No Schedule Man Podcast, Episode 2: Mike Mulligan

In this episode, I chat with Mike Mulligan, founder of Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in London, Ontario, Canada. Mike recalls the incident that left him a C4 quadriplegic at just 16 years of age, and the incredible journey in the time since as he strives to achieve his goal of walking by age 40.

With Mike at the first year anniversary of Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

With Mike at the first year anniversary of Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

This conversation is a bit of a roller coaster, as Mike takes you through the ups and downs of a harrowing accident, adjusting to a completely new way of life and challenging himself to move toward his goals despite the challenges. He also vividly describes the highs of meeting certain milestones and personal goals and offers some valuable perspective for anyone looking to make improvements with their life and to pursue their dreams.

This podcast is available on our YouTube channel, and it can also be accessed and downloaded on our SoundCloud page.

Enjoy.

You Can’t Be Brave Enough To Fly …

One of my all-time favourite lyric lines, from a song called “Flight 19.” You can’t be one and not the other.

09-21-15 - Brave enough to fly

The Push & Pull, the Light & Dark …

Can’t have one without the other. Nor would you want to, really.

08-15-15 - Push and pull

No Schedule Man Podcast, Episode 1: Derek “Rock” Botten

The time since I first jotted the note “start a podcast” somewhere on a scrap of paper can probably now be measured in years. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. A long while. And now I’ve finally got one to share.

In this first episode, I talk with my very good friend, Derek “Rock” Botten, a deeply respected radio broadcasting legend in this part of Ontario, Canada, and my former announcing partner at a stock car racing track called Delaware Speedway. In the late 90’s, Derek and I began as an announcing tandem for the local stock car races, a role we enjoyed together for over half a decade. We have been best of pals ever since.

Me and Derek in the first podcast guest selfie, taken in the “studio” (my kitchen).

In this podcast, some memories of those times are discussed, including some that proved to be, quite literally, life and death.

This podcast is available on our YouTube channel, and it can also be accessed on our SoundCloud page.

Enjoy.

Follow the Light, However Faint …

As optimistic as any of us are or wish to be, life will inevitably take dark turns at times. Those are the opportunities when you’re truly faced with a choice of what you want to believe deep in your soul.

Light just one candle in a dark room and more of it will be revealed. But if you choose to focus on the darkness, chances are it will seem deeper and that you’ll feel you’re getting more of it. Even in brutally tough times, you always have the choice.

This lyric is from a song called “Over and Over.”

08-15-15 - Follow the Light

For more of these lyric slides more often, please visit me on Twitter or Facebook.

Kicking The Bucket List: Making My Rock and Roll Dream Real (Part 7 of 7)

Part 7:  Testing the Law of Attraction

Having now gone to the trouble to say all this … why should you care? Maybe you don’t and never will. That’s okay with me. But if you’ve ever dreamed of doing something but kept yourself from trying because you just couldn’t figure out how to do it, keep an eye on this space and see what happens. I’ll be your guinea pig for testing the Law of Attraction and the passion of intention.

I’m not looking to just scrap together some kind of independent-sounding recording of my songs (which is kind of how I feel about some of the acoustic stuff I’ve released already). I want to do this right. When I put Mutineer on my car stereo at max volume in a couple of years, I want it to sound huge. When we do the concert, for at least one night, I intend for it to look and feel like a full-blown rock show. The band will be tight, talented and well-rehearsed. There will be lights and a video screen, and many of my friends who only know me from strumming my acoustic guitar will see this and go, “Holy cow. I had no idea he had this in him.”

I just need enough people there that night to make a party out of it. But we’ll get to that.

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In the meantime, what I’ll be sharing will be somewhat humble and basic. I’m thinking I’ll post some video of me working on the songs, maybe showcasing the main riffs or putting some demos together. Those will, indeed, look and sound homegrown, because they will be. But I’ve got to start somewhere. I’m okay with that, because I know what the end goal will be, and it’ll be something I’ll be proud to have my name on and carry with me for the rest of my days.

For now, here’s how you can help if you like:

  1. Send me some positive energy (and thanks to the many who have already done so)! If you’ve ever had a dream you weren’t sure how to achieve, root for me. I’ll go first. I’m jumping. Transfer to me some good vibes and hope I figure out how to open the chute on the way down.

    Click this image and it'll take you to the Facebook page

    Click this image and it’ll take you to the Facebook page

  1. Follow and contribute on the Mutineer Facebook page, or follow the website. Subscribe to the Mutineer YouTube channel, or join the Mutiny on Twitter. Share, comment, contribute. Do you know someone who might be interested? Let them know what’s going on here. Please. If you like what you’re seeing and hearing, say so. And if you don’t, say so! It’ll all go to increase the reach.

