Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Based On A True Story

Ladies & gentlemen, I am proud to present the world premiere of Burn Down The Barn. Recorded and filmed in 2007 for a vanity project. And it served its purpose. No point going into the details now. It will all be in the book. Metaphor heavy, to be sure. Those in the know will know.

Recorded under the Otis Ball & The New Chains banner, which was Super Karaoke Fun Time Band backing me on my own songs. The other OB&NC song/video was Fire Needs Oxygen, which can easily be found on the magical internet.

The recording features Keith Hartel on lead guitar, Dan Hyland on bass and Kevin Hyland on drums. Cinematographer was Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss, the finest fake manager in the world.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mr. Rock & Roll

In honor of ... something. The first song I ever wrote. Inspired by Bob Greene's book. Billion Dollar Baby.

mp3 download hyah

Sunday, November 27, 2011


LYTID was released in early January of 1990 and I spent the next few months promoting the album with live shows, radio appearances and print interviews, all the while booking a mid west tour for March. The band was in heavy rehearsal mode. Our repertoire was large. Sometime in February I was approached about a fraternity party at Steven's Technical Institute in Hobroken. The timing worked out, in that it would give us a low key warm up show about a week before we left on tour. Also too, I had always wanted to play a frat party. Seemed like the perfect gig for the show I was doing. I was correct.

Butler, Grula and I arrived at the frat house a few hours before show time and discovered the "PA" was a mishmosh of bits and parts. I think a boombox was powering the set up. Luckily Rich lived in town and was able to get a ride back to his pad to grab what we needed to turn it into something resembling functioning.

Powered by pitchers of red liquid and cigars, we plowed through almost every song we knew. And then some. And we were very happy when the SPECIAL GUEST I invited actually turned up and played a number of songs with us in the first and second set. After the show he told me that this was the first time he had ever had fun playing a live show. In addition, we had The Maries and Nancy along for moral support. It wasn't our tightest show, it wasn't our best show, but it remains my favorite OB&C show of all time. All our stage tricks, the request bucket and the longest Charles Manson's Birthday ever.

And though I didn't know it at the time, it would be seen by more people than any other OB&C show ever. Someone asked us before the show if they could videotape it. I never had a problem with bootlegs. All I ever asked for was a copy. Well, I got that and more because a few weeks after the show, Stevens Tech started broadcasting the entire show on their low powered campus TV station.On an endless loop. For about 3 weeks.

And so it is my pleasure to bring you Otis Ball & The Chains' FRAT PARTY! With SPECIAL GUEST! The set lists are posted in the comments for those that prefer no spoilers.




Thursday, November 24, 2011


Just got my copy of the new book, Live...Suburbia! There on page 32 is a picture I am so very happy has survived and remained in the archives for almost 35 years. October 28, 1978. The world premiere of KISS Meets The Phantom on NBC. I was (and remain) a KISS fan. But, unfortunately, I was expected in West Dundee for my BBYO Induction Ceremony. I am sworn to secrecy, but I think I can now safely say that blood, sweat and tears were involved. And visibly, fire. I had to wait a year or more to finally see the movie. Happily, by the time it reran, my Pops had purchased a VCR. And now I am the proud owner of a DVD. Bad movie? Too be sure. Do I still love pulling it out every decade or so? Sure do.

Fun book. Anyone still checking this site regularly will love and appreciate it. Hit the link. Reasonably priced.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Juicy John Pinks, DeKalb, IL

Alright, all you knucklehead Google searchers. Now there's a FaceBook page.

Juicy John Pinks

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Favorite Love Songs

OK. This blog has been inactive for almost a year. I gave you the easy stories. Maybe it's time to kick up some of the difficult stories. And as this goes back 20 years, I feel it's time it is told. (Some of these stories I gotta hold back for the book!)

Coming off my debut Love You album, I was in flux. Not unusual. I was plucked out of my DeKalb home to make an album when my heroes TMBG pushed me to send a demo tape to the label they were in the process of leaving. That in itself is a number of blog posts which I may or may not get to.

Love You did a respectable debut. I was told at the time we sold 10,000 copies. A respectable number, yet not enough to recoup expenses. Shocking. The band that I used on the album were great musicians and really good guys, but stuff gets in the way. By the time the album was finally released, I had a new Chains. As far as a rhythm section goes, the finest Chains ever. We did a brief two week tour, which I had to book. One ulcer later, I managed to make it break even. (Again, saving details for the book.) I disbanded this band for reasons that, in hindsight, are absurd. But I was a kid with all kinds of pressure and all kinds of idiot. Happy to say that B&G are still friends and we had a reunion in 2001.

At this point I was approached by a source with conflicts of interest piled upon conflicts of interest about a publishing deal. The interested parties wanted to throw money at me to re-promote the year old album. I refused. I wanted to make a new album and promote that. They said no. I responded in kind. They backed down. They said they would use $10,000 of the publishing deal to record a new album. I was only getting 10% of the deal as an advance, so I really had no financial skin in the game. They met my demand.

I had an interim band I was working with from the band Earth Pig. Artie Reinitz on guitar and Davy Hoskins on drums. I played bass. We did one show at Maxwell's and recorded demos for the album. I love those guys and they were a ton of fun, but the label wanted me to get another band. So I got the rhythm section from Das Damen and went into rehearsals. They also wanted a professional producer and a high end recording studio. On the production end, they procured TMBG's sound man, Paul Angelli, who brought in his friend and partner, Pat Dillett. Two nicer guys and excellent producers you will never find. And I'm both proud and sad to say that they did the whole project for points on the back end.

They also wanted me to do the album at Hobroken's 24 track Water Music, as opposed to DubWay, where the bulk of the first album was recorded. I loved everyone at Water, but I didn't think this project warranted the step up in recording fees. Barn One insisted. So I went along. Long/short, I don't regret it, but we ran out of money before we could finish the album the way we wanted. The last day of the sessions, we crammed as many background vocals as we could and we never did finish guitars on a couple songs. Having said that, I'm really proud of the finished product. It's a far more coherent album than Love You. It was written as an album, as opposed to a collection of songs. (Having said that, there are two covers on the album. Influences that I proudly wear on my sleeve. Cheap Trick's I Can't Take It and The Raspberries - I Don't Know What I Want.)

When the finished product was turned into the label, I was called in to talk about it. I was told that they had a great idea. How did I feel about bringing in a lead singer and I would be the mastermind! Like Rick Nielsen!

Uh ...

The label had been aware of the entire album's progression. They came to the studio and they received working tapes. After the entire project was done, they wanted to call do over? That was the last conversation I had with them about Favorite Love Songs. They had a finished project. Which they choose not to release. Which was a relief. I did not care to work with them either.

So what I am offering you is both the Favorite Love Songs album and another album's worth of demos and recordings post Barn One. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I've been listening to it while I've been writing this post and I couldn't be prouder. I think it's a far better collection than Love You. I look forward to your comments.

Sorry, folks. You snooze, you lose. But please to enjoy some YouTube videos.