Thursday, August 30, 2007

I think I'm addicted to my computer

I mean, it's 12:15am and here I sit, blogging away, tagging old posts with words so they're easily searchable.

So now, I go to sleep.

zzzzzz

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last night at the Sunset

Another day, another gig. This time it was at Ballard's Sunset Tavern, to participate in the International Pop Overthrow for the 3rd year in a row. The first time we did it was in Hollywood, which made it cool. Plus, it was my second time playing with the Lunds, so that was neat too. Last year it was at the Croc and that was cool because it was the first year in Seattle and we had a good slot.

This year? Well, it was cool in that it was at the Sunset, but not so cool in that it was on a FREAKIN' MONDAY NIGHT. Ugh. So what did that mean? Low turnout. Though, we aren't a huge draw in Seattle yet, put us on a Monday and no one comes out.

Surprisingly enough, there were 3 people that came on account of my emails. My old friend Aaron, and two "kids" from SPU that go to my church, Katie and Brian. Plus, good ol' Gary from the Seattle Powerpop Blog was there as well snapping pictures and representing the powerpop.

Anyway, we took the stage around 9, plugged into the available gear (it WAS cool to not have to schlepp my gear in), and rocked out for 7 songs. Short and sweet. First time in many moons that I played on the high-hat side of the drums. In fact, I think the last time may have been in the old Grasshopper days (pre-Ethyl, which means about 1996 or so). Don't know why each gig I've had since has the bass on the right of the drummer, but I guess that's how it goes.

At the end of the night, nothing earthshattering happened. I'm hoping that Katie and Brian spread the word with their SPU homies. Nothing like a bunch of enthusiastic college kids to make a party more fun. And I've come to the conclusion that next year, David Bash (the brains behind the IPO) should invite less bands to give them longer sets, as well as not schedule on Sundays and Mondays. He should make it a Thu-Sat festival, maybe reduce the shows by 2 bands a night and let bands play for 30-40 minutes instead of 20-30. My .02.

So my Weekend Of Music is officially over. What's next? Well, more new tunes for the Bros., but we aren't hooking up til 9/10. And the Scheme is on a bit of a hiatus as David is expecting a baby next week and Gregg the drummer is out of town for a month.

Not that I mind having a break. Just not too long, that's all.

Here's a picture from last night, courtesy of Gary's Awesome Blog:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Recording at London Bridge

Way back in March, Sean sent me some of his scratch tracks for new songs. They were his vocals and guitar for the most part, though some did have bass on them. Over the next few months, I ended up getting a total of 12 songs. I spent a lot of time working on parts, recording them into the computer, and sending them to Sean for feedback. For the most part, everything worked out really well. All that prep work led us to London Bridge yesterday.

London Bridge is a recording studio in North Seattle (or Edmonds, if you prefer) where some pretty well known bands have recorded. Pearl Jam, 3 Doors Down, Default and, everyone's favorite, Nickelback, have all done time there. Sean chose LB because of his history with Jonathan Plum, who helped record the IPO record, as well as Tangents, I think.

Anyway, me and Jonathan also have some history. Way back in high school, when I was a sophomore and he was a junior, I did some recording with him. Jonathan had a 4 track (I think) and I was pretty much the only (hate to say it) capable bassist in the school. This meant I got all the "gigs" and things like that. I remember lugging my Peavey Basic 40 (still own it) bass amp to Jon's house (which is down the street from where I live now) and setting it up in his walk-in closet.

I recorded 2 or 3 songs for a mutual friend, the school's guitar virtuoso, Andre Maguire. I recall one was called "Marsupials" and that's about it.

Over the years, I'd heard Jon had "made it" in the biz, which really meant that he got jobs recording bands. My old band, Ethyl, also worked with Jon in 01, when we did our 6 song EP.

So yesterday, I hauled 3 basses up to London Bridge at 11 and we got to work about 12 or so, after setting up.

Long story short, we averaged about a song an hour. I didn't finish until about 11pm, though we did take an hour or so for lunch, plus some breaks here and there. I had one "one take" (played the entire track w/o punching in or redos) on a song called Olive Branch. The other 11 songs were not "one takes", but many were 3 to 5 takes. Most of the others were of the "play through and go back and redo all the mistakes".

Ah, the beauty of ProTools!

I played the SB-2 on 9 songs, my Sterling on one, Sean's Sterling on one, and the studios old-ass Danelectro on one. All the basses had killer tone and much of that was due to Jonathan's Ampeg SVT-3 amp. Maybe I should start looking into one???

With any luck, we'll have the songs ready to go on a CD before the end of the year. But, Sean still needs to do lead vocals, the 3 of us need to do some harmony vocals, Chris needs to do lead guitar stuff, and so on. So, keep your fingers crossed.

Up next: IPO at the Sunset tonight! Then, my Music Weekend is done!

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Now playing: Muse - In Your World
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Friday at the 4th Ave

Yet another trip to our state capitol for some rock. This time was to play with Chris & Sean's friend's band, the Empty Hollow. Though on posters there, it was the Empty Hollows. And, according to their myspace bulletins, the t-shirt printers called them the Empty Hallow. Go figure.

Anyway, it was a full place (the word "club" just doesn't fit the 4th Ave). There were a lot of people there for us, as well as the EH. The joint was jumpin' and there was a lot of pleasantness to be seen.

We took the stage and as much as I've been loving my bass tone, I don't think anyone can sound good at the 4th Ave. The performance area is off to one side of the building and it's a huge room. It's boomy and it seems the soundpeople there sometimes aren't sure how to dial things in. The monitors were too loud, almost to the point of feedback and the room itself is like a cave. So that was lousy, but it didn't hinder our performance, I don't think.

We debuted 2 new songs: Empty Room (Sean's) and Nice Guys Finish Last (Chris'). It was kind of weird to play them as no one knew them but us. Afterwards, people mentioned they liked 'em, but seeing all the familiarity leave their faces was kind of interesting.

I played a pretty energetic show. I haven't been that sweaty in a long time. I felt like I'd been on the treadmill again, my hair was so soaked. Ugh. Check out the cool picture!



Next up: recording at London Bridge!

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Now playing: A Perfect Circle - Crimes
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is superb.



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Now playing: Muse - Showbiz
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Geeking out with Facebook

I joined another "social networking" site. Believe it or not, I'm not doing it to get attention, or to get the contact info for minors. I'm doing it because I'm a GEEK! I added a banner with my mug on it to the right. Click on it and add me as a friend!

Also, have I mentioned that I love my bass? Damn! We rehearsed last night and it sounded quite good. Sean played some inspired drums, that's for sure. Maybe it was Jeff from the Young Sportsmen's performance that did it? Anyway, we'll be debuting 2 new songs on Friday. That'll be fun.

Riley turned 3 yesterday. He had a major meltdown to celebrate the day before. Good lord. This boy is so stubborn sometimes. He gets it stuck in his head that he wants something done a certain way (the other day it was wanting to pee standing up. Trouble was his penis was too low for the bowl in question.) and unless he gets his way, it's freakin' Meltdown City. Anyway, I ended up driving him around for half an hour while Marci and Haley hung out looking at closet treatments. Maybe I got the better end of the deal after all.

Been watching a lot of Mariners baseball. They are looking quite good and it is a joy to watch Ichiro hit balls all over the field. I have had a man-crush on him for many years. He and Matt Bellamy from MUSE.

Speaking of MUSE, they are coming to town on 9/9, Sunday, at KeyArena. I have had a ticket for a few weeks now. Sadly, I will be going with me, myself and I only as no one else I know knows who MUSE is or, in certain cases, just didn't want to go. Boo! It'll be my third time seeing them. First at Neumo's in 04, then at the Paramount last year and now at KeyArena. Can't wait!

Okey dokey. Time to go fold some laundry. Goodnight.

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Now playing: The Posies - Any Other Way
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Last night at the Sunset

I headed to Ballard to catch what is, in my opinion, Seattle's best band, the Young Sportsmen. Four guys who play rock that's so tight, so powerful, so melodic and so good, that it makes me quiver with delight.

Last night was their CD release party for their CD, Death to Palaces. I met Sean and his friend Keith down at the Lock & Keel before heading to the Sunset. Unfortunately those guys had nipples on their beers and by the time they finished, the YS had already started their set.

Anyway, the Sunset was packed. Someone of my average stature, or lack thereof, really couldn't see anything. So, using a technique that you can pretty much only do at the Sunset, Sean, Keith and I "headed for the bathroom" and made our way to the front of the room. The benefit of doing that is that the bathrooms are right next to the stage and as we left them, we found ourselves smack dab in the front row.

I ended up standing stage right, right in front of the speaker stack. Thank goodness for earplugs! As usual, the club sounded great. I had a great view of everyone.



Richard on bass had a pretty natural-burst Fender P into an Ampeg 4x10. He plays with a pick and is so tasty. I told him once that if I could play with a pick well, I'd like to play like him.

Wesley was in the middle and rocked the black t-shirt and jeans. He has such a friendly disposition both on and off stage. He's humble and he tears sh*t up.

On the "tubs", as the YS call the drums, was Jeff. He was decked in a maroon short-sleeve shirt and a matching maroon tie. Quite insane, if you ask me, since it was probably 75-80 degrees in the Sunset. Plus, Jeff beats the hell out of his drums. His stage presence and watchability is off the charts. He's an entertaining drummer.

Finally, right in front of me was Ryan, who played lead guitar. He's a small dude and plays a mean guitar. He has this totally unaffected look when he's playing a solo. Most guys squint their eyes, or purse their lips or something. Not Ryan. He looks like he's watching the news or something. Pretty funny.



Anyway, I wish I could tell the names of the songs, but I don't know them well enough. All I know is that they are just super solid. Tight. Professional. Very energetic, and the people ate them up. Kudos to them for a very successful CD release party and a killer show.

After the YS was the Root Beer Barrels. If you haven't seen these guys and gal, you need to see them. Fronted by Dick Rosette, the former 107.7 The End DJ, as well as Twink the Wonder Kid's former front man, and his former on-air sidekick, Sarah, they blew the lid off the Sunset.

Through the course of their set, I saw the following things, in no particular order:
  • bubbles
  • pitch pipe/harmonica solo
  • bare chest
  • stage diving
  • CDs thrown into the crowd
  • a belt buckle reader board
  • a raccoon hat
  • an air horn
  • synchronized kicks
  • a game of pattycake
  • a mini-mosh pit on stage
  • people laying down on stage
Needless to say, it was a wild set, as well as their CD release party. Ric Cesar (Dick's alter-ego) is the only guy in Seattle that can get away with wearing a black windbreaker zipped up to his chin on stage. He must've been quite warm. Sarah had her huge Aretha-style 'fro happening and she really owned the stage. They're the type of band you really have to see live in order to get the full picture.



Anyway, it was a great night for rock and, hopefully, we'll be hooking up with the YS for a show of our own soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I <3 MUSE



Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stuff, vacation, cancer

I hate writing titles for the blog. I can never come up with anything witty, so I usually just write about what I'm going to write about. What's the topic today? Nothing special, I suppose; just a recap of stuff since I last wrote.

Biggest thing that happened is that me and the family took a little 3 day vacation to Mt. Rainier. I hadn't been there in a looong time and we took Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week to go there. I took many pictures and put some of the best ones here. We had a great time driving up and down the mountain, eating lots of food at the Copper Creek Inn and seeing beautiful sights. To have Mt. Rainier 1.5 hours away is a pretty cool thing.

On the musical side, Sean was finally to nail Jonathan down for some studio time. We'll be going in on 8/26 for me to lay down about 12 bass tracks. Sean sent me some ideas for a great song of his, Only You, as I was having a hard time coming up with a tasty line under the verses. He came up with a great octave type line and I incorporated it into the other ideas I'd had previously. I'm pretty happy with the ideas and I think he is too. Now I just have to nail down what I'm going to do so we're not wasting time in the studio coming up with stuff. Also, my new bass simply CRUSHES when recorded. If it sounds this good to me through my little mixer into my computer's sound card, I can only imagine how good it will sound (and hopefully Sean likes it too, 'cause he's really leaning towards a Sterling bass on the recording) recorded by a Real Live Engineer!

What the hell else is going on? Well, Julie is back at work now. After two months of recovery at her house after breaking her ankle in 3 places, she's back on a consistent basis. And it is good to have her back. She's the Bad Cop to my Good Cop (or Wussy Cop, if you will!). Plus she has some brains to back it up. Me? I'm just making things up as I go...

Riley has his 3rd birthday party tomorrow. When we asked him what kind of party he wanted, instead of asking for a Cars or Transformers or Finding Nemo or Bob the Builder party, he asked for a Monkey party. Now, what the hell is that? I have no idea. Marci, on the other hand, went nuts. Or, more appropriately, bananas. :)

Anyway, she made about 20 cupcakes that look like monkeys, made a cake with Curious George bursting out of it, found a giant-ass inflatable monkey (which is now shoved in her passenger side seat in the car; looks funny!), and basically decked things out with all things simian. The party will be at our local swim club (of which I have not worked out at for several weeks. For shame) and all the cool kids will be there. Hopefully it doesn't rain. :crosses fingers:

Oh. Found out today that my dad was going in for a colonoscopy today. Huh, wha? This is news to me. My aunt told me today at work that he'd had some "issues pooping" and thought it'd be prudent to get 'scoped. Evidently I was the last to know. It's kind of important as Dad went through chemo for cancer about 3 years ago. He had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and went through about 4-5 weeks of chemo. Lost the hair and everything, but came back and was healthier than he'd ever been, I think.

Anyway, I guess my brother and his wife were at my parents' house last week and (TMI ALERT ABOUT POOP! WATCH OUT) Dad was on the can, constipated. Apparently he'd been plugged up for some time and because of that, was also vomiting as he was trying to poop. Yikes. (My brother has two dogs and he says that one of them will also puke when constipated. Ugh.)

Needless to say, my bro tried to get Dad to the ER, but, of course, he refused (stubborn old man). Anyway, Knight called one of his many Dr. friends, who recommended some Maalox. So Knight & Shannon ran to get some and as they were at the store, Dad was able to relieve himself. Anyway, fast forward to today and he had his colon checked. Initial thought is that there is some sort of blockage or tumor there, but they won't know if it's cancer or not for a few days.

Let's hope it's not fucking cancer again.

Funny thing was, when Dad had the NHL a few years ago, he was so laid back about it that that's how I handled it. Not once did I worry for his well-being or health. I figured he'd be fine, and, thankfully, he was. This time around, even though we're not sure of anything yet, it's a bit freaky for me. Maybe part of it is because I've been reading a journal by a local reporter about a local little girl dying/suffering from a form of cancer (intense blog here). It's pretty emotional and intimate and is a very touching story. She's in very bad shape and they're praying for a miracle, but who knows what will happen.

So for Dad to be potentially sick again is a bit unsettling for me. They've finally retired (Mom and Dad, that is) and are really, really enjoying their free time. They're traveling or at one of the many local casinos, supporting the local Native American tribes. I know Dad is still taking the, "What, me worry?" angle of attack, but still, it worries me.

Well, this was a backwards blog. I write about some trivial stuff, then, KERPOW! Cancer? Bad meat? Who knows?

Love your parents!

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Now playing: Muse - Space Dementia (live)
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Last night at the Rendezvous

Yet another show at the 'vous, but this time, a weekend! Hallelujah! Tonight it was us, Paul Lynde Fan Club and Llama.

We played with both these bands sometime last year. October, I think, at the Sunset. It was my first exposure to both bands and I am very glad that it happened. Since then, we've become quite chummy with Llama, as well as the people connected with them.

Over the years, I've been in several bands and have always felt like I/we were on the outside looking in. After having befriended Rusty, Jim and Scott in Llama, I feel like we're finally making our way inside. By way of Llama, we've gotten to know many cool people in many cool bands, including, but not limited to, PLFC (of course), the Riffbrokers, the Small Change, Young Sportsmen, the Tripwires, Sgt. Major, and many many more. These bands and members have been very enthused for what we do and it's just gotten better and better for us.

But, as usual, I digress.

So we went first and I brought along the new #1 with a bullet, the G&L. And, as it did on Monday with the Lunds and Thursday with the Scheme, the G&L crushed again. We played our standard set, plus the new song Sugar and I couldn't have been more pleased with the tone. Our performance was pretty good too, though I had some vocal issues at times. Plus, the stage was Damn Hot. I would've worn shorts, but the indie cred side of me told me not to.

There was a good sized crowd in the Jewelbox Theater, from what I could tell. Unfortunately, when you're on stage there, it's pretty much impossible to see 10 feet away as the theater is dark and the lights are in your face. But the folks were appreciative and, as I found out after our set, really dug what we did.

After us came Paul Lynde Fan Club. Scott and Jim from Llama (and other bands, I'm sure) play drums and guitar, respectively. Lisa plays bass and, of course, she's also connected with Rusty from his days with Pure Joy (if I'm not mistaken). When we played with PLFC back last year, I remember them being more spacey, kind of meandering with their music. Unfortunately, I only caught a few songs, but what I heard was good. They seemed to have found more direction and gotten more song oriented, as opposed to the kind of droning jam they did a year ago. After further deducing, Scott admitted that the song structures and formations were mainly of his doing. And that's a good thing!

Llama closed the night, and, as usual, made it worth staying up way past my bedtime. Rusty and Scott and Jim have this magical way of playing music that makes you just want to bob your head and smile. I wouldn't say it's earth-shattering or anything, but it sure makes you feel good and is fun to listen to. Rusty has this kind of surfer, laid-back way of singing that is so cool. Scott dips in and out with tons of harmony vocals and pentatonic bass lines, and Jim just beats the hell out of his Dial-a-Fight kit much like the background music I have on right now (see below). Llama is just cool. Go see them.

As I said, the night was a grand time. I made some new friends (Greg from the Small Change, most notably) and hopefully some great future shows. When I know more, you'll know more, but (fingers crossed) it should be extra tasty and smooth.

Next up: the 4th Ave in Olympia. Stay tuned!

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Now playing: Helmet - Unsung
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 06, 2007

More bass stuff

I took the new bass to Mike Lull the other day for a setup job. He oiled the neck and dressed the frets. He put in a new input jack and lubed up the knobs. I got it back Saturday and played it and it was good. The true test would come tonight at rehearsal through my rig.

I got down to T-town and we fired up on a new song, one of Sean's called Sugar, which will make its grand debut this Friday. And the clouds parted and the birds sang and the cool breeze blew as my new G&L bass BLEW MY MIND.

I had the bass going into my SansAmp and no EQ on the amp and the bass was all bottom with crispy highs and tons of growl. I may need to dial the overdrive back on the SansAmp, but, man did I dig the sound. I'm going to pull my rig out of the car sometime this week and further tweak the sound, but I am very happy with what I heard.

So we've also been working on some new stuff with the Lunds. Kind of cool. I get a recording sent to me, I learn the part, then come Mondays, we go and crush it.

Well, crushing it is putting it a little strong, but it is a fantastic way to learn new music. No beating around the bush trying to teach each other parts, for the most part. We just count off and go.

Next show, we'll hopefully be able to bust out one of Chris' new songs. We could probably do it this Friday, but, in all honesty, it's too close and we're just not tight enough yet. It's tight for the 10 or so times we've played it together, but, in this case, we'd want to crush it.

Either way, the people who come see us Friday should get a kick out of the new song (and the new bass!).

Nighty night.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's here!

Ask me what I did at work today.

I checked UPS.com to see if they delivered my bass.

It never updated, but when I pulled into the driveway, the box was propped at the door. I opened it up and took a look.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the condition of the bass was a 7. It's actually in really good shape. There are two tiny nicks in the finish just above the pickguard. There was some residue all over the body of the bass, too, but nothing some wiping and cleaning couldn't take care of.

I plugged the bass in and dinked around a bit. First thing I noticed was how low the action was. Usually that's a cool thing, but I think it was a bit too low. Buzzing and clinking everywhere. It also seemed that the output of the bass was a bit lower than what I played at Northwest Guitars. Then again, this bass is probably 10+ years old. Also, I wasn't playing through my main rig as that's down at Chris' house.

Anyway, after mopping the bass off, it looked much better. I should put some new strings on it, but I am quite the string miser. I like to play them until they break. I have no idea how old the strings on the SB-2 are, but they're functional for now. Plus, I think I'm gonna try a new brand of string as I've been using Ernie Balls for years. I like 'em, but that's mainly because I'm too cheap to try new strings for $30 and risk not liking them.

This bass is passive (re: no battery) and has a nice growly tone on the neck pickup. Turn up the bridge p/u and the high end comes in to play a little. I'm looking forward to trying it out next Monday at rehearsal with Chris and Sean.

I believe I will take it into Mike Lull tomorrow, though. Have him give it the once-over and see how it looks. Hopefully he can get it back to me soon so I can play it Monday. Otherwise it'll have to be Thursday (if it's done) with the Scheme, or possibly even Friday when we rip the Rendezvous a new one.

Here's a shot of the family. Envy me!