    Early stages on YouTube! If that's your thing, click this image to get there now, and consider subscribing. As you can see, there's lots of room for you!

    Early stages on YouTube! If that’s your thing, click this image to get there now.

  1. Keep a weather eye for the Mutineer online store. And once it’s up and running, clothe your entire family in Mutineer gear. Either that, or maybe just share the link once it’s available, or send me feedback on ideas you think might go to help the cause.

    This image will take you to the Twitter site. Different posts go on different social media platforms. Choose one and run with it!

    This image will take you to the Twitter feed.

  1. If you’re in or around London, Ontario, set aside the evening of April 29, 2017. I’m going to need some people there to make it a show. I would love to have you there to celebrate.

Finally, I just want to share this for the record: I feel scared. The practical part of my mind keeps saying that this feels very narcissistic and even unnecessary. I feel awkward. Though my gut has been driving me to this for years, I still feel apprehensive about getting started. I feel like I’m being a bother to you. It seems self-serving. I’m worried I’ll fail, or run into so many roadblocks that I’ll be frustrated and will want to give up. I don’t want it to consume me, as I have a lot of other things I want to be doing at the same time. And yet, I keep coming back to the thought: if I get to the end of my life and look back and see that I hadn’t ever tried this, I will regret it. I know I will.

And so, apprehension and all, off we go, hoping we have it figured out by April 29, 2017.

Mutineer Map

The course is charted. The destination is set.

Let’s sail up to ‘Complacency’ and cannonball its port.

Note: This is the seventh (and final) entry in a series of articles. Previous entries can been accessed quickly with these links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Kicking The Bucket List: Making My Rock and Roll Dream Real (Part 6 of 7)

This is the sixth in a series of articles. Previous entries can been accessed quickly with these links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Part 6: Challenges and Potential Solutions

For the purpose of a quick review, here are just some of the challenges I see between me and the completion of this project:

– I don’t have the money
– I don’t have the time
– I don’t have the talent as a guitarist
– I don’t have the ability as a singer
– I don’t have the right gear, or know anything about what the right gear even is
– I have an electric guitar I bought for $150 at pawn shop
– I don’t have a band
– I don’t have anywhere for a band to rehearse
– I’m not in good enough shape, physically, to perform the way I want for a couple of hours
– I’m not in good enough shape, vocally, to record or perform the way I want for a couple of hours
– I don’t know how to properly record rock music, or where to do it
– I’m a single dad with a busy career whose top priority is his kids. My time with them is off-limits to much else. What sense does it make to take this on?

Just how in the world am I supposed to overcome these challenges?

I’ve been thinking about that.

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I’ve already begun to play my guitars more and more. And I’ve committed myself to creating a “Song Blog” on my KevinBulmer.com page to force myself to play and sing on a somewhat regular basis. It’s likely that some (most) of those Song Blogs, at some point in 2016, will be demos of Mutineer tracks. That process alone should start to build some singing and playing chops back up, along with nurturing and feeding a consistent rhythm of creativity.

I figure I can always take some guitar and/or vocal lessons this year to sharpen up. Plus, I work in sales & marketing during the day. I’m on the road a lot. Nothing’s stopping me from singing along with the songs in the car or doing vocal drills to build up endurance and skill while I’m in between appointments.

You don’t find the time – you make the time.

As for my level of guitar or vocal proficiency (or lack thereof), I’m finally at peace with the idea of sounding like … well … me. After all, I’m the only “me” there is. I want to be the best representation of myself that I can, but I’m simply not going to have the level of skill that someone who does it for a living will have. I earn my living in other ways. I have two great kids who are my top priority. I am only willing devote so much time to becoming better at playing guitar or singing. But I’ll do my best and that’ll be that. For areas where I really need people with a high level of skill, I’ll find help. My ace in the hole is that there are lots of people who sing and play, but I’m the only one who has my songs. And I’ll go to bat with them any day.

It's not easy being green. Err ... flexible and fit. But it's worth the effort!

It’s not easy being green. Err … flexible and fit. But it’s worth the effort!

I’ve begun to change my gym routine to include more cardio and a lot more stretching. I’ve also begun to learn some beginning yoga poses and intend to take some classes through 2016 to gain more endurance, core and leg strength and flexibility. And if you don’t think I’ll need it, you have no idea what I’m intending to do. I don’t plan on just standing there. You’ll see.

Money, I can make. I could start a Mutineer online store and sell merchandise. Perhaps I’ll start a Pledge Music campaign once I get closer to it. Maybe I can secure some sponsorship. Perhaps there are grants available in Canada for this kind of thing. But the money is the part I’m actually concerned about the least. That part will figure itself out.

As for gear, recording and rehearsal space, I don’t have to know about all that. I just need to find people I can trust that do have that knowledge. I know what I do have: the songs. I can learn from others about everything else.

But what about the other players? Well, I already have a certain guitarist in mind, and have been thinking of trying to work with him for many years. In all of my visions of this project, he is the guy who is the other anchor of it all. He doesn’t know this, and would have absolutely no idea I’ve been thinking of him at all. And after I reach out to him, it may end up that he either isn’t interested or isn’t the right fit. But I want that to be part of this process of discovery. Ever since I first saw this guy play and met him 8 or 9 years ago, I figured we’d someday work on something together. When I see the moving picture in my mind of this band on stage, he’s the guitar player, the anchor, the cleanup hitter. We’ll find out if I’m right or not. I have not reached out to him yet, but will do that soon.

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Who will be standing on stage with me when the time comes? I don’t know. Yet.

Why be so picky? Well, I need, or at least I think I need, somebody with a certain set of skills that likes a lot of the same music that I do that can pull off the level of playing that I’m envisioning. I want to play guitar on some of the songs, but not all of them. I even have a few specific songs in mind that I know I want to include in the concert, and I know he could not only handle them, but would likely enjoy playing them, because I know he loves a certain band as much as I do.

I have no vision yet of who plays bass or drums, although I do envision some guest vocalists to appear on certain songs and in the concert. I figure that if I can somehow convince the guitar player I’ve mentioned to jump on board with me, the rest will sort itself out. And if it’s not him, someone else will find their way to me somehow. Navigating through that will all be part of the process.

Having said all of this, what could possibly be in it for you to take any time and trouble to follow along? I’ve thought about that, too, and will share those feelings in the final entry of this series in Part 7, tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Meantime, please join Mutineer on: Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

Kicking The Bucket List: Making My Rock and Roll Dream Real (Part 5 of 7)

This is the fifth in a series of articles. Previous entries can been accessed quickly with these links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Part 5: Setting the Intention and Moving Forward

I love Bob Proctor. Following his advice has made a massive positive difference in my life this past year+. This quick and simple (but direct) video message, which I saw in the fall, really hit home:

In case you didn’t feel like watching the video (or couldn’t, for some reason), here’s what he says: “How often do you find yourself sitting around with a loved one, and thinking of all the wonderful things you’d like to do? Maybe the trips you’d like to take? You say, ‘We’ll have to do that some day.’ Do you know, I’ve been looking at calendars for 80 years. I know there are 7 days. But not one of them is ‘someday.’ When are you gonna do it? Make a decision. Life’s short. Do it now.”

I know he’s right. And yet I keep hesitating anyway. This project is but one example.

I am determined to change that habit.

This past October, I was in the middle of a 4-hour drive up to my Mom’s family cottage on Georgian Bay, Ontario, part of my annual trip to help her close up for the winter. Along the way, I was listening to demos I’ve made of the Mutineer songs and found myself dreaming and wondering, pretty much as I do on that trip each year (I dream but don’t really do anything about once I’m back home). This time, I thought, “I wonder how I could ever get someone to come out to see something like this?” And I considered how most people only go to music shows if they, you know, actually know and like the music. I don’t even have music to share yet.

Nothing like a road trip to clear your head. I took this photo on the weekend I've just described, at Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. This was October 18, 2015.

Nothing like a road trip to clear your head. I took this photo on the weekend I’ve just described, at Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. This was October 18, 2015.

Then I thought, “Well, what are the kinds of things that people set aside time and eventually come out for?” The answer I got to that question was: Celebrations. Weddings, anniversaries, retirements, going-away parties, office gatherings, company picnics and the like – people tend to plan for and attend those kinds of things.

Next, I chuckled to myself as I thought, “Y’know, it would sure be a fun birthday party to celebrate by putting on a concert that knocked one of the biggest items off my bucket list. That could be a helluva party. I wonder if anyone would come out for that?”

I let that notion rattle around in my head for a bit. Then I asked myself, “I wonder what day of the week April 29th (my birthday) is, a couple years from now? Because next spring is too soon. But the following spring might be just the right amount of time to set as a target date to get me going.”

When I pulled off the highway at the next rest stop, I checked the calendar on my phone to see on what day of the week April 29, 2017 landed.

It’s a Saturday.

Huh.

Since that drive, I have done everything but announce my plan publicly. But I’ve done that now.

