Wednesday, August 29, 2007

M2 has a new blog...

Check it out....

We scumbag liberals...

scumbag liberals
A guy at work has that pic tiled as his wallpaper on his computer. Yep, a cheery little message.... it actually does crack me up a bit....

So here's a shock, Soul Amp is a band of scumbag liberals.

But, oh what joy to listen each day to all the wonderful regurgitations from AM talk radio and "bible study".... nothing like a big heaping dose of anger and intolerance. Also get to enjoy greed in the name of God and religion. Lovely little closed up minds filled up with a big pile of fear of the different. And let's not get started on science... but no matter and no use getting too upset about it unless they start directly f*cking with me.... I do see glimmers of hope now and then of the light beginning to sparkle... so I keep up the dialog.

We all have the dichotomies inside of us... what's real and what we have made up in our heads .... and what we want for ourselves at the expense of others and how we ignore the obvious truths around us... and we rationalize our asses off to feel good about ourselves.

Here's a song about that (yep, a bleeding heart liberal song...."It's another stab in the back"). This is the original version. The Strip Mall Heaven version is a bit different:

If the line, "A child's hand gathers in a fist ", doesn't give you the chills, then you're made of stronger stuff than I am.

Hey, I like this quote from Nick Talbot of the band Gravenhurst:

"I don't offer any answers in my music, or ideas about politics. You don't want to end up with a garage full of 'Thatcher Out' T-shirts do you? There are things you can say about the human condition that are more constant than that, like the human desire to have things explained, and our battle between rational and irrational."

So I don't think of Division as a political song... it's a human song!

Oh and since we are peace loving liberals, here's some flowers for you (thank you E!):

flower --

Monday, August 27, 2007

A song for a Monday...

There are two versions of this song about daily life in the corporate slog.

The first version is one of Brad and my first recordings. We didn't have a drummer or bass player at the time and so we used an old Yamaha RX-11 drum machine. I have since given the drum machine to a friend to use for the composition of his tunes.

This was also before I had the Korg CX-3 or the Motion Sound KB3d or the Kurzweil PC2. I was using an EMU Proteus 2000 module with the Hammond B3 flash card. I used a Yamaha DX-7 for the controller.

Here it is:
This next version is the full band. By then I had the Motion Sound and the Korg CX-3, but I'm not sure Brad yet had his Traynor. I think at that time he was using the Fender Champ 12. Anyhow, here it is:

Have an excellent week!!

Friday, August 24, 2007


hydc = here's your damn cart

It's an acronym a friend of mine came up with at work since it seems like there is always a lot of uncertainty about how long we will have our jobs...and lately it's just gotten a lot worse....

It can be pronounced by just saying each letter or saying "hide C".

My friend tells me it means "Future employment training 101".

Of course the reference is to the idea of a "fallback" job at the ubiquitous evil empire....that empire being the cancer that invades small town America and munches it up and moves on once the downtown is dead to force people to drive to the next SC and leaves behind hulking, empty, monoliths where once the shopping carts roamed blissfully sucking up the falling prices.....

and we all know that there is only one mother ship store... and that we enter through a space-time continuum... how else can you explain how identical each of them are? I always worry that they'll forget which portal I entered through... but then, I digress.....

Another fallback job provides this expression from my friend:

"Can I super size that fatso?"

... and There are other cynical expressions and acronyms to get us through our cynical, jaded days as our greedy "leaders" slowly suck the life out of us....barely keeping us alive so that we may serve them yet another day until it is time to throw us away...... perhaps I'll share these expressions with you at a later date....I do have to admit, in my case, I like the golden handcuffs. I often enjoy coding applications for the people I work directly with and I have it pretty damn good... and that's what makes that looming uncertainty such a pain in the *ss....

Anyhow, it's Friday! I apologize that I leave you for the weekend on that negative note, but then I bet a lot of you can relate....BTW, I'm going with the jaded corporate job theme on Monday and give you all one of Brad's songs, Banner Day, in two of which is just me and Brad and a drum machine... hahaha... you'll have to check it out....


Photos of Mushrooms in Wisconsin at Sunset....the giant pancake mushroom pic....there's a fungus among us....

With all the rain and storms we've been getting here in Wisconsin, we now have got quite a few mushrooms. Here's a couple of pics of mushrooms for you to look at:

It's 4 AM as I'm posting these. Can't sleep. I'm liking listening to Ripples from the Stone with these's on just by happenstance since I opened the main soul amp page and that's what plays when you open it... anyhow, it seems to fit.... sad and hopeful all at once....

If you like, check out the Soul Amp top ten tunes:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Getting around the corners... The Wood Gatherer, Jules Bastien-Lepage... Best Song....Brewers baseball... Old Man in a Painting... Capuano Quote

I think this is my favorite Soul Amp song. It's a very personal song and the piano/guitar middle and end part is so touching... still gives me the chills sometimes. I hope we redo it sometime. What follows is the story on this one:

The Wood Gatherer, Jules Bastien-LepageThe Wood Gatherer, Jules Bastien-Lepage
Here's the song:

Here's the lyric:
This song was written on a day when I was down and out. I was wondering around downtown and feeling like I didn't exist. It's embarrassing to admit that I was feeling a bit self destructive and a lot of feeling sorry for myself. Rather than toss myself off something I went to the Milwaukee Art Musuem and just wondered around look at what people had created. I came across The Wood Gatherer, by Jules Bastien-Lepage and it really struck me that day. I don't recall exactly when the lyric was written, but sometime later. The last bit of the lyric even seems to reject the whole thought. Now I look on it as part of the proverbial journey and not giving up and just plugging along and looking at the beauty that's all around if we want to see it and making stuff to add to the's a bit like something John Lennon said...something about glory should go the survivors not the martyrs (or something like that... I can't recall).
It also reminds of what a Milwaukee Brewers player, Chris Capuano, said a bit a go:

"...I know around that corner is some good times, it's just hard to look around that corner."

And speaking of Brewers, here's a spooky sort of bit to this whole story. I was searching for info on the painting and came across this link at Check out this pdf It lists the favorite art pieces of some of the current players of the Milwaukee Brewers. Turns out that one of the players, Damien Miller, says it's his favorite piece at the musuem. The funny thing about that is that there are those (a few of whom are very close to me) who think I look like Damien... they call him my cousin.... hmmmmmmm......

Here's his pic:

Damien Miller
So I would have to call that an example of synchronicity.

Do you think I look like him?.... I don't think I do.

OK, talk to you later....

And... Go Brewers!!

Catch the Top Ten Songs of free Soul Amp music here!

Storms in Milwaukee....

We have just been hammered for the last week or so by thunder storms and rain. Here's some pics from the one that blew up this afternooon at about 5 PM. These are pics I took near Park Place:

I feel for the all the folks that have been experiencing flooding (including, unfortunately our own M2).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bonfire Blues.... What Chord is That? Burned out Bonfire Photo - Bratfest Jam - Williams Bay WI near Lake Geneva

Here's the last track from the Bratfest jam.... very sixties at the start, I think:

Burned out bonfire. Photo By Mike

Bonfire Blues an mp3

The "saying goodbye" changed the vibe....

Here's another tune from that jam session:

Another bonfire pic:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Capital People

Here's another Soul Amp oldy. It's another one that I think maybe should have been on Strip Mall Heaven.... not as much as I think New Day should have been, but close. --- Check it Out!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Photos of Smashed Fingernail - Smashed Finger and Fingernail is recovering after 3 month... Strange pic of a finger...

After three months, my smashed finger is slowly but surely healing. The fingernail is growing at an angle, but there are signs that behind the crooked part a more nomal looking fingernail is forming:
Here's all the posts documenting the smashed finger saga (in reverse order):

Anyone with a story of a smashed finger, I'll be happy to post it. Just drop an email or feel free to comment on this post or any of the others.

Here's one from a reader named Gordon:

And in the meantime, feel free to distract yourself with some delightful music from my band, Soul Amp:

weird finger pic...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Strange Surfboards Floating in a Denver Bar pic - Elevator music - Bratfest Geneva WI 2007 - jamming on a Wurli while getting bit up by Mosquitos.....

Surfboards Floating in a Denver Bar - photo by Mike Fisk

Leaves or Surfboards -

And yet another from the Love Shack Brat Fest jam:

Soul Amp would like to dedicate this tune to B and V. They clearly, especially enjoyed this particular piece. In addition, we would like to thank M2's cell phone for ending the piece.

Although lingerie is mentioned in this track, we are not going to post any lingerie images. Sorry. There are some gruesome smashed finger pics to look at though (btw, for those of you who are concerned, it's growing back quite crooked...I'll post more pics in a bit).
In the meantime, here's an interesting "elevator" to look at:

And here's the Soul Amp top ten songs:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jamie Says

Brad and one of his previous groups, "Frozen Soul", wrote this song back in 1991. It has always been one of my favorites. Soul Amp recorded it in 2005 (although we play it quite differently these days). Brad was in "Frozen Soul" back when he lived in Cable, WI. He was on the ski patrol there and ran a newspaper or something... I can't recall the details (Brad, please feel free to edit and correct this entry).... Yep, Brad's done a lot of stuff in his life. The members of "Frozen Soul" were bassist Kirk Williams, drummer Brian Benedict, and Brad on guitar. Without further ado.... here's the Amp's version:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's that strange sound I'm hearing?'s almost music....

