Archive for the ‘Making The Band’ Category

A Little Rust

RustedHero.com

© 2010 Adrien Goulet

What a difference a day can make … 7:30am Monday morning I was asleep with no band name and wondering if we would ever come to a consensus on one after our voting debacle from last week. By 7:30am Tuesday we had a name, a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a MySpace page. By this morning we now have 3 songs up recorded from Monday’s rehearsal.

Hot!

I’m a bit of a foot-dragger and perfectionist when it comes to music – I admit this – so I’m still coming to grips with all of this web presence and available music even though we only have 4 practices as a four piece (and that’s including the bassist’s audition and catching him up on all the songs). Still, I’m super stoked and equally happy to have a progressive presence in the band, now. I get the distinct impression my social media activity, and just web activity in general, is going to skyrocket exponentially pretty soon as a result of all this musicness.

Get ready …

Current Mood: Rocking Out emoticon Rocking Out

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What’s Our Motherfucking Name?

A bunch of interesting events have been happening in my life recently (and by interesting I mean painfully dull), so I’m going to try to do a series of quick, small blogs to catch everyone up to date on everything.

First off – a band cliffhanger!

We tried upping our band rehearsals to twice a week but it was starting to prove kind of difficult for whatever reason. So, to counter our natural laziness, we’ve upped the length of each rehearsal. Monday we met for our first 3-hour long practice. It was awesome because the pace was leisurely enough so we didn’t feel rushed and it also gave us enough time to hit up our secondary goal for the night: naming the band!

We really have been going for too long without a name – it’s usually the first thing people ask you when you’re in a band – and it might even be holding us back, even if just from a psychological standpoint. Adrien, our new bassist, came up with the following naming process:

  1. Each member would come up with 3 band names for a total of 12
  2. Each member would have an instant veto, bringing the total down to 8
  3. Each member could vote on as many names from these 8 as he wanted
  4. If there was a consensus winner it would become the name
  5. Otherwise we would take the top two and do a head to head vote off

We all showed up to practice with our 3 names and began the crazy, Survivor-type method. But, to make things more interesting, we’d do just one step in the process, play a song, do another step, play another song, etc. At the end, there was one name with 3 votes and 3 other names with 2 votes so we moved all 4 onto another round. We were only allowed 1 vote each and whittled down this to 2 names – however the band was split! Two of us liked one name, the other two liked the other. So the final round we decided to have a debate-off with each person getting 5 minutes to say why they thought the name was better.

Even though I’ve always kinda wanted the other guys to come up with a name for the band, the ones I suggested did pretty well for the night with two of my three reaching the final four, and one of mine being the ultimate winner. We selected “Wasted Days” and all loved it. We played out through our set and went home for the night, satisfied that a huge obstacle had finally been conquered in a team effort.

… That is until we woke up the next morning and hated “Wasted Days.” Oh, well, I was foolish to think it would be this easy. When we finally do come up with a name I’ll let you all know here first.

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for June 2009 posts
  • Removed Superman in the Forties (2005) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added instrumentation, time worked, genre and lyrics data to recordings on Bowmans Crossing in musicDB
  • Removed Soundgarden – Ultramega OK (1988) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Deep Purple – Shades of Deep Purple (1968) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Lost Via Domus [PS3] (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Superman in the Fifties (2002) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Bumping into Geniuses (2008) to Currently Enjoyin
  • Added The Clash (1977) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Whitney Houston (1985) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Wowed emoticon WowedEh emoticon Eh

Got Your Bass Right Here

JPJ: Led Zeppelin's secret weapon

LATE BREAKING NEWS (had this been a week ago): We’ve got a bassist!

After a long, fruitless search for a low-end player, the three mainstay members of my still unnamed band had decided to move on without one. We began to look at recording studios to pump out an EP and also started looking into playing live. We figured with those two items under our belt, we’d come across a bass player the old fashioned way.

Well, just like golf and free throws, when we finally stopped trying to control the bass-finding process we finally lucked into one. I randomly came across an ad on craigslist that sounded good. This was random because most of the ads marked as “bass” on this infernal site are other bands LOOKING for a bass! And those few and far between actual bassist posters are usually of the above-50/for-hire type.

When Adrien sent back a reply stating he liked our music and wanted to jam he also mentioned he was into video games and was a web designer. That situation sounded too good to be true, but John also gave me his usually dead on psychic premonition: “I have a good feeling about this guy.” We all met up for an audition jam two weeks ago. Adrien was confident on his instrument but not flashy which was great. Even better, the songs sounded like they were being played by a real band and not just three dudes! When he left John immediately said “I’m a yes.” Matt concurred. I, of course, was already taken by the video game comment in the email!

Anyway, last Monday we had a second jam and officially offered him a role in the band afterward. Adrien accepted and now, as my evil high school band director would say, we’re really cooking with gas!!! Hopefully some exciting things will be coming soon to a [stanus.net] near you!

Also, on a programming note, I’ve finally finished the last part of the Best/Worst of 2009 feature and am pretty much up to date with The Shack 10th Anniversary piece. That’s what 3-day Memorial Day weekends are for, peeps!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Kanye West – Late Registration (2005) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Superman in the Forties (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Soundgarden – Ultramega OK (1988) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Deep Purple – Shades of Deep Purple (1968) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Amazing Stories: Season 1 (1986) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Dog the Bounty Hunter: Season 6 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed NBA Street Homecourt [PS3] (2007) from Currently Enjoying
  • Posted May 24 through June 1 journal entries to The Shack: 10th Anniversary | 2000-2010
  • Added Blogs to Best/Worst of 2009 feature

Current Mood: Excited emoticon Excited

Gettin’ Rhythm

Two unknown guitarists

I’ve always been a super-territorial guitar player: in an ad-hoc band put together for a talent show I pretty much forced the other guitarist/singer to drop the guitar and focus on singing; in my previous band I had little patience with the other guitarist’s slower grasp of certain things and metal style; hell, I remember being pushy and judgmental in my weekly high school guitar club!

So it took a little pride swallowing to come to the agreement that I need a rhythm guitarist in my, as yet, unnamed band. Being the only non-rhythm instrument in the band for the past month and a half I’ve had to hold down all the chords in every practice. Otherwise, there’s no song happening! As a result, I haven’t been able to play leads and my soloing sounded so thin. I didn’t think it’d be as big a deal as it started to become but I was getting really frustrated and felt like I was having to ignore my strengths. So, we recorded some decent takes of our five songs, put them up on my MySpace page, and wrote some craigslist ads to find a rhythm guitarist.

I got a few responses back – mostly unimpressive stuff with no musical samples – but I was really happy about one. Tommy, a guitarist from a local New York band called Die Pretty, responded saying that he was 1) interested in our songs 2) a huge video gamer (something I mentioned as a plus in my ad) and 3) a RHYTHM guitar player. I was actually concerned about this third fact going in, because I get the distinct impression the guitarist community on craigslist is kind of like the men’s league in ZogSports basketball: everyone thinks they’re Michael Jordan.

Anyway, we had Tommy attend our Thursday rehearsal. We all first met at Mustang Harry’s (as usual … and just as usual my beer showed up for me without my having to ask) and talked music and video games. He immediately fit in with us on a personal level! Then we hit the studio and played through AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock” (the cover he suggested) and a couple of our songs. It felt amazing to finally let loose and play the solos and leads to our stuff with the song continuing behind me! Tommy enjoyed the jam as well, and – though not official – I think we may have another piece to this world-conquering plan!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret (1994) and The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa (1969), Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: 4-Day Weekending! emoticon 4-Day Weekending!

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Brief Intermission

Must ... play ... basketball!

I know I owe you the rest of my New Year’s Eve/Kramer Tour tale … I’ll get to it, I promise. But I just had to take the time to change the scenery around here, first. Ugh … I hated the layout I picked out! It actually was so repulsive that it inhibited me from blogging. So, I quickly whipped up this bad boy in about 8 hours. This design is the first one I’ve created completely on my own since this infamous one, and is the first I integrated with WordPress from scratch. It’ll probably slowly change as I go (as these things tend to do) but I think it does the job quite nicely.

A couple of other things have been going on since I last checked in. First of all, my band has increased our intensity and focus, practicing twice a week now instead of just one. This past week was our first time trying it and, to be honest, I found myself having to overcome my natural laziness and hesitation to give up even more of my spare time. But I’m so glad we’re doing this as we’re seeing results already. The pressure of having to get everything right in 2 hours a week is gone: we’re really diving into songs, finding the best tempos and cleaning up parts and we just completed writing a brand new song. If we can stay dedicated to our plans I think some great things are in store for us in 2010!

I’ve also started another season of Zog 3-on-3 co-ed basketball. My team’s first game was this past Thursday (coinciding with my band’s second practice of the week … let’s just say it was a hectic day) and we kicked ass. I signed up with a coworker for the easiest division (each one is named after a Jersey Shore character and ours is Snookie) and … well, I may have signed up for one rung below where I should be. I dominated a lot of the players – even the guys – and was our team’s highest scorer. However, one team had a huge guy that kept getting away with fouling us. After slapping me around for a rebound he started to try to intimidate me. So I busted a 3-pointer in his face! At one point the ref finally called a foul on this dude and I went to the line. WHERE I MISSED MY FIRST FREE THROW!!! The guy yelled brick for my second and I sank the motherfucker! I’ve gotta say: I’ve hit shots, made layups and played some great defense in past games but my proudest Zog moment so far is hitting that free throw. It was the first time I’ve ever hit one in a game!

Finally, Gatito has just been spayed! Maybe now she won’t be so batshit crazy like she’s been all week. In fact, I’m supposed to go pick her up in half an hour so I’ll end my post here. See you back in a few days!

Current Mood: Busy Bee emoticon Busy Bee

Christmas List

The 50s: women and dirty old men

Ok … I’m having a lot of trouble getting to the blog for several reasons (none of which are good). So, I’m just going to quickly bullet my way through what I’ve been up with to catch up!

  • I traveled back to Virginia for Thanksgiving. Most of the tale can be gleamed from this SteverOnline post.
  • I went to my 10th year high school reunion during this same weekend. That deserves its own blog – and to tell the truth I’ve had one set up ever since I came back but I just haven’t gotten to it. Don’t hold your breath but maybe I’ll go back and knock that one out. In case I don’t – it was fun and I’m glad I went. I spent a little too much of my time talking to people I don’t remember … but I was drunk!
  • I had a rash show up on my arm randomly. It freaked the hell out of me so I showed it to a doctor. The result: shingles! Yep, I am now the proud owner of the chicken pox 2.0!
  • After the last 2009 band practice we had a great talk about the future of the band. Expect some big things!
  • I took off my final 5 days of vacation to get practically the last 2 weeks in December off. I did another Virginia run for Christmas and had a great time. I’m kind of glad the presents are now just cash rather than hours of opening smaller gifts. My 12-year old self can’t believe I just said that.
  • We had a band meetup this week. No instruments, just hitting up John’s new townhouse in New Jersey. It was the first time since I moved into the city that I had to deal with Port Authority. How I survived living through that hell hole twice a day for over a year is beyond me. Oh, and I got trashed and took a spill into some rocks. RIGHT INTO MY FACE! Yep! I’m currently healing but wow … time to lay off the sauce, right?
  • Cassie’s Christmas gift from her sister, Tori, were 2 tickets to see White Christmas on Broadway. It’s one of her favorite movies so she was psyched. And … actually it was pretty good! I’m amazed that such a limited engagement and post-Christmas Christmas show was that good but I really enjoyed it. It’s no Phantom of the Opera but I was actually entertained. I felt weird not to clap the entire time though (hands are still scraped up).

Site Updates

  • Made banner link back to home page

Current Mood: Feeling Stupid About Drunk Diving (Into Rocks) emoticon Feeling Stupid About Drunk Diving (Into Rocks)

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Bass Tendencies

Well, my band has just been me, John (drummer) and Matt (singer) for a while now but last Wednesday we finally auditioned a bassist. I say finally because we’ve had a slew of schedule derailments the past few weeks (I think I reserved and cancelled 5 different sessions in the past 2 weeks).

I asked my coworker, Dan, to come out and jam with us. Now, this could’ve ended really awkwardly as if either he or we hadn’t enjoyed the audition I would’ve had to still deal with the work relationship. But, luckily, he seemed to have a good time playing with us, liked the songs, and liked the other two guys. These things are always kind of touch and go at the beginning but I think this might be a very positive addition as Dan is super professional (he’s been a hired gun for about 12 bands in the past 3 years).

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had given Dan (terrible) recordings of our 3 original songs so we focused on just playing them during our 2 hours (it’s weird how fast those 2 hours went even though the set list was so small). At first Dan fumbled for a few of the chord changes (even though he was very adept at his instrument) but by the end I was feeling that magical feeling of songs being taken to the next level. I’m afraid I can’t express it any less gay than that, dear readers!

The audition was going so well that I completely forgot I had my pocket recorder (does that get you hot or what?) until the last 10 minutes of the audition so I only captured our last song and jam on tape … but it sounds great! I think I’ll wait before I share any of our recordings, though. The jam was great, but there were still a few rough patches and I’d like to present a more professional representation of us (something I know we can get soon). Hopefully later this week I can get some stuff up on MySpace. Be prepared for extreme hotness!

Current Mood: Looking Forward emoticon Looking Forward

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Of Blogs And Music

Last night we (the band) got together and recorded our rehearsal. Basically, we’re auditioning a bassist next week and wanted to give him the most accurate representation as to what we sound like as possible. It would’ve been easy just to email him the demos – but those were just me and a drum sample (re: boring). So, I brought my trusty Tascam mini-recorder and we set up in Studio 5 at Ultra Sound for the beginning of rock!

Unfortunately, I’m still a bit of a noob when it comes to this recorder. The last time I actually successfully used it, John and I were the only ones jamming. I recorded two songs of ours at Volume Level 2 and relistened – I could barely hear us even though our sound permeated the room! I bumped the recording to Volume Level 4, we redid the songs, and it came out beautifully! With two directional mics placed on either side of the unit, your recordings are already in a stereo field. Very cool and very professional sounding.

Anyway, I casually brought out the recorder during our last rehearsal to sneakily record our playing but didn’t realize until afterward that it actually requires two clicks to the REC button to start recording. Curses! This time, I made sure I performed the initialization sequence correctly … but forgot my first lesson about the levels! So, by the time I got home to process the recording into songs to give to the bassist I was horrified! We had totally overblown the mics and everything was just way too hot. The drums and loud guitar, especially, would cause distortion, clicks, pops and there was an ever-present hiss. I was up until 3 AM using the best restoration tools I could find on Adobe Audition (my recording program of choice) but still am left with something that shouldn’t be heard by a non-musician.

But, I felt it was an accurate enough picture of at least our energy and most parts of the songs so I burned three of the songs to a CD (along with their respective demos – just in case the bassist couldn’t comprehend any specific parts from the shitty recordings) and handed it to the guy (he’s a coworker … hopefully this doesn’t get ugly). So, there may be some more exciting band news in the future. Stay tuned!!

In other news (I’ll keep this brief), I entered into a competition to become a guest contributor for a huge Mavericks blog (Mavs Moneyball). We were each randomly given a player on the team to profile (and I only got in because someone dropped out at the last second). I had about an hour to do all the research, table formatting, and write the damn piece but here it is, in case you’re interested. There’s a poll at the bottom to rank how well I’m doing and I think the winner gets a spot on the blog.

Current Mood: Rocking Out emoticon Rocking Out

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TWITTER: Best Band Rehearsal

Best band rehearsal I’ve had since moving to NYC last night

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Comments:
  • Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 09:39 | #1

    Some random Twitter lady who writes about new Manhattanites contacted me about this one. I guess I did write pretty ambiguously … I meant to imply that I had the band practice – not the move to the city – the previous night.

Third Time’s The Charm

Several posts ago, I hinted at the fact that John and I have auditioned a third singer since the whole lyme disease fiasco. A quick recap: the first one was a noob – way too green for us. We couldn’t hear the second guy sing during his first audition due to a terrible room, but when he finally did sing we scared him off.

Matt, the third singer to respond to our ads, sent me four songs (samples of past work are now a necessity after the Eric mishap). The first two were of his high school rock band and, while they were very good (especially the guitar player) I had no idea how much of this was apparent in his singing now. He is younger than both John and I but high school was still over 4 years ago for him. I decided to take it as a positive and move on.

Matt’s second batch of mp3s were of his … college acapella group. Now, I had a college roommate who was in one of those singing groups for many years and while he had a great, strong voice it was super clean – a quality he wasn’t able to always shake successfully in rock bands he played with. So, now I was a bit wary about what type of audition this one was going to turn out to be. The two songs John and I have been working on (forever, it seems) definitely need an edge to the vocals for them to fit in.

I met Matt at our usual pre-practice hangout, Mustang Harry’s, just around the corner from UltraSound. He had longish, curly blond hair and was at least a half-foot taller than I was. He was also dressed like a former frat brother but was super nice, and we started to talk about our musical pasts and goals. We were there for maybe all of ten minutes when I felt a tap on my shoulder and a recognizable weed-slowed drawl: “Staaan.”

It was Christian – the singer we had auditioned twice! Yes, the very same one whom we had last seen bolting out of the rehearsal room so fast that he forgot to 1) take his microphone and 2) pay. Now, I knew Christian was showing up to get back his microphone (which I had in my bag) but then he did something so unexpected that my jaw literally dropped! He sat down next to me and ordered a beer!

Luckily, I was sitting in a singer sandwich with Matt on my left and Christian on my right, so much of the talk was easily handled between the two of them. Let’s face it, singers good or bad usually carry a gift of the gab, so as I composed myself to figuring out what the fuck was going to happen next, the two of them discussed their time in Italy, of all things. When Christian finished his bud light, he picked up his stuff and headed out the door talking about some book he was going to write. It was surreal. Matt looked at me confused and asked if that was the drummer. I told him it was, in fact, the previous singer we auditioned to which he asked “what was that all about?”

Never getting to the bottom of it all, we decided to press forward. John showed up a little late due to the wonderful New Jersey Transit Authority, but we made our studio tee time and started a-jammin’. The very first thing I noticed was that we … finished a song together and that the song comprised vocals the entire way through! It was a tremendous achievement for us (sad, I know) so we pressed our luck and tried another. Again, the song started and ended with all members together! Now we were full of ourselves so I decided to try to test Matt.

The next song we played was “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin. He had selected it, but little did he realize I know most Zep songs inside and out so I started to extend and jam it. John and I are really good about reading each other so I knew he’d be with me all the way through this crazy trip we were about to take, but I wondered how a very-classically trained singer such as Matt (at least that’s what I figured he was) would survive. He gave me a somewhat confused look at first wondering what was supposed to happen since there were no more lyrics (and very little song left) but he soon just started to make howls and other Plant-like noises. He even started to make up a few blues lines. It all worked out great (though I’m sure it was much more fun to play than to listen to) and I felt he had passed the test.

We all left very excited and immediately set up another rehearsal. That one has come and gone and I’m getting ready for our third tonight. I already told the guys I want to use this one as an assessment of where we are as a group and to base our decision as to what next step we should take. There are a lot of options – we could look for a bassist, we could focus on writing a few more songs, we could prepare for an open mic, etc – and I want to know we’re all dedicated to the next direction we go in together. Regardless of what that decision is, I’m stoked to finally be out of that constant spin of auditioning singer after singer. Now we can actually move forward with the band.

Blast from the past: L8r!

Current Mood: Brainstorming emoticon Brainstorming

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