Category music philosophy and self reflection

observation #1234 -or- Assumptions v.s. Applications

I have been having lots of trouble mounting any electronic pads on my chrome drum rack tubes
The tubes are very strong but, as a result, conduct a lot of vibration
So much that it transfers to other pads mounted on the tube
Simply put- If you hit one pad, it makes the other ones trigger

I have avoided using electronic pad rack tubes because they seemed to weak to support all the other things I wanted to mount on them but then I noticed that speaker stand tubes were the same circumference as the rack tubes but as light/thin as the electronic tubes
Based on that judgement, I assumed they wouldn’t be able to handle the weight of mounting drums on them

I have been re-building the electronic kit and was going to mount a PA speaker on the speaker stand
As I was lifting this bulky and heavy speaker on...

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The Rockula Update- Post Apocalypse Tour

V Mercy from Apocalypse Theater posted that he needed someone to drive a second vehicle for their tour and I had nothing else to do so I volunteered
V asked me if I would do video and I thought that would be a great idea
So, I packed up the video rig and headed to Kansas City Mo
The first show was at Davys Uptown Ramblers club and featured Apocalypse Theatre, Mercury mad and a burlesque performance by The Bustle Review
I had my screen off to the side and that was cool because I was just figuring out what I was going to do for the show
Here’s a playlist of the burlesque performances

and individual APOX and Merc shows

Next was Topeka Ks and a club called the Boobie Trap
Some of the burlesque performers came along for this show too
This was a smaller gig and had less going on, so I could ...

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Busking Downtown Dallas 3/14/12

In every new busking situaion, there is one factor you always have to consider
“Will the cops/business owners around this spot have a problem with this?”
I had eliminated this issue by scouting the location and actually asking the police if they allow busking
So, the rest of my anxieties (which turn into excuses not to make an effort) were about semantics
In this one case, the spot was Pegasus Plaza at Main & Akard in Downtown Dallas
My immediate thoughts were that it will be hard to park near that spot and it will be expensive
So, I secured all of the gear to a 2 wheel dolly and used my cymbal bag with backpack straps, drove to the Inwood DART rial station
There was no problem getting on the train and I made it to Akard station in no time
The station was only a street over so the trek was...

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The Rockula Update -or- Street Busking Mark 2- Electric Boogaloo

Street performance has become more and more of a priority
Up until last weekend, I had just played my drums on the street but last weekend, I got to bring a full elelctronic configuration
I got permission from July Alley to use their electricity
I was expecting to set up over at Kettle Art (run by the eternally cool Frank Campagna) which had a different set of parameters to consider so I didn’t plan on getting electricity to MY SPOT
I had to locate some tape at the last minute to tape down the electrical cord
Saturday I brought some rubber slip mats

This was the first time I have ever gotten to put my electronic ideas to the test and I think I did fairly well
The setup consisted of the SPDS looping pad, a Kaoss pad and the BR864 multi-track as well as the Brock Spock electric Harp guitar (...

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The Rockula Update 12/19/11 -or- A large number of small victories instead of one all encompasing triumph

The last few weeks have been productive
A few weeks ago, I decided to get off my ass and pull my drums out on the street in Deep Ellum
Laziness was one of the factors that kept me from doing it but the biggest one was fear of all the negative variables that were swirling in my head
Would the cops hassle me?
Would someone try to rob me or start a fight? (this is Ellum)
After getting out there and doing it, I saw that none of those fears were correct
Not only that, but I never would have thought that I could play drums for 5 to 6 hours
My recent drumming-stamina issues have been a huge issue and I succeeded in adapting my playing for the long haul
I have an idea where I want to take this and will address it in a sec

Speaking of drumming stamina issues, I have isolated two of the main causes ...

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100% Positive busking experience

My negative experiences with busking in Minneapolis were pressing heavily on me as I lugged my gear to Deep Ellum to claim the spot I had scoped out
I was worried about the noise of the drumkit
I was worried about getting a ticket

I found a parking spot very close to my spot
It was around the corner but not so far that I would have to spend more than 15/20 seconds with my eyes off my equipment
The parking lot across the street wanted ten dollars
I asked one of the businesses next to the spot if they would allow me to plug in an extension cord for future electonic drum explorations but they were afraid of getting a ticket from the city (which is fair)
I REALLY need to figure a way to get portable power on the street

I set up and started playing at about 8pm and it didn’t take long until Tur...

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Artists that claim a singular vision rarely provide spectacular results -or- Finding a current that suits me

I have always been very smug and took it personally when being rejected for someone else’s musical project
Most of the time, it is because I see ways that my talents can improve the product
The person trying to recruit me to help produce their project gets threatened and goes for someone with less ideas and more ability to do what they’re told
Nevermind that they have a mediocre visionand inferior product
As long as they dumb it down and dress the idea with the appropriate genre specific clothing, they will be sure to get lots of local gigs
They might even go on tour and play for the exact same people in different cities all over the country (if their day jobs will be waiting for them when they get back)
But all they will ever be is a mediocre entity feeding with mediocre aspirations

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For Me and only Me

October is an excuse to try to work as much as possible
My focus has moved from PyroPlasticFlow to other outside interests
Halloween is perfrct for the video DJ thing so I thought I’d do that for a while
The experience with the metal band, although I ended up getting screwed, was a good excercise in playing for other people instead of just for myself
I have several bands on deck and am looking to see what sticks
I have been giving these bands my best so far and it makes me think back on the way I have felt for a very long time

Playing for yourself is the one answer you always get from musicians and artists when they’re asked the inevitable “What’s the secret of success?” question during the interview
It appears that I have been taking that advice a little too far
I have given my best to ev...

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Why Disco still sucks

There’s a part in Frank Zappa’s concert film “Baby Snakes” where he addresses his dismay at Perter Frampton and his recent image change with the song “I’m In You”
In all fairness, Frampton kinda got tricked into taking a sexy pic at the end of a photo shoot and the next thing you know, it’s his next album cover
But the lead in to the Zappa rant started with “Some of you already have those cute little T-shirts on that say DISCO SUCKS. That’s not all that sucks…”
The way it came across to me is that Zappa wasn’t just addressing Disco the music but Disco the industry
Disco the music was usually played by very accomplished session musicians including real live orchestral musicians
Yes kids, there was a day when you had to use real musicians
Not to say that programming is The Devil and it’s no...

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Personal Outdated Sensebilities part 3 (single minded v.s. open minded)

“Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean I failed”
This is the new lesson I have learned due to my latest musical endeavor

I recently got involved with some musicians that asked me to write drums and record for them
Things didn’t work out the way I wanted and I basically had to realize that it was time to cut my losses
Normally, I would be coming down hard on myself right now for failing yet again but I approached this situation with a new concept
“If I fail this time, it won’t be because I didn’t work hard enough”

There were a whole bunch of red flags the whole way throughout this process but I stuck it through until I was convinced that the effort was futile
I tolerated someone else’s ego and even managed to navigate some pretty choppy waters thanks to “Zen Rockula”
Situations where...

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