Well here's another tune that M2's neighbors were subject to on Saturday night in Williams Bay:
Williams Bay - Photograph copyright 2006 James Jordan

Hark, There's Weirdness in the Bay

Someone called out Spyro Gyra at the end of this tune.... hmmmmmm.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Day....

Here's an oldy from 2005....

Windsor Colorado sunrise --

New Day

Click here for the lyrics...

sail boats in milwaukee --

Looking back, I now think this song should have been on Strip Mall Heaven....

Goovy Little Love Cricket

Another one from the Summer Love Shack Jam...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Jam at the Love Shack....

Soul Amp had a wonderful time hanging out at M2's "Love Shack" over the weekend. We walked down to Williams Bay Lions Club Corn & Brat Roast, drank too much, ate too much, enjoyed the fireworks, and came back for a roaring bonfire and short jam. M2 played a small kit, I played M2's Wurli 214, and Brad played V's Hello Kitty guitar Fender Strat. Here's Brad sporting the Hello Kitty and an Icehouse:

My legs got bit up by mosquitoes as I played... so I suffered for my art =).....Anyhow, here's a Zoom H4 recording of one of the tunes we came up with on the spot. Special thanks to the crickets for providing a subtle rhythm element which we seemed to unconsciously hook into. I also the dig cars going by adding a swooshing sound:

Easy in the Summer

On the Zoom H4, I had the mic set on medium gain and used the windscreen since we were outside and there was a bit of a breeze. I had the Zoom H4 mounted on a tripod. I recorded to MP3 192kbps because I was worried I would run out of space on the card as I had recorded a bunch of other stuff Saturday night (crowd noises, fireworks, screams... etc). I imported this into Sonar and then ran it through Ozone's CD mastering preset (the one with harmonic exciter and space enhancer). Enjoy....

Friday, August 10, 2007


A new song for you.... the lyrics will change in the final version. It was created last week during rehearsal... so here ya at go:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Turn Out the Morning - original version

It's the original version not the one on Strip Mall Heaven (compare them if you like)....

Click here for the lyrics to this one.

M2's Wurli 214...

I'll be playing M2's Wurli 214 this weekend. We're having a private party tied in with Williams Bay Lions Club Corn & Brat Roast. M2 will play some hand drums and Brad will jam on an acoustic. I hope to record to the Zoom H4.

Anyhow, here's some pics of his Wurli 214... it's the lovely green school model:

Wurlitzer 214 -

Wurlitzer 214 -

Wurlitzer 214 -

Wurlitzer 214 -

Wurlitzer 214 -

We also have a Wurli 200 that we used a lot on Strip Mall Heaven.... It was rescued before being thrown out and Brad did some repairs on it to get it working again.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I just liked this pic of the pond at Park Place:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Another New Soul Amp tune....

ok... yep... a bit of the Cure got into this features Hammond M3 through the Motion Sound and Nord Lead 2..... recorded using the Zoom H4.

Brad made up the lyrics on the spot.... I'm sure they'll change if we ever "really" record this one for a CD or something.

Overdriven manic drums...

Set the mic gain to mid on the Zoom H4 and played this crazy drum track on the Tama's... I know it sucks (actually sucks really, really bad), but it shows how the Zoom H4 handles a hot signal:

Friday, August 03, 2007

Milwaukee Alternative Band records New Jam using Hammond M3 and Motion Sound and Traynor amps.... Heaven Sent You... it Rocks!

This Milwaukee Alternative Jam Band finally got around to jamming and recording recently. We initially were going to do an acoustic-ish thing last night at practice, but both M2 and Brad forgot to bring the necessary equipment (hand drums and acoustic guitar)... so we went mostly electric. M2 dragged up some drums from the basement and Brad brought up his Traynor. One of our main objectives was to record using the Hammond M3 and the Motion Sound. I also used the Nord Lead 2 (although it is not on this particular track). We think it came out sound fairly nice for a practice recording. The Hammond's internal speaker blends well with the Motion Sound. We made up 5 tunes. I'm not sure I'll post all 5 of the tunes we came up with, but here's the first one we did last night:

It was recorded at 24bit/44.1K to wave using the Zoom H4 sitting on camera tripod. After downloading it to the PC, I loaded it into Sonar 5.x and used iZotope Ozone 3 on it to pump the volume using the Loudness Maximizer (intelligent mode). I also used the stereo imaging feature to fatten up the stereo quality. The H4 was about 8 feet from Brad and I and about 12 feet from M2's drums. The room had a fairly nice reverb to it that is captured on the recording.

Here's some pics from last night:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Using the Zoom H4 to record samples of fireworks and squealing pickup truck tires

Here's some more Zoom H4 mp3 samples. I recorded some firework mp3 samples at E's place and happened to catch a sample of a pickup truck peeling out.
... I love the way the sound reverbates....