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Memories of a childhood dream

Mostly self taught, I did take a few guitar lessons at Lombardy Music store around the 4th grade I seem to recall.¬† My teacher was Donny Leitzke who happened to be a next door neighbor in Milan, Ohio. Man, the guy could play.¬† I watched the Monkey’s on TV, then later Don Kirshner Rock Concerts and Midnight Specials. (I also vaguely recall the Beatles on Ed Sullivan but was a little young to have had any profound impact.) Those were magical times.

Basement band started with friend Les who played drums. No PA, I had a guitar/ amp. We needed a bass player. No one old enough to drive. We would play Jumping Jack Flash for hours. Moms would drive us and our gear to Les’ basement in winter or our barn in summer. I recall plugging in a cheap pair of radio shack headphones to the output of a 200 watt Kustom guitar amp so I could better hear over Les’ drums. It worked nice for about a 45 seconds after which a hole literally melted through the hard plastic case, it then smelled funny, gave off a little smoke, and quit. (go figure)

First “PA” was a Radio Shack hi impedance microphone into a 2-channel paging amplifier connected to a bell speaker that we salvaged out of an old trailer park. It didn’t work that well and we really didn’t sing very well, but it was something instead of nothing.

We taught ourselves to build a “light show”. (every cool band had to have a light-show). Built our own lights, flash pots, strobes etc. We also tried to build dry ice “machines”. At one point we had one of those red police flashers that we wired up to a switchable duplex outlet connected to a 12v battery charger mounted inside this wooden desk. It worked pretty great until one day one of our “roadies” plugged it into one of the regular 120Vac outlets and flipped the switch. It spun faster than heck – for about 8 seconds, put off a little smoke, smelled funny then quit. (go figure)

Flash Powder, Salamander kerosene space heaters, and one extension cord between the garage and the barn to power the whole show.

Around our senior year, we booked our own concert at the local National Guard Armory. We teamed up with another local band so we could increase attendance and cover the room rental and required security cop costs. We even had high-school friends help promote and sell tickets that we had printed. Many tickets got “lost” and not nearly enough cash came in. (go figure)

Great memories. We learned a lot. We lived, we laughed, we didn’t die from electrocution or burn the barn down. Gradually got better at playing music, general management, and basic accounting. All together I’d say it was a win. ūüôā


Tech in church – serving behind the scenes? It matters …a lot

It wasn’t quite what we expected.¬† The first event mixing on a newly installed sound system was for a small funeral. Not complicated or particularly glamorous. Pretty simple really with 1 mic, 1 song track, and a single light setting. The reality was that somebody knowledgeable and capable had to sacrifice a few hours on a Saturday morning to serve.¬† I was one of a handful that had the privilege¬†of helping a good friend and serve his hurting family.

Few in this room will ever have a clue about the past two years of sound system planning, meetings, the complex installation that began 5 days prior, or the late hours our team spent getting things dialed the night before – so we could be ready for today.¬† They don’t know what we do behind the scenes nor should they have to. But for this group of people, carrying much sadness and grief, some who might be feeling far from God or maybe haven’t stepped into a church for a long long time, in this moment – this stuff mattered …a lot.¬†¬†

If you serve your local church in the area of Technical Arts, please understand, what you and I get to do behind the scenes each week at our campuses matters …a lot. The time and energy you invest learning your craft and caring for one another on your team during the week matters …a lot. The effort you make to be on-site a few minutes ahead of the band ensuring that systems are fully on and working properly, on time matters …a lot. (It’s how we serve our team and create a low anxiety environment for our worship leaders.)

So thank you all:¬†Thank you for serving in your church. Thank you and thanks to your families who get to see you devote maybe even one weekend a month to caring for and serving others. Thanks for re-arranging your work and personal time, for juggling vacations and recreation, for prioritizing your kid’s activities to make room for God to work in your life and in the lives of others. Thank you for taking part in creating transformational moments each week that minister to hurting people. Thanks for serving our pastors and musicians each week so God’s word can be clearly understood. Regardless if you serve a small group or single event of 6 – 60, or multiple complex¬† services with full rooms of 250, 350, 600, or 1000+, there will be stories of eternal life-change you will likely never hear about this side of heaven.

