NEWS

11/27/2022

“I’m telling you, Larry, there’s no other band, there will never be another band like them, for all eternity. They're the best. I'm telling you, Larry, here in 1965 that 2000s kids will be listening to The Beatles." -- Beatles manager Brian Epstein in a 1965 interview by Larry Kane 

11/26/2022

I've been so preoccupied with so many other, largely mundane, things that I've just tended to slough off my "responsibilities" to this web page. When I decided to take a moment to post something on this page, I guess I was pretty surprised to see I hadn't written anything in almost two weeks. 

Let's see...do I have any musical news? I've worked on one single song over the past two weeks and honestly I'm not even that far along with it, though I guess if I simply sat down and made the effort to record it, it would all come together pretty quickly. I don't know...maybe I should just take a good long break from writing and recording albums. I've said it before: If I never write another song, no one can say I didn't work hard at creating new music for decades. 

We had a good, if not particularly noteworthy, practice last Sunday. We'll practice again tomorrow, I'm assuming. That'll probably be the last time we practice before we make our live debut this coming Saturday. 

It's hard to believe but on this day way back in 2000 (at that time, the 30th anniversary of their break-up), The Beatles released "1", a single disc compilation of all the band's number one records. It remains the biggest selling album of the 21st century with over 31 million copies sold.

“The funny thing about getting old is you don’t basically feel any different. Every time I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, I look at my dad. I say, ‘Morning, dad,’ and I go on to shave.”  -- Sir George Martin

11/14/2022

Another good practice last evening. Hard to believe we'll actually be playing in front of other people in less than three weeks.

I finally got my refund for the damaged guitar that I purchased through Amazon. That poor guitar was not packaged well at all. It's a wonder it even arrived in (sort of) one piece. I opted this time to buy a Fender Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster thinline semi-hollowbody electric guitar in transparent crimson with an Indian Laurel fingerboard from Sweetwater.

"[Rock and Roll] is the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear—naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ‘n’ roll. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false. It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd—in plain fact dirty—lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth." -- Frank Sinatra

By the way, I'll be "trimming" this news page again soon. Just a forewarning.

11/09/2022

A good solid practice last night. We've cast aside a couple songs and added a couple others. We have a long way to go to get to the rock solid tightness we all want to achieve but the excitement and love for music are there for sure. Looking forward to the December gigs. Keep your fingers crossed.

11/07/2022

No practice yesterday. Probably Tuesday. Unfortunately, various problems related to family have made it very difficult to consistently schedule practices. 

I ordered a new guitar a few days ago. The first new one I've ordered in over twenty years. It was a beauty. A vintage black ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000VB. Sort of a poor man's Les Paul but actually better quality than Gibsons tend to be these days. And when it got here, it was love at first sight...until I looked on the back of the guitar. It appeared to me to have been used and it had a big chip in the binding. Nearly broke my heart. I ordered it through Amazon so I sent it back immediately. Now I'm not sure what I'll do as far as guitars go. I'd like to have a new one. But I think buying one online isn't such a good idea.

11/01/2022

Yes, I have deactivated my Twitter account. Never cared much for hatred and authoritarianism. 

We'll practice tonight. 

10/29/2022

BOK live for the first time in over five years? Well, not to be a negative Nancy, but I'll believe it when I'm standing in front of fifty or so friends and family members with a guitar in my hand beside George, Randy and Dan. The first-ever gig for the latest (and final) iteration of Book of Kills is now scheduled for December 3.

This is an "invitation only" thing. We're not trying to play some sort of highfalutin game here; it's just that we want to play a warm-up gig, if you will, that's as low pressure as possible...something that will help to ease us into actually being a real band that plays in front of real people. If you really really want to come to this show, please contact me as soon as possible!

10/28/2022

We had a fun short practice last evening. Spent a good part of the time working on "Lost", a "new" edition to the repertoire. We made a little change to the instrumental bridge and I asked George to sing the song. That got me thinking about how almost every version of Book of Kills I've been in has not only incorporated "Lost" into their set list but given it a unique spin as far as the arrangement goes. And that got me thinking about making my next podcast the story of the origins of the song and the numerous permutations it has undergone over the years.

