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My Prince Story

April 21, 2016 Leave a comment

 

Prince’s star on the wall of First Avenue in Minneapolis

It has been said that everyone who lives or has lived in the Twin Cities of Minnesota has a Prince story. Prince – that most mysterious and elusive of all Minneapolis musicians. That legend beyond explanation. No one ever quite knew how his mind worked, or what direction he would move next. Was he human? Or was he a spaceman on par with Bowie? I know several people that have had a number of Prince encounters, whether it be simply seeing a surprise performance, interviewing for a recording engineering gig with Prince lurking over their shoulder, or even watching unreleased concert footage with him in his home. These were not my experiences, but those of first-degree friends of mine. A lot of Twin Citizens have these kinds of experiences.

Mine is simple. Not extravagant. Unimportant. Fleeting.

But it was impactful to me. It still is, even sixteen years later.

It took place seven years before I even lived in Minnesota. In 2000, some friends and I went to Minneapolis primarily to see an unrelated show at the Target Center. It was Muse/Foo Fighters/Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was a fun show and we had a heck of a time. When it was over, however, it was not the end of our night. We had heard tell there may be something going down at Paisley Park later on. Three of my friends in our group, Dustin, Bryna, and Heather are the biggest Prince fans I know. They kept their ear to the ground in the right places to know these kinds of things.

On their hunch, we went to Chanhassen. We lined up outside with a couple dozen other folks. It was getting into the late hours of the night. My friends explained that often Prince has unannounced parties at Paisley Park. There’s music, dancing, snacks, refreshing (non-alcoholic) drinks. The simple purpose was to have a good time. They explained that sometimes Prince would show up and dance. Sometimes he would usher the attendees into a larger room and put on a performance. Other times he would simply stand in the corner and nod approvingly. Sometimes he didn’t make an appearance at all.

The doors opened around 2:00 a.m. or so and security let us in after inspecting us. We were led into an open dark room with party lights, a dance floor and a basketball hoop. I would later see photographs of the Man posing on that very floor, and hear tell of the basketball games he would play there. When we entered the room the music was already playing, the subwoofers thumping, pulsating our insides. The only thing to do, the only natural thing, the compulsory thing, was to dance. I am not a dancer. I have no moves. I fit the “white man” stereotype quite accurately. But it didn’t matter. Not to me. Not to my friends. Not to anyone there. There was something magical and mystical about that night that has always lived in my memory. Inhibitions were gone, and we all moved our bodies to the music without a care of what any single person thought. I was not the least bit self-conscious about my movements and neither was anyone else. I did not feel out of place at all, though I may have anticipated as much beforehand. In my memory, it’s in slow motion. I look around at my beautiful friends, making a circle as we dance. All of us moving, sweating, laughing, sharing in this moment, free, enjoying and having the time of our life.

And then a feeling washed over me. Just a feeling that to this day, I can’t fully explain. Like the pressure in the room changed. Like the sleepy memory of your mother putting a blanket on you in the middle of the night as a child. Dustin must have felt something too, because he and I looked at each other wide-eyed. We looked at our friends in our circle, who I surmise felt the same thing. I began looking around the room, and sure enough, Prince was there. He was off in the shadows, leaning against the wall, arms crossed with one hand to his chin — nodding approvingly.

He was right next to the entrance/exit of the room. A portal through which you must pass if you had to, say, use the restroom. And though my body wasn’t feeling the need for relief, by golly I felt a pressing need to go to the restroom. As I walked toward the door and consequently toward the Artist, I played it cool, remained nonchalant, even though I was physically drawing ever closer to one of the greatest living musical legends. Again, in my memory this plays in slow motion. I slowly look up from my feet directly at him. He looks me in the eye. I give him a cool-guy hello nod. He smirks and gives me an upward nod as the hand at his chin moves loosely into a somewhat limp two-fingered peace sign. Prince Rogers Nelson acknowledged my existence in that moment. I saw him up close. I saw his face. I saw the texture of his facial hair. I saw his stature (something we share — I am 5’4″). I saw individual strands of hair on his head. He was human to me for the first time. Not a photograph, not television, not cinema. We shared the same air. He had a presence and an aura that could only be explained as Royal.

My slow-motion moment passed as I passed Prince and time returned to normal. I entered the restroom, washed my hands and came back out. By then, he had vanished.

It was a fleeting moment that he undoubtedly forgot about the second it was over. But a moment that has lived vividly in my memory ever since.

To be clear, I was never a die-hard fan. Those would be my friends – Dustin, Bryna, and Heather. They introduced me to Prince and ushered me into my appreciation of his work. I have been a casual fan at best. But I have always recognized the legend, the talent, and everything that goes with those. A true Artist has the ability to transcend certain barriers. You never truly knew them, but often through their work you feel as if you were close. Sometimes you just admire everything they accomplished and everything they were capable of. It is a shame to lose one of the greats at an age in which he had so much more to explore, so much more to create, and so much more to share. Even as a casual fan, I am heartbroken today. I can’t imagine how my beautiful friends feel.

I share this story today, on April 21, 2016, because today I know that this is the only encounter I will ever have with the man. And I want to always remember the feeling of that moment. I shared immediate space with one of the all-time greats for only a few seconds. He looked me in the eye and smiled. It was special to me. I have always regarded it as such. Even more so today. I type it out today because I want some record of it. I want to always cherish it. I don’t ever want to forget it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tony’s a Loser

January 4, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve got another blog, too. This one focuses on my weight loss journey. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I’m still working on losing more. I’m a loser, but it’s okay! I want to be!

Tony’s a Loser: My personal weight loss and health journal

Categories: Uncategorized

Free download: “Piper” by Junebug

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Junebug is happy to announce the release of a new digital single!

This is the second in a series of online exclusive non-album studio tracks from Junebug. It’s a moldy oldie from the way-back catalog. It was originally slated to be recorded for the Modern Day Fairy Tales sessions, but was cut from the agenda. When I (tony) started going to school for production, I decided this was a song I wanted to produce, just for the heck of it. When the song was started, bassist Brandon Johnson was still in the band. This is the second of the two tracks he recorded with us in studio (the first one being “On the Sidewalk”). So here it is, in all its glory.

We’ve all had a person in our lives that when we look back, we’re not sure if it’s better to remember them or forget them. That’s the spirit behind this song. Heck, it says it flat out. Enjoy.

Lyrics by Anthony Bergman, Music by Junebug
Vocals/Guitar: Anthony Bergman
Guitar: Dustin Marks
Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals: Tony L. Kollman
Bass: Brandon Johnson

Recorded at IPR Studios in Minneapolis
Percussion and backing vocals recorded in Tony’s home studio
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Tony L. Kollman
Engineers: Collin Crawford, Tony L. Kollman

Copyright 2011 Junebug Jones

Categories: Uncategorized

Free download: “Chosen Ones” by Junebug

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out this track I produced.

This is an online exclusive, non-album, FREE digital single from Twin Cities band Junebug.
What would it sound like if Graceland-era Paul Simon did a cover of our song “Chosen Ones“? We don’t know for sure, but if had to guess, we have a hunch it would go a little something like this…


Lyrics by Anthony Bergman, Music by Junebug

Vocals/Guitar: Anthony Bergman
Guitar: Dustin Marks
Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals: Tony L. Kollman
Bass: Brandon Johnson
Recorded at IPR Studios in Minneapolis
Percussion recorded in Tony’s home studio
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Tony L. Kollman
Engineers: Collin Crawford, Tony L. Kollman
Copyright 2011 Junebug Jones
Categories: Uncategorized

I want to play my own drums. It’s not too much to ask.

April 29, 2009 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

If anyone is reading this, chances are they know that I play drums in a rock band.  I love it.  I have my own drum kit.  I spent money on it.  I have spent years of trial and error determining how it should be set up: where the cymbals go, the heights of the snare drum and hi-hat, the angles of all the drums, the placement of drums and cymbals in relationship to one another.  I got it pretty much exactly as I want it.  I went to the effort of marking each stand, where it should be tightened and placed so that there’s never any more guesswork involved.  I can set up quickly and efficiently.  My mind and my muscle memory have become attuned to my setup so that in personal practice and group rehearsal I can close my eyes and just listen and focus while I play.  I don’t have to look where I’m hitting because I know exactly where everything is.  I also do this at times in shows when I am having a tough time hearing.  I close my eyes and focus while I play.  It’s a good thing to be able to do.  I’ve put time and effort into it.  That’s what a musician does with their instrument.  They create a sort of relationship with it.

Lately, there have been more and more venues and bands demanding that when we play a show with other bands, the bands share a kit.  Typically, the drummers will swap out snare drums and cymbals, which are the elements which generally take the hardest beating.  There are usually two reasons for it.  First, the sound engineer does not want to mic multiple drumkits.  Second, they want to speed up downtime between sets.  Sharing kits is a problem for me, and so are these reasons.

Engineers don’t want to mic multiple kits.  This is the reason that I can sometimes understand, depending on the venue, how many bands are on the bill, etc.  But in some cases, it’s crap.  We recently played a show at a venue in which we were told ahead of time that we had to work out drum arrangements for the sake of the soundguy.  After the show, I talked to the soundguy, he was surprised that all the bands had used one kit.   He said he’s used to bands using their own kits and that it would have been fine with him. There was some miscommunication there between the venue and the sound man, it would seem.  But even when the sound engineer doesn’t feel like putting mics on multiple kits, it’s still lame.  Because he doesn’t feel like it, the bands have to go through this whole thing.

They want to speed up downtime between sets.  For me, this is completely wrong.  I’ve got a system for setting up my gear.  In fact, when I am allowed to use my own kit, I am the first one ready nearly every time.  Before the guitars, before the bass.  This is not a slight on them by any means, but rather a testament to how smoothly I can operate my gear.  I am also never the last one off the stage at the end of the set.  Time is not an issue.  When I am forced to share a kit, THEN I’m always the last one ready.  I have to make adjustments to the other guy’s kit.  I have to try to set tom angles (which often cannot be set to my needs due to differing mounting hardware).  I have to adjust the seat height, which can be difficult depending on what kind of seat the other uses.  I have to wait for the other dude to remove all his cymbals and put them away, and then I have to take my cymbals out and mount them, which is usually a big guessing game because everyone’s stand setup is different and I can never get them to go where they belong. Then I have to try to make the proximity of everything correct.  The “saving time” argument always makes it take longer.  The rest of the band is always waiting for me in these cases.  However when I use my own kit, I get my stands and cymbals set up offstage ahead of time, so it’s just a matter of putting them onstage.  In this case, I’m always waiting for everyone else.  I will never buy the “saving time” argument.  It falls flat in my case.  The problem is the group of drummers that decide to set up and tear down ON stage, instead of prepping beforehand and removing the gear immediately after the set and then disassembling.  It’s a shame that this group of slow, inconsiderate drummers brands all of us with having to deal with this garbage.

You may ask, “why not just let the other bands use your kit?”  Well, this did work an few times until one band decided to abuse my equipment.  A member of this band did a standing leap off my kick drum, laid on the floor with his feet on the drum while kicking and threw a cymbal stand to floor with my cymbal on it (which I was reluctant to lend, but did anyway for some stupid reason).  I am poor and I cannot afford to replace anything on my kit.  I can’t even really afford the general maintenance that it requires.  I can’t afford the possibility that some band is going to do that again and actually break something.  I’ve been too trusting and now I realize that I can’t do it.  No one is allowed to play my kit but me, and other members of my band if they ask.  It’s not that it’s an amazing kit, it’s that it’s set up meticulously and it’s all I’ve got.

So now I’m screwed.  I either have to play somebody else’s kit that is nothing like my own (which causes me to make more errors and make the band sound poor, I should add), or else I have to risk having some clown abuse my equipment.  These aren’t good choices.

I have an idea that if venues were requiring all bands to share guitars, and the guitars had seven strings that were twice the distance apart, there would be argument.  There’s no reason, logical or illogical, that I can think of to ask people to share guitars, but I don’t think the drum arguments are valid either.  So it’s all the same to me.  It’s ludicrous to ask a guitarist to play a seven-string guitar that they’ve never played and it’s just as goofy to have a drummer play a kit his never played.

Contrary to popular belief, drum sets are NOT interchangeable.  Drummers do not play as well on other people’s kits as they do on their own.  Every time I play on some other dude’s kit, I can’t have fun at a show, because I am spending all my effort, energy, and attention on not screwing up.  It doesn’t work, because I inevitably do mess up.  Sticks get dropped, beats get lost, and your muscle memory doesn’t know what to do when it’s missing a rack tom.  And it makes the band sound bad – and that’s the most important problem.

It’s crap, and I hate it.  I own an instrument, I got to know it, and now I just want to freaking PLAY it.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Categories: Uncategorized

A brief statement on some of my religious beliefs

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

I am a spiritual person. But I am not necessarily religious. I currently do not attend a church, but I consider myself to be a Christian and I view my beliefs as pretty solid.

