Friday, January 25, 2013

You're Never Too Old To Rock and Roll...

Or write a book, give back to your community or even move into the business of acting. Joseph P. Genera has done all of this and so much more. He has led a life filled with a sense of adventure and gratitude at the deepest level. He has also suffered loss and tragedy along the way but faith has kept him ever-striving and moving forward.

All The Goods is inspired by such people, who not only make their own lives better but can inspire others at the same time. We have been following Joseph's latest journey as he wends his way through the often competitive but rewarding life as an actor. (The creator of this page, All The Goods, grew up in the same town as Joseph had and through the magic of Facebook, was able to reestablish this lost connection.)

Recently, we were able to catch up with Joseph to chat about the road that had led to where he is at the present time, his acting and his overall view on life itself.

ATG-Had you always wanted to get into acting and did you harbor this desire as a child? What drew you to it?

JPG-A resounding yes! From the time I was in elementary school. I'm not sure where the desire originated from. My family weren't show folk or anything like that. But I always enjoyed performing whether through acting, singing or playing piano. Seeing people enjoy it or be entertained or amused, it gets me so energized and it adds to my passion.

With acting, I absolutely love exploring the different characters, trying to figure out how they got to where they are at the stage of their lives that we are highlighting in the scene or story and how best to bring it across. It is also a way of 'seeing' into different ways of life without ever leaving your own. One of the advantages of being a 40 or 50 year old in this profession is, the actor has many of his own life experiences to draw from, in order to elicit the needed character emotions.

ATG-Did you perform in school plays?

JPG-Another resounding yes! For my very first one, I adapted a song we were singing in 4th grade music class into a play. It was called 'Don Gato', a tragic love story about these two Spanish cats. I still remember our leading lady, Debbie Dearborn's mother made her a beautiful white angora cat costume.

Something about the song's words had touched me. I believe it was the love, heartbreak and passion (I've always been a hopeless romantic!) and I wanted to see it come to life. Thankfully, our music, art and education teachers all supported my effort and from there my love for theater and performing was born.

In middle school, I wrote, produced and acted in, (with the support of Sgt. Roach from the Guilford (CT) Police Department), a play about the perils of shoplifting. When we performed it for the school, it was the first videotaped production in Guilford schools. I wonder if the tape still exists?

Throughout high school and subsequent college years (which because of life events, took me ten years to complete), I continued to perform whenever the opportunity presented itself, as well as taking acting classes at every school I attended, from UNH to NCSU. The most fun production was our own GHS's  (Guilford High School) 'Lil Abner!'

ATG-You're a good spokesman for those who wish to change careers and start a new path at midlife. We admire this in you. How did the acting come about at this point in your life?

JPG-While I know it isn't practical or even sensible for everyone to do as I essentially drop everything and pursue a dream, if there are things in your life that you can change, either large or small, to improve your outlook, increase your enjoyment or better the lives around it! We only get one chance in this very short amount of time we are given. I would rather study, work and push hard now, than to live regrets later, wondering 'what if....?'

My own path back to the stage and screen was surprising to say the least. One of my endeavors Team- MuscleCar enables me to have a stable of sports and muscle cars that I would occasionally rent to several studios in Connecticut when they filmed period pieces. One Sunday in August 2012, I was scanning the State of Connecticut production site for any such opportunities and came across a casting call for background players for an ID Discovery series, 'Unusual Suspects', right in Danbury, CT.

Knowing that the wheelchair might stand in my way of successfully being cast (and the main reason I hadn't returned to acting following my accident), rather than 'cold' respond to the casting call, I instead emailed the LA-based casting director. I explained my situation and added my fear that some might see the chair and not be able to see the potential beyond my disability and asked if she had any suggestions. She certainly did! As a person who had epilepsy since the age of 10, she was well aware of the perceptions some may have in regards to people with disabilities. She cast me immediately as Tony in the production based on my picture and bio...and the rest is history.

On set, I met and became friends with several seasoned actors/actresses who encouraged an extremely naive and inexperienced Joe, put me in touch with several NYC-based casting agencies and I was hooked once again!

Since that time, I have acted in and/or appeared in over a dozen productions, mostly TV series, including 'Smash', '30 Rock' and the new pilot 'The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives' as well as bigger and better roles in numerous ID Discovery shows including 'Unusual Suspects'; three episodes of 'Deadly Sins' and 'Fatal Encounters'. I have leading roles in three commercials currently in production, as well as a supporting role in an independent film.

