Monday, July 31, 2006

Covering the Pixies

I decided to add another cover song to my personal set list from one of my all-time favorite bands, the godfathers of Indie music, the Pixies. I love their sound, uniqueness and impact on the music world.

I'm learning how to play Here Comes Your Man on my acoustic. While learning the song over the weekend I quickly discovered that it's a very complex to pick, strum and sing at the same time. It's easy to sing during the strumming part but very hard to sing during the trademark picking section of the chorus. It kind of feels like juggling knifes on a tight-rope, requiring balancing and precision with the split focus on two different instruments, my voice and the guitar.
I'm starting off by focusing my attention on the guitar part first. I think I got it. There are a few tricky double notes in there, but once you learn where they are it's smooth sailing. The signing part is a little tricky during the chorus, it took me a few times to learn where Frank Black chimes in.

This is going to be a very cool song to cover as a solo on acoustic. I'm excited to get the whole piece down. I want to have at least 20 songs down before I approach a band to be their frontperson. A long... Long ways to go from now, hopefully by early spring I'll be ready.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My New Favorite Band

Wolfmother Rocks!!!!

Black Sabbath is reborn down unda.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fire...Fire on the Mountain

Cough...Cough...Sniff..(spitting)...Cough (rubbing eyes)

Wow. Smoky out there. The mountains are barely visible from the fires up in the forests.

Didn't end up backstage Ween on Tuesday, but we had a friggin' great time. They really did a good job rockin' and shockin' the Les Schwab Amp. Never thought I'd see the day. Had a great time hangin with Luka and her hubby. Hopefully it opens some new doors for other acts to come to town. Most of the artist say that they are surprised by the audiences they encounter in Bend.

Cough...Cough...Sniff...(spitting)...Cough (rubbing eyes)

I've got a long way to go before playin' live solo gigs but the first step was taken, I started writing my first song yesterday. I'm writing my tunes the same way I write a story. Starting out with a title then developing a story that rides along the theme of the title. My first song is titled, Ruthless Apprehension.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dean Ween at the Dirty D

We got a call last night from a couple, the same ones who scored us tonight's VIP/backstage wEEn tickets, that Dean Ween was chillin' with his entourage at the Dirty D&D, downtown Bend. Since we live close we decided to go. He was sitting at the center table and we sat at the bar.

We decided to wait a while and do the cool the man a drink and leave him alone to enjoy his night in Bend. We got him a shot of Patron. When it was delivered we didn't turn around, we just kept on drinking our beer, which turned out to be a good deal cause it was $3 micro Monday.

When we got up to go home I turned around giving Dean the horns and he quickly returned the gesture, thanking us for the shot of one of the smoothest tequillas around.

He'll be cranking up his amp tonight at Les Schwab amphitheater while his band will shock the crap out of this very conservative area. I'm interested to see if they tone down their traditional performance of profanity.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Road Rage

This weekend we drove to Eugene over the McKenzie Pass from Bend to attend a college friend's wedding. We had a wonderful time. Stayed at a cool B&B and did some wine tasting.

It's true... Heat and long distance driving don't mix with temperaments. Generally, I'm a calm driver, but if you are driving slow in front of me, then speed up so I can't pass you in when I can, either on long straight aways or passing zones, expect to be ridden by a mad man.

It sucked. This chump in front of us obviously wanted to be in front of the driving pack. Every time a passing opportunity came up, the car's speed strangely crept up to 65 miles an hour. It would've been fine if they continued on, leaving the rest of us behind, but when they were out of the passing zone they slowed down to under the speed limit.

Now I remember what I'm missing by riding my bike to work and carpooling.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Backstage WEEN!!

Holy dung-beetle from the clouds above! YOU friggin' MISSED me this time!! Ha ha, I was surprised to read this morning that our favorite concert going couple scored us all VIP tickets and backstage passes to WEEEEEEN.

I'm stunned and estatic about the news.

Last time I went to the concert, I went to see The Flaming Lips in a gorrilla suit. Any suggestions for the Ween Brother's encounter?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Burnt Beer Belly Weekend

We had a great weekend! Went to Prineville Reservoir and met up with some good friends for a camping/boating weekend. Loved it! The short vacation reminded me of when I was a kid when every summer we'd go to through the Oregon Outback to get to the uncrowded side of the water. Now it's paved and a little more crowded, but we were the only ones on our particular part of the bank.

It's nice now that we got the camping bug that we now have an air mattress to sleep on. Sleeping on rocks and twigs doesn't hurt as much. Our dog, Charlie, is not the best camper, restless while we're inside the tent and he has learned how to unzip it while we're asleep.

He also got over his fear of swimming. I might be part to blame for that, chucking him into the river. I know...I know...I'm easing him back into it, don't go calling animal abuse on me.

Our friends were very gracious when we decided to stay another night on Saturday...Sharing their food with us.

Over all, fun times proven by a trophy-burnt beer belly.

I turned 34 today...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Artists helping Artists

So I earlier mentioned I had a modeling opportunity for a local stock photography company named obsidian Stock.

This photo was taken by a very talented photographer Lance, owner of the company. He arranged his friends to meet up at Volcano Vineyard member's bar in downtown Bend to develop both stock and portfolio material. The other photographer, Simone, who is also an owner of Obsidian Stock, was also taking photos.

I decided it was a golden opportunity for me to get some shots for future use in my press kit, web site and posters when I'm actively seeking gigs in local venues as a musician. I asked them if I could bring my new guitar and they agreed, saying that it would create a scene of live entertainment while the other folks drank wine.

Now if people want to buy a photo of a guy playing guitar at a wine bar, I'm their man.

The funny thing is I literally pulled this guitar out of the box before the shoot and was simply trying to remember some of the chords I memorized from my years of playing in the past. The guitar is a gift from my lovely wife and dad, probably the best gift I ever got for a birthday present.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baldy and the Full Moon

After work my wife and I decided to go to our favorite BBQ restaurant, Baldy's. "Baldy," has won close to fifty awards for some of the best ribs and sauce in the nation. But you'd never know it because he's out taking drink orders and pouring water for his patrons. We sat outside on the side porch where my good friend Johnny was playing drums for a local folk band named Little Fish. The band and Baldy did a great job taking it's Bend diners to Texas.

Johnny is a great drummer. He's the jam band/Dead Head type but often veers to bluegrass and folk music. On the side he's going to practice with the bassist to do some Jam Band grooves. "People would never go out and pay for a band like that here," he joked.

I'm not so sure about that theory. Maybe at the local motorcycle bar or at one of the beer pubs on the west or east side.

With a full belly we went home and I sat on my porch playing my guitar as the moon rose. Every once in a while a person would point up at me on my balcony. I finally got a Wilco song down and am jumping next into the Jayhawks. I'm glad that I am doing this on my own again. No rush. No anger for missing a fret or key. No expectations. No drama. Just me and the full moon.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Okay... so that SUCKED

I arrived a little early to practice last night and played till' bout 12:30 in the morning. They weren't that friendly from the get-go. Never seemed to get on the good side and felt like I was in the way.

So here it is...the band that invited me to rehearse with them has decided to cancel their invitation to me for future practice sessions, saying that I'm stalling their progress, frustrating them. I'm not upset about it at all, it just ended an unnecessary streak of frustration on my and their part. But we're cool.

The good thing is from that journey I learned what types of songs I sound good at. So it gave me a good direction to move forward with. I'm quickly learning that the personal dynamic of the band members is a huge factor...almost the sole driving factor of how things work out on stage. So I've set out to learn songs that really mean something to me. I'm covering all the songs of a disk that Shannon sent me after we first met. Maybe after I learn those songs I find some local folks with similar musical taste.

Meanwhile, I've posted another ad on Bend's Craigslist.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My dog has a MySpace Page

I was surprised to find out that my dog, Charlie, has created his own MySpace page. So that's what he does when we're not home. I hope he doesn't get stalked by some Internet preditor.

The Rock Porno

I realized yesterday that if Rock n' Roll was a porno, I'd be the fluffer, in charge of getting the action ready but not the star of the show.

But for now I'm fine with it. You see...The band I auditioned for a couple weeks ago are very happy to have me around, belting out the lyrics, keeping them in timing and cuing them on solos and outros. They told me that they are still looking and to not take it personal. I kind of did when they said I'm good enough for practice but they are looking for someone else for a live gig, but I realized that this is a golden opportunity for me to learn how to work with a band without the lead singer, the-band-wouldn't-survive-without-me factor.

I'm going focus on getting better and better at singing and playing my new guitar. Later I'll start my own thing, giving someone else the "fluffer" duties.

Next practice is this Sunday evening.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Whatta Surprise!

I feel like a little kid! My wife and my dad got together and got me a guitar for my upcoming birthday. I'm so excited. The last time I had a guitar was when I was in the Navy. I found a guitar laying in a gomi pile in Japan(instead of garage sales, they put their junk in a pile on the street and if nobody picks it up, the Japanese government picks it up and re-sells it). I loved the guitar. It really helped me escape from the dry military life and delivered me to a very colorful world of music.

Now I have a brand new guitar of my own. Last night I remembered some of the chords I learned before and I checked out songs that I can learn in the future.

Last night I had the opportunity to show off my new guitar. My friends at Obsidian Stock Photography were taking some photos of the new winery in Bend called Volcano Vineyards...Great wine and great shop. We gathered around the bar while the photographers took stock photos. They also took a few photos of me playing the guitar, as if I was the entertainer for the wine bar. In reality, you won't see that happening anytime in the near future, but perhaps in the distant.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bicycles Invade Bend

This 4th of July I was flying around in my mini-helicopter (very similar to the one in Mad Max) over downtown Bend, Oregon and I spotted this flock of bicycles forming a ultra street possie, of which both surprised and inspired me.
I maneuvered my mini-copter to do a tight circle in the sky and caught the attention of a few bikers, then they all began to cheer when I took my hands off the steering wheel and covered my eyes. They all agreed to my mega-phone cry to stop and pose for this photo.

I landed near the courthouse and was very happy when I reviewed the photos.