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Category Archives: Misc

hover around the light

so i’m sitting on the couch in andy ellis’s studio on hollywood boulevard right now listening to him comp and fix some vocals i recorded at home. if i knew andy would be putting my demo vocals into a master i would have been more conscious of my pitch and timing. but then the vibe probably wouldn’t be right, and we probably wouldn’t be using them. so who knows.

i wrote the whole song in about ten minutes, and recorded it in an hour. we both kind of fell in love with the demo, so everything we are doing out here is basically just trying to retain the mood of the demo while giving it more of a pop sheen and cohesiveness. so far so good. i hate it when a song gets lost in the translation. that will not happen with this song. i am very excited and confident about it so far.

yesterday because of the rain there was a power outage. so instead of working here, brian paturalski was kind enough to let us use his studio. there, we recorded acoustic guitars, electric guitar, and re-recorded all my demo keyboards with midi. brian won a grammy for engineering and mixing the outkast speakerboxx record. he is also the person who autotunes all of hillary duff’s vocals. he’s a nice guy and a friend of andy’s. he liked my song and that made me feel good.

tonight we are going to yet another studio, clear lake audio, to record drums. i have basically differed to andy and my drummer dan mcquinn for drum ideas. the three of us have been sending files around via the internet for a few weeks. i think today andy pretty much locked down exactly what are are going to do. tonight we’ll be using mike miley, the drummer from that show last call with carson daily, as dan couldn’t make the trip out here on such short notice. miley has played with santana, ricky martin, kelly clarkson, et cetera so if he sucks i’ll be really surprised.

* * *

yesterday i was walking the dog, birdie, through winding roads of the hills. it was overcast. the tops of the letters HOLLYWOOD were enveloped in fog or a cloud. then birdie starting sniffing a few extra sniffs. as we rounded a bend in the road we came upon a coyote standing in a driveway. it was wild looking, wet muddy hair in spikes, bleeding on its front left leg. i thought “oh shit.” and imagined the coyote attacking the dog and or me, the three of us entagled in a bloody leash, the dog fatally wounded, me losing a finger, and so on. instead, my eyes met his and we just stood there gazes locked for a minute. we were definitely interested in each other but i did not attempt to call him or approach him and he didn’t say anything to me either. birdie grunted. it wasn’t even a bark, just a grunt. the coyote’s leg looked pretty badly wounded but there wasn’t anything i could do. so i pulled on the leash and we went on our way. when we passed back through, there was no sign of the coyote.

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the CEA's

ghostly CEAs
photo by Shay Zimmerman

if you’re curious, we did not win either category. i did have a great time though. this is the best music event in Cincinnati. the Taft theater is gorgeous and i was really impressed with the bands and the overall production. the bands were fantastic–buffalo killers, the bad veins, wussy, etc. big video screens with montages of the nominees, a nice podium and lights show. it was really interesting just how much it mirrored some of the national awards shows like the Grammy’s. although it was less posh (think “who are you wearing?” “goodwill”) there was the obligatory random nudity–a member of the punk rock category winner mooning the audience, the really boring guy who was rambling, the witty hosts, the woman in the too revealing dress, et cetera. overall it was a great experience and a lot of fun. unfortunately i don’t have any decent photos but there are probably some on the internet although probably not of us. i was wearing zara pants and shirt with “vintage”(goodwill) jacket. we did walk the red carpet but opted not to talk to the women in the directors chairs with the mics and cameras because they scared us slightly.

that’s the rundown. i’m sure there are better blogs on this from people who are a little more connected or in tune with the local scene. although after the other night, i feel much better informed as to what’s going on around here, and there is a LOT of cool music. nice that people are getting some recognition for it.

happy thanksgiving!
am thankful for your support and friendship. and for yams.

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that "far off look"

a few months ago i was at my sisters house and noticed one of my dad’s letters lying around. my dad died when i was 13 so these letters are very valuable to me and the family. he wrote a lot. he wrote a lot of people. some of these people thoughtfully sent the letters back to my mom after he died. these contain the most revealing insights about our family and my childhood.

