Headed down to Nashville for a few days to do our part in Nick’s new music video for his debut single “Beautiful Life”. The location for the shoot was in these badass old factory buildings a bit outside of the downtown area. Nick Abraham & I got to take on our usual roles on guitar/drums for the performance part of the video. Filmed on the rooftop of one of the buildings with the Nashville skyline and “Batman” building in the background. The shoot basically went all day and through the night into morning. We got caught napping at like 4am by the behind the scenes crew, but our job was done. Poor Nick had to keep shooting until the sun came up. Of course had to sample some of Nashville’s special “Hot Chicken” while down there so we stopped by the popular Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for lunch and waited in a long ass line out the door, which is typically a good sign of the food there. The chicken was great but I went a bit overboard on the sides after not being able to make up my mind haha. Pimento mac n cheese, red skin potato salad, fries and washed it all down with a big old sweet tea.
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We helped Nick kick off his radio promo run with a morning interview and acoustic performance live on the Elvis Duran Morning Show on Z100 in NYC. Having listened to the show for a long time it was pretty wild getting to actually be on the show performing. The whole crew couldn’t have been any nicer! Another cool moment was hanging with Matt Pinfield in Washington Square Park for an interview and performance right in the park. Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s I remember watching Matt on MTV all the time. Funniest part of our NYC experience had to be ending up on TMZ the next day and having friends texting me about it. We then flew down to Washington DC for some more appearances and even got to hang in front of The Capital building as Nick soundchecked the National Anthem before his performance at the annual Memorial Day celebration there.
Pretty wild to head back to Hollywood with my good friend Nick Abraham to see if our singer Nick Fradiani could take home the American Idol crown. Was awesome to be there with him to experience him winning and running out to hug him as the confetti was falling. Got to hang with our good bud chef Tim Love for a bit and at one of the after parties I told Harry how we weren’t happy with his comments about Nick the last time we were in the audience haha. Feels like we were just here but I’m not going to complain!
The area from Santa Monica and through Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway has become a favorite spot of mine. Waves crashing down on the beaches from the Pacific Ocean on one side and these mountainous canyons on the other side. Stopped at Neptune’s Net in Malibu again for second year in a row for dinner before taking in the always amazing sunset on those beaches. Their shrimp tacos got two thumbs up! I think I successfully used every lens on this trip, which is always the goal.
Didn’t get up here last year because plans got changed around last minute but this trip we made it to Sequoia National Park. I’ve heard how big these Sequoia trees are but seeing just how massive they really are in person is pretty unreal. Here sits the largest living tree in the world dubbed The General Sherman. The tree is 275ft tall, over 100ft in circumference and started growing roughly around the time Rome was being built. Really was a challenge to even get the whole tree in one picture and even then you can’t appreciate it’s size. If you’ve never been I definitely recommend visiting the park to see just how breathtaking this forest is. The park is also far enough inland from any bigger cities that there’s very little light pollution, allowing for some amazing night sky viewing. I’ve only attempted astrophotography a few times so really enjoyed the opportunity to see what I could capture. Found the only real opening in the park at Moro Rock, where you’re at an elevation of over 6,700ft so you get a great view of the sky. We stayed in lodging inside the park so was easy to get around at any time of day or night.
I found my way back out in California this past week to see one of my best friends Nick Fradiani compete in the Top 7 on American Idol and figured I would adventured a bit as well. After we checked out the live Idol taping we made our way around Hollywood for late dinner at In-N-Out and then some adult beverages. We even ran into the infamous Ron Jeremy at last call and then walked to Mel’s Diner in the morning for a bit of a hangover cure. Always good to stay with my buddy Eric too when I’m in town. He’s got a great spot right around the corner from the Dolby Theatre.
Had a real productive day shooting yesterday out in Madison and Guilford along the CT shoreline with my buddy Doug. Finally got some solid shots of an adult male Harrier, which is a hawk that lives in marsh areas and has owl like facial features. The adult males of this species tend to be less visible in our area and never cooperate for photo ops when they are. Also got some cool shots of Osprey in action and a curious Beaver floating around.
We’re lucky to have a great shoreline area here in CT, Hammonasset State Park, that can keep you occupied for good chunks of the day chasing all different kinds of birds. I’ve spent the last week down here whenever I had time off from work and been rewarded some stuff that I’m really happy with. Definitely check it out if you have a chance.
This weekend I was down in Tampa with the Beach Avenue boys playing a private event. We performed on Halloween at a national Teen Wolf Convention for the popular MTV show. A number of cast members were there to interact with the fans and were all really fun to hang with . Got to see one of my best friends Kevin who now lives down in FL with his wife and kids. And our buddies Less Than Jake happened to be playing in town on a night off so we went to see them and hang. Downtown Tampa has a cool vibe.
Pretty much since I was born, Fall in CT not only brought my birthday but also migration of numerous hawks coming through our area. My father ran a banding station to catch and release them after attaching a unique to their leg. Then if they are caught anywhere else in the world, researchers can study their range, pattern and other important information. Having been born during the height of this migration I was brought down there before I could walk and then assisted him as soon as I physically could. Getting to hold such impressive birds in my hand and see their power up close was awesome. Now I enjoy trying to capture them with my camera and constantly push myself for better results. Got some definite keepers this year!
This past April & May my band Beach Avenue taped out in Hollywood and NYC for this season of America’s Got Talent on NBC. Our first appearance on the show was this past week and we had a viewing party at our house with a bunch of family & friends. We ended up getting a 5+ minute spot showing us performing our new single “Coming Your Way” live at The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and some great background footage on the band. The response from all over the country has been amazing and helped to increase of fanbase by a pretty insane amount. We are even currently charting on iTunes in 5 different categories. Pretty wild experience to be a part of a prime time major channel production and getting to perform our original music. Howard loved us & Heidi said she’d buy a CD. Wild stuff ha. Some pics from our experience and the whole clip from the show down below.
A few hour drive from Los Angeles brought us to Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms, CA. It’s such a unique area in that it’s this desolate desert but has such an amazing vibe unlike anywhere else that I’ve ever been. Almost like you’re on a totally different Mars-like planet when you’re standing out there in the middle of nowhere. Unreal to watch the sun go down and then see an infinite amount of stars appear in the sky without the interference of any light pollution. Definitely a spot to put on the return to list for the future.
In New Haven, CT we have our amazing famous pizza but I gotta give the burger crown to Southern California. First stop after the airport is typically In-N-Out and this trip was no different. And another stop was made for a second go around haha. Next stop was for “The Morning After” burger at Stout Burgers & Beers in Hollywood, topped with rosemary bacon, aged cheddar, chipotle ketchup and an egg over easy. Quite possibly one of the best burgers of my life was consumed by the water in Manhattan Beach at Simmzy’s Pub dubbed the “Bacon Blue Deluxe”. Angus beef patty with blue cheese, candied bacon, garlic aioli and frizzled shallots.
I enjoy New England living but a trip out West to LA is always a good way to change things up for a week. One of my best friends Eric lives right in the heart of Hollywood so always great to catch up when I head out there too. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of my favorite roads in the country to drive and we made stops in Santa Monica & Malibu to photograph some amazing scenics. Tough to beat a sunset view over the Pacific Ocean.
Had the unique experience of watching an Adult Bald Eagle chase down an Osprey that had just caught a fish yesterday. I was able to fire off a burst of frames as the action was happening and came away with some great shots. In the end the bigger and stronger Eagle won the battle and took off with the fish.