January 31stIt’s been 31 days of sobriety and as of two days ago 31 years of being alive. Every year since the mid to late 90’s I’ve usually spent yesterday in various stages of head throbbing, body aching retribution from the evil booze gods, but not this year folks! I am happy to report that zero alcohol was imbibed by yours truly and I have to give Morgan Smith (of Day Theory and Afraid Of Humans fame!) partial credit for drinking not only my share and his, but also enough booze to fuel the streets of San Francisco twice over. What a trooper. I had a great time with great friends and discovered that Beck’s non alcoholic beer isn’t completely disgusting. That and two separate sessions of Rock Band 3 (with my new keyboard peripheral thanks to Meghan!) made for a fantastic birthday that went well into the wee hours of the next morning.So how different was it not drinking? Not different at all. The only minor thing I noticed was how some people felt briefly weird about being so drunk while I was dead sober, but those moments were few and far between and more about them being temporarily self conscious than honestly feeling weird. All my friends have known me long enough to know that I really don’t mind being around drunk people whether I’m sober or not. I was raised on the road by musicians and roadies after all.So all is good! I’ve got my Top 10 movies of 2010 coming up next and hopefully many more blog worthy adventures in Sober City. Cheers!



January 25, 2011

Ever since I was a young lad of about 11 or so growing up in very rural Cape Breton Nova Scotia, I’ve had a borderline unhealthy obsession with The Academy Awards. It involved me seeking out and watching every nominated movie (including all the acting nominated performances), printing out two separate ballots (one with my predictions and one to mark official winners on the night) and ended with me dressing up in a suit and locking myself in my basement to watch the telecast completely uninterrupted in Oscar glory. Now while I’ve downgraded my obsession quite a bit, I still never miss the show and I still try to watch as many related movies as possible. This year is no exception and today is nomination day! Here’s a full list of nominees before I go on:

And once again the Academy has overlooked a major Canadian contender…me. I mean did they even watch my riveting performance as a mostly silent bass player in the Wal-Mart made for TV movie “Change Of Plans” starring none other than American Idol hopeful Brooke White and Mrs Huxtable from The Cosby Show? I was perfectly channeling Daniel Day Lewis and Sir Anthony Hopkins the entire time I was jumping around in the background behind Randy Jackson and my delivery of the line “I wasn’t playing slow” was so compelling and realistic that you could barely remember I wasn’t playing at all! Politics. Such a tragic snub. Me and Ryan Gosling.

Anyway, in honor of the Oscars I’m getting my own top ten movies of 2010 list ready and I’ll be posting it very soon. I just have a couple more movies I feel I should see before I lock 10 down forever on the never forgetting inter webs. Who would ever take me seriously again if I made a best or 2010 list without first seeing Fury Vengeance or Yogi Bear? I hear that Justin Timberlake gives a superb performance as famed file sharing mogul BooBoo.

Still sober. Still feel great. Still keeping the dream alive. We’ll see how I deal with my first big test this Saturday on my birthday. Prediction: January 30th won’t be as terrible as it has been for the past 14 years (The same may not be true for the Smith brothers). Cheers!



Greetings followers of my insane experiment to better myself and test the limits of going against my inner Cape Breton instincts! It’s been 3 weeks and all is well in Sober City. I’ve gone this long many times before so nothing feels really new here. The only difference is when I would take my month long breaks in the past I’d already be planning my “triumphant return to alcohol” at this point and most likely end up on a messy two day drinking extravaganza that would end with a three day hangover and a significantly lighter wallet. Fun times for sure but ultimately not very productive.

I’ve been trying to go out as much as possible and surround myself with as many drunk people and alcoholic beverages as I can. I figure everything is going to be easier at the beginning when I’m still gung-ho and head strong so I may as well start creating new habits while the getting’s good. I’m honestly loving it. Diet Cokes are my go to beverage of choice and I haven’t had a single craving or awkward “I’m-the-only-sober-guy-here” moment yet and the lack of hangovers the next day is seriously kicking ass.

I’m also noticing the strange phenomenon of “contact drunk”. It’s like the contact high you get hanging out with people smoking weed when you’re not smoking at all. Sure that’s called second hand smoke and there’s a scientific explanation for it, but I think the same principles can apply to being sober around a bunch of drunk friends if only psychologically. It’s all in my head but luckily that’s where everything is so it works for me.