Joe is 12 now and he’s doing great. Christian merit award two semesters in a row, honor roll all year. He is very introspective. We are thinking priesthood. He already has that “far off look”. HA! One of his teachers even approached him about it!

now that seems ridiculous at first, but i think artists do essentially the same thing as “men of the cloth”–they attempt to communicate unseen truths. it is difficult to say anything about the dead without being trite. saying something like “he’s in a better place” the other death clichés have always seemed especially empty to me. it is like taking the emptiness of a cliché and magnifying it an infinite number of times. as profound and spiritual as death is, that is as empty as death clichés are or were to me when i was younger. unfortunately there are some subject that language cannot adequately address.

i went through a long period of atheism in high school and immediately after. i wrote an album about it called “SWIM”. older people who i respected kept telling me something would “knock me off my horse” and i would eventually come back to the light of god. nothing ever did. at least, not in the same way that i first experienced loss of faith–that blow from dad’s death. but over the years religion has come seeping back into my life, albeit very slowly. for a while when i felt that longing for eternity creep up in me i really didn’t do much except write about it and try and have beautiful experiences, sort of as a spirituality substitute. then a few years ago i took a comparative religion class at a local college just for fun and my perspective started changing a little. enter buddhism. learning about eastern religions was a total mind-fuck for me. in the same way that learning about philosophy only reinforced my rational atheism, reading about eastern religions really opened my mind to the possibility of spirituality again. christianity has a lot of problems for the thinker, for the artist. it’s really hard to be a christian as you get older and learn more about the universe around you. built into the religion are a lot of mechanisms for tranquilizing your intellect and silencing your questions without providing real answers. but in buddhism i found something that appealed both to my sense of wonder and my rational mind. this is a spiritual tradition that wants you to doubt it (a lot of buddhists prefer “spiritual tradition” to “religion”). the idea that a spiritual tradition could be practical and pragmatic–built on direct personal experience rather than clinging to beliefs and judgments–was a completely new idea for me. not that i am going to shave my head and live on a mountain. well maybe someday. but for now learning about these things is just the best way to keep my mind open. i do believe in the infinite, i just can’t exactly articulate why and how yet.

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i am home and it seems the rain has followed me from LA. i was trying to nap on the plane but the sunlight was so white, reflected off the top of these oceans of clouds. it was so nice to see the sun and feel it on my face through the little oval window. tens of thousands of feet above the earth, it’s always a beautiful day. descending through layers of clouds looking like smoke passing over the wing it began to rain and grow darker. by the time we landed in columbus it was overcast and gray. but this is something that will stick with me–it’s always a beautiful day up there. every day, all day, all the time.

here are some photos from a few weeks ago. these were taken by the tiny little camera built into my macbook, showing off our ridiculous collection of wristbands for the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta. one that denotes “band” status, one for free drinks from red bull, one for 21+, one pass for all the speakers and things, etc.




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Cincinnati Entertainment Award Nomination, Concert Reviews

In the “critical achievement” categories, which are the only ones not selected by the public (instead, CEA Nominating Committee members cast their votes), there is a little more diversity this year. In the “New Artist of the Year” category, the nominees are The Seedy Seeds, Jon Justice Band, Eat Sugar, The Lions Rampant, Dan Karlsberg Group, The Read, Pomegranates and Joe Hedges., Mike Breen

i have been nominated! neat! keep up with the CEA’s here and more positivity from Citybeat from a couple of its resident bloggers:

The highlight of the night was Joe Hedges at The Exchange…Hedges is mega-talented and lately his sound has become something soul-filled, touching and undeniably real. Hedges played tunes from his album Curvature; his solo stuff really strays from the JFK sound, but there is still the familiar comfort in his unmistakable voice, one that is catchy, strong, clear, aching and gorgeous., C.A. MacConnell

Finishing the evening where I began, I strolled back to the Exchange to check out Joe Hedges’ festival-closing set. The former July for Kings frontman has assembled a crack band to help him translate the songs from his stellar solo album, Curvature, which they did in blistering fashion Saturday night…Hedges and his well-oiled backing band turned the quiet Folk Pop expanse of Curvature into an insistent Power Pop groove that made an impression with diehard fans and curious drop-ins alike., Brian Baker

citybeat, will you go out with me? xoxxo
seriously, thanks to Brian Baker, CA Maconnel and everyone there who has embraced Curvature and has been so nice.

