Take this job and shove it!

So… I’ve been thinking…

I have, too! I’ve been thinking I should write something, but I’m pressed for time and shouldn’t smoke pot. I have like important things to do today. Like, responsible adult things… Mostly…

Today has potential to be pretty much the best day ever, but I still have adult things to do.

So, I figured I’d bitch about my job for a few minutes. Y’all will read anything! You read this! You have horrible taste! You deserve so much better! Today, it’s just gonna be me complaining – but there’s a point to be had. (Ed. Note: Not really a good point.)

Today, I need to call the storage lot and ask if I can get another unit. That will take some time. (Ed. Note: That day was Monday.)

Why and what does this have to do with the band?!?

‘Cause the drummer will need to drive up here and unload all the equipment into the storage unit. I gave ’em permission to hire a helper! Besides, this is why he makes the big bucks. (Ed. Note: He frequently reads this.)

I need to find a shop that I trust and that can fit it in this week. That will take some time.

The drummer will then need to drop off the truck at the shop. (My clever plan to let them hire someone means that he has a ride home!) This is why he makes the big bucks.

I need to call my large tire guy. Yes, I have a large tire guy. He’s not very large, but the tires he works on are. They have a special truck. They’ll go change the tires at said shop, but this will take some time.

The drummer then needs to drive back up. Now is a good time for him to clean and maintain everything. That’ll take a day, maybe two. That’s why he makes the big bucks.

By that point, he’ll be broke and also need to come here to get some cash. That’s not today, but that’s going to take some time. I doubt he’ll even want to wait and do it on rehearsal day! Also, that’s why he makes the big bucks.

I then need to keep up with the garage and tire shop. Inspection and registration are nearly due, so I might as well get those done. By “I might as well,” I mean him. Still, that’ll take some time.

A rough estimate is a total of about $4000. If the truck is going in for brakes and tires, it might as well get all the fluids drained and replaced, new hoses and belts, a real lube job, and shit like that. This is not cheap on a giant truck. Writing this list is going to take some time.

He then has to drive up again. His duties will be to clean the truck like it was detailed professionally and find a way to get the embedded stench of fast food out of the cab. I didn’t look inside, I could smell it when I walked past it. That’s disgusting! Which, again, I remind you is why he makes the big bucks.

I’d make him drive it here for an inspection by me, but that’d take some time.

He then needs to load all that stuff back into the truck! This might actually involve another trip – from south of Augusta all the way to a bit north of Farmington. Do I need to point out that that’s why he makes the big bucks?


My point is that my job is sometimes horrible! (Ed. Note: No, not really. It’s not ever really horrible and that’s not actually my point!)

I actually have it pretty easy. Cushy is a good description. I haven’t even carried my own guitars for quite some time. I’m gonna see how long I can keep that streak going!


Those are the things you never see, unless you’re a performer. We don’t have the luxury of crashing the truck. We don’t have the luxury of breaking down. We need to maintain everything and keep it in proper functional condition. Of course, had the drummer told me about this last December…

I’m not actually sure why he makes the big bucks! (He does, too. He gets a bigger salary than I do!)

We can’t have the truck dead on the highway. We can’t have it stuck in a ditch. We can’t afford to have any more of the crew hurt. We have obligations to the venue and sometimes we even have obligations to our fans. So, we have to be there. As much as we care for our instruments, so too must we also care for the rest of our gear. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about that before and I’m pretty sure I mentioned spares.

I don’t actually have a spare truck. It’s a pretty big truck. I don’t really want a spare truck. I suppose I could stick it in the barn? I feel as though a spare truck might make them care about the existing truck even less. They do not appear to appreciate my truck – and it is still mine. They appear to drive with one foot on the brake pedal, fill the cab with refuse, and don’t even wash anything on it. I should fire them!

*a while later*

Yup. Today is going to be the best day ever. That is now confirmed!

*a while later*

So many buttons! I’d elaborate, but this is not an automotive site! (Ask me about the car!)

Today, I also need to go to an appointment with a qualified medical professional. I want to hit publish while I still have time to stick around for another hour and a half. So, until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

*two days later*

So, that stuff has all been scheduled and will be attended to. Everyone knows what they’re doing and when they’re to do it. We rely heavily on communication and time management. We will be cutting it a little close, as we need the truck like ten days from now. It’ll be fine! (If not, we’ll be renting a truck and that’s REALLY going to add some work, for them.)

The reality is that we don’t always have time to do the things we’d like to do, when we’d like to do them. Which is why you’re getting this late. When I wanted to publish it, something far more pressing needed that time allotment and so this wasn’t published – as I’d have no time to respond to anything. Today, I have that time. So, I’m going to publish this in a few minutes.

I’m not sure what the new publishing schedule is going to be like. It’s not going to be daily, I don’t believe. However, I’d like to still get a few articles out every week. We’ll see what happens and there’s still plenty more to write. I’m going to edit this up, publish it, submit it, and enjoy being able to watch the snow fall. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a second song!

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If you guessed this is about the last performance, come on down and collect your prize!

It was late Friday. The weekly guitar thread had slowed a little and I was enjoying a conversation by PM with someone who seems to think I’m a source of quality advice and trustworthy enough to keep our exchange private.

Their trust is not misplaced, don’t worry.

It was during that conversation that I created this .txt file, and named it ‘start.txt.’ As you can see, quality file naming and file management is not my best trait!

It was in that text file that I typed the following:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
– William Shakespeare


Because, almost without exception, every performing musician chooses to achieve greatness. Almost invariably, as true vurtuosos are quite rare, we have worked very hard to acquire our skillsets, often with multiple instruments. Our skills aren’t limited to music playing, but extend to performance and all the various labors that entails. We must understand the people we play for. We must know how to make ourselves appealing. We must understand the audience’s objectives, even when they don’t articulate it well.

But, we choose greatness, meaning we choose to put those hours in to master our instruments and the art of performing. We choose it. We aren’t usually born with it, nor do we usually have our greatness thrust upon us. Though, curiously, that does sometimes happen. For example, the bass player for Dropkick Murphys hadn’t even played a bass when they did their first show. (Which, I suppose, says a bit about bass players in general!)

Which leads me to…

Last night, the band was great. Notice, I did not say they were perfect.

I tried to offer as little influence as I could, allowing them the chance to make the show what they wanted it to be. For the most part, they did pretty well.

This last type of event isn’t an easy event to do well. They did make mistakes. Rather than concentrate on the positive, I’m going to share a few and try to explain what those mistakes were. (Ed. Note: Not very well.)

If you don’t remember the event type, picture a reunion of academics that are beyond their midlife crisis. Now, make them getting a bit rotund, experiencing fiscal success, and sharing a lot of commonalities. They’re maybe balding, going gray, and drinking.

At least this one wasn’t a key party! (Oh, the things we see…)

Movin on…

Once again, they’re there to enjoy each other, food, and booze. They drink and dance and feed. Then, presumably, they leave and couple up in hotel rooms not their own. I don’t actually know that that’s what these folks did, but I’ve seen that type of behavior before.

With the length of my career, I’ve been responsible for so many people getting laid! You’re welcome!

We aren’t supposed to monopolize an audience’s attention at this type of event. You, the audience, is actually the center of attention.

In theory…

Let’s pick up at the beginning. This story has to start somewhere! (This is so poorly written. I hope editing helps.) (Ed. Note: It won’t.)

I showed up before the speeches were done, which is good. That’s when I was supposed to be there and when EH and J were supposed to be there. We were on time!

Things went immediately wrong when the guy at the door didn’t want to let me in. I believe what he said was, “I’ve seen them. I haven’t seen you.” Then, he demanded I show him my invitation. I had no invitation.

What I should have replied was, “Fuck you, I’m a rock star.” Instead, what I said was, in my most snotty tone, “You don’t know who I am?” I then hobbled past him. He made no effort to stop me and I looked for the bar.

I found the bar and wandered through the sea of reunioners to reach it. I ordered a double of Ice 101, on the rocks, and two beers. The bartender could see I was on a mission and seemed like they were a person that knew things. So, I tipped them a $20. I then made my way to sound and sat in a chair, contented by my libation acquisitions. The band had taken the stage, and I was watching EH push a few buttons and slide a few sliders while pretending I actually knew what she was doing and approved of it.

The band began and did the whole get the crowd pumped thing. That was going over about as well as a fart in church when the dude from the door and some guy I never met (but had talked to on the phone) came up and both were visibly upset.

The door dude began with bellowing, “He’s not supposed to be here! He didn’t show me an invitation!”

Manger dude had never seen me and began to say something. I realized this could escalate quickly and, not wanting to let them get the upperhand, I interjected and pointed out that I was, in fact, sitting here in sound – making it painfully obvious to all but the dullards that I am, in fact, with the band.

Door dude turned bright red as manager dude stared at him as though he had made his life very difficult and that manager dude was going to respond in-kind. He shuffled off and manager dude was saying something that I couldn’t hear.

This amused me and I tried to return to my all-too-important duties of drinking and observing. The manager dude was having none of it and he figured that both of us should yell at each other over the now blasting music.

Which is where I made a mistake… Fortunately, it went unnoticed!

My mistake? I yelled at him that I didn’t have time for this shit and that I was busy. Fortunately, he didn’t hear me!

He got closer and yelled that he would make sure that my drinks were were on the house to make up for the door dude. Crisis narrowly averted, and seeing my chance, I motioned for him to follow me and hobbled my way to the bar. I wasn’t going to let this gift go, and I wanted to make sure the bartender knew it.

At the bar, the bartender smiled and asked if I wanted the same thing, having noticed that I’d cleverly left my drinks behind – or at least had none in my hands. I agreed that was fine. I tipped ’em the same amount and told ’em I’d be back frequently.

Manager dude was still wanting to talk and we’d deduced that I was actually the person they’d spoken to on the phone, multiple times. He wanted to talk about future engagements, so I pretended to listen while trying to get these fresh drinks into me before I’d have to walk back to the booth. I nodded where it seemed appropriate and noticed that EH had turned the volume down a bit and that maybe 30 people had made it to the dance floor.

The band had done well, having noticed their mistake and fixed it.

I continued to pretend I was listening, drinking, and watching the people in the audience. He continued talking. I drank rapidly and asked them where the bathroom was, as I figured I’d learn something useful. He seemed to think this wasn’t me acquiring data for later, and that I needed to use the bathroom immediately. He was kind enough to offer to show me and I told him that I could see it and that I’d use it when I finished my drinks.

This seemed to satisfy him that I was satisfied, and he meandered off after informing me that he’d check in on me later. (Ed. Note: I never did see him again.)

I cracked a few jokes with the bartender, asked if he liked his job, and finished my drinks at a rate that’d make a frat party cheer in appreciation. Then, I headed for the bathroom.

I found the bathroom unoccupied and decided that I’d use a stall to fortify myself a bit further. I went into my stall and, of course, made the usual sniffing noises. Which is is when I heard a toilet flush… I’d made a mistake!

Thinking quickly, I hollered out across the stalls to ask if they wanted some, as they’d obviously heard me. They asked what it was and I told them. They decided that they wanted some and next thing I know, the music had stopped and I’d spent most of the set in the bathroom with a stranger. Knowing this meant there’d be a rush for the bar, I figured I’d stay in the bathroom and continue fortifying myself and my new buddy while we waited for the bar to clear out.

That was probably a mistake, as it also means there’s a rush on the bathroom and some of them also wanted fortification and two other guys had also brought fortification. The music began again.

Seeing my cue, I headed for the bar to get new drinks to bring back to add to my collection in the booth. The bartender saw me coming and had them ready for me. I tipped them again and asked if they liked fortification. They indicated they did, so I found a dark corner and tipped him some fortification. He seemed pleased with this.

Taking my drinks back to the booth, I had to stop and talk to a few people that I’d fortified with – but I made it back to my chair without needing additional fortification. The band played on! They were probably about half done with that set when I made it back to the table.

I don’t know if the band saw me and interpreted something, but they tried to bring the stage more energy and get more people on the dance floor. I thought that was possibly a mistake, except they managed to get a bunch of people out there wiggling. I sorta suspect it was the fortification that helped drive it. Doesn’t matter, it worked and EH gave everyone a bit more volume. Good.

I did notice my schnapps were gone, but I’d brought a nearly fresh one with me. I settled into my chair and observed. I’d managed a few sips of my delicious schnapps and to finish a beer, and then the band was going on another break.

Damn it! I had screwed up my timing!

Hobbling with a bit more vim and vigor, I took a beer and headed to the bathroom. I’ll let your imagination fill it in and I escaped the bathroom fortification fairly quickly, stopping at the bar before returning to the booth with near perfect timing.

I noticed my schnapps were, once again, missing. I was going to ask EH about my missing schnapps, as surely someone must have stolen them, but she was busy. She’s actually pretty busy in there. She’s controlling lights and sound, all remotely of course. She can steer a spot better than I can. I made no effort to help. At that point, I was even less qualified than I normally am! In sound, with her hands moving to control sound and effects, it almost looks like she’s dancing.

And, I watched that set – almost entirely. The band managed to bring up the energy levels in a way that didn’t jar the audience. They’d somehow made themselves almost the center of attention – while still letting the dancers focus on each other. The volume was rather excessive but they seemed to enjoy it. The only people with hearing protection were the ones working. Eardrums were harmed.

The other sets had been 45 minutes and this one went on for the same amount of time. The band then pretended to talk among themselves and then played an encore until after 21:00. They even told the audience that they were going to play one more, because that audience was special. Yeah, sometimes we have to lie!

Then, they made another mistake…

They said they were going to ask a guest to come up and play. Knowing what was coming, I rapidly turned one of the booth’s corner lights onto EH and clapped for her.

Mission averted! Nice try, suckers! I told ’em that I wasn’t playing!

EH was happy to run up on stage and my schnapps had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle.

You’d have thought she was a rock star, and she certainly played the part. It was, of course, Free Bird… It’s always Free Bird… Well, it’s almost never not Free Bird. Either way, this really wasn’t the venue to be a rock star at.

None of this was appropriate for this venue. I poked a few buttons on the board, but they did not seem to change anything. The slider labled “MSTR VOL” did not not do a damned thing! I’m pretty sure EH was clever enough to lock me out of it. I don’t actually know how this board works. It’s got a ton of buttons, sliders, and displays. It’s got shit connected to it that I don’t have a clue about! ‘Snot my job!

Anyhow, the band did fine and the audience actually loved it. The vast majority were dancing and having a good time. Either that or the audience was making a last-ditch effort to get laid? Either way. the band had pulled it off! That’s not something I’d have tried at a gig like that.

And, as I said, EH’s antics were certainly not what I’d suggest at this type of venue. No, no that’s not what I’d have suggested. She managed to somehow channel the spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s stage manerisms. I shouldn’t need to remind you that Jimi didn’t actually play Free Bird! When she was ‘taking a taste’, she was doing this passionate dance with her guitar that is best described as ‘spastic.’

They left me in sound without adult supervision. I didn’t flash the light to tell them to get off the stage. That right there was a mistake. Never leave me unattended.

So, they went around again and did more solos. EH seemed inclined to try to lean back every time she’d do a long string bend and, for some unknown reason, was down on one knee at one point, and moving to a rhythm that wasn’t anywerre close to the beat of the song. If she’d fallen over, I’d have expected her to start speaking in tongues.

Oh, how I giggled! This was the funniest thing I’d seen all night!

Of course I wasn’t going to remember to flash a stupid light. I’d have watched that for hours!

The audience seemed to enjoy it. There were dancers and people watching the band. So, it worked out pretty well. Either way, I was having a good time!

The band figured out that no light was ever going to shine and gave up, bringing the song to a close. The dancers, perhaps in a daze and certainly with hearing loss, milled about for a while, perhaps a bit confused, and the band began the long process of tearing down and loading out. I fortified myself, secured a few more drinks, and found backstage.

Which is where they gave me shit about not flashing the light and not playing! So, I told them they were all fired. They paid that statement no attention. None!

I fetched stuff for a while, as EH and J packed their stuff. I fortified myself until I was out of fortification. I gave them shit but it was my brilliant work earlier in the night that had gotten the bartender to serve as he was cleaning up.

By then, I was pretty well fortified and kinda tipsy, which he greatly appreciated. I never did pay for any drinks other than the first three. I just kept tipping ’em! (I ain’t sorry for bad puns!) (Ed. Note: I should be.)

My schnapps disappeared. I never did find out who was taking them!

Anyhow, that’s the mistakes that were made. Their set choices were standard fare. They know they are down to 5 players and they adjust accordingly. They did a few things we’d not normally do as a band. Remember, they all played together in a band before I pretty much stole them from their other leader.

I believe I fired them all, several times. They paid this no attention. They’re insanely efficient. They’ve got a pretty good system for moving the gear. At one point, one of ’em told me to get out of the way and that that area was able-bodied people only. I fired them.

I’m told the truck needs brakes and should probably have winter tires to go on it, at least next year. The band doesn’t have enough in the kitty to cover all that. Those are safety issues. They’ll be addressed this week. Once again, the band can owe me money. I should fire all of them! They ignored their firing and kept working.

They’re pretty great! They’ve chosen greatness and worked to achieve it. Choose greatness, even if it is a lot of work. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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In a surprising twist, it’s yet another article about performing!

It seems I’m going to be doing a lot of performing, coming up. Stands to reason that you’re gonna hear about it.

It’s what you’re gonna sorta hear about it this time.

How to write this? I’ll go with the ego shtick again. Seems reasonable!

