Beatles Fest | Chicago Il. August 13th 2023

Got a chance to fill a very large bucket in my list. Dusted off the cobwebs and played a live show with my two boys Otto and Nelson and one of their School of Rock band mates Simon and his dad Dave. They very graciously asked us to play with them after they won a Battle of the Bands last year and secured a 40min set on one of the stages at the Festival.

Two weeks to practice and learn 10 songs, 4-5 practices, and here we are. A ton of fun. Always wanted to play some of these songs.

Minor Third Album Out Now

Mission From Dog background

Very pleased to be sharing my third solo album as Mission From Dog titled Minor Third. In reading one of my last posts before I wrote this one, I’m deeply gratified to be able to still write and record music as I approach 50, and this time with a faster turnaround than my last release which took ten years. Even more so, it’s been an incredible time to write and record music with my oldest son Otto who played drums throughout. He’s been writing and sending me back drum recordings for each song over the last three years as he aged from 14 to 17. So proud of him, his brother Nelson too, for deciding (as if they had a choice) to pursue music as a hobby and passion. And – to record music together is such a gift.

So, Minor Third. What in store for you? Once again I “turned my own insides out” as one of my heroes Elliott Smith once wrote. This is an album that continues to contemplate major themes in my life. From thinking about hanging up the music dream or writing songs for other people, to a more outward expression of my love for animals and disdain for animal cruelty, to remnants from past emotions that still hate the living shit out of cancer — it’s another very personal exploration. There’s some work around the fragility of the mind, mine in particular, and a couple songs that share my love for my new bride, my late bride, and all feelings of happiness, sadness, love, and loss all at once.

This time around conceptually I tried writing more tunes while standing up. While that may seem a bit odd, it was a very different feeling to search for those creative moments, and do so in a way that finds more energy and movement, that could ultimately be channeled into these songs. So perhaps it’s a bit more upbeat and rocking than my last record, and I’d wager I have a lot more to say as I settle into my mediocrity that I mentioned in my last records release post. By that I mean I’m getting more comfortable as a singer, going outside my comfort zone on a few tracks and taking a few chances with range, melody, etc. Or said more bluntly, less giving of fucks.

Finally, once again a list of thank yous for a few folks. A special thanks to Blaise Barton for mixing, mastering, and helpful production ideas. To Sarah Zimmer and Karl Jahnke for their artistic work on the album cover, artwork and merch. To an old friend and colleague, the very talented photographer Barry Brecheisen (who is very busy shooting real rock stars!) reminded me that drinking many IPAs on an empty stomach is a very bad idea. To my good friend Pete Karr for his production and writing feedback, and most of all to my family Michele, Otto, and Nelson for their support. And lastly, thank you to anyone taking the time to read this, listen to the songs, or spend even a moment with me in your thoughts.

Last but not least, here’s the links to the music and the merch.

Spotify | Apple | Amazon | YouTube | Pandora

Next album is already underway.

Major Second Album Review

Nice review of Red and Blue Flashing Heads by A&R Factory from Major Second.

Review is here, reposted here:

Taken off the incredibly real ten-track ‘Major Second‘ release, Mission From Dog are back with the superb single called ‘Red and Blue Flashing Heads‘.

Casey Hess aka Mission From Dog is a Chicago, Illinois-based solo artist who previously toiled the ground with various bands in his local area as well as Detroit, to now find his home making music that truly keeps his soul alive, with that fire burning brightly in his eyes.

This is the story of making sure that they don’t forget your name, as you go through life and wish that they could keep you in their mind forever, so that it may be lodged into their soul for eternity.

With so many lathers of soothing indie rock that is such a sumptuous listen, you feel lifted by the deep lyrics has you so captivated, the solos are tremendous and his vocals ease into your blood flow with that rarefied air, that not a lot of artists have in their locker.

He sings with such vehement gusto and purposeful enthusiasm, as we hear a man on a mission to reach his dreams no matter what is thrown his way.

Red and Blue Flashing Heads‘ from Chicago’s Mission From Dog, is a terrific single that has your mind in an elevated place, as you daydream and get lost into this wonderfully soulful creation to escape into.

Hear this quality single on Spotify and check out the IG for more info.

Hall of Fame on Welcome To Night Vale


Two years later after I submitted a song to Night Vale they reached out and said Hall of Fame is getting a run during their weather segment. Airs on 3/15 show here. Hall of Fame is a song about an old band mate and good friend that beat addiction and then unfortunately lost his life shortly after. He was the bass player in my old band and one of the best natural musicians and creatives I’ve had the pleasure to meet and play with. Hope you enjoy the podcast, and the song!

Insides Out

Mission From Dog Major Second album artwork

Wanted to share what’s become at best a once a decade event. I can’t seem to let go of a childhood passion for making music. And it’s taking longer to find time to make it. As an occasional perfectionist with mediocre obsessive compulsivity, I’ve found the exercise of searching for balance in my life completely at odds with my desire to dive head first into the creative vortex and live, breath, sleep, and eat music.

To hit the record button after skipping days and weeks of picking up a guitar has gone against every part of my being that would prefer a rather unhealthy tendency to be completely immersive — be better, do better, sound better, write better and so on while forgoing things like eating, exercise, friendship, and generally healthy alternatives. Since my last recording in 2006, I’ve explored and experienced much of what this world has to offer — life and death, new beginnings, new and broken friendships, love, loss, anger, remorse, guilt, crippling grief, incredible joy, marriage, funerals… being called a husband, father, widow, and everything in between. Through it all, I’ve learned how to explore and protect this very small area of my life, my world that no one can tell me what to do or how to do it. I’ve learned to exercise my own mediocrity and just enjoy whatever creative and cathartic process results in music.

So, thirteen years after my first release, today Major Second officially timeboxes a decade or so. And it’s out under the Mission From Dog moniker on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Tidal (for however long it lasts), Amazon, YouTube, etc. It’s a collection of songs at best, but as I worked with the extremely talented Sarah Zimmer on the cover design, she reiterated to me that it’s about life, love, loss and a little surrealism. A special thanks to Blaise Barton for mixes and masters, Paul Gonzalez and Eric Powers on drums, Pete Karr for production and insecurity/reassurance, and anyone that takes the time to listen.

So there it is. Get listening.

Eulogy for Paula Hess

Eulogy for Paula Hess
By Casey Hess
August 20th, 2016

As I look around at the faces I see here today, I can’t help but remember: The last time many of us were together was for our wedding, on the beach in Captiva Island, Florida.

You remember: It was a small wedding, by design, an intimate event that enabled everyone there to connect with one another in meaningful ways. As we planned this memorial, it was important to me to create that same kind of event today. Just as we did then, albeit under different circumstances, I want to take a moment to thank everyone that traveled here today, that made time in your busy schedules to be here with us in person. It means so much to me, and to Paula’s family and it would certainly mean the world to Paula.

Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Tony Weisman, Doug Ryan, and Brittney Deaver from Digitas, the company I work for. They have been supportive beyond my wildest dreams from a personal and work perspective, and also financially, as they’ve made it possible for us to be here at this beautiful venue. They are not just co-workers, or bosses. Everyone has those. They are the best and most supportive representatives of one of the kindest, human, and compassionate companies around. I can’t thank them enough.

And to all of you, it’s been very gratifying and emotional to receive your contributions to the GoFundMe that was set up at the request of the late Maria Ketsios, Paula’s aunt, who recently passed after her own battle with cancer. She left the earth asking her daughters Elizabeth, Vicki, and Dena to make sure that people didn’t send flowers or donations to her, but that they extended their support to Paula, to our family, as a final gift from her to us. The GoFundMe was set up by them, and has morphed into something I will be forever grateful for beyond any words that I could think or say. It is truly remarkable, and for that I feel blessed.

As I was thinking about how to do Paula’s Eulogy and who should do it, I knew for certain it should be me. But I also knew that I don’t really like the center of attention, and that I am not necessarily naturally good and confident as a public speaker, and most importantly, as a Hess, I can conjure tidal waves of tears at the first rush of even the slightest emotion. So I ask you practically and symbolically to help me through this speech, and through this whole episode of my life, as we all continue our search together for love, trust, happiness and peace.

I met Paula 16 years ago when I dramatically changed my own path, and put to rest my own fear, pain, and insecurity. I wrote a song back then with a lyric that explained it best, I wrote: “How could I have loved/when I really hated me?” And it was this transition from self-loathing to self-loving that shined a light on me and allowed me to play way above my weight class with a beautiful girl like Paula. So on this night together with all of you, I will once again embrace my fear, my pain, our pain and the collective grieving and sadness, and “sit with it,” as some of us like to say. I will breathe with it, and know how it feels and how it dissipates, and ebbs and flows. Because this is how life is. It’s just like the waves in the ocean, on Poipou beach in Kauai, one of our favorite spots. Sometimes gentle, sometimes rough, but always constant. I hope to share these waves with each of you tonight, and move from our collective sadness into celebration, as that’s the way Paula would’ve wanted us to find peace, to dance amongst the waves.

A few things about Paula

Last December, as she continued to battle cancer, Paula really began to think about what was important to her. She was a passionate feminist, not much interested in small talk, more interested in making a difference. One day, seemingly out of the blue, she started to collect random items: extra winter hats, mittens, a granola bar, some moisturizer, an extra chapstick. She gathered them and packed them into Ziplock bags that she kept in her car. Driving by Belmont and Kedzie, a busy intersection under the highway near our home , Paula would look for homeless women she could help out. I later learned she had discovered the idea for these “Blessing Bags” on Pinterest – if you knew Paula, you know she spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest – This is the type of person that I was lucky enough to spend sixteen years with. She was a crafter, a designer, and a true creative. When I think back about Paula and the thing I probably loved most about her, it was her attention to detail in things that many of us would just gloss over. She didn’t care about money. She often shopped for clothes at thrift stores. She was happiest buying fabric and designing a large P to sew on a purse she made, or making one of her many baby slings, or creating a beach bag made from plastic bags from stores on Sanibel, or a home made Kleenex holder.

Although she was a detail person, that didn’t mean she was punctual. Regardless of what plans we had, she could get carried away designing a costume for a dance team over a pot of coffee, with Otto nearby creating his own comic book and Nelson keeping the universe safe from Angry Birds. One, two, three o’clock in the afternoon, and we hadn’t left the house – it didn’t really matter as long as the atmosphere was full of creative energies. I admit, I have been known to sneak off to my basement studio from time to time myself.

My wife had an assassin’s vocabulary. If you were ever unlucky enough to be invited to a game of Words With Friends or Scrabble with her you know what I mean, or you may have witnessed me being put in my place for using the wrong word, or the wrong verb tense, or not knowing its Latin origin. As a child, Paula would sit up at night — the insomniac that she was, with a flashlight and a dictionary, reading sequential pages at a time to absorb, understand, and make sense of the language. She didn’t need to ponder the universe and its meaning, she had millions of words right in front of her like stars to gaze at. She truly had a love for words, and as I wrote this Eulogy, many times I closed my eyes to listen for her guidance, her spiritual grammar checking.

Paula was a dancer in her soul through and through. I looked up the definition of dance as I wrote this, and it immediately made sense why we were together. Dance is defined as “moving rhythmically to music.” In our relationship, I was the music, and she the dance. And so she chose a path in life to stay as close to dance as anyone can, and cherished her job with Universal Dance Association, with Julie Manning and her work with Glenbrook South High School, and countless other dance teams around the country. In reading so many of the Facebook posts mourning her passing over the past two weeks, it became even more apparent to me just what an inspiration she was for so many people. And in turn, that has made my time with her that much more special. It’s been remarkable to continue to learn what an understated ability she had to make others feel so close as well. Not everyone ever meets their true soul mate, the person they can be most vulnerable with and trust, the person they look forward to brushing their teeth with, the person that wraps each and ever thought that the enters and leaves their mind. I was the music, and she the dance. We completed each other.

She was such a fan of All That Jazz, the movie about Bob Fosse’s life as a dancer and choreographer. There’s a quote from Bob that that I think fit Paula’s approach to life so well, as she was fearless in her work. It reads: “Live like you’ll die tomorrow, work like you don’t need the money, and dance like nobody’s watching.” I walked into my relationship with Paula saying over and over in my head, “I’ll be fine if she likes me for a minute, and fine if she loves me for a lifetime.” I know now that she did love me, my boys, and my entire family and friends for a lifetime. It was a lifetime cut too short for sure, but as I tried to explain mom’s cancer to our boys, I told them she lived a full life, just one that was a bit quicker than we hoped for. So, she has left us with a great responsibility: to honor her life, to mend our own broken hearts together, and to join forces to ensure our boys prosper, as she herself has already worked so hard to ensure.

In closing… It’s my wish that all of our lives move forward, inspired by the grace, dignity, strength, and courage of Paula Kintonis Hess, a great Mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend to us all. And the most beautiful, creative, and a passionate dancer I’ve ever known.

Thank You.