Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pat Benatar

Oh back sometime ago I co-wrote a song called "Cerebral Man" with my writing partner Tully Winfield. Pat Benatar recorded it and the album "Wide Awake In Dreamland" went Gold. I have a nice Gold Album in my studio from this. I found this on YouTube and brought it on over, if you haven't heard it before, "Give it a Spin" as we used to say back in the day of "records" that you put on a turn table that 'spun!". This was the last year that albums were made with CD's that later took over.

Okay then, I have a few days comin' up in the studio to get ahead on a few projects, that's gonna be nice. You all have a nice weekend coming up, be safe and we'll have a re-cap of the year soon. We swung at some nice projects this past year, we'll take a look!

Good nite,

Don

Thursday, December 24, 2009

DrummerBoy 09 video



This music is a solo piece I performed at a gig and decided to learn to use my HD camera and import audio and video for our future "BLOGOVISION" shows. Yes, I made up a new word 'blogovision' to describe my usual 'blog' that we will now "See and Hear". It will be the "Show n' Tell" of blogs.

Okay enough talk, go watch, I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did making it. Hit "pause to let it load" so it doesn't stop to "buffer" while watching.

"Merry Christmas" everyone!
Don

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Love this Season"


Happy Holidays Everyone!

It's "Streamy Awards" voting time, cast your vote for "The Guild" as Best Comedy Web Series.
You'll need the address to the series, (www.watchtheguild)
and that would be where you put my name in. Excellent.

The show was nominated last year and won several categories. I had a road gig at the same time so I didn't get to attend. This year, the road calendar is clear then so "I'm ready to put my fancy clothes on and take the wife out for "free" dinner and drinks, maybe pick up an award too!


I love this time of year. I had a nice Christmas gig and played had a Stick Solo feature. It went great, so great in fact I'm recording and adding video to it. It will be my first "Video Blog" or (Vlog). Neil (Neil Bettencourt) is workin' on the drum tracks now so I can start the video. We're movn' along - working on it, it's a race to get it done before Christmas... this Christmas!

"Mike P" the Hells Angel rapper I had in the studio the other day got a gig opening for "Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ". I got a photo of Mike finally and some video footage I will add when I "Vlog" about his session (upcoming show).

Here's a Picture of "Mike P". He's such a nice young . He'll be back in the studio in January to lay down some more tracks.
Well it's gettin' late, full day tomorrow so I'll say good-nite and see ya soon!
Don

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"A Very Progressive Christmas"

"A Very Progressive Christmas"
A Lovely Compilation of Christmas music done in a "Progressive Rock Style".

It is now up and looking lovely. Click the title (in green and red letters) and you will be taken to the site to Peruse/listen/purchase.

My contribution is called "Christmas Time Is Here".
This was a lot of fun to write and record. I had never thought to do such a project but when the opportunity came up it seemed like a wonderful idea. Create a Holiday feeling song with musical inflections of Progressive Rock music.

I have Neil Bettencourt playing drums on it supplying phenomenal drive and groove. The NS/Stick is used mostly for the instruments and just because we can, it is a vocal piece as well sung by myself. Wonderful project, I wish them the best with this one.

This being Vo. 1 "I'm guessin' next year.... they'll be another".

Hey maybe continuing the theme their should be a "New Years" CD. The Catch is you have to record and finish by 12:am Dec 31st - Fully hammered on your favorite beverage! (That would be "Egg Nog" for me,) but hey I'm in.

All right, on to the next project, crankin' 'em out now.
What is that next project? Well one of them is to accompany "Lance" as he sings " America The Beautiful" for the opening of a "Los Angeles Kings" hockey game. I'll let us know when the time comes which game it will be should some of you like to "Come on out and Cheer"... Or do like my son will and come to watch to see if Pappy slips on the ice while walking out. He would love that and "LAUGH!"

Once while touring through Detroit in winter (Ice and Snow everywhere). I was getting on the nice tour bus and the person in front of me on the first step - Reaches down and grabs the front of my coat and pulls me up and in the bus. Very 'impressive' yank and Very kind of "HER", LOL, she just thought, "You just look like your gonna fall". Young adults today! You get past 30 and they think your gonna break your 'hip' just gettin' outta bed!

Alright the tree is up, lights are blinking "Christmas Time Is Here" - go give it a listen.
Don



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Ridin' the Wave" of good new news.











































So "Mike P" (Hells Angel member) came back into my studio and we finished his song "One Percent". Lovely tune dispite all the 'cussing' (I'm numb by now after having to hear it so many times while arranging and recording the music) He is now off having pictures taken for some lovely opportunities that have come his way. The song is being listened to for possible selection for the "Sons of Anarchy" Tv Show.
Then he is being shopped to the head of Columbia Records next month. He has some wonderful connections going for him. I love to see that happen for nice people.

