Cozmo’s Blog: Knoxville Recap

the last few days i’ve possessed a feeling of chill that’s so chill, that i can’t do anything else but chill…the chill that follows something victorious…this feeling stems from our recent back to back hometown rock shows…nothing excites us more than playing our hometown, so we decided to do a two night rock and roll binge in our wondrous ecosystem, knoxville, tn…we haven’t played the motherland in a while, so we greatly anticipated our return…the pressure was heavy on us to put together a rockin weekend for our knoxville family, so we bounced around a lot of questions/ideas for each show…what covers should we learn?? how should we construct our encores each night?? who should we ask to open for us?? what about special guests?? what should we wear?? we wanted the party to be just right, so we started hashing through ideas to create a weekend of great jubilation…

friday:
i woke up friday morning feeling easy…i got up and took a walkabout around the neighborhood to calm my already calm brain…the weather was beautiful and i ran into a couple of deer, who are now my friends…one i named reginald veljohnson and the other is named carl winslow…unfortunately, i didn’t have any good leaves or carrots on me to give to them so i had to continue on my journey…i finished my walk and it was time to meet up with the rest of the guvs…we arrived at the venue to be surprised by an amazing light rig that was set up by michael brammer of SES…immediately, we started getting excited…we were back home and it felt buttery…we had an incredible horn section (chuck mulligan, tyler “the gold” bullion, and kyle bothof) for one of our musical surprises…we ran through the tunes and it sounded magnificent, the ground was fertile…in addition to the horn section we also had chris doody and mitch stewart join us for some perfectly seasoned bee gee vee’s (background vocals)…chris and mitch, who are former members of the guvs, played a huge role in propelling us to where we are today…it was a special moment to have them with us, and we are grateful they are on this earth…as game time approached, our focus sharpened on what we came to do that evening…we walked down to watch elenowen play a flawless set…the crowd, as well as us, loved their music and they’re all super chill…we hope to collaborate with them at some point in the future…the guvs seemed calm, granted we had a super intense cram session the two days preceding the show…the lights went down, and we walked out on stage…the crowd made a joyful noise and we began our set…songs were tight, vocals were potent, and the rippers were rippin…everyone knows that we’re huge fans of “the band” so we decided to work up some fresh encore covers to capture the essence of one of our favorite concerts, “the last waltz.” we played “it makes no difference” by the band, which ended with dual guitar rippers over the foundation of a beefy horn section, that climbed to the apex of a sonic mountain of righteousness…following that was “caravan” by van morrison (of course we did the last waltz version)…james administered 9 ninja kicks and a knee slide on the back half of the song when the horn hits came in…ol kev sang a couple of verses that sounded like rod “the bod” stewart himself was up in there, onesie leotard and all…it was so hype…we were connected with the audience from the first note…freedom and fellowship were present and near in that blessed space…it was really difficult to fall asleep that night so i ended up watching napoleon dynamite from start to finish

saturday1

saturday:
the morning sun rays came busting through my window telling me that i needed to eat some brunch because i’m kinda brunchy these days…i can’t help it, sometimes your body just evolves and there’s nothing you can do about it…my body has evolved into a machine that crushes brunches all across the nation…it was me, an ol dayve, and a bettianne that embarked towards the bistro, land of poachers, gravies, tatoes, and big meaties…i wanted to get as full as possible because i knew i had a big day ahead of me…after i crushed, i came back home to figure out my outfit for the evening…the outfit came together quickly so i decided to check my chi levels…they were reading at 100%…i arrived for soundcheck number two and our musical guests were already there tuning up…we decided to do something we have never done before, bring in a string section…the string section was headed up by my boy “neon” gideon klein who composed all the arrangements and recruited all the jedi’s…the strings included (gideon klein and matt nelson on cello, douglas temples on viola, carlos hdz, yu-ting huang, caroline farmer, and lora doherty on the violins)…vocalists tomi robb (free agent) and tyler anthony (cereus bright) were also in attendance to push the set to the next level…the soundcheck was unreal, it was like we had 30 people up there with us…we rehearsed the tunes a couple of times with the strings to get everything dialed in…it was over the top…knoxville band, william wild, opened for us that night…again, another amazing group that we had the pleasure to collaborate with…their soundcheck was great and their set was even greater…super cool dudes, im hoping we cross paths again soonly…the time had come once again and we felt good…we kicked off night two smooth and creamy…halfway through the set, tyler anthony came out and sang (alongside james) a stripped down version of song for my beloved…their voices sounded like angels with wings of solid gold…the full band took the stage once again to bring the energy back up…a few songs later, we brought out tomi robb who hit some high notes that would shatter all the windows in your sun room and maybe make you wet your pants…the crowd was feelin it in their bones…we finished the regular set on a high note leaving the crowd chanting for the encore…it was time to unveil the ultimate surprise…the strings took the stage and opened up the encore with an emotionally absorbing version of canyons…they added many flavorful layers to our cake of sadness (canyons is a sad song)…from there, we took a creative turn and played an arrangement by radiohead called “karma police”…the song climbed to an explosive ending full of total rock and roll carnage…i believe that this was our first time ever attempting a radiohead song and it felt liberating…on the last note of karma police, the string section droned for a few seconds and then it began…cruel intentions, ut football jumbotron video montage in the early 2000’s, seattle seahawks still use it for their entrance music, the one and only, bittersweet symphony…the strings played it perfectly and peoples heads were exploding from excitement…me, kev, james, justin, tyler, and jenks were all lined up laterally across the front of the stage just rockin our faces off of our skulls…this was our best hometown weekend yet and we are extremely thankful for everyone of you that made it happen for us…please, help spread the word about the guvs, cuz we’re not plannin on slowin down anytime soon…