Here’s the intention: I will have recorded and be set to release the Mutineer CD with a concert on Saturday, April 29, 2017. There will be video cameras at this event to capture it for all time and it will be at Aeolian Hall in London, Ontario, or someplace like it. Maybe we can even stream it online for those who have shown interest between now and then.

I envision a large video screen at the back of the stage, the drums up on risers and several of my friends from the music world coming up at different times to be a part of the occasion, with all of it being very well rehearsed and professional. I already know what the first three songs of the night will be, and the first and third won’t even be my own songs, but they’ll be where they are for a reason. The first Mutineer song of the the night will be the second one played, a track called “Take This To Your Leader.”  I can see this event happening, like a movie in my mind, stuck on ‘Repeat.’

Just how exactly is all this supposed to happen? Good question.

Just how exactly is all this supposed to happen?
Good question.

So how, exactly, will I manage to make all this happen by then, given all the challenges I listed yesterday, in Part 4?

I don’t really know. But you’re invited.

I’ll share what I think are some ways to overcome the obstacles between now and April 29, 2017, in Part 6, tomorrow.

Meantime, I’ll take all the encouragement I can get. Please consider joining Mutineer on: Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

Kicking The Bucket List: Making My Rock and Roll Dream Real (Part 4 of 7)

This is the fourth in a series of articles. Click these links to read the previous entries:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Part 4 – Challenges Everywhere. And Meet the First Mate

So, if I’ve had the Mutineer name, concept, logo and songs in hand for almost a decade, why haven’t I moved forward with it before now?

Here are just some of the excuses I’ve made for myself:

– I don’t have the money
– I don’t have the time
– I don’t have the talent as a guitarist
– I don’t have the ability as a singer
– I don’t have the right gear, or know anything about what the right gear even is
– I have an electric guitar I bought for $150 at pawn shop
– I don’t have a band
– I don’t have anywhere for a band to rehearse
– I’m not in good enough shape, physically, to perform the way I want for a couple of hours
– I’m not in good enough shape, vocally, to record or perform the way I want for a couple of hours
– I don’t know how to properly record rock music, or where to do it
– I’m a single dad with a busy career whose top priority is his kids. My time with them is off-limits to much else. What sense does it make to take this on?

Plus … who would possibly care about the songs or come to see it?

Those reasons have always been enough to stop me from starting. And in fairness, I don’t think it was really time for me to move ahead until now. And yet those obstacles are very real and must be overcome if I’m going to bring this project to life.

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But here’s why I’m going to try and overcome all of that and do it anyway:

– I want it to exist
– I believe in the concept and feel it’s a worthwhile thing in which to invest some of my time and spirit
– I believe in myself to figure it out and I want to see if I can do it. I’m curious to see what happens!
– I don’t want to look back on my life one day and wish I’d had the courage to try it. I’ve got other things I want to do in my late 40’s so I may as well try this now.
– I want to know how it feels to be able to buy the Mutineer album on iTunes, and to stand on that stage and perform those songs well, even if it’s just one time
– I want my kids to see me go through process and see what kind of time and commitment it really takes

A year ago, I forced myself to take a step toward making Mutineer into something that existed more than what is just in my head. So I created a (fairly humble) website, as well as a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. My thinking was that I’d be able to invite people in on the journey and share what I already have as I go. And I’ve been amazed at how some people on Twitter have been responding to nothing but a few lines of lyrics, asking me where they can hear the songs.

My plan has been to make quick little videos of some of the guitar riffs to start giving people a feel for the songs, and to continue sharing lyric lines. I also thought I’d do some articles referencing some of the other artists that have influenced me, encouraging others to share their thoughts. In doing that, I’m hoping I’ll get turned on to some other artists I’ve not yet heard of that I might really enjoy. I figure I’ll be able to eventually start sharing demo versions of the songs online. I’ll need to get those done in order to “recruit” other people and players into the project. So I may as well share them. Either way, it’s up to me to generate content worth publishing.

As for getting the content out there, about a month ago, my oldest son, Eddie (who is 12) asked me if he could help by assisting me with the social media side of things. Eddie believes strongly in Mutineer and he wants to see it come to life (he’s the only one in the world so far who has a Mutineer T-shirt, which I made him for Christmas last year).

First Mate Eddie models the first-ever Mutineer t-shirt on Christmas Day 2014. Even I don't have a Mutineer shirt yet!

First Mate Eddie models the first-ever Mutineer t-shirt on Christmas Day 2014. Even I don’t have a Mutineer shirt yet!

 

2014-12-25 10.21.49

“Fear is firm but love is stronger.” It’s a lyric I’d like my kids to believe.

As a parent, I’d like for him to see the amount of work it takes to set a goal and then go about making a plan and then doing the work to bring it to life. I also want him to see that it’s okay to not have all the answers, or to not be the best at something. Just get started, and see where it takes you. Be flexible but keep your ultimate destination in mind. I think he’ll learn a lot. (On a sidenote, Eddie writes his own rap battles, records and edits his own videos and has a YouTube channel with over 430 subscribers. His level of skill for his age is astonishing. He inspires me just as much as the other way around. Perhaps more so.)

A couple of tough guys ...

A couple of tough guys …

Having my son involved makes it even more special. If I’m Mutineer’s Captain, Eddie is definitely the First Mate.

As for how I finally came to a point of setting the intention and making the commitment to move forward, despite all these obvious challenges, I’ll cover that in Part 5, tomorrow.

Meantime, please join Mutineer on: Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

Kicking The Bucket List: Making My Rock and Roll Dream Real (Part 3 of 7)

This is the third in a series of articles. Click these links to read the previous entries:

Part One
Part Two

Part Three: What is Mutineer?

In fact, I established a rock band name and concept almost a decade ago, and even had a logo made for it. The band/project name is “Mutineer,” a brand concept that has very little to do with sailors taking a ship away from its captain but everything to do with recognizing that this current culture of celebrity, entitlement, comparison and consumption is something that I feel needs to change. It comes out clearly in the song lyrics: that the way we are here in North America is largely not okay with me, and that the “mutiny” is about accepting yourself for who you are, being accountable to the person in the mirror and being brave enough to treat others with empathy and compassion and to not just blindly follow the herd.

Mutineer is not about pointing fingers. Mutineer is about looking in the mirror, being accountable, and being strong enough to say, “You can point fingers all you like and tell me who and what you think I’m supposed to be. But I’m not falling for it. I’m brave enough to love myself no matter what I have or don’t have, and courageous enough to wish you well, regardless of what you may think of me.”

Mutineer-black

I did not set out to write songs to fit this theme. Rather, looking back on the content and tone of the lyrics I’ve written over the last 10-to-15 years, the consistent message clearly showed itself to me.

Rather than a call to confrontation, Mutineer is a removal of resistance and rally for accountability and self-acceptance. Instead of bearing arms, a Mutineer, in this case, is simply saying to this society of celebrity worship (and consequent abandonment), instant gratification, entitlement, blame, criticism and self-judgement, “No. There’s no more of this for me. I don’t believe these lies any more. Being like someone else does not make me worthy. Being me makes me worthy. I am responsible for everything that happens to me, and I accept that, and am setting sail to a life well-lived and will take what comes and know that I can handle it.”

12-16-15 - We're still holdin' on

In a way, Mutineer is about all the things it took me 40 years to learn about myself, even though I’d written about it in my 20’s and 30’s. Rather than “taking over the ship,” we’re simply stating, “You know what? We don’t like where this one’s been going. We’re getting on a new one, and going in a different direction. Meantime … good luck to you.”

I feel I can say things as Mutineer than I wouldn’t necessarily say with my acoustic voice, as Kevin Bulmer. Here’s an example of lyrics that are, essentially, about accountability:

“Don’t drag your heels and tell me you’re runnin’
Don’t run me around and say I’m a square
Don’t serve me dirt and say it’s delicious
Just do better.”

That’s from a fun little song called “Do Better,” a Jimmy Buffett-sounding track on my “No Schedule Man” CD. It’s kind of light and breezy and a bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s meant to try and get a bit of a point across without rubbing anyone too raw.

Now, here’s a similar thought, but from the Mutineer voice, from a song called “High Road:”

“Though it’s been swell, I might as well tell you
That it’s time for me to go
I don’t want to stand here watching
While your noose runs out of rope
I wish you hadn’t tied that knot yourself
I coulda’ told you so
For what it’s worth, I’ll say a prayer for you
From up here on the high road”

That’s a little edgier, I’d say. And it feels really, really good to sing and play that song, and others like it.

Here’s another passage, from the same song:

Mutineer - Ignorance Thrives

In my opinion, if you look around at the world these days, sadly, you’ll see a lot of folks lazily “volunteering a soul into where ignorance thrives” (and you can interpret that however you wish). But it’s also true that, if you look for it, you’ll see a lot of good things happening too.

Mutineer tries to shine a light on one while celebrating the other.

But, how exactly am I going to make it happen? I’ll outline some of those challenges in Part 4 tomorrow.

Meantime, please consider joining Mutineer on:
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