Sunday, December 18, 2005
If you like this tune and are planning on keeping it go to iTunes and check out "Shove". You will like that one too...
Your support is important to us and really helps us keep bringing these Podcasts to you.
Friday, December 16, 2005
The internet music blogpen is taking a "hmmm interesting" attitude.
Whack of the CLUEBAT - anyone over 14 knows MTV in uncool and anyone who has used a computer for more than five minutes knows that Microdorf inhales sharply with lips pursed. So Urge is probably going to be as uncool as Microdump and SpewTV. You might as well rename it to Wal-Tunes. I'll just bet that MS will sue Apple for something over this whole thing.
They should come out with a new Mp3 player they can call it the Microbarf eKnob. I can see it now...Knob casts. People in commercials bobbing with thier Knobs...
Typical of Microslop to come out with a product by waiting until someone refines the idea and creates the culture. Then they throw 40 bazillion dollars at it, roll out some crappy hardware running some wierd hacked Windows OS on it and get Weezer and the Rolling Stones to sign on to promote it.
I digress. I just wanted to clue folks in early that it is okay to diss Urge now. Why wait? We all know allready where it is heading. Right into the MS bank on on every computer sold by Dell, SOny, Hp, etc,etc.....
What does this have to do with Soul Amp?
Nothing....I just felt like bashing Microsoft a little for the entertainment value in it, since I stopped watching MTV sometime in 1984 and have basically avoided Microsoft products when ever possible. Even though if it wasn't for Microsoft I wouldn't have a job now...(probably be touring or working on our fifth album or something "dull" like that.)
Monday, December 12, 2005
I installed complete with static wrist strap one adn the Powermac fired up and booted. I took it to Farkasville and we set it up, installed a a airport extreme card for M1's wireless. And did the much needed updates to Panther. I also spent some time debugging the studio set for AudioDesk. I found the the MOTU 828 likes to have it be the clock source. That explained why firewire was having issues during playback.
So we are back and ready to start recording new tunes.
The mag can be picked up for free at many places in and around Madison.
They ran a review of Strip Mall Heaven in this months issue. (December 2005)
John Payne contributing writer penned the review. He did a good job of recognizing what we were going after in this disk. In the issue, as well, we are on "Rick's Rotation", a list of the Editor/Publisher's current listening queue.
"Soul Amp takes sonic cues from a diverse array of artists; the influence of everyone from the Greatful Dead and Phish to REM, David Bowie and Ben Folds is detectable throughout the record. What's remarkable about Heaven is the way these desparate sounds are blended into a singular, homeogenous presentation.
But even at the most somber lyrical moments, the spiritied music
always manages to convey a somewhat midwestern keep on truckin' attitude and sence of determination. Occasionally the aesthetic even seeps into the lyrics as well, on stand out tracks such as "Shove" and "She Walks On Up Ahead". Sad stories aside, the music of Soul Amp seems to come to a comforting conclusion about life in America; it's frequently hard, but just as often, it is good." - John Payne Ricks's Cafe, Dec. 2005
They do post the review on thier website, it takes a few months for the back issues to show.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Given that that day was a Monday I was probably at home in bed or possibly watching TV late. But I remember hearing that John Lennon was shot and killed in front of his home. Simply it made me quite sad and angry. There would be no reunion. There would be no more music from John. When John died so to did any possibility of one day seeing the Beatles play together again.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of playing Rubber Soul on our Motorola HI-FI console and my sister spinning beatles 45s on here little portable phonograph.
The Beatles have always been part of my life, like a old friend that is visited time and time again.
Funny though I did see the Beatles play again. It was in a dream I had. A very realistic dream. I was standing at the edge of the stage among several others waiting for the band. No one knew who was playing. Until the band step out from back stage. A thrill went through the small crowd. I looked up and Paul was at the grand piano, and John, George and Ringo were all in place. They started to play...Hey Jude. I watched and listened to the entire song played by the four. It was amazingly real. I remember in the dream knowing it was dream but not waking and hearing the entire song. The actual instruments played by each as I watched. I heard the sound coming from each instrument. I even told myself this has never happened and never could happen for dozens of reasons, but it did anyway...it was a dream.
I looked up at Paul and he looked down at me from the piano and smiled, nodding his head as if to say..."Yes, it's real." He went back to singing, looking across the piano to John. I looked at each and they did the same, meeting eyes and smiling. I've never before have had a musical performance dream like that. I have never had one since. Sometimes I think it was some special gift given to me for a brief few minutes from where or who I have no idea. All I know, it was the single most beautiful dream I've ever had.
We are playing a gig tonight. Our songs are for John, George, Paul and Ringo, The Beatles.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
M2 and M1 say "go to the hog."
