Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail yesterday and found another mailing from Nielson, this time containing a booklet for recording a week's worth of television viewing -- and $30! Amazing! I was so appreciative, I immediately filled out the whole week's television viewing in advance (nothing! nada! zilch!) and used the "additional comments" field to reiterate that while I still don't/can't watch television, I am only too happy to keep taking their free money.
I have convinced my band, I Disagree, to start learning and performing some cover songs. In addition to being great crowd-pleasers, a well-chosen cover hones our musicianship skills. It's an exercise in learning and interpreting someone else's parts, as well as crafting the song's dynamic path as a band. And they can be fuckin' fun as hell!
That said, whenever I start examining the vocal lines of prospective covers by our favorite artists, I'm struck by just how many of these rock vocalists are tenors, i.e. the highest singing range a man can have. Nearly every song we/I have considered covering was sung by a tenor, including the works of Tool, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and nearly all of the Beatles.
Christmas is a time for reflection, especially for people like me who have serious personal and social stigmas about the holiday. Also, if you're like me with a taste for blasphemy and all things infernal, you might take a moment to lambaste this most revered of seasons with a shameless tune of mischief, humor and spite. To my unsaved brethren, I offer you a tune written by my best friend Charlie and I, and preserved with a cheap 4-track cassette recorder in our roach-infested Brooklyn shit-hole, circa 1996. (Our friend Ethan was also present for spontaneous percussive demonic vocalizations.) I've tried to clean up the white noise and equalization as best I could. Enjoy!
"Christmas In Hell" - Download
performed by Adam & Charlie
I haven't been very lyrically inspired of late, and perhaps arguably not as musically or compositionally inspired because of it.
Granted, I'm reading Atlas Shrugged, which is, like, twelve million pages long (if a little preachy), and sometimes books can dominate my mental space. I write lyrics in-between when I'm reading things; otherwise what I'm writing may be confused with what I'm reading, in some weird way that only I understand. The point is, mentally, I don't want any steaks or chicken curry on the stove when I'm trying to bake some cookies in the oven.
Last Sunday had two events that I could not help but correlate insofar as they were great disappointments of what I had hoped to be cool events. I had been looking forward to a gig my band, I Disagree, was scheduled to play down the street at the Hawthorne Theater. It was only a Sunday, but we were finally on the marquee outside! I had printed up several dozen flyers with our logo brazenly displayed for our bassist, Skot, to put up in the area. From the beginning we agreed that flyers did little in the short term to get people to come to gigs, but that through repetition they can help build name recognition and eventually get people to come to one of our shows. Especially if they see our name on a marquee!
But first, I had learned of a comic book convention in Portland that afternoon which was supposed to also feature a lot of toy sellers. Great! Right? Right? Well....
Who is Chris Mulvey, the self-proclaimed Bastid? The guy who used to date my wife's former best friend? A fellow Transformer fan? A noble and honest police officer? A great lover of trashy underground internet memes? Yes, he's all of these things. I haven't even seen the dude in years. The one time he managed to stop by our Brooklyn apartment, I happened to be so hungover I couldn't even get out of bed, much less show off my TF collection. Yet, through the magic of the interweb, Dollface and I still keep in touch with Chris. He's a class-act.
Bastid, this one is for you. (With apologies to Neil, Burt, Carol, and E.T.)
"Heartlight" performed by Adam Alexander on an out-of-tune piano (Download)
And this is where everything comes full circle. My extensive ruminations on the fine art of lying (part one, part two) began while writing the lyrics for a new song for my band, I Disagree. At the time I was reading Shakespeare's Richard III, whose villainous title character is a consummate and very practiced liar, describing himself as "subtle, false and treacherous" in his very first opening monologue. Here's the tune:
You say you want to see a video of my band, I Disagree, performing a song? OK, I can do that. This is from our show last week. The song is called "Fire Is Good".
I'm ready to tell you about the band I am singing for, because we finally settled on a name I love: Our 6-song self-produced demo is now available for listening and downloading from our MySpace page (myspace.com/idisagreeband), or you can just download the entire "I Disagree" demo as a zip file. (UPDATE: We finished an album. Go listen to it and buy it.)
Go listen! Add us as a "friend"! All that shit. Also, feel free to take a stab at describing what kind of music we are. I plan on stickering demos with this description: For fans of Soundgarden, Tool, Alice In Chains, or System of a Down. Maybe. No one who's heard us thinks that's an unfair description by association, but they are less quick to agree when I suggest that our genre is grunge. Apparently, "grunge" has some stigma for some. Well, in my opinion, if grunge can encompass Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, then we're in there. That said, I'm eager to hear what others think.
My first real piano. It's a starter piano, very used, a little beat up, it won't be tuned for another couple of weeks, but it plays nice and it's mine. Now when I hear the upstairs neighbor's new dog clickity-clack-running around, or the guitar studio in front practicing "Hey Joe" for the zillionth time, I can think to myself, "Jus' you wait, muthafuckas. Beethoven p'ano waltzez in tha crib, an' shit!"