Thursday, August 29, 2013

CJ, HNS, 8/28/2013

41 paid in attendance for a stunning $144!  But it felt pretty empty.

We played 2 sets and got through them all but dropped #13 for no good reason just the same.

I had given CT some free strings that were donated to GRC and I guess free strings aren't worth having. Apparently age is not good for a string. I'm guessing these were years old before we ever saw them and have sat in storage with us for over a year. So yeah...he broke 2. Whoops.  As a result played most of first set on the backup strat.  Changed whole guitar at set break with less shitty strings. That's what I get for stealing things from little children.

Due to the whole string situation we moved Vamos from the last song of the first set to near the middle of the second...and he killed it even though RS started the song really fast and I thought EH might have his arms fall off. It's a simple drum beat, sure, but people don't realize how hard it is to keep up for 4+ minutes.

Mostly we played well. RS jumped one measure in "Space" after the Perry Mason thing, but we'd already prepared to just go when he said "he so" ...and so all was well. He also skipped a progression ahead in "Manta Ray" and got to the bridge too early...which resulted in the rest of us playing a kind of comical sliding scale into the chorus. I thought it was kind of funny.  I flubbed a note here or there but generally played well. My mic had this dent that you had to sing into or it didn't work right but I figured it out quickly enough. The whole "pick-no-pick" and associated tone/volume adjustments with the new bass worked out pretty well. My amp, which worked fine with a direct line out on Tuesday, didn't work that way on Wednesday and he had to run it through a DI box. It was rattling by the end of the show too in the way that it does (it really doesn't like the frequencies in "Monkey" on that front). The lights were effing with me for a while so that I couldn't see my fret dots, but I moved and it was resolved.  My vocal monitor was perfect and so my vocals were better than average. I even sang "Nimrod" right.

At least four or five people we didn't know came up at end of the show gushing and loosing their shit over how awesome we were. It still surprises me.

I had not a drop of alcohol and was so very glad for that.

Set 1
I Bleed
Holiday Song
Sad Punk
Blown Away
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Letter to Memphis
Lovely Day
Crackity Jones
Ed is Dead
Here Comes Your Man
(we skipped Vamos and put it in set 2)

Set 2
Bone Machine
Wave fast
Bird Dream
Dig for Fire
Down to the Well
(We skipped No 13 Baby)
Manta Ray
River Euphrates
La La Love You
Nimrod's Son
Where Is My Mind
Gouge Away

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SVFD, HNS, 8/27/2013

I have two shows this week, both in same time slot and at same venue on two consecutive days. Gig #1 was last night. SVFD opened for Something To Do. It was our first double ska bill.

It was a good turnout and we brought in $127, which I feel like is good for a happy hour gig. I think that we could have played better but the audience insisted it was great. Beverages were had. Too many. But it did not affect my performance. Still, tis a trend I'd like to reverse soon. Had the guitar in the monitor, making it the first time I've really heard what she plays. It kind of threw me off a bit.

Rascal King
Came Out of a Lady
Mr. Smiley
About a Girl
Thigh High Nylongs
I Don't Love You Anymore
Lost Again
Red Rubber Ball

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Memo to Myself

I write out painstaking tab for most of the songs that I play on the bass because I have a poor memory. If I figure it out I have to write it down or else it is gone in no time. Then I practice them until they are memorized and ditch the notes.  Later, when muscle memory has finally failed from too much time past, I can go back to the notes and remind and refresh.

Some songs, though, just come naturally and I write very sparse notes. "The Sad Punk" is such a song. I wrote down the chord progression, but felt the incidental notes were so natural and obvious that there was no need to write out.

Fast forward three years.

*blank stare at progression*

Memo to myself...always write it all out.

Told you so for future me..."Don't Change" by INXS is also this kind of song. Write it all out dumbass.  Though, if we're still playing "Don't Change" on or after Oct 27th I'll be shocked.

Monday, August 12, 2013

SSW, GTMW, 8/10/2013

SSW played GTMW for the second year running. I brought my homemade "mini-kit"...for future reference noting in detail here:
-floor tom tuned loose
-wood floor tom stand
-my cheapest bass pedal
-my lightest hi hat stand and the scimitar hats
-my lightest snare stand and the all silver snare
-HH splash on an adapter arm connected to hh stand
-tambo on my super-duper adapter connected to hh stand (played it on only one song...don't bring next time)
-small rug
-used rods for everything except Stooges medley with shaker egg
-my lightest throne
-put everything on my cart. Floor tom in case, snare in case (with all cymbals and throne top), stands in blue bag, sticks and music in a small bag that fit inside blue bag. Also brought a tarp that I used to reserve space for friends (no rain thankfully). Took cart apart for cab ride. Cab was able to get me to top of hill for drop off and pick up was easy just down the hill. Cart worked like a charm. Perfect.
-5 bottles of water...wasn't enough (by my count I drank 144+ ounces of water over course of day and still felt like shit)
-hat, sunglasses, rain coat...brought sunscreen but didn't use it and that was a mistake (got a little burn on my face and I think this was a significant contributor to feeling like shit). Wore my black Keen's, blue jean shorts, and my Brigadoon t-shirt.
-Took a cab...$14 plus tip to gig, $1 plus tip away

CJ also played two very short sets. I brought my acoustic bass for this purpose and it was inaudible in the drone of people. Next year leave bass at home.  Note that a not insignificant number of people stopped to listen to the Pixies tunes (though most people ignored our 70s punk sets). Recall telling at least 4 people who CJ was and when our next show was.  I am forever amazed at this phenomenon.

Two different drunk guys asked it they could play my kit. This was new.

Best beer of day was "Rabbit" something or other brewery (I think it was 5 Rabbit Cerveceria and I think I had their
"hUitzi: Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale. O.G.: 1.07. IBU: 22.0. ABV: 8.7. A refreshing and
elegant Belgian-style, strong golden ale brewed with hibiscus blossoms, Roman
chamomile, pickled ginger, Thai palm sugar, and local Chicago honey"
RS had their "5 grass: Style: American Pale Ale" I think he also liked it.)

Was not actually hung over next day...but did feel like total shit all Sat night.

SSW setlist to come.

Friday, August 2, 2013


As long as I can remember I've wanted to play guitar.  For most of my life this manifested as an interest in playing acoustic guitar only and ranged from just wanting to chord along to wanting to play two line parts fingerstyle (which I actually started learning to do in the mid-1990s...I can't imagine trying any of those songs now). I was never really interested in electric guitar or in effects or any of that.

But somewhere along the way I figured out that things that are really hard on acoustic guitar (like barre chords) are really easy on electric. And that made me want to play electric more. But when I play electric it always just kind of sounds lame.

A few years ago I bought a Marshall digital effects modelling amp on a whim.  It's design was kind of shitty though and it didn't really do what I wanted it to do.  I ended up selling it (something I rarely do). Then about a year ago someone gave me a multi-effect pedal. This too...poorly designed, hard to use, and didn't do what I wanted.

For about 3 years now there's been this little 1.5 Watt Vox amp sitting in the GRC storage. It was battery operated and looked broken. Everyone ignored it. I'm pretty sure it got throw around a few times...maybe even kicked. It really just looked like garbage. Finally, this summer I decided to take it home and see if it worked at all. Not only does it is the best amp I've ever played through. It has tons of effects that are easy to use and sound great.  To me, it sounds better and more powerful than a 30 watt amp. Bonus, I found the power adapter for it. It quickly went from the worst amp that camp owned to the best. And now I'm hiding it.

Things that I've never understood before about electric guitar and effects are beginning to make sense.  Palm muting...other stuff. How different effects work and how you use them.  I've been depressed lately and it occurred to me that something to shake me out of my rut might be to take some electric guitar lessons. But last night I was goofing with the Vox and figured out about a dozen miracle concepts all on my own. Game changers.  And then it occurred to me...

...really I just need to play more.

Not "practice". Just play. Hold the thing in my hands and fuck around. Try stuff that doesn't even make any sense. I've been trying to make this so structured...memorize scales, memorize chord patterns...but none of that even really matters. Just make noise. The stuff that sounds it again. The stuff that sounds bad...try not to do it again. For sure there are things I could benefit from, like basic pick control exercises...but most of it is just unstructured play.

Anyway, who knows if I'll go anywhere with it...follow through at all.  But it is a revelation to think about approaching something not from the perspective of "trying to do it right and get better" but instead from the "fuck up a whole bunch until something sounds cool" perspective.