Four years ago today I achieved a goal I’d held for at least a decade: to complete and release a full-length CD of my own music. It was June 26, 2010, when “No Schedule Man” was finally released with a concert at the London Music Club here in London, Ontario. Much has happened since then. And looking back, I feel proud of myself for seeing the goal through to completion, and I’m glad I have those songs recorded in some form.
It took me almost a year and a half to finish the project (I documented the whole process with a weekly journal. All the entries can be found HERE). At the time, I was not enjoying the accomplishment as much as I’d been hoping to, as I was truly hurting with sciatic nerve pain caused by herniated discs in my lower back (which actually caused a two-week delay in releasing the CD). In fact, just one week after the CD release show, I decided to cancel the rest of the appearances I had booked for that summer because I was just in too much pain and wasn’t enjoying myself at all. Partly because of that, I never really felt those songs got the push they deserved.
Shortly afterwards, many significant life changes took place, including a divorce, change of address and change in career, all of which happened pretty much at the same time. In the face of that, playing the songs from “No Schedule Man” quickly fell down the list of priorities.
For the better part of two years after all that, I didn’t even really look at my guitar, let alone go anywhere and play. My mind was only on being with my two boys, keeping myself healthy and learning what I needed to learn from the life changes that had taken place. To that end, I feel grateful for the lessons I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. But there was always a part of me that felt bad about watching “No Schedule Man” sit and collect dust.
Eventually, the urge to start creating and sharing music bubbled back up. But it was different this time. There was much more patience, and even hesitation, to move forward. As I’ve written and talked about before, it was really my oldest son, Eddie, who nudged me to start working on music again, and so last summer I recorded a handful of new songs that became the acoustic EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man.” In the process of getting ready to release that collection, I went back and started rehearsing some of the songs from the original “No Schedule Man” CD again and thought, quite honestly, that there were some really good songs just sitting and waiting for me to pay them some mind again.
Now that “Solo” has also been released, my guitar is mostly quiet again, at least for now. I’m still not sure where all this fits in the scheme of a guy who makes his living as a Marketing Consultant and Radio Account Executive. But when I burden myself with trying too hard to make sense of it all, I think back to the lyrics of the “No Schedule Man” title track and remember that “No plan is all part of the plan.”
The idea of control is really a fallacy. Change is inevitable, and this present moment is truly all we have. So I strive to be more like the character I created with “No Schedule Man,” to the extent where I’ve since adopted it as a kind of “brand” for most of the things I do, and hope to be.
No Schedule Man, the character, doesn’t aim to have. He simply wants to be.
One day, I’ll give those songs the attention I always felt they deserved. In the meantime, I can look back and feel proud that they even exist in the first place, and feel emboldened about my ability to navigate through whatever changes and challenges may come from here. With that in mind, I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore and celebrate your own creativity as well, in whatever form that may be. I did, and I’m glad I did.
Happy Anniversary, No Schedule Man. I’m better for knowing you and am curious to see where we set sail next.
Kevin celebrated the release of his new acoustic EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man” at a concert event on February 21, 2014 at the London Music Club in London, Ontario.
The performance was Kevin’s first in over three years.
With an enthusiastic crowd in attendance, London’s Alexa Kay began the night with set of songs that showcased her natural ability as a singer-songwriter, mixing some of her original compositions along with cover versions of other popular songs. Alexa’s incredible talent and sunny personality put the concert on the right track from the start.
Kevin then took to the stage by himself (“Solo”), roaring into the set with the acoustic pop-rock track, “Bilge Rat Blues” from his new EP. He then mixed in a couple of more familiar songs before stopping to discuss the song that really began the whole EP project, “Déjà vu” (for more of the story behind “Deja Vu,” click here).
A medley of songs from 2010’s “No Schedule Man” CD followed, along with another couple of popular tracks and then Kevin’s song “Lullaby” from the new EP.
Bulmer was then joined on stage by Al Coombs from News Talk 1290 CJBK. Together, they played the song “Do Better” (from the “No Schedule Man” CD) and also mixed in some hijinks with other tracks, including a tip of the cap to the late Stompin’ Tom Connors.
Next to the stage was Kevin’s 11-year-old son, Eddie, who joined his dad to perform “March” (from the new EP) and then went into a medley of cover songs that earned young Eddie a standing ovation.
To end the night, Alexa Kay and Al Coombs came back to the stage to join Kevin and Eddie on the title track of 2010’s “No Schedule Man” CD.
Taken all around, it was a grand evening a long time in coming. Sincere thanks to Pete & Janice Denomme from the London Music Club for their continued support, encouragement and hospitality.
Hard copies of the CD are available by contacting Kevin directly.
