Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Up to Speed

CJ has had 8 gigs to date (over the last 9 months). It is worth noting that the Pixies played their 11th show EVER on Feb 27, 1988 in in...on world tour. And their first show ever was on Oct 31, 1986. Their 8th show was 10/03/1987...just about a year after their first.

Now, granted, they prepared for much, much longer for that first show than we did for ours (we had a month to says they formed the band in January 86 or slightly them 10 months of prep for the first show) and they were, of course, writing original songs rather than copying from someone else. But it is kind of surprising to me how few shows they played early on...and how quickly they went on a real tour. Now yes...they got "discovered"...and had to put together an album (a serious demo with studio time, really) early on. I imagine though that they probably were rehearsing 2, 3, 4...or more times a week. It's just surprising that, after they finally played that first show...that shows were so sparse for the first year and a quarter.

It's just interesting.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To Pick or Not To Pick

I've been sliding along for almost 10 months acting as the Kim Deal in a Pixies tribute band and playing the bass with my fingers. Purist would note that Kim Deal plays bass with a pick (the green ones with the little turtles on them in fact). I was suprised to find that my bandmates had made no note of this until last night, when it suddenly seemed like a big deal. And there was some disbelief that I didn't know how to play with a pick...or that I might play guitar without a pick.

I am a mostly self-taught musician. When I picked up the guitar and the bass in middle school for the first time, I played neither with a pick. I'm not sure if this is because 1) there were no picks laying around our house or 2) I was also playing cello at the time, which even when plucked does not use a pick. Fingers seemed natural.

In the early '90s I got somewhat serious about playing guitar, but I still didn't use a pick. I partly played fingerstyle, which by definition, does not use a pick (except sometimes a thumb pick)...but when I strummed I just formed my hand into a pick-like shape sans pick. At the time I wasn't performing and volume was not a this worked just fine.

I probably first was introduced to using a pick through the mandolin, which is nearly impossible to play without one. I had all but forgotten this fact until just now. Twelve-string guitar is the same way.

But the pick made headway in my house when I bought my first electric guitar, which was probably about 4 years ago or so now. I don't think you can really play an electric without a pick. I was also singing and playing for other people more often, and so I started playing acoustic guitar with a pick too. I'm still not very good at doing anything with it except strumming...though now that I remember the whole mandolin thing it makes me wonder how I managed to play fast fiddle tunes on a mando with a pick. The answer I suspect is..."not well".

I suppose that I overstated my case last night when I insisted that I never played with a pick...not even guitar. But it is true that I didn't play guitar with a pick for the first 20 or so years that I played, and that the pick still feels weird when I do use it. I still can't properly flatpick a melody line, though I might be able to eek out the passing bass notes to a chord progression.

I've never played the bass with a pick, though. When I picked up bass in 2003 I started by playing with my thumb...but quickly figured out this was super lame...and switched to a two finger method. I never gave it much thought after that. I developed technique without any conscious thought. I've noticed recently that I mute the strings with the opposite finger after I strike. I never realized I was doing that, but it allows me to play more staccato than otherwise possible.

When the Pixies thing came up, I looked into using a pick right around the time that we learned U-Mass...cause she was getting a tone that I just couldn't reproduce without the pick. It was really hard for me though, and since no one else seemed to notice or care, I gave up. I put a pick in my bass case, though...just in case.

And so last night it came up that my intro to Debaser is muddy...and of course it is. Playing fingerstyle is just way more legato than with a pick.

I went and took a look today at Deal's technique...and she seems to only pick with downstrokes and to anchor her pinky finger on the bottom string. The downstroke only thing seems a little primitive...and surprises me coming from a guitar player...but it is certainly easier than playing down/up. It feels like a bad habit to pick up...down stroke only...but it would be faster to learn to do that.

I think that I will likely stick with playing by finger style for most things, cause I frankly prefer the sound and I think it is easier to play that way. But I might try to use the pick just on Debaser and U-Mass and other songs where it seems to matter more.

This is all very ironic because the bass player in one of my other bands (who is way better than me on bass) is forever lamenting that he wants to learn to play without a pick like "a real bass player."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pixies Bass Fakebook

This is probably not ready for prime time yet, but I feel like it might never be ready...or at least not for a long time (like 6 months from now) and I'd like to have access online.

So here it is...draft 12/21/2010 of the Pixies Bass Fakebook (pdf format). All the bass tabs for every Pixies song ever recorded (plus one that was never formally recorded). It's 88 songs. Lyrics too.

It isn't quite ready for prime time for a couple of is clunky formatting. I'm fighting with Word over sections and styles and such. The second is that not all of the songs are finished. About half of them are finished and checked for accuracy. The rest are in process. A process that will involve me learning all 40 or so of them. Which will take a bit of time.

But it's still a darn good start for anyone with an interest. It's certainly light years ahead of the tab that I collected...all in one handy location.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And what about the bass...

Yeah. The bass. It isn't quite a neat and clean a story as the drums.

My first instrument was the chord organ when I was about 8 (1978). It was what was available in our house. I still regret that I was never forced to take piano lessons as a child. Maybe my parents didn't have the money or maybe it never occured to them. But when an 8 year old sits down at the crappy keyboard in your house without anyone prompting them'd think this would point to piano lessons. But alas, I digress.

Before you knew it I was in middle school and starting the cello (1982). Why I chose the cello is embarrasing. My mom thinks it is because of the tv show "Fame" and Lori Singer. This is completely untrue. My interest in Fame came AFTER joining orchestra. Actually, I wanted to play french horn. I have no idea why. But I didn't want to be in marching band because I was afraid I'd get my period and bleed on my uniform and everyone would see. Neurosis. So I decided to go with orchestra instead. Violin was my first choice...but again...I was afraid I was too fat and would look dumb playing violin. So I picked cello so I could hide behind it. No joke. I've been messed up a long time.

I bring all this up because cello led to guitar and bass. I had a broken electric bass I trash picked and I'd goof with it because the finger spacing was similiar to cello. Shortly after taking up cello around 1982, I taught myself to play my dad's acoustic guitar from chord charts on pop music. All open first position chords.

I set the bass down for a good long time. Around 1994 I was asked to play cello in a bizarre rock/folk band as a kind of proxy bass. I was living with a professional bass player at the time, so at some point I picked up her electric bass and played it a few times, but it was pretty limited exposure. Somewhere along the line I figured out playing root notes.

In 2003 I accidentally joined The Motor Primitives on bass and played with them for about 7 months before kind of getting kicked out for someone better. We morphed into Pants del Fwego and I continued playing with them until around 2008. All that time I basically did nothing more but play the root, third, or fifth of the guitar chords. I never listened to any recordings of the songs we played. I never practiced outside rehearsal.

In December 2009 RS off handedly mentioned the Pixies tribute band idea after I begged him to led me play bass in the Escapists. I started learning Pixies songs in secret and found Kim Deal's 8th note root based style a perfect match to my limited skill set. By March we were a band, played out in April...and on it goes.

Some time in spring 2010 I took a bass class...and tried to start lessons. But both left me cold. It was like jumping in the deep end of music theory. I could see the value and I could follow along somewhat...but it made it quite a lot of work. Meanwhile I've managed to decifer 3/4 of the bass parts that the Pixies have. Clearly there is a gap between learning and doing here. Granted, Kim Deal isn't playing any greatly complicated bass lines...but she is doing something well that propels the music. And that's the kind of bass I like.

I'd like to get more serious on the bass, but I don't know if it will ever become a priority. Much of what I like about bass is that it is fun and not very stressful for me. There's less riding on you than in the drum throne. While I wouldn't want that to be my primary's a nice break sometimes. It puts the fun back in playing music. It's relaxing instead of stressful.

While technically I've been playing bass off and on for about 28 years now...I guess I'd mark the "real" start as 7 years ago...and the "serious" start as a year ago. Though I'm not sure that I've actually HAD the serious start yet.

Still too much drum stuff to learn.

I will comment, though, that I read often about the benefits of drummers playing other instruments. I certainly value the time I've put in with other instruments when I'm playing drums. And I value the time spent in ensembles of all kinds when playing in bands. But the bass and the drums are certainly the most closely tied of the instruments in a band...and it is really useful to have some language with both when sitting in the opposite role.

5 Year Check In

So I bought my first drum kit on my way to Indiana for New Year's in December 2005. Stopped by Drums N Moore on my way out of town, saw a full kit with cymbals and hardware for about $400...and bought it on the spot. Had to haul it back home before continuing on to Indiana.

It was KIND of an impulse buy and kind of not. I've long had a habit of collecting cheap instruments...sometimes following up by learning to play them and sometimes not. I wasn't the kind of person who was into drums from a really young age. I just wasn't. I didn't constantly drum my fingers on tables and such. I'm not sure when I started to think about playing drums, but I remember wanting a drum kit when I lived in the attic on Willy Street around 1998 or so. I remember thinking it would fit just fine in the storage space next to my room.

A few years later the sweetie, after much arm twisting, bought me a cheapie electronic kit from Sam's club. A table top model, but it had foot pedals. As she expected, I never really learned to play the thing.

When I started playing with The Motor Primitives I started getting interested in drums, though I don't really know why. When the band morphed into Pants del Fwego I briefly considered moving to drums...then decided it better to stick with bass and learn how to "really" play...which, ahem...I have yet to actually do.

It must have been in fall 2004 that we went to the Experience Music Project in Seattle and I sat behind a real drum kit and learned the basic rock beat and a reggae beat. I was kind of a goner after that. I bought my house in fall 2005 and before I knew it I was buying that kit at Drums N Moore "on a whim." I certainly hadn't planned it or researched it. But there I was...led by a current of pent up want.

Given my history, there were good odds that the kit would sit in the basement never to be played. I think I was buoyed by the three free drum lessons that came with the kit. I liked my instructor and that single day at EMP (and year's of playing and listening to music, I suspect) had actually given me the skills to not feel like a total beginner. It didn't work out for me to continue with lessons, but I DID keep playing. Mostly I put on the Motor Primitives cds or Wingspan and played along. That's how I learned to play.

In summer 2006 I had a reality check that it was time I stopped waiting for other people to make my musical dreams happen and start taking responsibility. I started checking Craig's List for bands. I don't know why I thought playing in a band was the next step, since I barely could play a basic rock beat...but there it was. I hooked up with three stoner guys I would go on to call "The Sea Turtles" because they talked like the Turtle in Finding Nemo. They were a jam rock...kind of outfit...and we didn't last long. Maybe four rehearsals. And then they just stopped showing up and never contacted me again.

Back to Craig's List and I hooked up with Jon in August. We added Michael in September and were gigging out as The Lollards by December. We practiced twice a week for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch, and by the time we disbanded in July 2007, we had a 22 song set, 16 of which were original tunes. We recorded a 5 song ep (supposed to be 6, but one got eaten by the recorder). I can't say we were that great musically (though I liked the songs). But it was a fantastic learning experience for me as a drummer AND as a gigging/recording musician. And we had a really good time.

Before The Lollards went down I had already gone back to the Craig's List well and hooked up with what would become Shanghai Party Boss. We started practicing in late summer and gigging in September 2007. We recorded a full length record in May 2008 and I was out of the band by August.

After that I had a real coming to Jesus moment. I didn't feel good about my skills and was tired of feeling that way. In December I signed up to start taking lessons, which I stuck with for a year and a half. I tried to practice every day for most of that time for 1-3 hours a day (outside rehearsals). In February 2009 Seven Stone Weaklings came together on a whim and helped me build back up my confidence.

In fall 2010 I joined The Drain.

Along the way there's been a dozen or so non-starter bands. Things that lasted one or two or ten rehearsals and then fell apart. Most of which I never got an explanation about or any kind of closure. Maybe half a dozen "almost" auditions too. Perhaps 20 or more things that never went past one email. People are hard to deal with and people make up bands. I almost always take it personally and it almost always probably has very little to do with me. I feel blessed to have settled into the three bands I currently occupy (the third on bass, which is another story all together).

This past summer I bought a second kit and upgraded my hardware, cymbals, and snare. It's all still pretty low grade...but many grades above where I was.

So here I stand 5 years into playing the drums. In many ways I feel like things didn't get serious until after I left SPB...but the whole period has been part of the process. I still don't have much confidence in my abilities, often fed by petty people and their thoughtless comments. But I really have come a pretty far way in 5 years. I feel like I'm on the edge of another period of intense study...but you can never tell about those things until you can look back on it.

A couple of Saturdays ago I sat down with the first Motor Primitives album, something I hadn't tried in a very, very long time. I was surprised that playing along to it kind of bored me. And that, as much as anything is a sign of a drummer and in many other ways.

Ironically, I'm feeling lately like the only way to really advance is to kind of stop worrying about what other people think or say. Most of it doesn't amount to much. The only standard I need to meet is my own...and if I meet that or work hard towards meeting it...other people will be impressed by default. And if they aren't...well...they weren't to begin I'm no worse for the wear.

Groove Essentials

Started working on Groove Essentials Vol 1 last night. I bought Vol 1 and 2 in playalong format this week. I assumed, wrongly, that the cds included would feature each groove played once with and once without drums. No dice. There are no drum tracks at all on the cds. Essentially...if you want to know what it sounds like...they want you to buy the dvd. So I was regretting not getting that at the same time in a package (cheaper). But I didn't think I'd watch the dvds.

But working through the rock grooves in volume 1 last night wasn't as bad as I thought. The recordings really give you the FEEL of the groove, so you almost don't actually need to hear someone playing it. And my reading skills are better than I thought maybe. Of course, I have no idea if I was getting it right.

Igoe is big on recording yourself and listening back, and I suppose I ought to do that more. Now, with the Zoom, this is an easy matter...something I hadn't considered when I bought it.

Moving into funk, r&b, jazz, and world beats, I think the dvd will be more critical. I'll wait and see if Santa brings one or both of the dvds...and if not, pick up at least vol 1 after the first of the year. I do think it will help.

I also like the discussions of each groove at the bottom of the page. I like Igoe's "voice".

It's SO easy to get stuck in what you know and to keep coming back to your signature moves. I have some and I don't know where they came from, but they are there and hard to avoid. Playing to "new" grooves it quickly becomes obvious the things that I need to work on. High hat beat bass stuff...ride/hat patterns that vary (not just straight 8ths or 16ths). It's exciting and terrifying. There's just SUCH a big world out there to learn. I've come REALLY far in my 5 years on the throne...but there's SO far yet to go.

Monday, December 13, 2010

SSW, 12/11/10, WYOU Fundraiser

I was a little grumpy about having to do this gig, but it turned out pretty great. The folks at YOU are pretty awesome. I feel badly for them that their funding is in the crapper and they got screwed out of their good slot on the dial.

It's weird to watch yourself playing on a tv monitor, though.

Gig went pretty good, I goofed a couple of minor things, but no biggie. We had in studio support from 3/4 of the band "wives" and fabulous volunteer camerafolk. Funny little intro by Ed Sullivan impersonator...he did a funny little thing about drug references and mistaking us for being "stoned" weaklings (Doors tip o hat...nice). And we pledge rapped the crap out of that thing. Hit my knuckle on the rim during sound check...bled like a mother. Been a while since I've bled on the drums. I've missed it. And we managed to load out before the blizzard hit. Bonus.

10. WARSAW (dropped for time)

Back to the Woodshed

I bought Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials Playalong 1 & 2 and they are on their way. Tried to play some of the patterns off the poster this weekend and they are hard, which is depressing. I'm hoping that getting the playalong with cds will make it all make sense. I think mastering some of these grooves needs to be a prereq for me applying to go to the Drummer's Collective 5 day intensive. I think I'm giving up on that for this year...but have an eye towards doing it in 2012. And I may need that long just to prep for the audition. But no sense in going until I'm ready.

Also pulled out the Green Day playalong yesterday. I was horrified the other day at how bad my Green Day has gotten, so I went back to basics. After proper warmup and a little time to reacquaint with the isn't as bad as I thought. But I'm definitely out of shape.

I really haven't been practicing properly for months now. I got caught up in learning So Dang Yang tunes...and then The Drain...and while both were valuable and important exercises...I really got to get back to basics. Namely independence and playing things outside what I'm used to. I think the Igoe stuff is really going to help with that. But I gotta put the time in.

Feeling better about The Drain. I had stopped practicing on my own for a few weeks. Hit it relatively hard this weekend and feel like I'm back where I was for the show at The Dane. Gotta keep at it. Also trying to add fleurishes that I had skipped when I first learned the tunes...and that's a bit of a one step forward, two steps back process.

Anyway...while it is depressing when things are hard and it makes me not want to play...I ALWAYS feel better after a strong practice session. And practicing every day or every other day for an hour or two always makes me feel better afterwards too.

I don't know why it is that it is SO hard for me to force myself to do things that ultimately make me feel better (practice, exercise). I really am an object at rest that is hard to get started moving. And then it spirals into just feeling terrible. Worthless. Stiff. Lame. Got to push a little bit every day in order to stay feeling good about myself. So hard to remember.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Opinions...Every Has One

Music snobbery seems to know no bounds. I am forever surprised by how matter of factly someone will tell you this or that band sucks...this or that musician...this or that song. I'm the first to admit that I have a pretty high tolerance for...well most things. That is to say...I don't parse things with too fine a comb. Examples...I don't care what guitar pedal you use...or probably what cymbal.

A visual:

The snob's tolerance for "good"

My tolerance for "good enough"
>__________________________ <
or maybe even
> ______________________________________________________<

And that goes for most things.

I'm not a person of subtleties. I can't see/hear them. I suppose this doesn't make me a very good musician. But as long as it doesn't bother me or those immediately around me I'm not sure it matters.

But man there are people that can tell you exactly what's wrong with Joe Blow's guitar part in measure 37 of a certain tune. How it's out of tune slightly or the effect is off or the timing's wrong or...whatever.

Now, I'm sure there are people out there who have the technical background and skill to REALLY do this. But I get alot of it from people in the general population, which just seems so much less likely that they'd have the ability to get it right. And the people who actually really HAVE that skill are probably off being famous musicians or producers and they probably don't have time to complain about shit they aren't working on.

And so it exhausts me a bit...the snobs.

If I like something and you don't...or vice doesn't mean you're right and I'm wrong. It's an opinion.

Drum Status

I haven't been putting in the time on the drums that I ought to. There was a little rush in October and November to learn The Drain set...and now I've settled into laziness. I rarely practice SSW songs anymore either. We're two years into existance and the tunes weren't complicated to begin with...and so I've felt it enough to play them with the band once a week at rehearsal. I've started to slip into that with The Drain too...and I'm really not ready to do that yet. I ought to be playing these songs every day...or at least every day that I don't have another band about 4 days a week outside of rehearsal. And I ought to be working out the kinks in some of them. There's a few that I'm still barely flying by the seat of my pants to pull off and that isn't acceptable. And there's a handful yet to learn too.

And beyond band stuff, I haven't been practice general skills at all. Just total laziness. I found out that there's an audition for the Drummer Collective 5 day intensive and I immediately fell into despair. The audition requires the following:
1. Technique: Single stroke roll, double stroke roll, paradiddles: start each slowly and evenly and increase speed to fastest point.
2. Styles: Maximum of two minutes for each example: rock - funk - swing.
3. Reading: placed in integrated reading program based on a day-one evaluation by a faculty member
It's a good slap in the face. I'm not ready for that kind of audition. And so I should keep my $800 in my pocket until I AM ready. And so that presents a ready for a real audition.

Last night I took the Tommy Igoe Groove Essentials Vic Firth poster down off the band space wall and put it up on the living room wall...directly across from where I sit to watch tv. I have my fancy HQ Real Feel practice pad and a bass pedal set up here as well along with a metronome. I have another Vic Firth poster with rudiments already set up in this room and have found that, while I haven't been practicing them religiously, I stare at it enough that I've picked things up from it. It's a conversation piece anyway...which gets me talking and thinking about it and attempting the more obscure rudiments from time to time. It's far past time when I ought to have learned the basic styles of drumming. EN certainly gave me an introduction to all of them...but I never REALLY sat down and burned it all into my brain. The repositioning of the poster is a subtle step in the right direction.

I feel my confidence slipping...and the only cure for that in the past has been steady, hard work. It's not unlike how the only way to feel better about your body is to eat right and exercise...but feeling bad about yourself prevents you from doing those things. It's self sabotage. It's your own fault. And the only cure is to press through the discomfort and put the hours in. You can't force yourself to feel better about these things...but if you put in the work you turn around and one day you just DO feel better. I need to get my head back in the game.

The Obsession

I'm not sure that it has ever occurred to me that it might be fun to learn every song a certain artist ever performed/recorded. Well, maybe I thought it would be fun (ala Poi Dog Pondering or the Indigo Girls back in the day), but I'm sure I never thought it POSSIBLE. Until CJ came along. Now it's the central preoccupation of my life. It reminds me of a John Wesley Harding quote that goes something like "I was afraid of dying and had way too many songs." I'm afraid this will all end before we get through the catalog. And so I/we press on as quickly as possible.

Tonight we are reviewing the songs learned to date (since March 2010)...which I believe to be 43 songs (40 of which we have played live for an audience):

Alec Eiffel
Bone Machine
Break My Body
Brick Is Red
Broken Face
Crackity Jones
Dig For Fire
Down To The Well
Ed Is Dead
Gouge Away
Here Comes Your Man
Holiday Song (The)
I Bleed
I'm Amazed
Into the White
Isla De Encanta
I've Been Tired
La La Love You
Levitate Me
Monkey Gone To Heaven
Mr Grieves
Nimrod's Son
No 13 Baby
Oh My Golly
River Euphrates
Sad Punk
Something Against You
There Goes My Gun
Tony's Theme
Wave Of Mutilation
Where Is My Mind?

And that leaves 45 tunes (8 of which are non-album covers that one could technically argue aren't their songs at all, though recordings exist of them playing the tunes...excluding these leaves 37 tunes...but it's a slippery slope as there are 4 more that are technically covers as well but are either on albums or iconic to the band...further exclusion would leave 33...but I can't see that we can leave out Cecilia Ann, Head On, and In Heaven and call ourselves comprehensive...Theme from NARC being the 4th in this category). We could further restrict by saying we're only going to learn the albums and no b-sides/rarities...but that REALLY seems like cheating and I won't have it:

Ain't That Pretty at All (cover)
All Over The World
Bailey's Walk
Bam Thwok
Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
Blown Away
Boom Chicka Boom
Born in Chicago (cover)
Build High
Cecilia Ann (album-based cover)
Dancing The Mantra Ray
Distance Equals Rate Times Time
Evil Hearted You (cover)
Hang on to Your Ego (cover)
Hang Wire
Head On (album-based cover)
I Can't Forget (cover)
In Heaven (SORT of a cover)
Is She Weird
I've Been Waiting For You (cover)
Letter to Memphis
Lovely Day
Make Believe
Manta Ray
Motorway to Roswell
Navajo Know
Palace of the Brine
Planet of Sound
Rock A My Soul
Rock Music
Stormy Weather
The Happening
The Thing
Theme from Narc (SORT of a cover)
Trompe le Monde
Velvety Instrumental Version
Wave of Mutilation
Weird At My School
Wild Honey Pie (cover)
Winterlong (cover)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CJ, High Noon, 12/4/2010

We played Dane101's holiday celebration along with Black Crows, Pretenders, and Prince tribute bands. Isthmus gave us a back-handed pick of the week...kind of implying the tribute band thing is getting old.

