Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drum Tuning

The kit I borrow once a week sounded REALLY GOOD last night...I think the owner spent some quality time tuning it over the weekend. I like the results.

Drum tuning is a funny thing.  The most common advice about drum tuning (from drummers, magazines, and such) is "do whatever sounds good to you" which is really no advice at all.  But in recent weeks I've had a couple of guitar players try to give me advice about drum tuning which was basically "do what I think you should do."

I know that people mean well and want to help...but I don't really LIKE help...especially help that I haven't asked for. Especially help that feels like I'm being told my way is wrong. I like figuring stuff out for myself. If I need help or want an opinion, I'll ask. I know that I should be more open to input and that I could probably learn alot that way...but it is hard enough for me to gain confidence in my own abilities. I don't need pot shots from the peanut gallery.

So that kind of talk annoys me anyway...but in the cases in question...it has been with respect to this kit that I'm not even privvy to tuning. It isn't my kit and I'm not messing with it. So telling me how I ought to tune it is no help. It isn't mine to tune. You don't tune another man's drums when he's being nice enough to loan them to you.

And in the end...there is no "right" way to tune a drum kit so long as you don't damage the drum. Anything goes. Anyone who tells you differently doesn't know what they are talking about. It really IS all personal preference.

I'm still learning and deciding about my own method and preferences for drum tuning. It is one of those things that is half science and half art. I'm still learning the science part (what you do to get what effect)...and I haven't really even begun to reflect on the art part...well...I've just recently begun.

The two guitar players both really wanted me to tune to a note. I find this funny. I mean, I guess it makes sense because they play instruments that are tuned to notes. To them "tuning" = "find the right note". There are certainly drummers who follow this approach. But I know enough about my preferences already to know that I'm not a drummer who will ever probably tune to a note.

First off...I suck at tuning by ear. I have trouble with that and always have. Getting a guitar string in tune to pitch for me is hard...never mind a drum that has two heads and 12 to 20 lugs to work with. Tuning to a pitch just isn't going to happen for me.

But beyond that, I just don't think it is WISE to tune to a pitch.  The drums need to be separate in sonic space from the pitched instruments (in my opinion). It is a contrast thing. For me that means them NOT being tuned to a pitch. Tune to a pitch and at some point you are going to have dissonance with the band (you might be playing a drum note not in the key of the song). If things are more nebulous that seems less of a risk. Sure, even if you don't try the drums will be tuned to a note...but I just think it is better that it be less defined.

I'm more concerned with tone. And I'm still figuring out how to get the best tone. Full but focused. The drums should be in tune with themselves...and then the snare to the rack toms and then to the floor toms should descend and not sound "bad" as far as moving from drum to drum goes (sometimes something just sounds out of place flat or sharp). But I'm not so worried about what the note is or if the drums are tuned in 3rds or whatever. Just that it sounds good moving from drum to drum. Maybe tuning to relative pitches is happening by accident because that's what sounds good...but it isn't on purpose. I also like the floor tom to be almost as low as possible without being lower than the bass. You end up setting a lower limit. You can only go so loose with the bass drum without it sounding "flappy"...so go for the lowest possible note on the bass drum...and then the floor tom should be as low as possible but higher than the bass drum. And so on.

And then there's getting the ring out and the unwanted overtones and the sympathetic vibrations. There's tweaking. Speaking of which...I just ordered snare wires with the center wires missing...which is supposed to reduce sympathetic vibrations, which I've had trouble with on the new Sonor because the bass drum is so powerful.

Anyway, I'm figuring it out and getting better at knowing what I want and how to get it. But it's a new game. And my preferences will grow and change and evolve.

And I kinda think the drum tuning talk from guitar players is just that...talk. I'd love to sit them down with five drums and 10 heads still in the packages and say "go for it" and see what happens. Two or three hours later they can get back to me about their theory of drum tuning.

Sober & Practiced Drumming

No shock to say that, sober and after a weekend of practice, I did much better at TD practice last night. Just a reminder here for myself...since I seem to be so good at forgetting these things.  If stuff isn't working out so hot for you...you probably are doing something to cause that.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Haven't Seen You Lately

So my favorite Drain song to listen to is Haven't Seen You Lately. I've also always liked playing it because it is both challenging AND came naturally to me. The hands are simple, but the bass drum plays the bass guitar line. I'm still not sure if this is the way that EH used to play it...or something that I made up. Anyway, it used to be that 4 out of 5 times I could nail the song...but in recent weeks I've lost the bass drum part. This didn't make any sense to me because it had always come naturally. How do you practice something that is second nature...something that you never had to learn in the first place? RS asked if it was too fast. I didn't think so, but I sat down this weekend to try to fix the thing.

An interesting thing about this song is that it is on both albums...two different versions. It is one speed on the first album (slower) and another on the second (faster). And since the second album was recorded, we've begun to play it even faster. I have a rehearsal recording of the fastest tempo. I guess that I hadn't realized, but I think that in recent weeks and months...we've even started playing it FASTER.

So I sat down and first played the slow recording...then the faster...then the fastest...over three days.

Boom. Fixed.

So I think that...yes...we've been playing it too fast. And it isn't that I can't play it that fast...but if we are going to do that I need to practice...if for no other reason than to build endurance.

But a side lesson is that almost always J wants to play things faster than we should. There's a certain swing to several of the songs that gets totally lost when you play them too fast. I'm not sure why he wants to play things so fast. I should work to keep the tempos back a bit.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off Beat Bass Drum

I think that my primary challenge is independence. It's a hard thing to work on because it is so frustrating.  Part of the key is doing unexpected things.

A pretty simple pattern that I've largely avoided thus far is the snare flam on 1, 2, 3, 4 and bass drum on all of the "ands" of those beats. This is a standard rock beat, but differs from the classic rock beat that is bass drum on 1, 3 and snare on 2, 4.  It's a simple pattern...but differs in interesting ways from what my body is programmed to do on autopilot.

I can keep this off beat bass thing up for a few measures, and then my foot starts to drift to the one.  I've gotten better about it over the last 6 months or so, and am now able to sustain the beat for sometime without drifting, though my hold on it is tenuous at best. 

Last night I decided to add a component. Rather than just playing that same pattern over and over...I tried to add a simple little snare fill. Sure enough, coming out of the fill was impossible. I either had to drop the bass drum out entirely and come back in later with it...or if would drift to the "1" as soon as the fill ended.

It strikes me that this is a very simple exercise and one that I ought to work on a bit. It really could work out some serious independence things.

An example of what I mean. The drum beat here does the off beat thing...and at 0:26 he throws in a tiny little fill. That fill would totally throw me off the primary pattern.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This guy is awesome. He plays really well.

Why I Love CJ

So last night at CJ rehearsal we played through all four of the new songs (Hangwire, Winterlong, Lovely Day, Build High) plus half a dozen others. Everyone was feeling a little run down and sick...and we don't have any gigs coming up...and most bands probably would have called things good and finished for the night. But CT says, "I want to play some more".

We've started to struggle with how to pick which songs to practice. When you have 65 available...it's hard. Last week we used a Fibonacci sequence to pick songs (well, we tried, until we forgot how to do a Fibonacci sequence). Last night, since we had just finished playing Debaser, I said "Let's play Doolittle".

And barely had the words left my mouth and we were off and running. We skipped Tame since RS wasn't feeling well (and that made us fuck up the order for a few songs accidentally)...but other than that we played straight through. One into the other. Not stopping. Not warning each other what came next really. We even played Silver, which was a little rough (for god's sake, we only ever played it for a few weeks in Dec 2011), but other than that everything was about spot on.

As Gouge Away's last notes faded into the air I thought..."Jesus...we're good." And then "Damn, this is fun."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh My God

Pixies Central just posted this photo and it totally takes my breath away. I've been looking for a good still of this instrument forever. This pic is just amazing. You can see every little scar and the cracking of the finish. More than ever I think this is faded Fiesta Red.  And the hand closeup with little green turtle pick and everything. Just. I can't even say. So awesome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Simple versus Complex

In the last post I talked about Adam Clayton being a simple bass player. This gets to the very heart of a primary issue for me.

I have low self-esteem in general and an underlying sense that nothing I do is ever good enough or ever will be good enough. I'm working on this because it affects every aspect of my life...but it is a hard nut to crack.