Never one to take my 'job' lightly, my days are now spent commuting to NYC, taking acting and voiceover classes, auditioning and actually working paying gigs 2-4 times a week. One really fun chapter of this journey was becoming a cast member of the comedy improv troupe Guilty Pleasures, a chance to 'let my hair down' and take part in a live theater experience. With our weekly rehearsal schedule, we are slated to debut our showcase at the end of February.

ATG-Do you have a mentor, meaning is there someone who is guiding you through this process?

JPG-Two people stand out from the very beginning. Kelli Lerner, the original casting director who took a chance on an unknown entity (me!) and German-born Sina Stockman, an actress I met my very first day, who encouraged me (and still does!), providing me with advice, contacts and support as I navigate a very complex and unknown (to me) world unlike another arena I have ever explored.

I'm not one who is afraid to ask questions or talk to strangers and each production I have been on, I have established relationships with other actors and production people. We openly share what resources we have/know with each other. While the entertainment industry is by its nature very competitive, most of us are in the same boat and the free-flow of ideas, suggestions and contact information is almost constant.

I have been relatively successful with my own 'self promotion', though a bit uncomfortable. But to be truly successful, my goals for this year are to secure an agent and to become eligible for membership in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), both of which are necessary to take my career and talents to the next level.

ATG-You are a person with a disability and are reliant on a wheelchair. Has this had a negative impact on your work and conversely, have there been any advantages as a result of the same?

JPG-Good question! Ha ha! Yes and yes. For most roles, I have been cast as a character and the chair is not an issue at all. I am incorporated into the scene or show as any other actor. I have run across several sets or location shoots that were inaccessbile or where I had to explain to the production assistants how I could make the situation work. For those who are not experienced personally with disabilities, it is sometimes difficult to envision things simply because the situation has not presented itself previously.

That is an area where I truly hope my work is having a positive effect, both with those who work these productions and also the audiences of these shows and theater. By bringing awareness to the various members of the filming crews, I hope I am going to open doors for others who may have the same dreams as I. When I appear onstage or screen, just as a regular Joe (pardon the pun), instead of an issue being made because of my disability, I hope that my appearance builds a sense of acceptance on the part of the viewers, where I can be seen as the character, rather than 'the guy in the chair.'

One neat tidbit regarding my disability, when casting for an episode of 'Made In Jersey', actor/director Eric Stolz (of Mask and Pulp Fiction fame) specifically wanted a wheelchair user for the scene and worked with me personally to get the shots he wanted. So cool!

As a result of my work and exposure, I am also working as a consultant/spokesperson for an accessible clothing designer and as a prolific user of NYC's accessible taxi program, I have been asked to be part of a focus group for the MTA to improve the system and assist in working the kinks out and increase ridership. Two very satisfying and unexpected offshoots of my work! Love it!

ATG-Do you see yourself as a role model for other people who might wish to change careers or even begin a new one?

JPG-When we are 'inside ourselves', it's difficult to see how others view us. As such, when I hear 'role model' or 'you're an inspiration', I get surprised as I'm just living and working, albeit an incredibly interesting path at present. I am doing it very publicly, both because of the nature of the work and also by turning my Facebook page into a journal of sorts since I began acting again. I had done that initially to record in pictures the extremely interesting locations/opportunities I have been exposed to in the hopes that my friends would find it interesting.

What it has evolved into is an almost daily catalogue of the work necessary to be a success in this business from the very beginning....the work, training, chance encounters, the FUN (and there is some to be had for sure!), the incredibly long hours needed to make it happen, the exhaustion at times. But at the same time, I hope that by my publicizing this new chapter of my life, it will demonstrate to people that perhaps it's never too late to try and hopefully succeed at something new, an area previously unexplored and that though it may be hard to get started, with determination and hard work, positive results are possible.

Not everyone can just 'chuck' their lives and start over. But whether it's taking a cooking class, enrolling in college part-time or full-time, exploring a new career or volunteering somewhere different, it is always worth giving new situations a try. It may not work the first time but we have the ability to 'do over' and I'm so glad that we do. We've been given a gift of life but as far as we know, we have one life to live. When health and circumstance allow, go for all that you can.

ATG-What is the most satisfying part of acting for you?

JPG-When the director yells 'action', everything changes. No longer am I 'Joseph' but instead I become the character envisioned by the writer and director. Whether as a background performer or the main character, everyone on the stage or set becomes the story being told. If we've done our job correctly and with passion, it's so satisfying to hear the director say 'It's a wrap! Good job, people! You nailed it!'. With live performances, it's hearing the audience laugh or sigh at just the right moment and the applause at the end of the show or scene. If/when that happens, we know we did what we set out to do.

ATG-What is your idea of the perfect role?