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i felt like, for a little while i was getting into a good creative writing memoir thing here with the blog, but then i just fell into “i’m did this, then i did that” etc. then i thought at least i’m not putting up quizzes about myself yet. that was five minutes ago. since then i just now went and took a few quizzes to see if they would be funny to put up here. not really.
one was called “Can you draw Manga”. i scored a 20%. that i guess means there is a 20% chance that i can draw manga. some questions included “do you know what manga or anime is???” which seemed very relevant. other good questions included “do you draw at all???” and “4. do you like to draw manga/anime??? yes, no, or what is it again??”

so even before the results were tallied, i was learning about myself and my propensity for drawing manga. i almost felt, at the end of the quiz that i didn’t even need to see the results. this is the power of self-discovery through blogging.

other quizes i considered taking or actually took included:

Are u a great bf?

How New Jersey Are You?

are you smarter than a fifth grader? (which i think is rigged)

and my favorite and most depressing,
do you have a place in this world?

i scored a 42%

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last weekend we played a great set in cleveland. one of our best in a little while despite a couple hiccups. that was a good practice set for this weekend’s showcase. this weekend we are going to atlanta for the atlanta music conference. it’s a huge event featuring lots and lots of bands. there will most likely be a couple record label people at our show. that doesn’t really mean anything though. we’ve probably played showcases for 100 different people at record labels, and only had one legitimate record deal. on the other hand if the odds are 1 in 50 i must be getting really close to number 2. i think though, that’s a gambler’s fallacy. gotta know your fallacies.

now here is some good news:

i shaved my mustache. if you come to a show and say hi to me, you’ll need a different icebreaker. although definitely one of my favorites, “hey it’s the much-blogged-about mustache!” won’t work anymore. instead let me suggest: “do you like gummi worms?”

i finally got a mac. it’s a black mac book. i bought it cuz stephen colbert has one. he’s my latest obsession and i’m trying to be like him. it is really not like me to get involved with a TV show. as a sort-of rule i just don’t watch a lot of TV or get into a series. but i just think this guy is about the funniest, quickest person on TV right now or in a long time and i can’t get enough. help me i’m watching TV.

i won a big graphic design/ad slogan contest. more later.

school at nku is going very well. i am getting smarter every day, which is the goal. i got recognized which was fun. if you have spent some of your life trying to be famous and somebody recognizes you it’s very exciting and affirming. although i know it appeals to all the worst parts of me but i just can’t help enjoying it slightly. anyway i was buying a parking pass and somebody says “are you joe hedges?” and it went from there. if you’re familiar with my music and you’ve seen me at school, go ahead and make a big scene of it and i’ll pay you five dollars. just wait until we’re in a really crowded place and then say “oh my god!” and whip out a CD or something. (i’m just kidding actually. i’ll pay you not to do that!)

but it is weird being a student. i don’t even talk about music at all. it’s hard to tell people about it without sounding sort of like an idiot. (in a stoner voice: “yeah dude, i’m in a killer band.”) so despite its being the biggest part of my identity i will divert from it at times and play up the other aspects of my life like art and graphic design or any interest really like (i swear this is true) old ghost rider comic books. not sure if that really saved me from looking like a nerd there. but see the problem is that the second the band thing comes up i feel a really intense need to justify it and say something like “yeah i had a record deal for a few years” or something that is obviously just begging for affirmation. it really would be better to say “my band is killer.” as you may have guessed by now, sometimes i don’t do well in social situations so i mostly walk to and from my places in my own world. but i am slowly making friends and acquaintances and all the people are very nice. i participate in class when i can and all my teachers have learned my name and smile at me passing in the hall. and most importantly i’m drawing some killer skulls. now i use the word killer with utmost seriousness. i can’t wait to show you my drawings.

we have been working on new songs in practice. a few that we feel are very good.

if you are counting, that’s five pieces of good news! and counting! at least, good news to me. i hope your world is in good shape.

