There hasn't been much news here for the past 5-6 weeks simply because the band has pretty much been on hold, for one reason or another since early July. I told the guys that I'm not optimistic about playing our first show any time this month.

On this day in 1962, The Beatles (actually their new manager, Brian Epstein) gave drummer Pete Best his walking papers. John Lennon subsequently called Ringo Starr and offered him the position, which he (of course) accepted.


George came down with the flu or some sort of bug and wasn't feeling very well Sunday. There's so much stuff floating around these days. Anyway, we didn't practice again. We've only managed to get together twice in the last 5-6 weeks, but that's just the way it is. This isn't a professional band. We get together when we can.

On this day in 1995, Jerry Garcia died at the age of 53. Good Lord, it's mind-blowing to think that he's been gone now for 27 years. 

“This guy was himself, and that’s rare, especially in entertainment, where people change according to how the breeze flows…[But] the spirit wasn’t just in him; he shared it. It’s like he was drinking at a well and a lot of other people came and drank from it, too. The well’s always going to be there, but we won’t see somebody quite like him for a while, if ever again.” -- Arlo Guthrie

"A very gentle and unassuming man who brought so much joy and love into people's lives through music. I can't think of a more profound and beautiful accomplishment at the end of a lifetime." -- Trey Anastasio

“Jerry was the best musician I ever played with. He was 100 percent music. Every pore, every bit of his body, every molecule, was music, whether he liked it or not. He was like a Mile Davis or a Coltrane or somebody like that – just completely locked into it. I always felt that I could hear in his music him talking about things at a much deeper level than what appeared on the surface. There aren’t many musicians who have that gift – to be really profound.” -- Bill Kreutzman


We've decided to move the August 20 thing back one week to the 27th for various reasons. 


We had a very good practice, though I do think everyone would agree that it was a step backwards not to be able to get together and jam for almost three weeks. Lots of mistakes but, on the other hand, lots of fire. 

Many notable milestones on this day in pop...

On this day in 1971, The Concert For Bangladesh, the grandaddy of charitable concerts, took place with an afternoon and evening show. For some reason, the album remains essentially out of print, I'm sure because some rich people aren't going to make enough (yet) off its release.

On this day in 1964, The Beatles's "A Hard Days Night" hit number one on the pop charts. That was the fifth number one hit the group had in the past seven months, among other hits that didn't quite reach the top. 

Perhaps the most influential hip hop artist of all, Chuck D., was born on this day in 1960.

Also born on this day in 1942 was the incomparable Jerry Garcia.

"Being positive is like going up a mountain. Being negative is like sliding down a hill. A lot of times, people want to take the easy way out, because it's basically what they've understood throughout their lives." -- Chuck D.

 “All I know is, if you listen to society, you’ll never get anywhere!” -- Jerry Garcia


Good news. Randy is feeling fine and has tested negative, so we will be practicing this weekend. 

It's funny...that little show we'll be playing August 20 will mark, almost to the day, five long years since I've done anything live.

"There are two little words we don’t pay enough attention to: over and next. When something is over, it is over and we are on to next. Between those words, we live in the moment, make the most of them." -- Norman Lear


Not sure when we'll be getting together again. If we don't manage to practice at least a couple times before August 20, I'd be inclined to postpone the "show" for a few weeks.

I've never been one to sit around and wait for something to happen when it comes to music. I was wandering around the house yesterday when I started to get that feeling that I really can't explain that tells me I'm about to enter recording mode. It's like a switch gets thrown by someone or something. Like I said, I can't explain it. The feeling will intensify slowly and eventually I'll have to start work on a new album. 


Did I say no practice yesterday? Randy has contracted COVID. Not sure now when we'll be able to gather together again. I'm hoping that somehow we'll be able to run over our setlist at least a couple more times before we (try to) play August 20.


No practice tonight. 

I'm starting to think about other musical projects I could begin in the near future. Time isn't on my side. I need to be doing as much as I can right now.

As far as recording a new album, I don't know that I'm feeling writing another all original album. I really enjoyed doing I'M HIGHER THAN I'M DOWN (the album of obscure garage/psychedelic band covers.) I think if I do start a new record it'll most likely be something along those lines again.

One thing I've always wanted to do was record an album comprised of songs that were instrumental in guiding me very early on towards my "career" as a musician. For instance, The Dave Clark Five's "Any Way You Want It" was very important in my musical development (and I suspect it was important to a lot of '70s musicians) because it was so loud and hard-driving. At the time of its release, when I was just a kid, I don't think any other pop band had released a song that anticipated the harder rock sound of the late '60s and early to mid '70s as did "Any Way You Want It".

