Saturday, February 21, 2009

I recorded something!

I spent a few hours in the studio tonight...this is the result, a song I've "cleverly" titled "Miner Fusion":
Download it
Stream it

More information about the tune (the nerdy info) can be found here.

I think it sounds pretty cool, even though it's just one of my instrumental experiments.

Last week I also wrote and recorded a song about a son's love for his dad called "My Old Man", but I haven't quite finished it yet, so I'm not posting it.

You can always find my latest music at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gut check

I've heard this phrase at other times, mostly in the context of sports, but I've really done a musical "gut check" and decided that there are ways that I do my job as a singer/bassist that I view as wrong. It's always a challenge to be an instrumentalist and front a band, I think moreso on bass, personally, but in all cases it can be a real challenge to balance getting everything right with putting on a good show.

For this reason, I've always carried a meticulously-kept lyric book and a nondescript-but-tough music stand to my shows. I have an incredible tendency toward brain farts when I'm concentrating so hard on multiple things at a time.

The truth is, though, I do know just about everything that's in the book, and I rarely need to look at it. I actually keep the book in line with my bass' neck so that it just looks like I'm looking at my hand when I'm eyeing the lyric sheets.

I also like being able to cover songs that I haven't done enough times to have memorized completely. It really expands the repertoire without the investment of too much time in rehearsal for things that aren't a regular part of the show.

There are a lot of musician Nazis out there who are against music stands in all circumstances - that you should have everything memorized. Most of them are not singers, and most of them do not have to know over 100 songs.

Even seasoned pros who wrote their own songs (like Michael Stipe, for instance) will use lyric sheets from time to time to get themselves through older songs they don't do all the time. And that's usually bands who in their entire history have around 100 songs. I've learned over 400 songs for the different bands I've played in, not all on vocals, but it amazes me how easy it is for me to remember the intricate musical details of a song even when just about all the lyrics escape me.

And then there are songs that I played for a short period of time that I've internalized so well that I can play them without any assistance.

So (sorry for the roundabout way I've arrived at this), I've performed a musical gut check. I CAN know everything and not need a sheet to help me. I AM capable of it.

I just need to make it happen, and it shouldn't be all that hard. It's just a matter of playing the songs enough times for the arrangement and lyrics and my bass parts to merge together to reinforce each other as one solid memory.

This is why I can still do "Surrender" any time I want, even though we only played that for about 6 months back in 1999-2000. Or why I was able to get through "Centerfold" with no lyrics at practice one time. Simply experience. I put in the time with those songs, and they were songs I already loved.

I can do that with everything on our list, and I will, and I think it's time to take the band (Roman Holiday) in the direction of putting songs together as part of a bunch of mini-shows - rehearse transitions and ways to polish what is already a pretty damn good product. If we do this successfully, then we can move to bringing in some more elements and expanding our sound.

Thanks for your patience.