JPG-Actually, there are two. A dramatic role which allows me to express a full range of emotions, in order to make the audience really 'feel' and experience what the characters are feeling. The other is s a comedic role that leaves the audience laughing their heads off!

ATG-Do you have any favorite actors?

JPG-Several-Male...Jimmy Stewart; Burgess Meredith; Robert Duvall; Phil Hartman and of course Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Female...Donna Mills; Jessica Tandy; Jane Fonda; Tina Fey and especially Katherine Hepburn.

ATG-What are some of your roles up to this point?

JPG-'Deadly Sins'-a bad lawyer; a dirty senator Allen Roberts; and a bad banker; 'Deception' Dr. Slade' '30 Rock' (2 episodes) a silly 'Crab-Catcher.' Commercials for Mohonk Mountain House; Verizon; Lahey Medical Boston and a pharmaceutical company that I can't name yet. It's been busy!

ATG-If a movie was created from your life story, who would you choose to portray you?

JPG-I've had two months to answer this and I still haven't come up with an answer! I'll have to get back to you!

ATG-Aside from the acting career, what else have you done? We understand that you are as writer as well. Can you tell us more about that?

JPG-My first book 'Arrested Youth' is due to be published this spring. It is a true-life love story as touching as it is tragic. It's a story of two teenagers, first loves and the horrendous events that led to them becoming runaways, as seen through the eyes of a naive teen...and the words of the adult looking back thirty plus years.

The next work entitled 'Do As I Say, Not As I Did' is meant to be a self-help relationship-type book where real life problem love relationships are detailed and each scenario is then analyzed by a relationship psychologist. Issues tackled are the 'red flags' that we should see when first embarking on a new relationship but usually ignore; how to deal with a stalker;communication issues and many other serious problems that can fell an otherwise healthy union. The manuscript is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2013.

ATG-We know you also work with teens to rebuild muscle cars. Can you tell us about your program and what it's about?

JPG-Adopting the trademark slogan 'Teaching Teens, One Hot Rod ar a Time", Team- MuscleCar strives to help teens of all ages and abilities achieve their goals of high school graduation as well as providing the tools necessary to learn life-skills through mentoring, education and personal support. We use vehicles of all ages, types and conditions as teaching tools. By experiencing everything from detailing and small repairs through complete restorations, our teens learn the satisfaction of seeing their efforts turn into a beautifully finished classic ride.

Started as a personal hobby in upstate New York in 1998, Team-MuscleCar evolved in 2001 into a pilot project in conjunction with Guilford High School (Guilford, Connecticut). The team works with at-risk teens of all abilities, teaching them the fine art of Auto Restoration, as well as providing mentoring and personal support.

Recognizing that there are some students that learn easier with 'hands-on' type instruction than in the classroom and that some students with dysfunctional family situations, educational difficulties, substance problems and many other factors, thrive in a one-on-one learning environment, Team-MuscleCar was born. Working with several teachers and specialized staff from the school, I built a fully equipped restoration complex, specifically to bring this pilot concept to fruition.

As my own life has changed considerably due to personal and professional considerations, in 2011, I was fortunate enough to be able to turn the reins of the garage over to one of our first students, who has been with the team for eleven years now.

ATG-What is your philosphy about life?

JPG-That we have but one life to live and wherever possible we need and can live it to its fullest. If we should be knocked down by health issues, failure or other issues, we can succeed by getting up again. I also believe that our personal path is guided by a higher power and that we need to make sure we are open to the opportunities that are offered. To do otherwise is to miss the great journeys that we can embark on and what we can achieve.

ATG-Do you have any quotes that you live by?

JPG-One by Carl Bard, that I believe best describes the new paths I have been granted and am working for...'Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending'. Another is by James Matthew Barrie and modified by me...'The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and lives another.'

ATG-You can find Joseph P. Genera on Facebook as well as IMDB (listed under Joseph Genera).

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Path of Least Resistance...the David Tolar interview

All The Goods is happy to have the occasion to chat with the multi-talented David Tolar just as his new album has released. Oh, wait a sec, this is not actually a new album's more like a 're-imagining' of a work of art that has come before...1987 to be exact.

Back in 1987, David sat down and decided that he would go ahead and create a solo work. He didn't have a recording contract then. Copying CDs and using downloads were worlds away at that point in time. David, instead, shared his talent in a different way via cassette tapes. He shared a good portion of these with friends. All The Goods has a copy of this tape somewhere so we are familiar with the material presented on this album. Still, however, it's been a good many years since we've sat down to listen to it. With this re-magined version, we've really been lucky enough to listen deeply and intensely this go-round and we love what we hear.

