Kids Make Band Names (pt1)

Well, I’m back in Band Name Limbo, which is an enormous, dark, confusing place. I’ve been busy starting a new and extremely exciting job in the big city (Upperville, VA……wait, I mean, New York City, NY). The band has 25 songs partially recorded, as well as Scheherazade, which has been demo’ed by the band. It’s all…….well, really, really damn good music, and I feel like we’re finally making waves, and poised for some breaks. However, I feel like starting something fresh and tight, something marketable….plus, this is definitely a band lately…. The creative process involves everyone.

As a fun experiment, my good friend Melissa asked her elementary school students to come up with some band names. They listened to some tracks, and then got into groups and brainstormed ideas. The results are awesome. I was impressed with the creativity and intelligence of these 1st and 2nd graders. I laughed, I cried, and I’m pretty sure my brain exploded once or twice. Here they are in all their glory:

Kid’s Band Name Ideas – Day 1

1st Grade:
Baby Pie
The Fast Speed
Thunderstorm Eyes
Starry Nights Rule
Banana Sword
Hot Tree
The Princesses
The Hot Chicken Band
Werewolf Fire
Running Blood
Pizza Tree
Black and White
The Meatballs
Bald Eagles
The Black Pandas
Tears of Blood
The Hot Boy Band
The Amber Band
Werewolves of the Hot Fire
Pizza Panda
New York City is Awesome
Carebear Band
Race Dragon
The Mr. Sandman Band
Black Band
The Mosquitos
I am a Tree
Fire Rock
The Outlaws

2nd grade:
The Big Bad Band
Fire crier
The Fire Band
Buttkick Rock
New Boys
Rockstar Baby Attack
Baby on the Roof
The Funky Monkey
You Go I’ll Go
The Bad Girls
The Lord of Gods
This is How We Roll
The Vampires
Learn How to Rock
Mario Rock
Rally rock
Say it Out Loud
Smoke Dash
I Go Where You Go
The Mini Muffins
The Awesome Rock Band
Doin the Duggy
The Jerk
Where to Go
Let it Shine
Doin the Boogie
Four the Sequences
Rock Box
Mario World Rock
Baby at the Door
The Purring Pandas
Singing Rock Music
Dark Rock
New York Rock
The Walkers
The Bad Boys
The Four Werewolves
It’s All About Me and You
I Love You
Texas Rock House
Monster Party
The Rocking Turtles
Baby Rock
Cash Stache
Fire Skull
Texas Rangers
Snake Hole
The Adorable Dolphins

Show with Fountains Of Wayne! / NEW VIDEO

Chris Merritt opening for Fountains Of Wayne!  At the Paramount (Huntington, NY) on May 11th!  This is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I couldn’t be more excited.  We’re going to kill it. More on this soon!!

Meanwhile, I’m playing THIS SATURDAY in Provo!  Utah, Salt Lake, Provo, Orem, Logan fans, come on out!

Check out this awesome promo video, and make sure to put this on your Facebook wall! Let’s get everyone excited about the show this week!

Video created by Anaïs Saunders and Jackie Watanabe :) thanks guys!!



Recording update

I want to finish a few of these songs and release them for free!  We’ll probably be done with five very soon:  One Man To An Army, On My Own, Coney Island, Bi-Polar, and Amelia.  They are kiiiind of getting close to being done. They are the first songs I’ve ever recorded that are not compromised in any way.  Pretty, heavy, heartbroken, happy, haunting, funny.

Sheherzahde is getting close to being finished, conceptually.  Most of it is demo’ed.

We’re also hard at work on The Itch, Sucker Punch, Jitterbug, Burning Baby, Shorty, The Beautiful Ms. Parker And I, Pretty Bitch, Newborn, Sherlock Holmes, Mechanical Mind, Bi-Polar…..many more……

I’m also hard at work on a side project which will be ready for unveiling soon.

I feel like this is the longest I’ve gone without releasing a new record.  It’s a desperate feeling, but I know I have to persevere to finish the most epic music of my life.

Don’t put your faith in science.

People at shows have said this to me: “Don’t put your faith in science” or “Science is just your religion” or similar such nonsense. The idea that science is it’s own field or subject is actually a little false. Science is simply the pursuit of knowledge. Science is the process of finding (good) explanations for our world.  A good explanation can’t be varied very much (I first heard this idea from physicist David Deutsch). Even though religion finds explanations for the world, they can be varied immensely and have the same explanatory power. Johannes Kepler, who discovered that planets have elliptical orbits, discovered mathematical laws governing those ellipses. If you wanted to predict the location of Mars, and you varied an equation by the smallest fraction, your prediction would quickly become inaccurate. Kepler created a good explanation.

The Japanese Shinto creation myth says that Izanagi-no-Mikoto (male) and Izanami-no-Mikoto (female) were given a spear with which they stirred the water, and when removed water dripped from the end, Japan was created in the great nothingness. Although the myth is beautiful, if taken as fact (as it surely was), it’s a bad explanation.  If you varied this explanation, even a lot, it would have the same explanatory power. What if they had used a giant pair of chopsticks to stir the water instead? What if they had used humongous straws to lower the water level and expose Japan? What if, instead of people, it was monkeys who had done the stirring? None of these changes would hurt the explanatory power of the myth. It still teaches us nothing about how islands form, why they disappear, how long they have been there, when the first people got there, etc. Science – and only science – can do, and has done, those things.

