Monday, December 31, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Chicago's "Buying Trouble" Will Rock You Hard

     On their Reverbnation page, "Buying Trouble," a young hard rock band from Chicago claim that they play so loud that they have hearing damage and they play so hard that they bleed sometimes. And that they play with so much emotion that the stage usually isn't big enough. "We freak out to promote freedom. And we hate hip hop.  Long live Hard Loud Rock N' Roll!"     This seems to be the creed of band members Derek Vaden, Mike Dooley and Andy Modaff. Patty and I met the band and their parents when they came down to Bowling Green to attend the Starry Nights Music + Arts Festival at the end of September. They are big fans of Bowling Green's indie rock bands "Cage The Elephant" and "Sleeper Agent." They were really nice kids and their parents were super nice people too.  We really enjoyed meeting them when we all had a late lunch at Cheddar's Restaurant in Bowling Green.  The band autographed an EP which they gave to our son, Tony Smith who is the lead song writer and guitar player as well as a singer for Sleeper Agent, a copy of their EP called "Ok, Whatever"   They also autographed it for Alex Kandel, lead singer for Sleeper Agent.
    A couple of weeks ago, Tony and I listened to the EP on the way to the store.  We listened to three hard rock pounding songs on the EP called, "Shakin'," "Christian Ears & Atheist Tongues" and "Novel America." Tony said that the band "is really good and they need to keep at it."  I thought that they sounded like a combination of the classic rock bands "Kiss,"  "Rush" and "The Black Crows" and that they have a lot of potential for the future.  With much practice and persistence,  I think they might have a chance of getting a record deal one day.  Please check out this young rock band.  Who knows, one day in the future, you may be seeing them on MTV,  VH1 and other music video channels. And you might one day be able to purchase their music at your local record store as well as from other other internet stores such as, eBay, iTunes and MP3.

Here's what they wrote on their Facebook page about themselves. Check it out!


Bringin back respect for music acts that play real instruments and try to further themselves as musicians and song writers.
Buying Trouble is a three piece rock band, hell bent on rocking your brains out. Mike Dooleys full, loud, metal inspired drum beats, routinely resulting in blood, lay out an industrial foundation for the heavy, gut rocking, shell shock of Andy Modaffs blistering bass lines. Derek Vaden screams and wails over it all, and so does his guitar, while trying to thrash around like a shark or something in an attempt to hurt himself. Together their covers, originals, and the occasional one-off songs they improvise on the spot, are a full on assault of the temporal lobe. They just released a 3 song EP and will be recording more soon so enjoy it. Or tell us we suck this is America so it's ok.
your not a rocker till you stop cutting your hair...and start dropping acid - Jim Morrison
Band Interests
chillin, south park, writin music, listneing to slipknot, philosophy, Gigging, going to concerts
Artists We Also Like
Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cage the Elephant, Slipknot, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Cream, The Doors, Humble Pie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Rolling Stones, Soundgarden, ZZ Top, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Contact Info

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Epic Moment With A New Generation Of Rock Music At Starry Nights

OAKLAND, Ky. _ It hit me suddenly last Saturday night at  Ballance Farms* in Warren County while attending Starry Nights Music and Arts Festival.
     I was standing backstage when I heard the incredible loud roar of the crowd of thousands of people cheering, clapping, yelling and screaming for Bowling Green, Ky's own super-stellar indie rock band, "Cage The Elephant" as they performed their hit song "In One Ear" on the stage.   Thousands of Cage fans were dazzled by the brights lights that flashed around the stage and showered the young musicians as they performed. The crowd danced, screamed and bounced around as the cacophony of intense rock music boomed into the late September starry night sky.

   I quickly realized that this was an epic moment for the new generation of indie rockers and their fans. Cage The Elephant and Bowling Green resident and founder of Starry Nights, Bryan Graves, had actually pulled it all off, bringing thousands of music lovers and campers to a large farm out in the middle of nowhere.  Starry Nights was held several miles outside of Bowling Green during a beautiful cool night illuminated by  a full moon and many stars!  Curators Matt and Brad Shultz  (Cage The Elephant) and founder Graves along with lots of volunteers and event staff brought music to people of all ages nationally.  Starry Nights has made history with the largest two day musical event to ever take place in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky.
  The Starry Nights weekend officially began for me and Patty on Thursday night.  Since we had been networking on Facebook as band parents for quite a while, we had met several new friends who are fans of Sleeper Agent and Cage The Elephant. Facebook friends from Seattle, Wash.. flew in to Nashville and after checking into rooms at Marriott Courtyard in Bowling Green, called.  We met up with them for drinks and dinner at Double Dogs later that night.  And then on Friday afternoon, we met two family  Facebook friends from Chicago for lunch at Cheddars.  Patty said expect 1 or 50, she had no idea, but it turned out to be 20+ with parents and their rock star hopefuls.  Afterwards they would settle into their rooms at Hilton Garden Inn.  We also hosted  a great friend and photographer from Lexington who was one of the first to photograph Sleeper Agent in "LexScene" magazine.  Tony's godparents, Gay and Bill (also his aunt and Uncle) drove up from Memphis to hear the Sleepers perform for the very first time.
   Backstage underneath the hospitality tent,  a large gathering of  friends and family members  (by invitation only) surrounded the bands. In the crowd,  were band parents, close friends, media and other local band members and friends.  All of these were fans of the Bowling Green music scene, and we we basked in a celebration of the success of these fine musicians.  Of course, my wife, Patty and I were there with our son, Tony, guitarist and vocalist of Sleeper Agent.   It was also great to see Matt and Brad Shultz again from Cage The Elephant as well as Brad's wife, Lindsay.  And course, we greeted and shook hands with Bryan Graves, founder of the festival and complimented his great work. As always there were big hugs and hellos all around and brief conversations with Matt and Brad's parents, Margie and Brad Sr.,  We also met older Shultz brother, Jeremy and met and spoke with lead guitarist Tyler Parrish (another super-cool member of Cage The Elephant).  And what a pleasure to see rock promoter, band producer and good friend of Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent, Ryan "Zummy" Zumwalt and wife Laura of Nashville, Tenn.. Of course, it's always great to see and give hugs to the members of  the other Sleepers too, lead singer Alex Kandel, keyboardist Scott Gardner, drummer Justin Wilson, bassist Lee Williams and lead guitarist, Josh Martin. (All the Sleepers are BG residents, attending high school here and Western Kentucky University with exception of Martin from Nashville who joined the band in February 2011).  Also, Sleeper Agent road manager, Nick Hardy of Nashville was very gracious and friendly as always who gave a ride the stage to the backstage area in golf cart when we arrived at the festival.  Before the Sleepers went on stage, Patty and I spoke briefly with  well-known Rock DJ, Tommy Starr from WDNS-FM, D93, in Bowling Green.  Tommy was very cool and apparently is a big fan of Sleeper Agent like he is with a lot of other local bands.  Tommy is a big promoter of the Bowling Green music scene by hosting the former "Home Cookin'" on D93.  He still does a form of the show every afternoon Monday through Friday.
   We were able to see Sleeper Agent and Cage The Elephant perform from the side of the stage as "privileged holders" of backstage passes.  Had we left the back stage area, we would not have been allowed to return.  So we just watched from the sides of the stages and stayed backstage and enjoyed the company of  the family and friends and the members of the bands.  Sleeper Agent played one of their brand new songs that will be on their next album called "Be Brave."   They will be going into the studio beginning  Nov. 12 for a month in Nashville with producer, Jay Joyce, and the album will be released on the RCA record label.  And supposedly Tony and Alex from Sleeper Agent will be heading to Japan sometime in December to promote their first album, "Celabrasion" which is already being media blitz by RCA/Sony. Apparently, the album has a lot interest and popularity already by the Japanese.  RCA is also Cage The Elephant's new label for the next album too.  They will be going in the studio soon too with Joyce.  Joyce has produce Cage's first two album as well as Sleeper Agent's first album.
    Mainly, it was an incredible night to witness the Bowling Green music scene make history as Starry Nights translated energy and vibe into the minds and memories of thousands of people, young and old, who will remember this night for the rest of their lives.  Patty and I know we will.

*Ballance Farms located on  Louisville Rd on the outskirts of  Bowling Green is also known their country hams that were cured, sold and shipped all nationwide for many years.  It has also been home to Bluegrass music festivals and motocross racing events.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bowling Green, Ky.'s "Jimmy "D's" Bar-B-Que": Some Damn Good BBQ!

     I haven't written a blog about BBQ in a while.  I just love how BBQ is spelled or displayed in many different ways in our American society-BBQ, Barbecue, Barbeque, Bar-B-Q, Bar-B-Que or even Bubba Chew.  (Being a Southerner, I made that one up-"Bubba Chew."  lol.)  But anyway, lately I have found myself becoming more of a "purest," or more simplified if you will, going more for the straight, hardcore BBQ.  I have reflected myself lately away from the hot sauces and sticking more with the mild sauces.  I am even keeping my menu choices down because of costs, trying to watch my weight and mainly because I want to try taste the full flavor or essence of BBQ that I have chosen to purchase and eat.
   There's one particular BBQ place in Bowling Green that I find myself keep going back to over and over especially when I'm in a hurry.  It's Jimmy "D's" Bar-B-Que located at the corner Scottsville and Plano Roads.  Like Jimmy's motto says on the outside of the building in big letters that hangs over the front door, "It's Habit Forming"  Boy, it sure is. Jimmy used own the grocery store that is located there for many years but he sold it Houchens Industries several years ago and now it's IGA Crossroads Market and Subway.  Jimmy had a reputation for the best steak cuts in the area.  People would drive for miles to buy his steaks.  I know I used to drive clear across Warren County to purchase them. However, after Jimmy sold to Houchens, he retained some of the land where he now has a rental storage business, a car lot and best of all, as far as I'm concerned, a BBQ place!   And he smokes and serves some of the best damn BBQ in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky!
  The only thing about Jimmy "D's" Bar-B-Que, it is not a sit-down style restaurant.  You walk in, go to the counter, place your order, check out, take it home with you, eat in the car or sit at one of three picnic tables just outside the building to eat at.  If all three tables are all occupied (which they usually aren't), then you have to eat it in the car or take it to a park to eat if the weather is nice.  I don't have a problem with it because it's quick and easy. He's got everything in there to choose from.  BBQ beans, several different types of potato salads, slaw, chips, cookies, cooked green beans, BBQ ribs, BBQ beef brisket, jams, candy and etc. There's hundreds of choices and lots to types of foods that are in containers in the big glass coolers as you'll see when you walk in.  It's easy for you to pick from and take home with you.  By the way, I love all of Jimmy's old school, hand written signs on butcher paper.  I think it's dying art form that you don't see many places anymore.
    But my favorite choice every time is just the straight pulled pork BBQ sandwich with mild sauce, a pickle and an onion slice, a small bag of Lays Classic Potato Chips and a 12 oz. can Coke.  You can get all that for under $5 and it will fill you up because Jimmy puts a lot pork on that sandwich.  If you decide to try Jimmy "D's" Bar-B-Que, tell him, "Galen" sent you.  And he'll know who you're talking about!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Starry Nights Music + Arts Festival: Bowling Green, Ky., Sept. 28 & 29

BOWLING GREEN, KY. _ Indie Rock invades Southcenteral Kentucky again!  And all eyes in the rock world will be on us! The 2012 Starry Nights Music + Arts Festival will be happening at Ballance Farms on U.S. 31-W several miles outside of Bowling Green, Sept. 28 & 29.  I was able to attend two years ago when it was out on Morgantown Road, northwest of Bowling Green to see indie rock bands Sleeper Agent and Cage The Elephant perform because a friend gave me a press pass from a local political party at the last minute.  Actually, I went to see my son, Tony Smith perform, who is a member of Sleeper Agent. But was I really impressed too when I saw Cage The Elephant perform for the first time.

 "This hometown music festival is Cage The Elephant's baby and they will curate Starry Nights again this year. CTE band members which include brothers Matt and Brad Shultz, Lincoln Paris, Daniel Tichenor and Jared Champion, are known to give back to the Bowling Green music scene by curating Starry Nights and helping other local bands get their start in the industry." 

     I had a chance to talk with Bryan Graves, founder of the music festival about a week ago and he said tickets sales are going great and they have festival goers from 32 states so far who plan to attend and as far as away as Australia.  This hometown music festival is Cage The Elephant's baby and they will curate Starry Nights again this year. CTE band members which include brothers Matt and Brad Shultz, Lincoln Paris, Daniel Tichenor and Jared Champion, are known to give back to the Bowling Green music scene by curating Starry Nights and helping other local bands get their start in the industry.  They are responsible for helping Bowling Green's Sleeper Agent get their first recording contract and are currently helping other bands with the same process too.
    However, 15 local band who are not currently on the line-up, have a chance to be voted on by fans to perform at Starry Nights this year.  Starry Nights officials have held five slots for Bowling Green's favorite local acts, but the final decision is up to the fans.  Go to the Starry Night'ss web-site to vote and fans can vote up to five times per band.  Voting will close on Friday, Sept. 7th at 11:59 p.m. CST.  Here's a list of local bands that you can vote for: Billy Swayze, The Black Shades, Buffalo Rodeo, Canago, DroBot, Fair-Weather Kings, Heavy Chase, The Japanese School Girls,  Mahtulu, Opossum Holler, Patson, Rainbow Kitty Kitty, Schools, The Sex Bombs and Technology vs. Horse.
And here is the line-up of the of international and nationally known bands that are already scheduled to perform during  the two day event:  Cage The Elephant (of course!), Sleeper Agent, Portugal The Man, Manchester Orchestra, Mimosa, Justin Townes Earle, The Whigs, Moon Taxi, Jeff  The Bortherhood, Margot and The Nuclear So and So's, Morning Teleportation, Wild Belle, Space Capone, Pujol, The Kingston Springs, Five Knives, Bad Cop and more.  Ticket are $45 and camping is included.

For more information, go to their web-site at


Sunday, August 12, 2012

U.S. Rep., Paul Ryan, R-Wis., A Good Pick For Vice President

"I think the Republicans learned a good lesson from four years ago. When you pick a running mate for VP make sure that he is well read and knows what the hell he is talking about. Paul Ryan is that. Bring on the liberal media."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-Fil-A, The Gay/Lesbian Movement And The Freedom Of Speech

As a former journalist, I went to our local Chick-Fil-A today with my wife out of curiosity to witness the spectacle (Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day in Bowling Green, Ky., where thousands flocked to.) Although, I am married to a woman (Patty) and have been for 26 years, I believe if two human beings two men, two women or a man and a woman) are in love with each other and even committed to each other, more power to them. I do strongly believe, however, in the freedom of speech in America and everybody has a right to voice their opinion whether it be the CEO of Chick-Fil-A or the Gay/Lesbian movement. I have voice my opinion several times in the Bowling Green community on several issues by writing letters to our local newspaper and I have been criticized by people that I know to my face for my views. One of those views that I was heavily criticized for was my negative opinion about our largest and most powerful hospital in town regarding their collections practices. Also, because they are one of the largest employers in town, I felt that I touched a very sore and touchy nerve after the fact with the community especially with those who have been sued by the hospital and those have even had their homes taken away by them with liens. In spite of all of the criticism, I had some praise from people I know too for my letters. However, I did learn through that experience of writing those letters, if you stick your neck out on a limb, you better be willing to take the heat and what's coming your way because it may not be too pleasant when you receive it. Especially, when you ruffle a lot of feathers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Mass Shooting and Killings In Aurora, Colo.: Fear And Darkness At The Movie Theater


I think for moviegoers here in the US and worldwide, the mass shooting and killings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was the unthinkable.

There should be a federal law that applies to all states that requires a very specific background check for any current or past history of mental illness through medical records or an unstable past including all misdemeanors as well as felonies, of course, for anyone who tries to purchase a firearm or weapon i.e. such as the shooter and killer of this God awful and terrrible tragedy-James Eagan Holmes. That's the only way to prevent guns BEING SOLD to crazy people or potentially crazy people who about to possibly go off the deep end. Criminals and thugs in gangs in the streets will get guns off the black market regardless and that's hard to control. Other than that, there are better ways to prevent people from buying guns who shouldn't have them. Guns don't go on shooting sprees by themselves and randomly kill people. It's the crazy ass fools who are stupidly insane who kill people with guns. Guns are not crazy. People are crazy.

Nevertheless, for millions of people, going to the movie theater was their last great hope to escape the reality of a boring daily grind of life and stresses of job, family and finances. There was always a sense of adventure and excitement when you went to the movies. Now that sense of fear and darkness will creep around the shoulders of moviegoers until it one day fades away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

R.I.P. Andy Griffith, 1926-2012

"In regards to Actor Andy Griffith's death today, I think most of us baby boomers who grew up in the 50's and 60's watching his television sitcom still long in our hearts and minds and would like to think that a "Mayberry" still exits somewhere in America.  But in reality we know that it does not these days.  But at least we have the re-runs from "The Andy Griffith Show" to escape reality for 30 minutes at time."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"On The Cover Of Rolling Stone!" It Just Might Be Alex Kandell Of Sleeper Agent Next

     I am signed up for Google Alerts and I received one the other morning on my cell phone about Sleeper Agent and Rolling Stone magazine.  I had just woke up and I hadn't brewed or drank any coffee yet.  However, I put on my bathrobe and then proceeded to put my eye glasses on as I thumb through my e-mails until I found it again gingerly holding my cellphone.  And then all of sudden I was like totally surprised and amazed that Alex Kandell of  Bowling Green, Ky.'s indie rock group, "Sleeper Agent" was picked to be one of six women rock (or rap?) singers to be in Rolling Stone's "Women Who Rock" series contest! I asked Tony about it and he was like, "Well, yeah dad, me and Alex told you and mom about it several weeks ago.  Don't you remember?"
       Since I am 50 years-old and I don't quite remember everything that is told to me in passing by Tony, Alex or Patty, I have to blame it on too much partying in my younger days. Lol!  That's my only explanation at the moment regarding my loss of memory.  However, if you want to vote for Alex and Sleeper Agent, all you have to do is go to the link and vote for Alex Kandell of Sleeper Agent.  It would be much appreciated by the band-Alex, Tony, Justin, Lee, Scott and Josh and all of rock music lovers of Bowling Green, Ky!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bowling Green, Ky.'s Hot Spots: Lost River Cave, Molly Shannon's Irish Pub and Lost River Pizza Co.

    I had to work Saturday morning like most weekends.  However, I did have something to look forward yesterday afternoon when I arrived home.
  One of our new friends who is a Sleeper Agent fan drove down from Lexington, Ky., to go see the movie, "What To Expect When Expecting" starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, with Patty and I.  We have been wanting to see it ever since it came out in May.  Of course, we mainly wanted to see the part where they used a portion of Sleeper Agent's song, "Get It Daddy," in it.  It was a nice little chuck of change for the band and it all goes into the pot.  Seems like they will probably get more nice little gigs like in this future if all goes well.  Apparently, Sleeper Agent continues to be on the up and up which is awesome!  We are really proud of the band as you can probably tell!
   However, before we went to the movie, we decided to show our out of town guest some unique spots in Bowling Green.  First of all, we were all hungry so went to headed on over to Molly Shannon's Irish Pub (formerly Greener Groundz) on Broadway Avenue.  I used to go there all the time when it was a bagel and coffee shop but this was first time I had been there in several years.  I liked the atmosphere and the food and drink was good but I thought menu prices were a little too high.
     After lunch, we headed over to Lost River Cave on Nashville Road.  We didn't have time to take a guided boat tour but were able to go visit the gift shop.  The gift shop is really nice and they have a lot of neat stuff in there. I kept thinking about the early 90's when the organizers of  "The Friends Of Lost River Cave and Valley" were getting things going and raising funds to get the cave up and running as a tourist attraction.  Needless to say, I was really impressed on how far they have come after all these years.  It seems very successful!  My favorite part of the gift show was when I was standing in awe looking up at the flat television screen on the wall and watching this incredible, informative video that they made about the cave.  Also, I enjoyed looking at all the black and white photos of  some of the history of the cave that they had on display.  I thought to myself, "Wow, we are so lucky to have this jewel of a treasure in our on backyard! Also, that we (Bowling Green) are able to share it with the world by luring people of I-65 with the roadside billboard signs outside of Nashville and other places along the infamous interstate." (infamous for all the deaths from wrecks that occur on I-65 especially lately).
   Then we headed on over to see the movie at The Great Escape Greenwood 10 near the Greenwood Mall on Scottsville Road and Campbell Lane.  I liked the movie somewhat.  It was funny at times.  But again, we really enjoyed seeing the part where they used Sleeper Agent's song in it.  It was very exciting to see and especially seeing the credits at the end of the movie on the big screen with the band's name and my son's name up there among the other band members names (Galen A Smith Sr.).
   After the movie, when headed on over to Lost River Pizza Co. on Nashville Road for dinner.  Patty and I have been there several times along with Tony (Galen Jr.) and Alex from Sleeper Agent.  We really like the place because it has a nice family atmosphere and well as a blended mixed crowd.  You have people who go there for the pizza and you people who go there the craft draft beers.  They have a lot of variety of beers to choose from.  The pizza and salads are really good too.  But again, it's a little pricey in my opinion.
   If you want to show to your out of  town some of Bowling Green's hot spots, there's quite a few places to choose from for sure.  And we did not even scrape the tip of the iceberg!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sleeper Agent And Schools At The Whiskey Bent Saloon In Downtown Nashville, Tenn.

     Patty and I drove down to downtown Nashville last Tuesday night, May 8th, along with a couple of friends from the Lexington, Ky., area to see Tony and his band mates from Sleeper Agent perform at The Whiskey Bent Saloon.  We also had a chance to see another up and coming Bowling Green, Ky., based band, "Schools" also perform.
    I always enjoy going to Nashville because when you get downtown, you always feel the history of the place.  The place is really wild and very cool at the same time.  It's kinda like a little New Orleans with a party festive atmosphere in a country funky, twangy sort of way.  Even on a weekday night.  When you are there, you know that this is where country music and its honky tonks all began.  I remember seeing "WW and The Dixie Dance Kings" starring Burt Reynolds as a kid back in the early 70's growing up in Memphis, Tenn., and the film took place in downtown Nashville right on Broadway Avenue where we were Tuesday night.  The movie had scenes from the old Grand Ole Opry, "The Ryman Theater" and the world famous honky tonk bar, "Tootsies" which is all right in that general area.
    I remember in 1984 when I was attending Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., I used to go to Nashville to visit with my fraternity brother and his family.  We drove down Broadway towards the Cumberland River and it was nothing like it is today.  Basically, that part of town seemed dead back then.  Nowadays, it has made a full-fledged comeback and things are very much alive and kicking.  Downtown Nashville on Broadway where the strip is, it's a rockin'!
   It was quite of a quaint setting for Sleeper Agent to be performing.  They are used to performing on much larger stages and venues lately especially after just arriving back from Coachella 2012 Music Fest in Palm Springs, Calif.  They put on a great show regardless. However, they were paid a pretty penny to perform in conjunction with the "Short Mountain Distillery's" grand opening celebration.  Short Mountain was giving out free shots of their new whiskey but I did not drink any because I do not drink hard liquor (anymore.)  The Whiskey Bent Saloon on Broadway seems like a fairly new bar and music venue but it has an old time honky tonk feel too it.  It's a very nice, clean place also.  Check it sometime when you're in downtown Nashville.
   I was able to speak with lead singer, Jeremi Simon-Kinnaman of Schools and he said that they are still searching for a record deal.  I encouraged him and told him that it would probably happen soon.  Those guys are awesome!  Also, Brad Shultz from Cage The Elephant and his wife, Lindsey, attended the show and I enjoyed talking to him and his lovely wife for while.  Brad and I talked about the Bowling Green music scene and how it has grown lately.  I complimented him and told him, "You guys (Cage The Elephant) brought the world to Bowling Green through your music."  Now Sleeper Agent is following in their footsteps and Schools is on their way to do the same too.  What's interesting is that all three bands have a lot of the same interconnections and they all used the famous Nashville based country and rock music producer, Jay Joyce to record and produce all of their albums.
    I would dare say that Tuesday night was one of those Southern, rock music and regional things via way of Bowling Green and Nashville, taking the music world by storm.  However, if that's the case, then we were sitting right in the middle of an eye of a hurricane Tuesday night in downtown Nashville.  And it sure felt like it too!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Murder At Bowling Green, Ky's Ramada Inn-Strangely Bazaar

    The newspaper article posted below was published in the Bowling Green (Ky) Daily News today about a murder that happened four years-ago at the Ramada Inn, one of Bowling Green's oldest hotels on Scottsville Road.  Of course, the hotel has changed hands several times through the years as well has been remodeled a couple times too.  But to me, this was a strangely bazaar murder case that happened right here in Bowling Green.  It's just weird that a now convicted killer stalked another man who was a guest at the hotel.  Originally, the killer found the guest at the hotel's bar knowing that the guest had a wallet full of cash and then went to the front desk to get the guest's room number.  And then the desk clerk gave him the room number!  After the killer got the guest's room number, he knocked on the his door and as the guest opened the door, the killer barged his way  in and strangled the guest to death and then took his cash.  And to top it off, the hotel's video camera's recorded the killer in the lobby and the halls of the hotel as he walked to the guest's room.  Complete wacko nuts for real!  What was that crazy, stupid idiot thinking?!!!
    The Ramada Inn has had it's ups and downs through the years in Bowling Green.  Back in the 90's, a little girl who was a grandchild of one of the housekeepers climbed into a laundry chute, got stuck and died.  Also, in 1979 or 1980, when then governor of California, Ronald Reagan was running for President, he supposedly stayed in the hotel's suit with his wife Nancy while making a campaign stop in Bowling Green.  Now, the hotel has all of the former Greenwood Inn's nightlife business at its lounge called the "Crossroads Bar & Grill."  The Greenwood Inn was dubbed the 'Meat Market" because that's where everybody in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky went to find a "date" for the night or to be "picked up" for the evening.  I suppose the Crossroads Bar and Grill offers that same type of clientele.  They've even have the same house band that played at the Greenwood Executive Inn for years.  And one of the band members who used to be a guy is now a woman through the transgender process as rumor has it.  I would advise if you go to the Crossroads Bar and Grill or stay at the Ramada Inn, don't flash any cash around and watch your wallet very carefully.

By JUSTIN STORY, The Daily News,

Murder suspect Troy Lee Rupe admitted Tuesday to killing and robbing a man in a Bowling Green hotel room four years ago.
Rupe, 50, of Glasgow, entered a guilty plea in Warren Circuit Court to murder and first-degree robbery, acknowledging his role in the death of Thomas L. Ward.
Ward, 38, of Glasgow, was found dead April 13, 2008, in a room at the Ramada Inn at 4767 Scottsville Road. An investigation determined that Ward had been beaten and strangled.
Appearing with his attorneys, Renae Tuck and Eric Clark of the Department of Public Advocacy, Rupe spoke with a slight rasp while answering questions from Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson.
Rupe has been sick from cancer, and his graying hair, glasses and thin frame gave him a much different appearance Tuesday than how he looked in his Warren County Regional Jail booking photo taken in 2008 when he was charged with the crimes.
“I just want to apologize to the family. I’m sorry for the loss of their loved one,” Rupe said Tuesday.
About 10 of Ward’s relatives were in the courtroom to hear Rupe admit guilt.
Ward’s mother, Mary Brooks, read a short statement describing the effect her son’s death has had on the family, calling the date of her son’s death “the worst day of our lives.”
“The emptiness you have left in our family will never be gotten over,” Brooks said while addressing Rupe, her voice rising as she struggled to avoid crying. “You took the most precious thing that God gives – life.”
The Bowling Green Police Department led the investigation into Ward’s death, viewing hotel surveillance video footage from the Ramada Inn taken on the night of the homicide that showed Rupe following Ward.
The footage was aired on television the following day, and several people called the BGPD identifying Rupe as the man following Ward.
Rupe himself called the police after the footage aired, came to Bowling Green to be interviewed by detectives and was charged with the crimes.
During the investigation, police found money in Rupe’s Glasgow home that was alleged to have been taken from Ward.
Wilson sentenced Rupe on Tuesday to 21 years and six months in prison. The plea agreement that Rupe, who had been scheduled to go to trial next month, reached with Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron recommended that amount of time to be served on the murder charge and a 20-year sentence for robbery, with both of those sentences to be served concurrently.
Additional charges of tampering with physical evidence and first-degree persistent felony offender were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Because the murder was committed during the course of another violent crime, Rupe could have been eligible for the death penalty, but Cohron filed notice after Rupe’s indictment that he sought a maximum sentence of life without parole.
Rupe will get credit for the time he has served in custody and must serve 18 years and three months of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Unofficial Parent's Night In Nashville: Ben Kweller and Sleeper Agent At The Mercy Lounge


You might describe the Ben Kweller concert last Sunday night at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville as the "Unofficial Parent's Night," for the band members of the Bowling Green, Ky., based indie rock group, "Sleeper Agent."

Yes, all of us band member parents were there to show their love and support of our wonderfully talented and gifted children. Besides, we hadn't seen them for almost three weeks! It was great to see Tony, Alex, Josh, Scott, Lee and Justin again. And as usual they put on a awesome show, opening for Ben Kweller and his band during this particular leg of the tour. And as usual all of us parents-me, Patty, Marilyn, Teresa, Richard, Holly, Matt, Amy and Margie were all beaming with pride. Especially after these kids had just appeared on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Live!" show on NBC on March 22. It seems like the whole city of Bowling Green and the community of Western Kentucky University has been buzzing about it for almost two weeks now. To be perfectly honest, it's a great feeling to see your children excel in something in life that you know one day in life that it will pay off for them big time. At least we hope, right? Let's hope so. It's already paying off for them in more ways than one. I would say more ways than we could ever imagine.

I think for our children to grow up to pursue their dreams in life, we as parents had to give them their space, unconditional life and support. They have to have the freedom to create or compose all sorts of things in their young lives while growing up. What helps them grow and develop the most is to pursue what they love with a passion. It's kind like a flower garden. If you give the garden lots love and TLC, (water, sunlight, good soil, plant food, etc.) it will grow strong and blossom beautifully just like our children.

Because believe me, the "road life" as a musician or band does not appear to be glamorous as people might think. Yeah, they get to travel all over the United States visiting big cities and see different regions of the country. They get to experience all sorts of new places and cultures. They also meet thousands of new people along the tour. However, on the down side of the things, they live in and out of hotel rooms and sleep in a different bed every night which is always not fun. They probably have some good hotel rooms and some bad hotel rooms as well as possible bed bugs along the way. Yikes! Then there's the terrible food and good food. But I know that they do get tired of restaurant and fast food. And they are always ready for mom and dad's home cooking when they arrive back in Bowling Green. Then there's the dirty (behind the scenes) dressing rooms and places like that. Not at all music venues but some. Not to mention that they have to wash their own clothes in strange laundry mats, getting sick of the road and riding in a crowed, stuffy van up to 18-20 hrs a day sometimes.

But on the flip side there's a lot of great things about the road life which can bring much success in life for musicians. Musician Ben Kweller has done it for almost 15 years now. He started when he was 15 or 16 years-old. He has has five albums out, he owns his own bus and owns a home in Texas and has a wife and two children already. And he is only 30 years-old. Kweller, who's father is a doctor in a small town in Texas gave his son lots of love when he was growing up and exposed him to music at early age.

From Wikipedia-"Dr. Howard Kweller taught Ben how to play the drums when he was seven years old. For the next year, they would play together almost every night after Howard got home from work. Howard sang and played guitar while Ben played the drums. The duo played songs by The Beatles, The Hollies, Jimi Hendrix, and other artists of the 1960s. Howard is also a longtime friend of Nils Lofgren, a neighbor of his. Kweller has mentioned in interviews that meeting Lofgren greatly helped his exposure to music. When Kweller turned eight, someone showed him how to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano and the youngster immediately began to create his own songs using the same chords. By the time he was nine, he had a dozen original compositions under his belt and entered a songwriting contest sponsored by Billboard magazine, where he won an honorable mention."

When Patty and I met Ben in his dressing room backstage, he was very nice and cordial as well friendly to all us parents. It was an honor to meet such a fine example of young successful musician in today's rock world as Ben Kweller. We wish Ben continued success especially all of the members of Sleeper Agent. We continue to pray for their safety along the path of reaching for their dreams! Keep up the great work guys and girl! We love ya!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sleeper Agent To Appear On "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" on March 22nd

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. _ The other night I was watching television when my cell phone rang.  It was Tony and he was sitting on the beach in Tampa Bay, Fla., with his band mates from Sleeper Agent drinking rum and coke.  And then he said, "Dad, is mom there?"  I said, "No, she is at work, why?"  "Because I need to tell her something," he said with excitement in his voice.  And I said, "What's going on, Tony?"  "He said we're going to be on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" show on March 22nd!," he said loudly and very enthusiastically. "Oh, that's awesome, Tony," I said. "I'm really happy for you all, that's so cool, really!"
   So Sleeper Agent reaches another milestone in their young music career as a band.  I'll be sure to stay up watch their first national television appearance.  I'm am so looking forward to it as any proud father would be.  Keep on reaching for the stars, Sleeper Agent!  I'm very proud of all you-Tony, Alex, Scott, Josh, Lee and Justin!

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Act Of Valor," An Action Packed, Intense, Eye Opener Of A Movie

"If you like action packed movies mixed in with thrills and you want to know more about what the U.S. Navy Seals do for a living, this is the movie for you. Patty and I went to see "Act Of Valor" afternoon (2/26/12) and we were literally sitting on the edge of our seats watching this very intense movie. It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes with the government's high tech, top secret, special armed force and we as average citizens do not have a clue. Most of us are busy working and living our lives in our little postage stamp pieces of the world safely tucked away in America."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sleeper Agent's New Video, "Get Burned" Is Out Today

I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw is where Cage The Elephant had posted on Facebook, Bowling Green, Ky., based indie rock band, Sleeper Agent's new video, "Get Burned" that was just released to today on  The video was directed by Cage The Elephant's Matt Shultz and filmed in downtown Bowling Green at Labold & Sons Salvage Co.  Check it out!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taco Bell and Sleeper Agent Team Up For A New Commercial

Apparently, the new Taco Bell commercial featuring the Bowling Green, Ky., indie rock band, Sleeper Agent's hit song, "Get It Daddy," must be a smash hit because it's racked up almost 7,000 views on Youtube in less than a week.  Also, the commercial is being shown on countless networks on cable television across the nation as well in other countries.  The networks MTV and VH1 are probably running it more than any others out there at the moment as far as I can tell.  It's possible that it might even be shown during the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday.  Who knows?  We'll just have to wait and see!  Congrats to Sleeper Agent for another milestone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bowling Green, Ky.,'s Sleeper Agent Heads For Coachella Music and Arts Festival In 2012

It was announced to today that the Bowling Green, Ky., indie based rock band, "Sleeper Agent" will be playing at the Coachella music and arts festival in Indio, California, April 15 & 22.  Congrats guys and gal!

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Thoughts On Sleeper Agent's Success In 2011 and The Beginning Of 2012

Regarding my son, Tony Smith and Sleeper Agent's success for 2011 and 2012 in light of the Rolling Stones magazine and the other distinctions that the band has received this past year and in the new year already-Rolling Stone's "No. 14-Best 50 songs of 2011, "Get It Daddy," "No. 2-Rookies Of 2011" and "No. 2-Best New Artists of 2011"--"For me, it's like reverting back to my high school and college days digging the music scene all over again. However, it's a much younger generation of new rock & roll and it's an intriguing feeling seeing it from the inside being a father of someone connected to the music industry. I suppose it feels like a parent standing on the sidelines watching his son playing on the field during a football game. I'm constantly rooting for Tony and his team. And I especially love it when he and his team are winning and I sincerely feel like they are winning at the game of rock & roll at the moment."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Indie Rock Sensations, Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent Skyrockets To The Top In 2011

By Galen A. Smith Sr.

BOWLING GREEN,  Ky. _ 2011 was an incredible, exciting year for both Bowling Green based indie rock bands, Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent as they zoomed into the stratosphere making headlines across the nation playing shows while on tour all across North America.  Cage The Elephant made several trips to Europe as Sleeper Agent made their way up to the "Great White North," Canada, for the first time requiring some of the band members to get passports for the first time in their young lives.  Cage The Elephant even traveled to Melbourne and Sydney, Australia for two shows in November.
     Both Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent were published several times in such publications as Rolling Stone, Spin, Guitar World and Alternative Press magazines and other magazines and newspapers throughout the year with nicely written positive articles and full color photos.  They were also written about in hundreds of Internet blogs and their songs were heard on hundreds of radio stations across the country as well as Alternative Nation Sirus satellite radio.  Both bands had albums to come out in 2011 with Cage The Elephant's second release "Thank You, Happy Birthday" on Jan. 11 and Sleeper Agent's debut album "Celabrasion" on Sept. 27.  Cage The Elephant's "Thank You, Happy Birthday," ranked No. 15 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2011 and Sleeper Agent's first single, "Get It Daddy," ranked No. 14 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Songs of 2011.  Sleeper Agent also ranked No. 2 on Rolling Stone's Rookies of 2011.  On its first day of release, "Thank You, Happy Birthday," charted as No. 1 on the top 10 albums downloads on iTunes.  The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week in the U.S. debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard 200.
    The two Bowling Green bands also released several videos in 2011 with Cage The Elephant's "Shake Me Down" which was nominated for "Best Rock Video" on MTV, "Around My Head," and "Aberdeen," and Sleeper Agent's "Get It Daddy,"  All four of these 2011 videos has received tons of airplay on cable television and elsewhere.  In December of 2011, Sleeper Agent's next single, "Get Burned" off their album was made into a video and the video was filmed in downtown Bowling Green above Labold & Sons Salvage Co. in an old, dark and dusty apartment above the store and then outside the city limits in the countryside in some woods at night.  And believe it or not, the video was directed by none other than Matt Shultz himself of Cage The Elephant!  This was Matt's debut video directorial effort.  The video is scheduled to be released sometime in January 2012. Sleeper Agent also wrote and recorded a song for Nike sportswear's video series "Always On" featuring Lindsey Harding, a WNBA Atlanta Dreams women's basketball star.  Also, on Sleeper Agent's web-site there is a video series that was recently filmed at the old Tennessee State Prison in Nashville which includes some acoustic sets and interviews where the band mates interview each other.  And finally but not least, Sleeper Agent's hit song, "Get It Daddy," is going to be featured in a new movie due in May of 2012 called, "What To Expect When You're Expecting," starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez.
   Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent even toured together on many dates at big and small venues across North America in the mid-west and the west coast throughout 2011.  On New Years Eve of 2011, Cage The Elephant, Sleeper Agent, Chicago's Company of Thieves and Bowling Green's own Morning Teleportation, played before a crowd of 6,000 celebrating indie rock music lovers in the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.  Here is what one person wrote on a recent blog about Cage The Elephant's and Sleeper Agent's performance in Chicago New Years Eve.
 "Mind blowing really.  Excellent. Knew of Company of Thieves and thought they would go on second, so I missed them which sucked.  Sleeper Agent just blew me away, Cage too. Amazing f-ing rock, energy, all of it. Happy New Year!"
This past summer, Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent and a new and upcoming Bowling Green indie rock band who just recently also recorded an album with the famous music producer from Nashville, Jay Joyce, (who produced both albums for Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent's debut album) "Schools" played a secret surprise show at Tidballs.  It was said that so many people showed up from Bowling Green and the surrounding area and out of town as well as out of state, that people could not get inside and the parking lot was so packed that fans hung around just listening to the show from outside the small downtown bar and venue.  Cage The Elephant played another hometown surprise show at Western Kentucky in Bowling Green in September that was quickly organized less than a month by the Starry Nights Musical Festival team.  That night another much larger than expected crowd over 3,000 showed up on Western's campus South Lawn to see Cage The Elephant, Manchester Orchestra and local favorite bands, Japanese School Girls and Canago perform. At one point, the campus police threatened to stop the show out of fear that people might getting seriously injured if fans didn't back off the guard rails near the stage. Also, Cage The Elephant went on tour with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters in the Fall of 2011.  When Cage's drummer, Jared Champion became ill, Grohl sat in as drummer for several performances until Jared was able to get back in the saddle.
Cage is set to release their debut live DVD/CD Jan 3, 2012, called "Live from the Vic in Chicago" and online as iTunes DVD download and digital audio download.  Best Buy is also getting in on the action, as the store will offer an exclusive Blu-Ray disc in stores beginning Jan. 3.  The Blu-Ray will be available via other retailers starting Jan. 17.  Directed by Wayne Isham, Live from the Vic in Chicago was taped during Cage The Elephant's Spring 2011 tour, during which the band played a two-night, sold-out show at The Vic Theatre in Chicago.  The DVD packs 75 minutes of alternative rock action, including the band playing their biggest hits to date, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked,"  "Shake Me Down" and "Aberdeen."  Fans got an early  taste of the DVD via a 30-minute version of Live from the Vic in Chicago, which premiered on MTV, MTV2, MTVU, MTV Hits and this past fall.
    Sleeper Agent will be aboard the Weezer Cruise Jan. 19-23, 2012, from Miami to Cozumel..  Some of the other bands that will be on the cruise besides Weezer and Sleeper Agent will dinosaur jr., the Wavves and The Knocks among several others bands. Cage The Elephant will be breaking new ground in their extensive travels in which they will heading down to Brazil in 2012.
    Apparently, the sky is the limit for these already successful two young Bowling Green indie rock bands in 2012 who are making headlines all over the world in magazines, newspapers, the Internet, videos and blogs.  They are bringing tons of attention to our fair city of Bowling Green with a population of 58,000 and all eyes are us in the indie rock world because of them.  2012 should be another amazing, incredible year as these two bands as they continue to skyrocket to the top even further!

Galen A. Smith Sr. is a native of Memphis, Tenn., and has lived with his wife, Patty, and son, Tony "Tutone" Smith who is a member of Sleeper Agent, in Bowling Green since 1988.  He writes a blog,    Join the Cage The Elephant and Sleeper Agent fan pages on Facebook at "Cage The Elephant's Facebook Fan Page" and "Sleeper Agent's Facebook Fan Page."