make the dangle easy,
cozmo

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Spring 2014: Check In from Ol Cozmo

the 2014 spring equinox has been mighty kind to us dirties as we embarked on a crusade to promote our new album “hearts on fire”…we released this album back in march, the 11th to be exact, and we’re really proud of the way it turned out…its a solid, dynamic album with some high guvs, low guvs, happy guvs, sad guvs, fast guvs and slow guvs…wanting to share it with the rest of the world, we mounted up on our mule and set out like eagles of freedom…soaring through the night sky…looking for fat worms to feed their crying young…

we decided it would be a grand idea to start off in the southeast because we love it so much …little did we know, this was gonna be the best tour yet…the cities included in the spring tour of happiness were charlotte, chapel hill, charleston, chattanooga, birmingham, louisville, nashville, atlanta, auburn, knoxville, athens, and wofford college…each of our markets had grown exponentially including sold out shows in birmingham, atlanta, nashville, and athens…in addition to the bigger crowds, our fans were also familiar with our new music…this made us excited, so sometimes we would chug some brewskis and eat mountains of doritos after the shows because we like to party…

in order to make our show fresh and awesome, we decided to dress differently and add lights to our production…the wardrobe change was a great idea cuz normally we just look like a bunch of dudes that like to eat frozen yogurt all day…we aimed for consistency with our new look so the decision was made to go with black suits…so far we have had a great response and we never have to worry about what to wear at the next show…it also makes it easier to pack, leaving more room in your bag for cheez its and capri suns…next, we brought on dave “the wave” schultz of special event services to direct our lighting for the tour…the wave is awesome and full of passion about what he does…we would like to thank SES for providing us with “the wave” and some amazing lights to help enhance the visual experience of our rock and roll…Lastly, we asked an incredible band, cereus bright, to come out on the road with us…every one of them is super cool and extremely talented, and they’re from knoxville so the chill was so chill…as the tour progressed our friendships with the brights grew stronger…they have a really cool sound, great songs, and they’re very easy to work with so that was a strong chi booster for the tour…for the last song of the encore, they would join us on stage for a friendly sing along version of “i shall be released”…it was so rockin by the end, that people were pouring beers on their heads and making out with strangers because they couldn’t handle it…

of course, with every tour there are some highlights and shenanigans involved, so im just gonna touch on a few here…i’ll try to keep it short so you all don’t get mad and call me a big ol douche…

Charlotte: beers on their heads, beers down their pants…awesome rowdy crowd, great energy…one guy tried to jump on stage at the beginning of new salvation, then fell right off…not sure what he was trying to accomplish but we love his fire and passion anyway…maybe he was gonna give a toast to the nations, but we’ll never know…til next time young man…i wish you great prosperity

Chapel Hill: another great crowd and an amazing venue…our friends from high point never let us down…great to be in chapel hill again…much love

Charleston: loved this show as well cuz we started syncing up on the new material in a live setting…the comfort level started to rise…packed house and an amazing crowd…there was a few dudes in the front that kept yelling “show me your penis” to the cereus brighters but i think they were just doctors so it’s cool…

Chattanooga: always love playing track 29 in the “noog”…best crowd we’ve ever played to there…saw a lot of new faces that seemed to like what was going on…thank you all so much for supporting us and letting us play in your beautiful town…

Birmingham: sold out!!! by far the best show that we have played in that city…rowdy crowds complete with fist pumps and sing alongs…tasty times were had in the ham

Louisville: we had a great day…we were invited to play their live lunch series at 91.9 wfpk to a packed house…they had fresh krispy kremers sittin out in the lobby and i ate like 7 of em…then, that evening we played at headliners for the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to there…it was a full and bountiful day for us

Nashville: sold out biiiig baaaabay!!! this was a special show for me cuz all my best friends were there for the vestallion’s bachelor-ette party…the vibes were pure, the night was beautiful, and the crowd was feelin it…the evening was ripe for us…

Atlanta: sold out again and again!!! our best atlanta show hands down…the sixthman crew was strong up in it…shoutout to the pizzle, christina maria, mize tavern, and brad broadrick for making an appearance…nothin like old friends

Auburn: we opened for alan jackson so that was awesome…got to hang and listen to an amazing set executed by our good friends from the drake white band…there was a rodeo going on about 50 yards away…motthew scurphy (scott murphy) broke his knee bone in route to catch a football…that sucked really bad, but he did catch the ball so touchdown…in your face

Knoxville: opened for fitz and the tantrums at thompson boling arena for volapalooza…they killed it…also, got to see amazing performances from crab apple lane and the delta saints…apples, saints, and tantrums…doesn’t get any better than that folks…horn of plenty

Athens: sold out the georgia theatre, our home away from home…the crowd was wondrous…the venue and all of the humans that work there are heavenly…one day i would like to live in the georgia theatre…just for like a year…

Wofford College: first time at the woff…we were asked to play their spring concert and very glad that we were able to take part in that event…beautiful campus, great stage, rockin crowd…we hope to be invited back sometime soon…earlier that day, miguel le jenkerstein (michael jenkins) and josten hogskins (justin hoskins) got in an argument about which one of them was more american…it escalated to the point where we had to settle the score…the only true way to determine how american you are is to take the actual u.s. citizenship test…we looked it up on googler dot com and administered the test in an actual classroom on the campus…hogskins made a 100%, le jenkerstein made an 85% …the test didn’t stop there though, there was a second phase…the artistic interpretation…in this phase, each participant was required to hand draw a map of the united states of america, to scale, with all the borders…hogskin’s map was pretty close to the real thing…u could look at it and tell that it was a map of the united states…le jenkerstein’s map, not so much…it looked like he taped the pen to his left elbow and drew it with his eyes closed…the finished product kinda looked like a pile of vomit…maybe he was going for the abstract vibe…

anyway, the spring tour was the best tour we’ve played in this life…we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continue’d support and believing in our music…

HEARTS ON FIRE AVAILABLE TODAY!

Hearts on Fire is now available to download or purchase! Tears were shed and relationships were stretched during the year of writing and recording it took to make Hearts on Fire, but if we’re honest we’ve been working on it for our entire life. Being in a band and writing songs isn’t just about trial and error with chords and melodies. It’s a place of exploration, for pouring your heart and soul into your work, into your bandmates, and into the honest places that hurt, tear, and break you. In the end, it’s the hard work in those honest places that refines us all and produces the most beautiful results.

Much Love,

James, Justin, Aaron, Kevin, Cozmo, and Michael

New Album HEARTS ON FIRE Available Now! Click Here To Download

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Canyons

I spend way too much time comparing myself to other people. Insecurity and jealousy that I didn’t even know existed seeps from the corners of my heart and drives me deep into a canyon where the only thing that I know how to do is surf the internet, watch TV, build up walls, and silently or verbally compete with other people who are going through the exact same struggles that I am. That’s not exactly how I want to live the rest of my life.

7 days until the release of HEARTS ON FIRE. Glad to have yall on this journey with us.

James

Paste Magazine Premieres Lyric Video for Where We Stand

We’ve got another new song for you! “Where We Stand” is the opening track off of Hearts On Fire, due March 11th.

Big thanks to Paste Magazine for the premiere, and to Loch & Key Productions (www.lochandkeyproductions.com) for creating the lyric video!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WHERE WE STAND LYRIC VIDEO

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Dear Jamie

This song started coming together in October 2012 after a close friend of mine told me the heartbreaking story of her 25 year marriage getting torn apart by the addiction and drug use of her spouse. A couple of their kids still lived at home during this tragedy and had to witness not only the drug use, but also the accelerated screaming and fighting that ensued when divorce eventually came into the picture.

I kept thinking about how one day I would have a few kids of my own, and how the two parents in this story were once young just like me… with hopes and dreams and tons of uncertainty ahead of them. What drove the husband in this story to becoming a junkie? How many years of poor communication did it take to get there?

There is no solution offered in this song. Only pain and disappointment is expressed. However, the MLK speech at the end of the track does offer an alternative.

Thanks for listening.

James

he’s cruisin’

so ol’cozmo’s been hibernatin’ from the blog scene and i recently got called back up to the big leagues to deliver some truth…for those of you that pay attention to our whereabouts and wanderings, you would know that we’ve been recording new music, cruisin’ high seas, crushin’ burgs with double cheese, and rockin’ peoples’ ear bones…the boys are back in town, boys will be boys, who let the dogs out…

this is the third cruise that we’ve done in our career and it was amazing…the cruises that we perform on are put together by a company called sixthman and we love them…they are some of the coolest people we’ve ever met and they have really helped us gain a plethora of fans…the cruise was hosted by the band “train” and had many great acts on board so you better believe ol’cozmo cut a rug or two with that south knoxville butterfoot technique and that greasy granny shuffle bug…

the mule provided us with a smooth trip down to atlanta last thursday eve so we could catch our early flight to miami…after a day of walking through metal detectors and taking stuff out of our pockets then putting that stuff back in our pockets, purchasing average bagels, and drinking a sierra mist, we finally arrived to the port…the weather was perfect and we were ready to assemble the chill…

our bellies were grumbling and all i could think about was pepperoni zaaaa with the fiery passion of a thousand suns…we boarded the ship and immediately went to the cafeteria where i constructed a food mountain, then i destroyed it…u can’t eat like me…we talked and laughed for the duration of our meal like old friends do, then went and checked into our rooms…i took a nap for a minute and woke up to ol’james, the preying hyfantis, and mcjenkerstein as they were waving some skee bob (whiskey) and ginger ales in my face…we took a walk around the cruiser to see what we were dealing with, and it was good…

that night, we kicked it off with some high energy rockers to fuel the crowd for what was to come…it was loud and delicious…there was a great turnout for our set so that helped us rock even harder…we also showcased some new tunage that got a really great response, so that was an added bonus…after our first set, we knew that the vibes were there and that set the tone for a memorable adventure…to wrap up the night, we went to the charlie hunter show to get our minds blown and to make us feel like we suck as musicians…he’s a jedi

the next show (on the next day) was pretty amazing as well because we were on the big boy outdoor stage…we looked like jc penney magazine models as the wind blew through our hairs…it was purely majestic…people were boozin’ hard and huffin’ cigs all through the crowd while we were applying rock n’ roll rippers on their facial skins…fistpumps were thrown to the heavens as the sun shone down upon us…’twas fantastico…we stuck around after the show to check out ben rector’s set…it was awesome….great voice, great songs, great stage presence, great haircuts…he’s also one of the nicest dudes we’ve ever met…from there, we took a break for some calories and to rejuvenate for the michael franti show…franti is the king of the positive vibration…we were all looking forward to his set because we knew it would be full of “boooom baps!!!, raaaastafariiiiis!!!!, bom bom boms!!!, and blooooood clots!!!! i was late getting back down cuz i took a 45 minute therapeutic shower so i had to kick it solo for a while…franti was killin it on the pool deck stage so i decided to purchase me a foo foo frulatta…i was in such a good mood that i said “yiooooo, i bet you won’t gimme an umbrella in my drink big baaaabay” then my boy alejandro gave me two of ‘em…i did the reggae bounce for about 25 minutes by myself…i was throwin knucks (fistbumps) and high fives to all my neighbors while i did the solo weeble wobble in my 6 foot radius requirements…boozy fandango i was…finally, i linked up with the rest of the crew towards the end of the show, and we had all worked up quite the appetite…we ate a family dinner together full of meats and pies then some of us went to check out the brett dennen set…another great show to top off a full day of activities…

we ported in the grand caymans the next day to do some beachin’, bronzin’, boozin’ and floatin’…we laid around all day drinkin cold coolees and peein in the ocean…ol’cozmo’s said it before and he’ll say it again, the water in the grand caymans is so blue that it looks like mountain blast powerade, and if thats not refreshing to you then you’re just a butt-head and you can eat a whole can of worms…jenkers, hypanties, and i took a long walk down the beach to check out some sea urchins and such while the rest of the crew held down our spot…then some of them partook in some beach volleyball that was nothing short of olympic tier athleticism…precision setting and thunderous spikes ensued kinda like the beach volleyball scene in the 1986 hit movie top gun..