********************************************

It is a download album, I will be contributing an original Christmas song track.


"I'm almost done!" Then it will be added to the download album. I have the great "NEIL BETTENCOURT" playing drums. He is really bringing it 'home' with his excellent drumming and production studio. "Yay Neil".


I'll keep us posted when it will be available.

*******************************


Hey the update on the "Don Tv show" (for lack of a better name). I'm lining up "special guests" OH it's getting FUN now!

AND if that's all not news enough! My Pal Lance will be speaking with Jerry Bruckheimer next week regarding using our music catalogue for future TV shows he produces, that would be wonderful. We have quite the catalogue.

ALL for now, you have a wonderful evening/day depending on your side of the world. And a lovely world it is.
Don








Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

"I am thankful (very thankful) for you being here and reading this. I wish you and your family a 'wonderful, beautiful' meal with loved ones around."

Personally I will do the same and eat pumpkin pie before and after our meal. I ate a pumpkin pie last week as well... to prepare!?!?

"To eat the next one this week!" lol.

I like to put a slice of pumpkin pie in the freezer! Then later I can hold it and eat it like a "PieSicle!" Ohhhhh it's GooOooOooOOoD!

Enjoy,
Don
(I think this guy in the bottom right corner feels he knows us - he keeps staring).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Don't Touch That Dial"




So I'm getting a HD camera to start a show featuring stories, sessions and tours I take. It will be a lot of fun. Kind of like reading this - except we'll watch, we'll laugh, we'll be entertained!

Suggestions are welcome while I'm brainstorming for things I'd like to show and play.
Hey while on tour I'll duck tape the camera to my head, I don't jump around to much or do flips on stage...(okay not at all) so it would be a pretty steady cam. Lol.
I've got stories to tell old and new. It'll be fun.

Heres something new from old. I just 'youtubed' Cliff Morrisson". He is said to be the son of Jim Morrison (looks and sounds like his dad). I played on his first "Lizard Sun Band" CD. Interesting young man at that time livin' out his father's reputation of "wild drug" behavior. A loose cannon to say the least at that time. He went to prison within a year of releasing that album. I thought he went away for life BUT no, he's out with "The Lizard Sun" band II.
I watched the video on YouTube and it's nice to see him more relaxed and focused.

Currently I'm working on 4 sessions out of my home studio. I then send my tracks over to the 'main' remote studios via internet (anywhere in the world) and the tune or project gets completed there. I finished two sessions that exported to Canada last week. Very nice songs and session. I played NS/Stick and Bowed guitar. I look forward to 'showing' that in our "Tv show" when the camera gets set up. Ohhhh We're gonna have FUN! Kind of our own musical "Soupy Sales Show" I hope.

One particular session I'm trying to finish today is for a young Rap artist "Mike P". He has a clever tune/rap about his life as a "Hells Angel Biker", of which he is. If I get the 'camera' set up in time before these sessions end for him, he'll be on one of the first "Tv" shows we can watch. Maybe we can a shot of him "Roaring" into the studio! That would be fun, 'noisy' but fun.

I had a picture of "Mike P" in full "Hells Angels" jacket and such but I can't find it. So we'll save it for our Tv show.

Okay lets get this 'posting' out so I don't have to feel so guilty that the last one was "Halloween", yikes time flies.

Hey once I get the "Tv show" running I can say things like "Don't Touch That Dial" and "As seen on TV" and

"We now return you to your regularly scheduled - life"

Excellent!
Don

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Happy HALLOWEEN!"








‘The Guild’ Halloween Special"

is now available on MSN, Xbox and Zune Marketplace.


In a few weeks if you wait, it will show up on www.watchtheguild.com for your dining a viewing pleasure. That show just keep on going, it's a good one.

So this Halloween was much like last years, my neighborhood is very quiet and not to many kids come around but the ones that do come out decked out in inventive and cute outfits. It's nice to, to see the kids so polite. I seem so generous as I give out fist fulls of candy. It's "1 part generosity and 2 parts "Oh my we don't want that much candy laying around the house!".






I like the Reeses peanut butter cups and Milky Way bars! I put fist fulls in the 'freezer' (I'm the only one that likes frozen candy!!! (ALLLLL MINE!). My motto as a kid, 'Like what others hate and you'll always have plenty of it layin' around!"


I remember as a kid watchin' "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" with Don Knots. Loved it, so lets throw in a picture here. It seems fitting. Eat lots of candy so your sick of it for another year... or at least until 'dare I say it' "Valentines Day" NOW THAT's a Scary Day!! On false move and....
"Click!!"... you stepped on an emotional land mine...... BOOM.... banned to life on the couch.

That 'look' on "Don Knots" face is the same one I get after the "CLICK"!!

My Couch is pretty comfy,
Apparently I haven't learned "so I've adapted" LOL.


Well you all have a most "HAPPY HALLOWEEN"
Don

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"One Good Gig Away From...."

Hi "All".

Well C'mon lets tell stories. I've had a big one for awhile. You know the kind, so "Nice" you want to see how it turns out before you "talk to much about it"... You say your prayers just the right way, hope just the right way and like when you were a little kid promise to be a good boy for at least a couple months in hopes it turns out great... Well! Yep that kind of story.

I get a call to co-write a theme for a network television talk show. Sure I'm excited but first you have to write it, then you have to record it (no demo - real deal finished product) - I call them "air time ready". THEN: after all the WORK is done they still have to like it before it actually gets used and you get paid for it.

You think about who it's for and the instrumentation.
We decide medium sized horn section like 3 saxes 3 brass, Hammond organ, guitars, drums and of course NS/Stick. "What the heck" because we can and it sounds great! You should of heard the two handed tapping part I had flying that the was going to get buried beneath the sea of horns and hammond. No matter - in the session hearing that was going to be the case I laid down the 'unburiable' NS/Bass' line that the arrangement could ride on top of. Still 'deluxe' just not as visually cool as 'two hands flyin' like 'windmills in a storm! (Good visual huh!?!?).

Heck I went all out, hiring the horn section, booking the bigger studio, writing out charts, . Yes charts! my old "paper with black dot' friends that I rarely see in the studio anymore. I rarely write out horn charts... okay I've never written them out so I called my brother back east to check my transpositions and ranges. I didn't want to embarrass myself with a silly chart in front of my peers so I prepared and still sheepishly handed them out apologetically. No need, they told me to keep quite, "They'd take it from here" and go back into the control room and relax. So I did and ate a donut.

On a side note: (Yes, I brought donuts, it being a session I booked, I felt 'compelled')

The Horns where blasting away beautifully, topped with wonderful Trumpet and Sax ad-libs throughout. Swirling hammond organ and crunchy guitars. Solid drums and a most solid NS/Stick bass tone to shore it all up and hold it together. I was pleased. In a deluxe studio, we recorded a super talk show theme. Everyone loved it! Even the seasoned pro's! (which can be a very tough crowd indeed).

The "George Lopez Talk Show" airs in about three weeks and I co- wrote this theme with Lance Matthew... AND
George Lopez and business partner LOVED it... However the Executive producer wants to use "Low Rider" by War just like they use in George's sitcom show. So for the past month we have been waiting an talking. Folks... I don't think we got it, I think they will go with "Low Rider".

Tough break as they say. So close. I always tell my wife, "We're one good gig away from...", fixing the fence, putting a
solar heater up on the roof for the pool, (The list then unfurls and drops to the floor, then rolls 10 more feet... as my wife adds her list of items!

So I'll put another pole up against my leaning fence, tell my wife "you'll love it -The water is brisk and invigorating - " and we'll knock the next ball we swing at 'outta the park!'

"Hey, I'm one good gig away from having a story with a better ending!!!!"
Don






George Lopez show airs November 9th.


Friday, October 9, 2009

"Once Upon A Stick bass-line"

Hi all,

Yes folks! We go way back for this one, about 15 years back. I was called in to play
electric bass for an album session, so of course I took the Stick. Not the NS/Stick as it wasn't invented yet, but the Stick. Sure it went over great. I did my usual, "Pull it out as if it were a bass, use it on the session, then let them know what it was". Kind of "Do it first, ask if they want it later".

At
myspace.com/donschiff1 I put an Mp3 up of the song "Shades of Gray" from that album of that session many years ago. What I found striking about the Stick bass line was that it started out as a two handed tapping bass line that then goes right into a 'fourths' like 'feel' bass-line. Upon reflection while listening I remembered developing the style to make the "fifths" tuned bass lines sound and lay like a bass tuned in fourths, however then be able to flip to a "Fifths" styled bass-line. (LOL yes, apparently my arms are limber enough to pat my self on the back while I congratulate me).

It is a nice style, if you didn't know it was a Stick (aside from the intro) you would think, nice electric bass. That was the magic, the Stick didn't have to be this "NEW" never heard before "style and sound" unless you wanted to "unleash" that. Though this recording is about 15 years old, it held up nicely. Great players on that session. If I recall correctly players were from the "
Eddie Money" band and a band called "The Busboys".

I just found that cd on
Ebay for $40.00. Lance Matthew - "While The Giant Sleeps". It must have become some sort of collectors item. Who knew, you never really know what becomes of recordings you are on, over the years they pop up all over. When I get my royalty statements for albums I've played on or songs and theme music I wrote (which comes to hundreds if not thousands of pennies) It lists all the countries that the music has played in. I think "Wow, this music goes on better vacations than I ever dreamed of!"... I wanna go!

Well, have a listen wherever you are, in whatever country and I'll imagine this 15 year old Stick bass-line having the vacation of its life.

Excellent!
Don

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lot of Music - the way I like it!

It has been a Very busy week. The three Indian gaming casino gigs were a blast. The shows went over incredibly well, standing ovations on all. Great venues especially the Valley Center casino, the stage was out doors and part of the area was cut into the mountain side. Just lovely.

The stage was about 7 feet high and allowed the ground crew to work from underneath. It was funny to look underneath as it was obvious the stage crew makes themselves at home. "Hammocks were hung, laptops and coolers resting near by with little christmas tree lights strung all around" . It looked like an underworld tent city.

The real excitement for me of any tour of this nature... "Hotel/Gambling casino's" is that in being part of the act you get to eat for free. Soooo these tours become the "Whose got the best Buffet" tour! "AND the winner is!!" The "Valley Casino" with the "All You Can Eat Lobster" buffet. Apparently I can eat a lot of Lobster, crab legs and shell fish... I had a wonderful meal, It took me about an hour and I topped it all off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that I put in my coffee... Ahhhh very nice day.

After that string of tour dates I returned home and needed to finish some horn arrangements for the TV show theme I co-wrote with Lance. Great theme (in our opinion Lol). The session went fantastic and the Theme came out even better than I imagined. My worry was that I don't write horn charts that often, the session horn players hired are top notch session players and I didn't want to show up with something 'poorly written' out.

One tip to good writing is considering the nature of the instrument you are writing for... for instance... I play a stringed instrument, I don't blow into my instrument, so I can 'eat' donuts and drink coffee before I play an not worry about blowing "bits of food and drink" down my horn!! or more on topic... Horns run out of air when holding out notes, not a pretty sight to watch 'em run low, even less pretty - is the look you'll get for writing out notes that long!

I will confess I pushed it, effective to the tune - but non the less a bit long... any less of a horn section would have collapsed. "Great job Guys!" and sorry. (They were kind - no glares just pro playing). Tomorrow the 'suits, executives, decision makers, those that write the checks" come into the studio to listen. Keep your figures crossed for us. This would be a nice gig.

After tomorrow, I will go back to writing/recording for the Smooth Jazz CD. It is coming along just great. I'm very happy with it, great players and the studio we have to mix and master in will just give it that 'high end' pro sheen it will need to fit that style of music.

My next Progressive Rock solo CD needs is coming along as well. I'm halfway through writing it and a lot of that has been recorded all ready.

Speaking of PROG ROCK, the "3 Rivers Progressive Rock Festival DVD" is out. THis was a great concert feature 10 Prog Bands:
"Rocket Scientists (yay us) , Flower Kings, Spock's Beard, Neal Morse, California Guitar Trio, Gongzilla, IZZ, Mandrake Project, Manifesto and Kalon." (A lot to see and hear to be sure!)

I was sent my 'promo' copy and enjoyed it a lot. The camera angles (multi camera shoot) and editing are very nice. The sound is "BIG". Impressive package. I recommend it.

Very nice 'still' picture section to the DVD of each band. "Deluxe picture of me on one of the DVD pages. Ya gotta love that, nice surprise.



Okay, long day time to relaxe.
Have a great weekend everyone and I'll do the same!
Don

Friday, August 7, 2009

Golden Boys/gig in San Diego area


























I had taken down the "Golden Boys" gig at Valley View Casino (through a mix up) that gig fell through for me.... however I just got the call . I'm on it. See you all there if you are planning on attending. It is a very nice show and a lot of fun to see. Great memories if you are familiar with these 50's icons of early rock.

Deluxe, Cool, Super, "See your there!"
Don



Monday, July 27, 2009

Long Day but a Good Day!

I had a double session today starting at 10:AM. That was fun, long day but a great day. The first session was for a young band (Average age 17), great writing and playing. I brought my NS/Stick but they opted for the standard Fender Jazz. Thought they might select that as it has a less intense low end. They had several basses to choose from as well as the NS. I played each with pick and fingers for them to decide.

The compression used was the Tube Tech CL 1B (Out board gear - not a plug in). I really like the response and umph it adds to low end. I've wanted one for my own rig back in the day when I rolled around with a 15 space rack. I never splurged for the price is high and the studios always had one or something comparable. I guess I figured, (Okay I was being cheap) and thought "Why buy the cow when you get the milk free" or something silly like that.

The hardest part of the session for me was the simplicity. No flash, no flare just play under the guitar chords like an extension of the lowest note of the chord. I'm always 'seeking the creative line' to link the chords, rhythm and harmonies together, the last thing I would think to do was just play roots.

After hearing me warm up the producers first words - in a sincere and apologetic tone, where, "I'm so sorry we are not going to be using all your talents today, you'll just play "beyond simple bass lines"... . And so I did just that. My ' internal reward to myself' after the session was just knowing they got exactly what they were after and were very happy with it. The band will have great success, there is a lot of talent, excellent production team and connections behind them. I'm sure they will have a YouTube video up of the song and I'll hear my bass part... but see a teenager with tatoo's rockin' my part.
Ya gotta love it.

The next session (2:PM) was a two song session as well but for two different projects. I played both projects with the NS/Stick "with the intensely fierce low end". This producer uses the Pultec Eq and Fairchild plug ins for the NS. 'That' sound really works for me. Huge clear intense low end - with sub low end punch.

This project I got to stretch out on, be creative and throw a few gymnastic NS bass parts in. Just enough to let the Producer/engineer know, 'hey there's a player on board here!" without 'taking over' the tune. (There's kind of an art form to that... you always want to address a song with 'your style' but not get in the way, as you want to 'enhance' what the writer envisioned - not cloud it.

The second tune was a theme for an upcoming TV show. Very exciting tune that was the kind of a production tune that had rock and swing elements in it. In this kind of session I feel so glad I have a lot of experience in many styles of music. You can just 'grab on" to the elements that make 'swing' swing and Rock 'Rock' with authority and intensity and drive the track where it needs to be. In the end when you accomplish that, you have Happy writers and producers and that makes for a happy session.

Hopefully lots more where all that came from as it was a wonderful musical day.
Have one for yourselves!
Don

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Alas poor Urich, I knew him well!"

I went to the taping of season 3 of "The Guild". I was BLOWN away. The shoot was taking place at my friend Pat Duncan's house.( great writer/director- Pat wrote one of my favorite movies Mr. Hollands Opus). 

When I drove up I saw Pat's house with a moving van out front. The Van was full (now empty) of Movie making equipment, everything you need to make "Lights, Camera and ACTION!!!".
Each room in his house was a 'set' to look like each characters house in the show. Movie Stuff EVERYWHERE, even the Kitchen. People everywhere from wardrobe to make-up to grips.
I said, Wow you no longer live in a house you live in a movie set! 

Pat was at a meeting so while waiting for him it was fun to stroll through the house and watch all the action. My son Aaron was with me so while we were there, we set him up to be an 'Extra" in the show. He loves the show, so now he'll have the added bonus of 'while watching it' he can 'watch himself' while watching tv. 

Pat came in, saw there was barely room to move - and since we came to go have lunch anyway.... that was a good time to do so.

So Pat, Aaron and I went to "Campanile's" Restaurant. A bit of a historic place and speaking of movies and sets... It was Charlie Chaplin's office building and it also had apartments that he used for guests as well to live in. Classic look and now an elegant restaurant.

Pat is immediately recognized by the staff as we walk in and we are shown to a wonderful table. The food was "GREAT" real class, with there 'special' chef creations that even make everyday items taste fantastic. I usually don't over eat... but I did. Stuffed and it's two days later, I'm still full.

So now we go back to Pats, production is still in full swing - it's 3:pm and they started at 6:am. It reminded me of how glad I was not to pursue acting, I'm not a morning person unless I've been up all night giving me a  "running start into the next morning".

Aaron heads over to the 'shoot' tomorrow morning "8:am" start... again "Glad I didn't pursue an  acting career". Go super Aaron! Call me when your done... "Give 'em you best Hamlet quotes!"

Excellent!
Don


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Certified!"

Strange but true story for me... and a first.

I'm driving home this evening and stop at the traffic light, the girl driving in the car to my left is mouthing words... so I roll down my window to hear what she is saying. 

She says, "Dude, you are soooo cool!"


Stunned I said, 'Thanks that's so kind of you to say!" and drive on.  

Coincidentally my cell phone was ringing right afterwards and it was my wife, I was so excited to tell her, I said, "Hey, apparently I'm certifiably cool because an unknown third party has just verified this!" She laughed! As I'm still stunned.

She's such a good sport, it reminds me of the time this band I was in  would announce our hotel room numbers on stage. Everyone gave wrong numbers but me cause I was always curious who would show up! Apparently no one as months went on like this.

One day going back to my room two lovely ladies are heading in the right direction. I follow thinking, Nah... never happen. Well now there they are knocking on my room door. I'm stunned!  Extra stunned because on that tour I also had my wife an young son with me on the road. I watch the drama unfold as my wife answered.... Look the girls over and said, " C'mon on it he'll be here soon he's always wondered if anyone would ever show up!"

Thats' my girl. Married 33 years... and she never ceases to amaze me.

Well, lots of cool stuff comin' up next week, I'll write more then. Perhaps I'll have  an "I'm certifiably cool" T-shirt made up by then!"
Excellent!
Don

Monday, May 18, 2009

"The Headless Stickman"

Hi Steve and everyone,

(Steve writes in regaring the "Rocket Scientists/Nasa" video about how it looks like I'm headless 5:17 into the video)

> ...guitar solo. And your headless musician representation at
5:17 is killer.<

LOL!! Ya gotta love that... And ya know... come next Halloween I'll be dressed up as the "Headless Stickman!"

I was also trying to really embrace Ned Steinbergers 'headless' guitar designs!!
So I yelled out "We salute you Ned... and then I took my head off.

"Okay, I'm done..."

It was a fun gig. Behind us they even had a 'space suite' "As seen on TV!"... and the moon". It's amazing they ever walked on the moon! So many little switches that beg curious fingers... "What's this one do!!!." 'click - and then poof! he'd probably expand like gas balloon. Not the gig for me...

Sometimes you go out on stage and feel like your walkin' on the moon,.. people staring at you wondering what's gonna happen, will a malfunction happen, will they witness a musical Hindenburg!

I've taken part in a few musical Hindenburgs in my time, they can be quite funny and disastrous at the same time. I brought a whole musical production number and a 30 piece orchestra to a 'grinding halt' once. LOVED every moment of it until I found out it was my fault. "AHHHHH dag nabbit".

Their were 8 dancers jumpin' high into the air, singin' (unbeknowst to the audience to a click track cause you can't jump and sing at the same time)... "So I missed a few clicks at the top of the tune...what's the big deal" (Thinkin' about what I'm gonna eat after the show probably)...

So now the Dancers are jumpin' and twirlin' and their lips are movin' BUT... no vocals until they land - and aren't supposed to be singing! Then the vocals kick in again!!! They all get so confused... some trying to match the dance steps to the vocals, others trying to match the vocals to their steps... Their lost, loosing their places on stage tryin' not to bump into each other and the scenery.... Dancers ALL OVER the place... hoppin' up an down - flopping all over the place like fish outta water while movin' their lips.... "IT WAS GREAT!!!" like I said,... right up to the point of finding out.... "OOOOOPS, did I do that!?

Oh well, hey it makes a great story.........

Very funny stuff, Okay everyone go out and have fun, I will too.
Don

"One Small Step..."

Hellooooooo Everyone!

So awhile ago like the end of March Rocket Scientists did a concert at "The Winchester" in conjunction with "NASA", and I found it on YouTube...

below is the YouTube video blurb:

Rocket Scientists performance of the Erik Norlander song, "Sky Full of Stars", live at The Winchester in Lakewood, Ohio on March 28, 2009. The song was performed in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission with video footage provided by NASA and the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Musicians: Erik Norlander (keyboards), Don Schiff (NS/Stick), Mark McCrite (rhythm guitar), Jim Williams (lead guitar) and Chris Quirarte (drums).

We got to touch a bit of history. Watching the movie play behind us I remembered actually seeing that footage when it aired the first time.

In the video you get to see the concert, then in the background on a big screen you see the lunar landing... The fun part (at least for my wacked sense of humor) is that I'm stage front and center... and the lunar module kinda takes off near my head...then it looks like they are tryin' to land on my head! I love it.

Anyway it's a Progressive Rock song, In other words REAL LONG! So I'll cut to the chase for us. I played NS/Stick and at 5:22 into the video (feel free to zip ahead - Shhhh I did too). I have a 'slide NS/Stick" solo, you can see the technique pretty well. The 'carabiner' and 'tapping' together.
(Have a look)



Hey, someone found 'part 2'... excellent, (The credits at the end are nice stick around for those as well).


