Monday, February 28, 2011

TD, Beaver Dam Best Western, 2/25

We rocked the Beaver Dam Best Western on short notice. Got paid $20 for gas and free beer. The venue quickly realized that three bands would drink them out of house and home though...I wonder if they'll do this again.

The place was classic 1960s hotel bar. And tiny. The picture doesn't do it justice...on the other side was a horseshoe bar and super tackey decor.

The show went pretty well. We revisited the last Great Dane setlist. I couldn't hear shit but the I did the best I could and it went ok. Those in attendance did not leave and seemed to enjoy themselves. A couple of folks followed us up from Madtown, which was nice.

Lessons, Week 4 and Final

We went over Tightrope by SVR, then Samba, and Songa.

And I'm done.

For whatever reason it just didn't feel right this time around and so I'm quitting. I know that JBB is a great teacher and I could have learned a great deal quickly from him...but it just isn't going to work out.

I feel like a loser and a quitter and like I'm giving up a chance to really advance my skills, but I learned a long time ago that sometimes you just have to quit. I think I was about 25 or so when I quit the UW string orchestra and I remember thinking..."huh, I can quit stuff". It has since become something of a habit...where once I would push through anything just so as not to quit. Perhaps I'm getting lazy in my old age, but such is life.

I would like to try again what I intended to do starting last August when EN left take an hour each week that WOULD have been my lesson and study on my own. That plan got messed up because I joined The Drain and my Monday nights (and all my practice time) became about that band. But things have settled into place with The Drain now and perhaps I can make time on Sunday nights for personal study instead. It's kind of like isn't rocket's just a matter of putting in the time.

So we'll see.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Is She Weird and Songsterr

I thought I had this down, but upon playing it with the boys it was clear something was off in the chorus. At a loss, I turned to Songsterr and all was revealed.

I've only used Songsterr for the few times that I've really gotten stuck on things. I've mostly tried to figure stuff out on my own first. But there's no denying that the easiest way is to go with Songsterr. What it does is add rhythm to tab and plays the song for you.

The site itself is free, but you get bonus stuff (like the ability to print the music or slow the song to half speed) if you join Songsterr Plus. It's pricey ($10 per month) and doesn't seem to add that much.

I might have done it at the start if it had occurred to me...but now that I have tab for every Pixies song and 75% have already been seems like a waste. Perhaps if I ever start a new project that I require such things for. There are only four Flaming Lips bass tabs listed, so that project doesn't make it worth it (plus I think the bass parts are easy enough to learn by ear).

Ironically, there are 50 Pixies bass tabs on the site...and that's about where we are at with having the songs learned (it isn't the same 50 songs we know, though).

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've been missing that Kim Deal sings the low part on this song. Trying to pick it out now.

Second version on the video above has just her low vocal. Awesome.

A nice modern live version with clear vocal:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Planet of Sound

EDIT 2/23/2011: I have gotten the part. It is now in the complete fakebook.

This SEEMS like a ridiculously easy song...but because of that no one has posted the full tab online. Most videos tend to not stay on Kim...but this one keeps her in frame and you can actually make out the part pretty least where the shifts and transitions are...

Found 120 Minutes...she's not in frame the whole time, but it is a better close up when she is. Around 0:36 seconds there's a clear shot of her part. Also...Black Francis signals sound guy for more lead vocal in the monitor.

Super clear shots of the guitars (same part as bass in the "tough" section) in you get to hear Joey and Charles detune.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SSW, Harmony, 2/13

It went ok. Our second tour with the Lowellapaloosa benefit. Afternoon show at The Harmony. We played an hour set. I guess I don't have much else to say.


Lessons, Week 3

We went over Tightrope by Stevie Ray Vaughn as a possible piece for me to play at the student jam. But I don't really want to go to the student we'll see.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pixies Fakebook Progress

I spent several hours this weekend going through the remaining Pixies songs that the band hasn't addressed yet and trying to correct the tab. I got pretty far.

I added:
All Over the World
Blown Away
Head On
Distance Equals Rate Times Time
Build High
Bailey's Walk
Dancing the Manta Ray
In Heaven (both versions)

The revised book is up here.

I have 20 originals yet to finalize, though all but about 6 of them are nearly complete. I'm anticipating that CJ is going to be taking a hiatus of sorts soon to work on the Flaming Lips one-off for Halloween. I'd kind of like to get the Fakebook finished before we get too deep into that so that the project won't die. I'm still hoping that CJ will at least learn all of the album songs, if not all the album songs and all the B-sides. We have 47 songs under our belts now. That leaves 19 album songs left to learn and 13 B-sides (32 total). I also kind of want to have a finished product to bring with me to Detroit on April 22nd to try and get signed by Kim Deal at the show (and MAYBE to give her a copy).

Friday, February 4, 2011

TD, Great Dane, 2/3/2011

I've been sick for weeks and felt barely conscious for this gig. Opening act was louder than venue liked and that threw a pall on the evening. The acoustics in the pool hall are weird and it had the effect that I couldn't really hear the other guys. I did the best I could under the conditions and pulled out an accurate, though not particularly spirited performance. Seeing as the access to the back door was blocked by audience members and three bands worth of equipment, I loaded in from Gov East ramp using my cart and that went pretty well.

A guy came up to me 5 minutes before we played and said he heard us the last time we were at the Dane and that my cymbals had been too loud and my toms too quiet so I should "bash the hell out of those things." Yeah...bashing the hell out of my drums is #1 not something I can just pull out of my ass (hitting harder than you are used to fucks up your technique and causes premature fatigue) and #2 not even something that I WANT to do. My general feeling is that, if you can't hear the drums, everyone else is too loud...not that the drums are too quiet. But whatever. I went over this with the guys when I joined the band...I'm not a loud drummer (in stark contrast to their last drummer). I told them I could try to be louder (I even tried using heavier sticks for a few rehearsals) and they universally said that they liked the way I already played and that I need not try to play louder. Anyway...I'm sure the guy thought he was being helpful...but what a shitty thing to say to someone right before they go on stage. I did not ask for your feedback...and your advice was condecending and showed a lack of musical maturity. Fuck off.

Had a full dinner and decent sleep. Used my own kit. Was well practiced. I've not been drinking recently, but I ordered a Jagermeister on the rocks. I only drank about a third of it over a period of four hours and left the rest. I really only got it to help stave off my chronic cough. It DID help with that...but I don't plan to make it a habit. I was struck again by the obnoxiousness of the drunken crowd and even of my mildly intoxicated/stoned friends. I'm reminded how I never used to be able to hang out in drinking crowds. Boredom and sleepiness overtake me...and people seem to want me to be happy/friendly and are at a loss when I'm just me instead. People Suck. Drugs R Bad.

Set list:
At the Door
Gotta Tell You
Gun in Your Grave
Going Down the Drain
Easy Life
New Song
Better N Better
Kiss U Kill U
One is For Man
Movin' On

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've never been a Led Zeppelin fan. I didn't dislike them...they just were never on my radar. A few years ago I could not have identified a Led Zeppelin song on the radio. I had no idea.

As soon as I started trolling Craig's List for bands to join as a drummer I came across the "looking for a John Bonham-type drummer" ads. There were lots of them. Clearly a large segment of people held John Bonham (Led Zeppelin's drummer) up as the best example of rock drumming available.

I resisted forming an interest in Bonham because it seemed so cliche. But as time passed I became exposed to the man's work, and Zeppelin's music. I don't love their music, but I don't hate it either. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it isn't likely to be recreational listening for me any time soon.

That said, I HAVE come to appreciate Bonham's playing. Not because it's loud (he HAD to hit hard because it was a new age of amplified guitars prior to drums also being mic'ed) which seems to be why lots of people like him. I'm particularly interested in his use of the right foot with the bass drum. These days, if you want to play something complicated on the bass get a double pedal. Bonham never played with a double pedal, but he did some really interesting things with the bass drum. He also utilizes the left foot with the hi hat in interesting ways and uses ghost notes in interesting ways. He was, I admit, a pretty awesome drummer.

However...I think people who post for Bonham-esque drummers to join their bands are total posers. In the future I may use that request as a reason NOT to reply to an ad. It's nearly as bad as "must have pro gear." Only an asshole would say such a thing.

For a long time I assumed that I'd never be able to play drums like Bonham...and I was ok with that. I've learned to play "The Ocean" and I've tried to learn "Immigrant Song" (because it is a pattern often used in rock)...but I haven't tried much beyond that. For shits and giggles last night I pulled out the "Mothership" 2 cd set and my sheet music of Bonham's greatest hits and sat down to see where I'm at.

The Ocean

Immigrant Song

Much to my surprise, I was able to play much of the stuff...or at least an approximation. And the things I couldn't play I imagined that I could pick up with practice. It didn't seem insurmountable any more. Not even "Good Times Bad Times"...which at one time I thought was the most difficult drum part ever written.

Good Times Bad Times

Change happens so slowly over time. It always surprises me when I'm suddenly aware of it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Potential New Projects

I have two potential projects for Halloween shows this year.
#1) playing drums in a Blondie tribute band
#2) playing bass in a Flaming Lips tribute band

Both probably will be "one-off" projects...if they get traction at all.

I sat down with Blondie's greatest hits this week and was able to knock most of them out pretty well. The trickest for me are Heart of Glass and Call Me. Heart of Glass I worked out many months ago. Call Me is tricky cause it mixes a disco hi-hat beat with a jazzy pattern. Just not something I'm used to. He (Clem Burke) uses it alot, though. Blondie provides a really nice exercise in open hi-hat stuff.

Call Me

I know pretty much nothing about the Flaming Lips. What I've listened to this week I like. Their bass player apparently did not play bass prior to joining the band...which seems to be my MO...both in my own life and as I emulate other bassists. So I think I'll be fine.

She Don't Use Jelly

Fight Test