Until I write and record that podcast, if you're interested in following the long and winding road "Lost" has taken over the last 29 years since it first appeared on WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE, check out these different versions on AppleMusic or Spotify (or whatever streaming service you might use, if you use one): 1. The original version from WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE (1993); (2) the first band version from DETRITUS (1994) featuring Dustin Bugg, Brian Temples, George Finch and Jim; (3) the only known live recording of the song by that band, also from DETRITUS; (4) a live version from 1997 by the line-up featuring Brian and Dave Buracker, Brock Beatty and Jim on JIM SHELLEY LIVE! VOL. 1; (5) a live-on-the-radio version featuring Brian Temples, Dustin Bugg, Mike Chiarello and Jim (on this site's music page); and (6) a live version from 2009 by the line-up featuring Mike Hicks, George Nipe III, David Tekip and Jim on KILLING TIME AGAIN!.

10/24/2022

Didn't practice last night. Probably this Thursday. I'll be quite busy this week. I don't know if I'll have time to work much on recording anything new. I have the arrangement to the song I alluded to in the previous post pretty much worked out, so it's just a matter of finding the time and energy to start work on the thing. No lyrics yet, however.

10/21/2022

As is almost always the case, as soon as I decide I'm going to write a song one way, I get the inspiration to write a song an entirely different way. And as soon as I do, the chords and melody just seem to burst into my head. I've got about 75% of a song planned out and, of course, rather than it being a sub-two minute thing, it's probably going to run 5-6 minutes. I have yet to figure out an all-important riff that closes out the song, but that will come to me as well. Sometimes you have to figure out one part of the song before another part of the song finally reveals itself to you.

10/19/2022

The Flaming Lips were superb last evening. Gary Bugg, Zack Simpson (Randy's older brother and, you might recall, Fear + Whiskey's second and longest-tenured drummer), a friend of Zack's, and I all went together. The band's unique psychedelic-inflected music, combined with their astoundingly good visuals and lead singer Wayne Coyne's always infectious optimism in the face of "existential dread" made for yet another all-time great show. When I see that band perform live it makes me want to strap on my guitar and play live myself and try to entertain a few folks and perhaps make them feel a little happier, or at least a little more alive, for an hour or so.

"I think the world is a wonderful, beautiful, insane place. I don't think of the world as being this great punisher that's here to teach us horrible things" -- Wayne Coyne

10/18/2022

We had a very short but very good practice, though we simply didn't have time to start work on any new additions to the set list. We've pretty much dropped a couple songs from the set, "Idiot Planet" and "Glass Turns to Sand" which makes learning 2-3 additional songs ever more prudent. Neither one was really coming together. We still haven't decided on a date to play our first "introductory" show. 

Going to see the Flaming Lips in Charlottesville tonight with Gary Bugg! I saw them with Rob Christensen back in 2012 and we both agreed after the show that it was one of the 3-4 greatest performances either of us had ever seen. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.

10/13/2022

Nothing new really to report. I'm still sort of stuck in a rather long period of stasis that I'm finding it hard to leave behind. 

The band will get together again this coming weekend. That's good. We really need, I think, to play a couple live shows.

I still get the occasional queries as to why there haven't been any pictures of the band posted on the Photos pages. I just haven't gotten round to doing it, is all I can offer as an excuse.

Still no new writing or recording on my part to report.

On the other hand, I have written and recorded 500 songs in the past 33 years. I'll bet most of you haven't heard them all, eh? Maybe not even half of them? If you're a BOK super fan (and there are a few) and you've listened to every single freaking BOK song that you can find on Spotify or Apple Music or wherever, then I can only thank you profusely. My gratitude extends far beyond what any words could express.

