my thoughts to myself, and silently hoped that things would get better. I've kept silent long enough, and it's gone too far now; this is what I have to say about this black/blue/all lives matter thing. 

So today during my hour break at work, I read an article about a 40 year old man named Terence Crutcher who was killed by the police a few days ago. From what I read, Crutcher was unarmed, but acting very strangely as his SUV was parked in the middle of a road in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It appeared as if he was on some sort of drugs since he was not answering/listening to what officer Betty Shelby was saying to him, but did not pose any threat. He then proceeded to raise both hands so he was clearly unarmed. Aside from putting his hands in his pockets and supposedly reaching into his car window with one hand, he did not appear to pose any threat. At that moment, officer Shelby fatally shot Crutcher with one bullet while approaching officer Tyler Turnbough tazed him. This was at a simultaneous moment, mind you. Ask yourself this. Was a gun shot AND tazer really necessary for only muttering incoherant words and keeping hands in the pockets? 
Officer Betty Shelby & Terence Crutcher

Now, let's look at this situation from both perspectives, shall we? Let's take it from the police officer's perspective. Now, if I was a police officer and I found a semi-coherant man standing in the middle of the road and not understanding what I'm saying to him, I'd be kinda frightened too, not gonna lie. I wouldn't have any idea if he was armed, unarmed, mentally unstable, suicidal, etc. I'd most definitely call for back up if I felt diffusing the situation alone was too much to handle. But I would absolutely NOT kill him. Arrest him for walking/driving while supposedly being under the influnece of some sort of drug(s)? Sure. A quick taze to apprehend him and get him some help? If the police officer felt threatened, she should have at least shot him in the leg or somewhere NOT fatal. 
If the person was armed and dangerous, yes, shoot the criminal to disarm, not to kill. Since Crutcher didn't have a weapon in his hands, did he seriously have to die? Did he have to get shot AND tazed even though he had no weapon? Did the cops really have to kill him? I still ask this question with the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. All over this country, lives are lost and families are destroyed.

The crime scene where Keith Lamont Scott was killed.
Terence Crutcher's family lost a son, a father, a brother, and a husband. Crutcher's twin sister Tiffany told the newsreporter that he was loved by his family, friends, and was looking forward to taking classes at a local community college; no one ever felt threatened by him. Why he acted the way he did around the police officer, we'll never know. But I've seen that kind of grief with a family. There is nothing more heartbreaking in this world than watching a mother cry from losing a child. That is not supposed to happen, yet this keeps happening every single day.

Today I found out about the death of 43 year old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday. Unlike Terence Crutcher's case, Scott was supposedly armed while sitting in a car. Some sources say that he was simply reading a book in the car, when others said that he was armed.When he did not comply with the police officer's commands, he was fatally wounded. Why? This man was a husband a father, and now his children have to live the rest of their lives without their dad. His wife, now widow, is forever heartbroken that her husband was taken from her. Why did the police officer have to kill the man for solely having a weapon on him? I mean, the second ammendment clearly says we have a right to bear arms, but it seems that even if you're armed, you're considered dangerous and at risk to be killed by the police. As a result, riots have broken out in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the wake of Scott's death. Tear-gas fired in the streets, cops getting hurt, innocent people getting hurt, and people are getting killed because of wrongful deaths.

That's it, enough is enough. This Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter insanity has gone too far, and it's completely and utterly unacceptable. So many innocent people are getting killed because of the lack of communication between human beings. This "protest"  is just adding fuel to the fire and frustration of these wrongful deaths. Rioting in the streets is not going to fix what happened to these victims. Killing cops won't bring back those victims. If anything, murdering police officers will result in their families who will grieve and mourn for the rest

of their lives. Police officers are human beings too; think about their families. Destroying property, attacking the police and threatening the lives of innocent people are not going to fix what's already been destroyed, and this has to stop.

Now, should the victims have complied with what the police said? Yes, because if an authoratative figure tells you do to something, you do it. A police officer wants to see your licence and registration when you get pulled over? Do it. A police officer tells you to drop your weapon? Do it. Listen to the police officer and no one gets hurt, so I've always been told. But then here comes my question again, DID THEY HAVE TO DIE? Did the police have to kill those people? People always wonder and question why other people feel paranoid and scared around police officers. Only in America do people fear police officers instead of feeling safe and protected. Isn't that sad?

My last thoughts? Riddle me this. Why is it that these people are brutally murdered by the police, yet armed terrorists who bombed Seaside Park, New Jersey, and  New York City, MY CITY, are alive and simply detained? Are you kidding me right now?  Armed terrorists are alive and breathing, yet Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner are dead simply for not listening to an armed police officer? Riddle me that.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heartstone: A Step Out of the Comfort Zone

Hey guys, Dana here. Last week, I threw in my two cents about cultural appropriation and how asinine it's become since we've landed in the mid 2010's...i.e the age of social media and political correctness. Tonight I got something different for you guys...this post is actually about what's happening with me and the music I've been working on. Not a lot of you know this, but I'm currently working on a project that I never thought I'd ever be a part's a little something called Heartstone.

The unofficial logo for Heartstone
Now before anyone starts jumping to conclusions, asking questions or spreading rumors, NO, I repeat, NO, nothing happened to Bending Over Backwards. No, I did not quit, and no, I never will quit. Bending Over Backwards is my baby and nothing will ever come between me and my baby. I'm helping out because that's what musicians do, no?

Anywho, Heartstone is a project that consists of myself as the bassist, my friend Matt Capitano behind the drums, Nick Martinez and Vladimir Kosonofv(his real name is Eric, he goes by this name on social media) as the two guitarrists, and finally, the founder of Heartstone, Pat Keenan as the lead vocalist. 

Heartstone is completely different from any kind of music I've ever played in my life. As long as I've been a bassist for the past soon-to-be 9 years, I've only played punk rock and it's all I honestly know. You know...the raw, loud, fast, short, simple, four-chord songs that made me who I am today. Never in a million years would I ever thought I'd try something different than punk rock. Heartstone, on the other hand, is hard rock/metal. Hey, a musician has got to grow by playing something different from what they're familiar with. It's the only way to give myself more confidence as well.

Pat originally called his band Truthful Dishonesty, and was made public at the end of last year and early into this year. All of his life he's always wanted to front a rockband. Pat's always wanted to be more than just a promoter for local band...he wanted to be up there with those local bands he shows unconditional and everlasting support for. Since early this year, I followed Pat's Facebook posts and saw that he got two guitarrists and a drummer, but no bassist. I never thought anything of it. I had my own band, practicing and playing shows. We never lost touch, though. Sometime in May, Pat asked me if I'd want to jam with him, Matt, and the two guitarrists at a rehearsal space in Deer Park sometime on a Saturday in June. I figured "what the hell, let's give it a try." I'm always up for a fun jam session! Let's see how it goes!

On June 18th, I walked into the rehearsal space in Deer Park with Matt, his girlfriend Rosalie, and Pat was there waiting for us. I met Eric, and we clicked immediately; not only as musicians, but as friends. We also realized how many mutual friends we have! Nick, however, couldn't make it that day, but went on with the rehearsal. Now, I got to be honest with you all, I was nervous. Like, to the point where it kept me awake at night. I walked into that studio not knowing one song that they've been working on for the past 5 or so months. In my my mind, I had to catch up on 5 months worth of material in just four hours. My legs turned to jelly and my mind was racing. I no idea what kind of music we would be playing, no idea what tuning the songs would be in, how long each song was, if there were any tempo changes, key changes, blah blah frickity blah! But guess what? The songs that were taught to me that day came naturally for me. I don't know how, since this was completely different from what I'm used to, but the chemistry between me and these dudes clicked perfectly.My mind was at ease, and I left that rehearsal studio smiling.

The next day, Pat messaged me and said that he was really impressed with how fast I learned the songs...and then asked if I would like to be the official bassist for his band. Now, I originally said no. I told him I was "a one band" kinda girl. And in all honesty, I am. If this was going to be a strict, once/twice a week rehearsal kind of band, this would not have worked. However, Pat re-assured me that this is just an every-now-and-then kind of gig. The practices would be based around all of our schedules since all of us have our own bands. Since he put it that way...I said yes. But here's the thing. I couldn't believe that out of all the bassists he knows, and has seen for many many years, he chose ME: the least experienced out of every bassist he knows, and has only played one genre of music. I'm still shocked, but I'm thrilled to be a part of something that is outside of my comfort zone.

At the next rehearsal, I met Nick. We had a much fuller sound with the complete band, and Pat's voice gained more confidence. The songs we worked on got tighter and tighter, and my anxiety significantly diminished. The name "Truthful Dishonesty" was then changed to Heartstone. Honestly, that name is much more memorable, I feel the name "Truthful Dishonesty" would be a good name for an EP.(Maybe take that into consideration, Pat?)

As of now, we have two songs: The Bitterness, and From Falling Apart, an instrumental we're currently working on, and a cover that has yet to be announced! Next rehearsal is this Saturday, September 10th.

So...I've been working with these dudes since the beginning of the summer, and get ready for this: We have our first show in October. You guessed it; October 14th at Backstage Pass in Ronkonkoma. We're kicking off that show as Heartstone's debut live performance. After that, I'm going double duty and playing a set with my own band, Bending Over Backwards...followed by Ashes to Oranges, then Vigil Antics, closing with Logan's Room. It's a show that you do not want to miss, and I hope to see you there. Please clear your schedule, mark your calendar, and hitchike your way to Ronkonkoma. As a matter of fact, Backstage Pass is located DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE RONKONKOMA TRAIN STATION so if you don't/can't drive, simply take the train.

Sometime after our debut show, we will record an album with Tom Douglas (the guy who produced my band's first album) and will keep you posted. If you like what you've read so far, please follow Heartstone's Facebook page:

Thank you for reading, and have a great weekend!