I was raised in a conservative Baptist church that viewed all dancing as a sin and all card-playing as evil (except for UNO and Skip-Bo – those were innocent). Rock and Roll was satanic, regardless of the lyrical content and the hearts of the performers – the “jungle beats” were derived from “satanic African tribes.” Boys whose hair reached their collars were bordering on appearing sinful as well. I don’t want to hold anything against my former pastor and his wife. They are magnificent human beings, willing to help out in a heartbeat, truly exhibiting love to those they care about and they truly love God. But the beliefs of the church were flawed, I feel.

I think God is still speaking today. This doesn’t mean that I get on my knees and literally hear a deep, soothing voice in my ear. I believe that truth is of God and any truths that we uncover are ways in which God is speaking to us. Which means that if a Christian is reading the Bible and they reach an epiphany, that is God speaking to them. It also means that if a Christian is reading the teachings of the Buddha and they find truth, that is also God speaking. God can speak through preachers, through nature, through an episode of Seinfeld, through tragedy. Truth is all around us if we only pay attention to it. Every faith contains truths. The challenge is to tolerate aspects of other faiths we don’t understand and balance them with the points in which we agree. We are all humans sharing one planet, so we must coexist.

I believe all music is of God. People may exercise their free will with music as they see fit. No music is inherently evil. Perhaps intentions in the hearts of performers may be unsound, but that should not even be an issue. If I use my music to talk about love, God, politics and dissatisfaction with our leaders, I do not see any of that as being “of the devil.”

I am disappointed by the judgemental nature of many conservative Christians. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I have been judged and I have been the one looking down my nose at the “unrighteous”. I like to think I have grown out of that, but I also fear that some amount of judgement is inherent in human nature. Christ’s biggest message was that of love, in spite of imperfection. When televangelist Jim Bakker “fell from grace” as so many liked to say, the church at large – Christians, whom you would think would love and support him – kicked him while he was down. Jerry Falwell declared Bakker to be a “cancer on the body of Christ”, while Jimmy Swaggart, another prominent televangelist condemned him as well. Swaggart later “fell from grace” himself when he was caught with a prostitute. The point is that instead of offering healing and paths to reconciliation, the church ridiculed both Bakker and his wife from pulpits all across the country. Even Bakker’s children were shunned by churches and youth groups. Shouldn’t Christians offer love and forgiveness and solace? It is one thing to be ridiculed on the Tonight Show and on Saturday Night Live, but from one’s supposed brothers and sisters in Christ? That, to me, is inexcusable. I am a fan of Jim Bakker and his son, Jay. They emerged from the ashes of Christian abandonment and have come out stronger and wiser than before.*

I am a huge believer in free will and making choices, rather than being bound by antiquated rules. The Bible is a fantastic reference for Christians.  I personally believe that those who wrote the various books were inspired by the divine.  However, I do not necessarily believe it is the be-all-and-end-all. There is such freedom in progressing through good, informed choices. When a person starts putting oneself in check – “is itreally a good idea to do this?” – it encourages personal responsibility through free will. Human were given a conscience for a reason.  Oftentimes, churches are consumed by dogma and by rules. But why? There are questions of control and order and tradition. But if one were to simply follow the teachings of Jesus without any prior knowledge of churches and Christianity, the world might look differently.

I like to think that I am very open-minded and tolerant of others’ beliefs. I consider myself to be very liberal, politically as well as spiritually. I like rock ‘n’ roll in church. I believe that based upon his characterization in the gospels, if Jesus were in our current era, he would be hanging around punk rock clubs with drug addicts and dealers, holding back the hair of those vomiting in the gutters. I believe that Jesus would not shun gay people. I believe in the principles of “love your neighbor,” “love your enemy” and to be “stewards of the earth.”  I do not believe that the agenda of the Christian right should be legislated in government. I believe that the current state of the Christian church at large is very much comparable to the Pharisees of Christ’s era – very zealous, self-righteous and judgemental. I like to consider myself to be a recovering Pharisee.**

…tonyLkollman…

*For some good reading, check out I Was Wrong by Jim Bakker and Son of a Preacher Man by Jay Bakker.
** For some good reading, check out 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (Like Me) by John Fischer

Categories: Uncategorized

A couple drum YouTubes worth checking out

September 17, 2007 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

These are some fun drum things.

Buddy Rich vs. Animal on the Muppet Show

Karen Carpenter – who knew?
(skip ahead to the 1:30 mark)

Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and some other dude I don’t know

 

Categories: Uncategorized