First a bit of background...David Tolar began his singing career at a campground in New Hampshire at age five where he sang about a dog with a fat belly (true story.) He played the trumpet as a youngster and then got his first guitar at age eighteen. David's parents gifted him with a Yamaha FG-331 Acoustic which he still owns to this day. He's written well over one hundred songs, beginning shortly after getting his first guitar.

Here is a partial list of work that he's done in the past...Split Second 'There You Have It' 1998; Savior Faire (Demos produced by Bob St. John) 1992; No Man's Land 'Alternatives to Violence' compilation 1995; Daniel's Dream 'Dear Life' 1998; Big Blue Daddys 'Money Don't Beat The Blues' 1999; Agona Hardison 'CD Advance' 1998 aka 'Water In My Well' re-released 2010; Lisa Meri 'Time Will Tell' 1998; British Yankees; RAMM-The Paul McCartney Tribute; LOOK! A PONY 'and the rest of the world is wrong' 2010.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with David to speak about his new release 'The Path Of Least Resistance' and to get some insight into some of the songs on this album as well as his musical career at large.

ATG-How old were you when you first wrote the material for what would become 'The Path of Least Resistance'?

DT-The first song I wrote for the album was 'I Wanna Fly', when I was 19. The final song on the album was 'Pull The Plug!' at 26.

ATG-Was this the first album you ever recorded?

DT-In its original form, in 1987, yes, but the extent of the 'release' at that time was literally roughly 25 cassettes- that version of the album was never sold publicly. It isn't my first actual album release. I have actually been involved on a variety of albums, from my first two with LOOK! A PONY! to working with Agona Hardison, Lisa Meri, Split Second, No Man's Land, Daniel's Dream and the Big Blue Daddys. The 2012 version of 'The Path Of Least Resistance' is actually my first physical and digital release as a solo artist.

ATG-Who were your main influences for this album?

DT-At the time that I wrote the album, I was really learning my way around the various instruments and the technology to record the album. I wasn't really thinking about any specific artists or bands when I wrote the songs, but in hindsight, I think that I was subconciously grabbing little bits and pieces from my record collection, both past and present up until 1987, so there were certainly elements that are reminiscent of my love for British rock as well as folk, jazz and classsical music. From a lyrical standpoint, I was consciously trying to write in a variety of styles, from tone poems to short stories, to very direct and more simplified ideas. I wanted to create a storyline of sorts which would also be appreciated as individual songs.

ATG-This album was originally recorded on a 4-track TASCAM PortaStudio 246. What other work have you recorded using this?

DT-I recorded the majority of the LOOK! A PONY! album 'Has Your Mother Heard This?' on the same machine. We recorded that project from 1990 to 1992 and finally released that album on CD in 2012. In addition, there were a series of songs written on that machine which will be rerecorded in 2013 for my second solo album 'Sandbox Etiquette'...those songs were written from 1988 to 1996, but everything prior to 1995 was done originally on the TASCAM 246, before finally upgrading to the TASCAM 488 MK II PortaStudio which had 8 tracks as opposed to 4.

ATG-What year did you graduate to using Pro Tools to work on your music? We're sure that there is a substantial difference recording with Pro Tools as opposed to your older TASCAM system; you were probably like a kid in a candy store with all this new technology.

DT-I was highly resistant to recording digitally, even though I had done so with other artists in various studio settings. In 2009, I jumped into the digital world via Pro Tools and found the transition to be nothing short of remarkable. It took me a good six months to start to become comfortable with what could be done, but once I figured out how to take my analogue masters and convert them to Pro Tools, putting that first LOOK! A PONY! album together really took shape, and we released 'and the rest of the world is wrong' in 2010, roughly 18 months after the project started. My Pro Tools gear is very utilitarian compared to other project studios, but I get every last sonic morsel that I can out of it. If anything, the temptation to go 'too far' with the technology is a siren's song of its own. It's really easy to end up with dozens of tracks using Pro Tools. The trick is to figure out when to stop!

ATG-The new version of 'The Path Of Least Resistance' is a 're-imagining' of a recording that had originally been 'released' in 1987. Did you ever imagine in 2012 that you'd ever revisit this material in any form? What led you to redo this album as it were? How much deviation did you do from the original recordings?

DT-When I sent my friends the original cassette of the album, I had dreams of maybe someone eventually signing me to a songwriting deal or even a record deal. Keep in mind this was years before the internet made being an independent artist a global possibility. Without a budget though, I put the idea to rest and moved on to my next writing project. Revisiting the original masters in 2012 was so much fun, I thought to myself 'wouldn't it be cool to release this?' So I put together a reference CD to listen to in the car from that 1987 material and was stunned as to how well it still worked. I had not listened to those songs from front to back in over 20 years. I also immediately realized that trying to remaster those original recordngs was going to take a great deal of time.