All in all the experiment is still a success and the ride is smooth. My birthday is a week from today and I’m planning on having a big night out with everyone that can make it so I’ll blog about that for sure. It’ll be the first birthday since I was about 15 that I will not be celebrating with at least one adult beverage but I’m not too worried about it. It’ll just be another chance to have a new experience involving altering an old tradition. When you get right down to it, nothing really changes. You still get to have the fun of being with all your friends and acting crazy if you want to, you just get to remember more and feel better in the morning.

So far that’s the biggest discovery I’ve made. Nothing really changes if you don’t want it to. I guess I already knew that as I’ve seen it with Cory, the only fully sober friend I have. His experience and reasons for being sober are way more serious and important than mine but I’ve found myself thinking about how he was (and still is) always down to go out and be around alcohol no matter what. He never appeared to be the “sober guy” the entire time we were shooting Kaya and we went out quite a bit including a 48 hour trip to The MTV VMAs in Vegas. I figure if he can live the life he’s living (especially now) and stay sober for as many years as he has then a year for me should be a piece of cake.

It’s all about perspective kids! Life is what you make it and everything that we experience is first filtered through our crazy brains. It’s up to us how we interpret those experiences so we might as well focus on the good things instead of all the shitty stuff. Write that down. Good not shitty. I’m a word wizard. Shazam!



Here we go with another update on my year long sober experiment. So far so good. I’ve been sick for most of 2011 so not drinking has been a piece of cake. I’ve also realized that it’s not necessarily always going to be that hard and it may be too soon to keep a regular blog about my experience. That being said, I’m sure there will be interesting moments and good stuff to talk about soon enough. Until then, here’s another list! I’ve been making a lot of lists. Might be a side effect of sobriety. I’ll do some research. Anyway, I posted my top ten albums of 2010 and realized there was a shit ton of awesome music in 2009 that I felt the need to share with someone. I couldn’t bring myself to put them all in order or limit them to 10 albums so I settled on 15 randomly ordered amazing releases that still frequent my iPhone on a pretty regular basis. Enjoy!

JOE’S 15 MUST-HAVE ALBUMS OF 2009 (In random order)

1. Tegan & Sara – Sainthood
2. Mute Math – Armistice
3. Pearl Jam – Backspacer
4. Hey Rosetta – Into Your Lungs
5. Metric – Fantasies
6. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
7. John Mayer – Battle Studies
8. Band Of Skulls – Baby Darling Dollface Honey
9. Dead Weather – Horehound
10. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
11. The Temper Trap – Conditions
12. Nico Vega – Nico Vega
13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
14. Paramour – Brand New Eyes
15. Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg

SOBER CITY – Day 6/Top 10 Albums Of 2010

Day 6? Really? I could’ve sworn it was more like 42. Anyway, I’ve been sick for all of 2011 so far so an update on how I’m doing with the no booze thing is pretty pointlesss given the steady flow of antibiotics and cough syrup in my system. So instead, here’s my picks for the top ten albums of 2010. I someday might regret some of the album placements but I stand by all albums included in this list for the impact they had on me personally and the greatness I believe they convey each in their own way. Also it’s just a list of albums I thought kicked ass last year. Enjoy!


1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
2. Mumford And Sons – Sigh No More
3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
4. Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards
5. The Black Keys – Brothers
6. Delta Spirit – History From Below
7. Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
8. Ray LaMontagne – God Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise
9. Florence + The Machine – Lungs
10. Sweet Thing – Sweet Thing


Eminem – Recovery
Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday
Broken Bells – Broken Bells
Afraid Of Humans – Forward, the Light Brigade!


Yeah that last one’s mine, but it IS awesome! I kept it out of the top ten for obvious reasons but I couldn’t ignore it completely! $9.99 on iTunes! Buy one for everyone you know! Happy 2011 y’all!


New Years always leaves me with the same profound life question year after year without fail that I’m sure we all can relate to…Is it spelled New “Years” or New “Year’s”? I never know. Year’s looks a little better. Damn you proper grammar! I’m sure that’ll be the first of many such grammatical and spelling situations I’ll find myself in over the course of this year as I try my best to document this crazy experiment of sobriety I’m conducting. I can’t guarantee I’ll post everyday (or even every week for that matter) but I do think a little blog of progress would be a beneficial thing, if not for the reader for the writer at least. I’ll even try to video blog along the way just so everyone can actually see me locking myself into a padded cell on St Patrick’s Day or opening fire from a bell tower during Oktoberfest. You know the little things. So Happy New Year’s everyone! Only 363 days left in 2011. Make em count!