I've been playing around with the lineup a little bit these days. Around December I decided to put the electric guitar down for awhile and pick up the acoustic. After hanging out for half a year with these Soulhat guys, they learned my stuff and Johnny V broke out his standup bass. Kevin kept his electric guitar and Tripp tried on brushes. The result is a sound that's different from any that I've had so far, and if I may say so myself, it's quite charming. It seems to fit the new material I've been writing, and It's perfect for playing really small, intimate gigs. What we'll actually do with it is unknown, but for now it's both an inspiration and a blast.

The results of the International Songwriting Competition showed up in January and Boxing Day received honorable mention. Not too shabby considering it was one of 7,000 songs to be plowed through and judged. It's almost enough to make me want to submit again next time; we'll see. Meanwhile, I've got a few packs of strings on the way and several subscriptions to industry publications. There's certainly no shortage of resources at my fingertips. No excuses now!

Current fave record: The Who sings My Generation (1965). The band's first LP release, and arguably the best sounding one. Ballsy, edgy, and sneery, it's the ultimate Britrock album. Get Mod.

For the rest of this month I'll be drumming, writing, getting ready to make a new record and gearing up for South By Southwest 2003. This year's conference ought to be a fun one compared to last year's, unless of course we escalate the conflict overseas, and it may still be fun even then. Once the collective momentum of warmongers reaches the point of no return, there's little that can be done except play music and try to have a laugh between screams of terror and disbelief. The motto for 2003 should be "sing for your sanity". A healthy key to a healthy state of mind, and the best way to withstand the harsh winds of war. Get out your windbreakers, it's gonna be a blustery spring.

Happy Valentine's Day.





Oh the world is weary
Young worlds they do get weary
Wearing the same old shabby doress...

Mick Jones of The Clash once said that authority figures are less concerned with wisdom than they are with control, and that still holds up a quarter century later. Saddamned Hussein and his freakers ball have long since thrown wisdom out with the trash, and they've turned out to be freakier than we all thought. That's bad news for the world, but good news for the British government, whose people need convincing more than we do, and for our government, who is determined to kill off the Frankenstein monster it helped to create some twenty-odd years ago, around the time The Clash began to hit the charts.

If only it were all that simple. Allied troops are facing some crazy-ass shit as the Iraqis unveil their version of shock and awe, and they need our support to at least keep them relatively sane. There are many lessons to be learned in the months ahead, but alas, the fallacy of control will continue to be the one lesson that escapes us time and time again.

No matter where you stand on war and peace, one thing is certain: there will always be control freaks. Everywhere.

Here at home, for a kick-off, there are lawmakers who want to make all of us hate the French. There's a growing movement to strike the word French from our vocabulary and replace it with Freedom. Yeah, sure. Why not? Nothing hits the spot like a piping hot bowl of Freedom onion soup with a side of Freedom-cut green bean casseroll topped with Freedom fried onions at a Freedom bistro. Come on, people! If there was ever proof that the Statue of Liberty was a joke the French played on us, this is it. They knew once we got that statue up we'd start trivializing the whole concept and making the rest of the world gag.

Lord knows we'll fight and die for freedom, but when do we ever respect it? We treat freedom like poodles (Freedom poodles, mind you), dressing it up in tacky clothes and bad haircuts and prancing it about on a leash for all to see. Tossing the word around like that makes it cheap as Monopoly money. Freedom is not served through manipulation or exploitaion. It must be treated like love, honored and nurtured and expressed in ways other than words. It must be delicately handled, or else it can disappear just as quickly as love.

And while we're on the subject, I wanna say that I'm thankful to have the freedom to do what I love, and respecting that freedom always seems to bring new opportunities to keep doing it. I also take pleasure in helping others do what they love, and may they be free to keep it up. Real love and real freedom cannot exist without each other.

Let's all grab our partners and Freedom kiss, shall we?

Happy Springtime.





Alright, this time I'm gonna do this as fast as it oughta be done, in a half hour or less as opposed to the three-plus it usually takes. My mind races way too fast to remember it fast enough. Imagine trying to speak without horrible dyslexia, much less write. This time around it oughta be easy. Less analyisis and more straight news, that's what you people really want, isn't it?

I've been drumming lately for a lovely young lady named Patricia Vonne. Vonne is a sibling of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, responsible for such films as El Mariachi, Dusk Til Dawn and Spy Kids. Anyway, I accompanied Patricia and gang to New York City at the beginning of this month. I was there for five exciting days and got to play a couple of my own gigs there, with a little help from my pal Jenny Bruce (see latest photos). New York is most definitely a place where magic and synchronicity happen, and I was amazed at the number of familiar faces I encountered, almost as if my whole life was appearing before me in the form of old friends and associates. I met several characters, too, having spent the majority of my time in the East Village surrounded by musicians and wiseguys. My NY debut at the Living room was quite successful, and I expect to return there before too long.