One night, I remember grabbing an acoustic guitar and randomly singing 'I Wanna Fly' to myself. I plugged the guitar into Pro Tools and just strummed for fun. After playing it back, I put down another guitar track and another and three months later, the rerecording was done and mixed. It was genuinely that simple. Once I put the acoustic parts down, it was at that point that I had to decide as to whether I would try to replicate it as closely as I could what had been done in 1987 or go for completely different sonic landscapes and really re-imagine everything. Listening to the 2012 version, I think I split the difference. The percussion elements would never have happened in 1987 the way that they do now and I play the various instruments a great deal more proficiently than I did at the time. The vocal parts were based on what had been done originally but I believe that I can do more vocally now than I could then and the vocals on the 2012 version reflect that as well.

ATG-How did you come to name this album 'The Path Of Least Resistance'?

DT-The inspiration for the album title was Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken'. As someone who was contemplating so much as a young adult, I was very aware of the idea that the decisions that I was making would have consequences that went beyond the spur of the moment and thinking along those lines, I imagined standing in the woods and having to make a choice as to which way to go in life, without compromising who I was or what I wanted to accomplish. That metaphor became the basis for both the album title and the connected storyline that accompanies the album.

ATG-'I Wanna Fly' is the first cut on the album and it starts off strong. This is an upbeat happy song and we especially love the '1-2-3-4' in the intro as well as the multi-layered guitar playing. We feel partial to this song because it has personal meaning to us as it sums up where we are in our life at this point in time. Did you ever imagine that this song would move people in such a manner?

DT-'I Wanna Fly' is a happy little ditty musically which is contrasted by more than a hint of self-doubt, curiosity and fear. The song came from a variety of different places, everywhere from high school observations of behaviours I didn't understand from being so incredibly naive, to the fear of never living life to its fullest. The reference to Icarus flying too close to the sun is very conscious and as an aside, when Iron Maiden released their song 'Flight of Icarus' years later, I said to myself 'Well, there you go-someone beat you to it!', even though the two songs could not possibly be more different. The first person that really liked the song was my late mum Ruth. i remember playing it through for her right after I had finished it and she loved it, as it reminded her of her frequent travels as a young lady. I didn't have the heart to tell her what it was really about. Many years later, just before she passed, she asked me to play the song at her funeral and through many tears, I did just that in 2008. I am hopeful that people will have their own reactions to the song and derive their own meanings from it but I can't get over how much the song has changed over the years...

ATG-'Easier Said Than Done' picks right up where 'I Wanna Fly' left off and keeps the fast pace going. To us, this sounds like a 'driving song'. In fact, as we listen, we can picture flying along country roads with the windows open. The lyrics remind us a bit of Neil Peart as they are thought-provoking like his are. What was on your mind when you wrote this song?

DT-To be mentioned in the same breath as Neil Peart is amazing to me-thank you! 'Easier Said Than Done' is a bit of a tone poem at its core and I wrote it during an overnight shift at a radio station where I was working at the time. I would get out of work and always drove home in that nether world between darkness and daylight and equated that feeling of neither being here nor there with that twilight. I wanted to write in a very 'stream of consciousness' fashion but when I looked at what I had written, I understood that for it to become a song, I would need something that rhymed and that's what the bridge section is. I'm not really sure there is a chorus on the song at all! The 2012 version of the song is actually three minutes shorter than the original and has three verses removed but I think the song is better for being editted down.

ATG-'Shadow Of One'-upon a deeper listen to the lyrics, it feels as if this song is the 'anthem for the introvert'. The words are something that is also relatable for so many people. We think this song taps right into those feelings quite well. How did you come to choose the lyrics for this song?

DT-'Shadow Of One' is a series of observations, written from the perspective of someone who does not want to follow the particular path that society is forcing upon them. Personally, I have always believed that following one's own path is the only way to find one's truest happiness. The notion of the 'shadow of one' is a metaphor for standing alone and celebrating one's individuality, principles and life. I love your title for the song but I think that it's an 'anthem for the iconoclast' at heart.

ATG-'Tilting At Windmills'-this one sounds like a sea shanty from days gone by. The concertina is a nice touch as well. As we listen to the lyrics, we get a sense of frustration in them. Perhaps frustration of love or life at the time. 'I feel like an island with a hole in the middle' is a verse that stands out to us. What was your thought process when you wrote this one?