We've been getting the new studio space in order. It's been a long slow process of tuning the new room. We've got more studio foam on order and have built a half dozen bass traps from sonotube and fiberglass insulation. The room is getting better. I moved the final last bits of the old "cat box" studio over last night. With the Powermac's guts off to Cali for repair we should up and recording by January for sure. We can still track with the Powerbook g4. It just doesn't have enoguh horsepower to mix freely. Still pretty useful little machine though.
And Behind garage door number 2 - A new Bass Trap!
No name yet for the new studio....maybe Farkusville Studio....
As for shows we're playing at the House of Guinness in Waukesha the 2nd Thursday of the month starting next Thursday Dec. 8. We play up to three sets and it is going to be very laid back. We'll be popping new material, jamming, having guests sit in and mixing up the instrumentation to keep our stay at the HOG interesting.
SO hope to see folks come out this next Thursday for a Pint.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Not the biggest news but that dual pross box is missed.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Online it is another matter. The connection comes from exposure, interviews, press, marketing and promotion and the access to music. Yet still there is also a personality that emerges thanks to the intimacy of the internet. For instance you are reading the actual words I am typing into this blog. We are connected in that way. BLogs and sites like Myspace offers musicians and fans unprecedented interaction...it is like a giant dormitory. You can stop and visit freely and people are more open to interacting with new faces. Bands to are opening up more and being more personal with potential fans.
The music industry is struggling with this intimacy. Carefully packaged images are still successful but we have seen artists emerge from the internet that have completely bypassed the major label starmaking machine. Big packaged images set the performer far apart from reality and still have a large appeal for fans due to the celebrity that forms from the image. However the end result is "cookie cutter" corporate image and fast recycling of the same tired personas. The music industry is about taking new images and replicating them to maximize profits from the "next latest thing". But the harder the industry tries to maintain the image making model the wider to door is left open for other modes of operation.
Listeners have changed how they listen to music as well. Listeners are placing less importance on the album and focusing on the song more. Mp3 players, online playlists, iPods, internet radio have acclimated the music fan to "random play". As the listeners habits have changed so to has the artist. Albums are becoming more diverse, artists are freer create music that is not beholden to any particular genre.
That is a struggle. Because to write and create what pleases the artist is still perceived by the "old school" music industry as unfocused. The Neil Young lawsuit for a "Young not making a Neil Young album" is an example. That perception is wrong. Take for instance our album, "Strip Mall Heaven" as a album it does range across genres and requires a fairly wide range of musical taste to appreciate. However if the same music was packaged and released in multiple sets of 3-4 songs each and different picture can emerge.
An interesting model. Artist development in the 60's through the 70's was a multiple album deal spanning multiple years. This same concept will apply it is simply condensed. Now it can be a two year three release 12-14 song deal. Same concept just streamlined. The new Warner record company is doing just that. Cordless records was recently announced and it strikes me as a very intriguing business model that could potentially be the key to tipping the music scales to favor all online digital media distribution models.
What does that all mean for the future...well it is already being seen an EP is launching bands more frequently now....we may not see the CD as a media format go away anytime soon but we will see more releases, more often with fewer songs on each released at a lower cost with the bulk of distribution coming digitally.
Strangely enough music fans are more inclined to purchase 3 songs for $5 rather than 12 songs for $12. It seems the fans not so much concerned about the money but more of the intellectual capital required to get through an entire 50-70 minute CD. Fans are more willing to give 9-12 minutes to a band initially because they know it will be over soon. Call it the escape clause in the listener contract. The full length album is simply more demanding on the listener and it may be asking to much of today's listener.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Here is some examples of band marketing worthy of Rock and Roll Confidential found at The Klinic in Madison. I am sure the bands will ensure a return gig with a well place bathroom sticker. Lots of respect here...notice how they don't overlap. These bands are true to the "scene".
I can't wait to get our stickers and start doing some "marketing".
Monday, November 14, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Soul Amp has new digs in West Allis. We are building the studio up now. We've moved the gear over and still have to move the recording equipment and from fixtures. The new space is larger and more sound proof...less stinky and drier.
With that we are now laying plans for the next disk. We are winding up our gigging in December and are taking a "house: gig at The House of Guinness (HOG) in Waukesha while we write and record the next album. We'll be playing the 2nd Thursday of the month starting in December. So the next date is December 8.
We'll be giving away CD-Rs of pre-production songs as we build up a catalog for the next album. Playing the HOG on regular basis once a month gives us the a place to break in new songs nad we get the whole night. We play 3 full sets. Open up and jam and try different instumentation.