after our amazing day on the beach, we boarded the ship because we had to help host trivia that night…top chef competitor and culinary warrior ryan scott was hosting along side us guv’nahs…a new friendship developed as hijinx and hilarity spun out of control during our co-hosting extravaganza…he even invited us to do some timeless acoustic yams during his mixology class the next day…he made all sorts of stuff, muddy blerries, creamsickle creamies, and then just straight up poured tequila in people’s mouth holes…it was an incredible workshop and he is excellent at what he does…he also has a set of perfect teeth…we look forward to growing our friendship with ryan in the near future…immediately after mixology, we headed over to check out matt pinfield interviewing john oates because we love oates…oates is amazing…cover me in oates all day every day…it’s great for the skin, especially if you have chicken pox…later that evening, we built us some bacon/burger/dogs from the endless supply of big meaties that they have on deck at all times…we needed fuel for the train show that was about to start on the outdoor stage…they delivered all the hits and closed out with “dream on” by aerosmith where pat hit them high boys at the end…it gave me the stanky leg foshoooo…killer voice and super tight band…from there we rolled over to the ben rector set where he called up james to sing alongside him on one of his hit jams…james went up on stage, grabbed the tambo, and killed it…again, we can’t thank you enough ben rector…

time passed, many snacks were gobbled, i watched the hunger games for the first time, and it was time to give our last performance which happened to be the last show on the cruise…we asked jamie mclean (brett dennen’s guitarist) to sit in and play some rippers with us and he agreed…the show was a 10 out of 10 on the energy scale…the crowd was hype and it was packed…chef ryan scott sent us a bucket of brewsers on stage and we started to rock…it was a sweaty, thrashing around stage kinda vibe so it was a great note to end on…we really appreciate all the people that came out to our sets…it was a great cruise and we met a lot of great people…we are very excited about this year and about the release of our new music…thanx for all your love and support…hyaw naw, shimmy shamm, don’t put your hand anywhere you wouldn’t put your face…

Cozmo

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Someone To Love

This isn’t a love song, but it is a song about hope.

If you’re like me, then you probably make a ton of mistakes. You do things that you wish you didn’t do, and in your lowest moments you promise yourself that you won’t do them again. The bad news about these demons and these vices is that they never stop. Most of us won’t admit to our struggles and so instead we just keep ourselves really, really busy and we avoid any conversation that has actual substance or value to it. We fill up our brains with social media, alcohol, gossip, sarcasm, competition. We’re weak. I’m weak.

Somehow amidst all of this obvious weakness, we believe that we have the strength and mental stamina to mute the noises and voices that run around in our head. We don’t. These noises can’t be stopped on our own. The only hope we have is when we share these struggles with other people.

This song is me admitting to you that I can’t do it by myself any longer. It’s the drum that I’ll beat until the day I die.

James

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Tarwater (The Fighter)

I met Davis Tarwater sometime around 2004 and his story of persistence and triumph are what inspired this song.

He grew up in Knoxville and started swimming competitively at age 7. Coaches noticed that he was gifted from an early age and his personal dedication to becoming faster and stronger eventually propelled him to a state title in high school and an opportunity to swim collegiately at the University of Michigan alongside teammate Michael Phelps. The opportunity was incredible, and Davis grabbed it by the horns. While at Michigan, Davis broke all kinds of records, got named an All American multiple times, and he qualified for the Olympic trials. Most interesting to me though is that while at Michigan, Davis switched his competitive focus from the freestyle to the butterfly.

All of these honors were huge achievements, but the paragraphs that follow are what inspired me to write this song.

Tarwater qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials and finished fourth in the 200-meter butterfly, missing the Olympics by less than half a second. (The Top 2 Qualifiers from each event make the Olympic team.) He was heartbroken, but knew that he could give it another run in 2008 so he continued to train for 4 more years alongside Phelps and other Olympians.

In 2008 he qualified for the US Olympic Trials once again, and Tarwater was quoted by the Knox News Sentinel as being “stronger than ever.” In the prelims and semi-finals he swam two of his fastest times ever, placing him in the finals where he needed to place in the Top 2 to make the 2008 Olympic team.

Tarwater swam his personal best time ever, but he fell short and placed 3rd… missing the Olympics by 6 tenths of second.

Heartbroken again, Davis formally announced his retirement from swimming and decided to attend graduate school at Oxford.

But sometime around 2010, he got the itch one more time… and he decided that he wanted to compete at the 2012 Olympic Trials not only in the butterfly, but also in the freestyle.

It was definitely the best decision of his life. Davis trained harder than ever, and swam faster than ever.

In 2012, Davis Tarwater made the Olympic team as a member of the 4 x 200 Relay Team.

Upon hearing this news, I got so pumped up that the lyrics to this song literally just flowed out of me in an afternoon. Michael crafted all of the music and recorded a demo. We sent it to Davis while he was in London prepping for his Olympic race, and according to Davis he listened to it right before he got in the pool to swim the race of his life.

If you’re wondering, that big heavy thing around his neck is an Olympic Gold medal.