If you haven't, however, heard everything, then why not explore some Book of Kills music that you've never experienced when you have the time? Many long-time listeners have alluded to the fact that it takes a while for much of the music to "click".  Not presuming to imply that I belong in even the same universe as The Beatles, but I can remember when I was a kid and how it would take me several listens before I'd "get" the Fabs' latest album. I don't think most folks today can even begin to understand the leaps in expertise and innovation that that group made from album to album in the mid to late 'sixties, particularly from HELP! onwards, and how challenging each new record they dropped could be for an 11-12 year-old kid. The audacious creative leaps from HELP! to RUBBER SOUL to REVOLVER to SGT. PEPPER'S to THE BEATLES in particular are mind-boggling. 

“The modern recording studio, with its well-trained engineers, 24-track machines and shiny new recording consoles, encourages the artist to get involved with sound. And there have always been artists who could make the equipment serve their needs in a highly personal way – I would single out the Beatles, Phil Spector, the Beach Boys and Thom Bell.” ~ Jon Landau

10/08/2022

 When it comes to music making, whether in a band or on my own, I know better than to make predictions about when I/we might do something or another. The music simply happens when it happens. That said, I believe that I'll start work on a new album next week. I'd love to make the whole thing run no more than 22-23 minutes. 

I took 7-8 old tapes of BOK performances into a local photo shop and was disconcerted to find out that they charge $25 a tape! I asked if there was a discount for bringing in a number of tapes for conversion and was told that if I brought in 10 or more they'd drop the per tape charge to $15. That still seems like a lot but I no longer have the equipment needed to convert VHS or digital format tapes, so I'll have to bite the bullet.

"I always saw songwriting as the top of the heap. No matter what else you were going to do creatively - and there were a lot of choices - writing songs was king." -- Jakob Dylan

10/04/2022

Not sure when we'll be getting back together, but when we do we'll be working on learning an old BOK classic, "Lost", as well as the brand-new "The World Is Unchanged (Except More Naked)" from the 2021 BOK album, ARMY OF LOUD.

I believe I am on the verge of beginning work on a new album. I find myself drawn less and less to longer 3:00-5:00 minute songs and more towards sub 2:00 ones. I find shorter songs more interesting these days simply because it's more difficult to create a 1:30-2:00 song that is fully realized and not simply an under-cooked fragment. Of course, I've been writing and recording very short songs on and off for years now, but I think I'd like to make an album where perhaps no song is longer than 2:00! Just another challenge that I like to give myself.

10/01/2022

What with Hurricane Ian barreling into the Shenandoah Valley last night with a forecast for wind and torrents of rain all evening, we've decided to postpone the show tonight until some time in late October or early November. We might have another show lined up for early December as well.

I have learned that at least two streaming BOK songs were faultily converted upon uploading to various streaming services. That includes "If My Hands Weren't Dreaming" (from the 1993 album WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE) and "So Tired" (from 2009's TOWARD THE ESCAPE) which inexplicably is actually "Different". I am going to post both songs on the Music page. It might surprise you (but probably not) that I cannot find the master of WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE. I'll keep searching.

Addendum: It boggles my mind, but apparently there is no extant master left of WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE. I did, however, find a mini-disc version of the album which I made years ago as a "safety" copy.  I also have a DAT copy which is probably cleaner than the mini-disc one, but I no longer have a DAT machine.  Anyway, I think down the road I'll be remastering several albums and uploading them but until then I've put this newly remastered version of "If My Hands Weren't Dreaming" on the Music page. Check it out. It's a long lost BOK semi-classic.

9/27/2022

We had a really good practice Sunday night. We'll practice again Thursday and then get ready for the coming out party Saturday night. We're supposed to get hit with the remnants of the hurricane Saturday morning. But, as my wife said, "It's just rain. You're not playing outside." 

On this day in 2015, Jim played a surprise three song set with former BOK members Brian Temples, and Dusty Bugg, and Dusty's father, Gary at Bugg's Barn in McGaheysville, Virginia, along with numerous other bands. The set list (all Bob Dylan songs): "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", and "All Along the Watchtower". 

"You're going to die. You're going to be dead. It could be 20 years, it could be tomorrow, anytime. So am I. I mean, we're just going to be gone. The world's going to go on without us. All right now. You do your job in the face of that, and how seriously you take yourself you decide for yourself." -- Bob Dylan

9/23/2022

Not one of our better practices last night. I don't know if we're all growing weary of playing the same seventeen songs over and over again or what, but I know that I've become pretty sloppy lately...not that I've ever been known for my precise guitar work. Anyway, we have eight days to get ready for our first live performance. I'm sure we'll tighten things up.

9/21/2022

If you're interested in knowing more about The Little Grill (see below), go to YouTube and type in "The Little Grill". There you'll find a short (less than four minutes) history of the place. You probably don't know that I actually wrote a song ("Let's Go To The Grill") for The Grill back in 1993. You can find it on WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE on any music streaming service in this whole gosh darn world. (By the way, BOK is so insignificant that if you do a search for the song using the title, it won't even appear in the results. You have to add "Book of Kills" to your search to get the track to show up.) Ron Copeland, former owner of the Grill, loved the song and would throw it on the sound system every once in a while. It was also one of the very first songs of mine that got played on the radio. Such are the tiny tastes of notoriety that an unknown band can take solace in...

9/18/2022

We'll practice this coming Thursday, then Sunday and probably one day after that before we go live. 

9/15/2022

Fans who've followed BOK for a while understand what a key role Harrisonburg, Virginia's Little Grill has played in the band's history. Book of Kills's first-ever live show took place there in front of a standing room only crowd in September of 1994. In all, BOK performed at the Grill thirty-two times over the years. Most of those shows were among the best the group ever played.

Unfortunately, the co-operative owners of the Grill announced yesterday that they were at least closing the restaurant/some-time concert venue for the time being. Several residents of Harrisonburg and the surrounding county have already taken upon themselves (thankfully) to see if they can find a solution to keeping the Grill open. A lot of great national bands have played there. Innumerable unknown artists have as well. The Little Grill is an integral part of the central Shenandoah Valley. I'll try to keep you all updated on how perhaps you could help keep it afloat if you felt so inclined. The current BOK line-up, by the way, was intent on playing there in the fall. Let's hope a solution can be found soon.

9/11/2022

A couple days ago, I was asked again (only semi-seriously I think) if this band truly represented the final version of Book of Kills. Those of you who've followed BOK for any substantial length of time know that the "final" show/version of the band thing is a bit of a long-running humorous trope since I've announced the last show several times over the past twenty years. Of course, I always ended up forming yet another band. But, let's face it: There is a final everything and that includes a final BOK/Jim Shelley show. And if I were a betting man, I'd lay some serious money on this being the last collection of real musicians to perform as Book of Kills. So October 1st, if that is indeed when we make our live debut, will mark the beginning of a most probable rolling conclusion. 

Along those lines, I was also wondering this morning just how many more albums I've got left in me to compose. As you might recall, recently I tried to compile a list of every song I've ever written or co-written and figured the number to be almost exactly 500. That's up there with Paul McCartney's 500+ and Bob Dylan's 600+ (not pretending to compare myself to either of those geniuses) and that's a LOT. Most rock and rollers seem to kind of run out of ideas after penning on average around 75 or so tracks. (For example, Jerry Garcia wrote or co-wrote 73 songs during his career.) Very few make it to 100, let alone 500. As I've indicated here over the summer, I'd like to pen another 10-12 originals for release in 2022, but I'm having a rather difficult time drawing upon the energy to do so. If I never issued another album, I'd be more than content knowing that ARMY OF LOUD marked the end of my musical "career". 

I did listen to a number of BOK songs on various streaming services not so long ago, and I must admit I was not happy with a single one of them sound-wise. I think I need to admit that I'm not the greatest at mastering a track. 

Daniel Johnston died at the age of 58 of a heart attack on this day in 2019. Back when Daniel was regularly issuing his home-made music on cassette, I frequently ordered his albums through the mail. He wrote me a very short note once, but I lost it over the years.

"Listen up and I'll tell a story about an artist growing old. Some would try for fame and glory; others aren't so bold." -- Daniel Johnston

9/10/2022

It has been quite a busy week for me and my family what with birthdays, sporting events and what have you. Looks, however, as though the band will gather for a practice tomorrow (Sunday) evening. October 1 remains the day we will debut the band live.

9/5/2022

We won't practice again till this coming Sunday. Way too much going on this week with family birthdays and various other family related stuff. October 1st seems to be still on for the live debut.

8/31/2022

Good Lord, where does the time go? How can summer almost be over? 
We practiced again last night. I didn't have the greatest focus, I must admit, but (again) the energy was great.
We figured out that it would be rather difficult to play on a Saturday in September, so it's looking like October 1st will be the date of our first real performance.

8/30/2022

Just a couple days after the last practice, we are going to get together again tonight for another round of jamming. As I said below, it's time to figure out a date for our live debut. Madison Square Garden is booked solid for the months of September and October, so I guess we'll arrange something in the Harrisonburg area instead.

New to bookofkills.com and Jim Shelley & Book of Kills? Wondering what albums to listen to first? These  titles represent the ten best-selling BOK records of all time (in order!): (1) SONGS FOR A PLAYED OUT GENERATION; (2) WASP 51; (3) THE HAUNTED LIFE; (4) BIG BUSINESS MONKEY, VOLUME 6; (5)THE FEAR + WHISKEY ANTHOLOGY; (6) SAINT JUDAS; (7) DIFFERENT; (8) ALL ABOUT YOU; (9) WEE JIM'S BLACKEYE; (10) THE STRANGE ONE. Give one (or better yet, all of them) a listen on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, or whatever your favorite streaming service is.

8/29/2022

Good practice last night. Lots of energy. I believe we're going to practice again tonight. We have to figure out a day when we can play live for the first time. I look forward to learning a couple new songs in the not so distant future.

On this day in 1966, The Beatles played their last-ever live show in front of a paying audience at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. John and Paul, knowing this might be the last time the group ever performed live in public, took photographs of the goings-on in between songs.

8/26/2022

I think we'll practice again this Sunday and perhaps the following Tuesday as well. No idea yet when we'll play live for the first time. 

8/23/2022

Good practice this past Sunday, at least considering how little we've really jammed together over the last couple months. We've decided, however, that we will not be playing the "private" show this weekend. While it's useless to predict much in the way of future plans, I would imagine that we'll reschedule our debut performance for some time in September. Check here regularly and you'll be among the first to know when we do play.

8/21/2022

I think we will practice tonight. Could be a rather rough one. I know I've "forgotten" some stuff. Still don't know if we'll go ahead with the 8/27 show or postpone it.

8/17/2022

I expect we'll practice this weekend. I've had some inquiries about when the first show will be. We'll have to see how the next practice goes and then make a decision.

On this day in 2013, Dusty Bugg, George Nipe, Brian Temples, and Jim, along with Amy Bugg on backup vocals, came together for a rare BOK performance harking back to the '94-'95 era). The occasion was "Bugg 70" (a celebration of long-time BOK supporter Gary Bugg (Dusty's father) at Bugg's Barn in McGaheysville, VA. Obviously, when musicians get together after years apart and can only practice about an hour before their show things will be a little rough, but the "band" acquitted itself reasonably well. The set list: Because Because, Fade, Jesco White, Fat Woman Lying In The Street, Stanley The Steamer, and Lost.

That night, Fear + Whiskey also played their final show. The set list: Cinnamon Girl, The Man In The Long Black Coat, To Dream A New Dream, For What It's Worth, and The Pleasures Of Saying Goodbye.

It was a fun night. Lots of bands. Lots of appreciative fans. Good sound and a great outdoor venue.

On this day in 1991, Nirvana shot their famous (infamous?) "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video. 

“I had no idea what I was doing and I faked it and it worked”

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.”


“I was a bit of a misfit, longing to feel understood, waiting for someone to accept the real me.”

-- Dave Grohl 

8/14/2022

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.

8/09/2022

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

8/3/2022

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

7/31/2022

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

7/28/2022

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

7/27/2022

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. 

7/24/2022

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.

7/23/2022

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.

7/21/2022

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.)

7/17/2022

“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

7/16/2022

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.

7/13/2022

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!

7/12/2022

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!

7/7/2022

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.

7/5/2022

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.