Friday, July 29, 2005
We're new to Podcasting so it is going to take a while to figure this whole thing out. But I suspect we will be offering a interview and other interesting audio tidbits in the future. So subscribe to this Podcast URL:
1. She Slit Her Wrists Again
2. Touching in a Modern Way
3. Throwing Rocks at Cars
4. Johnny's Wife
5. Seeing Jimmy
6. Turn Out the Morning
8. She Walks On Up Ahead
9. Flowing On
10. Memory of a Friend
11. Spinning Things
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Rock......where to begin...
The big problem as I see it with the state of ROCK in the contemporary music business is the misunderstanding by many bands as to what ROCK is. (...or Rock and ROLL is for that matter.)
Lets ask ourselves why ROCK is overlooked in the forms that those on this thread play. The following might not be answers you want to hear but I press on anyway...I do so because that is how I am...
I am using rock freely here to include multiple genres...
Rock has been and always will be about creativity and self expression...we now have over forty years of rock music to attempt to digest and if you look back you can see that that is indeed the underlying common factor.
Frankly as someone who has been there and seen that nothing is more boring than another Les Paul/Marshall stack combination in a two guitar, bass and drum lineup that for the most part play in unison without dynamics or DRAMA. get on stage and crank the marshalls until you can't hear anything put the ice picks in the ears from 8 12" speakers howling out at the audience...it is not macho or musical...it just comes off as well....dumb...
The new music audience is far more sophisticated than many new rock bands give them credit for...people now have grown up with rock and are quite good at picking out the genuine from the posers.
For me: Bar chords with guitar effect processors, cheesy chorus and flanger effects do not make for very interesting listening. You also have to remember...rock is not JUST heavy metal, or hard rock. A Les Paul, marshall stack and gizmo on the floor does not a rocker make.
But....if that is what you do...that is what you do...expecting anything, I MEAN ANYTHING...from anybody when it comes to original music will leave you only frustrated, angry and gigless...you have to make your own happiness...with lots of HARD WORK.
make no mistake I am not telling anyone to do anything different or play a certain type of music. Do whatever the hell you want. But do so from a stand point of being honest with yourself by asking...
"Is this rock, or is it what I think rock is? Is this me? Or am I presenting myself as something I want to be?"
Do you WANT to be a rocker....or ARE you a rocker?
(interesting questions indeed...)
When you let go what you "THINK" rock is and start to make music without any pre-conceived idea about what rock and roll is then you break through that barrier. Suddenly it isn't just about the music...it is about fulfilling your own need as an artist to reach out to people with your creativity and to touch them. That is what is lacking in HARD ROCK today as it is more about the self flagulation of a adolecent ego than it is about genuine art. Not all the time....just like every other genre...good and bad
You are all pissed off at EMO because they are doing what you don't want to. (that is letting go of the ego and reaching out to people...) Sure some of them are disingenuous sell outs and copy cats but others are not. Just as many hard rock bands are no talent bonehead wanabees and others rock. It is the same in every genre and yet it's "still rock and roll to me".
For the ones that are genuine and true to themselves, flocks of fans will go to see them. That audience will be so into the music they can sing all the damn lyrics to the entire set list. That is because at that point the musicians are touching people with the music. Not bludgeoning them with a self rightous idea of what ROCK is supposed to be.
It is hard lesson to learn and I myself am still learning it after 25 years of playing. I know this time around it feels different and I am not afraid of the work needed to be successful. (And most of all I am having a lot of fun doing so.)
So think about what rock really is...because it is so much more than that gizmo on the floor that makes your guitar scream, a black t-shirt and a snotty attitude. (though that can certainly be part of it)
so think about that and "genuinely" Rock on.
Monday, July 25, 2005
We rehearsed on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.. The rain stopped just in time to get loaded up and head down to Spizzo for some food. M2 had that ever popular favorite Braunswieger on Toasted focaccia bread....This is really the best damn sandwich...
We hung out for a while I had a double latte to get the blood flowing and we headed over the Main Stage (1/2 a block away to load in)
ON the bill that night was SOuth 15 who turned out to be mostly a cover band and One Shot Mickey from Milwaukee.
We led off the night so we got to set up at a easy pace and get a good sound check in. Quite a few people were on hand to see the cover band. Which were reasonably tight and had a few orginials but didn't say which ones they were. The singer spent most of the his show singing to the drummer.
One Shot Mickey played a good show of quality rock pop songs not unlike Bare Naked Ladies and Jack Johnson. I was a little picky on the guitar tone fo the lead player as he whent through a few stomp boxes and into a small Marshall combo. The lead singer from ONe Shot Mickey played on a few songs a well worn Canadian made Seagull acoustic electric. That sounded quite nice. His electric tone was ok. The bassist though really had some tone. Nice low midrange honk that carried the bottom end with punch.
All in all they did a good job. Only criticisms I would have would be to make the dynamics more extreme and get a lottle more animated on stage.
As for the cover band SOuth 15....that just pissed me off. I know Steve doesn't take to highly to covers so I am sure he probably said something to them, I was surprised they played that many....I am guessing they had about 50% of the tunes were covers.
The new Soul Amp format of keys, guitar and drums (say minus bass) was a success.
Thanks to Steve at the Main Stage for tweaking the mix for us.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The recent entries are photos of another photo shoot we put together as a result of Steve's deaprture. The shots will appear in our disk. last minute stuff and we are scambling to get the art work together. Rob Nero was really digging the shots as we were taking them. The site is a glacial dome in Waukesha. It rises about 15o vertical feet, is native prarie and has a path to the top where a fire pit is. Very cool spot. Western Waukesha is quite pastoral form this vantage point. What it did offer was native grasses and clear blue sky vistas. Perfect for those standing in the field type band shots.
Click here for all the Strip Mall Heaven images and layout artwork that Rob Nero created for us.
Photo taken by Michael Fisk.
Rob Nero directing the next shot.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Yesterday Steve informed me in an amicable talk on my porch that he is leaving Soul Amp.
Steve has been playing bass with us for over a year. We all knew that he was pursuing other musical projects and he said he had to make the tough choice to leave Soul Amp at this time. I understood one has to choose where to put time and Soul Amp being what it is, a original act that seems to spend more money than it makes, was understandably the project that had to get set aside.
Add to that scheduling issues and some creeping creative differences that we've discussed over the months it was seemingly a mutually agreed time to make the split.
Interesting thing, when a new original band starts there is no music catalog to point to to select from like in a cover band. Cover bands are able to select from a vast array of songs to satisify all in the band. Original bands I feel have to grow that catalog over a significant amount of time, two years at least. So the direction of a band can turn quickly as the creative energy starts to flow. Sometimes that leaves one or more behind. Not a bad thing it is just one of those things that happens. Balancing the musical needs in a band can be difficult and trying to do so does more harm than good. So one has to just let the music lead. Even if it might end up down a blind ally and one has to turn around and start again.
Steve will be playing three other acts in the Milwaukee area and will also be working with his wife on their creative production project... Avant Guardian.
Mike, Mike and I appreciate all the work Steve and Melissa have put into Soul Amp over the year to help get Soul Amp off the ground. We wish him and Melissa the best of luck in the future.
Moving forward the remainder of Soul Amp, Mike, Mike and myself are continuing without a bass. We will continue to book and play gigs as a trio for the foreseeable future. Hey it worked for the Doors and works for Keane so it probably will work for Soul Amp as well.
So though we are sad to see Steve go we are happy that he is focusing on what matters most for him and his future and again wish him only the best and we are looking forward to the sonic possibilites of a alternative power trio. Expect lots of variety in how we present our shows in the future.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Also I added a couple of interesting tracks to our SonicBids EPK....click and go to "Audio" and listen to the live tracks. M1, M2 and I tracked these a few weeks ago. We just basically wrote and recorded three tunes in two hours. I think they rock. We'll no doubt be adding these two to the set list for the Main Stage show. Straight up rocking party type songs. A gas to play for sure. We have two others too that I will rotate in in the coming weeks. I'll let you know on the blog when I do.
So I keep plugging away...sending out e-mails making phone calls everyday. The disk artwork is just about done and were looking forward to shipping the master off for duplication.
Lots more stuff on the horizon. It is going to get REALLY interesting....
Monday, July 11, 2005
The dual processor Power Mac that is at the heart of the CatBox studio....coughed, threw up and died....$1200 dollars turned into a door stop in minutes. The sucker froze while I was transferring analog tape mastered version back to 24/48 digital land. I have just finished with all the songs and was going to export them to AIFF's whent he comuptuer started acting up. It totally died this time.
DOing some trouble shooting it is like likely a logic board and CPU module replacement will be required. That's another 500 or so bucks.....
So now I have the disk drive a HFS+ formatted SCSI drive that I need to attach to another mac. with a SCSI hba to get the projects off. I've been trying to get from Windoze software to work to xtract the data but to no avail. I think the file system got corrupted when the system crashed. I had yet to take a backup of the work I did that day so it may end up being lost.
I do have the tape still with all the songs mastered and mixed. I can bring them back into the Powerbook so all is not lost by any means. Just more work....
ON another note I was able to play the disk to an old high school buddy from my hometown in Aberdeen. He's seen me play in other bands and we've stayed in touch over the years. Well I was playing him some of the songs and after a while he says the singer has this or sounds like that and I looked at him and said..."Dude....that's me...I do the singing on this disk..." He looks at me and says "No fucking way..." I say...."CheeeeYah...it is..." (Wisconsin yah know...)
He was also telling me of a new sexy studio in the Ward Hotel in Downtown Aberdeen.
They have a website too. http://aberdeenrecording.com
Pretty cool....I wonder if I went to high school with those guys....?