So last night I got to play as a featured artist at Hebe’s Wednesday night open mic, so I used the band name. It was a little snowy, which means EVERYONE BUY ALL THE BREAD AND MILK THAT YOU CAN AND BATTON DOWN THE WINDOWS! DON’T GO ANYWHERE! IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO OUTSIDE! but there were a bunch of cool younger musicians out. I had the enigmatic Brian Foy playing cajon for me and of course we killed it.
I even got a buck for stripping. Probably would have gotten more if I took more than my sweater off.
The set list was:
A Lost Cause (Nothing to Offer You)
Stare Down the Moon
Always Something There to Remind Me [by Naked Eyes]
I played guitar while my friend Brian Foy did percussion at 2nd State Lounge on 4th & South last week. This guy Paul Kurrey runs a sort of anyone-and-everyone music night on Monday and Thursday nights. He invites musicians or sometimes if someone contacts him adds them to the list of players. Despite the way I just described the nights, they are very structured.30-45 minute sets, and the musicians are booked in advance, even though Paul had once used the term Open Mic to describe it. Monday night is acoustic night and Thursday night is when the bands join in.
The venue is a newer version of Lickety Split, which I’d known about for years but never visited. The downstairs has great pizza (and it’s the size of your face!) and the upstairs has a cool dive vibe that I dig. The stage is tiny, though, so full bands would have a hard time making that place work for them. I’ve been playing a lot of cover songs lately, even under the band project name Your Secret Identity, but usually it’s just me on acoustic and a percussion player. I kind of threw in a bunch of my own songs, and was originally asked to play for an hour to cover for a guy who may have been late. The set was to open with a couple of my own (which I dropped to one because I didn’t want to sit there retuning on stage), with the rest at the tail end of the set. The guy who was going to be late arrived on time so it became a 45-minute set, and all of the songs I wrote got cut. Of course, I didn’t get word until I was about 45 minutes in. If I stayed I could have played another set at the tail end of the night, but I didn’t stay that long.
And By the way (Will You Be There?)
Ticket To Ride [Beatles]
Beer for Breakfast [The Replacements]
I Ran [Flock of Seagulls]
(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me [Naked Eyes]
Bad Romance [Lady Gaga]
Free Fallin’ [Tom Petty]
I Melt With You [Modern English]
Psycho Killer [Talking Heads]
Name [The Goo Goo Dolls]
Daydream Believer [The Monkees]
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood [Elvis Costello]
Just Like Heaven [The Cure]
I caught Marc Lancaster before I left and he is a damn talented on guitar and vocals. It was a cool night, getting to listen to Paul play a song that sounded like an old Marshall Tucker Band song (and hearing a fascinating story behind it). The place fills up nicely later on in the night. And if you go outside, you can hear the music from about two blocks away on a quiet night. I’d love to play there again. Perhaps I should talk with Paul about setting up an original music night with acoustic players.
I composed this piece back in 2007 I think. Really, I just sat down and played piano a lot and turned each piece into an entire 15-minute suite.
I was asked by a friend a while back to score a piece he was working with. I sent this as a sort of, “Here’s the ideas I got. If you like it let me know and I can clean it all up for you.” There are a lot of little finger flubs cos I didn’t write any of it down. Also, if anyone asks me to play this, I couldn’t. Because I never wrote it down.
Well this was fun to do. Sarah and I recorded this version of that classic Starship song “Nothing’s Going Stop Us Now” like, sometime in 2013. It was fun. And I sat on the masters because the piano just sounded horrible. But I eventually got it right. And then I forgot to upload it for like a year. Anyway, I really hope you enjoy it. It was a fun collaboration.
I kind of threw this together cos I got a text from Jared saying, ” Just found Ike’s parrallel universe album on spotify… You should learn deathbed and dandelion…”
You can tell this was like a first take cos there’s about two wrong chords and I flubbed a lyric. And yet I went back, added a quick second vocal track, and a . . . um . . . rendition of the guitar solo . . . . But anyway, here it is.
I took the AIFF files off the Mac and imported them into an application I’m used to recording in, called Sonar Home Studio, and redid it. I was trying out a bass line on the recording, and I decided to leave it in. Considering I added some more background vocals and re-EQ’ed the entire thing, and changed up some of the special effects, the addition of bass wouldn’t be so bad. So now, what you hear is the DAYDREAM BELIEVER: EPISODE IV SPECIAL EDITION. And in this version, Greedo never shoots.
So I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a MIDI controller. And I wanted something I could use instead of the old, tried-and-true method of click, drag, drop, right-click, edit I used to do for my drum programming.
And I figured, it’s got two octaves, and a set of actual pads at the top, maybe this is just what I need. So I dropped some money into the hands of the guy at my local Guitar Center and walked home with this, along with two desperately needed pop filters.
I got home, tore open the box (ok just the corner) and plugged it in. So, this is actually my first MIDI controller, and already I’m having problems with it.
And I’m writing this partially because I want feedback from actual users to tell me something like, “Welcome to the world of using MIDI controllers and doing drum programming. You’re doing it wrong.” Or whatever.
So on Saturday I had set up my MXLs 990 and 991 and recorded this acoustic rhythm thing I had in my head. It had a cool rock and roll groove that I was able to pick up well enough despite just setting up the mics arbitrarily and hitting GO. Well, plugging the Takamine directly into the board helped fill the gaps the mics didn’t get, and I got the low end perfectly with the 991. Anyway, after listening back to the song structure I put together, I really wanted to add drums to it.
After spending too much time trying to figure out how to use any software drum machines I had, I decided to just grab my old Sound font and grab a free VSTi to load it. Then I was back in business.
Ten years ago I bought some Sonic Implants (now SONiVOX) session drums as a SoundFont, and I have never stopped using them. Well, there was that ‘dark period’ in my life where my entire spirit fell into blackness for about five years, from which I am still recovering. But anyway, so I am still using these SF2 drums from ten years ago coz I love them. I’ve learned how to have them play in a way that I like. Multiple, velocity-triggered samples per drum, and a great clean sound.
So I got to work, the old way that I used to do things, which was to click to add a note, right-click and edit its velocity to give some sort of dynamic feel to the music. Click, drag, right-click, edit, wash, rinse, repeat.
And it’s funny that I ruin these drums by playing them at a velocity of about 120, and then lower as necessary to make it sound less like a computer playing. I know I should probably be using 90 or something as my base velocity . . . .
Anyway, so here I am with this new toy. Plug it into my computer, run the Editor to configure the pads, turn off SONAR so I can actually perform the edits, and then plug back into SONAR.
The pads felt at first stiff and not very responsive, but I tried anyway. I deleted the entire Drums track (for my purposes I separate all drums and then all cymbals when tracking) and then hit the REC button in my editor. Well, at that speed I can’t play the drums, and the pads still feel stiff and hard to use, but damn if they didn’t record practically every single tap that I made. the most fun part was just randomly banging on the Tom pads to get a cool sound.
It was still crap so I trashed it. I can barely play real drums unless it’s Hall & Oates, and even then it’s crap. But I don’t know if it’s
me not knowing how to track drums properly,
me not buying a real drum machine with better buttons
the Akai being new and still needs some breaking in
Anyway, if you’re reading this and have any advice to offer, I’m all ears.
About two years ago I sat down in the theatre and was blown away by the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It almost broke my record for film seen most times in a cinema, a record currently held by Fight Club In time for the DVD release, I decided to record a cover. There is a video somewhere, and that video is where I got this audio.
Ladies and gentlemen, originally by Beck, I give you this song: Ramona
Also, here’s the video where the original recording came from. I overdubbed the extra vocals and instruments from the live track.