I’ve decided that I’m pretty good! Damned right, I am!

Allow me to explain…

Last weekend hurt – a lot. I’d like to avoid additional pain. I kinda like the opiates, but it still hurts. Opiates don’t really make the pain go away. Opiates make it so that you don’t give a shit about the pain. They’re pretty awesome like that.

I have a point.

The audience we’ll be playing for doesn’t need a lead that has issues moving around on stage.

In other words, I’m only taking the stage for the encore and maybe not even then. I’m gonna sit somewhere and maybe fetch drinks. I ain’t even bringing any guitars. (There are a few on the truck, if I change my mind.)

I’m good, because I can do this.

Once again, allow me to explain!

I’m good, because it also means the audience will probably enjoy it more. I’m good, because I put together a band that can step up and do this. I’m good, because I know my limitations.

See, it starts (for them) at about 09:00. They’ll need to get everything setup before the people attending start arriving. At 12:00, people start showing up.

The expected number of guests is 200ish and it’s a reunion type event held in a hall. They have a bar and food. They have tables and will sit at them, while someone pipes in some quiet music. They will walk around and shoot the shit, they will have speeches and drink heavily.

This is not my first rodeo. Trust me, that’s what they’ll do. That’s what they always do.

At 17:00, something like that, our drummer has to emcee some shit. The band goes on at the end of that, however long that takes (probably about an hour), and plays until 21:00 (with the usual breaks).

The band is to play very period-specific music. It’s mid-80s to early-90s stuff. It’s the kinda stuff the band can play just fine without me. Yes, Poison is on the musical menu. I am not going to miss performing, much… I think… Not for this show. I doubt I’ll suffer a single pang of regret while observing!

Moving on…

I am good because I have, and can trust, a band that will do that just fine without me. They’re capable of pleasing this type of audience without me at the front. This is an upbeat and happy thing. We want no sadness, sympathy, or regret. We almost want to be in the background, but visually appealing and energetic.

We don’t really want them paying too much attention to us. We want them to dance with their old girlfriend/boyfriend and have drunken affairs in the hotel after they leave. We want them to still be able to talk in the back and not be rendered deaf if they approach the stage. We want smooth transitions and very little talking. We want to pretty much be a live version of ye’ olden thing known as a ‘mixtape.’ We’re pretty much supposed to be their old radio experience, without any of those commercials.

We’re not even selling merch. At this type of event, that’d be tacky as fuck. (We’ll probably have some in sound, sitting in boxes.)

It’s not the type of affair where we go in and melt their faces off. It’s not the kind of affair where we are really the center of attention. It’s more of a gig than a show, in those regards.

And, I’m good because I know that my going on stage would bring unwanted attention, as I’d have to explain that I have a smashed femur. Because I’d have to explain that, it’s going to get a negative vibe, instead of the sympathetic vibe that we’d get at the last venue. Thus, I have no business being on the stage and I recognize this. They’re not going to react like an audience that knows us and is there to see us. They’re there to see old friends, not us.


Here’s something you may not think of (and it’s entirely unrelated)!

Sometimes, it falls on you to emcee strange stuff. Like, it has been too emotional for the group and you have to announce the death of one of their alum. You may have to do a rememberance of all those who have passed since the group last met. That’s dealt with in a few ways. You can try somber reverance, factual, or even humor. I’ve made up whole eulogies on the spot. “They say that John Doe once ate fifty pancakes in one sitting, but I’m sure he’d rather be most remembered for his ability to burp the entire alphabet.”

I have no idea what he’s going to be emceeing. ‘Snot my job. It’s why he makes the big bucks!

Everyone has to get up pretty early tomorrow, except the missus and I. I can show up whenever I want. The missus is not going. We are not bringing the missus. You’re welcome.

I’ll sit in sound with EH. I’ll probably drink heavily and make someone drive me home. The audience won’t even know my name. Sweet! They won’t even remember the band’s name on Monday, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

If I were on the stage, it’d not be the kind of place where I’d chuck t-shirts and picks into the audience. If someone approached the stage then I’d probably give ’em something. I expect them to be paying attention to each other, and not me. That’s how nameless and faceless we’re to be – if we’re good at our job.

And, that’s a fine line to walk. It’s not easy to be just a live version of a radio but still be active enough to be called energetic and entertaining.

They’ve got this. They know what they’re doing. We’ve done this same type of event before. They don’t need me for anything. Sweet! This is also pretty much my least favorite type of performance that we do. I’m much more comfortable being the center of attention, oddly enough.

I’ve even left set list finalization with them. They’ll have, shall we say, a whole lot of time to think about it. They’ll be starting their day at 09:00, remember? They’ll be putting in a 14 to 16 hour day. Including driving time, it may be longer for some.

I suspect they’ll be coming here afterwards, some of them. I should take something from the freezer, now that I think about it.

I don’t actually know what the band will be playing, now that I think about it. They’ll be fine! (I’d tell you another story, but that’s too much digression!) I have no idea what they’ll pick and exactly how they’ll present themselves onstage. It’ll be fine, trust me!

Ha! The band got to let loose last weekend. This weekend, they’ll be reminded that vacation is over. If they want to get paid, they must perform. I’ll let ’em split my payment, ’cause I’m not performing. They, on the other hand, have work to do.

I’m going to observe and critique. I am going to do this while drinking, quite probably. It’s better that way, trust me!

If they fuck up, I am going to give them so much shit! I’ve got a wireless headset available. If I can figure out that board, I’ve even got a mute button!

I will actually give ’em constructive feedback, and probably not live. I doubt they’ll need any of my input. I told you up above, I trust them. I’ll probably wear the headset to keep ’em on their toes and to keep the drunk audience members from trying to talk to me.

If you’re curious, this is the grind. This is what it takes to make a living from your musicianship. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I haven’t weighed it, but they’ll probably move several tons of equipment tomorrow, twice. They’ll probably have to climb up on ladders to assemble at least one rack, lights, a screen, a backdrop, etc… They’ll lug in hundreds of feet of cable – which is actually very low, as we use wireless for many things. (Which is an art in its own right.) Then, they’ll practice in the back, eat, dress, and wait around a lot. They’ll wait for hours.

They’ll be bored. They’ll probably leave and go out to eat, leaving some sucker behind to watch the gear. They’ll bring ’em back something! I am pretty sure the venue is supposed to feed them but I doubt they’ll want to all sit there for at least six hours.

It pains me to do this, but I must give the drummer a compliment.

He and the roadies are pretty good at getting just the right equipment off the truck – and only the right equipment. That’s an art in and of itself. That doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. It takes some skill to do that and to do that well. Someone should write an article or ten about it!

Anyhow, there’s some more stuff about performing that you probably don’t think about and seldom get to see. I’d like to point out that I do have it pretty easy. If you try to do this, your experiences may differ. You have been warned.

I’m very, very grateful for these experiences I’m having. I’m grateful that I have a lovely band that can do this. I’m very grateful that I’m surrounded by talented people who are willing to invest the energy to do this.

And, I’m grateful that I’m good!

One more time, allow me to explain!

A year ago, you could have seen them for, at most, a $5.00 cover charge. I’m good, ’cause I’ve taught and led them well. 😉 I’m good because I’ve helped enable them to do this and to do it on this level. I’m good, because I’ve helped them grow the confidence needed to perform at this level, or higher. I’m good because I know they’ll do this job better without me.

Damned right, I’m good! I’m pretty much a national treasure!

Alright, this is long enough. I strongly suspect that my next article is gonna be ’bout how they did. It seems pretty likely, but we’ll see. I make no promises. Look at how long it took me to get into writing every day. I am still putting my writing shoes on. I’ll try to keep them interesting, informative, and entertaining. We’ll see… Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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I ain’t even sure what to call this…

I’m not actually sure where this is going. I think you could call this another view from the stage, or maybe a lesson for performing musicians?

See, I wanted to write something. Nothing that needs to be written looked appealing to me. So, I smoked some weed.

What I really want to write about is set lists. I suppose, I’ll start by telling you why – but I might get distracted and forget to tell you what I wanted to write. It could happen.

As the seasons change, so too must we. As a band, a band looking to expand, we’re needing to also expand our music varieties.

We have a few jobs coming up that I’m really looking forward to. We’ve been invited to perform at a blues restaurant that’s quite popular. It has two lounges and pays well. We might be going to a folk festival, that is still not decided.

Doing this means writing up set lists for just a few, sometimes single, events. We’re not actually going to get to play folk music at a regular performance, as much as we might want to. Ain’t no way I’m gonna bust out Lemon Tree in front of a few hundred drunks. Well, I might… I shouldn’t. The key point is that I shouldn’t!

One of the ways I look at set lists is by asking myself, “What albums, in that genre, can I listen to entirely and not want to skip any songs?”

That’s harder than one might think. There aren’t all that many albums like that – to me. Such is a very personal thing. My choices will not match your choices. I want to write about that, but not today. That’s like a whole series of articles, and might actually be better suited for MFU.

It then gets harder.

The next question I must ask myself is, “What makes these albums special?”

That’s a harder question to answer – but that one is much more objective. In short, they make you emote or think, or both.

This is could start fights in certain spheres…

Some of the best albums are actually greatest hits type of albums.

There… I said it…

Either way, I don’t feel like writing that today. So, you’ll just have to accept that I’m right.

No, what I want to take is just a single aspect of set list writing that you may not know about and that I enjoy. I use it to great advantage.

Sometimes, you get to have fun. The audience isn’t the only one that gets to have fun!

That’s right… Fun… How?

I often refer to it as, “Punching the audience right in the fucking mouth.” Let me give you an example.

Let’s say we’re doing 80s and 90s rock genre hits.

For no seeming reason, play a country song that they all know. Get one in the right era. Say, throw in the Alan Jackson song ‘The Chattahoochie.’ Don’t warn ’em. Just run right into it.

Congratulations. You’ve punched ’em right in the fucking mouth.

Wait for it…


Those drunks are gonna try to do line dancing and country dancing. A few of them will maybe even know what they’re doing, and even fewer of them will be paired up with someone who also knows what they’re doing.

Trust me… It’s one of funniest things you’ll ever see and they all have a good time, even though you punched them in the face with a goat ropin’ song.

When you’re done with it, don’t say a damned thing and just run right into another song from the right era and genre. Don’t give them time to think about who just punched them in the ears with country music, or why they did it.

They’ll resume their gyrations and not understand why they had a good time.

They had a good time because it was familiar, unique, drastically different, short, sudden, and brought back emotions while they had time to let go of some ego and do something they’re not used to doing on the dance floor.

Also, they’re drunk.

You overwhelmed them. It is like a sensory flood. You can’t do this too often, or they’ll get uncomfortable. It’s never something to do in a single short set or an opening set. Get ’em in the second set! It’s funnier than hell to watch you wiggle in a different style and not doing well at it. It’s pretty much the best day ever!

It’s not all work and no play. There are all sorts of ways to punch ’em in the mouth, too. There are all sorts of ways to have fun with the audience. Your set lists will help facilitate that.

Also, I think I’m gonna write more about performing for a while. That’s what it seems like. Dunno… Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Don’t let the ride stop.

So, I really don’t feel like writing. I’m gonna, ’cause I need to do it.

I’m also fucking retarded. I am still opiate free. It’s horrible. Thank you, Imodium AD and allergy pills!

This sucks balls.

But, I’m gonna write. It’s not going to be good. I am not even gonna proofread this. i will not be sharing it on the sites, though someone else can. I don’t care.

This should properly be filed under lessons for performing musicians.

What I did is I looked at a file I keep – called “ArticleIdeas.txt.”

None of the ideas looked appealing. So, I picked this one ’cause it was potentially short.

Never Let the Ride Stop

What do I mean by that? Never every quite let them stop clapping and cheering. While they’re still making noise, timing this is easy, you start again.

In other words, when the cheering starts to die down, play. Don’t even really let it die down again.

Why? It keeps the emotional high going.

Like all rules, this one is not set in stone. Sometimes, you may wish to let them completely stop so that you can build suspense or tension. Sometimes, you may even time stuff just so they’ll go buy drinks. It really depends on your goals.

But, as a general rule, keep the emotional ride rolling. In fact, make them realize that the ride doesn’t stop but, if they wave you’ll wave back! Keep them emoting, in other words. If the song made people cry, don’t let the tears dry up before you make that same person dance again.

The reasons are obvious and I’m not going to write out another 1,800 words beating a dead horse or finding ways to elaborate.

[redacted a very mean paragraph]

Yeah, I’m not going to close this that way. If you’re here, you should understand the value in this. I shouldn’t have to explain it. So, I’m not going to. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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In a long overdue article, I give credit to an unsung hero.

Ol’ Buddha has been pretty fucking opiated. That really drives away your motivation to do some things. I’m not going to say I’m sorry for my lack of writing. If I were sorry, I wouldn’t have done it.

But, that has to change. I need to come to grips with my suffering, that is the pain, and move on. I need to rid myself of opiates.

So, I cut down and will be tapering off them. I’m stoned as fuck.

What, you don’t expect me to be sober, do you? I’m pretty sure we’ve been over that! ‘Snot like you weren’t warned. At any point in time, my going off on a bender is a distinct possibility.

I’m back from the precipice. I think… I can’t keep up the opiate train. Well, I can. LOL Oh, they’ll stuff me full of legal opiates. That’s not making it easy!

But, fuck that… I am a professional. I have obligations. I have a history of not maintaining while riding the opiate train. I need to maintain.

So, I’m not done writing… I’ve still got shit to say. It’s an obligation! If you recall correctly, I’ve told you this before! Sheesh… I obligate myself to writing. I like you, but I’m doing this for me. Not gonna lie to you. We’ve been over that!

Today, in my effort to fulfill my obligation (and to keep myself occupied for some time), I am going to write. Today, I’m going to tell you about an unsung hero of the guitar world.

When you think of music, you don’t actually recreate the lead guitar in your head. If you do, you’re a guitarist – and you think differently. Even then, you might not do that.

What your brain automatically recalls, and this is clearly demonstrated by use of MRI, you recall the riff.

Much of the time, and quite traditionally, that is played by the person who plays the rhythmic portion of the song in the most pronounced manner. In some case, the riff is played by a piano, a trumpet, the drum even, or even a pipe organ!

In the kind of music you probably listen to, if you’re reading this site, it’s the guitar. That’s the guitar riff and I’m not going to get into too much detail with that today – as I have a mission to complete with regards to that subject. It’s on my to-do list!

No, it’s the rhythm guitar. Strikingly, it’s sometimes done by a lead guitar player. Picture Iommi, picture Blackmore. More subtly, picture Jerry Garcia.

It’s the rhythm guitarist that makes you get up and dance. He tells you when to start singing along with the songs you know and love. He drives the music. He, and with him the drummer, set the pace.

I don’t listen to them. Fuck no… They’re just the rhythm guitarist! They listen to me! (That is a lie.)

You listen to them, however. They tell you when to dance. I tell you how hard and with what emotion.

You really do. When you think of a song in your head, you’re remembering the rhythm guitarist – quite frequently. Like I said, sometimes there’s a blend. Some guitarists definitely blur the line, Slash is good for that. He plays a driving rhythm and bitchin’ solos, and he’s considered a solo guitarist. (Sometimes he’s lazy.)

Izzy, is the unsung hero.

Don’t believe me? Watch, I’ll prove it.

Told you.

Want to argue?

That’s Izzy’s part (badly edited, but sufficient enough to show you).

You try playing that flawlessly and being expected to keep up with a lead guitarist,or worse, lead singer, that can’t stay on script. You try playing that with a drummer that can barely walk to his drum kit, never mind count to four.

I play lead not necessarily because I’m good, but because I’ve earned my way to that position by putting my work in. I treat them well and I do actually often rely on them to make sure I don’t get lost. My fake book doesn’t tell me everything. Lots of times, they make sure I keep my timing precise – as does the drummer.

I’m fortunate. I really am. The people who occupy those positions are professionals who take their shit seriously. Without any one of us, or any band member really – except maybe the damned bass player (I kid), we couldn’t do the things we do.

They write the sentences, and we provide the punctuation Without them, we don’t say nearly as much. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a good rhythm guitar player. In fact, it’s a significant challenge. It’s also a lot like work.

They get plenty of chicks too. Don’t worry ’bout them any. The lead guitarist doesn’t get ’em all. The ladies notice when you’ve got good rhythm. 😉

I have been with bands where the rhythm guitarist, which was me, was not given nearly enough respect. We often are the people who hold the band together. When the lead guitarist and lead singer get into a fight on stage, we’re the ones that remind them we’re playing music. When they get too fucked up to remember the words, we make sure the audience still knows what song it is we’re at least trying to play.

It’s fucking horrible. If you’re in a band, don’t do that.

And, again, that’s why you want professionalism. That’s what really holds you together. That’s what keeps you getting fed. That’s what keeps paying your rent.

Which leads me back around to opiates. They’re an occupational hazard! We’ve been over that! Eventually, for pretty much everyone, they sap your professionalism. You can only chip for so long. Eventually, you stop maintaining.

I am seeing the warning signs and justifying it by my injury. “Oh, I don’t have to be motivated. I can just sit here and get high as balls and ignore my to-do list. I have an excuse. I’m injured!”

I can’t do that. I have obligations.

Which means I’m pretty sure I’m going to go back to writing. It’s not a big burden, and it’s good for me to have that obligation taking my time. That’s time I’d otherwise be finding excuses to lay down, use a tablet, and just be high as fuck. The leg still hurts. The only difference is I’m high as balls. It’s going to hurt for a long time, maybe even life. I can’t just go through life high as balls. Oh, I’d like to. Don’t get me wrong. I just can’t do that.

