Archive for the ‘Rusted Hero’ Category

Souped-Up Classic

Murdock: Upgraded

As I mentioned (in a poorly written post), Rusted Hero’s show at The Bitter End was very satisfying. However, it could have been truly spectacular if it wasn’t for one thing: I had trouble keeping my guitar in tune halfway through the set.

I’ve had my Les Paul since 2005, but the axe was already 30 years old by then. As such, some of the pieces to the guitar were a little worn down and others had become antiquated by newer, better replacements. Anyway, I was fed up with the tuning – it had failed me now at two important gigs (our first show was legendarily bad) – and I was ready to pay to fix this beast.

After looking it over, my guitar tech said the plastic tuners I had were notorious as being the worst in the business. I believed him. Since I was now prepared to completely change the tuners, I decided to also change the nut (mine had been producing heavy buzz on a few strings) AND the pickups. The pickups I had produced extremely treble sounds – my guitar sounded like a laser. While I tend to play mostly treble, this tone was even too much for me. So, to sum up, I was getting a shit load done to my guitar!

Exhaustive list of new parts:

  • Grover tuners (metal)
  • New bone nut
  • Seymour Duncan Alinco II-Pro (neck pickup)
  • Seymour Duncan JB (bridge pickup)

A to-be-undisclosed amount of money later and I’m happy to report my guitar feels like new! The pickups give me a thicker, meatier sound without sacrificing much presence. I have no noticeable fret-buzz thanks to my new nut, and I had absolutely NO TUNING issues at my last gig! Sure, it was a bit of a dent to my wallet, but this was a much needed, once in a lifetime upgrade to my guitars (yes, I had my Strat also dealt with).

Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for November 2007
  • Removed Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool (1950) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Sons of Anarchy: Season 1 (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Robert Palmer – Some People Can Do What They Like (1976) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Limousines – Get Sharp (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Ximena Sarinana (2011) to Currently Enjoying

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  • Shelby
    Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 05:46 | #1

    First, great picture of the ax and the cat. Second, sounds like you made some big changes that are going to make a difference, but I was wondering about what drives the cost of this type of work. I’m guessing the craftsmanship needed to work on a classic antique like your guitar is what make this kind of restoration so expensive. And unlike computers, musical instruments are always worth upgrading vs replacing.

Bitter Rock

Rusted Hero at The Bitter End

I had quite a “bitter” treat earlier this month when Rusted Hero was invited to play at The Bitter End – the famous, long-running New York City rock club. Some notable acts have played there such as Carly Simon, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and, yes, Lada Gaga before she was famous.

Making the experience even better was a trio of intrepid Virginians who made the trip up to NYC. Steve, Brandon and Richard all showed up for a little rocking, a little drinking … and, unfortunately, a lot of rain. The show was great (though I had a little trouble with tuning at times), but afterward, we all got stuck in a torrential downpour. Worse, we were in a godawful karaoke bar as it came down!

It was a wild weekend and I loved every minute of it … ok, being absolutely soaked wasn’t so hot. But what was hot was “Shine On You” from the end of our show!


Site Updates:

  • Took down The Bitter End gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Run-D.M.C. (1984) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Prince Of Persia [PS3] (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [PS3] (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool (1957) to Currently Enjoying

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July Bullets

McCutchen at bat

Photo © 2011 Stan Syckes

Blah, I’ve been busy, want to update the blog about it all, but don’t really want to write long prose. Here are some magic bullets. Enjoy. Or don’t!

  • For my dad’s birthday, Stever and I picked up Pittsburgh Pirates tickets for the three of us. I grabbed a Bolt Bus down to DC, then all three of us drove up to Cumberland, Maryland where we visited several old sights and downed some local food (Coney Island hot dogs and Old German beer – not bad)! Then we recreated our Pittsburgh trip from 2002 – down to staying in the same hotel and recreating a photo in the PNC Park bar. We had a great time and all of the dirty details are here.
  • I beat my latest game (to me), BioShock. It’s a first-person shooter with survival horror elements, but the attribute that is most prevalent is the mood. The game takes place in an underwater city that was built in the 1940’s by a millionaire who no longer wanted science to be stifled by politics or religion. What happened is people began to mutate themselves and something went horribly wrong. A premise that is equal parts fascinating and ho-hum, but the execution of the unfolding story is excellent. The combat is a little on the weak side – especially towards the end of the game – and I did play through the whole thing on the Easy setting, but I highly recommend this one to anyone who wants to play a great, eerie game.
  • Rusted Hero traveled to Cedar Knoll, New Jersey where the headquarters of WDHA 105.5 FM is located. There, we recorded two of our songs acoustically and did a quick interview as well for their Home Grown Spotlight blog. I’m not sure if either of these will be played over the radio, but we did a great job (ok, so I was definitely a little nervous during the interview) and I’m really proud of what we accomplished for this great honor! Then, we had another song off our EP played that night on the station! This was the first time I got to hear us live on the radio (I was on a plan for the first play) … an extremely satisfying experience. Don’t worry, I’ll update everyone when our acoustic performance gets put up.

Site Updates:

  • Removed BioShock [PS3] (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow II (1974) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Prince of Persia [PS3] (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Took down acoustic performance at WDHA 105.5 from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Updated blog IDs for December 2007

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  • Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 12:18 | #1

    Why was being on a plan stopping you from listening to the radio broadcast? Was it an anti-radio plan?

  • Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 14:03 | #2

    Ugh … I meant plane 🙁

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On The Air!

The rock of New Jersey

Wow! Rusted Hero was just on the radio! That’s right – at 11:30pm this night we were played by the great Lindsay Klein of 105.5 WDHA – the rock of New Jersey. I was, unfortunately, in the air, landing at La Guardia after my Dallas-Austin mini-vacation so I missed the playing of it live. Luckily, Stever was able to grab it. It truly is quite an awesome moment to hear your stuff on the air … lemme tell ya!

Next up, we’re going in and playing a couple of songs acoustically for WDHA on Tuesday the 28th. Don’t know when they’ll play it over the airwaves, but I’ll keep everyone informed (of course)!

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  • Shelby
    Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 21:11 | #1

    This is a large deal! Congratulations – how did this get arranged?

  • Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 21:31 | #2

    Working the connections. Drummer’s fiance’s coworker knew the DJ and got our CD into her hands. We’re already working on our next radio station, believe it or not!


I’ve got a couple musical nuggets to share. First up is news about my guitar amplification (yes, your favorite subject). I’ve added two new amps since I did my great (to me, anyway) Amped! post, so here are the newest members of the family in that same, “interesting” presentation:

My ally is the force, and a powerful ally it is7. Jedi Tone
Marsh 2550 Replica
Date Acquired: August 2010
Method of Acquisition: Ordered from the company online
Date Divested: N/A
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 7 months

I went to see Mark, a musician living in Brooklyn who offered his expertise on guitar tone to interested Craigslisters. It was only $50 for a couple of hours, and I was still clueless about guitar tone (yes, 15 years into my playing career) so I decided to take the chance. Long story short, it was a great experience and I learned a lot.

He directed me to a small, hand-wired amp shop called Marsh. Aside from the fact that this was supposed to be a nicer replica of the old Marshall amps Slash played on in Guns n’ Roses, I also discovered this great little YouTube clip demonstration. Beautiful tone! I was sold.

Well, I only found the bugger on the official Marsh website (and it was a bit pricey – more expensive than any of the other amps I’ve ever owned) but I decided to invest. And what a great decision! Sure, I didn’t have a cab, but I have already used this baby at a couple of Rusted Hero gigs and absolutely love it. I just plug in and play – no silly pedals needed!

Wall of sound8. The Monster
Marshall 4×12 1960A
Date Acquired: 3/25/2011
Method of Acquisition: Bought off craigslist
Date Divested: N/A
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 1 week

For our latest gig (Bar East), Rusted Hero was finally playing in my stomping grounds, the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, our venue had nothing but a handful of microphones and some pieces of a drum kit. I was cool with amplification (see my Marsh amp description above), but I would also need to bring a speaker. The last time I had to provide both amp and cab, I borrowed one from our practice studio, Ultra Sound Studios. While it worked out great, it was an absolute nightmare transporting it (I had to convince a taxi driver, and then had to force it into the back seat). I wasn’t going through that hell again so I decided to find one for my very own.

There were several listed on craigslist for sale, but one specified being able to come and try it out. So, two weekends ago, I lugged my guitar to Greenpoint, found the seller’s practice space, and tried out the item … very quietly, as two of his bandmates were already in the studio recording. It was weird, but I needed a speaker and this one was in great condition. I paid him half, asked him to hold it for me, and promised to be back with Adrien’s car Friday.

Friday came around and Adrien and I pulled up, carted away the Marshall and that was it. I didn’t get a chance to actually play it at a full volume until right when I plugged in at our show Saturday night … but the girl sounded very alright! I couldn’t be happier with my current lineup of guitar-amp-cab. Sure, I need to spend an hour or two tweaking the tone knobs, but for now I’m very satisfied.

Oh, and that other bit of news I mentioned to discuss is about this gig. I think I’ll hold off on telling that story at a later date as there might even be crazier news!

    Site Updates:

  • Added NBA Legend [Facebook] (2011) to Currently Enjoying

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The Business

Fat cat

Ok, I’m going through a bit of a blog lull. They happen. I’m going to give this one five minutes and see how far I get in it.

As I quickly mentioned in my last post (from what seems like years ago now), Rusted Hero was starting to work on ironing out all the business plans for the near future. I’m not talking about working out the details on a management contract, the track listing to our third album, or anything else crazy ahead of ourselves. We were discussing the band partnership agreement (BPA) – a legal document that outlines the duties of band members, how the partnership dissolves and what happens to any assets if the partnership dissolves. It sounds ominous but it was actually a lot more fun to go through than I expected. The best part was the decision making process – there were about 20 different hard band decisions listed and we had to figure out whether it took a majority or unanimous vote of the band to make each one.

Along with the BPA, we discussed setting up publishing, determining songwriting, and copyrighting songs plus made a few plans for the immediate future. It was a good talk – though it took us 2 meetings over 4 weeks (scheduling four adult male calendars still proves to be quite the challenge). But I feel so productive!

In fact, I started a new song last night. Huzzah!

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for August 2008 posts
  • Removed Jersey Shore: Season 3 (2011) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Cape (2011) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Dexter: Season 3 (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Avalanche – Since I Left You (2000) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (1966) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Pop Pop tribute from sidebar

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Wintry Mix


The Northeast (actually just the East, in general) is under heavy attack … by snow! Here in New York it isn’t too terrible, but it’s been a steady foot or so of the stuff every week since Christmas. Fun! I’ve always complained about cold weather but I’m actually finding myself somewhat unfazed by all of this – perhaps I’m finally getting used to frigid temperatures. Or, maybe my gut is just finally big enough that it protects me like a whale’s blubber.

I am, however, deeply affected by my lack of blogging! I’ve been constantly working on other projects – be they music, basketball, or stealing cars and shooting hookers – but I should check in here every once in a while. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to.

GTA4 – Great game that’s been sucking up a lot of my free time recently, but I’ll keep my comments about and review on it until after I’ve completed the damn thing.

Keeping Up with the JonesesBrandon and Katie came up for a visit several weeks ago. We had a few drinks, grabbed some local grub, and played a lot of GTA4 (ok, so that was just Brandon and I). Good times, but our New York bed and breakfast industry took a hit as it seems our air mattress has finally given up the ghost. Even after a herculean effort by Brandon and 2 rolls of duct tape, the bed was still losing air and we had to toss it. No word on whether this was the result of a terrorist attack by Tito.

UBAS – The Ultimate Basketball Association (no idea what the S stands for) is a fantasy basketball league I’m in with a bunch of other, stats-crazy, basketball historians. It’s a lot of fun but also a lot of work – I’m updating the site daily (no joke). I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, even though I’m stinking it up right now in the standings. Next year, the Rens will start to flex their virtual muscle!

Rusty Meeting – After our latest gig two weeks ago, Rusted Hero is now working on the future of the band. Last week we got together at my place and started hashing out all the business bullshit – band partnership agreements, discussions of management, press kits, marketing, etc. It actually was a lot easier and more fun than I had imagined it would be. I’ll keep you guys updated with any big decisions, but we’re going to get together again this week to hopefully finish everything.

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for November 2008 posts
  • Separated Dead Links from Links on sidebar
  • Updated blog IDs for October 2008 posts
  • Updated blog IDs for September 2008 posts
  • Took down R-Bar gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Celebrity Rehab: Season 4 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Crash Kings (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Jersey Shore: Season 3 (2011) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Wages of Win (2006) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Our Dumb World (2007) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Dexter: Season 3 (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Moved Nate’s Noodle from the Dead Links section to Links section of sidebar (who knows how long that will last)
  • Inserted Rusted Hero to Links section of sidebar
  • Added In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (1966) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Disgustingly Full emoticon Disgustingly Full

Progress Report: Gigs #6-7

The low end

Photo © 2010 Mike Scicolone

Whoops … I was supposed to get this little blog out last week. Oops!

In keeping with my earlier post, here are a few quick blurbs about the final two Rusted Hero gigs from 2010.

6. The Delancey 11:45pm @ New York, NY
This was the big Rusted Hero gig of 2010! We had released our EP digitally a week or two earlier, but now we had the physical product in our hands. Added to these babies on the merch table were our hot t-shirts and buttons, so we were truly stocked. About 60 people showed up – friends, family, even old coworkers – it was a blast packing The Delancey, especially since they were nice enough to offer free whiskey drinks to all our fans for the full hour before we played. A ton of bands went ahead of us (The Delancey even snuck in another one without telling us) so we didn’t end up taking the stage until 11:45 even though we were booked for 11. For the first time I can truly say I understand the phrase “feeding off the crowd.” Sure I made more than my share of mistakes, but I felt as though I had limitless energy thanks to all the people who came out and showed support. Great, great night.
Music: 8/10
Performance: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10

7. L.I.C. Bar 9:00pm @ Brooklyn, NY
This was originally going to be our second-to-last gig but when we took a look at the calendar we noticed we were going to have 3 gigs in 5 weeks. The last time we did that (Arlene’s Grocery) we cannibalized our audience, so to ensure this didn’t happen again, we canceled the following one and made the L.I.C. Bar our final for 2010. We might have canceled the wrong one! As soon as I entered L.I.C. Bar I knew we were in the wrong place. This venue catered to acoustic and jazz bands and when we finally plugged in I noticed my amp didn’t even include distortion. So, we went through the motions, although I wasn’t too thrilled with our results. Still, we had a good time and a weird “trapeze artist” came up and talked to us afterward about getting together and “doing something.” A wild end to 2010: the year of the Rusted Butt!
Music: 6/10
Performance: 5/10
Overall: 5.5/10

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes [GC] (2004) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Metal Gear [MSX] (1987) to Currently Enjoying
  • Updated blog IDs for January 2009 posts
  • Put up Battle of the Bands gig on Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Boardwalk Empire (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune [PS3] (2007) from Currently Enjoying

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Rusted Review

Just in time for our CD release show this week at The Delancey (Thursday starting at 10pm!), Rusted Hero’s EP got our first major review!

Check it out here: The Cheap

    Site Updates:

  • Added Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune [PS3] (2007) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes [GameCube] (2004) to Currently Enjoying

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  • Zepmoon
    Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 at 10:59 | #1

    Nice to see you are getting positive press!

Progress Report: Gigs #1-5


Photo © 2010 Mike Scicolone

Hey, Rusted Hero has just released our EP, are in the process of getting t-shirts printed, and have over 250 fans on Facebook, but we’re still really just a band in our infancy. Hell, we just did our 5th show! I’ve wanted to discuss all of our past performances but didn’t want to slow down this already boring website, so I’ve compiled a few brief notes about each one in this post. Hold on to your rusty butts!

1. Otto’s Shrunken Head 11pm @ New York, NY
Our first show was just two days after finishing recording our EP in Albany. So, even though we were really nervous (ok, I was, at least) we definitely had the songs down to a science. And that’s probably a good thing because I don’t know how we got through this set. The backline equipment left a lot to be desired (I didn’t have a channel switch) and I had just changed strings the day before – so I was reeeeeaaaallly pitchy. In fact, when I finally mustered up the courage to hear the recordings from the show I found 2 of our songs absolutely unlistenable due to my out-of-tune guitar. But, the other members of the band were better than I knew (since I was just totally trying to play my parts right and didn’t hear them during the show) and the whole thing wasn’t as bad as I immediately thought. Extra special bonus kudos to Brandon who trekked up all the way from Arlington, VA to be apart of the Rusted Hero birth!
Music: 5/10
Performance: 3/10
Overall: 4/10

2. Lit Lounge 10pm @ New York, NY
This venue was the complete opposite of our first show. Where Otto’s was just a small stage in a corner of the room (so small, in fact, that I had to step off it to stop hitting Matt with my guitar), Lit was a long, thin room with a giant, raised stage at one end. We were supposed to play with 2 other bands but at the last minute we found out that BOTH had strange miscommunications with Lit Lounge and ended up booking shows elsewhere. So, even though we weren’t able to feed off (both in financial and exposure gains) from their audience we still ended up with a great crowd. I think I played the whole thing through without a mistake and sounded great thanks to a dedicated sound man and long-ass sound check. Matt complained about not being able to hear himself, but that might have been our only real gripe.
Music: 9/10
Performance: 6/10
Overall: 7.5/10

3. Arlene’s Grocery 9:30pm @ New York, NY
Arlene’s Grocery was a giant stage in a giant room connected to a huge bar. The place was big, people! Unfortunately, this place was also a total showcase venue in that fans would come out to see their band play and then immediately leave. No one was sticking around to see us and, worse, since this was our 3rd show in 5 weeks we had totally cannibalized our own audience. So, we ended putting on a private show for about 10 people (and that’s being generous). However, some good did come out of the whole debacle as Mike – a photographer friend of John’s – came out and took some awesome, professional photos of us (that’s where the picture for this post came from). Also, the entire thing was live streamed across the internet so a lot of our friends from outside of New York were able to see us (including both Stever and my mom). It was a decent show but the sound (the monitors didn’t even seem to be on so Adrien and I had to rely completely on our low-volume amps) and thin audience kind of put a sour mood into all of us.
Performance: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

4. Desmond’s Tavern 9pm @ New York, NY
This night we were set to play for the first time with Manpower – a trio of Adrien’s friends. It really was a lot of fun. Desmond’s was a bit like Otto’s in that there was a small stage in the corner of the room but the atmosphere was a little more … mainstream (Otto’s has some eccentric clientele). Manpower put on a great show and so did another act touring out of Chicago, Say You Swear. Richard even made the trip up from Virginia to check out the debut of our new song, “Sick for the Cure” (and assist me in getting a giant, 4×12 into a cab and over to the venue). A great, little show with very few things to complain about (it’d be nice to have bumped up the vocals).
Music: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

5. Snug Harbor 12pm @ New Paltz, NY
Rusted Hero made the 1.5 hour trip north to New Paltz (ok, for me it was more like 4 hours due to my terrible navigational “skills”) and ended up in a cold, small college town. However, we were greeted with open arms to return the favor as opening act for Manpower. It was a birthday party for Ian, Manpower’s bassist, and everyone was in a celebratory mood (some more than others). We went on after a not-so-hot first band (they didn’t even have a drummer) and set up on an open-mic sized stage (it even had weird railings on the side). Also, I was standing on top of a heat vent so I was, of course, super wet by the end of the show (although, that’s really no different than any of the other performances). I thought we nailed everything and it was the first gig where I was in command and conscious of everything I was playing through 100% of the thing. Definitely a step in the right direction.
Music: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Lenny Kravitz – 5 (1998) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed R.E.M. – Out of Time (1991) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Dave Matthews Band – Remember Two Things (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Mogwai – Happy Music for Happy People (2003) to Currently Enjoying
  • Took down Snug Harbor gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Jersey Shore: Season 2 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Amazing Stories: Season 2 (1987) to Currently Enjoying

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