Music has played against this primary element of my being strongly. When I play an instrument well...I discount this as "it was easy" and not worth merit. When I struggle...I think I suck. One of the true joys of playing in CJ is that, for the first time ever, I've achieved some balance. I find it easy to play the bass in that band...but it took some work to learn the songs...and I feel some accomplishment. It still feels worthy even though it came to me relatively easily. And I think the fact that other people seem to enjoy it and that they respect KD so much makes it seem like maybe I'm not just bullshitting myself.

From the outside world I do feel like there is this double standard in music. Like true accomplishment is in technical proficiency.  And I don't think it is in my constitution to become really technically proficienct. I don't have the discipline or the interest. I'm not going to be a great jazz or latin or metal drummer...I'm not going to play slap and tap bass. 

Conversely, people are always saying that complicated does not equal good.

But who are they kidding?

I worry that I'm starting to listen to the "simple is good" chorus simply to justify that I'll never be technically proficient. Am I just trying to make myself feel better? Who am I kidding?

But I've started to realize that I don't listen to complicated music. Never have. Have no desire ever TO listen to it. And my taste in music predates my attempts to play it. So that's just innate, ya know?

There's nothing more grotesque than a drum solo. There just isn't. I mean...what the fuck? I used to want to play bluegrass and I quit because I didn't like the "everyone takes a lead" stuff...not because I couldn't do it (I couldn't) but mainly because it seemed so totally DOUCHEY.  (Note here, I struggle over whether the word "douchey" is okay to use...and at the moment I'm struggling with the spelling too...but I read an interview this weekend in which KD used it...so fuck it...I'm using it). Lead guitar? DOUCHEY.

When I was 12 years old and becoming a human being all I wanted to do was play the acoustic guitar...mostly rhythm guitar. I didn't want to be Eddie Van Halen. Stephen Stills perhaps (and I DID dig the solo on Suite Judy Blue Eyes, but that's a different kind of solo).

I can appreciate technical proficiency...but it doesn't really INTEREST me. I'm not interested in listening to it and I'm not interested in playing it.

Still...I feel bad about this. And worry that other people will think I'm a hack...cause I think I'm a hack.

Why it matters if I'm a hack I've not yet figured out. Playing music is something I'm driven to do and always have been driven to do. It's just part of me. And it really doesn't seem like my playing needs to please anyone but myself. Of course, there's the rub...whether it please me or not.

It's funny to be involved in LRC/GRC now. There are a bunch of women who have been afraid their whole lives to play music and now they are going for it. They look up to me and think I'm great...which feels weird because I don't feel great. It's true though that I encourage them despite their beginner status and I think they are awesome for trying. Irony.

Adam Clayton

I recently visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Whilst there we watched a 90 minute IMAX3D U2 concert. 

I've always been a casual fan of U2. Well...fan is the wrong word. I've enjoyed their music but wouldn't consider myself a fan. I really like The Joshua Tree and it was one of those albums that set my musical taste off in a certain direction...which ended up tending further alternative/college rock than mainstream. If I heard U2 the radio today I wouldn't change the channel, but the only U2 album I own remains Joshua Tree.

Anyway, the sweetie likes U2 and so we watched the IMAX. I'm not a fan of IMAX, but it was an interesting experience. You could see, really see, what the drummer was playing. You could read the lable on the drum heads for god's sake. And you could watch the bass player closely too.

What surprised me was that neither the bass player nor the drum were playing anything too complicated. And I guess that by now this really SHOULDN'T surprise me. You are always being told to "serve the song" and that complicated isn't better.  But the fact remains is that people equate complicated with good when it comes to instrumentalists. So it is a paradox. Case in point...people make fun of Ringo Starr for being a shitty drummer because he played simply. But there's no denying that The Beatles are the biggest thing in the history of rock. So it is easy to feel the mixed message.

So it turns out, U2 as well plays simply. And people love it.

So I bought the U2 bass playalong book recently to confirm my suspicions. And sure enough, it is easy stuff. Maybe choosing to write those parts wasn't easy and is where the real magic is...but playing them from sheet music was a snap.

More on this in the next post.

Friday, June 15, 2012

SSW, Froth House, 6/14/2012

Two perspectives for no good reason

We played a totally unplugged show at Froth House.  Traded sets with Jim Schwall and surprise guests Mother Banjo.  I had some concerns about this show going in which I won't go into details about here, but all ended up to be unfounded. We unexpectedly played outside in a sandpit...but my carpet and a borrowed carpet made it bearable. The weather was pleasant and the acoustics not too bad. The mosquintos stayed away until the last song we played. We were asked to come back in the fall.

A surprising number of GRC/LRC gals showed up in support and I suddenly realized that this is a whole new market of fans to be cultivated. It helps that it was an early free show. We didn't sound great and we didn't sound terrible. I was unhappy with the tuning of my snare, but I tweaked it and felt ok after a while. I also just did way more rim clicks. CT told me the bass drum was too loud so I pulled that back second set too. I forgot the words to Hate and War, which was bound to happen eventually. Gotta write that one down. I curse the day I recommended that song in the first place. RS started one song in the wrong key and JG's guitar strap broke mid song and he had to play most of the second set sitting down.  I had bought an acoustic/electric bass just for this show (and an imaginary future Pixies acoustic show) but KS ended up using an upright instead and it sounded great. Someone said they loved my singing and someone said they loved my "drum playing style" which is funny because #1 I was just screaming and #2 I wasn't playing my regular style AT ALL.

Witnessing the affair may have turned CT around to trying the acoustic Pixies set. So maybe that acoustic bass I bought won't go to waste afterall.

Somewhere along the line here I've fallen off the wagon and been run over by the horse and cart and so there were drinks last night. But it didn't affect my performance I don't think. But that's just lucky and needs to not be a trend.

We were paid $35 total plus one sandwich and one beer per band member. More than I expected.


8. I AM A cliché
10. WASTED (skipped this song on the fly)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Planet Out/Gay.net Kim Deal Interview


Catching Up With the Breeders' Kim Deal

By: Jenny Stewart


If musicians were only as dynamic in Q&A's as they are on record, then music interviews would remain as unforgettable as classic albums. But those are few and far between.

During one recent interview with a well-known pop star, I asked a simple question: "What part of the creative process do you enjoy most when making a new album?" Granted, the question was a bit cliche, but hardcore music fans tend to be interested in those kinds of things. After three minutes of silence, I thought we'd been disconnected.

"Are you still there?" I asked.
"Yes," she responded.

Another minute went by before she finally added, "I think it's nice that [name of record label] took a chance with this. It’s like, nice that they did.”

Two weeks later I met with a bona fide female rock legend for an interview. But after a series of uncomfortable pauses and countless one word answers, I just gave up. I've never published the piece, and I've never been able to bring myself to listen to the playback. That's how disastrous it was. Sadly, I can barely listen to her music anymore without having flashbacks to the silence.

But truth be told, you can't really fault musicians for the way they sometimes come off in interviews. They are artists, so music is their preferred mode of expression -- not Q&A's.

With that in mind, Pixies bassist and Breeders frontwoman Kim Deal is a rare breed of rocker, blessed not only with talent, but also with conversational skills. She has an opinion on everything asked of her -- and it's always entertaining. You could even mess with her and say, "Kim, which would you rather talk about: The discontinuation of oscillating fans, or the controversy about blind people thinking that electric cabs are dangerous because they're too quiet?" “Oh my GOD!!” she’d likely say. “I mean, you can’t get rid of fans now, can you? In the summer? During the sweet corn crop and all? And, I mean, the blind people have a point, but dude, please!” [Note -- that was just an example, Kim didn't really say that].

I recently chatted with Deal about The Breeders' stellar new EP, "Fate to Fatal," and the latest news on the Pixies. Along the way, we also chatted about celebrity dreams, "American Idol," her mother's struggle with Alzheimer's, the crazy things parents say about their kids, and a possible reality series for Deal and her twin sister Kelley. "Grey Gardens," anyone?

Hi Kim. First off, congratulations on the new Breeders EP. I also hear you're in LA doing some stuff with the Pixies?

Yes, I'm down here in Los Angeles for a few days. The Pixies are doing a few shows in Isle of Wight this June, and I had a really bad dream that I forgot a song! And the dream just seemed so real -- we were playing the song and then I forgot it. So I called Joe [Santiago] and he told me that he had a dream that he forgot a song! He didn't dream it the same night as me, but still, we thought it would be a good idea to get together real quick and go over parts. Charles [Black Francis] was in a different state touring, so I didn’t even ask him to come. I thought the three of us could get our parts down quietly.

So the dream was so vivid you decided to fly to LA to practice? Do you remember which Pixies song it was that you forgot how to play?

[Laughing]. I can't remember the song, but yes, the dream was so vivid I remember how scary it was forgetting the song onstage, but I don’t remember the song. But I do remember it was an outdoor show, and there were a lot of people there.

Speaking of dreams, we just ran a piece on celebrity dreams and how vivid they can get, and hundreds of people are commenting in great detail about their celebrity dreams. Have you ever had a celebrity dream?

[Excited]. Oh my God, yes! I have had them and I totally know what you mean about them being vivid. I had this dream once -- it was when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were together – and I remember it so clearly.

Ok, in the dream, there was this big party. Now, I don't remember where the party was exactly, but I do remember clearly that it was in fact in a southern state. And the party was outdoors. And it was daytime. Now, I don't remember if the three of us went to the party together? Or if I had like just met them there? Whatever, the point is they were there, you know? It was just like, wierd.

And it was super vivid?

Oh it was so super vivid! And it wasn't some boring dream where you just…meet a celebrity or something, it was so much more than that – I mean, there was a lot going on, you know?

And it was just so weird, I don't even know how to describe it -- and I know I sound crazy -- but we were going through all these different rooms. But like, there didn’t seem to be any order to the rooms, or to anything. I mean, sometimes Brad was there in a room, sometimes the three of us were in a room. Sometimes I'd be alone in a room and Jennifer would walk in. Or both of them. I mean, it was just weird, but I remember it so vividly! Isn't that odd that you would ask me that? Have you ever had a celebrity dream?

I keep having this dream lately that I'm in a bad relationship with Angelina Jolie, and she won't let me break up with her. Have you had any other celebrity dreams or is that the only one?

[Laughing]. Angelina won't let you break up with her! Isn't that weird though that we're both sort of dreaming from the same celebrity tree? Now, I have had more celebrity dreams since then; I only chose that particular one because it sticks out in my head so much and I'm absolutely sure about that one. But let's see. I think I've dreamt about Jennifer Aniston since then. But I think it's just her and Brad isn’t there. I don't know what she's really doing or anything and I don't remember specifics, but she has been in a few of my dreams since the one at the party with all the rooms.

Do you really like Jennifer Aniston or something?

[Laughing] Do I really like Jennifer Aniston? Oh my God, I don't know! I mean, I have no idea! I didn't think so! I mean, she like…seems nice, I guess. I just remembered her being in my dreams. But I have no idea if I like Jennifer Aniston, and I have like no idea why she's been in my dreams! Who knows? Oh my God!

The new EP is out and it's pretty great. God, "Pinnacle Hollow" is the best song.

Isn't that a nice song? I think "Pinnacle Hollow" is a pleasant song to listen to? And usually, that's a bad thing – I think – to say about something, but I really found it really, extremely pleasant music to put on.

It's a great song, and it is very pleasant. It's like soundtrack music, almost. When I'm listening to it, I feel there's a camera on me...

[Yells] And you're with Angelina Jolie and she won't let you break up with her!

[Laughing]. Yes! But seriously, the song is so gorgeous and pleasant it's almost like a continuous valium drip. When you record a song like that, does it make you crave drugs?

I sometimes want to take drugs but it absolutely has nothing to do with whether I'm recording or not. Sometimes the craving or the thought (of doing drugs) will come along when I'm doing nothing. Sometimes it will come along when I'm... I have no idea at all when it's going to come along.

Would you ever want to be a judge on "American Idol"?

No, probably not. And I don’t think I'd even be a good judge because I think I would be "opposite" judge. I would be like, 'Look, if you do the exact opposite of anything that I tell you to do, you'll probably be extremely popular in the United States.' I'd be like, 'No, don't wear all that makeup, and just wear jeans and [a] T-shirt! God! Why are you going to wear that and how can you walk in those shoes?'

Do you watch the show?

No, I wouldn’t watch it by myself, but when I'm at my parents house, I'll watch it with my mother; it's one of the few shows we can watch together. Like, dude, I can't bear 'Dancing with the Stars,' but I can sit down and watch 'American Idol' with her. And that's a good thing that she can do.

How is your mom doing? [Editor's note: Kim's mother is struggling with Alzheimers].

She is…not doing well. She has recently begun saying stuff like, 'Now, you're mine, right?'

Oh man, that’s so sad…

I know, and she's like, forgetting the family connection. Like, she said to my brother the other day, 'You're my son, right?' And she knew it was a 'Kevin,' and she knew generally his personality and stuff.

You know, watching her lose so much information really underlines how much information we actually have to learn. And I'm not talking about schooling. It was weird to watch her lose the grip of time, and to lose it in every way.

Can you give an example?

Like right now, she really believes that her mother and father, and my dad's mother and father are laid out in a nursing home side by side next to each other in a bed across the street from my old high school! Oh my God, and you've got to hear the names of these people -- there's Hobart, Ruby, Blanche Myrtle and Grace. Oh, and Fred!


And my poor dad! She'll say to my dad, 'Why don't you go visit your mother? I can't believe you won't visit your mother! She'd be so surprised if she saw you.' And of course, sometimes my dad can't stand it, and he has to say something like, 'You're right, she'd be surprised to see me…she's been dead for 30 years!'

Oh my God! I used to work with Alzheimer's patients in college, and once a woman escaped. Luckily we found her safe at the lake, but it was absolutely terrifying.

Oh my God, I know my mom's going to be a runner! I just know it.

Do you ever worry that you might potentially inherit Alzheimer's from her?

Honestly no, because I take after my dad so much for all of his bad qualities that I can't possibly get my mother's Alzheimer's. I mean, I didn’t get her pretty legs. I didn’t get her nice body. We [Kim's twin sister Kelley] don't even look like her, and that's why I couldn't possibly have the one bad thing that she has. I mean, I didn't get any of her good stuff, so I don't think I'll get this.

The last time I interviewed you, the piece got hundreds of comments and a lot of them were about how both lesbians and gay men are attracted to you. I have to ask, do you have a gay bone in your body?

[Thinks] You know what? I'm just so…asexual, I wish I had a gay bone.

That's so wierd. You don't seem asexual. Does it seem weird to you that both are attracted to you?

I can see the lesbian thing, but like, then again, I don't really know because I have no idea what attracts people.

I was just talking to a gay guy friend and it was interesting because he was saying that he didn’t think he was gay all through high school, right? His older brother was gay, so he was used to it, and he just never thought about it. He said the only gay guys he would think of back then were the really 'fabulous' types. And he said he had no idea he was gay until he opened up a copy of Bear magazine in his mid-twenties, and he was like, 'Shwing! I'm gay.'

My point being how would I know what lesbians or gay guys were attracted [to] because one can never know what can turn on a particular lesbian or a particular gay person.

Do you remember when, in an interview a few years ago, you said you looked at all your musical contemporaries and that they were all married with children, and then added, 'I could use a wife?'

Yes, which is really, really insulting to women, of course!

No, it's not! You have every right to want a wife. Even certain women want wives. So, speaking of families, did you ever want children?

I used to always think that in my future self, I would want kids. And I read a 'Newsweek' article in the early 90's and it was an article about women hitting the glass ceiling, blah, blah blah, whatever.

Anyway, there was this female CEO and one of the things she said in the article was for women to not forget having kids. And to make sure you make time, because there's a time limit for that. So that always stuck with me, I made a mental note.

And then, it wasn't like I forgot, it just never happened. But maybe if I was more organized in my life, maybe I could have done something about it, but you know then I think that maybe I'm too lazy to be a mother.

Would you want to adopt one now, or do you just not even care?

I don't know, I worry I'm too lazy. I think I was extremely depressed when I was hitting 40, but then what I think happens is as my mother would say, 'nature takes its course,' and it gets less, it drops off, you know what I'm saying? I'm glad the [brooding] didn’t go into a square root of like, "Oh my god! I still don't have one, Oh my god!" So it just alleviated.

And Kelley doesn't have kids either. I like that you both don’t have kids.

Oh God, I'm going to sound like a fucking weirdo for saying this but I'm going to. OK -- Kelley and I have been noticing all of these things parents say and we get alone and we just -- oh my God, I wish she was here.

What do you mean?

These things parents say! Like, [Serious voice] 'You know, children change your life completely. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I was nothing until I had kids.'

[Laughing] I mean, the quotes are just...endless! 'My children give me all the perspective in the world.' 'I didn't even know what living was until I looked into my daughter's eyes in the nursery.' I mean, it just goes... on and on! And then I'm like, 'Well, I guess I blew it, didn't I?'

[Laughing]. What you just said makes that one scene in "Loud Quiet Loud" even funnier. Charles tells you and Kelley that he and his wife just found out they are going to have a baby. You and Kelley light cigarettes and start screaming, "OH MY GOD THAT IS THE BEST NEWS! THAT'S SO GREAT!"

[Laughing hard] Oh, I know! It's all so...strange! But the thing is, I really feel like..that, well, obviously not everyone in the world can be wrong about this. [Whispers] I mean ... can they? Ok, I get it everybody, I mean, obviously I made a HUGE error, and obviously I can't rectify it. Whatever!

There was that fascinating 2002 documentary about you and Kelley, and I just read that your bass player is making a new documentary about the band. Have you ever instead thought about making it a reality series about you and Kelley for like, A&E?

Huh, you know a couple of people have actually asked us about that. I wonder how one would get to do that.

Just get someone to pitch it to a variety of cable channels – A&E, VH1. I think they'd be interested off the bat if they saw the 2002 documentary and recent footage of you two. You and Kelley together on film is entertaining anyway, but when you throw in that you're twins and rock stars, it's just a major hook. Would you do a series?

I don't know if I'd do it. I don't know! I mean, I think Kelley's funny and I enjoy hanging out with her. I'd have to think about it. It would [be] fun to try, though, and see what happens. I don't know.

Here's the final question. Over the years, the one word that is always used when describing you is "cool." There have been songs about it, it's been on web sites, reporters say it, fans say it...

Yeah, but you know what? I could just Google 'Kim Deal is an asshole' and I bet things would come up.

Wait, why did I even just say that? Why would I even Google 'Kim Deal is an asshole?'

I don't know why, but you shouldn't do that. So anyway, since that word is always associated with you, can you think of one characteristic or attribute you possess that's been the reason for people always coming back to that same word about you?

Yes, I know what it is [Pauses].

What is it?

It's cuz I smoke. [Laughs hard].

[Laughing]. Oh you jerk! It would be so "cool" if you really answered!

That was my answer! I used to smoke, and that was cool, but I don’t smoke anymore so I'm not cool anymore. I'm fat and uncool.

Interview by Jenny Stewart, PlanetOut.com/Gay.com Editorial Director

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'62 Reissue P Bass Colors

So some day I'd like to own at least one of the basses that Kim Deal played in the Pixies. It isn't a priority...but if and when I ever buy a decent bass...I'll be looking. With my own preferences in mind...I'd lean towards the 62 Reissue Fender Precision.

I've hashed out her basses elsewhere on this blog (see link above)...but one thing that has long bothered me is...what the hell color is that '62 Reissue? I was just reading an article in which she says it is Coral. But doing a little bit of research...Coral doesn't seem to be a color used on 62 basses. Fiesta Red is though...and that's damn close. There was also Shell Pink...but that doesn't look right. I suppose that it is possible that the reissues were made in colors not used for the originals.

Colors below from here. Fender has a red color chart here (no sign of Coral or Shell Pink).

But I will give her that it sure as damn well does look Coral (2nd pic from left).

The second question becomes...what year was the thing? I mean...it was a 62 reissue...but a REissue. It was first used during fall of 1988 recordings for Doolittle. So if she bought it new...it was likely an 88 model. But who the hell knows if it was new. Even if it were from a shop it could have been used...or just a leftover from a year or so before.

If and when the time ever comes...maybe these guys can help.

Update: Somebody on the internet says this...which would explain quite a bit if true:
"Where the incorrect "Coral" and "Shell" descriptions come from is this. Even fresh Fiesta Red really isn't predominantly red, it has a tangerine or orange hue which comes from the white pigment in the mix. What happens to give birth to the "Coral Pink" or in your case "Coral Red" descriptions is that the red pigment is very reactive to light, so the more daylight a vintage Fiesta Red finish sees the more the red pigment fades. The white pigment doesn't fade of course so it gradually becomes more prominent causing the finish to appear pinker as as the red continues to fade over time during exposure to light. Fiesta Red will in fact turn a shade of pink that perfectly fits the inaccurate "Coral Pink" description or in your case "Coral Red."

Almost always colors described as "CORAL" or "PINK" from that era started out as Fiesta Red."

Monday, June 11, 2012


There are some songs that are just mental blocks for me. Who knows why. Swingtown is in that catagory...as is Baracuda. And so it is with Faghatland. I've been trying, off and on, to learn it for about a year and a half now even though it hasn't been on the active set list. Sounds like it is coming back into action...so I worked on it this week...and again it is just...brutal. I'm not sure why. It isn't hard...I just can't get it. I think it is a case that I really ought to just scrap the old part EH played and make it my own with something new. He has go to moves that aren't in my toolkit, so why bother. But I think I also just hate drum solos...and the fact that this song has TWO isn't helping matters. Alas.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I don't even really know what to say. It feels a little like time has accelerated in the last few days. 

I am now in 4 bands, and ironically this isn't bothering me much and isn't part of the acceleration of time. That all feels very much in hand and that's more than I can say for the rest of life. Upcoming teaching obligations and travel and work tasks are looming a bit...causing me to freak out. In short...there is much that will happen between now and labor day. One can really only take a deep breath...jump in the water...and hope that there's enough air to last until September.

The new baby band is serving the purpose for which it was meant, namely providing me a way to learn to write bass lines. It's less dramatic than I thought it would be and my instincts are way better than I thought they were. I worry that I'm writing horribly boring bass lines...but in truth they've been ones that worked and that served the song in question. And that's a damn good start. And I'm stretching my hands and stretching my brain and thinking of things from a theory standpoint and also from a "box" standpoint...and that's all good.

TD will add back in a couple of old tunes and I think that'll be fine.

CJ already has the 4 new tunes pretty well in hand. I even seem to have mastered the vocal harmonies with very little pain. We surprise ourselves all the time with how good we've gotten at being a tribute to a certain four people. It seems to get easier and easier.

SSW will play two more acoustic shows and then who knows. But that too is all fine and well.

I'd like to be practicing fundamentals more...like I'd planned...but it is all okay. Truly.

Time for a deep breath. See you on the other side.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Babies

The new babies. $450 all maple Sonor Force 3005. Added Road Runner bags for $50.

I took my pinstripe batter heads and ambassador resonant heads off of my black Pulse kit and put them on the Sonor. They are old, but have only been played at shows...maybe been played 10 times total...so they still have some life. Stuck some older emperor batters on the black kit and used the stock Sonor Remo UT heads for the resonant heads for the black kit.

I haven't tweaked the tuning much yet, just tried to get it in the ballpark. They sound good already. The bass drum is intense. I left the solid Sonor front head on there and forgot to muffle before putting the heads on...so it booms but in a good way (no annoying overtones, buzz, or wah). I'll need to muffle for sure (because the sound is out of proportion with the rest of the kit) and might actually put a ported head on before the first show.

I have to say that my two old shit Pulse kits weren't so bad for sound. Aside from the crazy bass drum...the sound isn't slap you across the face different. What is pretty different is the hardware, which is just outstanding. Very adjustable and sturdy and easy to use. Even with the deeper than normal toms I'm well able to get things into the position that I want.

The bags that I bought for $50 are very basic...but that's really all I wanted...and online the same ones were selling for $120-$300. So it was worth it. They have some tears in the lining, but nothing major. They really will only protect against scratches (not major dents) but that's ok. I'm pretty careful.

I think I did really well. It wasn't an expense I'd planned until next spring...but the deal couldn't be beat. I was expecting to pay more in the $750-$1,700 range for decent drums (plus the cost of bags). What I got is totally acceptable quality-wise (pretty much exactly the level that I wanted) and under $500.