Nearly 2 Years
Remember that time I said I would keep up with this blog in my first post? Well...nearly two years later, here is my second post.
I suppose I'll update you all on what I've been doing since then. This could take a while. Brace yourselves. Or, you know...don't read it.
Let's start with my first stop: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
This is where it all began. I met my El-Live family, rehearsed with Encore Band, and partied a little too hard for two months while we waited on our visa for our first gig at JJ Mahoney's in the Grand Hyatt, Seoul.
Back to Korea!
South Korea holds a very special place in my heart. It is the first country I lived in outside of the US when I moved to Paju almost 6 years ago. When I found out Seoul would be my first destination with Encore band, I was beyond thrilled.
With band leader Marc André Veillette on bass, Martin Allard on Drums, Joel Esquijarrosa on keys and trumpet, and the lovely trio of Monica Mesa Rojas, Irian Flores, and Jessica Perdomo Aguilera joining myself on the front line...we had one hell of a band. We had JJ's rocking every night.
I met some amazing people and reconnected with some old friends from English Village in Paju and LATT Children's Theatre in Gangnam (see the last 2 photos. YuJin was so happy to see me.)
If you are a baseball fan, I definitely recommend checking out a ballgame in Korea. It's nothing like it is back home. The fans go completely insane from the first inning until the end. Singing chants for every player...cheerleaders from both teams...a hype guy screaming into a microphone. It's amazing. Go Doosan Bears!
The food and the culture of Korea is what keeps me coming back. Also...the jobs. Jobs keep me coming back. But if you pay me in kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) and some money to pay my student loans, I will be a happy man.
After 6 months in Seoul, it was time to say goodbye to our friends, the kimchi jjigae, JJ Mahoney's amazing staff, the cold weather, and two of our amazing singers, Jessica and Irian.
Next stop: Zeta Bar at the Hilton KL in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
We welcomed our two newest members of the band, Kim Cho and Andrea Williams. Zeta Bar was the place to be. Again, meeting some amazing new people, playing some great music, seeing what KL had to offer, and partying hard.
In our off time, we did a lot of eating, sight-seeing, and (unfortunately for my liver) a lot of drinking. 3am Thai or Vietnamese meals in Jalan Alor; Indian food in Little India (Brickfields); Clubbing and seeing live bands in Bukit Bintang; Or just relaxing by the pool at the Hilton.
It was a quick three months in KL, so it was time to say goodbye to the great staff and our regulars at Zeta Bar, the maggi goreng mutton, and three band members and friends, Joel, Moni, and Honey Boo Boo (Andrea).
On to the next stop: Brix at the Grand Hyatt Singapore!
Singapore is so badass. I love it. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. Beautiful new band members. Here, we welcomed the one and only Michael O'Rielly on guitar and two beauties on the front line, Legna Vazquez and Brittanie Hammer.
I've never experienced anything like Brix before. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. One thing is for sure...Brix knows how to PARTY. We would stay and hang out with the guests until 4:30-5am most nights. I definitely made some great life-long friends here.
My time off was nothing short of incredible in Singapore. I spent my Sundays seeing everything there is to see in Singapore with Rose and Brittanie (when she was awake.) On Saturday mornings, I played flag football with a group of guys from all over the world. I got to see three awesome bands (Imagine Dragons, Scorpions, and Metallica). During work days, I'd hang out at the pool and study Korean and learn my songs for the week.
For a little taste of Singapore, check out this video I made about my last couple of weeks with Encore Band
It was time to say goodbye to Encore Band as we all went our separate ways. **crying and drinking alone**
I stayed in Singapore for two extra weeks to have surgery. Wait, what?
Yeah...I had to take a little time off of work. I have been getting chronic sinus infections for about 9 years...So I finally went to an ENT at Raffles Hospital in Singapore (Thanks, insurance!) and the doctor said I had an extremely deviated septum and my sinuses were a train wreck. So, a Nasal Septoplasty and a Balloon Sinuplasty later, I'm a new man! Thanks, Dr. Chan! Also, thanks Rose and her awesome family for letting me recover at their house.
After 2 weeks of recovery, it was time to go home and see my family for the first time in almost 4 years. It was long overdue and much needed.
So onto the next stop: Erie, PA.
I love visiting home. I miss my family so much. I don't know what I'd do without my mom and dad. I know everyone says their parents are the best...but everyone can suck it...cause MY parents are the best.
I got to hold my newborn nephew Avin, my beautiful and grown up niece Samantha, the twins, Sabera and Wesley who were just babies last time I saw them. My brother and sister and their beautiful families. My idiot dog. I miss them all every day.
I also spent two great weeks in NYC, seeing some great friends, some great Broadway shows, and eating some great food while waiting for my Chinese visa.
Here's a short video about my time home.
Next stop: Red Moon at the Grand Hyatt, Beijing
I have been in Beijing for nearly two months now, and this is what I've seen so far. I'll post more about China in another blog...hopefully not in another two years.
If you'd like to see what I've done on stage for the last two years, here's another video:
I love you all. Until next time, dorks!