As soon as I returned home I was back in the studio with sister Trish, playing harmonica on her forthcoming album, tentatively named "Girls Get In Free". I've also been spending a lot of time with my old friend Robert Harrison (Cotton Mather), playing drums on some new tracks. And as we speak I'm listening to some new material from Johnny Goudie, and I'll be drumming in his band for a few shows, beginning tonight.

With new entrances come new exits. I'm no longer drumming for Soulhat. Veteran member Frosty Smith, rebounding from a life-threatening illness, has returned to the band and I had no problem stepping aside for the Big Man who can drum circles around me any day. I've also made a quiet exit from Shane Bartell's band. According to Shane, "he was too much damn trouble, demanding his own dressing room at gigs, white furniture and everything. What a f**king diva!"

Meanwhile, back at home, new songs are being written and recording plans are being made. Latest music picks: New White Stripes and the Led Zepplin DVD.

And that's the news. Simple and fast. Told ya.

Happy Juneteenth







What do you do when you're a self-employed musician with free time, no new songs and a burning desire to record? Well I don't know what you'd do, but I reproduce Beatles songs on my 4-track. At least that's what I used to do back in the 1990's when my 4-track machine still worked. I did this a few times just for fun and education, mainly to see how close I could get to the actual records. A handful of people heard 'em and flipped, and over the years several people have asked me about 'em. Now for the first time, they're finally available online. I solemnly affirm that no edits were made and no computers were used to record these tracks, although a slight mastering job was done on Pro Tools where it was needed. They're certainly fun to listen to and I guarantee you, you'll swear you've heard these songs before somewhere. So visit the downloads page now and hear the recordings that caused musicians, fans and audiophiles to loudly exclaim, "DUDE!!"

Happy 4th of July






A new video has been added to this website, the first ever Darin Murphy video ever produced.  It features the band performing a new song, The Road Ahead (is paved with bastards), live onstage at Flipnotics and at Tequila Mockingbird studios.  Nothing elaborate, nothing conceptual, just us guys at work, simple and pure.  Shot by local documentarian David Reyes, it looks really nice and the song's not bad, either.  Check it out here, or watch for it on the Austin Music Network.

Haunted Gardenias is now available for purchase at CD Baby and Tower Records Online, so tell your friends.  It seems one of my older tracks, Metro B, has been stirring it up on a website called Broadjam.com.  It's basically a subscription site used by artists, producers and other industry folk to hear and evaluate each other's material.  Within a week after uploading, Metro B ended up on about eleven different top ten lists!  I'm not quite sure what that means, but it's always good news.  The reviews have been mostly good, mostly.  One New York chick thought the song was totally boring, but that's a very large city and I don't expect to meet her in my travels, so she most likely will not be describing her yawning festival to me in person.

...BUT all unlikelihood aside, that possibility does exist.  I will be returning to New York City in the second week of September to play some more shows. Coincidentally, my pals Patricia Vonne and husband/guitarist Bobby LaRoche will be there at the same time, and who knows who else will show up.  Manhattan is an ongoing synchronicity journey that always leads to unique experiences if one merely surrenders.  I'll be well prepared.  I've taken tons of notes from the Fab 5 on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Artist of the Month: John Vanderslice
Website of the Month: Friendster.com

Happy Labor Day.





I heard just the other day about a new theory that suggests that the reason time seems to be going faster than normal is because it is. The universe is expanding at an exponential rate, actually pushing the barriers of speed and, subsequently, time. The good news is that trains may arrive a little sooner. The bad news is that so will taxtime. So if time is going faster, perhaps that explains why we start hearing Christmas music on November 1st, and why the Charlie Brown Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials seem to all air in the same month.

Now this theory, if proven, will inevitably have an affect on the way we experience music. The length of an album will stay the same as it was, although we'll probably get through fewer of them during road trips. Hopefully, it will also mean that download time will continue to get faster. That's good news for everyone, especially now that the Haunted Gardenias album is now available for downloading! You can find it on any one of these websites: Apple iTunes Music Store, Rhapsody, BuyMusic, MusicNet, Emusic, and Napster.

This time thing seems to really be kicking in this year. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that I was in Manhattan having a beer next to Norah Jones. Now the year's all but over. Meanwhile I've done a few of my own gigs, but mostly projects for other people, such as my friend Tony Scalzo, who formed a solo band called Tallulah to spotlight his non-Fastball material. I helped my sister Trish celebrate the release of her fabulous new record, Girls Get In Free. It's the best album she's ever made, and I recommend it highly for all those who've followed our careers over the past decade. I appear on it briefly, playing harmonica and Jews harp, and scant background vocals.

...And speaking of time, I am out of it. Thanks to everyone for a fun 2003, despite little distractions like war, lies and the death of Johnny Cash.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.




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