Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Whoopee. Update time.

Nice and hot today. What are you wearing? I'm in shorts... and nothing else...

New and exciting stuff:
  • Still on the CPAP. Been doing ok with it. Not sure how it'll be in the dead ass heat of summer. One cool thing is that it exhales cool air, but since I'm exhaling, I can't feel it. Oh, the irony!

  • Marci and I have been driving my parents' Audi Q7 while they've been out of the country. It's white and huge. And fast. And full of 007 type gadgets that we're still trying figure out. GPS is cool, as is a smart key. You have the keys in your pocket and touch the door handle and, poof! Door is unlocked.
  • I spent a few evenings this Memorial Day weekend holed up in a recording studio in Shoreline. London Bridge, to be exact. Home to Pearl Jam's Ten, and other super duper recordings. A guy I went to high school with, Jonathan Plum, is a co-owner of the joint. I was there to lend support and my superb ear for production to Sean as he layed down drum traxxx to 11 songs. So cool to be a part of that process again, especially since in the 2 years I've played in Lund Bros, I haven't had to stretch any of my massive creative muscle (roll eyes now!!). I've been playing songs that have been done for many years and just adding my little spin to them. But, this weekend, I heard songs (scratch tracks, really) with finished drums and they really gave me wood to write/make some bass parts to play with them. I think Sean will have to record guitars next (he is a really great guitarist!) and then it's bass time. I can't wait!

  • A friend at work fell down about a week and a half ago and broke her ankle in 3 places. A surgery and 9 screws later and poor Julie may have a limp for the rest of her life. She's in misery at home, immobile and in a lot of pain. Apparently the docs have told her to keep any weight off of it for the next 3-4 weeks. Incredible. This has really sapped her energy, not to mention her spirit. We're working hard at work to come up with a solution to get her to dial in from home. Hopefully we'll have something set up tomorrow for her.

  • New Juliana Hatfield today (EP only, though). Yay!

  • New Harry Bosch book last week (pretty short, though). Yay!

  • I went and worked out tonight. Go me! 10 minutes on the treadmill and 10 on the elliptical. What a weird machine, that elliptical. I pressed start and... nothing happened. So I started moving my feet back and forth and got it going. Felt strange as I felt like I was squatting the whole time. The women on either side of me appeared to be in some sort of cross country skiing race or something. They were hauling ass. Meanwhile, I'm about to pass out in the middle. Ugh. My goal is to lose the pony keg I hide under strategically crossed arms and billowy, yet sexxxy, shirts. Ripped abs, here I come!!

  • I thought I had more exciting thoughts to share with y'all, but, evidently I don't. Oh! Go to my myspace and peep my bass videos. Good times from the past. And go here to peep my videos from now. Hope I'll have some more up as we play more shows in the next few months.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Late nite update

Couple things I wanted to post about. Friday I picked up my CPAP machine. If you look close, it looks like I typed CRAP machine.

Anyway, this machine helps me breathe better at night. It also reduces or eliminates my snoring which Marci totally appreciates. I started wearing it Friday night and it went pretty well. I guess I didn't snore. Plus, Riley didn't wake up and so we were all good. Saturday night I wore it as well, but not until after I got home from the 4th Ave gig at about 1:30 or so. I had a hard time falling asleep (I wear a tube right under my nose and have two channels blowing moistened air right into my nostrils) but once I did, I was ok. Evidently Riley didn't wake again that night either.

Last night was tougher as I had the humidifier on my sleep machine cranked too high. I had water in the tube and on my nose. Plus, it sounded like I was underwater. I ended up taking the mask off around 2 or 3 in the morning and sleeping au natural. I felt fine about it, but I guess I snored a lot. Also, Riley woke up, so Marci had a rough night. I'm going to crank down the humidifier so we'll see how that goes tonight.

Today I went for a run. Me! The first time in many many moons. We joined our neighborhood swim and tennis club a few weeks ago and in the past week and a half, I've gone swimming (re: splashing in the shallow end with the kids) about 4 times, which is 4 more times than I've gone in a year or so.

Anyway, I ran and walked fast and I want to lose the big ol' gut I've been sportin' for years. Holding in the stomach and pulling shirts away from it is getting old. Overall, I ran/walked for about 20 minutes or so. It was tough at first, but as I went, it got easier. I think later this week, I'll try going to the club to use a treadmill or something.

Of course, right now, my quads are sore, my shins are sore and my head is killing me (allergies? Or lack of caffeine? I didn't have a coffee today...).

Time for bed. Goodnight.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last night at the 4th Ave

Olympia. 66 miles from my front door. About 60 minutes to get there from here. So many things I'd rather be doing than driving to Olympia.

But it's not about me. It's about the music. Or something like that.

So I hopped in the family truckster and made way for Olympia (why do I always want to ghetto it up and call it Holympia???). It was an uneventful drive other than I always turn a block before the backdoor parking lot and have to circle around a bunch of one-ways to find it again.

Last night it was all about us and our pals Llama and unknowns (to me anyway) the Crying Shame. Llama was already there when I showed up. Rusty, Jim and Scott were all set up and it was just a matter of time before the show started.

If you haven't seen Llama yet, you should check them out. Rusty's this wiry guy with stringy hair who is left-handed. He plays guitar and sings and when you see him play guitar, you'll be intrigued. It takes a few moments to notice, but he doesn't play a left-handed guitar; he plays it strung standard, just flipped over. In other words, the low E is away from him and the high E is closest to him. That causes his right hand, his chording hand, to play chords upside down. It's very weird. He's very diminuitive on stage, but he performs very well.

Scott on bass is very solid with his pickstyle playing and excellent backing vocals. Evidently he is in 3 other bands (fronts Doll Test, plays guitar and sings in Paul Lynde Fan Club, and plays rhythm guitar for the Riffbrokers) so he's quite the busy dude. He's the first guy from the crew to have approached me last fall when we played the Sunset together. He's very humble and down to earth.

Jim plays drums and he looks nothing like you'd expect. I joked with Sean last night that Jim looked to be the guy that would do your taxes in April. But he's quite good behind the kit. Very peppy player and always plays appropriate to the song.

Together, the three of them have a great group of pop tunes. Rusty's jangly guitar and Scott's backing vocals are probably the most notable parts of the songs, along with the actual songs themselves.

Once again, Llama played great, they brought people and we all had fun.

We got on stage next and had some fun. I played my Sterling for the first time in several months (at least with the Lunds). I've been saving it for Sunday mornings when I Rock For Jesus. But, after playing with Conservative Dad and hearing/seeing their bassist's Sterling with AWESOME TONE, I was inspired. Unfortunately, I didn't dial things up and had a few technical difficulties with sound cutouts and whatnot. Eventually, I narrowed it down to my compressor and I killed that for the rest of the night.

Overall, we played pretty well. I felt pretty lively up there, though, as usual, I had some screwups here and there. And, note to self, no more scissor kicks. I keep crunching my nuts when I do that...

As we played, people actually came in from the cavernous bar/gameroom next to the stage. We had the Llama crew standing up front and singing along. That's always cool. We hope to set something up with them in the next few months or so.

I also got my best compliment ever. It was sweet and very humbling. Heather from the Riffbrokers was there (as was Nick) and after our show, she came up and said that I was one of her bass heroes. Me??! Quite flattering and ego-boosting, if I must say.

With all my video posts, I brought my camera for the first time in a long time. I set it up in front of the sound man and got some video, but a few tunes were blocked by the freezer door I was next to. I'll weed out those moments and get some new Lund Bros. up soon.

Last up was the Crying Shame. They were a 6 piece with bass, drums, guitar (electric), guitar (acoustic), violin and cello. You'd think it might be a train wreck, but they were very good and quite listenable, though I don't think they fit the bill very well. Their music was a bit dramatic, but also done with a sense of humor.

I didn't stay for the whole set of the Crying Shame, but did spend some time talking with the boys in Llama. It's so great getting to know them. They're all so down to earth and just nice, humble guys. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they're all in with better known bands than us.

Next up, rehearsing for us. Sean has 10+ songs he's going to do drum tracks on and I'll be adding bass in the next few months. No shows lined up for now, which, after 5 shows in 5 weeks, will be nice for a change. But, before long, I'll be itching to get out again, I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Self-indulgent blast to 2005

Let's see if Youtube is better than Myspace! Ready? Fight!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Last night at the Skylark

It's off to West Seattle for yet another Lund Bros. Show Recap. We had a show booked at a place I'd never played (the Skylark) with two bands we'd never played with (Conservative Dad and Boycrush).

I got to the place at about 8:20 or so, anticipating a soundcheck at 8:30 (as noted in the pre-show email we received in MARCH!). Turns out, Chris wasn't there yet anyway, so I setup and he arrived shortly afterwards. Trouble was, there was a baby in the bar (?!!) and the soundguy, Charlie, was considerate enough to not want to scare the folks off with some Loud Rock Music.

So we waited. Good thing, too, as the place was pretty dang empty at the time, save for Conservative Dad's table of band and friends. We did a quick check, then it was off to the meet n greet.

I actually had a pretty good turnout this time. Five people came! Count 'em. 1,2,3,4,5. Plus, Rusty and Jim from Llama were there, as well as many of Sean's friend Chuck's friends. We also had the Cinco de Mayo crowd there and they were quite appreciative of the whole thing.

Performance-wise, I wish I could show you. Not that we were terribly good or bad, but because of my newfound video posting talents, I brought my video camera but was shy about setting it up. I hate doing that and wish we were the kind of band that had loyal friends/followers that would volunteer for that kind of thing. But, alas, we're not and I didn't feel like climbing above the front door to set up the camera, so in the car it sat.

Anyway, it was a fun show for me. I think I played relatively well. I had a hat last night but wearing a frickin' knit hat under lights gets hot! But it did keep the hair out of my mouth, so I suppose there was a major positive to the whole thing.

I think I just digressed...

Sean mentioned he was feeling the onset of a cold and did have a hard time projecting as well as hitting some of his high notes. I was able to fill in on one song, "In My Hands", but otherwise, he was on his own. Chris seemed to be quite on, but to me, many of his solos sounded in the wrong key. Not sure what that was all about as there were weird sounding things from both bros. for me last night.

Next up was Conservative Dad and I knew nothing about them other than they played pop rock like us too. Turns out they were kind of an indie Weezer. Chris and Sean thought they were more like indie Death Cab. Whatever they were, they were very good. Killer gear (SG, sweet Telecaster, sweet Sterling/Ashdown combo, sweet Ayotte kit) and very good tunes. They had a bunch of people there and appeared to be sweet fellows. Sean got a hug from their bald guitarist. We should hook up with them again in the future. Here's a picture from my new fancy ass cell phone:

All night long, there were a couple of kids in the club dressed in all white with studded belts, bandanas, Flock of Seagulls hair and droopy drawers. Turns out those emo-kids were the last band, Boycrush. I knew nothing about these guys and girl other than the aforementioned items. As they got their gear on stage, we all realized that it was going to be fairly interesting (they had a pinata!)

Their amps were painted white. Their drums and drum hardware was all white. They had a Casio keyboard. They had really bad hair. And then they started playing. It was quite indie, very glam and pseudo-punk. Pretty rough, too. The singer kind of had a Rod Stewart look going once he moved his emover over. Anyway, enough about them. Here's a picture for the hell of it:

All in all, not a bad night. People liked us and we got paid. $45 or $15/each only, but, some is better than none, I suppose.

Next Saturday, we're off to the state capitol! Get ready for some fun times.

Self-indulgent blast to the past

Just figuring out this internet video thing. Enjoy some good ol' Ethyl vids. More later.



Bonehead Rocker

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Snakes & Arrows

New Rush! Though I've had the recording for a week or so, I bought the CD today with some hard earned Best Buy giftcard bux. Now playing on my Sony phones? Some "Malignant Narcissism", one of 3 (THREE!!) instrumentals on the new S&A CD. Drum breaks, bass breaks, a riff taken straight from the "Show Don't Tell" breakdown off of Presto.

I gotta say, I was torn when I read some reviews prior to hearing the songs. Some people LOVELOVELOVED it while others were less than impressed. Me?

This is the best Rush record since Counterparts? Grace Under Pressure? Heck, Moving Pictures? Hard to say. Usually, when a new Rush disc is released, there's excitement, euphoria, and, ultimately, disappointment. That's how I felt about Vapor Trails, from 2002. Will I feel this way about S&A? Hard to say, but I must admit, I am feeling very positive about what I hear now.

Some things I really dig about this CD:
  • Rush hired an outside producer. The last CD was self-produced by the boys and it was a bloated mess. A guy named Nick Ra-something or other produced S&A and, though it has long songs (5 min plus for most), the songs are much less meandering that before.
  • The production appears to be better. VT has a horrid (and justified) rep for being too "hot". If you listen closely to it, there is a lot of distortion (clipping) on many of the songs. Inexcusable. S&A is appropriately mixed and there is separation for all the instruments and voices.

  • Geddy plays his bass w/o doing his flamenco thing. He seemed to pick that up during the Counterparts era, but if you watch the video from "Limelight" in the early '80s, you see him doing the flicking thing with his picking finger. It's cool in some songs, but he overused it in recent recordings. Call me a purist, but why use 16th notes when 8th notes will suffice?

  • No insane bass tracking. Once again, on VT, Geddy tracked 2 or 3 different basslines on some songs. Does Rush have 3 bassists? No. So why have 3 tracks? Self-production, that's why. No outside voice to tell him, "Uh, HELL no." On the S&A songs, Rush is 99% bass, drums and guitar, as they should be. (Though there is a bit much vocal tracking and harmonies)

  • 3 instrumentals. "The Main Monkey Business" is a horrible name, but it's a cool song. IMO, their last few instrumentals ("Limbo", "Leave That Thing Alone") have been pretty lame. TMMB is 6 minutes of melodic, powerful instrumental. It's no "YYZ" (insane riffing). It's closer to "La Villa Strangiato", but not as musical. I'd say TMMB is kind of a combo of the two. Check the last few seconds of the song with Neil choking the cymbal crashes. LOVE IT.

    "Hope" is simply Alex on a 12 string acoustic guitar. It's short and sweet and very Tea Party-esque in spots.

    The aforementioned "Malignant Narcissism" is the third instrumental and it's probably the best. It harkens back to "YYZ" with Neil and Geddy trading licks. It's got a cool slowdown ending as well.
  • There's a song called "The Way the Wind Blows" and, though I have no idea what it's about, it's probably the bluesiest song Rush has ever done. It's in 6 and Alex blows up a few solos. Rush doing blues is weird, but it's pretty dang cool.
I could go on and on, but I need to go to bed soon. One other thing I noticed about the songs is that though the playing throughout is undeniably Rush, Geddy is very subdued. Usually he'll go for broke with a riff or fill that you'll just smile and shake your head at, but much of what he's thrown in this time around is very appropriate for the songs. Tasty, if you like.

Anyway, if you're lucky, maybe I'll do a song by song breakdown sometime, cuz that's the kind of geek I am.