Thursday, April 22, 2010 

Don't Taze Me Man!

I've never been tasered, and I hope never to be; although the scene from "The Hangover" is a classic belly laugh of a hoot, I do know it's only funny if/when it happens to someone else.

I just spoke with an old pal who got (wrongfully?) arrested in his southern Illinois smalltown hometown. He was coming home from a long-ass benefit show he produced & where he also performed, and got targeted by some local cop who knew him - my pal had been all over the local news for the benefit. While kneeling & handcuffed & completely docile (that I KNOW about him), the short-on-height-but-big-on-power cop tasered him anyway!!!!! Damn.

Not sure what's going to happen, I'm hoping that cop gets fired & I'm hoping my pal gets a little $ from that little town which apparently has a habit of looking the other way with incidents like that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 

County Q studio | Berry Hill/Nashville TN

I got invited by owner/drummer Paul Scholten to check out a session at his County Q studios in the Berry Hill area of Nashville last week - very impressive. Even though their (3 building?) complex was real nice, that wasn't the highlight. The standout for me was the quality of the musicians and the engineer, and how incredibly fast these guys burned through the 4-song "demo" they were doing that night.

What I found notable was how all the musicians really approached the session thinking like producers: They knew how to stay out of each others' way, they self-monitored any "clams" (mistakes) and requested punch-ins (fix its) at certain spots, they knew when to lay back, when to "push," when to fill, etc. They made the producers' job very easy.

Their engineer (Houston) was right there, too; jumping to whatever punch-in the players may have wanted to touchup toot-sweet; complete & total efficiency. I guess some folks might complain that sessions like this are too machine-like, but that's a completely subjective conversation for another time.

I didn't get a lot of details about the players (a guitarist, bass/keyboard guy, and a fiddle/mando guy), but based on how fast they worked & how tight they all were, I'm guessing these boys have also been heard on their share of Top 40 country records. Which brings us to another topic:

If a producer uses the same players for a "demo" that are used for major label artists AND uses the same studio as the big budget sessions... what exactly is the difference between a demo and an album? Although it may be a somewhat revealing (cynical?) fact about the music business, it's my understanding that many producers/artists do a note-for-note recreation of a demo for their records. Which also means they've been known to pull up the EXACT same tracks from the "demo" for their record. Makes you wonder exactly how many "demos" have been released a full-on radio singles, eh?

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Sunday, April 04, 2010 

Memphis Vs. Nashville

Although it's been awhile, I have performed The Rock & Roll Kitchen in both Memphis & Nashville (Southern Women's Shows). Although me & my bandmates had fun in both cities, I do recall being reprimanded for saying "damn" over the mic, and asked not to make any references to drinking booze. You heard that right, folks.

After visiting Memphis again a few days ago, I had more time to go exploring, chatting to folks about their picks for what's best around town, etc. Without having the luxury of any real time spent in either city, here's what I noticed right away: the separation between the haves & have nots is much greater in Memphis.

The stress/tension level of the cops seems a lot higher in Memphis; it's edgier, greasier, has more poverty, and the sense of desperation with the poor (mostly black) locals oozes off of them harder than Nashville. For the record, I much prefer the edgier/less phony environment of Memphis, which I also believe results in much more authentic art/music/food there.

And of course, there's the amazing Mississippi river - it's awe-inspiring to witness, I've never seen anything else quite like it.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010 

Good Friday Whippings, Y'all

Anybody else out there watching in amazement at all these (typically) Filipinos being whipped/whipping themselves as part of their Easter ritual? They're surely a lot tougher (wackier?) than I am. It was painful enough for me in church: Having to genuflect, trying to keep my eyes open while people around me politely laughed as some monotone/unfunny dude perpetually droned on about guilt, damnation, sin and turmoil. At least, that's how I remember it...

Funny: I wonder how much NOT wanting to have anything to do with that whole force-fed "you're going straight to hell johnny!" routine contributed to my current status? (i.e., WELL on my way to hell - at least by the priest's stated guidelines)

Happy Good Friday & Easter, y'all! And if you have to whip yourself, be whipped or genuflect as part of it - I might recommend tipping a few to "soften the blow," hey?