Your church – the people who serve in it and the people who attend it each week depend on you.

Please know that whether you are a veteran technician, or are just starting this amazing journey, your investment of time and effort providing audio, video, camera, and lighting operations is deeply appreciated and you are dearly loved. Blessings, and serve well this week!

Climbing the rock charts

Wow, I discovered that I’m ranked #2 in the Huron, Ohio Rock scene according to¬† (Actually it drifts between #2 and #14). Even though I have no album, sell no music online, and have not performed in about 25 years, It’s fun to know I a still somehow fit in the music business ūüėȬ† Stop by and check out a few of my experimental tracks.

Reverbnation – GLYonek The Bunkhouse

And check out the Facebook and Instagram page for my basement recording studio The Bunkhouse and become a fan.¬† (Maybe someday I’ll open up a merchandise site and sell t-shirts. LOL)

Facebook – Bunkhouse Audio

Instagram – Bunkhouse Audio

Part 1: Is The Medium The Message?

In 2007¬†I attend a conference in San¬†Diego¬†and became totally¬†fascinated with one of the sessions on media and technology. Given today’s¬†sociological and cultural climate, I began to think how some of these thoughts and ideas¬†might explain recent events and¬†behaviors. ¬†At the time, I thought I was going to maybe learn about the newest and greatest projector and TV technologies.¬† Instead, I participated in a remarkable¬†dialog on how we perceive information,¬†how communications has changed over course of history, and how introducing new technologies often produce unanticipated results that reach far beyond the¬†impact of the literal content.

I recall the presenter’s name was Shane Hipps, who wrote a fascinating book called The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture.¬†Before becoming a pastor, Hipps¬†was an executive for Porsche in the area of marketing and advertising.¬†And although the¬†discussion was directed primarily at church leaders, the ideas were a profound basis for how events and human behaviors can unexpectedly change each time a new technology or medium is introduced.¬† Much of the foundation principles and illustrations¬†were taken from the writings of¬†Marshall McLuhan, particularly from his 1964 book titled¬†Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

I remember there where several topics that were particularly¬†eye-opening and that literally changed the way I view and assess my surroundings ever since.¬† Over the course of the next several posts, I’ll try to briefly explore each one and consider if they have any relevance whatsoever to today’s current events.¬† If you have an interest or background in communications, particularly electronic media, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. These will¬†include:

  • Definition of Media (the plural of medium) – may not be what you think.
  • Oral and written cultures.
  • How a medium progresses/expands, saturates and¬†implodes.
  • What happens when a new communication technology is introduced.
  • How we perceive and experience printed information vs. video information vs. other forms of technology.
  • The introduction of the printing press technology to the world.
  • Oral/tribal, Literate/private and the evolution of the “global village”


Well That’s That

“Well That’s That” is a slightly satirical look at ourselves and what’s next. It’s about living and what we’re going to make of it. Ultimately, it’s about in who and what you personally place your hope and trust. The song is not in any way a political statement for or against one candidate or another, one party or another, or one issue or another. Not even close. Regardless of if and how we may have voted, regardless of who lives in the white house, we each have an individual¬†¬†opportunity to make a difference every day. Long after we cast a vote, we put on our shoes each day and walk out into an uncertain life deciding how and if we will love better, build better relationships, care more for our spouses and our families, our neighbors, others in need, and those different than ourselves. We choose if we live in fear of things we don’t understand, or simply can’t control – each day we decide if our words will¬†lift others up or tear others down. Now we get to pick up and move on just as we did yesterday, or a year ago, or 10 years ago, and deal with all the things being human throws our way. It’s a brand new day.


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