DT-When I first wrote 'Tilting At Windmills', I had a waltz in mind and the timing of the song is in 3/4 waltz time. This is the only waltz I have ever written, by the way. From a musical standpoint, the original 1987 version was far simpler than the rerecorded one and this newer version has a variety of sounds that are somewhat different, specifically the accordian sample played on the piano and the vocal harmonies in the choruses, which were literally added in just before the song was finished being mixed. Lyrically, you are absolutely spot on with your assessment...this song is about the frustration in life of not being able to share yourselfwith someone the way you want to emotionally and the 'hole in the middle' was just the idea of feeling incomplete on some level due to someone else's lack of appreciation. 'Tilting At Windmills' is also an old English expression and I remember the phrase from the Don Quixote stories I read as a child.

ATG-'For Now And Always'-this song stands out as not only one of our personal favorites but one of the prettiest and most heartfelt ballads we've heard for some time. The song reminds us of 'A Gentleman's Excuse Me' by Fish with a liberal touch of Marillion's 'Lavender' thrown in for good measure. We noticed that in the last verses you added some French which fit the song to a T. We think that the message in this song is universal. What were your thoughts when you crafted this exquisite ballad?

DT-Stylistically, I wanted to create something very delicate with this song...some sort of a cross between an English folk ballad and a French romance. Whether that actually worked, I'm not sure! The lyric was inspired by a series of short stories and poetry that a very dear friend had given me and looking at life through the eyes of that 18 yr old young lady was a very unusual place to start creating a song but that's what happened. I found it very difficult to tell her how I felt and as the song says 'I can't tell you in English/I guess French will have to do' which worked out perfectly as a way of leading into the French verse of admiration that would have never rhymed in English. The 2012 version is far more of a complete idea than its 1987 predecessor but retains a great deal of the feel of the original, as much if not more so than any song on the album.

ATG-'Pull The Plug!'-this song is another standout for many reasons. It doesn't sound like anything else on the album and in this case, that's a good thing. We like the singing style including the falsetto at the beginning. The song is evocative of another time and place. It's scary when you realize that this song was created first in 1987 and the technology at that time was just beginning to get going and how incredibly far we've come. Did you ever imagine returning to this song again so many years later but with today's outlook and world view?

DT-I have never written a song anything remotely like 'Pull The Plug!' before or since and both this song and 'The Lonely Jester' were the only holdovers from the original 1987 recording. There was just no way of recreating either one, even with Pro Tools. When I dug out 'Pull The Plug!' after so many years, the first thing that hit me was that the song sounded like I was channeling Prince on some odd parallel universe kind of way but then listening to the words, I was struck by how prescient they were. The idea of 'space age technology or the world at the touch of a key' in 1987 were more science fiction than reality at the time. Looking at the song now, the sentiment I expressed then is still very similar. I'll always have an affinity for the artists who used their canvas, their paper and their minds to create their art, music and culture and the idea of technology usurping our own capabilities as people scared me then and on some level, it still does today. Had I rerecorded the song, I would have changed the lyrics and by putting out the original, I didn't have to alter the original idea at all. It still holds up as much as any song I've ever done.

ATG-So what's next on the agenda for you? What plans do you have for the future?

DT-I will be releasing my second solo album 'Sandbox Etiquette' in July 2013. Beyond that, I'm writing material with my wife for another album and am looking forward to working on more LOOK! A PONY! material in the future as well. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess!

ATG-If people are curious and want to learn more about you or 'The Path Of Least Resistance', where can they go?

DT-Feel free to visit my ReverbNation page at and check out my Artist's Page on Facebook. You can also find my music online at iTunes, Amazon and other fine online retailers spanning the globe beginning sometime in January. In addition, I'm hoping to launch my new and improved website in the near future at I guess that's a wrap! Thanks, ATG!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teaser...upcoming interview!

All The Goods will be chatting with musician David Tolar in an upcoming issue. We're pretty excited. We've been friends with David for over thirty years and have watched him grow and change as a musician and it is our distinct pleasure to get to pick his brain a bit about his recent release 'Path of Least Resistance'.

We also have a growing list of people we wish to interview in the future as well as new stories to cover as they unfold.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Little Peace of Joy

All The Goods would like to spotlight a relatively new business that sprouted up within the past couple of years. A Little Peace of Joy is the brainchild of Joy Hawkins, who makes her living as a graphic artist but has an eye for what creates vivid art whether it be photography or her main passion, creating fine pieces of jewelry. (All The Goods also credits Joy for showing us how to make great jewelry.)

The photo above shows the amazing jewelry that Joy creates. She primarily uses glass beads and she has an eye for finding just the right bead in whatever she is creating at a given time. She has also branded herself well by featuring peace sign beads in most of her creations.