Tell that to the people. Cause they love it.

Pretty full house. CJ walked away with $280...or $70 a person. Other than shows with guarantees...I think that's the most I've ever brought home...especially for what was for us a short set.

I was in the groove, and other than my voice cracking at the start of Gigantic, I can't say I'm unhappy in any way with my performance. Nailed vocal on Bone Machine. Dig for Fire got off to a rough start, but we pulled it together. EH had various drum equipment tragedies...and I feel for him...but I didn't notice it affecting his performance at all. (EDIT: Future me here back-filling important detail. I used someone else's Aguilar AG500 and GS412 bass amp stack at this show...which was really expensive, powerful, and nice...but not as nice in my opinion as the Ampeg BA600 combo amp I would use six months later.)

I had plenty of sleep the night before, a slice of pizza around 9pm, and way too much beer. Not a model show health-wise, but it worked out alright.

Black Crows and Prince smoked the stage. Dare I say, though they were perfectly good musically, the Pretenders group was the weakest link? I think they were maybe a bad match for the rest of us genre-wise. Of course, I thought that would be true of the Black Crows and really...they kicked ass. But I could also just be a bitter old bitch and being petty. In any case...there was no drama and I didn't even feel self-conscious...which is many steps forward in life. Time truly does heal all wounds...even the self-inflicted dumb ass ones.

But enough sub-text. CJ is hitting the wood shed over the holidays to reinforce the 43 song list of knowns. We shan't be booking again until the new year.

Set list (from memory...might need to correct):
Bone Machine
Wave of Mutilation
Alec Eiffel
Nimrod's Son
Here Comes Your Man
Dig for Fire
Gigantic [dropped last two times through outtro for time]
Hey [voluntarily dropped this from set so that Prince band would have more time]
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Where is my mind?
Gouge Away

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Learning By Ear

Our goddaughter's dad is taking guitar lessons and learning to play songs by ear. It reminded me that I AM capable of this. I've learned most of the Pixies songs by starting with bass or guitar tab and correcting it to what I think is right. It seems a little like cheating, but I feel like correcting the tab and memorizing the trying to master the vocal parts while challenge and reward enough. Plus, at the breakneck pace we've gone at, it would have just taken me too long to learn everything by ear. I did purposely learn the very first Pixies song I learned to play by ear...Nimrod's Son...mostly to convince myself that I still could do it and that I still knew how to play the bass.

But I'm coming to the end of the line with the Pixies songs. To be certain, I've still got half the catalog...around 40 learn. But I've gone ahead and have gotten tab for most all of those and am even beginning to work through correcting the tab. I won't be memorizing the remaining songs any time soon, but I'm setting myself up to have written music for all of them so that when the band decides to add a new song that I can just whip out the music and start memorizing the song.

All that's left to write out (though many still need correcting or taking a 4 page tab and converting it to its basic repeated parts that can be printed on a single sheet) are the songs for which I can't find any tab at all. Not bass nor guitar tab.

These are the remaining tunes.
Boom Chicka Boom (early rarity, not actually sure if this is a cover or an original)
Video is from one of their first shows (October 31, 1986), I believe the very first.

Theme from Narc (sort of a cover, its an interpretation of a video game song)

Ain't That Pretty At All (Warren Zevon cover)

Born in Chicago (Paul Butterfield Band cover...this is your basic blues tune, so all I REALLY need to do is figure out what key it's in and then it'll fall into place)

Best get crackin'!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Steinberger

This is the kind of thing that only a true geek cares about. In this post I tried to put up a photo of all of Kim Deal's basses. I couldn't find a photo of one, the Steinberger headless, and that kind of drove me nuts. I finally figured out today that the weird white bass she is playing in the Brixton Academy gig videos from 1991 is indeed the Steinberger.
I finally saw a wide enough shot to see that this bass is headless.