Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Best Laid Plans....

So, I have converted my master WAV files for the two finished tracks, Burn and Warp, to MP3, and given them some listens....

They need to be re-mixed and mastered, at the very least.

I have found the tracks from ...And Getting Dollars Back ended up being quieter than I'd like in their finished versions. My intent was to try to rectify this by pumping the sound up, recording at a higher volume. What I've ended up with is a very brittle, harsh guitar sound.

Granted, both of these tracks have intentionally more treble-end guitar tone. Burn is, basically, a metal track, and I wanted the guitar to cut through. I think I just went too far. I need to tweak the EQ on the track, and definitely bring down the guitar in the mix. Maybe re-record the guitar part. I have to admit, I am somewhat regretting dumping the previous version.

Warp is much less of a problem, instrumentally. Everything sounds pretty good. I still think I went too far with the loudness. I do need to re-do the guitar solo...I don't even know what the fuck I was thinking. It's terrible.

I is my eternal problem...need to fix the vocals. It's partially a mixing problem, but I could sing this stuff better. I still struggle with finding "my voice" for vocal work, and, frankly, I'd still love to find a real, and like-minded, vocalist to take a run at some of this stuff. Same with the drumming.

But we do what we can with what we have.

Fail/Safe rehearsals have started. I am very, very excited.

Great cast, fun people, and if we get half the technical whiz-bang that's been discussed, it's gonna be a super-cool looking show. Everybody's loose and ready to have fun, which is fairly essential, in my mind, with such heavy subject matter. We've only had two rehearsals, but I feel very welcome. A lot of openness to what I can bring to the table.

And, flat out, I love this character. It's not quite the level of my love for Milt Shanks, but Copperhead was something special. General Bogan is who I would hope I would be in this situation, and I feel like I carry a responsibility to the men an women who do this sort of work in how I play it. I think of that often as I go over lines, or work scenes, in a world where I feel like the baseline inclination is to demonize any sort of military or authority figure. I am often asked to play those roles. I am not blind to the weaknesses, but my job is to understand that life, that world.

I hope you all come and see it in September.

Stuck In My Head 8.20.2014 - A Box/Sometime

A Box
By King's X

Lonely days will come and go
Nothing new unless you're bold
Revolution no.19
Brand new wave of anger

Stain yourself with pumpkin pie
Liquid tattoo I got mine
Don't forget forgetfulness
Call it deconstruction

There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside
There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside

Way down in the deep depress
Colder than the coldest yes
We know about loneliness
Others to another

Just a place to run and hide
Just a place to free your mind
Just a place to break the chains
And find whatever matters

There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside
There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside

There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside
There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside

There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside
There is no room inside a box
There is no room inside

by King's X

Sometime, I want to give
Sometime, I want to take
Sometime, I want to run
Sometime, I want to stay.
Sometime, sometime, sometime, sometime.

Sometime, I want to love
Sometime, I want to hate
Sometime, I want to build
Sometime, I want to break
Sometime, sometime, sometime, sometime.

Sometime, I want to live
Sometime, I want to die
Sometime, I want to believe
Sometime, I want to get high and fly.
Sometime, sometime, sometime, sometime.

Learn more about King's X at

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuck In My Head - Smokestack Lightning - 8.15.2014

Smokestack Lightning
by Howlin' Wolf

Ah oh, smokestack lightnin'
Shinin' just like gold
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
A whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whoo

Whoa oh tell me, baby
What's the matter with you?
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whooo

Whoa oh tell me, baby
Where did ya, stay last night?
A-why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whooo

Whoa oh, stop your train
Let her go for a ride
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whooo

Whoa oh, fare ya well
Never see, a you no more
A-why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whooo

Whoa oh, who been here baby since
I, I been gone, a little bitty boy?
Girl, be on
Whoo hoo, whoo hoo, whooo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

May Need to Drop Back and Punt

Worked a bit on Predator Game last night. Trying to get a decent drum track.

I'm fighting against a couple of things.

For whatever reason, my monitor headphones, which I use pretty exclusively when recording to spare my neighbors as much as I can (Sometimes I end up working a chord progression dozens of times...I can't imagine how annoying that would be to someone who doesn't know why), kind of turn acoustic tracks into mush. On the monitors it sounds OK, not perfect, but I'm working with a track that is, in the main, just for me to play drums to. I find myself struggling to hear where I am in the song.

The other factor in that is inhearant in how I record. When I'm playing, it's not with anybody but myself on "tape." There are no visual cues to follow, as you would have playing with a band. Not impossible, but I didn't make it easy. I, in an attempt to break up the tempo a bit, added in some transitional stuff between sections. Nothing too fancy, but the beat I'm working with on the drums is a 2-bar cycle, and when I drop in a single bar of transition - that I'm having trouble hearing - it can get me off track pretty quickly.

So, at this point, I am weighing the pros and cons of changing the song. It's just transitional sections, so the main parts Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Lyrics/Melody should be unaffected. The other thing is that this number, witch is designed to be acoustic with an electric lead, may just sound better with a consistent beat. I may like music that jumps around a bit rhythmically, but I know it's jarring to many ears. While this is mainly a hobby, something I do for myself, I enjoy it when people actually like my stuff.

I'll be digging in to it soon. I feel on the cusp of solving the question/problem, and getting some forward momentum.

While on this subject, I want to sing the praises of some freeware I've been using, Power Tab Editor. For a self-taught musician like myself, who neither reads or writes notation, putting down what I'm playing so that it can be replicated has always been a challenge. On the off chance that I ever play live, I'd have to be able to show people (and myself) how to play my stuff. This software is flat-out terrific, and allows you to put together professional-looking tab sheets with notation. On top of all that, It's helped me tremendously with being able to visualize rhythm and time, and to begin to understand regular notation.  I'm actually doing a fair amount of writing with the software (you can assign parts, and "play" the track with a simple synthesizer). it's just terrific.

Now, I'm sitting here weighing the pros and cons of dropping "Game" from the title. Predator?

Too Schwarzenegger?

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Blog Name

The Blog name has changed, due to our being forced to leave our Damen Ave home of 9 years, and out beloved Ravenswood.

Welcome to the place on Thorndale.

Long Time No See

Hello faithful readers...

Hello? Hello? anybody left?

It's been a very, very long time since I've consistently written for this blog. I'm going to try to be better, but I sincerely doubt I will ever get back to the "every weekday" schedule I was trying to maintain for a good long while, there. I will, however, try to maintain some consistency.

In the last month or so, I've been a little down. I missed an even-year San Diego Comic-Con for the first time since 2006, and it made me more sad than I expected. Now, on the flipside, I am attending the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim next April. Disneyland and Jedi nerdishness with Mr. Sean H. and Ms. Leigh B. I'm expecting a good time, and hopefully I will finally score that Luke Skywalker green-blade FX series lightsaber I've been coveting.

So, there's that to look forward to.

Acting wise, I start rehearsals for Fail/Safe at Strawdog theatre on Sunday. I'm fairly excited about the show, and I think I have a very good part. That will run on off-nights (Sunday-Tuesday) from Sep 14 - Oct 14.

After that, I'm on my way back to City Lit for Father Ruffian: Shakespeare's Falstaff Story. Shakespeare...I'm doing Shakespeare again, playing a King again. Henry IV. That will run Jan 9th - to Feb 15th, 2015.

Y'know, it's funny, I spent so much time in undergrad working on style work, and Shakespeare, I really didn't overly care if I eve did it again. I've done a few shows here and there (All's Well That Ends Well, The Winter's Tale), but I've never really sought it out. I have to admit, it hold not the overriding excitement for me that I see in other theatre folk.

Just another play, just another playwright.

Musically, things are actually going really well. I was somewhat disappointed in the drum sound for the last Hayoth release, ...Getting Dollars Back. I mixed it too loud, with a lot of double-tracking, hoping to get a deep, booming drum track. What I ended up with was tinny, weak sounding drums that were really loud. They kind of overwhelmed the whole track. Which compounded the fact that I, bluntly, am not a drummer. As with most of my musical explorations, I am learning by doing.

I think that I've, at least, figured out how to mix the drums effectively. I think my playing is getting stronger, too, but that likely a matter of opinion. I have two tracks "finished," Burn and Warp. I have shared a preview of the earlier recording/mix of Burn

I have since junked this entire version, and started from scratch. I think it's better. I think the recording and mix is better.I'm hoping to get samples of both the new version of Burn and Warp up. Warp, in particular, has some interesting first real stab at using keyboards.

A third track, Predator Game, is in progress. Which is a acoustic bed track with drums and electric lead. I managed to get a decent acoustic bed scratch track down over the weekend, and take a first few stabs at the drum track. I'm feeling good about it, and it seems like Uptown, as an album, is well on it's way. My goal is to have enough material to put it out by the end of the year.