Posts Tagged ‘baseball’


Welcome Holmes

February 15, 2011

I just read today in the news of a new iPhone app (which received a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI) that allows users to practice the sacrament of confession from the palm of their hand. 21st century technology allows for more and more devices to connect to the internet, which is enabling consumers to indulge nearly every vice (laziness, jealousy, anger, sex, narcissism, selfishness…) and, apparently, make it all right again with the push of a button.

I am really not implying a cynical stance towards the internet at all (nor am I very religious); I am just fascinated with our obsession on choosing to live in a simulated world where both our virtues and our vices can have a cagematch on the digital battlefield of our mind writ large. How could I be cynical? I am as wrapped up in it as anybody:

My name is Philip Roach, and it has been 4 months since my last blog entry.

All blasphemy aside, it has been a long time since anything has been posted here, and I firmly intend, with your help, to post something every week, to stray no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to not write.

We finished our touring and got back home in Yorkville, IL in the beginning of November. 60,000+ miles, 150 shows, 29 states, from the end of February through the end of October. We still had a few shows in Chicago and Michigan before the year was through, but for all intents and purposes, we were homebound.

As a baseball fan, I have heard athletes say that no matter when their season ends (regular season or late in the playoffs), the aches and pains of a 162+ game season will only begin to manifest themselves in the week after their final game. Once the adrenaline wears off, you realize that what you were able to accomplish on its behalf was silently accruing a balance that rest of your body was patiently waiting to collect.

I was tired. Exhausted. Drained. I would wake up more fatigued than when I went to bed the night before, and wonder out loud, “Why do my hips hurt?” “I remember how I got this scar, but when did I get THIS one?” Add in autumn’s defeat to winter for a little seasonal affective disorder to boot, and I was beginning to worry that I might be settling into something bad.

The real danger from that situation was my mind’s eventual prodding to have me ‘take it easy,’ shift down to a lower gear, and just be complacent for a little while. Luckily, I’m not the one in our band that rallies the guys together to get shit done. That would be E. Fink.

We weren’t home for very long before E. started scheming a plan to renovate our attic studio, where we recorded The Joke, The Threat, and The Obvious. It was a nice space, and it definitely contributed to the sound and the success of the album. But as we were preparing to record our new album, we agreed that we needed to have more acoustical separation between the instruments. And as we always record live, this translated to the necessity of the construction of more recording booths.

E. enlisted the help of Scott, and the two quickly got to work. In the span of two days, and with the help of friend Niall, they designed and framed the walls of the new configuration of the studio. The weeks that followed saw the construction of double walls, insulation, new lighting, patch bays, flooring, a resonating sub floor for the drum room, multiple windows that allow for eye-contact while recording, and an overhaul of the wiring of all the studios (a total of 10 separate rooms and booths are wired and ready for recording).

Scott and E. had put together a string of 12-18 hour workdays for weeks by the time it was all finished. While they had help from us when they needed it, they conceived and executed all of it (save for the painting, of which I truly kick ass) themselves. It was really amazing to watch them. After all, they’re not contractors, but they pushed themselves to learn the skills required to get it all done, all so we can do what we love to a greater degree.

Scott and E., from left to right

Other projects that we have completed since November are the renovation of our control room/mastering suite, installation of another full bathroom (previously, 8 people shared 2 showers), construction of my bedroom, and renovation of our rehearsal studio. We also finished producing, arranging, recording and performing as a backing band on albums for 2 different clients, in addition to the continual rehearsing, writing, and arranging of our own material.

The lesson I learned from my transition back to home life is one that I unfortunately seem to love forgetting: Not only is happiness a choice, it requires work. Sometimes, literally.

I am definitely the kind of person that when left to my own devices, will somehow eventually consume myself with stagnation, and ultimately, with negativity. But I think a lot of us in the band are that way, and that’s maybe why we get along so well. If someone is slipping down that slope, another guy is right there to nip it in the bud and give him a hand up.

And that hand isn’t always offered as an encouraging hug or a nice little pat on the back. It usually comes as a push to snap out of it and get something done. Because there’s joy in work, and once you realize that, you realize there is really very little that stands in your way of being happy. And besides the obvious big ones, some of the most dangerous sins are, at least for me, those rooted in complacency.



B&W Photos by: Brittany Clemens

For more of her (awesome) work, please visit:

Color Photo by: Patrick Burke

For more pictures of life with The Giving Tree Band, visit our new multimedia blog page at: