Happy Memorial Day

On Friday evening I kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with an acoustic set at the Driftwood. I was joined by, the one and only, Dave Brown.


It’s always a time at the Driftwood. Driftwood is something of a cross between playing a dive bar and playing your friend’s living room.  Dave and I caught the tail end of an early birthday show crowd which worked out great for us.  We jumped on the bill last second.  I should say, on Wednesday I confirmed to play a solo show at the Driftwood.  I had asked Liz and she was going out of town.  I knew Corey was in Nashville and Beau had to work and Shane was on the fence, but had a friend from Alaska coming into town.  By the end of the evening on Thursday, Dave said he’d be available to perform.  And I’d say that’s pretty good for a last second Memorial Day weekend show.


We showed up on Friday evening with two days to promote and heard the displeasure of the owner as soon as we walked in. To say the least, we were grateful for the birthday party crowd that stuck around.


We stomped our feet and howled ten songs into the night. It was a great way to start off the long weekend.


For me, the rest of the weekend was filled with bike rides and grilling between sprinkles.  All time well spent with family.


Hope your weekend was relaxing! Happy Memorial Day!


Our next full band show is Friday, June 16th at Reverie Café.  We’d love to see you there!


“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”     -Hans Christian Anderson

Chris Cornell

I’m going to show my vintage here, but I remember running to cut weight for wrestling in high school and listening to Superunknown on my Walkman. The thumping distorted intensity pushed my strides, but the melodies and his voice kept me pushing the cassette into the tape player.  Limo Wreck was my favorite song.  Chris Cornell’s vocal range was unbelievable.  He could swing from a smooth soulful vocal line to a gritty scream with ease.


The first CD I ever bought was the Counting Crows August and Everything After. My favorite bands in high school were Weezer, the Cranberries and U2.  But I can’t leave out Soul Coughing, Beck and Sponge. Looking back, one of my favorite bands of the time was Toad the Wet Sprocket.  I started playing guitar because of Bob Dylan.


The hardest music I listened to was influenced by Soundgarden and the grunge guys, throw in a touch of Deftones and a dash of Metallica.  I wasn’t really into the screaming noise of even some of Nirvana’s tunes.  I was always looking for melodies and always punk over metal.  Superunknown was full of melodies and fantastic guitars and drive.  That album will always hold a special place in my listening catalogue.  But I hadn’t listened to it in years until this past week and actually preferred a lot of Chris Cornell’s solo stuff.  When his Euphoria Morning came out in 1999, I ate it up.  It was still dark and from the belly of grunge, but it wasn’t nearly as heavy as Soundgarden.


I must admit. I got into Nirvana after Kurt’s death.  I can now say I know who Pat Smear is and I know about the Germs and lead singer Darby Crash’s suicide on December 7, 1980.  On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot.  It hasn’t stopped.  There is a tug of war between the public and the private, between fame and obscurity.  Or is it that beautiful art has a cost or at least, it seems that those I respect are telling me the price is too high.


Death and Rock & Roll.  Like a good kiss.


From Jim Morrison to John Denver, Chantilly Lace and La Bamba. Elliot Smith stabbed himself twice.  Prince had pain killers.  There are plane crashes and car crashes, but it’s tough when an artist/human being takes their own life.  It’s particularly tough to swallow when it’s someone you have admired.  There’s a feeling of hopelessness that saturates the details surrounding their death.  I am devastated.  And I’m still coming to terms with the permeating sadness.


I think about running in high school. Superunknown playing in my Walkman.  My whole life stretched out unseen ahead of me with Chris Cornell on top of the world and I can’t help but feel a pull on the thread.  Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.


“Musicians are often asked to answer for an entire culture, or for an entire movement. It’s a process of commodification.  It becomes packaged and summarized in a word like ‘emo’ or ‘grunge’… or ‘folk music.’  I think that’s just language itself, trying to understand the mysteries of the world.”  – Sufjan Stevens

The Auk’s Roost

This past Saturday evening I played a solo set at the Auk’s Roost.


The Auk’s Roost is my friend Jake’s house/art gallery/music venue. On a corner lot in South Minneapolis, it stands three floors tall and the music happens in the attic.  Lit by the soft glow of LED strip lights with a working fireplace behind the musicians, the attic is one of the most intimate venues to play in the Twin Cities.  The audience sits in the small room on the bearskin rug or on the padded seats that line the walls.  There are no microphones and there is a general no amplifier policy, though the final flight of stairs up into the attic is discouraging enough to anyone thinking of lugging an amp all the way up to the top.


Live music is about a shared moment. In the attic of the Auk’s Roost, there is an energy to the space and it’s organic and raw and genuine.  Everyone who plays embraces the space and makes it their own.  Jake curates the events himself and has even booked touring acts to play.


We started the night on punk rock time and I kicked things off with about an hour and a half set. I didn’t have a solid set list, but had the idea that I wanted to play songs that fit the attic and my acoustic guitar on that particular beautiful evening in May.  So I played some newer originals and sprinkled in a few covers.  The evening, as always, was full of merriment, laughter and great music.  It’s always a great time meeting new folks at the Roost.


If you are so inclined, check out these bands: Sawed Off String Band, The Salt Vine and Jezebel Jones. And maybe we’ll discuss songwriting or the appropriation of symbols next time Jake has an event at his house.


Happy Mother’s Day! I would especially like to honor my Mom and Tami.  I love you.  And to my sisters, Jess and Kris, and sister in law, Lisa, keep raising those beautiful human beings.  And finally, I would like to give a shout out to all the mothers out there.  You are appreciated more than you know.


“A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.”  – Margaret Fuller

The Lovely Liz


At the end of Liz’ birthday week, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to talk about her a little bit.

Liz and I go way back. Dinkytown, Brooklyn Center.  All the family vacations.  Holidays, Birthdays and everything in between while growing up.

We started making music together in 2006. Galaxy Drive, my band at the time, recorded a record called A Remnant Remains and Liz sang on two tracks.  A couple years later, we recorded another album and Liz sang on two more tracks.  She has a great voice and I was impressed and looking forward to the future.  However, the future is not always what you think or how you think.  Shortly after the release of album, that band broke up.  I asked Liz to sing full time in my new project, she said o.k. and we’ve been at it ever since.

We started singing two and three song sets at open mics. Thomas, a friend of ours, opened up the Highland Park Music-Go-Round to performers on Friday nights.  We would pretty regularly go down there and play a little bit longer set than your usual open mic.  These are the first stages Liz and I shared and we met some pretty great people while doing it.

The band, King Fish Crow, has been all over the map. We’ve had an open musician policy since the creation of the project.  The consistency through all of it has been Liz putting up with my shenanigans.  There is a certain excitement that we both have right now in this project.  It’s a full band for the first time and with these additional talents and personalities we’re exploring a whole new canvas for the music.  It feels right.  And we’re doing the work.

Now Liz is pretty extraordinary. Not only can she sing and does she have style, she has degrees from Notre Dame and the University of Minnesota.  She doesn’t want me to brag too much about her, but have you seen her artwork?  She’s amazingly talented.  She’s working on a new website.  I’ll get the link up when it’s complete.  Until then, try this.

I think the first recording Liz and I sang together in King Fish Crow was one track at IPR. That’s when Corey B. Toth got caught in our web.  Later we recorded four songs at Old Fashioned Records with Cody Fitzpatrick.  Then we recorded in Corey’s basement and we lost a dozen scratch tracks at Kooler Sound.  And most recently we recorded Hotdish Army at 27 Years Studio in New Ulm.  I’m looking forward to the next one with her.

Through it all, Liz has added style, elegance, and balance to my rugged persistence. I appreciate it more than she will know and I am grateful that she is a part of this band.  It wouldn’t be the same without her.

Happy Birthday, again, Liz!

“I found that dance, music and literature is how I made sense of the world…it pushed me to think of things bigger than life’s daily routines…to think beyond what is immediate or convenient.” – Mikhail Baryshnikov


Happy May, everybody!


Spotify and iTunes


We’re thrilled to unveil our new website, kingfishcrow.com. We hope it’s functional and easy to navigate.  You’ll be able to find everything you want to know about King Fish Crow right there.  Call it our one stop shop.  Check when our next show is and find all of our social media.  You can even like us on Facebook.  And now you can stream us on Spotify or download us on iTunes.  So tell your friends and we’ll see you at the shows.




In regard to my mention of spring last week, I must remember not to speak of spring as warm and beautiful and blooming until at least June. Mentioning the beautiful weather at this tumultuous time of year is bound to bring a week in the thirties and more snow.  I’ve learned my lesson.  This is Minnesota.  The calendar says spring, but winter does not want to let go of its icy grip just yet.




Yesterday three of my nephews were baptized. The crazy part is they are cousins, all born within four months of each other.  Jude Robert is the oldest.  Samuel Joseph is the middle cousin.  You could call him the fulcrum.  And Malachi Patrick rounds out the gang.  We affectionately call them the Three Murpheteers.  (It’s also a hashtag on Instagram.)  As they were being held around the font in the church, I couldn’t help but beam as an uncle to all three.  And my dad, Patrick Joseph, he was beaming ear to ear.  Can there be a greater moment for a grandfather?  I suppose time will tell.


Now we have these new little faces peering out into the world, reaching up into our faces. And I can’t help but think I look more like an uncle than I ever thought I could.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll form a noisy little trio.  We can only hope and nudge and teach.


Happy Birthday, Liz!!!


“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Worhol