If you're curious about A Little Peace of Joy, feel free to find her on Facebook. (On FB, she is listed as Alittle Peaceofjoy.)  

Free Art Friday

Yesterday, Friday Jan 12th, All The Goods took part in Free Art Friday. The basic premise of Free Art Friday is that artists will leave their work around downtown St. Petersburg. They leave it in the bushes, in trees, on benches and tables as well as any other stealthy place they can think of. They also make sure to leave their contact info with the art. The people who came up with this idea wanted artists to be able to get the word out on their art without having to deal with galleries and things of that nature. When one would find a piece of art the general idea was to have the lucky finder contact the artist as a way of letting the artist know that their work has made it into hands that probably might not have in other means. We think that Free Art Friday is a fine idea. Anything that supports and promotes other people's art and passions always gets a thumb's up from us.
We at All The Goods also have a full time "normal job" so we would not have been able to partake of the festivities as we might have liked to. We decided to set out for the 600 block of Central Ave and leave our treasures out for people to find just before sunrise. We wanted to do it as quietly without detection as we could. We had a blast setting our art into planters, in doorways, leaning against windows and other places. The art that we ended up choosing went into baggies with three cards in them per bag.
The above photo will give you a rough idea of the sort of thing we gave away. We just put our info on the backs of all the cards. After placing these carefully, we then sped off to work.
By a stroke of luck, we were able to get out of our job a half hour early and headed right back downtown to see what we could find and to see if all of our bags had been picked up. Since we got down there about 4:00 pm, we felt that we'd missed the boat. We didn't see any art anywhere, except what hung in the galleries we passed. But when we checked the places that we'd placed our own things, everything had been taken. We haven't heard yet from any of the people that took them but we hope that our cards get some good use.
We walked as much and as far as we could and only on a return trip back up Central Ave to our car, we found this...
This sweet little painting sat in a plastic bag on a bench outside a building. We had passed the spot before but had sworn that this hadn't been there the first time. It was as if it was waiting for us. So we took it home with us and emailed the artist that had left it.
The artist's name is Coralette Damme and we visited her website as well as her Facebook page. Coralette also goes by the name of The Crafty Hag and we must say that she is amazingly crafty with the things she does. She paints, she draws, she also makes her own block prints and creates her own blocks to use in this process. (If you're curious about her, please take a moment to check her out at and she is listed on FB as The Crafty Hag.)
So, yes, we would do Free Art Friday again but maybe this time we'd take the day off from our normal job to spend more time in downtown St. Pete.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Songbird soars again....the Marilyn Martin interview

Recently All The Goods had the distinct pleasure of chatting with the amazing talent known as Marilyn Martin. You might know Marilyn best from her duet with Phil Collins 'Separate Lives'. This song came out in late 1985, hitting #1 on the US charts as well as #5 on the UK charts, Marilyn's voice is as warm and passionate now as it was then.

Marilyn has recorded a brand new album which was released this past year 'Trust, Pray, Love'. She decided to take her music into a different realm with this new release.

ATG-People are probably most familiar with you from the duet you did with Phil Collins in 1985 for 'Separate Lives'. How did this pairing come to be?

MM-I had just finished touring with Joe Walsh and Stevie Nicks as a background singer in 1983 and Stevie invited me to sing on an album she was just beginning to work on called "Rock A Little". One night the head of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris, came to the session. He asked if I had any demos and I told him yes...actually all I had was a rough work/idea tape! He ended up signing me to Atlantic Records about the same time Phil turned in his "No Jacket Required" album. Phil had recorded "Separate Lives" but though he loved the song, he didn't think it was a good fit with the rest of his album. Doug heard it, thought it would be great as a duet and somehow convinced Phil to sing it with about miracles!

ATG-After your work with Phil, what path did your career take from there?

MM-When it came time to choose songs for my first solo album, I was like a kid in a candy shop. People were sending killer songs for me to record and I was getting to write with some great writers but I wasn't focused on carving a specific musical style. Basically, I was just having fun singing!

Not the wisest way to establish a career! After two solo albums, I began to realize that the lyric content and the image I was portraying weren't authentically me anymore so I veered a bit off the grid in my attempt to find my own voice.

I toured as a backup singer for Don Henley for awhile then was offered an opportunity to make a country album for Atlantic Records Nashville. Eventually, my crazy, circuitous path brought me to a place where I just had to stop. I was tired of exploring different musical directions that never felt true to me...until I wrote my first inspirational song.

ATG-Let's go back a bit, where did you get your start? Were you into music as a child? Is this the path that you've always wanted to take? Do you play any instruments?


MM-I grew up fantasizing about singing on a talent show and being discovered! I sang all the time, in my head, out loud, in church and school until I was asked when I was eighteen to join a band and go on the road. It wasn't a glamorous gig but I got to sing and travel...heaven! My only regret is never learning to play an instrument but one of my 2013 resolutions is to learn to play piano!

ATG-Who were your influences when you first began your career?

MM-I'd have to say my biggest all time musical influence would be the Beatles, their melodies and harmonies played nonstop in my head. But getting to sing with Stevie Nicks before I ever had a glimmer of hope of being a solo artist was huge. I was inspired by her absolute passion and dedication to the music.

ATG-We listened to your latest album (Trust, Love, Pray) and your voice is as warm and passionate as ever. This album is faith-based in style. What guided you to move into this musical direction?

MM-Thank you! When I started writing again I had no intention of actually making a record. I just missed singing. Out of the blue one day,  my husband Greg began to teach me how to navigate Garageband on my computer, which put a world of instruments right at my fingertips. This was a miracle to me! Since I had never learned how to play an instrument I couldn't write a song on my own. I had SO much fun creating my first track! Usually as I work on the music, I kind of hum and mumble melodic ideas that eventually lead to lyrics. Well, I was so grateful to be singing and writing again that the words that came to me were expressions of love and thankfulness. I had always known that God had a plan but my inner fear had become...had I been willful for so long that I'd missed it completely?

ATG-Recently, we had caught a video of Joe Walsh performing at tbe 1983 US Festival. We believe that was you that was singing backup for him. You looked like you were really having a blast up there. How did touring with Joe come about? Have you sung on any of his albums?

MM-I went from singing in nightclubs to singing in front of thousands with Joe Walsh by meeting Joe's drummer, Joe Vitale, at a club our band was playing in Miami. We talked on a break and realized that he and his wife lived about twenty minutes from us in Arkon, Ohio. So we exchanged phone numbers with the hopes of playing on some of his demos. He's the one who got us on the Walsh tour and yes, it was a blast!!! I haven't gotten to sing on his albums but recently got to sing with him on some tour dates for a few months in 2012...amazing!

ATG-What other artists have you toured with? Are there any other albums that you've contributed vocals to by any other artists?

MM-Aside from Joe and Stevie in 1983, I've toured wiith Don Henley. What a privilege to hear that voice and sing those incredible songs night after night. I've gotten to sing on several different soundtracks, "Sorcerer" for 'Streets of Fire' and a duet with David Foster for the movie 'Stealing Home' called "And When She Danced". I'm on backing vocals on "Footloose"; "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty and "Cherish" by Madonna.

ATG-We know that you have a Kickstarter page. We think that Kickstarter is a great vehicle for folks to get their projects off the ground. How do you feel about all of the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and just the internet in general?

MM-I'm so awed and overwhelmed by it all! What has touched me the most is that I've been so inspired and encouraged by my Facebook friends. It always surprises me when I post something and people respond!! I'm a bit challenged though; I'm not sure who's seeing my posts or if I'm responding to the right friend! Kickstarter is amazing! What a great springboard for artists and entrepreneurs! I've tried tweeting but you don't get the room to say things, so what you say better be good...a tad intimidating!!!

ATG-Now that Trust, Pray,Love is finished, what goals did you have in mind for this project? Were you thinking about going out on a possible solo tour?

MM-I would LOVE to tour, but the problem is I'm seriously flying by the seat of my pants! The upside of not having a label or management is you have  no one else calling the shots; the down is that you have no one to do the things you don't know how to do,like put a tour together. At this point, my goal is to nudge Trust, Love, Pray into peoples' awareness every way I can via social media. It would be a huge help to reach my Kickstarter goal. That would enable me to hire a marketing professional.

ATG-Whar sort of advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the music business? Perhaps the sort of things you wished that you knew at the time and had to learn as you moved through your career?

MM-That's a really tough question because the music "business" has changed so much. It's such an exciting time to be a new artist because of all the opportunities and ways to be successful independently. My advice would be first hone your craft. Be passionate, be true to your gift, never stop fine tuning. There's so much talent out there, find what is uniquely you. Second, absorb all the knowledge you can about social media and marketing.

ATG-Do you have any quotes that you live by, maybe something from the Bible or another source?

MM-Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you.

ATG-Where can people buy your new album?

MM-Thanks for asking! My album can be purchased at You can also go to my website

Links for Marilyn Martin-


 Look closely at the blonde backup singer. She's having a total blast. (The blonde singer is none other than Marilyn Martin.)

Marilyn Martin - Night Moves

Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin - Separate Lives (1985)

Free Hugs Campaign - Official Page (music by Sick )