We'll still take any cool gigs that I might book. I'd still like to get to CHicago and Minneapolis before the new year is too old.
We'll that's the score for now. Come to the HOG....we'll be their.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
House of Guinness
354 Main Street
Historic Downtown Waukesha, WI
For Immediate Release
Soul Amp plays Waukesha's House of Guinness - Thursday October 20th. 9 p.m.
One would not expect a traditional Irish pub known for it's depth in presenting international touring Irish bands to host a local non-Irish rock band particularly one that plays all original music. But when it comes to rock it is hard to pin down Soul Amp. Soul Amp is known for their songwriting and eclectic performances that run the gamut of indie pop, adult album alternative, rock and Americana. Toss in a little jam or two and even a raucous pop punk tune you have a enjoyable evening of music from one band.
The Waukesha three piece of guitar, keyboards and drums has shown they can adapt to a variety of venues from coffee houses to hard rock venues across south east Wisconsin, drawing on a music catalog of dozens of original songs, flexibility and a keen stage awareness.
The band's debut album "Strip Mall Heaven" released on their own label is a sampling of the many songs written, recorded and produced by singer/guitarist Brad Odland and keyboardist Mike Fisk. The disk has challenged recent reviewers to pin this band down but find that there doesn't have to be any pigeonholing required to enjoy the finely crafted songs and improvised excursions from this atypical band. Waukesha native and veteran drummer Mike Netteshiem completes the trio.
More about Soul Amp visit the band's website at
House of Guinness is located at 354 W. Main street in historic downtown Waukesha.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Bit of news...
I set up a profile and we've been accepted to Purevolume.com In a few days you can play two tracks from Strip Mall Heaven there.
Also we got a play of "Seeing Jimmy" on Milwaukee's Alternative 102.1 thanks to DJ Kramp and his show "The Scene".
Bands looking goet some air time on Milwaukees premier Alt Rock station should send recent releaases to:
The Scene c/o Brian Kramp
102.1 Milwaukee's Alternative
2979 N. Mayfair Road
Milwaukee WI 53222 USA
And here is another plug for October 15th....
Also don't forget about October 20th at the House of Guiness in Waukesha. That is going to be an earlier show and will be a up close and intimate evening of music. We'll be doing some jams in addition to our songs and we'll be mixing it up a bit on the intstrumentation quite possibly. All in all it will be a nice all Soul Amp show.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
735 E Center St
Here's a map:
See ya there!
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I ran across this site the other day
Rock and Roll Confidential
It is a humbling place to visit for any new band. It is a site celebrating all that is bad in local rock music scenes everywhere. You know mullets, brickwalls, railroad tracks, bad metal. They should rename the site "whatnottodoinarockband.com"
After you stop vomiting and questioning every last thing you have done, make sure you view the RRCTV video's. Specifically episode two with Phraap. Because the vast majority of rock and roll is exactly what those bands are and we all have some level of douchbag in all of us...(ewwwww yuk....I can't believe I just typed that...lol)
Funny thing is the spirit is there....misguided as it maybe, as schlocky as it is you can't help but be drawn in by the band's dedication to underachievment. Lucky for the band who find themselves under the eye of RRC as it may be the only modicum of fame they will grasp. It makes one wonder just what defines success? A big contract? Millions of dollars...or simply to play a decent show, get paid, make a album or two and maybe touch a few people along the way...(hey don't go there...). I know for us it is simply do what we do and move on. Maybe sell a few disks here and there and write some decent songs that at the end of the day you can still stick in the CD player and listen to once in a while. I know I have boxes of old recordings, song ideas that every once in a while I take out and listen to....and ask myself...."What the hell was I thinking?" As M2 puts....it's the "horror" part in "for the glory and the horror" that is rock and roll. It is inescapable for any band to avoid. There will always be the horror you just have to cope with it...learn to accept your inner "douchebag"....(oh man I am cracking myself now.) That is what this blog and our podcast is all about. Call it a movement...a large, foul and uncomfortable hard rock movement as bands are exposing themselves more and more on the internet in attempts to climb above the fray. (how about that imagery...)
So maybe the band Phraap is perfectly comfortable with their stoned and drunk douchebag rock and roll status...so it's okay to laugh with them and maybe take a pull too. It's all part of the show.
One thing is for sure....I am glad we didn't use the brickwall pic....though I must admit...this one could make the hall of douchebags....
P.S. - If you are thinking of submitting us...don't bother I already did.
Monday, October 03, 2005
This is from Splendid Zine.
It is the CDs they threw away....many unopened. Unassigned or awaiting review.
I am sure this is the same at every magazine and places where artists are looking for reviews. So just sending a disk is not really enough.
There are forty-seven million other bands clogging inboxes.
Listening to SomaFM's "Indie Pop Rocks" channel on iTunes Radio it becaome painfully clear just how much really great music is made everyday.....
that is all.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
What a show at the New Moon last saturday. Than ks to a booking "snafu" we ended up on six act bill. Due to a lost calendar the New Moon owner booked three acts when The Willis's front man had already lined up four bands. The result? One great show with lots of diversity. then hitting the Reptile Palace and some rehersal studio's for after parties...Oshkosh was a shit load of fun. Great audience, cool people and great music.
First up...Soul Amp at ten to eight.
Then Old Seed came up but we didn't get a pic of him so here is one from his website and some info and his website is here
I chatted with Old Seed between sets and he's been traveling all over the world playing his Neil Young meets Dylan, meets John Prine singer songwriter show. He's got a depth and genuine soul...we donated our cut of the door to his bus ticket to Winnepeg.
After Old Seed came The Collective. We did not get pix of them either but they were sporting viola and cello. I'll edit with more info on them. They were also quite good.
Then Southerly, a singer songwriter who Old Seed thought was like Nick Drake and Elvis Costello.
Again another most excellent set. We got his disk as well....signed too. All the acts we got thier disks except Willis...they didn't have one out yet.
Then Those Royals....Punk slightly Emo type band from Milwaukee, loud and very tight....they played a great energetic set.
Then the most awesome The Willis...
After the show broke up we headed off to the Reptile Palace....that will be in part two...
Photos by Vanessa, Brad and M1.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Well all the pieces are coming into place now. We are getting the disk out into stores around SE Wisconsin. Making contacts for wider regional distribution and the media campaign has started with mailings to regional and national publications for review. We have also started a Radio campaign focused at regional indie and college radio. With the occasional commercial station that has a indie show like WJJO in Madison.
Over the coming weeks and months we'll be expanding the exposure of this disk in an ever widening circle. Our goal is to sell 10,000 disks by this time next year. We are at the very start and it is a long haul to get to that mark, but anything is possible.
The whole CD thing is just one part. Digital distribution is going to be important as well. iTunes, eMusic, Napster and a host of other online pay for download sites are on the list and we'll be maintaining our online presence with Podcasts, this blog and our MySpace site.
Right now "Strip Mall Heaven" should be in the listening kiosks at Atomic Records in Milwaukee. So if you are there make sure you stop in and you will get a chance to preview the entire disk.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
After loading gear, we piled into m2's truck, with me riding "bitch" in the middle. Being the small one you know. Had a couple of errands to run so we left Waueksha at 5:30. Got to Madtown at 6:30 and stopped at WORT radio to drop a disk off. WORT is one of the coolest Radio stations. Like WMSE Milwaukee and KFAI in Minneapolis the station is a community radio station with lots of cool music. So needless to say it was a "must stop".
We went in a dropped a disk to a very nice woman, she put it in the station manager's box and asked us about the band.
WORT's cool sign.
M2 and Brad standing outside WORT Radio in Madison.
After that we headed to State street to put some disks on consignment at The Exclusive Company Wisconsin's largest indie record chain. (I think). We walked right past the store and ended uphaving a brat and beer at State Street Brats. On the return trip down State we found the store and placed 5 disks with them. I am checking in what it will take to get in all their stores.
Then on to the Klinc...
And there we are...our name almost in lights....
Marqee at Klinic
M2 and Brad heading in.
Gig went well. Johnathon Kuss and the Corporation had apparently cancelled and we played two sets infront of PINE. A cool EMO like rock band. We had a good time. Loaded out and watched Pine. Suggested they get over to madPlanet and play some all ages shows. They would do well. Intereting note. Madison has a smoking ban in effect for all bars and restaurants now. It was amazing. First time ever for me to play a gig and not smell like smoke afterwards. However there were times when half entire audience would get up and walk outside for a smoke. They said "we can still hear you..".
The stage at the Klinic.
We played pretty good. Thoguh the second set was hit or miss as we hadn;t counted on playing a second set. But they loved us...and we had fun. Sold ONE disk and covered our gas with our cut of the door. Trevor made sure we had plenty of beer for playing another set...
Friday, September 02, 2005
CDBaby account is being set up. We have to send them some disks via snail mail so it will be a week or so before it is available.
Atomic Records has agreed to handle a few as well. We'll be dropping some disks to them in the coming days.
Right now best bet is at gigs or to bump into one of us in Waukesha at SPrizzo on wednesday's. We ussually hit the feed bag there before rehersals.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
See you at the Klinic gig in Madison tomorrow night (Friday, 9/2... we go on at 9 PM)
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
September 2 - We'll be opening at The Klinic Bar in Madison
September 24th - We'll be up in Oshkosh with The Willis and a few others for a coffee house gig at the New Moon Cafe'
October 15th - We'll be at Onopa Brewing Company in Milwaukee doing a show with Dallas Orbiter and the Willis.
Friday, August 19, 2005
This day, week, whatever...podcast is I think a first (or at least one of the firsts) THis is a recording made specifically for podcasting and what it is intended to be is a "meet and greet" show from our studio. We are prepping our show for some upcoming gigs and promoting our disk and this is window into that process. It was recorded live. There are four songs from our live set. It is 32 MB and the download is about 128 KB/s so be patient the download takes about 5 minutes. It is 128 bit encoded and is 23 minutes in length. We are opening our rehersal studio to you.
Production note: There are some edits for removing dead air and I normalized a section of dialog so you could hear M1 and M2 more clearly. So if you hear levels drop suddenly it is not an edit.
We did mess up the last song badly and replayed it after some "discussion"....we are still determining how much "reality" we want to give the podcast subcribers. Also I don't spend a lot of time mixing these so the guitar is a little hot the levels...so I apologize in advance...it sounded ok on the mackies but in my headphones it is clearly too hot.
It is rough in spots, but stay tuned for more rehersal podcasts and listen in on how we tighten up the songs, argue, banter and do what musicians do in their studios.
Soul Amp Live Rehersal
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
All the heart you have in you
As you react to all the world
Millions of bricks
And the trees the growing tall
Walking the days go on and on
Falling around the same old notions
Making the choice, tell yourself something else.
Down the wire of crinkled thoughts
On the tip, of the lonely old creaking rock
I'm around, but I'm never quite here or there.
Positioned for the dance around the truth on each Saturday
Haven't seen you for a long time now
Turning around to fight it out
Venting the thoughts that are eating me up
You're mine to support, with a half sh*t cup
Please from skinny knees
With the trip to the end of a new beginning
I'm asking nothing and nothing's returning.
Poor, in cold white knuckled dawn
With the dreary onward song
Of the trancelike garage state
Sleeping on the winds of hate.
Wrestle down the dusty path
With trundle back bruise and questions to ask
Bee on the all the time
Bee all the buzz
Bee all the honey
Run the fuzz
She got nothing that you got on you
Wrecking the latch to the burning down lean too
Sleep on the cardboard from the fear of the home
I got limped, ass weak set emotional drones
Bringing the sack from the drive at the light
Smell the do-dads and playing tricks on the mic.
You could go on, but you can go away
Tied the drag of the emotional state
You got something
Turns you heart's
More than nothing
And dreams are not fool of bread stuffing
You're a rocket on your way to somewhere
All I can say, is these things in my head
I walking around I'll those things that you said
I know you don't trust me, cause you think that I need you
And you keep all your distance
Cause it helps with you ego
You trying trip me, into think another
Feeling is something that I want from another
Begging you darling with the most of my heart
Pulling around, making way for the start
Capital people with their haughty ideas
Turn out they need you for some help with their fears
Herd them all up in a limitted way
For the trash on the street is here for the day
Sammy got nothing, out of trying to live
He slipped off the edge when she just couldn't give
Saturday's nothing like Sunday at all
Where sitting there lonely cause you've nothing at all
Breaking the sticks on the sidewalk again
Cashing the notes with a bottle of gin
Feeling so used up like the back of hand
Keeping the sun up on the way that you ran
And here's Capital People in its final version:
Millions of bricks
And the trees growing tall
Walking the days
Around the same old walls
All down the wire
Of twisting thoughts
Wrecking the latch
To the burnt out lean-to
I know you don't trust me
Cause you think that I needed you
Holding the dead phone
It's cold to the hand
Clipped to perfection
As we trip through the bland
With delicious ideals
In their excellent rooms
I know you don't trust me
Cause you think that I need you
Never quite here
Never quite there
Positioned to dance
The truth around here
BTW, Capital People did not make the cut for Strip Mall Heaven, but it will get re-done and added to another disk at a later date.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Last August we had just finished our official lineup after a emotional meltdown from our original drummer. M2 came on board and by the end of August and we were on our way.
Last summer we laid down some goals for this year and with the exception fo scoring a Summerfest gig for the most part we met them. We wrote enough songs to select some for a good album. We recorded them all, mixed, mastered and had the art work put together. Though we ended about three months behind on the original release date we none the less have met that goal as well.
We built the cat box studio, fried a dual 4, bought a bunch of keyboards, amplifiers, computer, software, microphones, stands etc...
We also played some gigs. We have played twice at Sprizzo, three times at the Main Stage and once in Milwaukee...not bad for a band splitting time between work, family and recording to fnd the time to rehearse a set and drag gear around.
We also said farewell to Steve. His bass playing anchor the low end for Soul Amp all through the early growing pains. Though we were afraid to see the bass go...we felt confident that it was not going to deter us from meeting our goals. We played live as a re-vamped, re-tooled Soul Amp in a "Modern Rock Trio" format. That gig at the Main Stage on July 23rd was momentous for us. Though the audience was sparse we thundered through our set with total abandon. the result for me was the revelation that "Soul Amp" was not a particular grouping of instruments. But a core philosophy that comes from three individuals who happen to be on the same creative page, at the same time and in the same place. That is something rare indeed.
So coming into Soul Amp's second year of existence we have more goals laid out for the coming year. We are gathering a list of publications, radio and venues to contact and send our new disk to...Follow up with calls to gain gigs , air time and reviews. We have some big goals to deal with to make this disk even a mild success.
I have also set forth on an ambitious goal of selling 10,000 disks in one year. Seems like a lot. Certainly it does from the experience of only selling via gigs. There is a lot riding on meeting that goal It depends on how well we reach the people that will want to purchase our music. that is the toughie. We have to literally go through a narrow layer of influencial people to reach the vast audience out there. One or two well placed reviews can mean an avalanche of disk sales. I hate the idea of leaving any to chance like weather or not a reviewer will even listen to the disk. I can't dwell on those possibilites. I feel a reviewer will listen and wirte if they have been given ample opportunity to say..".yes I will listen" or "no I will not listen..." and to followup with calls and e-mail but not in a pestering manner. I just want to know what's going on.
Distibution is huge stumbling block. Reaching the CD buyer means getting the disk into the shops where people love to browse and buy CDs. To do that requires a track record of sales success....so it is going to be a lot of work to maintain the maximum stock in indie stores...three at a time...all in all the "second year" of SOul Amp is no doubt going to be as interesting as the first.
Luckily I know and I have faith that of all the bands I have had the oportunity to be part of...this is the one that stands the best chance to succeed.
The night before we played many of the songs on the disk "unplugged" M2 on congas, me on my martin and M1 on the Wurli. No P.A. just lung power and the sound from the small built in Wurli speakers. I thoguh we rocked and passed another milestone as a band. We weren't put off by the instrumentation variation. We played the songs comfortably and made them rock.
So as we wait for the disks to arrive, we plan.
Thankfully I have a not lost my "fondness" of this disk. I listened to it in one sitting the other day on a simple small sony boom box....It was morning this Sunday past and I had spent the night at M2''s partying, playing guitar by the fire. I slept outside by the fire on my camping cot. Drinking coffee with a slight hangover I listened to the disk in M2's living room sitting in a old recliner. M2's old friend and ex-band mate Ken was into it. Seeing the reaction from this time and this troubled soul still moved me. The night before Ken was rocking to a rather cheesy coverband at the lion's club Brat Fest in Lake Genevea firing up the gang to lighten up. His passion for all things music is undamaged by the years. Though his skills as a guitar player and singer are dimished from old he still has that love of music in him and his ears picked up on the sublties of the music that are lost on many. He'd open his eyes and say how he felt right from the heart. He would break into song, singing in a low shakey soulful voice words from old 70's rock. A voice that exposed the depth of his talent.
It was like a record "release" party in a way. I was able to let go the stress and emotions that had built up over the months with the simple act of hanging out, playing and listening to music by the fire.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Hi Soul Amp fans...
Here is a tune we recorded the other day. Basically it is a first draft. We'll be tweaking it both lyrically and musically in the coming months as we work on our next release scheduled to be out next spring. The intrument tracks we done live. With vocal dubbed in. Like Floyd meets Beck ...sort of.
Simple Blue Pills
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Right away we'll have some at Atomic Records in Milwaukee and Cosmic Records in Waukesha.
We'll be adding more local and area independants as we go and Amber Soup is looking for distribution channels.
Disks will be making there way to various area and regional publications initially and college and independant/community radio statios across Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois will be on the first lists as well.
"So it begins...."
Friday, August 05, 2005
We'll be phasing away from Sonicbids site....seems that is becoming a site where bands go to get ripped off. I tried it for awile but I can sence a slow devolution of the quality. Having a cleaner new look featuring Rob Nero's photo work with the band and being able to utilize new technology quickly is a much better deal for us.
As we are now "officially" signed with Amber Soup Records for a number of albums. Amber Soup is maintaining our promotional life now.
Amber Soup btw was formed by Mike and myself with the purpose of maintaining artistic control of our writing and producing. Our goal is to use Soul Amp releases to build the infrastructure with in Amber Soup to look at adding other releases in the future. (i.e. other bands).
We are however NOT taking unsolicited submissions at this time so don't bother asking.q When the time is right we will approach bands we want want to work with to see if they would want to work with us in producing a full length album.
I added a slide show of recent photos, and a XSPF playlist player to the discography section. The player is also found as a permanent link on the side bar here.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Actually, we wrote and recorded 4 brand new tunes that night. Here's the order they were composed and recorded: Ten Dollar Bill (2 takes actually), On the Wall, Minneapolis, and Love, Love, Love.
Brad (Scat) did an amazing job of inventing lyrics on the spot.
For your podcast pleasure...here is the first recording of a new song that goes with Ten Dollar Bill.
On the Wall
It's 8.5 megs and is another live analog two track recording digitally mastered and encoded to high quality MP3 by your's truely...and iTunes. This was recorded along with Ten Dollar Bill and another Tune called Love, Love, Love. these tunes were written and recorded in one night....Love Love Love unfortunately got munged up by a defective tape deck operator. So we'll get that one another time along with the rock story ballad "Minneapolis"
That is what we do with these podcasts....On The Wall - no dubbing, live, in our new Modern Rock Trio format...complete with ad-libbed lyrics, big wet guitar reverb, growling hammond, glonking clav, marching snare and little vocal feedback....sweet and raw from the basement.
One of my favorite recordings...
remember to subscribe...with the URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/SoulAmp
As for other news the album art is complete and the final prep for shipping will be underway this week.
Note the new pix...pretty damn cool. Thanks to Rob at Nero Photos for all the fantastic work.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Got Ten Bucks? - The joy of find money when you're desperate.... Ozone 3.... quarter inch reel to reel....
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....?
Monday, June 27, 2005
Additionally... and importantly... don't change the volumes of the audio samples after the dithering step has been completed. This also messes up the quality of the audio... though it appears to not be as bad as double dithering.
Brad is going to give me a new set of 24 bit files and I'll dither down to 16 bit after adjusting the volumes as the final step to creating the CD master.
We are still waiting on the artwork... but we should have something next week...
Friday, June 24, 2005
This week Brad and I completed mastering all of the tunes and I used CD Architect to make the CD master. I went through a number of CD writing/burning applications before I bit the bullet and purchased CD Architect. I highly recommend it. It's a well written application, intuitive and easy to use, and has every feature I can think of that you need to complete that final step of creating a master CD to send off for duplication.
So now we're just waiting on the artwork to get completed and then off to the presses...
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I've experimented with bouncing down the 24 bit 48 kHz mixes processed through Ozone 3 to the SX-980's AUX input and recording onto the Pioneer RT-707. Funny I have managed to scrounge these two pieces of vintage audio equipment. I had the Reel to Reel for years and M2 broguht the SX-980 by the other day. So I am well on my way of putting together a "silver face" 70's vintage system. I also bought a JVC KD-10 Cassette deck. Not fancy by any means just a solid classic deck and I also have coming a 79' vintage Hitachi turntable. Nothing fancy their but it's direct drive and seems like a solid unit.
Pioneer Model SX-980 Details Page on www.classic-audio.com
Pioneer Model RT-707 Details Page on www.classic-audio.com
I am playing these units through some simple vintage Kenwood two way speakers. they sound surprisingly good. They handle 100 Watts and the SX-980's 80 watts per side send a delightful signal to these low Kenwoods.
Well any way I have some new Qauntegy 456 1/4" tape on the way and I have already did a little repair work on the RT-707. The left recording input RCA jack had broken loose from the PC board. I attempted to solder it back but it failed to fix the issue without wedging a cassette tape case in the back to keep pressure on the jack. So I guess I will try todo a more thorough
fix another time. It works now....so?
I recorded a test track by playing "Shove" on the Mac and running the signal from the MOTU 828 to the AUX input on the SX-980 and recording it with the RT. So far it is quite interesting. I can only think of non-fatiguing. Something has for sure happened to the sound and it is not bad by any meams. The sound though slightly more bassy (the stereo is more bassy as the speakers sit on the hard floor) it is "warm" well defined and actaully quite smooth. Running the tape at 7 ips (the highest speed without changing the speed knob) the songs takes on a classic sound that is quite pleaseing. the next step will be to return that recording back to the Mac as a 24 bit/48 kHz stereo file and do some analysis of the same song . If it not a big hassle and the organic analog tone is acceptable then maybe we'll master all the tracks like that. Hard ot say.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Intel inside....my ass.
I am sick of relying on computers for EVERYTHING....I mean blogs and the internet is one thing but to have to record music with a computer is almost too much. It was bad enough to have to buy new hardware and revamp software because of innovation, but to have to do so because of changes to hardware based on dollar signs and someones pending retirement...that just sucks.
Jobs has sold out. Oh sure I won't have to to change any hardware for a year or two. I was planning on a Dual G5 if this CD is succesful for the next project. Now I don't think so for the same amount I could get a 8 or 16 track recorder and a nice 1/4 mastering deck. then plop any old crap computer and interface to read in the analog for 16 bit/44.1 kh...CD mastering.
the learning curve is almost to much....each new multi track software version is like tearing your entire studio out and replacing it. All the controls are complely different and the behavior changes. Features are buried and and become more and more complex.
got it right the first time
for ages you could walk into a studio in in a few minutes be comfy with the console and controls because the controls have changed little. EQ is EQ. A fader is a fader and pan knob is a pan knob. Compression, pre-amps all work relativly the same. The digital realm has caused and explosion of processing and editing that before was unheard of. And bizzare interfaces are par for the course.
Now musicians can focus less on the content and tone as they can always "fix" in the mix.
retro heaven...that 70's stereo
Digital, what a crutch....I know there will always be the need for digital processing. It does one thing really well....keeps the noise down...that was tape's biggest flaw....and best attribute. That noise and overhead is warm, natural and extremely musical.
I've just been listening to some old cassettes on a JVC deck I picked up a rummage sale, that are frankly a pure joy to listen to...
the big analog meters are bouncing...The natural cassette compression and the natural EQ "scoop" of vintage 70's stereo equipment made my weekend. I listend to Dinosaur Jr. and Firehose, both commercial Cro2 tapes on a JVC deck through a Pioneer SX-980 receiver and vintage kenwood speakers. What a treat.
I dug out my old reel to reel tapes from the early ninties. Mostly me and guitar writing songs. I used a Pioneer RT-707 deck with two mics via small mixer. I could slam the meters into the wall and no clipping or distortion....just saturation and natural compression...I had not heard these tapes I anything other than headphones...I was floored.
connecting the dots
I was relaxed like I've never been for a long time listening to music.
I am sure it is because I was listening to real sine waves...not a digital approximation of tone. The dots just aren't connected....My brain wasn't exhausted at glazing over the 44.1khz steps and it wasn't stressed with coping with the 17th bit being lopped off...Even though it is beyond human hearing the brain must still be registering something...and it is cut off....that is the only way I can describe it. It "feels" different to listen to non-digital music sources.
Maybe that is the key. Our lives are so stressed and we surround ourselves with the cacaphony of fraudulant sound. Stuttering digital shrieking enters our brain and assaults our audio center of the brain. It challenges our complex audio processing centers to convert the broken, stuttering into a seemingly solid and continuous tone.
I would like to see some brain scans of cortex activity when listening to a digital source and a analog source. Just how much more work is the brain doing to smooth over the sound.
What happens when you stop the smoothing...? When suddenly you can hear the digital steps in the sound...?
I think I've found out.
Another part of the building had PCB's spray painted on the wall...probably a good reason why this place was boarded up...(I feel woozy)
We did a photo shoot with Rob Nero this weekend. Pics
will be used for CD and website which is slated for redo..
Thursday, June 02, 2005
We've started looking for gigs to supprt the upcoming release. I've sent feelers out to Chicago with submissions to The Double Door, Beat Kitchen and Schuba's.
In Milwaukee we're working on gigs at Onopa, Pointes East Pub and Vnuk's as well as another Main Stage appearance.
We are still on "Standby" for Summerfest and we're yet to hear on MOBFest in Chicago.
So we've got a lot in the hopper and hopefully a ferw dates will pop in the next few days so we can get some stuff on the books.
I've started to provide specific dates to booking agents to select. Plan is to play 2 or so gigs per month while the disk is gathering college, internet and community radio play around the midwest and reviews start to filter in. To set for a SXSW submission for next year.
We have the cover art for the CD and it is looking excellent the guy who did Temper Temper's latest disk handled the photo work...most exciting.
Friday, May 20, 2005
If other acts on the "accepted" list can't make the gig or get a suitable slot then we could the nod.
Not that I am hoping any singers choke on their barf, or a drummer loses an arm or guitarist racks up their Lamborghini on a beer run, but if they do they can rest assured that the show will go on....and we'll be playing it.
As for all the Listening Room pix, we sat down and listened to the tracks for the upcoming CD and each took notes and critiqued the mix. So starting next week the mixing will begin.
Keep you posted....