New Client – Colin Hay

I’ve been fortunate to work with several amazingly talented artists over my career. Recently I began working with legendary singer/songwriter Colin Hay. You may know Colin as the front-man for multi-platinum pop/rock band Men At Work. Since then, he has established quite a solo career. I’m fortunate to take on the role managing Colin’s website as well as his social media communications.

Recently I was with Colin in Toledo Ohio and recorded a few songs during his live show..  Have a look as he performs his Men At Work classic ‘Down Under.’

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Where I was on September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001. Ever since that day, The events of my day have been firmly etched in my mind, so I thought I’d share them.

I was living in Orlando FL at the time and September 11, 2001 was moving day for me. I was moving to a new apartment near the Orlando airport. My cousin Rob was in town to help me with the move. We had gotten a later start to the day than usual. We loaded up our first round of boxes into my Cherokee and hit the road around 10am. Seemed like a normal day. The trip between apartments was about 15 minutes so I put in my trusty copy of Billy Joel’s “Songs In The Attic” CD. Got midway through track 1 “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway).” If you’re not familiar with this song, Billy wrote it in 1976 as sort of a science-fiction story about the destruction of New York City. “Seen the lights go out on Broadway. I watched the mighty skyline fall.” As we were listening to the song, the disc started to skip.

Slightly annoyed, I turned off the disc and put the radio on to 101.1 WJRR (Orlando’s Rock Station). Needles to say.. there was no music going on.. the mid-day DJ’s were talking with quite a serious tone. At the time, they were talking about how Disney & Universal in Orlando were closed and downtown was a ghost town at that hour. Unaware as to what took place that morning in NY, DC, and PA, Rob & I first thought something had happened in Orlando. Moments later, they began to talk about the towers falling. It didn’t seem believable. We soon arrived at our apartment where Michelle, my new roommate, who is a New Yorker sat in front of a little black & white TV and watched the coverage with her Grandma. Nobody could believe what had happened. They had no idea if anyone back home was safe or not.

Rob & I hadn’t eaten yet so we decided to head to Bennigans to grab lunch.. The restaurant was mostly empty. We sat and watched the replays of the attacks as we ate lunch.. Nobody was talking. Everyone just sat with their mouths open.. unable to comprehend what had occurred.

I was so conflicted as I knew I had to finish moving but didn’t want to tear myself away from the TV so we kicked it into high gear and finished moving into my new apartment. We finally were all moved in to my new place.. I was exhausted but didn’t care… I was fixed to the coverage. I spent the next several days trying to wrap my head around what had happened… I still didn’t understand why or how this all happened.

My friend Liberty, who at the time, was playing drums for Billy Joel, went to NY to play the America: A Tribute To Heroes telethon with Billy. I remember him telling about how they had no idea where they were going, the secrecy of all of it and the surreal experience of him flying so soon after it happened. Nobody knew what to do, how to feel, or if something else would still happen. The world had changed.

I actually found myself in NYC on the 5th anniversary of 9/11. I was touring with Ashton Allen. I remember being surprised with how ‘back to normal’ NYC felt but still felt very reminded on what happened on that day in 2001. I recall us not being comfortable with staying in the city on 9/11 so we left town after the show.

Ten years after the towers fell, I found my wife & I fixed to the TV again, soaking in all of the documentaries & 9/11 specials. I didn’t see 8am-Noon unfold live on TV as it happened, so it was very surreal to watch, nearly 10 years later, a replay of NBC’s coverage of the attacks. So many days come and go that you’ll never recall, but September 11, 2001 is a day that remains clear as can be. I’m not sure what prompted me to share how 9/11 unfolded for me, but I just felt the urge to get it out there. So there it is. That’s where I was when the world changed.

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Chords For A Cure – July 17, 2011

I wanted to let you all here know about a very special charity concert that my wife & I are organizing called Chords For A Cure this coming Sunday, July 17th at AJ’s Music Cafe in Ferndale, MI at 2pm.

This event is to raise money for the MPN Research Foundation which supports research and awareness for rare blood cancers.. You may already know that one of these cancers has touched our life, as Jenny was diagnosed with one of them last year. This is why we feel compelled to do something to help bring us one step closer to a cure.

Chords For A Cure will feature music from: Rabbit! (Ashton Allen’s new band), Stephen Clark & The Trending Topics, Blaine Fowler Experience, and Donny Brown of The Verve Pipe.

If you cannot attend the event but still want to support our efforts, we are also accepting online contributions. You can make a donation at this link:

We’ve got the full event details at our website:    Hope to see everyone Sunday!


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Playing @ Downtown Hoedown May 15 w/ Stephen Clark

As most of you know, I’m a musician. Most know me from my time in September On (2007-2010). I’m now branching out into uncharted musical territory. Country music.  I’m happy to announce that I’m playing drums with Channel 7 news anchor Stephen Clark and our new band The Trending Topics.

We’ve got two big shows coming up this month!  We’re performing Saturday May 7th at the Hayloft in Mt. Clemens, MI supporting the cd release of JoCaine

May 15th, we make our festival debut at the WYCD Downtown Hoedown in Detroit, MI. We’re playing The River Stage at 6pm! Come on out and join us if you can!

We’ve also got brand new pages for The Trending Topics on Facebook & Twitter!  Connect with us!

The Trending Topics on Facebook
The Trending Topics on Twitter

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Customer Service Extremes : Brick And Mortar & The Social Web

We’re all customers and feel passionate about what we like as well as what we don’t. The same goes with the customer service experience where our money is spent. In the past week I had two customer service experiences that were such polar opposites that I feel compared to share them both!

Having a meal like millions of do a day and eating Wendy’s chicken nuggets when I bite into one that was so hard, could have broken a tooth, nearly swallowing & choking on what I bit into, was able to spit it out to discover what looks to be a BONE fragment.  Now I understand that this food is all mechanically manufactured but having something in your food that can cause one bodily harm is pretty unacceptable, right?  So I reach out to Wendy’s on their website via the contact form, to explain my situation and near choking experience. 5 days go by and not one person reaches out to me at all.

Frustrated with this company’s lack of quality concern, I take it to the social web (who doesn’t now?). Post on the Facebook page about the experience in hopes that someone would see it at the company and get in touch.  What happens? Wendy’s deletes my post!  3 hours later, I post my disappointment with them ignoring and then deleting my post and they just go ahead and delete that one as well.. It would appear that this company doesn’t care to have me as a customer anymore!

As you know, I’m a big music fan!  3,000+ cds and 200+ lps and counting in my collection. One vinyl I hadn’t yet added to my collection was Metallica’s self titled album (aka ‘The Black Album’). Stopped into F.Y.E. today to pick up this 2LP vinyl set. I get home and open it up to notice the LP jacket is pretty well dinged up and creased. I take good care of my music collection and am a Metallica collector. I didn’t want my brand new vinyl already to be beat up!  I called up the store and they told me that they totally understand and just to bring it back in and they would order a new one.

I get to the store, and apparently the system will not let them order this title. She apologized a few times for this and refunded me CASH even though I was returning something that was opened. (This is almost unheard of in retail land!). I walk out of F.Y.E. with no Metallica vinyl but still a happy customer base on the good customer service they provided!

There you have two completely different experiences. One left me angry at a company’s lack of service.  The other left me happy even though they were unable to provide the product I was seeking.

The point I want to make after this long-winded blog post is for you companies & marketing folks who maintain the social web presence for a company.  Listen and engage!  Had Wendy’s simply replied with a “We’re so sorry about what you found in your food and hope you are okay,” I would have accepted that and moved right on!

No matter if you’re a small or a large company, you cannot afford to ignore your customers. I urge all of you in business to stay connected to your customers and they will pay you back tenfold.  Negative feedback is important. It’s how you respond to such things that defines you.  As a marketer and customer, it feels quite insulting to know when your comments are not only ignored but deleted by a company who can’t manage to step up to the plate!

Disappointed but not surprised at Wendy’s for your quality control of your food but most importantly, your customer service!  You should take notes from the folks at F.Y.E. in Berkley, MI. I can assure you that I will continue to do business with this record store!

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New Site + Old Blogs!

I’ve finally completed the daunting task of backing up years of daily MySpace blogs that chronicled the early stages of Jenny & I’s relationship and my years on the road touring with Ashton Allen & Taj Mahal.  I’ve also resurrected and updated my comprehensive list of every concert I’ve attended in my life.  Take a look.. perhaps we were at the same show?

With bringing back all the old, I felt it was time for a new look, new feel and new launch to my website.  I hope this will keep me motivated to keep up with it and not do this once a year post that I seem to have gotten into!

So take a look around, check out a piece of my history and I hope you stay around for the future!

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September On – FREE album download!!

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Social Media makes real life connections

I’ve been in the marketing business for 12 years now, primarily in the music end of it.  When I started in the business, the internet wasn’t even a primary way of marketing and connecting  business to their clients and artists to their fans.

My have times changed!

This week I’ve had the pleasure of attending two events that provided a great way to connect with people. Wednesday David Murray ( @DaveMurr ) spoke with a group of us at Wayne State University about his experiences during the #detchevysxsw road trip.  The great folks at @refreshdetroit did a fantastic job bringing David in and connecting each one of us together. It helped reinforce the concept of true community that is often overlooked.  What a wonderful example of how social media can connect people whom may never have crossed paths.  Thanks to everyone for the great event!

This morning I headed to another great event at Biggby Coffee in Madison Heights, MI ( @BIGGBYCoffeeMH ) at the Entrepreneur Lounge where current and future local entrepreneurs get together for ideas and discussions with each other and with Madison Heights city officials.  What a fantastic idea. You can never learn too much and to have a community and city leadership with a genuine interest in your passions and business is a blessing!

What to take away from this? Utilize social media. Use it as a tool to truly connect and learn. You’ll be amazed at what you get out of it!

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The Verve Pipe

As many of you know, I’ve been working with the band The Verve Pipe since 2001. Yes they are the band who brought you the 1997 mega-hit “The Freshmen.” I’ve been quite fortunate to be one of their ‘go-to guys’ for their online, promoting, and merchandising needs.

It’s an exciting time for The Verve Pipe. They have a fantastic new record out geared towards families entitled “A Family Album.” Mixed with clever lyrics, strong melodies, and fantastic production, this album is something that music lovers from toddlers from old-school fans of The Verve Pipe can all enjoy.

The Verve Pipe are gearing up to hit the road next month in support of “A Family Album.” Following the tour, the plan is to return to Michigan and complete their next ‘rock’ record. I’m glad to have The Verve Pipe so active again. They’ve been so supportive and good to me over the years and I urge you to do the same to them!  Check out the links below to hear clips from the new disc!

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“Letting Go” – then & now

In going through and consolidating my hard drives & files (the never ending task)… I came across my very first demo recording of the September On track “Letting Go.”

I have to thank my good friend Brian Kuzma for helping me bring this song to life.  He and I recorded the demo version in his home studio in Commerce, MI in December 2005.

In January of 2007, when joining September On, I brought this demo to the band. They all dug it and we soon recorded it for what would become our debut album “Elisions.”  I had such fun recalling the journey this song took so I wanted to share it with you!

Check out each version below to see where the song started and where it ended up!

Michael Grosvenor – Letting Go (Demo)

September On – Letting Go

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