Friday, April 28, 2006

Toasted Another Drummer

Appears Soul Amp is down to two. As it began.

M2 after much soul searching has opted to look into a realm of music that is more in keeping with his background. We bid farewell to him and will still harp on him from time to time for some conga work. But for right now it looks like Mike Netteshiem, drummer for Soul Amp for the past two years has left the building. I thank him for his time behind the kit. We asked a lot of him and he delivered as evident on our disk. YOu gotta do what you gotta do in music and for M2 Soul Amp looked like it was heading somewhere he didn't really want to go.

So looks like Soul Amp is on the skids for a while. Right now M1 and I are slated to get together and just hang out and play some acoustic and Hammond M3 at my house and rebuild some ideas looking to the future. We'll be writing a lot and gathing a list of songs to work on later. Possibly do a few coffee house gigs here an there this summer. We'll let you know on that. Need to do some healing now.

So we might be a simple duo for a bit. Or simply toast for a while. It takes a long time to find the right person to put up with me and Mike when we ramp up into production for the next release. So we'll see how that goes. I can't predict the future but I think there will be something.

So any drummers who happen to read this drop us a line. It's a pretty good gig.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Thanks to friends, fans, family and random college urchins and mushrooms that showed up at House of Guinness last night. We had an exceptional time. The beats were smoking and the fire belching from keys was inspiring.

If you missed missed it.

We made up s four jams on the fly and played the new tune "Technology" yet to be recorded.

Right now we are taking a break for at least a few weeks for some much needed R&R and to take in the spring. Where Soul Amp is headed is pretty much up in the air for now. Where it goes I am sure it will good there.

Hang in there. We love you.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New Comments from CDBaby

Here is a quick review from our CDBaby album page.

"Excellent album. Soul Amp has been a favorite listen for a couple of weeks now. The lyrics are pretty interesting. Many of the songs tell a story. My favorite track is Shove, a funky tune with vintage sounding keys like from the 70s. I think that song's about conquering addiction... at least that's what I got out of it. Most of the other songs are good as well. They are kind of an eclectic mix of genres that's hard to pin down, but there's some classic rock, punkpop, and altcountry in there. Check it out. I looking forward to what they put out post-Strip Mall Heaven." - Jim Kiln

I don't know if this is random or someone we know. Either way. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What the heck is going on?

Yeah I am sure you are wondering....all four of you....

Well here is the deal. I'm (Brad) not really wanting to carry all the singing chores for Soul Amp anymore. It is that simple. I'll sing backups and maybe a few songs. And continue to sing our old stuff, but I'm stepping aside because of several factors...incuding the comments posted earlier.

At some point the stuff adds up. And with the aid some interesting technology I came to a decision to start the process of stepping away from lead singing duties. As much as I love to sing that it simply is not enough to love to sing. I think after a point you also need something back...and after some thought and careful analysis I have concluded that my voice does not have the "right stuff" to carry this band forward.

I base that some very thorough analysis with sonogram visualization technology. Being the computer geek that I am I have analyzed my singing and compared the sonogram of my voice and SOul Amp's songs with a variety of other bands whose singers have voices that I find most pleasing to listen to.

I asked myself the question...what is it about the voices of singers that endears them with the listener. I realized that there is a certain characteristic that is common to all vocalists that you find are moderately successful...i.e. they make music for a living.

When looking at the sonograms of pleasent sounding voices they look very instrument like. In other words there are a series of semitones that make up the pitch that is being expressed. The pitch is made up of a range of individual frequencies all spread across a sprectrum of frequencies. This produces a very rich sound when sounding vowels like Ahhhh, OOoos etc...

I looked and lots of people including male and female voice, Josh ROuse, Ryan Adams, Kathleen Edwards to name a few also singers form bands like The National, Calexico, The New Ponographers even Buck Ownens and Neil Young. Basically just about every godamn song in my iTunes library.

The results were all similar, the voices all had a rather rich series of semitones spread across 200hrz to 1k depending on the key of the song and the gender of the voice. Ussually there were 8 to 10 or more semitones that made up the vowel sound. (Vowels are the long notes, obviously you don't hold T's or P,s S, etc.)

Then I looked at mine. I watched the sonograms in realtime as the song played via a iTunes plugin. The sonogram spills across the screen producing a picture that clearly shows the frequency, dynamic range and left, center and right channels. You can easily pick out the hunman voice, drums, guitar, synths...quite facinating to watch.

Well any way, my voice rarely produces the rich range of semitones. I have basically two bands. ONe around 300 Hrz that is a resonante boominess from my chest. And a narrow bright band around that hovers around 800Hrz to 1k That is the meat of my voice. Tt is basically a slighly nasal brightness with a boomy lowend. With not much in the way of tone from the neck, throat or my head. Sometimes I am able to achieve a good spread of semitones on more breathy, folky type songs in a very narrow key range. But the spread of tones is not consistent or regular.

I've been doing the analysis by the way for about three months now. And I have been trying to find those tones and have realized that they simply aren't going to happen.

Harmonic exciters might be able to aid this issue but I am unfamiliar with these devices and it seems to be more of a crutch that a solution. My solution was to simply accept the fact that thoguh I can sing on pitch, with dynamics and add emotional changes and have reasonably good sence of phrasing and melody..(maybe) it is all rendered moot by a voice that simply does not stand out as being instrument like.

Think of it terms of a Hammnond organ. I would be one only two of the drawbars pulled out compared to another singer who has 5 or 6. pulled out. THose of you familiar with Hammond will understand. The Hammond produces a pure sin wave for a particular frequency when the key is depressed. Drawbars control the semitones produced for that note and can adjust the volume as you pull the draw bar further out. The result is a mixture of tones to produce a more complex tonal structure. A brilliant invention really.

I'll put some of these studies and comparisons when I am able to do some screen shots and annotate them. It is really quite facinating stuff. To see the pure sin wave of a full organ or the absolute beauty of Kathleen Edwards Pink Emerson Radio...her voice layered over a slide guitar.

So based on some technology, and the fact that our debut disk was more or less ignored by everyone. And the fact that I don't get people telling me they really like my voice over the past year and a half...I've decided to shift away from singing lead.

Interesting enough I have theory as to why people in the past have commented on my backup singing and harmonies when I played bluegrass. I add this low and midrange comonent to the harmony that doesn't compete with the the main vocalists spread of tones and by matching the phrasing and backing off the consonants the harmony becomes very clean.

That is it. If you were interested. I suppose the title of this blog will probably change to Chronicles of a Modern Rock some point. At least I hope it does.

Sounds like fun...I like the idea of adding another voice to the band.

So nothing is really going to change all the much for a while. I'll still be singing. But we'll be looking for a fourth. Someone with that voice.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Last Chance to see the Modern Rock Trio

Well Soul Amp is going to go through another change. Not sure what that change will be and even if the band Soul Amp will remain in the end (name could change... different singer.... additional musicians... who knows what'll happen).

Just wanted to let you all know that in case you want to see us one last time in this format of three members with Brad on vocals and guitar, me (M1) on keys and Mike (M2) on percussion.

We will be at the House of Guinness in Waukesha on April 13th. So please check us out for our last Modern Rock Trio performance!!!

(There will almost certainly be free stuff to be had... posters and the last of the scratch CDs... and who knows we might even give a way a few Strip Mall Heavens!)

So best of wishes to our fans and Rock On!