So, I’m going to obligate myself to writing this today – and I’m going to obligate myself to submitting this today. I am going to post this at the usual sites and that means I’m obligating myself to respond for some period of time. I’ve gotta get back to keeping myself busy. Doing nothing is just a bad idea for me, doubly so if I’ve got a shitton of opiates – and a legal right to have them. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Think about Story Telling, Musicians and Bards…

A long, long time ago in medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional story teller, verse-maker and music composer, employed by a patron (such as a monarch or noble), to commemorate one or more of the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities. (Wiki Definition)

Bards kept track of the history of their people and would observe humanity and sing about it; whether local or foreign they would tell stories, counsel against wrong behavior and sing about the consequences of attitude.

Shakespeare would not have been far removed from the Bards. The Bard order having become troupes of performers and artist guilds over time would have a lasting effect on musical story-telling. I am personally very fond of the telling a story in music!

It is often called the language of the soul and the best example I can think of is David playing skillfully for King Saul to drive evil spirits away and refresh him (I Sam 16:14-23).

In fact, according to an Assyrian bas-relief, King Sennacherib asked for a tribute from King Hezekiah in the form of male and female musicians. It seems that they were first-class performers BUT David stood out among all virtuosos!

David’s divinely inspired compositions excelled in many ways. His songs include both contemplative and pastoral psalms. They range from expressions of praise to narrative history, from the joys of the grape harvest to the pomp of the palace inauguration, from reminiscences to hope, from request to entreaty.

We must remember man is not the inventor of music but rather the mouthpiece of history, stories, news, emotions and will; a messenger of words in rhythm and tone that can affect the course of things to come.

Yes, music can alter our moods and even Neurologists have discovered that music activates many unexpected areas of the brain like emotion and memory. Even Crazy_Eyes can vouch how one of his songs drove several women wild with anticipation. I will ask him share the details with you if you and him so desire.

Here is a good example of a song with story telling including a warning in a Bard-like fashion and based on one of my favorite books: The Pilgrims Progress.

Take a listen as he tells you about a place and an experience.

Nate Currin – Vanity Fair

Also thebuddha is a great storyteller who engages our senses with his words and  expresses the emotions of others in his music so well!

Speaking of which, I have missed his storytelling these last few days and I hope he is okay? I hope he brings us a good story!

Until next time, keep the story alive and sing me a song!


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Measuring Sound and Your Voice

Yes, you produce sound or noise every day!

The difference between your sounds is caused by intensity, pitch, and tone.

What is Intensity?

Your sound is a wave and waves have amplitude, or height. Amplitude is a measure of energy, how much oomph you put into it! The more oomph you give the higher the amplitude.

When energy increases, Intensity increases. Simple, hey?

The smaller the space the less energy is required to achieve the same Intensity. We tend to call higher intensity sounds, louder. Loudness cannot be assigned a specific number, but intensity can.

Intensity is measured in decibels.

The human ear is more sensitive to high sounds, so the next time you are stranded, twist your knickers and make the highest sound you can. You will be heard as this type of sound will travel further. That is why we scream for help when in trouble as  a natural reflex that is effective in getting attention! REEEEEEEEEEE……

Decibels and intensity, however, do not depend on the ear. They can be measured with an instruments. A whisper is about 10 decibels while thunder is 100 decibels.

Listening to loud sounds, sounds with intensities above 85 decibels, may damage your ears. If a noise is loud enough, over 120 decibels, it can be painful to listen to. One hundred and twenty decibels is the threshold of pain but thebuddha may dissagree on this.

Sounds and their Decibels

Source of SoundDecibels

Boeing 747

Civil Defense Siren130
Jack Hammer120
Rock Concert110
Lawn Mower100
Garbage Disposal80
Vacuum Cleaner70
Normal Conversation60
Light Traffic50
Background Noise40

What is Pitch

Pitch helps us distinguish between low and high sounds.

Pitch depends on the frequency of a sound wave. Frequency is the number of wavelengths that fit into one unit of time. Remember that a wavelength is equal to one compression and one rarefaction. Frequencies are measured in hertz. One hertz is equal to one cycle of compression and rarefaction per second.

High sounds have high frequencies and low sounds have low frequencies. Thunder has a frequency of only 50 hertz, while a whistle can have a frequency of 1,000 hertz.

The human ear is able to hear frequencies of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Some animals can hear sounds at even higher frequencies. Sounds that are too high for us to hear are called ultrasonic.

What is Tone & Harmonics ?

When a source vibrates, it actually vibrates with many frequencies at the same time. Each of those frequencies produces a wave. Sound quality depends on the combination of different frequencies of sound waves.

How is this knowledge useful in everyday life?

The more harmonics a sound has, the fuller the quality the sound is. All the different overtones of a sound help give it a unique pattern. This is especially true for a person’s voice. Everybody in the world has a different voice print, or pattern of overtones within a certain range.

What specific voice type or vocal range do I have?

If you do not know what your range is then you need to find out. It is important to know what range your voice is in to perform songs confidently.

It’s best use a five-note scale, singing up and down the entire scale until your voice cracks or you cannot hit a note. It is recommended that you sing the scale with a vowel sound — try “ah” — making sure to pick a comfortable middle pitch to start the scale on. From there, move your voice up a pitch. It is generally recommended to scale up in half notes — a small step musically — so you can ascertain exactly which notes you can and can no longer hit. 

Here is a Two Minute Video on how to find your range.


The famous French vocal teacher Tarneaud defines the typical ranges of the four voice types as follows: Sopranos can typically sing B3 to F6
ltos perform D3 to A5
Tenors belt A2 to A5
Bass singers rumble out B1 to G5.

Basically, Sopranos and Tenors Sing High — Altos and Basses Sing Low, simples

Congratulations you have now discovered your Range and how we measure sound!

So keep the sound alive within your range and watch your intensity while delivering good pitch! You all are such good students here… 🙂

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Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.

That right there is a title. It’s a good title, as far as titles go. It tells you exactly what I’m gonna do! (It’s probably a horrible lie.)

Today, I’m in the mood to write something. I feel pretty good, actually. I was even able to smoke some pot. Damned right and about time!

That was probably a bad idea, ’cause I haven’t been able to smoke much lately and imbibed a ton of it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I now see that I didn’t think my plan through very well.

After much inner-discussion, I narrowed down the list of things I was going to write about. Trust me, you don’t actually want to know the subjects that were cut from the list, but they had very little to do with guitar and things like fake Grange Hall conspiracies were on the list.

It’s probably important for me to tell you the complete truth. It is that I don’t actually yet know what guitar I’m gonna tell you about. Not a clue, really. I’m pretty sure I’ll think of something!

Hmm… I should do a series on guitars that were horrible, horrible ideas. I’m probably not gonna, but I should do that.

But… The plan is to write about a guitar. I can’t actually say that’s what I’m gonna do, but I remain hopeful! So, get in the car! We’re going on a grand adventure!

~*hands you a rusty screwdriver, half-eaten fruit roll-up, and an old film canister filled with pennies*~

Bring those, you’ll know when it’s time to use them!
Continue reading “Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.”

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I’m doing smashing, thanks!

Today, I don’t even really hurt that much. I haven’t even eaten a pain pill yet today. My body doesn’t feel that bad and, at this moment in time and if I’m doing it properly, my spleen doesn’t even feel swollen!

I’m still devoid of energy, but I feel pretty damned good – comparably speaking, of course. I feel like I can constantly use a nap, except I can’t actually sleep. I’ve never been a big fan of sleeping and my body doesn’t seem to like doing so. But, I feel like I could sleep for days.

It’s reached the point where it’s damned annoying, to be quite blunt about it. I will deal with it, but not without complaint. I’m grateful that I’m at least not sore. Even my throat isn’t feeling bad!

I never did get the promised rash. Trust me. I looked everywhere for it. I’m pretty disappointed about not getting the rash. I was told I’d get a rash. I got no rash. I feel deprived.

And now for what might be the most inappropriate story you’ll read all day. I was going to share it last night, but I was on a tablet. Today, I shall share it! I probably shouldn’t, but I’m gonna. It’s what I do!

~makes spooky intro music sounds~

Last night, I went and watched a movie with the missus and the eldest hoodlum. It was one they picked and I don’t even remember the title. They enjoyed it and I partook.

Midway through the movie, the eldest hoodlum started coughing and was saying her throat hurt. The conversation follows and went something like this:

EH: *cough cough* Ow! My throat hurts. I probably have mono!
Helga: No. you don’t have mono.
EH: Do too have mono!
Helga: No, you don’t. David hasn’t been kissing you.
EH: Well, not when you’re watching!
Both: Cackles of laughter as they both felt this was the funnies thing ever.
TheBuddha: You’re both incorrigible. Real life needs an ‘ignore’ button.

In this house, we don’t actually always talk about music, math, and science. Sometimes, I’m surrounded by lunatics that crack bad jokes. Discipline, order, and deep thought are actually just as rare at my house as they probably are at your house, maybe even more rare!

With that story now out of my system, I shall move on! (The two online people who will appreciate that story know it’s for them.)

I was pondering what to write today. This is a lengthy process when there’s no reasonable way for me to smoke weed, which is a more complicated problem than you might imagine! I’ll explain…

If I cough, my throat will start hurting again. If my throat starts hurting again, I’ll want to take opiates. If I take opiates, I’ll get even more lethargic. I’m tired of being lethargic. There’s also the whole opiate abuse thing and opiate abuse leads to not pooping. I kinda like pooping. So, I’m not smoking pot. (Trust me, you don’t actually want to see the rest of what goes on inside my head.)

To write the article, I pondered the many ways to say that I’m feeling better today. Eventually, I recalled the turn of phrase, “I’m doing smashing!” In that case, it’s used to indicate that they’re doing well.

This seemed to remind me of something. It seemed like it might be important. I knew, beyond reasonable doubt, that I’d remembered this for a reason – and that I’d probably written it down.

So, I cracked open my “ArticleIdeas.txt” (which is not the most clever name, I admit) and scrolled through. After some distractions and mis-clicks, I finally found what I was looking for and the heavens burst open with sound as much rejoicing was had.

A couple of months ago (it has been that long?), I was smoking pot and talking to PMYB2 on a site known as “Poal.” (It’s a nice place to visit, though I’d suggest you put on an asbestos suit and have thick skin.)

In that conversation PMYB2, I was talking about how the universe runs on smashing. It does, too. The universe runs on smashing, not Dunkin.

Once upon a time, I envisioned turning that conversation into a 3000 word essay and explaining it all. I had a pretty good idea of where I’d take that and the memories of that intended article came flooding back. It was something that I’d put on that list, ’cause it was maybe a good article – and PMYB2 had been there to suggest such.

Reality is not often nearly as awesome as my dreams. Reality would be much more awesome if it was, but this universe cares not for justice.

Which is a rather absurd way to say, “I ain’t doing it.” I’m not doing it now. I’m not doing it tomorrow. I’m never going to turn that into a decent essay. Nope… ‘Snot gonna happen.

So, what better day to just pretty much cut, paste, edit, and pretty up that comment and turn it into an article? I can’t think of a better day. I feel pretty damned good but haven’t got much energy. (Speaking of which, the lack of energy makes it exceedingly difficult to concentrate. I think this bout of mono has given me greater understanding of the maladies that other people sometimes suffer from.)

That’d be what you’re getting today. It also serves the purpose of finally getting that entry out of my ArticleIdeas.txt file. Side note, it’s probably the least efficient organization system in the world, but it’s the one I have. You’re just getting a glimpse at a conversation from a couple of months ago.

Without further ado…
Continue reading “I’m doing smashing, thanks!”

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