1. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” My dad
2. “Success leaves clues.” Charles Poliquin
3. “Adopt what is useful. Reject what is useless.” Bruce Lee
4. “Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs
5. “Work smarter, not harder.” Charles Poliquin
6. “Oh, they have the internet on computers now.” Homer Simpson
7. “The difference between fate and destiny is this: fate is what you’re given; destiny is what you do with what you’re given.” Lonn Friend
I couldn’t have made it through this tour without my coconut oil. In fact, I don’t think I can make it through life without it! I’m not going to get into the endless health benefits of this amazing super food, but I will tell you what I use it for;
1. Cooking- an islandy and delicious taste! Plus it has a higher smoke point and the nutrients won’t get destroyed when cooking at higher heats (olive oil for example should not be cooked past 350)
2. In My Coffee- this is a healthier and tastier alternative to conventional milk. It may seem weird at first adding “oil” to your coffee, but it’s actually quite delicious and brings out the flavors of the beans.
3. Mouthwash/Oil-pulling- C.O. is one of the most anti-bacterial/anti-viral natural substances on the planet. It’s an awesome natural alternative to mouthwash if you don’t want to deal with all the chemicals and nasty stuff they usually put in there.
4. Tea- just take a spoonful of it, throw in some cinnamon and ginger and pour boiling water over it. It’s delicious and very cleansing!
5. Treating sun burns and dry skin- again, I’m all about limiting exposure to hazardous chemicals to the skin and you can bet your behind average formulas have parabens and nasty chemicals up in there. The oil is soothing and will help repair the damaged skin cells.
6. Treat for the dogs- my dogs love coconut oil, in fact, they know what I’m talking about when I say “let’s get some coconut oil” This will help your pets coat and also protect their hearts, not a bad combination.
7. Brushing my teeth- this goes back to the cleansing and anti-bacterial element. The natural substances in the coconut oil will help remove unwanted nasty gunk from your gums, teeth, and tongue. Just make sure you don’t accidentally swallow it (that’d be gross)
I suggest you go to your local grocery store and pick up some coconut oil right away. I use Carrington Farms because it’s organic, unrefined, and extra virgin. This means it has no processing done to it so it’s in it’s most raw and natural state. P.S. Costco sells a giant tub of it from $15…you won’t find a deal this good anywhere!
Insomnia sucks. Sleeping well is amazing. There is no in between! Some people are naturally good sleepers, like my mom and sister, they can just fall asleep at the drop of a hat no matter what. Lucky them, but for the rest of us sometimes it takes a little more to engineer the perfects nights sleep. I know some people have trouble falling asleep and some people have trouble staying asleep, hopefully this article will help you out in someway. You’ll notice that a lot of these tips coincide with my last article on How I Handle Stress. I’ve ordered them from simplest to the most complex to the most ridiculous. Enjoy!
1. Go to bed happy….it’s so simple and yet so effective. My body just doesn’t want to shut down when I’m in a bad mood. It’s all about creating the proper environment for your nervous system to shut down and relax. It can’t do that when you’re stressed or upset.
2. Watch something funny before bed…..laughter is truly the greatest medicine. This harkens back to creating the right mental attitude for a good nights sleep. Avoid over-stimulating things like the news, horror films, action, etc. Save it for another time and focus on winding down.
3. Write your grateful log….I wrote about this in How I Handle Stress and a lot of people liked the idea. In a notebook by your bed, write down a list of things you’re grateful for in your life. This will unload the mental burdens of the day from your mind and help you wind down.
4. Remove all electronics from your room….that means your phone, computer, IPAD, whatever. Not only does the electricity interfere with your brain waves, all of those devices are sources of information and stimulation. In order to sleep well your central nervous system needs to wind down, and having your phone by your bed is a subconscious way of telling it that more information is coming your way. Don’t do it. If you need the alarm on your phone, put it in your closet, or I turn it on silent and put in the kitchen so the alarms loud enough when it goes off. *And a quick note from people who say “what if my friend needs me?” or “what if there’s an emergency?’ I hear you, but if you’re already having trouble sleeping than it’s time to focus on YOU not on someone else. Sorry.
5. Remove all light and stay cool….similar concept to tip #4, but this also includes curtains or the blinds. Once your body is exposed to some form of light, it’s going to disrupt your calming hormones because it thinks it’s time to get up. Believe it or not, our body’s haven’t changed much in 10,000 years and we used to go to bed as the sun set and wake up when it rises. Also, trying to sleep when you’re hot or sweating is awful. Why would anyone want that? I like to be cool and a little cold, it just feels nice.
6. Read for pleasure…similar to watching something funny, it will help you calm down. Nothing over stimulating.
7. Stretch/meditate….I’ve put these together because they both work the same for me. They’re relaxing and calming. Nothing crazy, don’t over exert yourself. And with the meditating, try taking 10-20 deep breaths, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Stretch 30 minutes before you get into bed, and try the meditating before you attempt to fall asleep.
8. Exercise in the morning/afternoon…..I understand this is impossible for some, and that being said, too bad! Exercise=stimulation and stress (good stress), and your body needs plenty of time to recover from it. If you do it at 6 or 7 at night, and then try to go to bed by 10 or 11, you may not be giving your body enough time to calm down. *A quick note on folks who do aerobic exercise (spinning, treadmill, elliptical) I don’t want to tell you not to do something you enjoy, but be forewarned that aerobic exercise can be more trouble than it’s worth. I won’t get into it’s inefficiency for burning fat, but it raises your cortisol (stress hormone) and decreases your Testosterone. I suggest you read this article by Charles Poliquin and try lifting weights instead.
9. Eat the right foods….you should definitely eat a little something before bed, ideally 2-3 hours. Don’t make it something like beans or a plate full of broccoli, although those foods are great, they’re loaded with fiber and tough on the digestive system. Your detoxing organs (liver, kidneys) shouldn’t be working hard when trying to wind down. Your best choices are protein or slow burning carbs. I like sweet potatoes, quinoa, or gluten free oatmeal. Avoid refined/sugary processed foods, as they will just spike your insulin creating a terrible situation for your hormones, not to mention they make you fat and will kill you!
10. Floss, scrape, brush! You read that right, take care of your teeth! I learned this from my buddy Ryan at Enfuse Fitness. Believe it or not, poor dental hygiene leads to a host of bad health problems, but in terms of sleep, check this one out….there’s lots of bacteria in your mouth, some of it bad and some of it good. All of this bacteria gets sent straight to your gut which is where the large majority of your immune system is (hence probiotics for health). If you don’t tend to your teeth and mouth before bed, you’re creating a disturbance in your gut which can then alter your sleeping patterns. Remember, all your organs need to be in harmony in order to have restorative and regenerative sleep, and if your gut isn’t working properly it’s going to set many things off.
11. Take magnesium….another one from Charles Poliquin, magnesium is a mighty mineral that helps calm the central nervous system. I’ve mentioned the CNS enough times by now that you’ll start to realize how important it is for sleeping. I can’t live without magnesium, I bring it on the road, take it after workouts. Here’s the thing, you can’t just get it at CVS or a generic store. It MUST BE HIGH QUALITY or else the body can’t absorb it. Read that again, you’re wasting your time with a cheap form of it and it won’t work. I use this companies particular brand, Nutraceutical or even Charles Poliquin’s UberMag *Start with 500 mg 2 hours before bed with a light meal.
12. Ice cold showers before bed….yes, ice cold showers! I got this insane tip from Tim Ferriss in the 4 Hour Body. I’m not going to get into detail, but a long story short it helps with the pituitary glands stimulation of Melatonin. Notice I put this one last because it’s extreme, but it works wonders. When I get out of that ice cold water and jump into bed, all I want to do is sleep!
I hope this helps and if you’d like, share the article with your friends on Facebook
I’m not a naturally “easy-going” or “laid back” guy…quite the opposite. I love to create (duh, musician) and I’m constantly trying to achieve greatness in everything I do. However, this type of energy can definitely be crippling and stressful. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of tips, some simple and some complicated, in order to combat stress and stay happy. These are all things that work for ME, they may work for you or they may not. HERE WE GO!
1. Start the day off laughing…..The road to positivity is easy, just laugh! I like watching reruns of The Office, Psych, Arrested Development, etc. while I eat my breakfast. This ensures that I’m starting the day off with laughter and happiness, rather than something that could potentially bring me down. That means no email, no returning phone calls, or doing work until I’m done eating. Build a foundation of positivity to combat whatever might come your way as the day progresses.
2. Eat breakfast….I know lots of people think breakfast is over-rated or they just don’t have enough time. Well, guess again because it’s absolutely essential. And don’t start it off with something sugary or loaded with carbs, that’s just setting yourself up for a crash as the day progresses. Eggs, full fat yogurt, etc.
3. Lift weights…..I’m not going to get into the science of why lifting is great, but I’ll tell you what, it’s great for me. Goal setting, concentration, watching my body develop. It’s truly my own efforts coming to fruition day after day, and nothing is more rewarding.
4. Surround yourself with positive people….this is SO important I can’t stress it enough. Negativity is contagious and we all know that misery loves company, so that being said…remove it! Ben Jon, our producer and one of my mentors, is one of the most positive people I know. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood or truly upset. Even when I called to tell him his studio was broken into, he maintained such composure and positivity it just blew me away.
5. Work smarter, not harder…I think the American dream has convinced us that we need to work harder and tougher in order to get ahead 100% of the time. I definitely agree that working hard is important, but at what cost? I could easily sit in front of a notepad with my guitar for 6 hours every single day hoping that I’ll write the next “Born to Run” or I can spend an allotted amount of time to writing and then go on and live my life. The creativity and inspiration will happen naturally and on it’s own, don’t force it. That being said, I know a lot of people are 9-5 ers and have no choice, in that case, I suggest you read Tim Ferris’s the 4 Hour Work Week . It will change your life, TRUST ME…remember it’s quality not quantity, remember that.
6. Read…..I try to read a book a week. Whether it’s for pleasure or business related, I love to read. It allows me to take my mind off of things but I also get a lot of inspiration from the most random things.
7. Nap/Meditate….if you have the time to nap, do it! And don’t exceed 20-25 minutes, because you’ll start going into your REM cycle and mess your body up. TRUST ME. If you can’t nap, meditation is an awesome option. You don’t need to be at a waterfall surrounded by nature, it can be as simple as sitting at your desk and taking 15-20 deep breaths. Focus on clearing your mind with each breath and try to block out any distractions.
8. Get some sun…I love the sun. What else in this world supplies such euphoria by just “being there”…well many things, but the sun is the best! Even if you’re a 9-5′er you can always take your lunch break outside. Roll up those sleeves, and bask in that yellow glory for as long as you can.
9. Have your favorite CD in the car….this is simple but works for me! There’s a sense of excitement every time I start driving because I know I’m going to be listening to my favorite music.
10. MY DOGS….boy do I love my dogs. In fact, I just love dogs in general. A lot of my students have dogs, so I’m around them all the time! My dogs are the perfect “de-stressers” because they never judge or hold grudges, they just know how to love and be happy without anybody teaching them. There are a lot of things we can learn from these amazing creatures!
11. Eat healthy…”if you are what you eat and you don’t know what you’re eating…than you don’t know who you are.” That’s the damn truth. Stop eating processed foods, sugar, or trans-fats. Every time you put these substances into your body you’re not only making yourself fat and unhealthy, but you’re altering your chi. Am I getting too deep on you? Too bad! The wrong food can be toxic and completely disrupt the positive flow of your mind and soul. I prefer high quality meat, vegetables, nuts, etc…essentially try to eat as close to mother natures “buffet” as possible and you’ll notice a huge difference in every aspect of your life.
12. Help someone out….every day of your life you should try and do one little thing for someone. Something as simple as letting them go at a green light before you or holding the door open for someone else. Take it a step further and help out your friends in any way you can. My friend Ryan at Enfuse Fitness is always giving me advice, so I do everything I can to help his business grow. I believe in what he does and I want to see him succeed! Do these things and expect nothing in return but kudos for your soul.
13. Write a grateful log….I got this one from Charles Poliquin . It’s so easy; before you go to bed, have a notepad by your side and write down 5-10 things you’re grateful/happy about in your life. It could be broad topics or simple things like, “What a great rehearsal!” or “I wrote a new song!’ Doing this before bed, you’re ensuring that you fall asleep happy and appreciative for everything you have in your life. Just like waking up happy is important, so is going to bed happy.
14. Stop working 2-3 hours before bed….no emails, cell phones, work, etc. In order to get ready for bed you need to have proper sleep hygiene and part of that is allowing your mind to calm down. It’s going to have a hard time doing that when you’re stressing about work or finishing a deadline right before hand.
15. Get a great nights sleep….this is one of the most important things for my well being! Assuming we’re not on the road or playing a show, I try to be in bed nice and early, no if and’s or butt’s. My friends know that when I get ready for bed it’s MY TIME! I turn off my phone, no computer, I just watch some more reruns of my favorite shows to laugh, and start winding down.
16. Glass half full, not empty….there is ALWAYS something positive in any negative situation. Sometimes it’s hard to find the light, but it’s always there, we just don’t know how to look. Check back to tip #4 and learn from positive people. Sometimes it’s as simple as smiling more, or laughing more!
I hope this helps! Please comment on our Facebook Page
We’ll be playing at UMASS this saturday from 1:30-3:30 for a special outdoor concert. It’s free, and it’s supposed to be gorgeous out. So bring a blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy the day! Check out the Facebook event HERE
We’re heading into SoneLab studios May 15th to work with esteemed Dinosaur Jr. engineer Justin Pizzoferrato and Western Ma’s own Ben Jon for this new album.
This album will hopefully produce the “Sonic Image” that I’ve been going for. It’s always tough as an artist to explain to people “what we sound like” because the reality is; we sound like us When I tell people that my favorite bands are The Allman Brothers and Guns N’ Roses…they look at me like I’m crazy, as if those two entities couldn’t possibly join forces and have similar sounds. Why not? That’s rock n’ roll. And more importantly, that’s who I am and I’m searching for a sound that can combine elements of everything that I love. This album will be our attempt at producing a clear-cut sound that defines us as a band and in this over-saturated world of over-produced music, the raw and organic sounds will truly shine.
Stay tuned for updates!
“And if you leave me pretty baby, don’t you know you’re gonna hurt me so….”
Gregg Allman’s bluesy finish then led into the most mesmerizing and extraordinary sounds I had ever heard in my 10 years of existence on planet earth…Duane Allman’s roaring guitar solo on “You Don’t Love Me” off of “Live At The Fillmore East”.
I had been playing guitar for about 2 years, I wasn’t anything special. However, on this particular night in my parent’s basement, my dad (a long time Allmans fan) showed me how to use his record player and suggested I listen to The Fillmore album. After he went upstairs and I figured out what to do with the needle, “Statesboro Blues” crackled through the speakers and Duane’s slide was like the combination of a tiger roaring and an eagle screaming, ridiculous right? I had never heard anything like that in my entire life. The whole electricity and grittiness of their blues style playing struck such a deep chord in my suburban soul I was instantly hooked. Proceeding through “Must Have Done Somebody Wrong” and “Stormy Monday” I just sat and listened. That is until track 4 came up….
When I heard Duane’s solo, it was like everything made sense to me. I wanted to play guitar for the rest of my life and nothing could stop me. But when I heard Dickey chime in with his melodic and time taking clean sound, something deeper awoke within me. I finally began to understand what it meant to have a “musical relationship” with another person. It was if the two of them were characters in a novel or movie, and I was along for the ride to experience their journey. Duane was fire and Dickey was earth.
It was also at this moment that I first learned to figure something out entirely by ear. The riff of “You Don’t Love Me” and began learning both of their solos. It was at this point that the guitar just made sense to me. That moment, then and there, I never struggled with understanding the fretboard and how things worked. I was meant to play the guitar, and Duane and Dickey guided me.
That album brought me into another world and led me into my first musical obsession, The Allman Brothers Band. I studied their music more than anything in my life. I printed pictures of them, hung em on my wall, you name it. I would just google images of Duane and Dickey and stare at them. Kind of creepy right? Maybe, but their personas that they emitted through those classic images had an ever lasting effect on me. Duane seemed outgoing and fiery, but Dickey seemed reserved and methodical. Just like their playing, it all made sense.
I’m going to rant more about the two of them and their tones, but I thought it would be cool to give fans an insight into what had such a profound effect on my life. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts.
People keep asking if it’s weird to be back?
This is what I have to say….when you’re on the road, your #1 job is to put on a killer show for new crowds night after night, and every decision you make revolves around the show. From how long you spend at a rest stop, to what you’re going to get to eat at the sketchy diner in the middle of nowhere. All of these factors eventually lead up to the moment your plugging your guitar in and counting the first song off. Once you get rollin, nothing else matters but the moment.
It’s not that I’m not dedicated all the time to the music, but there is a special drive that I felt day after day, and I really miss it.