And, of course, I'm still thinking about re-recording some of my own songs (particularly pre-2000s material). It's such a pleasure not having the pressure of writing yet another batch of new tracks. Whatever I decide, I'll begin work on something or some things sooner than later.


Looks like a Saturday practice. 

This is sort of a big day at least in Book of Kills history. On this day way back in 2000 (22 years ago...dang), BOK bassist Jason Hevener left the band. It was a great blow to us. We loved him and loved playing with him. It took us months to recover. Anyway, this was the first time we played Tokyo Rose in Charlottesville, Virginia. I always loved playing there. For some reason I just felt at ease on that stage. The set list: Sonic Intrusion-->I Hang Heavy-->Down in Flames, Don't Stop the Scream, Simple World, Rain, It's Like Soul Man, If I Asked You, Fade, Beat on the Brat, Killing Time Again, Because Because (Jason left the band after this show.)


“I wouldn’t do anything just for the money, because if you don’t get the money, you haven’t got anything. But if I made something that I cared about and I never got the money, at least I had this thing I loved and could be proud of. Over the years, this philosophy has looked after me. When I stray from it, I get kicked in the teeth and am reminded that I should not have strayed.” -- Neil Gaiman


Looks like we'll take a week off. Sometimes it's a good thing to simply break the routine for a week or so. Practicing the same material over and over (even if the band hasn't quite mastered it all) can oftentimes make you a little unfocused. I have yet to be satisfied with my rig's sound, so I'm hoping I'll be able to spend an hour or so one day this week over at the practice room simply adjusting pedal, amp and guitar settings.


Another good practice last night. Next week we'll be adding a new cover song which will bring our repertoire to eighteen songs. Any original stuff for the immediate future will be newer and/or songs that no version of BOK has done before. 

It looks as though we are going to play our first live show (as I've alluded to previously) Saturday, August 20 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This will be an invitation only sort of thing. If you think you'd like to attend this show (around 50 people have already said they want to come), please email me soon. Space is limited!


Had to cancel Sunday's practice. Too busy with family matters, etc. Re-scheduled for tonight.

On this day in 2003, Book of Kills (Bill Bird, Casey & Jane Firkin, Randy Simpson and Jim Shelley) played CecilFest. It was actually one of our better performances I think. I don't recall exactly now, but I think a couple of songs from that gig were included on the ROCKIN' THE CHEETAH'S ASS live compilation from 2004. (If you go looking for that collection on Spotify or Apple Music, search for "Jim Shelley & Book of Kills Live (2001-2003)". Neither Spotify nor Apple Music would let me use ROCKIN' THE CHEETAH'S ASS as the title.) This was near the end of this version of BOK's three year run. The group would play just three more gigs before going their separate ways (sort of). The set list:  Killing Time Again, Cave In, Accidentally Naked, Antiman, Gemini, Nelson, Then I Kissed Her, Clever, Style-->Bad Person, Sweet William, Sweet, Why Won’t You-->Can’t Stand It Anymore.

It's getting to be that time where I trim the updates to this page. If you feel the urge to go back and read any previous entries, do it soon!


Good practice Tuesday night. Sloppy at times but spirited. I think in the last month the band has come together on a whole new level. 

I'm still not certain what I want to make the next podcast about. I would like to get another one done before it starts getting cold again...just because.

I have to figure out when we're going to play that "family/friends only" thing. As George said at the last practice, we're getting close to being tight enough to perform a live set.


Hope you had a great 4th of July, if you celebrate that holiday! 

We'll practice tonight. I look forward to the next practice pretty much as soon as I get home from the one we just had. I wish we could jam together 4-5 times a week, but of course that's not a possibility.

No new news on actual gigs. 

Had an email last night from a BOK-head asking when there'd be a new Book of Kills album. Good question.  I checked the discography page (I certainly couldn't remember) and was surprised to find that BOK or Fear + Whiskey or The Plague Dogs or The Karl Rove (all bands that I've been part of, if you're wondering) has released at least one album every year since 1991! I've run a few ideas through my head about what I could do. I am, obviously, already on the downside of 2022. I've considered an album of all-new original material (unlikely), an album of covers a la 2021's I'M HIGHER THAN I'M DOWN (a decent chance), a new edition of the BIG BUSINESS MONKEY series (also probably unlikely since I'm not sure I have enough decent unreleased material to fill out an album), or an album of re-recorded BOK songs (probably about the same chance as another covers album). At the moment I just don't have the creative energy to begin work on a new record, but I'd really like to keep my 31 year streak going.