Archive for the ‘Making The Band’ Category

Deer + Headlights

Alright, back to the singer search …

As I said last time, the first singer John and I tried out was a little green for us – something all three of us knew pretty quickly into the audition. Strike one!

Audition 2.0: The next guy up was a Jim Morrison-sounding guy who had a little more experience under his belt. I wasn’t all that impressed with what I heard in the mp3 he sent of his old band – his singing seemed kind of the same note over and over again – but John and I felt he was alright enough to at least audition.

We booked the usual 8-10 PM Thursday slot at UltraSound even though the singer said he could only jam for 30 minutes. If I hadn’t already gone through the first singer’s audition (where we knew he didn’t work in the first 5 minutes) I would’ve rescheduled, but 30 minutes sounded like enough time. The guy showed up with hair past his shoulders and a beard/moustache combo giving him a 70’s, Southern rock type of image to him – another noticeable upgrade from the previous guy. He also was very easy going and instantly gelled, personality-wise, with both of us. We talked for a few minutes about our old bands, what music we were into, and about future goals and then got down to business.

… That is, we would have gotten down to business had the room cooperated with us. Seriously. Not a minute into the first song (“Love Me Two Times” by the Doors) we found ourselves in sonic hell. My amp was squeaking uncontrollably from my new-pedal-knob-adjustment incompetency. The singer’s mic was giving wicked feedback that would bounce around the room, almost as if it were making sure that no one’s ears were spared. And John even complained that his drum set was shitty and not tuned correctly.

It was ghastly. When we weren’t being attacked by squeals and sonic booms, we couldn’t discern anything in the resulting, muddy mix because the room was too small. Before the singer left we all agreed to redo the audition in two weeks (he was busy the following Thursday). John and I didn’t stick around to see if we could conquer the rooms’ musical booby traps and left soon after the singer’s exit. I went home and felt completely bummed about yet another wasted rehearsal.

Audition 2.1: Two weeks finally passed and I prepared myself for the audition mulligan. At work we had an office party to send off our interns (whom I never met nor interacted with … but heartily drank beers celebrating them) and I got jazzed up even more about playing by talking with a bunch of my musician coworkers about their bands. When I ran back up to my desk to get my stuff and head over to UltraSound I found a txt from the singer waiting for me.

He said his mouth was numb from a dentist visit (that he had mentioned earlier) and he could barely talk, much less sing and had to bail. This was two hours before the gig – considerably less than the 48 required to extricate myself from the financial obligation of the studio. I sent his memory to the hell I reserve in my mind for flaky singers and decided to move on to the next guy.

The next Monday, however, I received an email from this same singer apologizing for missing the rehearsal. He said he really wanted to give it a go and honestly wasn’t able to sing at all the previous Thursday. He offered to pay some of the bills and asked to meet up again for another audition. John and I were surprised and convinced enough by this email to give him another opportunity so, once again, we saddled up for an UltraSound jam.

Audition 2.2: We all met up at the Mustang Harry’s – the usual pre-practice drinking establishment – and then went over to the nearby Bikini Bar (on the singer’s recommendation). It definitely had an image upgrade over the very corporate atmosphere of ‘stang’s with moody lights and waitresses in bikinis but the beer was cloudy and the singer found a “nugget” in one of his glasses. Somehow, I don’t think it will be supplanting ‘stang’s pre-practice status. We all had a good time chatting about music, though, and we entered the studio in high spirits.

As bad as the first room we all had played in was this room was it’s complete opposite – fucking huge, amps upon amps, and a great sounding kit. I even managed to tame my pedal and coax a rocking tone out of it! John and I were on fire – not having played together for 3 weeks (that previous “audition” doesn’t count as playing, it was so bad!) had us pent up, I guess.

Then I remembered we had a singer in the room. I looked over at him and he had a deer in the headlights look on his face – he was completely lost. He wasn’t coming in at the right times during the songs he had suggested to play and when we just tried jamming on blues he didn’t sing at all. For 10 minutes! At the end I just straight up asked him why he wasn’t singing. His response was classic: “I couldn’t sing over that, man.” It’s the blues! It’s been sung over for more than a century, now!

Then the guy just grabbed his stuff, shook our hands and bolted without saying anything more than “it was cool.” It was a surreal experience. Both John and I are competent on our instruments but aren’t phenoms by any stretch of the imagination yet we just totally outclassed this guy and he knew it. I can only imagine how tough it must have been to get through those two hours (though he did keep sipping on his huge 40 for courage). Still, I wonder why this guy agreed, nay, lobbied for another audition after the first. Sure, the sound wasn’t great during that initial meeting but he must have grasped some of the talent difference between us. Very strange and very disappointing.

In fact, the guy was so out of it and left in such a hurry he forgot his microphone. I grabbed it since he also left before settling any of the bill, as well, but my boy scout instinct kicked in soon after. Soon after he txted me asking if I had found his mic, that is. Ah well, the guy did pay for our beers at the bar. I guess it’s a wash.

Strike two! The singer search continues … !

Current Mood: Surreal emoticon Surreal

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TWITTER: Singer Bails

Singer just bailed 2 hours before practice. I hate singers …

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The Singer Search Continues …

I think it’s time for a quick musical update. Man, it was starting to feel like Sarcassm in here – no new content!

Last time I spewed some musical stories, John and I had lost our singer to lyme disease. And by lyme disease, I obviously mean the dude was lying to us and spending his time on other creative pursuits. Then he quit the band. After the emotional whiplash of just the weirdness of it all, John and I felt like we had shed some excess skin and could be a more “pure us” band without the singer. We admitted we were both looking for someone to take over the band but now realized we had to be the ones in charge.

AUDITION 1: I quickly found a singer/guitarist to audition the week after our singer’s departure. I don’t believe he sent along any samples of his singing or music (always a red flag) but we were desperate to feel like we were moving in some sort of direction again after sitting on our asses for over a month. So, we set up the date, and met this guy. He was a tall, beefy guy who looked like a frat brother but talked meek and shyly. As I plugged in my gear and John set up his drummers we shot the shit about past experiences and what we were looking for. Lets just say before the five minutes it took to get my guitaring ready I already knew it wasn’t going to work out. My mind began to race: How the hell were we going to spend 2 hours playing with this guy if I already knew it wasn’t meant to be?

Then things got worse. He started playing.

Oh and I’m using the loosest sense of the word “playing.” I proposed that we begin by playing “Just” by Radiohead. Since the singer, himself, had suggested we jam on this, I assumed he knew how the song went. I was very, very wrong. The song begins with an acoustic guitar playing 4 chords just by itself. He managed to play 0 of the 4 chords correctly. Worse, he didn’t know what happened after those 4 wrong chords in the song. It was an absolute farce. The rest of the “audition” went along the same lines. It basically turned into a guitar lesson where I was teaching him basic guitar skills while John killed himself.

After an hour of this painful process, John and I exchanged glances (!!!) and he suddenly said “alright man, thanks, but we have to get ready for the next guy coming in.” It was quite the audible! Amazingly, though the singer bought our lie, he also called our bluff and asked if he could just sit and jam with us until the next guy to be audition arrived. We just couldn’t get rid of this guy!! We finally had to do the decent thing and break it to him that we didn’t think it was a great fit and let him go. Whew! Then we spent the next hour trying to finish a third song of ours (I can’t believe we’ve been practicing for months and only have 2.5 songs. Thanks lyme disease!

Will John and Stan even find another singer to audition?

If so, will the singer be any good?

Or would some interfering force from out of nowhere come into play and ruin the entire session?

Details in the next SteverOnline!

Current Mood: Feeling Dynamic emoticon Feeling Dynamic

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Guitar Sim


I picked up my amp a little over two years ago: the Vetta II essentially simulates something like 40 other, famous amps and allows you to tweak these sounds to your specification. Want to run your guitar through both a Marshall JCM 900 and a 5-watt amp that fits on your belt? The Vetta II can make that dream a reality! And, after many a tweak, I found a guitar tone I really liked.

However, the Vetta II weighs 100 pounds or so and just doesn’t make sense to roll into our weekly rehearsals at UltraSound Studios. And, since I have only invested maybe $25 total into pedals (the crappy, orange Boss Distortion from a decade ago) this means I’ve had to rely on the amps (good) in these rooms as well as their distortion (god awful). So, while I enjoy the power and loudness I receive, the actual tone of my guitar during rehearsals leaves much to be desired. This, in turn, limits my inspiration – I just don’t feel like me as I’m playing – and as a result my playing suffers. This predicament really shouldn’t be a surprise, however, since the distortion on these amps have become so muddy after being in constant use 24-hours a day, 7-days a week by random people at different levels. Ugh.

Well, the solution to the problem is to bring in your own effects pedals, plug your guitar to them, and have the output go to a clean (non-distortion) amp. Therefore, you retain the great, loud presence these superior amps are still capable of producing while not being tethered to their dilapidated (and extremely limited) distortion effect. Now, as I mentioned before, I’m not much of an effects man (remember, I only paid $25 for a crappy pedal in my guitar playing career) so I didn’t know where to really start with taking this route. I really like the tone I get from my amp, so I decided to surf around and see if its producer (Line 6) created any effects pedals. And voila! I hit the mother load!!!

I came across the Pod X3 Live … essentially a simulation effects pedal (much like my simulation amp). It basically condenses the majority of what my amp can do into something the size of a large computer keyboard (well, minus any amplification). This means I can recreate the exact sound I like on my Vetta II amp into this pedal and play with “my sound” anywhere! I’ll be testing it out at tonight’s rehearsal for the first time. We also are auditioning another singer tonight, so I’ll be back with how everything went.

Long live the stanus.butt follies!

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We Got Problems …


And now, the sad, tragic conclusion to the Rock Thrillogy: a tale teemed with such promise, such excitement only to be crushed down in its final days!


Rock: A Blog Thrillogy

Part 1: In Which Our Hero Describes The Detection of a Musical Compatriot of Equal Greatness
Part 2: In Which Our Hero Forms the Nucleus of a Musical Juggernaut
Part 3: In Which Our Hero is Reunited with his Mighty Excalibur
you are here » Part 4: In Which The Ship Be Sinking

It was almost a month ago since I last checked in on this thing I’ve called the “Rock Thrillogy.” Basically, it was just going to be a three-piece series of blogs that dealt with the sudden rise of both my band and my optimism with music again. I had reconnected with a great drummer, found a great singer, and had my number one guitar finally fixed after over a year of being on the shelf. I was ready to start making some heavy progress.

Which is why I added that mysterious 4th link in the Rock Thrillogy: TBD. I wanted to finish the three-, now four-part series with another huge piece of news so I was waiting out for one. I didn’t have to wait long as Brendan, the singer, brought a bassist friend of his (named Sam) to our third rehearsal. The practice session was a bit of a mess as John, the drummer, was stuck at work until the very last 30 minutes. Therefore, Sam really didn’t get a feel of the whole band’s sound for very long and no one really got loose. But he (the bassist) did seem to be interested and even talked about places where we might be able to play gigs at (he was quite the connected guy).

I was going to make this the fourth and final blog post, but I was caught up in the speed of things progressing and too lazy to stop to comment on them. Right before the next practice, Brendan announced he had contracted lyme disease over the weekend and was going to be out of commission for the next couple of weeks due to medication. I still set up a rehearsal so John and I could give Sam a more accurate picture of how we sounded, but scheduling conflicts caused the session to end up going from 10-12 AM on a Wednesday night. This was definitely not something any of us are used to, but dammit if that was when we had to practice, then that’s when we’d practice!! John and I showed up but at the very last second Sam emailed saying he was stuck at work and couldn’t make it. John and I forged on, trying to make the rehearsal as productive as it could. But I was now stuck in limbo – nothing surrounding the band seemed concrete enough to be able to blog about. And none of it certainly was exciting or uplifiting. So, I held my breath for another week.

This next week, we set up our regularly scheduled Thursday 8-10 PM rehearsal. Brendan emailed saying he was still recovering but that he might be ready to go the following week. Just six hours before practice was to start the enigmatic Sam emailed saying he believed himself to be stretched too thin musically and couldn’t commit the appropriate time to our band. That’s right, even though he had been well aware of this Thursday rehearsal for several days he decided to tell us just 6 hours before it was occurring that he was quitting the band. John and I met up at Mustang Harry’s – our local pub, I guess – and I got a little too drunk. We played through our songs and I showed him the beginning of a new one I was composing but the practice was less than stellar: I was too drunk to really play coherently and the mood was grim.

The next week was a busy one for me and I couldn’t lock down a practice date that the remaining members of the band could agree upon so we let it go. Yet another week wasted.

However, I entered this past weekend with high hopes. Brendan emailed us announcing that not only was he free from his disease but that he was available to rock out Tuesday night. I knew that there might be a potential problem with John’s schedule for this particular night so I cleared it with him first before booking a session for 8-10 PM. Which leads to this morning: I’m at my office desk, guitar sitting on the floor next to me after commuting to work with it. I am finally ready to move on with the band now that the singer is back on board and we have a new song to work with. The past month was a terribly frustrating experience to go through but things (and feelings) would just have to start moving in an upward direction for this band. Right?

As I sign into my mail I notice there’s one from Brendan. I guess maybe he has some suggestions for tonight’s practice. Oh, what’s this? He was lying about having lyme disease in the first place and was just dedicating all of his time to writing scripts? And he’s quitting the band. Great!

I sat there and looked at the screen for a few minutes. Did I misread this? I re-read. Nope, he had lied about having lyme disease and was quitting the band. Now, I have no problem with someone quitting any band for a good reason. If he feels like he wants to pursue another field and believes music would take up too much time away from that pursuit, I think it’s totally fair of him to quit and I wish all the luck to him. But what I don’t understand is why he strung us along for a month? During those four weeks we pretty much wasted 3 rehearsals (over $100 of our own money and 6.5 hours of our time), merely treading water until his return. If he had just communicated earlier with some common courtesy, we probably could’ve found a new bassist, new singer or both by now. To make things a little more personal, though, he waited to tell us his plans the DAY OF a rehearsal that HE SUGGESTED!!!! Now there’s no way we can cancel this one, either. The whole thing really rubbed me the wrong way.

Anyway, there’s your fourth update. Band morale is at an all time low, but John and I are determined to still meet up today, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start taking those painful, initial steps forward again.

UPDATE: I should add that several weeks ago John said he felt Brendan’s head was out of the game. We talked about it for a while and I think I convinced him that Brendan really must have been sick and that, either way, we had to move on thinking he’d be back. Don’t worry, readers, I immediately sent a humbling “you were right, I was wrong” email to John when we got Brendan’s resignation.

Current Mood: Angry emoticon Angry

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Comments:
  • Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 12:40 | #1

    your ship is named Murdock??? MouseOver

  • Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 12:43 | #2

    Ha … an obvious mistake, but I think I’ll keep it.

  • Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 17:37 | #3

    What??

    That is the craziest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I guess he was subconsciously giving you a hint. As in Lie-(m) disease. Lyme Disease? If you make up the fact that you contracted Lyme Disease, is it inevitable that someone will ask you where you were when you were infected? And then you have to make up something like:

    “I threw my Aerobee into the bushes in Central Park and…”

    “Oh. I was out hiking upstate.”

    “I frequent a fly-by-night petting zoo and…”

    Well, then again. He is a writer.

    Good luck with your efforts. Musicians. It’s like herding cats into an icy lake.

TWITTER: Pre-Band Beer

Pre-band practice beer. Really drunk guy knocks my guitar down and is now telling me how he’s a full time compoer.

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Mini Blog: Songwriting Sessions

First songwriting session at Brendan’s apartment …

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Band! Band! Band!

Photo Montage © 2009 Stan Syckes

This entry really was supposed to be written last Friday to coincide with my silly (and completely ignored) Friday Catchup category. I still haven’t given up on it, yet (the category, that is). Let’s give it a little space in the sun and see if it grows into anything interesting.

… And now back to the rock!


Rock: A Blog Thrillogy

Part 1: In Which Our Hero Describes The Detection of a Musical Compatriot of Equal Greatness
you are here » Part 2: In Which Our Hero Forms the Nucleus of a Musical Juggernaut
Part 3: In Which Our Hero is Reunited with his Mighty Excalibur
Part 4: In Which The Ship Be Sinking

Well, John (drummer), Brendan (singer/guitarist), and I met again for our second rehearsal on the 12th and … well, it was some jam! First off, the organization to the whole thing was very different than my other band experiences. I was a co-leader in my first band back in high school (“The Fuzzy Dice Club”), butting heads with the lead “singer” quite often until I finally quit. In my college band, Bras, I felt more of a time manager, trying to make sure we were always getting something done or sticking to the schedule. I hated this role and I’m sure I rubbed my band mates the wrong way on more than one occasion. In my most recent group (never named!) we were all controlled by the lead singer’s micromanaging iron fist until we eventually rebelled.

So it was a bit refreshing and … dare I say it scary (!!!) when this jam was run by whoever had the next idea! I’ll spare you the order and frequency of what we worked on (mostly because it’s been almost two weeks since and I can’t remember), but here’s where we are currently (in order of most to least finished):

  • “Last Man Standing” (tentative title)
    We ran through this hard rocker a couple of times and a really starting to imprint our “sound” onto it. However, Brendan is still having trouble coming up with melodies and lyrics on the fly that he really likes. So, this weekend I put together a demo for him to go to town on. Anyway, John’s got most, if not all, of his drum fills down. He’s very bombastic throughout the whole thing and I hope he will choose his favorite fills and use them at the perfect moments, rather than every time we hit certain spots. Gotta leave them wanting more, you know? I’ve been playing rhythm for 90% of the song when we rehearse so Brendan can focus on the vocals, so I have very little lead work settled. However, during my demo-making process this weekend I did come up with a cool scratch solo and something to do going into the choruses. Should be hot!
    NEEDS: melody, lyrics, finished leads, bass, final polishing up of song

  • Brendan’s “Southern Rock” song (no title, yet)
    Brendan brought this one to the table during our rehearsal and John and I immediately jumped on it. It’s got a great “Sweet Home Alabama” feel to it, except without all the bloat and pretentiousness. We only ran through it a couple of times to show us the basic structure of the songs so there’s still a lot to do on our ends, but Brendan has most of the melody and lyrics finalized. Should be an interesting piece to go after any of mine because 1) it’s certainly not something I’d write and 2) yet, it’s a greatly written tune.
    NEEDS: finalized lyrics, leads, finished drums, bass, arrangement and final polishing of song

  • “Love in Doses” (semi-tentative title)
    This one was a blues experiment of mine that I started back in March of 2004. I pulled it out to show the singer of my last band and he liked it but it took him a million listens to get there. Here, I was just jamming on it while Brendan and John were getting their equipment set up and Brendan immediately wanted to go to work on it. It’s only a verse and chorus right now and I tried my best to show Brendan the lyrics/melody I had but my limited control of my voice didn’t do a great job. Lots of work is left on this one but it would complete an eclectic (but good) lineup of a hard rocker, Southern rock-pop, and blues rock.
    NEEDS: finished lyrics, bridge, solo, finished drums, bass, arrangement and final polishing of song

Anyway, by the end of the rehearsal (just our second) we all were really pleased and impressed with what we had going on. Brendan said he knew of a possible bassist we could audition, but we all agreed to get about 5 or 6 songs down solid first. Then we could record ourselves playing these and shoot them out into the Craigslist netherworld.

Yes, people, there are even more updates a-coming (as can plainly be seen in the table of contents portion of this post) … but you’ll just have to wait until I get around to writing about them all!

Current Mood: Makin’ Music emoticon Makin’ Music

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Threesome!

Well, shit, there have been a lot of updates since the last time I blogged about my musical exploits, but things have become a little hectic around here and my own wireless router was blocking me from stanus.butt, so I haven’t had a real opportunity to spill it. Oh yeah, and the CEO of SteverOnline, Inc. was riding my ass about finishing the Phila-doh-phia Trilogy. Well, they’re completed, I bought a new router, and I’m ready to update you. Strap in, because the ride to ultimate rock begins now!


Rock: A Blog Thrillogy

you are here » Part 1: In Which Our Hero Describes The Detection of a Musical Compatriot of Equal Greatness
Part 2: In Which Our Hero Forms the Nucleus of a Musical Juggernaut
Part 3: In Which Our Hero is Reunited with his Mighty Excalibur
Part 4: In Which The Ship Be Sinking

So John (drummer from old band) and I had jammed twice and really liked what we heard. We had a great, straight rock foundation and our laid back personalities really meshed well in and out of the studio. We felt the most productive plan to conquering the world would be to continue jamming together while also looking for the perfect singer/songwriter (it was more important to form this core and find a bassist later). Now, I don’t really believe there’s a perfect anything out there, but this singer/songwriter would have to satisfy a few basic conditions:

  • Competent singer
  • OPTIONAL: Competent instrumentalist (if they played one)
  • Laid back
  • Voice fits well with our playing
  • OPTIONAL: Playing fits well with our playing (if they played an instrument)
  • Songwriting ability comparable to mine and someone who I can co-write with … if not effortlessly, than at least smoothly
  • Enjoys the finer things in life such as beer and video games
  • Not an asshole
  • Not super young (> 25)
  • Not super old (< 32)

Well, it took about four separate craigslist ads, but about three weeks ago it seemed like we finally had a winner. A guy named Brendan responded saying that he was a singer/guitarist/songwriter who was in a New York band from 2005 to 2008 and had taken a bit of a hiatus afterward. It wasn’t until recently that he started to realize he needed to play music again and liked what he heard on my MySpace page. He also attached a few songs from his old band in his response and my immediate reactions included the following (I guess it’s just going to be one of those list blogs, people):

  • He possessed the best, most professional sounding voice I had come across during my craigslist trolling. However, he was also a baritone – something I hadn’t experienced playing with since my very first band (and whenever I reference that band I use the term “playing” in the absolute loosest sense).
  • I dug a lot of his music. It was a little lighter than what John and I had been working on, but I could foresee great potential in the merging of the two.

So, naturally, I was pretty amped to respond to his reply and set up a jam date. After a few emails back-and-forth between the three of us, we settled on a Wednesday afternoon jam at UltraSound, just around the corner from Madison Square Garden. I had a little bit of trouble finding the actual room we were to play in, but I finally met up with Brendan in Studio J at around 6:15 PM. I was a little nervous, as always, but knew I had a lot of time to get comfortable since John was going to be slightly late coming in from New Jersey. We talked about past band experiences, guitar and gear, and the usual bullshit. Finally, we tried jamming on one of the songs he had sent along. He admitted that he hadn’t played it in a really long time and I quickly discovered that I really hadn’t prepared it at all. I’m surprised at how bad it sounded, actually. But we laughed it off and moved on.

He asked to hear the latest song I had been working on with John – a faster rocker with a slight “Clint Eastwood” feel that has been tentatively titled “Last Man Standing.” He instantly liked it and we got about halfway through it when John finally showed up and did his usual drummer strip tease (jumping out of his work clothes and into drumming shorts)! John needed a warm up so we ran through two pre-selected Stone Temple Pilots cover songs, “Crackerman” and “Unglued.” I’m not sure how we settled on those, but they were hoooorrrrible. It seemed like everything – from the late arrivals, to the bad covers – was turning out really sloppy. I wondered where this whole mess would end up.

We decided to pick up “Last Man Standing” again and … something had changed. Whereas John and I had never played either of the STP songs together, we had rehearsed the shit out of “Last Man” and this professionalism finally knocked some sense into all of us. We played through the song several times, each time Brendan adding more and more to a vocal and second guitar line. Unfortunately, time went by super fast and we found ourselves being kicked out. I got the feeling all of us were interested in another jam but I wanted to see how we could hang outside of the studio so I suggested grabbing a beer or three. Brendan and John were in and we stumbled into a nearby bar called “Mustang Mary.”

The clientele was the typical workaholics just out of the office – dressed niceley and drinking heavily – and here we were: three guys dressed to jam and lugging around 60 pounds of musical equipment. But, we strolled up to the bar and decided to have ourselves a good time. It was great getting to know Brendan – a really interesting guy – and there was a unanimous call for a second jam. I’ll admit I got a little too tipsy so who knows what else I agreed to, but we all decided that Jam 2.0 would occur next Tuesday!

Current Mood: All Good emoticon All Good

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Comments:
  • Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 09:30 | #1

    when’s part 2?

  • Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 17:58 | #2

    Ever the taskmaster! Bide thy time …

  • Zepmoon
    Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 14:21 | #3

    Question and comment:

    Question first: Your analogy “…rocker with a slight Clint Eastwood feel…” confuses me, what exactly does Clint Eastwood feel like and how do you know?

    Comment: I’m betting your definition of “Super Old” changes with each passing year and decade. I remember when I thought guys who had their driver’s license were old!

  • Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 09:35 | #4

    “Clint Eastwood” is a song by the band The Gorillaz

  • Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 09:39 | #5

    Yeah … I guess this is a case where I should have been more specific instead of descriptive. I’m actually not referring to the Gorillaz song, “Clint Eastwood.” I just meant the feel of the song is rock + Clint Eastwood Western movie soundtrack.

Super Slinky

I just bought a 10-pack of Ernie Ball Super Slinky guitar strings off eBay for $39.99. And, with no shipping fees, that’s $3.99 per pack! Wow … what a huge difference this is from when I first started to buy these babies. When I first picked up the guitar in December of 1996 I really had no clue there were even different types/widths of strings, much less have a preference for a specific one. However, after a long investigation process that probably lasted years I finally settled down with the strings in that manly pink dressing!

I actually thought I was going to write an entire post about my relationship with a fucking guitar string type. The only story I remember is, while spending the summer in the infamous Shack – writing, rehearsing, and recording music – I had a ton of these strings. I was so bored and kind of hungry one night so I chewed on every piece of the plastic covering the strings came in. There: only story I was somehow about to base this blog on.

Alright, I think I’ll move on to issues of a more interesting sort!!

First of all, I shall address Stever’s favorite blog category: the Fiday Catchup! Although I wish it to remain a deadline post – checking in every Friday – I’m going to retool it a bit, as well. Specifically, I don’t want to have to conform to the lists, reviews, and YouTube video template I concocted a month ago. That got really boring really fast. Instead, I’ll just update you with what’s going on … as my life has suddenly shifted into a super-busy hyperwarp.

MUSIC
First of all, I’ve now jammed twice with drummer, John, and we’ve made some serious progress. Both of us were extremely rusty coming back but we estimate our level at about 75-80% where it used to be last year (each at our peak). The relationship is a lot easier and the mood is more conducive to getting things done and having fun in the process than our previous band. There, writing music had to compete with the other guitarists’ moping, the lead singer’s micromanagement, and the wars between the two. Last night, in fact, we started work on a new song and John actually started to suggest cool things to add to the song (I never heard him utter a songwriting suggestion in the previous band). The sound between us is very straight, hard rock which is an inspiring start though I am concerned about versatility.

Ultimately, I wish to be in a band that encompasses the best parts of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (fun and funky), Radiohead (intellectual and modern songwriting), Led Zeppelin (intelligent musicianship and swagger), Guns N’ Roses (something that can get a little nasty and melodic, memorable solos), and Weezer (attitude and songcraftsmanship). I know John and I have only jammed twice, but perhaps it’s never to early to sit down and discuss where we each want to see with the band.

I’ve been on a search for a singer/songwriter to partner with as well. A couple weeks ago I met Jeff, a singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist (the role I’m looking for as a priority) whom I’d actually almost jammed with a year ago. We met at his place, traded stories, experiences, and a few songs and then I left. Unfortunately, the leaving was so abrupt that there was no real closure. I exited not really fully aware of how I felt about the situation. Ultimately, he emailed me back saying that he didn’t think our styles meshed well and I would have to agree with him. He wrote more open, cyclical U2/Coldplay stuff and I was nervous how that would fit with the hard rock John and I are birthing.

The search continues … but this post does not! In fact there are so many things that I could discuss here about my past two weeks, but I’ve got to get ready to head down to Philadelphia where I will be meeting the Joneses and perhaps the Stetses! I apologize, but I will try to make it more of a priority to check in here for you all.

Until then … make mine the SteverOnline!

    Site Update:

  • Added my Twitter messages at bottom of blogs … for now

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