To contact Kevin to inquire about booking him for a performance, or as an MC or speaker, please click here.
With our concert date approaching for the release of the new acoustic EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man,” my son and co-conspirator, Eddie, and I decided we’d try our hand at making our own “Vlog” this past weekend.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a production that would make even Steven Spielberg proud.
Hope to see you on February 21st!
Kevin is excited to announce the concert date for the release of his new EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man,” on Friday, February 21, 2014 in the Cellar Lounge at the London Music Club in London, Ontario.
Kevin will be joined on February 21st by Alexa Kay, an incredibly talented singer-songwriter who was recently awarded with the “Young Inspirations: Shine Your Talent Audience Choice Award” at Hugh’s Room in Toronto.
Kevin’s oldest son, Eddie Bulmer, and his good friend from 1290 CJBK Radio in London, Al Coombs, will also make appearances on stage.
Tickets to the concert are $8 in advance (available through the London Music Club Box Office) and $10 each at the door. Each ticket purchase includes a digital copy of the new EP, which will be distributed at the door the night of the concert.
Here is the poster for the event. Please feel free to share it with your friends!
Is this it?
One year ago, we started work on a CD I hoped to call “No Schedule Man.” We’ve been through break-ins, hospital stays, equipment failures and all sorts of other challenges, including the re-scheduling of the CD release show because of some of what I just mentioned. And now, as I write this, we’re standing just a few steps away from the end of the tunnel, with the CD set to arrive later this week and the show scheduled for 6 days from now at the London Music Club.
So this is it, huh?
Of course, I understand that this means far more to me than anyone else. Completing and sharing a collection of my own songs has been a goal of mine my entire adult life. To think that the time has almost arrived is humbling and even a little bit disorienting. I understand that the real work begins only after we put the CD out: no one is going to care about it unless we go and share the music with people that have never heard it before. So far, friends and family have given me wonderful support and encouragement and I am grateful beyond words. But just like anything else, if you want to expand your fan base and market share, you’ve got to go out to where the people are and do the hardest work of all: make a good-enough impression that they might remember you, and maybe even ask you to come back and/or listen to your songs again.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with this music over the next year or two, because I won’t be “touring” per se. Music is what I love most, but it’s not my job and, frankly, I don’t want it to be. I would like to become known as a songwriter and, ten years from now, I’d love to be able to afford to spend my time creating and collaborating more often than I do now. So for the time being, I’ll have to try to be content to do shows at little clubs around Ontario as much as we can without going too hard, and also looking for opportunities to support other artists with an opening set or something like that. I’d also love to get to the point where I could play some festivals and go see some places around Canada I’ve never visited before. But that’ll come with time.
Meantime, when we do release the CD this weekend, it will look like I’m contradicting everything I just said because we are coming out guns a-blazing. The CD, t-shirts, hats, magnets, notepads, bracelets and more will all be available from a customized, fully-themed merchandise area at our shows. A short time later, the CD will be available through online retailers around the world, and the merchandise will be for sale online too, through CPT Entertainment Inc.
On top of all of that, we are set to launch a fund and awareness-raising campaign for Hospice of London called “Celebrating Hope” in memory of Sean and Cindy Alward. I believe I’m just as proud of that as I am of completing the CD. Maybe more so. More information about that partnership will be shared early this coming week.
I am very confident that the more shows we do, the more we’ll give people a really nice evening of music. Kevin Gorman and I have the ability to showcase quite a lot of versatility on stage, and I believe our chemistry, vocal harmonies and range of sounds gives us an edge. When you add Alyssa Sestric into the mix, we can really throw a lot at you, and Alyssa is going to do as many shows with us as she can (that’ll not only give her more experience, but it will provide a chance for her to showcase some of her own songs too, and she is a very talented songwriter). When we do the CD release show, we’ll be a little rusty. You’re never perfect right out of the gates. The difference in me now as opposed to even just a few years ago is that I’m okay with that. As long as the tone of the show as a whole comes off the way we want it, we’ll laugh at whatever else may get in the way.
After all, having been through hospital stays, robberies, computer failures and the like and still getting the job done, I hardly think a few mistakes in our live show will register on the radar screen.
Right now, I’ll be happy just to get there, as I’m writing this while I’m sitting in bed, trying to recover from what seems to be a slight reoccurrence of the illness that set me back a few weeks ago. Or maybe it’s just side effects from the useless drugs my doctor gave me earlier this week to help deal with my back and leg pain and help me sleep. Or maybe it’s from navigating through yet another calamitous week.
Or maybe all of the above.
But that’s another story for another day.
Things in CD land have slowed down this week after much excitement the previous seven days. We pressed hard in order to be ready to release two new songs and also to be prepared for our live radio interview and performance. The whole week was extremely gratifying. There is always a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you fulfill a goal and we did that last week.
The only trouble is … we’re not all the way there yet.
After our CKXS adventure last Friday, I was right back into action in my CPT Entertainment duties, spending the entire day Saturday back at Delaware Speedway as an announcer coach/consultant. I then spent a good deal of the following day (Sunday) compiling my “reports” after the fact. Next thing I knew, it was Monday again and time to get back to business.
It never stops, friends. Not if you want to accomplish something out of your ordinary.
The process of finishing the whole “No Schedule Man” CD is pretty much in KG’s hands now. Everything is recorded except for some piano parts he may choose to redo. We are officially in “post production.” I have a lot of work to do in completing the artwork and other behind-the-scenes activities, but for the most part it’s up to KG (Kevin Gorman) to deliver us to the CD duplication company prior to our deadline.
I went to see him Tuesday night and it was immediately clear that neither of us had much enthusiasm for doing anything new. We were both tired. He had worked for a few hours on the song “Awake (But Not Alive)” so we listened through that, chatted, and called it a night. Our feeling was that sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to leave it alone. I know Kev is working at it through the week. But as I’ve stated in this space many times before, KG and I are not professional full-time musicians. I own an event and media management company and Kev is a full-time producer, teacher and man of all musical trades. We both have many other people and projects that we must report to in order to make our living. The “No Schedule Man” CD is a labour of love. That means we love it. But it’s also labour. You don’t always feel like doing the work because the time to do it is primarily in the evening or on weekends. Or, if you have to take some time out of a “regular” work day, then you darn well better make up for it. For in the world of entrepreneurs, you either do the work or don’t get paid. Everybody should have to be an entrepreneur at some point in their lives. But that is another opinion and story for another day.
With KG and me, we’d just been pushing ourselves so hard to obtain our goals that we’d finally worn out.
And so it goes.
So now we ramp up for the next run: completion of the CD and rehearsal for the first show (June 12 at the London Music Club) and all of the shows that come after it. That’ll be fun.
The other thing that I’ll look back on and remember from this week is a debilitating pain on the left side of my lower body.
In short, I’ve got a tight butt.
Laugh if you like, but it’s horrible. I have been doing my best to overcome lower back pain for the last four years. Much of it has to do with stress I’ve brought upon myself and the accumulation of some less-than-productive habits. I have been working to get in better shape and to that end I have good days and bad. But I have never felt anything like what I’m fighting through this week.
It has been diagnosed as a pinched sciatic nerve (aka “sciatica”) on the lower left side of my body. It means you’re in discomfort from your lower back right down to your toes. At the start of the week, I could not function without some Advil in my system and I was not pleased about that. I’ve been working hard to put fewer toxins in my body, not more. The discomfort prompted me to finally do what my doctors have been telling me to do for three years: go get massage therapy treatment.
I went for my first massage yesterday. All I could think about was George Costanza in Seinfeld, when he got massaged by a guy and later said to Jerry in a panic, “I think it moved!” Well, I didn’t care if a guy worked on me, a girl or if they drove a bloody truck over my back. I just wanted to feel better.
It turned out to be a woman that treated me, but I can assure you there was absolutely nothing erotic about it. Oddly, having another woman rub her hands all over your rear end is not anywhere near as exciting as one might hope. It was painful. Also, it was not quite embarrassing, but it was close. It felt like paying someone to treat you like a baby.
At one point, this nice lady had what I assumed (hoped?) to be a knuckle driven deep into the sorest point on my left butt cheek. She must have known that I was in pain, because I stopped talking. I never stop talking. But I did then. So she said, “Take a deep breath.” I thought, “I will if you take your knuckle off my butt.” But she did not, at least not for a few seconds.
So I took a deep breath. A few of them, actually.
Soon thereafter, she told me that the muscles all up and down my spine were, “Among the tightest she’d ever seen.” So there: my back muscles are tighter than yours.
Even so, I never got so much as a participation ribbon for all my troubles.
When it was done, I got dressed and then she asked me how I felt. I didn’t know what to say, because I honestly felt the same. So I came up with the only insightful, helpful thing I could think of and answered her by saying, “Umm, I don’t know.”
She said, “Some people feel great right away. For others it takes a while longer.”
Hmm. Okay. Well, I agreed to go back next week and then limped back to the Kevin-mobile to take me home.
So here I sit today, happily visiting with you, shifting in my chair every few moments to ease the pain emanating from my left gluteus. My back and butt woes are officially “to be continued.”
When we finally finish our CD, please don’t congratulate me by slapping me on the rear.
I’d rather have my finger caught in a mouse trap.