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dale earnhardt as god

mountains smoky

i just got back from a weekend vacation with my girlfriend to gatlinburg tennessee. it was fun. if you’ve never been there and are thinking about visiting, i’ll let you in on some things i’ve learned. let this be a warning, this post may start out being somewhat entertaining but takes a deep dark turn for the cerebral. turn back now. okay now the things i learned over the weekend:

the mustache is extremely popular. i counted in a room once–about 9 our of 10 dudes. no joke. i included myself.

even the salads and potatoes have meat in them or on them or carefully surrounding them. getting bacon bits on a milkshake would not have been too surprising.

there are two radio stations, christian and country.

there are bears!
it's a bear

real, live ones out in the woods of the smokies. i know that’s obvious but you don’t realize it fully until you see it. i saw a small black bear with my own eyes, scurrying up a mountain from a stream. i was riding a horse. this is a true story. it was not scary though. exciting maybe. when i am outside and i see a special animal or insect i often feel privileged that nature or fate or god has chosen me to experience the creature in that way at that time. i don’t get that feeling very often but i do in nature, a sense of wonder and satisfaction, sometimes from the simplest of things. if there is a god it lives in the woods and in the sea.


the smoky mountains are truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. i swear i didn’t scan these from a nature calendar.

mountains stream

another highlight was the aquarium. there were very kind stingrays that you could pet. they are the nicest creatures! they were curious about me like cats are.

also in the aquarium they had this huge (unexpected) mars exhibit, where i read as much as i could about the water on mars. this has always been interesting to me, and i’ve been hearing more and more about it. i was reminded that the boiling and freezing temperature of water on earth is different than that on other planets. i don’t know the specifics but it’s something about the pressure. the atmosphere on mars is much thinner, so water cannot become liquid. it changes tragically right from ice to vapor. however, in the future if we need another planet to slowly destroy, we could release large amounts of greenhouse gases into the martian atmosphere. this would heat up the planet enough to provide the right kind of atmosphere to make lakes and rivers possible. at the aquarium was the first time i have heard of scientists suggesting this. while it appeals to my sense of science fiction curiosity it kind of begs the questions, “why don’t we fix the planet we already live on?” although i suppose this is the same kind of capitalist spirit that drives us to purchase new cars and new toasters and sunglasses when our old ones no longer gleam. especially in the case of the VCR, it’s easier just to buy a new one.

i also learned that dale earnhardt, the late race car driver, is on the fast track to diety status. no pun intended. i like to read about buddha and his quick transformation from man into a god-figure by the indus valley people. remarkably, preserved in his teachings are specific warnings against this, things like “work out your own salvation”. because of this i think buddha is the best example of the unstoppable temptation to elevate celebrities and leaders to saintlike or godlike status. happens everyday. it’s through studying buddhism that i started thinking objectively about dale earnhardt.

in contrast to ancient civilizations like the romans who diefied (often by force) their political and religious leaders, today’s recently deceased saints include secular, nonpolitical, nonreligious, nonphilosophical figures from pop culture, people like kurt kobain, tupac, and dale earnhardt. it is no stretch to say dale earnhardt sacrificed his life so that others may have…entertainment. self-sacrifice, i think, is a big step toward divinity. in our culture entertainment is one of the most valuable commodities. also on the shortlist are money, celebrity, worldly success, and machismo. so it is no wonder that a guy like dale earnhardt who had tons of money, was very famous, had an excellent record of winning and success, and who lived fast and dangerously to entertain others has been so quickly deified–he embodies a lot of american ideals. where i’m from in Trenton ohio, i see a whole lot more winged number 3 window stickers than presidential campaign stickers. and i’ve seen little to no decrease in the amount of these stickers since his untimely death in 2001. if anything, they’re getting bigger and more prominent, often occupying the entire surface of a rear view window or side door. it is not uncommon to see an enormous winged 3 on the back of a vehicle filled with a family of people wearing hats and jackets with winged 3’s on them. the wings are of course to suggest his angelic life after death. it is my prediction then, that the outright worship of dale earnhardt as a god could be in the not so distant future, if only in isolated pockets of america like trenton and gatlinburg tennessee. there may be forces at work which could prevent him from becoming a full scale god, such as the fickle nature of pop culture, but it’s important to remember that sports fans are extremely faithful. and dale earnhardt is probably as close of a model of american ideals as buddha was of the hindu ideals in india in 500BC. in india it only took a few hundred years, if that, before buddha began showing up in art with indra and vishnu and other existing gods. dale earnhardt depicted next to jesus? if it sounds preposterous to you, you’ve never been to gatlinburg. it’s not only a very real possibility–it’s happening already. now i’m not saying this is good or bad and i’m sure he was a great guy, but it is a reflection of the type of things we value as a culture.

anyway those were my thoughts in gatlinburg. with the exception of the weekend, since going back to school i have been nonstop. come to think of it even the vacation was pretty nonstop activity. and now it really is an indulgence even to write a blog, as i always have so much to do between music, reading and studying for school, and work. but i like writing them. they are fun to write, clear my mind and organize my thoughts and always elicit a few fun or interesting responses from you.

the next five weekends we are traveling doing shows, cleveland, columbus, cincy, atlanta, LA, etc. that’s insane. i am considering taking november off completely from shows. that could give me at least one weekend to truly relax or at least catch up. that’s a ways off though. for now, we are looking forward to this weekend in cleveland!

thanks and love always, joe

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the holy spirit descending & other intriguing captions

LA traffic at night
panic attack

airport glasses joe hedges
zero hours sleep 6am layover

airplane panorama
airfield panorama

car commercial road
chase scene

renee's photo
at room 5

surfer at malibu beach
malibu times

hugging seaweed
hugging seaweed

holy spirit descending
the holy spirit descending

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field of vision

i was wearing a hoodie today just for fun. hoodies drastically reduce your field of vision. they are not safe for driving. if i get in an accident i’m going to put on a hoodie real quick, then sue the hoodie retailer. that would probably work and maybe i could buy a power mac to record with. right now i am using the law of attraction to attract a power mac into my life, or, a car accident. but let’s get back to hoodies. i haven’t worn a lot of hoodies in the past but i think i might start. i saw my friends kill hannah recently and mat now wears a white hoodie even on stage in the blazing lights where there is no gatorade. i told him the truth “your white hoodie is very cool.” he said “yeah! and nobody else is doing it” and i thought “that’s cuz it’s summer and hoodies are really fucking hot” although i think he was referring only to the color white. it was great to see them.

yesterday i think i noticed extra wrinkles on the sides of my foot. that is strange is it not? my feet are getting older. then i thought “feet, you have served me well. i wonder how many steps we have taken? it must be hundreds of thousands” and the more i thought about this, i thought they don’t look so bad afterall. they are in amazing shape.

i am writing and recording my second album. i am not sure why. the timing is not great. i really should be putting everything i have into promoting curvature. but for some reason these songs have been sneaking up on me and they are like monsters they won’t let me sleep. a lot of creative projects are like this. you don’t chose when you do them. they let you know when they are ready to exist and you just have to go along. people talk about songs like children but lately i’m thinking monsters. children you nurture but a monster you wrestle with and when it’s finished it’s great and terrible and mysterious. when a child is finished it’s jaded and gives up on its dreams.

sometimes people say things to me like “that’s great that you’re still going!” and of course the implication is something like “even though you’re still not rich and famous! why haven’t you given up?” although this is not something they consider when they say it. they are trying to be encouraging and that is very fine and nice. but i have to ask rhetorical questions in my mind like can i not do music and a host of other things that interest me as well? is it so weird to do something because you enjoy doing it? sometimes i have my doubts about if i’m doing music for the right reasons or what the right reasons even are if there are any. but lately i am feeling great. when i feel compelled to make another album and i’m in my room alone with guitars and keyboards and a computer and the new webster’s thesaurus and webster’s compact rhyming dictionary i am not thinking in the way you think normally and there is no space to contemplate fame or wealth or other things people lust for. creative energy is not the same kind of escapism as getting drunk or watching tv. it is a productive energy that comes from somewhere beyond you. that may sound insane.

i can tell its time to write an album because i am listening to music a lot. my uncle bought me a record player at the trenton ohio garage sale extravaganza. i haven’t listened to records in a few years so i took a huge stack from my mom’s. i’m just going through them one at a time, it has been the greatest experience. the cool part/annoying part is flipping the album over for side b. this experience forces you to be attentive. if you are listening to a CD that’s 45 minutes long, or an itunes playlist that three hours, it’s very easy to stop paying attention half way through. not with a record. it shuts off after just a few songs for a little reminder “hey! you’re listening to music!” and you have to turn it over and place the needle down again. on top of that, you can’t listen to vinyl in your car (obviously) which is where i think most people enjoy their music these days. you have to be in the house, near the record player. and the artwork is so big and beautiful! so i’m just listing things that have nothing to do with the actual musical content but of course that is the most enlightening thing. as a sidenote i will never hear hendrix voodoo child without thinking about T and his first wah pedal.

today we are playing in columbus. sunday we’re having a picnic! check the tour page for details

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