Spring 98', we finished a 5 song demo with Sir David James Minehan at Wooly Mammoth studios, located in Fenway right down the street from the legendary Fenway Park. I can't believe they want to tear it down and build a new park, well, actually, I can believe it because I feel like the only real mutation is money. The planners don't care about the neighborhood or the bands... it's all about the money. What happened to the Boston Garden is a disgrace. I watched it come down slowly brick by brick ..our heritage taken away seat by seat, floor by floor, wall by wall . Now the new arena is called the Fleet Center named after a bank and you'd have to be a banker to be able to afford season tickets. Prices goes up , attendance goes down, mother fuckers get rich and the Fans pay for it. Next up on the chopping block is Fenway Park. You can't start a fire without a spark, so fans should fan the flames and save Fenway Park. The most amusing part is that I'm not really a big organized sports fan, although the Red Sox had a great season in 99' and I was into it but I believe strongly the Park should be saved on a sheer historical basis. Corporations destroy the uniqueness of America with chain stores and strip malls. We as a community should rally around the mom and pop shops and break the chains of Corporate monopoly, before it's too late and everything looks the same. So 5 songs done ..in the can ..as they say ..but the ammo doesn't work anyway ..TREE gets dissed just like the mom and pop shops but hey, it's like they've always told me ..I have a chip on my shoulder, maybe that's what makes me so determined. I like the songs a lot and in the end that's what matters most.

We played Skate 98' at the palladium in Worcester and it kicked ass. A great line up of bands and it was packed to the gills with fans. We were very happy to be a part of that, I got to skate the street course and show all those young kids how an old guy like me wipes out. Hung out with Tim from VOD and had a good time tossing a couple cold ones back. I went to the Warp Tour with a couple of hot babes and snuck backstage to drink FREE BEER with the Amazing Royal Crowns it's too bad they had to change their names.. Royal to the Loyal…I've heard of other bands called TREE, one from South Africa and play Christian folk rock, the other one is from Japan. We've probably been around longer and/or out lived them so we haven't had any troubles. It's only when a band gets big and money gets made the other bands are forced to change, I've seen it happen many times already, it's the nature of the beast.

We played the Hempfest 98' on the Boston common, we weren't scheduled to play but Sam Black Church gave us some of their allotted time and so we got to rock out a few songs and not break the streak. We played the Rally for the last six years, even though we were only asked officially three times, we always managed to stealth an appearance. The Boston Common has historically always been a hot spot for Protest, rebellion and demonstration and it's an honor and a privilege to join the ranks, no matter how significant my efforts are. I close my eyes and see the mobs ransack the Brahmins on Beacon Hill, ah yes, the redistribution of wealth, Boston style, tar and feather the Tories and chase them down the street. So, it's always a pleasure to be able to play rock n roll on the common ..the revolution is tradition, long live the revolution, but the war for independence has yet to be won. OK, enough sloganeering, on with the update. The next day we played a snowboard expo in this BU sport auditorium, the building was sweet, this giant old brick creature of a structure right on Commonwealth Avenue near the paradise rock club. Inside they had a skate park set up and a bunch of booths hawking merchandise. The stage was set up for a fashion show so when we got to play I got to rock the cat walk, I'm too sexy for this gut. Honkeyball played and so did Sam Black Church, it wasn't too pack for a free show but the room was huge so it made it look even worse. I got to skate, drink beer, hang out and watch the Patriots game as well as rock out all in the same spot, that building was sweet and the security was minimal. I step out into the sun and grab my back pack and it's off to the airport for I'm going to Ireland!

My first real vacation ever and I mean EVER, sure I get to tour and travel but it's a working vacation with a schedule and commitment. A vacation, a real vacation, has no structure unless structure is desired, I personally enjoy a mixture of both. I flew over with my parents and my sister, Ellen, we landed in Shannon after an uneventful flight. Well, maybe not so uneventful, I saw a fire on the surface of the ocean, thousands of miles from shore. It looked like a boat but I really couldn't tell, I could see flames and the fire lit up night exposing row after row of waves rise and fall in the flickering light. At sunrise we land in Shannon after I watch the sun slowly shed light on 40 shades of Green.

Back to the old country, after a lifetime of having heard about it, I arrive in Ireland. We drive up to Galway and meet my sister Theresa, I walk the city, have a couple of Guinness's and absorb my new surroundings. I go to the cathedral with my mom and sister Ellen and buy a couple of crosses and say a couple prayers for old times sake and to make my Mom happy. Nice church, but I wouldn't' want to live there. We spend the day walking around, then off to Connermara to visit my Mom's, mom's relations. After a couple of hours of driving on the wrong side of the road down goat's paths that pass as highway, we arrive. The landscape is beautiful, mountains on one side and Galway bay on the other with a blanket of green in between. We stop at the bed n breakfast that we're staying at, which in reality, is just an empty room in someone's house. It's weird but they're real nice and give me tea and toast. I feel awkward so I grab my sisters and go off on an adventure, we cut down a dirt road in these fields and head for the shore of the bay. It's awesome jumping from rock to rock …to keep my feet dry …we get down to the shore, but we have to jump a fence to get there. I was proud of my sisters for keeping up ..it's the beginning of a new bond between us, I've never really hungout with them now that they're all grown up, I love them but now we're getting to be good friends, I'm touched deeply. It sounds goofy but it's true. We make it down to the water and climb up on a big rock to check out the view. I notice this old guy and his dog walking towards us and it dawns on me that we're probably trespassing. We are of course and he comes over and says hello and I introduce us and he tells us he's Farmer Malloy and his dog sally ..and we're welcome to walk around. I offer him a cigarette and we hang out and talk ..my sisters ask him about the fairy tree that's growing out of a rock close by and he pretends to not know what they're talking about, it's funny because I get the feeling he knows exactly what they're talking about. I give him some more cigarettes and we walk back to the B & B.

We meet up with my parents and visited our cousins and great Aunt. It's our blood and they're cool but they're quiet. They have a dog that wont stop growling at me. My sisters and I walk across the yard and check out the house my grandmother grew up in which is nothing more than one room that now the livestock live in. Humble beginnings for a woman who saved all her money to come to America and buy a 3 family house with her savings. We walk across the street and explore the ruins of my great grandmother's house and her mothers house. I'm amazed at how small the homes are and the fact that sometimes over a dozen people would be living in one. I hear stories of how the English would tax the Irish on the number of windows in their house so houses were built with one maybe two windows, they got the people living in darkness. We go back to the B & B and get some sleep. My first night in Ireland and the mad dreams start…bloody battles, death and destruction, Celtic goddesses of war screaming for the blood of the enemy…Galway won the all Irish soccer league so the next night I walked down to an Inn where the team was showing up. They travel around the country stopping by all the small towns to show them the cup and share the victory. The Inn is packed, I'm surrounded, as I make my way to the bar…I order a Guinness and after it all settles, drink half of it in two gulps…the quarters are cramped, I turn to a guy that's practically standing on my foot and say hello, nothing. I finish my Guinness ..get another.. and take a walk. I pass a chattering bunch that get quiet when I pass and I say hello.. nothing. I go outside to the crowded courtyard and have a smoke and I say hello to a couple of people but no one responds. Fashionably speaking, I stick out, most guys my age are either wearing sweat suits or coat n ties. I've got my bomberjacket, black and white camouflage pants and a pair of Adidas shell toe high-tops. In a small town like this I figured people would be cautious of strangers but I couldn't even get a two minute conversation going in a crowd of at least 500 people. Fuck it, I thought the Irish were friendly, it's a myth, I find a good spot to drink and people watch, pull out my note pad and settle in to being alone surrounded by strangers.

The soccer team finally shows up and the place blows up.. they start cranking music, a DJ comes over the PA, and introduces all the players. Everyone is so into it as I sit drinking, thinking the music they listen to over here, their top 40 pop stuff, really sucks, when the team announces they have to leave and start filing out right past me carrying the Irish cup in front of them. I'm tempted so I do it, I reach out with one hand and grab the cup and with the other, I cheer and drink. The crowd loved it and followed along. I walk home in the darkness, not a street light for miles, it feels like I've walked hundreds of years into the past. The road twists and turns in the blackness so foreign yet so familiar, like a dream or dejavu. I get the feeling I've been here before when a car makes a turn and the headlights break the spell. Back to the B &B and back to sleeping through crazy realistic dreams. The next day I convince the clan to adventure over to the Aran islands, there is an ancient fort there dating back over 1500 years and also a lot of monoliths. Plus it's a time capsule for how the Irish used to live on the mainland and because they're isolated. They have not been corrupted with modernization. We say goodbye to the relations and head south to the ferry, arriving with minutes to spare.. The boat ride over is about 2 hours. Me and the old man hang out on the deck with a couple of coffees while the girls hang out inside. It's cool to hang with my dad in such a peculiar setting. He's getting old and has had a couple of close brushes with death so I'm more than happy to spend time but I also need to bond with him as a man as a fellow adult and not solely on the parent/child relationship . To thank him for all that he has given me and sacrificed in the process not just as his son but also as his friend. I try hard to make it work while keeping my intentions invisible. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only bond with my dad but with my two sisters as well. My mother and I already have a perfect understanding , even though we drive each other nuts. We know the motivation that's inside our hearts, it's cuz were so similar, we're antagonists! As the boat approaches the harbor, the small town becomes more distinct, there's something special about shoreline communities, living on the edge of the ocean is a humbling experience, no need to question the power of nature when it's on display everyday. We land and go ashore surrounded by fisherman that look like they just stepped out of Moby Dick. We catch a cab, more like a small handicap bus, it was that or a horse drawn carriage, my first choice but unfortunately, we all couldn't fit. It's a shame because the weather is beautiful, a nice 70 degrees sunny day in October. The terrain has a prehistoric look, the roads are narrow and winding, we first visit the ruins on an old church, three different buildings from different time periods, all over 400 years old. Roofless walls rise from the surrounding grave stones as if markers for a much larger grave, as waves beat the beach a short distance away. All roads seem to lead up to the old fort on the hill that dominates the Island's geography. The cab drops us off some distance away and we have to walk the rest.

The path rises between flat fields of cracked slabs of stones. It's distressing to see my Dad huff and puff his way up the hill. He suffered two aneurysms a few years back and while being operated on, the surgeon at Beth Israel hospital, accidentally shot down one of his lungs, a perfectly good lung, and even though he could sue and get paid, he won't because that's not his way. My parents wouldn't sue even if they should.

They don't believe in it and I respect them for it. We get up to the fort and the entrance is a small hole we have to climb through, the fort has only three walls which is built with rocks stacked neatly on top of each other creating two levels, where the fourth wall should be was a 600 foot cliff that fell into the ocean. Whoever fought in this fort fought with this cliff to their backs…now that's mutation. I creep up to the edge and look over at the pounding waves, it's a long way down. I wonder if they jumped off to their deaths than suffer embarrassment of defeat in the hand of their enemies. I walk outside the fort and over to the left is a field of jagged rocks that stick up from the ground like dragon teeth, thinking from a defensive position this natural oddity makes it hard for any advancing troops to charge, actually, it mould make a charge almost impossible. I walk out farther following the line of the cliffs and get through the to a flat surface of cracked rock. It's like it was a solid rock floor at one time then due to some outside force, cracked large deep fissures that fade into darkness. I'm surrounded by columns of stones stacked on top of each other rising about four feet high. They're man made and some look like things for instance one looks like a bull complete with horns, one looks like a man wearing a hat and so on…Most just look like rocks stacked on top of each other in a miniature monolith fashion, ala Stonehenge. I go sit next to the edge of the cliff looking west over the Atlantic, I got my shirt off and I'm catching mad rays. I got my headphones on and Bad Brains rock for light cranks through my head. I collect rocks and build my own monolith. I find a rock that looks like a penis and I put it on top pointing west. I've been gone for too long and hurry back to the pack just as they're getting worried. I've been doing that since my very earliest days, always running away on some adventure making everyone worry until I show up late. We have to leave so I soak up the site with all my might and leave knowing I'll probably never be here again. Back to the cab to the town to wait for the boat. We have a little lunch with my Guinness and I feel like a tourist, which is kind of like being the new kid at school, the square peg in the round hole. We get back to the mainland without event and head south, we drive by Bunratty's castle which I can only assume was named after the kickass rock club that used to be in Allston Rock city until it was destroyed by the evil empire. We spend the night in Limerick, it's where the book Angela's Ashes was written and based. My Mom and my sisters read it and sang its praises.

I went out that night alone and tried to pry some conversation out of the locals drinking at the bar but to no avail. The next day, we drive down to cork and stop off at Blarney Castle on the way, I'm driving and I think I'm doing OK but my driving makes my dad anxious to say the least. We get to the castle and I make my exit from the group early to check out the grounds , the witches kitchen, which is a cove under the roots of a giant tree with a fireplace and chimney that rises up through the roots. There's also a cave that if you walk through with your eyes closed and then make a wish, it will come true.