Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh Dave, You So Funny!

I never do this.  I never snag web material for my readers, but this is too good to pass up.  Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters are notorious for their concert riders.  A rider is an attachment to their contract for their shows, and it details their needs for the back stage areas and meals, and snacks and things of that sort.

Once again, they have out done themselves.  Please read this, and recognize the humor intended.  If you don't like The Foo Fighters, you will after realizing how incredibly hilarious they are.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Your Band Sucks

Lemme drop some knowledge on you kids.  Your Band Sucks.  Also, Your Favorite Band Sucks.  In fact, ALL BANDS SUCK.

Let me explain to you numbskulls why I’m right.

You see, back in the dark ages of rawk, there we people who played INSTRUMENTS.  They are things like guitars, pianos, violins, saxophones, trumpets, and basses.  Drums?  Well, I think most musicians argue over whether or not drummers are musicians, but I’ll throw them a bone for arguement sake.  Yes, drums are an instrument.

If you don't know who this is, punch yourself in the face right now.

So anyways, (pay attention gomer) these musicians played their respective musical instruments and then recorded them to tape.  Sometimes they would get together in one big room, or maybe they would all be in different isolated rooms.  They would try over and over again until they got the part right.  Sometimes it could take days or weeks or months to record these “tracks”, and then they could be mixed down and edited by very talented men and women who would take the reels of tape, and actually cut and splice them together, then re-record the final product, after it was all said and done.  It was an art form, not only performed by the musicians, but also by the studio engineers and the mastering engineers.  Early in the days of recording you needed to all play together to record everything on two total tracks.  These days, you can record as many tracks as your hard drive on your computer servers will allow.

Fast forward to the modern era of rawk. (fast forward is what us old people would use on our cassette tape players)  I can plug a guitar into a converter box and record a track on my laptop.  I can then pitch correct the track, since I suck at playing guitar.  I can also adjust the tempo in certain spots because I speed up and slow down as I play, because I’m just not that good.  Drummer?  I don’t need no stinking drummer!?!  I’ve got all the drum patches of every super awesome rawk drummer that I downloaded from a torrent file sharing site. (FREEBIE!)  My younger sister is doing vocals for me, because she loves Lady GAGA, and sounds just like her. (she’s 13)  She sucks at singing, but if I put the mic in the bathroom, (better acoustics) she sounds a lot better. (she’s clothed, dude, don’t get all gross)  Of course I’m gonna T-Pain up her vocal tracks with the Auto Tune, because it’s easier than learning the song and actually singing it correctly. (Cher, I blame you for this abomination)  I can do all this in my free (stolen off a torrent site) copy of Final Cut Pro.  Studio?  Sheyah, right.  Bedroom? Definitely.  My sister is Rebecca Black, by the way, in case you were wondering.

^Anti Christ

Still confused?  Okay, listen up cheese dick, here’s the dealio:  ALL BANDS SUCK:  Music is an art form.  Art is subjective.  Therefore, not everyone will like your band.  Someone out there thinks your band sucks.  Therefore, ALL BANDS SUCK, it just depends on who you ask.  

Now go take your Hot Topic skinny jeans and your manliner and your whiny Morrissey wannabe vocals and shove them up your Glee Fan ass.  Me and Jimi Hendrix will be over here slaying beasts and dragons with our rawkness.  See blog name for further instruction.  \m/ o . o \m/

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day Of Reflection

I made it. A whole year has passed since my unfortunate interaction with a Toyota Corolla.  

The accident still plays in my head, often, in full color; a vivid memory.   The jingling of shattered headlamp glass, the screeching of rubber, the sound of wind leaving my lungs as I tumble, the scrape of plastic sounds off in my ears as my helmet skids and pops and slams along the road. The smell of your own blood, mixed with earth and grass and hot asphalt. A memory that will fade in time, but will be permanently locked into my brain in between fuzzy old memories and all the little voices that raise up from time to time.

I’m lucky.  No, I’m not lucky, I’m downright INSANELY lucky to be here today.  Nobody walks away from an accident like that.  The nurses and the doctors all said so.  But somehow..... I did.  So I get to live some more, and I best better enjoy it, and be grateful for the opportunity.

Here I am 12 months later.  Thankful that I can walk.  There were a few moments where I felt sure that I would walk with a permanent limp, or constant physical pain. (the knee ‘reminds me’ it’s there every once and a while) I still have issues with the flexibility of my knee, but I can in fact, walk.  Thankful for that.  I could have lost a leg, an arm, a foot, a hand, or suffered brain damage. (I think my doctor might argue that last point :-)  ) Thankful that I didn’t, and damned lucky that I’m using both hands to type, and that both my feet are propped up on the ottoman right now.  Kneeling to pray for thanks is only an issue if I choose to kneel on my right knee.  Fortunately I have two.  Luckily, I still have two.

My stamina is coming back to me, slowly but surely.  Walking more than a block was a chore for so many months.  I can stand up to watch a band play it’s entire show, without needing to sit and rest.  (now if I could just find a band that doesn’t suck major ass) I can carry a ladder from the garage to replace a couple of light bulbs at my folks’ house.  I can wash my car in the driveway.  I can mow the lawn. (and stay the hell off of it, will ya?)  I can exercise without being in severe pain 15 minutes later.  Slow and steady wins the race.

There are so many things to be grateful for today.  Life, health, friends both real and on the interwebs, and humor and clear thought.  I am humble and grateful today, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be here to share. I look in the mirror and smile because I'm happy, AND because, I'M STILL HERE.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Living The Dream..... Or Something.

I just spoke with an dear old friend.  She said she was proud of me for following my career dreams and taking the risks to do so.  Funny thing was, I hadn’t realized that I had been taking risks.  That got me thinking.....

Grandmaster Flash.  The.Best.Ever.
Music and entertainment have always played a major role in my life.  I started playing instruments way back in 4th grade, beginning with the Cello.  Beautiful sounding instrument if played properly.  I continued on through high school and also during my short stint in the college world. I met a neighborhood friend one night during college.  He was a DeeJay.  He showed me a few things about how that all worked, and I began to play records at the bar where he worked 1 night a week.  My tenure as a nightclub DeeJay spanned nearly a decade.  I made a very decent living, and had the opportunity to work at some of the best nightclubs in town.  During the crazy, self indulgent decade that was the 80’s, it was quite a memorable ride. I wish I could describe it well....  I grew tired of carrying around my milk crates full of records(when I finally sold them years later, there were 18 of them!) and set out to find the next logical step.  For me, it was becoming an audio engineer.

Did you know there are schools dedicated to becoming an audio engineer?  Wait a minute, you kids don’t even know what that is..... An audio engineer is the guy who makes the band sound good.  He’s the guy in the studio twisting all those knobs on the recording console, and placing mics on the drums and in front of all the amplifiers.  He’s often the guy who runs sound at your favorite live venue every time they have a band.  We travel in vans and buses all over the world with any band that will pay us.  We’re a mix between soldiers of fortune and audio whores.  We don’t really care if your band is good, we just want to work and make money.  It HELPS if your band is good, because then we will talk with you and hang out with you after the show, and not call you morons, and tell you that your band sucks major ass, and that my 6 year old daughter could play that solo better than you, ya douche.

Yes, I know what all the knobs do.
But risks?  I hadn’t thought about that.... In fact there are quite a few risks that we take while chasing after the elusive brass ring.  I spent time wondering if I would ever be able to really make a serious living at it.  In the beginning, you often are working for next to nothing, and are juggling two and sometimes three jobs to pay the bills.  Living with roommates, because you couldn’t possibly afford a place of your own.  Working all day, then running to the club to run sound for a local band that needs your expertise, loading out the band gear by yourself because the band needs to be hitting on the last few bar flies that remain, grab your cash, go home, throw down some Kraft Mac and Cheese, sleep, and do it all over again, ad nauseum.  Sometimes, you might not have many gigs at all.  I recall one December that I worked 5 shows.  5 days of work before Christmas.  It was a lean holiday for me and my family.  But you can’t give up because you’re so close to getting another tour.

I’ve got a pal that works for a very popular band.  He tours internationally with them.  When they are not on the road doing performances, they fly him home from where ever they finish their tour.  He gets half his regular salary per week while at home.  I was not so fortunate, as I worked for much smaller groups.  When the tour is over, you’re unemployed, unless you’ve got something lined up.  If you were able to save any money you made on the tour, you’ve got a little buffer until you can find temporary work, or a part time job.  It was a roller coaster ride, both emotionally and financially. Many still hold out hope that another tour will come.  For me, I had to walk away.  I toured regularly for ten years.  I’ve had the great fortune to do shows in 42 states, Canada and Mexico. Seeing this great country through the window of a van was tremendous.  I did what I set out to do, and gained a pretty good reputation as being a hard working guy who would go the extra mile for your band.  I still hear from old band members to this day, and love staying in touch with them.

The risks were high. Your friends at home, their lives keep moving forward while your gone.  Friends fade away, as their lives go on. Family knows they cannot count on you to be home for every holiday, as who knows where in North America I might be at the time.  Will I have enough money to pay rent for two months before the next leg of the tour starts?

I chose to find a regular job, hang up my guns and spurs, and leave the touring to the younger set.  It’s fun to reminisce about all those fun and crazy and screwed up moments the world of rock and roll brings.  And for fun, I get to run sound for some old local musician friends of mine. They will play at a dive bar every now and again.  These days, it’s just for fun, and I enjoy visiting an old part of my career path.  Sometimes I’ll even smash a glass.  To be a rock star. Or something like that.