Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gigs, Gigs, Gigs

We've booked a few gigs looking out into the future.

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

Live Rehersal Podcast

Hi people,

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

The lyric writing process.... (the way M1 sometimes does it)

I'm going to open up a little bit (I'll probably never do this again) and show you one of the ways that I create lyrics (especially when I'm in kind of a writer's block mode). Sometimes a lyric comes out of my head whole, but usually not. Sometimes (but more rarely) Brad and I work on a tune together and contribute lines. Even when I have a good idea, it takes a lot of revision to get down what I want. Brad often revises even further when he sings the song. In this example (Capital People), my approach was to just dump out whatever came into my head. I don't worry much about how stupid it sounds. I do try to dump it out in a "rock-metered" format. I then review it to see what ideas I have if any and then pick through them (kind of like dumpster-diving...looking for diamonds in the rough... or whatever you might want to call it). Sometimes, this will go on for days and I'll review a bunch of stuff to pick out a whole song. (In fact, I see some more songs in this brain dump... or at least some stuff for songs). Usually, once I've got some of the main lines, I then will add more lines and revise the brain dump stuff. Sometimes a song gets started from a single line. Of course, this is just one way to write and works for me, although slowly and painfully. Some people just dump out songs whole all the time... but for me, most of the time, that just doesn't work. Anyhow, here's the brain dump that became Capital People:

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

Wait now,
Wait now,
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:

Capital People

Verse 1
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

Verse 2
Holding the dead phone
It's cold to the hand
Clipped to perfection
As we trip through the bland

Capital people
With delicious ideals
Hauntingly empty
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

State of the Band - SOTB

Loafing this weekend gave me some opportunuities to take stock in what Soul Amp has accomplished over the past year.

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

Simple Blue Pills

Podcast for August 11th, 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

Proofs from Diskmakers...

We got the proofs for "Strip Mall Heaven" all looks well and we should take delivery of the first shipment of disks on or around August 22nd.

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

Soul-Amp.com Soul Amp Home

We got new look. http://soul-amp.com

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

A small correction from M1 of the MRT.... =)

See the next post: Auto-Bootleg from the MRT....

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.

Auto-Bootleg from the MRT

In the never ending saga that is rock and roll....

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...


Special Upcoming Podcast Performance

Soul Amp will be recording a set in our rehersal space this week. The live recording will be digitally tracked and mixed and presented as a 25 minute high quality podcast in advance of our upcoming disk...

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....

I found ten dollars once. This song is about that. This is a new one we debuted at the Main Stage on July 23rd. the reocording is a two live recording to 1/4 tape, pre-mixed through the mackie then transferred to digital and run through Ozone 3 and encoded to MP3 with iTunes. This was recorded in 2005.
Here's a live recording of the same song from May 2008 at the House of Guinness: