Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mutant contraption: Kaossilator Guitar

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower"

-Steve Jobs

"To make a rock 'n' roll record, technology is the least important thing."

-Keith Richards

I think my guitar lives somewhere between those 2 ideas. Endlessly fascinating, this instrument’s inspired imaginations for over 1000 years.

If Jimi were alive and Eddie hadn’t drank it all away, they would be masters of the Kaossilator Guitar. If you’re not hip to what that is, check You Tube. Again, the guitar proves why it’s the ultimate platform for individualism and musical self-expression. Van Halen customized his guitars and Jimi modded his amps; the Kaossilator (a synthesizer wired right into a guitar) would literally induce a frenzy in their pants. This mutant contraption offers an ultra modern way compose, manipulate and down right fiddle out sounds the world’s never heard.

So Google “Kaoss Pad Guitar” and witness the latest evolution of an instrument that’s been sending shivers down people’s legs for over a 1000 years.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Dangerous Rhythm Guitar Playing

You want to guitar shred? Go make a You Tube video!

Band mates most in demand are the guys that lead through their Rhythm playing and songwriting. Play solid rhythm and I promise you that even the bass player and drummer will keep time off you.

My last two video posts followed the songwriting process and gave my songwriting tips. This video is done in the service of a point or 2 on rhythm guitar playing in a band situation. Yes guitar solos are the hallmark of the guitar slinger but the song writing rhythm guitar players are always the band leaders. (And chick magnets.)

3.5 Rhythm tips

1. Buy (USE) a metronome.

2. Pick a rhythm role model. (Love Setzer, Townshend and Joan Jett )

3. Mix major and minor chords

3.5. Learn the notes in the chords and now you’re a dangerous musician.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Calling All Rock Stars!

Is there a worse sound than a metal band playing a school gymnasium? And surely there was no worse time for heavy metal than 1988. It was all REM and U2 back then. And a more dead end place than Suffolk County Long Island? There isn't one!

Yet the best sounding heavy metal band who's timing couldn't have been better, played that night in '88 at the SUNY Stonybrook Gymnasium.

Jane's Addiction (JA) did that night what every kid who joins a band dreams of doing: Taking the stage of some dive, full of people who never heard of you and rocking them to the point of oblivion. (Poor Love n Rockets had to follow them and didn't stand a chance.)

But where are JA now? The once amazing Dave Navarro Tweeted their bass player Eric A. abruptly left the Comeback Tour in the middle of the Australian outback after playing just a handful of shows . (Anvil anyone?) And I guess it's back to posing for John Varvatos ads for Perry. It's a shame because these guys really were the Real Deal. Sure it was 20 years ago but I'm talking Real Rock Stars. JA and contemporaries Guns-n-Roses may have been the a last of the Led Zep breed.

But without JA and (especially) The Pixies paving the way, the world never would have been able to take Nirvana seriously let alone consider Kurt Cobain a genius.

In 2010, it kinda looks like Lady Ga Ga is pop culture's one and only Rock Star . And she doesn't even play the guitar…

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

When is Talent Boring?

Derek Trucks: Musical genius. Inspiration. Pushing the very boundaries of what it means to be a guitar player. Derek Trucks is boring.

If you don’t know Derek, check You Tube. Derek won the gene pool lottery, folks. His uncle's an original member of the Allman Brothers. He even has an uncle who played for the Detroit Tigers.

But here’s my problem with the DTB: (Jam Head jargon for Derek Trucks Band)
So many phenomenal musical ideas, so many gorgeous lines, its blinding! After a while it hurts my head. I need a nap.

I call the “Los Angeles Effect”. In LA, there so many big beautiful blond haired BOOMING women, that after a few days, there’s nothing special about them. I resented LA for making beautiful surgically enhanced models boring! Derek’s got the LA Effect.

And I’m a person who typically loves to hear bands bust out of the box. BOOM!! I’m not a box guy. But you know what? Here I’m saying “Derek. Pick a friggin’ box! Or maybe pick two boxes. Four boxes in this economy? C’mon Dude. Blinding talent is out of fashion these days in the U.S. of Unemployed.

I’ve shared these ideas with my peers who love Derek Trucks. They say I’m just a jealous hater. But I’m thinking that maybe this god-like talent is too much responsibility for one man.

But don’t let my message get twisted:

1. Keep practicing.

2. Pick a box (or two) to concentrate.

3. Write songs that don’t hurt people’s heads.

Monday, March 01, 2010

3 Ways Mature Songwriters Steal

Way back in 2005 I wrote a post celebrating a traditional piece of music which inspired Lady Ga Ga's hit "Speechless".

The exact chords are very different but the dark spiritual hook is the same. Lady Ga Ga stole it from Elton and Bowie who stole it from McCartney who stole it from Sam Cooke. Evidence of this thievery is (wonderfully) all over Rock, Pop and R+B music.

4 off the top of my head

1. Sam Cooke : Bring It On Home to Me
2. Sublime: Santeria
3. Sarah MacLachlan: Adia
4. Beatles : In My Life

Check my 05 post and play around with the song structure. Steal only the pieces that speak to you!! An immature artist will simply imitate these exact chords.

3 Ways a Mature Artists is like car thief

1. Strip off the valuable pieces.

2. Repaint the pieces.

3. Drive it around with your band and tell everyone it's yours.

Friday, February 26, 2010

3 Reasons: Finding Perfect Bandmates is Harder than Finding Love

Find the perfect woman/man is far easier than finding perfect bandmates. So if your really serious about making it, you'll be well served to take more care in finding the bandmates than the Mr Right.

3 "Whys?"

1. Your husband or girlfriend will not get you to the Madison Square Garden

2. No girl ever tore her top off at your girlfriend's art opening. Well ok that one's possible.

3. You can't rely on fixing band chemistry with make up sex.

Are you band mates really just your buddies? Or are they people you've specifically chosen to change the game in achieving your dreams? If you treat the choice of who you pursue like life or death decision, you'll increase your chances of playing The Garden. Oh, and the same standards work in finding Mr right too. It's just nobody really interested in seeing Mr. Right tare his top off.