Science (or, the human creative understanding of reality) has done the following:

Allowed us to fly through the sky like a bird.  Given us the power of near-instant communication with anyone on earth.  Shown us how to boil water to kill pathogens.  Allowed us to understand genes and evolution.  Cured the near-blind with contact lenses and laser surgery.  Shown us close-up footage of the ravaging storms of Jupiter.  Given us literally every object made with metal.  Cured and destroyed uncountable deadly diseases.  Given us control of warm fire.  Let us understand and even touch the moon.  Allowed us to make and transport food to sustain literally billions of people.  Given us electricity, and artificial light.  Given us music recordings.  Cartoons.  Cars.  Roller Coasters.  Skyscrapers.  Boats.  Aquariums.  Advil.  Video Games.  Maps.  Refrigerators.  Hot tubs.  Ice machines.

So that’s why I put my “faith” in science.  It’s responsible for literally every inch of progress our species has ever made.  And I’m not even exaggerating.

Flipped Book

Marvelous Flipping Toy! Moves it like cartoon, but it is satirical in nature. Japanese child cartoon is made into a fun joke to share.

Empiricism Criticism

I think it’s important to remember your ideas are fallible.  In fact, they will always be fallible and imperfect, but you can improve them, and only through critical thought, debate, and creativity.

I’m not really a tattoo person.  I never knew why.  Not that they aren’t aesthetically pleasing or bad-ass or anything, but what idea could I possible have that I would believe true for my whole life?  Our society loves the concept of life-long, unchanging beliefs.  We find deeply held beliefs and emotions to be somehow honorable; ideas that never change or improve are considered deep and meaningful.  In realty, these stubborn ideas are destructive and inflexible, not to mention obnoxious to the rational thinker.  We want the world to have never-changing truths.  And, in fact, we find ourselves in a world that does have objective truths, but we can only hone in on them and sharpen our picture of them; we are far from seeing them perfectly clearly.

Newton, the greatest scientist of all time, discovered the Read More …

Long lost demo

Years ago, an artist named Tal from Israel commissioned me to write a song to his lyrics….I found it the other day and thought it was way cool!  I hope he doesn’t mind me posting it…..

The song is called…..I’m not sure, but it’s about the late great Elliot Smith.

Jammin’ Java show – March 1st


We’re playing with Company Of Thieves.  7:30, early, on THURSDAY, March 1st.  Come join us at Jammin’ Java in Vienna!

Enlightenment is sexy. (part 1)

Here’s the bad news: the world’s economy is getting worse, you’re a little chimp destined for sickness and death (or a tragic bungee diving accident), there is no god to care about your struggles, no karma to enact redemption, people will forget you, and you’ll probably get less cute over the next forty years of eating and breathing.

Here’s the good news! Someone is finally making the Hoverboard!

No!  Kidding!  Here’s the REAL good news:  in a cruel and confusing world, you happen to be the animal on the planet with the coolest superpower.  We’re all X-Men.  But even better.  We trump the powers of flight, super speed, space travel, telekinesis, super-healing, super strength……in fact, we already have some of those, and the ones we don’t (invisibility?) we someday will.

Because we have the power of explanation.  Anything that can be imagined can be turned into reality given that it obeys the extremely generous laws of physics.  Cure for cancer?  Why the hell not?  No more poverty or hunger?  Who’s stopping us?  Artificial intelligence?  Immortality?  Colonizing other planets?

Yes, I’m serious. And stop calling me a nerd.

As humans, we have the unique ability to be creative and find underlying explanations for the causal structure of the physical world (the ONLY world, by the way).  We solve problems.  Mother Nature is a bitch, and human beings are the first creatures (in our vicinity of space) to turn intelligence into a physical force, to actually know, and to care, about genes, evolution, stars, planets, the way viruses work, fossils, ethics, morality…

I am writing this in a bit of desperation.  In all honesty, talking and writing about human progress, enlightenment, and reason, and what I believe to be the truth puts me at odds, almost always, with family and dear friends (and fans).  People nearly always disagree with me on some deeply personal level and find my views as emotionally repulsive.  What is going on? Is this the kind of stubborn society we want to live in?  I’ve even lost friendships over these issues.  But I keep going, only because truly believe that enlightened thought is the only hope for us as a species, and the sooner we understand it, the less suffering we will have to endure.  And the better TV we’ll have, by the way.  Bonus.

Literally.  Less suffering.  More goodness.

That’s what I think, and I think I’m right.  I’ve had more than my fair share of the evidence from the other side.  I’ve heard the other side of the debate literally hundreds of times.  I’m not talking god debate, or religion debate strictly….there is a more subtle and insidious line of thinking burrowing its way into American culture as of late.  People idealize and encourage deeply held belief systems (a horrible condition for progress), whether political, or religious, or pseudo-scientific.  We are good with sound bytes.  We are not good with subtlety, we are not open to persuasion.

Through all the hundreds and hundreds of people that have tried to tell me I’m wrong, that god exists, that I’m horrible for thinking otherwise, that charms work, that the world will end in 2012, that aliens have visited earth, that science never solves anything, that every opinion is valid, that ethics are subjective, that quantum mechanics is magic, that reality is only perception, that “we can’t ever know anything”, I still end up at the same logical answer, that all of that is bogus.  I used to believe those things myself.  Through a bit of reading and logic, I found out I was wrong.  The truth is more fun, exciting, and interesting, and has led me here.

Oh, and the new music is going great.

Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin