Thursday, July 25, 2013

TD, 7/24/2013, Wisconscene

TD got a last minute invite to record an episode of Wisconscene, a local music show on local access cable and the internet.

We played pretty well and gave a surprisingly coherent interview.  The guys managed to say nice things about me and the host managed to get in a plug for GRC. The Frogs even got brought up (RIP).

A particularly impressive insight was had by AS...he basically said that, because people can select for EXACTLY what they want on the internet (only this genre...only this artist...only this SONG) that they are no longer willing to attend shows by bands that they've never heard of. They may be willing to go out, but they want to know exactly what time the band they are going to see is playing and they will arrive at that time and leave right after that band is done. People aren't willing to invest the time to learn about new music.  RS added that college kids just don't seem interested in live local music anymore.

I think all of this is true. I wonder if it was once LESS true, or if people just get caught up in nostalgia.  I am guilty of the "arrive at start of band I want to see, leave right after" thing...but I think this is because I'm old and tired.

Sent It
Better N Better
Gun in Your Grave
Gotta Tell U

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SVFD, 7/19/2013, RSR

We were part of a 6 band lineup celebrating female vocalists. The show was put together by "a promoter"...which is my least favorite thing to hear. The venue had just been sold and failed to list show in any local papers (nor did "the promoter"). Also, venue had perhaps 14 bottles of liquor in whole joint and a mere few cases of beer. Looked like they'd been looted. one came to the show.

The day after the gig I got an email message from a photog saying they would be on hand to take pro shots and for $20 would give them to us. The message was likely sent between noon and 8pm on Friday. I wrote back (on Saturday I think) and said I'd seen them taking pics at show and sure we'd love them.  Photog said..."oh I erased them because you never got back to me".  That's about right.


I was in a foul mood due to interpersonal conflict that happened less than an hour before we took the stage and due to general exhaustion from a week of hard, hard work. Long before alcohol was ingested, I tripped and dropped my amp but it seemed to still work just fine (my shin is less fine). Then proceeded to drink all 14 bottles of liquor at the show and didn't even get tipsy. Not one bit. Played the gig nearly perfectly (not kidding) in a complete mental fog of anger (see interpersonal conflict). Total muscle memory. Amazing.

All in all the show ran better than I could have hoped for.  We had the city's grumpiest sound guy but he made us sound silky smooth.

rascal king
came out of a lady
about a girl
i don't love you anymore
lost again
red rubber ball
xtra---wallet (we didn't play it cause of the packed lineup)

New hi hat stand

Had $60 in gift cards to Guitarget from working  bopped on down and picked up a used Mapex hi hat stand for just about that much. The Sugar Glider had been complaining that mine sticks...which I'd never noticed before (could be why I can't play hi hat for shit? perhaps). It's first test drive will be on Wednesday...when TD unexpectedly plays a 5 song set ON TV (complete with band interview...what? WHAT?!?). Yeah, seems like the right time to test out something new.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Next Round of Purchases

I keep thinking/hoping that I'm approaching the end of my major music purchasing...but it kind of seems to never end.

I've got $40 credit at GC I need to burn by end of August.

The next things on the list:

  • I want a compact and lightweight RELIABLE alternative to my heavy 175 W combo and my unreliable 600W combo. A friend is selling a used like-new condition 2x10 350 Watt bass cabinet. I kind of want it, though I think she wants more money for it than I want to spend (like $ it would be $399). 
  • If I get the cabinet, I'll need a head to go with it. I'd be looking for a lightweight (hand-held) head in the 200W-350W range. New or used. No rush on getting it though. I'd like to spend in the $300 range.
  • I would like a lightweight set of good drum hardware. Snare, hi hat, and probably a straight cymbal stand. Looking to spend less than $150 for the 3 pieces. I want to be able to pack everything down and put it in a smallish bag and not break my back. Still looking for the right brand/model/price-point combo.
  • I'm actually good for heads and sticks at the moment, but I could always use the credit for those things too. At some point I should put a full new set of heads (top and bottom) on the Sonor kit (for about $150)...but I'm really not playing it out much these days so there's no urgency to that.
Note that lightweight is my overall life theme.

Friday, July 5, 2013

I'm on a recording...

Hizzah! Ska demo is done! Miracles really do happen.

Crap. So professional.

Putting It All Together

I am a largely self-taught musician...or at least it feels that way. What is true is that I taught myself to play my father's chord organ and my brother's acoustic guitar basically with no assistance. But it is also true that I studied cello for 7 years in public school, and that probably gave me more of a solid technical background than I can really imagine.

But the guitar that I learned on was a shitty acoustic and I taught myself from chord diagram sheet I learned your basic open folk chords. The irony of guitar is that...power chords and barre chords are actually "easier" than open chords...because you learn one form (ok, a handful of forms) and just apply them over and over. With open chords...every chord is its own thing. But I don't think I'm alone in finding barre chords and power chords difficult...just because that's not how I learned.

Conversely, people who know power chords will treat you like an asshole if you can't play them...because they seem so dirt simple to them. And they are. But that's kind of like a French person saying a Spanish person is stupid for not being able to speak French (this too, more than likely, happens).

I've been working off and on over the last few years to learn to play barre chords and power chords. But I've been inconsistent (the bass and drums...instruments I actually NEED to play...always get in the way) and haven't made much progress.

Ancillary to all of this is the idea of using effects pedals...and special ways of playing like "palm muting." All of this...foreign to me.

One of my band's suggested we play a certain metal tune. This is funny because I think of us as a folky-rock group. I have no interest in metal...but I think BECAUSE it is so funny...I wanted to learn this suggested song. I realized pretty quickly that the guitar player in our band suffers from the same guitar issues that I do, though, and so I wondered about re-arranging the song with the lead guitar on bass.

I plugged in my shitty Hondo Pro guitar into my borrowed 1.5 Watt Vox effects amp and gave it a whirl just to figure out the parts. It turns out that the song in question is actually pretty simple, though I'm still nailing down the exact structure. The song is essentially all power chords with some lead lines that follow a basic scale structure. There's a touch of palm muting. The key is getting the sound to overdrive...which with that little amp is easy. When my friends have told me in the past "when in doubt just put a bunch of feedback on there" I never understood how that helped. Now I get it.

I don't know what happened, but suddenly all of these things made sense to me and fell together. I'm certain that with just a few more practices I'll have nailed the entire song. I can even play most of it on bass now (chords and all). I'm still not the world's greatest power chord player...but I think I see how it goes. As with just takes practice.

I don't know if this constitutes some kind of break-through that, from this point forward will mean a whole brave new world. But it feels like it might.