Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Back in the Game...

I haven't blogged since 2010. Why not start again? Divorced, laid off, Obama again, Obamacare, economy crap, GOP shutdowns, music industry concerns, getting an album done by April 2014, finding my John Medeski for Alternator Jones, engaged, wedding planning, TV Dudes growth, becoming an uncle, touring with other acts..It's been a busy 3 years. This post is really a test to see if my blog is broadcasting to where I want it to go. Anyway I'm back to blogging... To quote Public Enemy... "I got so much trouble on my mind, I refuse to lose..."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Open Thread

Since I got my laptop stolen, I've been doing some soul searching. I looked at the theft as almost the universe tell me "You need a clean slate, you need to re-evaluate your processes, you need a reboot & rebirth."

This rethinking is manifesting itself in my bass playing. Last night was the 1st rehearsal for The Good Foot, A Live Funk Mashup. This is a wonderful project set up by my man Rick McNulty (I will link to his great radio shows later, I'm blogging from my iPhone now). I brought Clyde ('78 Jazz) & the new kid on the block my '09 P Bass ( I want to call him Paul). We are doing live mashups of Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, The Skulls, James Brown, Bobby Bird and a bunch of other folks.

As much as I love Clyde, I think Paul will be on the gig. I will be breaking out the vintage Roland Jet Phaser and the MuTron. Paul's thicker sound works better. It's the first time I will be using Paul primarily for a gig.

Going foward, I think I'll be using both on gigs a lot. This requires me buying a double bass gig bag (M Case) and a 2 channel bass amp. I've been shopping around and the amp I'm drooling over is the Mesa Boogie Titan 12. It has 2 separate channels, a lot of power, versitlity and made in the USA.
As far as cabinets, I love the way Bertelinis(sp) sound. I love 4x10 cabinets because I like precise, yet deep sound of 4 10" speakers. I like my bass sound to have definition. Actually, the sound I go for is more of a philsophical sound, than physical.

The sound is bold, strong yet flexible. The color for the sound I see is forest green. Don't ask me why, it the color I see when I close my eyes in the groove and the sound is trancending my fingers, my heart, my body.

My favorite music sounds are:

1. Cannonball Adderley's Alto Sax
2. John Lennon & Paul McCartney singing together-harmony & unison.
3. Jimi Hendrix's guitar sound.
4. Vernon Reid's guitar sound.
5. Stevie Wonder's voice.
6. Aretha Franklin's voice.
7. Marcus Miller's bass sound
8. Larry Graham's bass sound
9. James Jameeson's bass sound
10. Paul McCartney's voice.

In future post, I will write more extensively and provide examples of these sounds.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Well today was an interesting day.

It started with perhaps a great opportunity. It came so quickly, it threw me for a loop. Basically, contact made early Tuesday morning, reply Tuesday afternoon & meeting today. More on this later. This was the good (will hopefully turn into GREAT!)

A band I auditioned for picked someone over me to join the band. The band Boy+Kite is a melodic guitar texture band. I really enjoy their music and think they have something special. I will support them. It wasn't a natural fit. We all got along, I could play the music, but it wasn't perfect. I audition twice, so at least I made it a hard decision. It will hurt if they blow up. I've hit a real dry spell for gigs. I haven't played out since March. This was the bad, but it wasn't that bad.

The Funk Wagon, my ride, was a victim of a smash and grab. The passenger side window was broken and my laptop was stolen. And it was raining. This is ugly, but I can handle it. All the files are backed up, my demos, my music collection, my writing, etc. Of course I'm worried about my personal stuff. I will be vigilant about protecting my passwords, ID and whatnot.

I always get philosophical in June. I look at today as all opportunities-the contact, the rejection from the band (I find the right musicians for QOBT?, produce a friend? Get a big name gig?) and the loss of the laptop (clean slate, a sign from the universe to streamline my digital life, a new laptop!?)

Who knows? This guy always knew. I take my cue for Jimi Hendrix "They don't know, like I know.."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Just Can't Quit You! I'm Back! & New Music (To Me) Tuesday.

Back to the Blog.

Back to writing about my love, frustration, obsession with everything music and being a musician. Where have I been? Well...

I auditioned for Honeybrowne and didn't get the gig.

Getting gigs are not just based on talent. Like any other job, there are a multitude of issues why a person is chosen. This process was not the most professional. Fred Andrews emailed me tracks to learn, then didn't contact me for a for a week. Then he called me on a Sunday afternoon as he and the band were driving back from a road gig. It was around 12:30pm and he wanted to met for the audition at 2pm. I asked him if 2:30 was ok. I got there, played the 3 tunes he sent and had the audition cut early because Mike (a drummer I played with in Wendy Colonna's band in the early aughts) had to leave. Fred then ask me some questions about my working situation. He had to leave and so did the guitarist Cale. Derek, keys & accordion player, was left and I had a great conversation about his main project Alpha Rev featuring Casey McPherson. I knew Casey when I first moved to Austin and was a fan of his band Endochine.

I felt comfortable with everyone personally and musically. The vibe I picked up from Fred was that he was concerned about my day gig getting in the way of the touring. But you know what? I don't know because

I never heard from Fred again.

I understand I wasn't the right fit, but to not call or email or anything left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I had to email my man Mike to find out they got some young guy with no attachments. Mike was disappointed in Fred because Fred told him he was gonna call everyone. Oh well...

I'm still trying to get the Quart of Blood Technique of the ground.

Finding musicians is hard. I was pretty detailed in what I was looking for. I had a few emails, but nothing panned out. My man, Chris Trafton is eager to play drums. I was trying to schedule rehearsals with him and Sam Powell, keys player of Soul Track Mind, but since they have other gigs we couldn't get together. I did get offered a demo gig at Yellow Dog Studios for SXSW. I played it with Sam and Raymond Johnson from Soul Track Mind. We were the demo band for the CLASP system. since we didn't have a drummer Chris Estes, the inventor of CLASP. Filled in on drums. Not bad for 1 take of each tune-All Blues & Mercy Mercy Mercy

Endless Analog's Chris Estes demonstrates CLASP from Kelly Kerr on Vimeo.

While putting the band together, I've got a logo designed:

I started a myspace, reverbnation, twitter and facebook fan page. They are still in "beta" so I haven't gotten them to where I'm ready to release them. By the end of the month, I promise.

Mostly, I've been writing and arranging. That takes a lot of time. I have a meager studio at best and I'm a a meager engineer at best. Plus, I have hundreds of cassette demos I'm going through and digitizing. (Don't get me started on digitizing my media-I got my old radio show Crosstown Traffic, reel to reel interviews, VHS, pictures... ugh) I promise to have my 1st batch of demos ready for the public by the end of the month. I was offered a weekly gig at TC's Lounge, but it got booked because of my line-up issues. Trafton will be back from touring with Guy Forsythe and Carolyn Wonderland. Sam is ready and he suggested a saxophone player for the project. I'm still looking for a guitarist, though Sam is working on his left hand. I might play guitar while he covers the bass.

I've been auditioning for bands & got offered a project that is hitting in the fall. More on that later this week.
Everyone needs a bass player, but quality gigs are hard to find. I'm putting together my music resume, starting a myspace and facebook fanpage about me. Same as the band, I will have stuff done at the end of the month.

My Clark Kent got switch to a different department-not of my choosing.

The transition has been interesting and different. No pay raise. To be honest, I liked my old Clark Kent in marketing-I was the competitive media analyst. Now I'm in advertising as the business development analyst. Jury still out as I feel my way around. Plus, I'm trying to get consulting work and working on my Clark Kent business plan. Like everyone else, it's about the dolla, dolla bills ya'll...

Catching up on TV shows

I rewatched The Wire, got heavily into The Pacific, Treme, Justified, 24, Law & Order, Life & Times of Tim, Archer, Damages,..no I never watched a single episode of Lost. The great work on TV has really inspired me creative juices, a reason I've been writing so much music. Oh, this little thing called the NBA playoffs as well.

If you see the left hand column, you know I'm a twitoholic

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of stuff (I have a ton of pics from SXSW, I bought a lot of music, attended dozens of shows, been reading a lot of music, social media, TV, economic, tech blogs, streamed the San Francisco Music Tech conference and made new twitter friends, world events, national events, etc). I will get to it. I have a lot on my mind. My birthday is June 30 and this month I always reassess my life & goals.

Now, let's back to my favorite thing to write about on Tuesdays-new music I bought. This week I went to Waterloo Records and Cheapo Discs.

From Cheapo Discs:
Mojo Presents: The Score Compilation-$3.95

I've been listening to a lot of soundtracks lately. This disc has some classic themes on it. Favs-Get Carter, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Truck Turner, A Fistfull of Dollars, Johnny Too Bad.

From Waterloo Records:

Booker T & the MGs-The Definitive Soul Collection-$10.99

You can never have too much soul. 2 Discs for the price of 1.

Frank Zappa-Strictly Commercial-The Best of Frank Zappa-$6.99

Great primer if you are new to Zappa. I was never that heavy into him, but always admired his musical vision. When I was in Rock Stardom & the Fashion Jerks, we played a killer cover of "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ocean Size: The Search Begins...

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar
Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more!

"The Ocean"-Led Zeppelin

It's time I tread into the wild wild sea of Craigslist. I need to find musicians in Austin Texas.

If I was a rich guy, I would hire the best available. But really bands are like any other group activity, chemistry is key. Usually a controlled volatility. No matter how much money is paid or how great the musicians are individually, they have to play and sound good together. They all gotta have the groove/philosophy of the music of the band-a collective vision. The band leader has to be able to communicate the musical and business agenda, plus manage expectations on both fronts. It's hard, a pain in the ass and when successful, better than sex.

I know some great players here in Austin, but they are busy because they are great players. I have a dream line-up of players I would love to have, but I need to keep it flexible. I want to have a couple of core people. Since I want great players, I know I will probably have some people in and out of the project. Hell, I'll hopefully be playing in more projects since I'm a music whore. The goal is to get album released by the end of the year. Since I'm the leader, I will handle the promotion and marketing, the booking, writing & arranging, incur the cost of rehearsals and try to pay the musicians in the band. I'll manage the Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, Bandize, Twitter, etc.. It's a lot of work. But the hardest thing might be writing the Craigslist ad. I wrote about one I liked here.

I've actually been thinking about this a long time. I wrote a lot of drafts and was not happy. I might have to rewrite this one. Here it goes:

The Quart of Blood Technique seeks a drummer & guitarist.

The Quart of Blood Technique is an instrumental band-live, experimental jazz, funk/R&B, rock, sound texture music. Original music, arrangements of music from movie soundtracks-TV Themes and riff heavy music (reworking hard rock and jazz tunes). Basically danceable out-there in the pocket stuff…

Music influences: Medeski Martin & Wood, The Meters, The Funk Brothers, James Brown, Booker T & the MGs, Herbie Mann, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis (Late 60s/Early 70s), Headhunters, the Screaming Headless Torsos & Vernon Reid’s Masque, T.J. Kirk

I’m a professional electric bassist. I’m in my 30’s, stable and my main bass influences are Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham, James Jamerson, Tony Levin, Paul McCartney, Doug Wimbish. I also sing, play guitar and alto sax.

Ideally the drummer for this project will be in the vein of Clyde Stubblefield, Bernard Purdie, Tony Williams, Zygabo Modeliste, Stewart Copeland, Billy Martin, Gene Lake. Somebody the lives in the pocket, but can explore in the world of beats.

Ideally the guitarist will be in the vein of John Scofield, Vernon Reid, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, David Fiuczynski.

I have a day gig. I will play at least $50 a gig, pay for rehearsals, handle the booking, marketing, etc. I tentatively have a weekly gig starting in April, depending on how soon I get the group together. I am looking for experienced professional, career minded musicians. I’m working on the web presence (FB fanpage, twitter, Reverbnation, Myspace..) and none of them are quite ready yet. I have demos of originals.

Thanks for reading the ad.



Monday, March 1, 2010

It's All Too Much...

February was a BUSY month. My goal is to post everyday and I have a bunch of half-written posts. For example,

My Saturday posts: The Week That Was... would have included the following:

February 1: Don Everly Birthday
February 2: Tom Smothers, Graham Nash, Birthdays
February 3: Johnny Guitar Watson, Dave Davies, Birthdays. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens die in a plane crash (The Day the Music Died)
February 4: Alice Cooper Birthday
February 5: Al Kooper Birthday
February 6: Fabian, Bob Marley Birthdays
February 9: Carole King Birthday. The Beatles play Ed Sullivan & make their American TV Debut
February 11: In 1963 The Beatles record all the tracks for Please Please Me in 12 hours at Abbey Road. In 1964, The Beatles play their first live gig in the America at the Washington D.C. Coliseum. Gene Vincent (Beatle contemporary) Birthday.
February 12: Ray Manzarek Birthday
February 13: Peter Tork Birthday
February 14: Tim Buckley Birthday
February 16: Sonny Bono Birthday
February 17: Gene Pitney Birthday
February 19: Smokey Robinson Birthday
February 23: Johnny Winter Birthday
February 24: David Fathead Newman Birthday
February 25: George Harrison Birthday
February 26: Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Mitch Ryder Birthdays
February 28: Joe South, Brian Jones Birthdays

Plus, I bought a lot of music and saw a lot of shows. I was also writing music for my instrumental band The Quart of Blood Technique & my solo project (Greg & the Get Downs) looking for musicians, hanging out & drinking with my wife and friends, going to Dallas for All Star Weekend, watching the Saints win the Superbowl, working my Clark Kent job as a media analyst, recording LEOGS, getting my black ass back in shape for my boy's wedding in August, trying out for Honeybrowne....

A lot of stuff. Now it's March and it's just gonna get worse with SXSW. I will post a collective New Music (to Me) Tuesday tomorrow. Thanks for reading and being part of the conversation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Music (To Me) Tuesday

This week's shopping spree was at Waterloo Records. The goal is to always keep the price-point to $10.00 a disc.

Lady Ga Ga-The Fame & The Fame Monster-$19.99

Every since here Grammy performance, I thought I should listen to her music and see what all the hullabaloo is all about. To me, her music is well constructed pop/dance music. It's catchy. My favorite tune from these discs is "Teeth". The groove is hard & deep. I think The Quart of Blood Technique is going to do a cover of this tune.

Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble-The Real Deal Greatest Hits 2-$6.99

On August 27, 1990 I was driving either from or to work at a New Jersey mall when I heard the news about Stevie Ray's death. I pulled over and sat in disbelief. I just missed his tour with Jeff Beck the previous fall. Can't believe he's been gone 20 years. One of my best MTV moments is the video for "Couldn't Stand the Weather". I thought it was cool that he and Double Trouble played with swim googles on.

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross-The Hottest New Group in Jazz-$10.99

This is a great 2 disc set that contains 3 albums: The Hottest New Group in Jazz, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington and HIgh Flying with Ike Isaacs Trio

Karl Denson-Dance Lesson #2-$5.99

Since I'm in the head with my new project The Quart of Blood Technique, I have funk groove soul jazz on my mind. I've been into Karl since his Lenny Kravitz days.