A guy sent me this song that he made and I like it. Here, listen. I really dig that low bass note thing that happens.
Nice weekend to work on some good old-fashioned odd-timing china riffs.
3. Tomas Haake - The groove, the groove! He has to be in the top ten as far as sheer solidness goes, right?
2. Danny Carey - Something that I never paid attention to before I saw this interview was how he really does have a “wide-open” drum sound and how so many other drummers and therefore bands don’t, and I realized that I really like drums that occupy tonal space as well as percussive space.
I don’t know how to make a post that has more than one video in it so the next couple posts are the same post. We had a get together here on Saturday that at one point included two of my drum-minded friends and me bringing out some old youtube favorites. Here were my top three:
1. Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd - Oh man so awesome, and so much mullet. Thanks to my friend Adam (the one that co-wrote the “Fade” drums with me) for showing me this. I had never seen it before.
I’m not a huge gear head but after seeing Meshuggah last month and kind of/sort of having some of the same equipment this is pretty interesting. Most videos like this that I’ve ever seen don’t go into nearly as much detail.
I’m no good at this game but the soundtrack is pretty rad. This one is my favorite, it’s got this vague Death Cab/Shins vibe or something.
I’m not sure how much this really matters or if anyone has ever even paid attention to it, but I just changed all the Creative Commons licenses on Bandcamp to the least restrictive possible, or “Attribution”. Basically this means that you can do whatever you want with my music so long as you attribute it to me in some way. If you want to use every song I’ve ever made in your Youtube videos go ahead. Even if you want to use them in a way that makes you money, feel free. Shame on me for not thinking of it first.
Everything I’ve done so far is pretty much the exact opposite of conventional wisdom: I don’t use copyrights, I don’t promote, and I let people have all of my music for free. And yet, in my opinion I’ve made an absolute killing. Could it be that the conventional wisdom is misguided?
This is a rad new shirt design that Charlie made, they will be available soon.
1. I just got the ball rolling on the Beacons vinyl repress. I know it took me a while but hey, I got stuff to do!
2. Everything is on Spotify & iTunes & Amazon & Google Play except Portmanteau and ]]][[[ (also I guess Loop and the MySpace music but I’m not 100% sure I’m going to do those). I added rdio to the sites as well, I don’t use it but I guess some people do.
3. I don’t have a third bullet. How’s everyone’s day going? Mine has been fine.
Hey everybody, Cloudkicker is on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon now. So far I’ve only had time to upload Beacons and The Discovery but hopefully I can get everything else up over the next week or so.
Last night I had the pleasure of watching the new Dave Grohl documentary Sound City. I have a lot of respect for Dave, and the film is a superb chronicle of the end of an era as told by the people that were directly responsible for it and in the midst of its rise and fall. But there were some things that bugged me.
In the latter half of the film we are shown its creators attempting to rekindle the flame that was Sound City. To them, this concept is the embodiment of pure talent and creativity. Sound City is a place where whatever goes into the microphone is exactly what gets imprinted onto the tape at the other end, and if that can humble people like Tom Petty then you had better be sure that you have the chops to pull off whatever it is you’re trying to pull off long before you step foot in the studio. “Learn your instruments” is a commonly uttered phrase. The film is a laundry list of people that did exactly that and became enormously successful as a result. People like Rick Springfield, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Trent Reznor, Josh Homme, Paul McCartney, and of course Dave Grohl (many, many others are introduced throughout the film and during the credits).
All of these are names legendary for their talents, but with the exception of Trent Reznor, how long has it been since any of them were anywhere near the leading edge of the industry? What’s so inspiring about seeing has-beens hash out mediocre songs that wouldn’t even have been popular at the height of their success? Why am I meant to think that unless I record into a $300,000 mixing board (adjusted for inflation) and onto 2 inch magnetic tape that somehow the sound that ends up coming out of whatever speakers I’m listening to doesn’t get to be in the same category as yours? For a film that makes a point of constantly reminding us that imperfections are nothing to be ashamed of, it’s a little strange that the equipment they choose to make music with is worth more than my house.
I understand nostalgia, and nostalgia is a good thing. Having warm feelings about a certain time in your life means that you’ve had a life worth having warm feelings about, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But has everyone in this film forgotten how expensive analog recording was? Just the tape itself is more than $200 per reel. And that’s not even touching the cost of the reel-to-reel machine it sits in, or the microphones you record through, or the mixing board you record onto, or renting the studio you record in. Butch Vig remarked about how crazy it was that Nevermind was recorded on a budget of “only about $60,000”. The world switched to digital recording because it COSTS LESS, I mean orders of magnitude less! So much less that I can record my own music for the cost of guitar strings, and so easy to produce that I can mix and master my own tracks on my days off.
Alas, I am not going to become a millionaire making music. But was I ever? Am I a potential superstar that has been stifled by the current economic landscape of the music industry? Absolutely not. Music was never something I wanted to make a career out of, but it was always something I had fun doing. I don’t like touring and I don’t like soliciting, but most of all I don’t like my odds. I don’t like the idea of scraping by indefinitely with the vague hope that someday if I keep writing and keep booking shows that maybe I’ll play to the right crowd on the right night and then my life will officially begin. So what would I have been without this tectonic shift in accessibility? I would have been some guy that plays guitar. I’m not saying this because I have had such a tremendous impact on the music scene, in fact I’m almost saying the opposite. I’m asking you to look at the aggregate, think of what would have been the unseen, think about all the music that is created by people like me and then think about how it would be if we had all just kept playing our guitars in our rooms instead of instantly being able to share it with whoever wanted to listen. I can think of at least a dozen great albums I would have never heard.
Trent Reznor has a great line that despite the incredible democratization of the distribution of music in the past 10-15 years, we are not inundated with astounding music. While the specifics of his claim are open to debate, the sentiment is spot-on: You still have to be good at making music to get noticed. People still have to love something about what you do in order to feel like it’s worth investing either their time or their money in your talents. The bane of the creative marketplace is the half-asser, the fraud, or the hype-man. Now, maybe more than ever, if you want to stay relevant, you have to be amazing. This isn’t something to be lamented, it’s something to be celebrated! We are all far richer in choice and in quality than we were at any time during the reign of the old cultural gate-keepers.
Jimmy Eat World - Goodbye Sky Harbor
Who doesn’t like this song?
A little update on the merchandizing front:
Beacons LPs are sold out. I have not started the process of reordering them yet but it’s on my list of things to do. That means it will probably take a month or two before they are back in stock.
Hoodies are back in stock. KIND OF. There was a SNAFU during the ordering process and somewhere lines got crossed resulting in me getting a batch of ultra-lightweight hoodies. When I say that, I mean that they are essentially long-sleeved, zip-up t-shirts with hoods on them (details here). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not what I ordered. So the screen printing people are going to hustle and get another batch of the correct-weight hoodies printed up and hopefully they’ll be in stock in less than two weeks.
Now, in the mean time, I have all these lightweight hoodies! They would be great if you live in one of the more temperate areas of the world or if you want something you can wear comfortably in late spring or early fall. Since I didn’t plan on having these I’m going to sell them at cost ($15). If you really wanted a hoodie but didn’t want to shell out $30, you just rolled a seven! I’m leaving the option to pay more open but please don’t take that to mean that I’m going to starve or shake my fist at the screen if you don’t.