The beauty is how you can go from playing bass to the slide stuff then back to bass again. I used the Podx3 pro pedal which is two "Line 6" pods stuffed into one pedal board. I really enjoy the separate amps/effects/ that get created for each side individually. It is really a wonderful piece of gear for the Sticks. On this video You can hear both sides pretty well.

As for the lunar module landing on my head, well, I enjoyed that too.

Ya know.... the song is so long it wouldn't fit on YouTube (you only get 10 min. per piece) so it is actually in two parts. I haven't found the second part yet! (It's probably the part where they leave the space capsule and plant the flag on my head.) I'm sure it will turn up eventually.

Ya know!!! Speaking of different techniques, if you are thinking of going to the Santa Cruz Stick seminar the amazing Bob Culbertson and myself will be teaching along with Neil Bettencourt. I may wear the lunar module on my head and share the techniques I used with you. We'd like to get a head count so please let's us know if you'd like to attend.

You can write Neil:
drums@neilbettencourt.com
OR CALL 831-458-2870.


Last year was a lot of fun, I think I ate my weight in donuts, and still found time to teach... Oh yes... I practice that sort of stuff.

Okay, it's late... more recording to do.
Good nite everyone.
Don

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just a "Ramblin' Man!













This is from a Rocket Scientist tour this year (2009). Very nice show, "Loud 'n Proud" as I like to put it. Sometimes it takes a while for my ears to stop ringing... 'so loudly'. I like to think of the 'constant quieter' ringing I have as friendly crickets in my head. That makes it actually nice and calm to have. If your gonna have 'ringing' in your ears you might as well like the noise.

I also hear music pretty much all the time too. My wife says, "Why do you always turn the radio off when we're in the car!" I try to explain that in my head there is always music going on either consciously or subconsciously, to have the radio going on is like having 'two' different stations on at the sametime." I think midway in that explanation she mentally turns my volume down as she then turns the radio back up!

I've been working on this jazz album project and it's coming together extremely well. I'm learning a lot. Different styles of music make you stretch in different areas. I used to play in a band with a great tenor player named "James Moody". He used to tell me, practice without any amplifier and learn the scales up and down the instrument.... Well with the Stick instruments that's an awful lot of "scalin' about 5 octaves (5 plus 3 semi tones to be exact) and in two separate tunings. Great advice though and after all these years, I'm still workin' on it.

I'm ramblin' here (I just figured that out) perhaps you noticed it earlier. It must be the 'crickets' in my head. When I was younger I could hear 'frogs croaking"... oh, wait they are still there. Very busy in my head. I grew up on a lake in the summer. That was the sound I heard "ALL" summer and loved it. I guess it stuck!

Here's yet another unrelated story! When I lived in Las Vegas I had this dog Pete... Here I'll get a picture:
Cutest little fella. I took him everywhere. He was quite a charactor. We were at the park on day and I saw this cicada bug (like a stubby fat Locust). Pete saw it, chased it and started to eat it... I wrestled it out of his mouth because I felt bad for it and wanted to save its little bug life. Pete let go and it wasn't hurt... just wet. I was happy and released it as it flew high into the air  "FREEEEEE!" When outta of nowhere a bird swooped down and ate it right outta the sky! Ya know, "There's a lesson there somewhere."

Ya know, sign of the times for us musicians looking at that pedal board. There are some "classic' pedals there, very vintage. Boss Chorus, Electric Mistress flanger, Small Stone phaser, Mxr distortion, Memory Man delay... yikes, super cool pedals. Now days they exist as 'plug ins' in your computer! They look cute as colorful little icons that you now click on and get 'that' sound. Pete would be proud, I think he actually peed on that pedal board now that I think about it. Like I said, quite a character that little fella was.

I once peed on an electric fence! And I was an adult too! (Physically perhaps not mentally) Here's my advice "DON'T PEE ON AN ELECTRIC FENCE!" Wow, I felt that all the way to the CORE!" My nuts too a week to drop back town to safety!

Okay with that, it's late, I'll leave you to a nice quiet evening, or in my case - "Croaking frogs and crickets sounds in my head".
Don



Sunday, April 12, 2009

"On the Cover!" who knew?

Hey look at that! I got front cover credit. Wow, I didn't expect that. That was very nice of the artists.

This is a wonderful CD called "Libretto" .

 I played NS/Stick and Bowed guitar on two tunes, 
track 08 "Danse d'Andaluce" and track 10 "Elegie". It is original music in a style of classical guitar or "Alternative" as it is classified at the music stores.

I had a blast playing on these tracks, what's even more amazing in this day and age is that not only have I never met any of these artists, they don't even live remotely close to me. Then are from Germany (I'm here in good all Los Angeles, USA).

We contacted each other online (over a year ago I don't remember how). We each did our tracks in our own studios and sent them back and fourth over the Internet. Incredible technology. I sure would have rather gone to Germany to record and visit however it would have been cost prohibitive that way... so we do it this way. No Knackwurst for me this time.

Give a listen it is a lovely album extremely well written and produced. I'll post an mp3 sample as well on my 'donschiff1 myspace page. 

Excellent, it's late. I just got the drum tracks to the next tune for a new CD I'm working on for an 2009 release. They come to us from Neil Bettencourt up there in Northern California. Ohhh this Internet recording just puts the world in your backyard studio. "You did a great job NEIL!!"
Good nite all.
Don

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Taxing Thoughts"

So I was thinking the other day, (my wife said, "Did it hurt?") oh she's a witty one I tell ya! As we were watchin' "MONK" on TV oddly enough Felicia Day was on this episode. (Felicia writes and stars in the online tv show "The Guild"). I said to my wife, "How many people get to watch tv and see there friends.

I even stayed up watching TV real late one night (these days that's just past 10pm) and had one of those music stations on. I thought, "Wow that harp sounds familiar, and then it hit me... Oh that's my friend Michelle and I was on that recording... hey I even wrote the song... well I'll be.." I thought to myself.

We even see our friends kids on TV. I was watchin' and episode of JAG once and there was Steven McQeen (Grandson of Steve McQueen). I've known him since he was 13 or 14, now he's gotta be close to 20. Oh he did a fine job too.

It's nice when friends see your work on TV too. It being tax time and all, it reminds me of the time I went to the accountant that does my taxes every year. We yak for hours, then the last ten minutes talk about my taxes, anyway... he was saying, "Hey I saw this movie on TV the other night" And... right after he told me the the name of it I blurted out excitedly, "I did the music for it!!!" and at the same time he said, "Worst music ever!!" The look on our faces must have been priceless. Awkward silence... than laughter. It's okay, I don't always like his accounting, every year I tell him, "I can't pay that much in taxes, do the numbers again"... and then I leave.
Maybe this year he'll of watched something I did he liked and maybe I won't owe any taxes.
WE can Hope!
Take care,
Don

"Rockets To The Moon!"

Ah HAA! Rocket Scientists band with the NASA Rocket Scientists!

Yes it was a 40th anniversary of the Lunar Landing.  Nasa had Rockets Scientists (the band) help them celebrate the occasion with their Rocket Scientists. Who knew they liked Progressive Rock.

It was a lot of fun checkin' out the space suit. Lots of switches on the front, "Hey, whats this button do!?!?!" I guess not so funny if you're the one in the suit.

left - Chris Quirarte, Mark McCrite, Space man, Erik Norlander and myself.


It was an exceptionally fun gig, loud too... I'm sure they heard us on the moon as well. Lots of camera footage so I'm sure a DVD will come out at some point. I'll keep us posted. (I'd like to see it as well).


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Streamy Awards for The Guild













The first annual " Streamy Awards"
Excellent The Guild won in three categories:
1. Best Comedy Web Series
2. Best Ensemble Cast in a Web Series
3. Best Female Actor in a Comedy Web Series - Felicia Day

Though we were nominated for "Best Original music score" alas I did not win it. My congratulations to the winner. Yay.

So "The Guild" will go into it's 3 season this year. Filming has already begun. I'll get that "Streamy" next year!

For more about "The Guild" at the "Streamy Awards" (video, pictures and stories Oh My!) go to www.watchtheguild.com

After Tour to Cleveland update

I just love this picture! In case you don't recognize the 'Muppet' in the tux, it's "ME!" Yes I was younger once. And there I am with my pals Kermit the Frog, Floyd the bass playing Muppet, Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
IT's a CLASSIC! 



Well the Rocket Scientists tour went extremely well... I just got back (yesterday actually but mentally today). John Payne (of Asia) sung with us and "what a guy, whatta singer!" He is incredible, if you get a chance to see him with Asia or better yet, us in Rocket Scientists, 'do it!'. Great singer great entertainer.

Okay some NS/Stick 'tech talk' here. Bear with me, I'll try and make it interesting for those of us that: 
1. Don't care about the 'tech' stuff ...lol or
2. Don't play the NS but like the stories.

 I followed through using the HEAVY gauge NS/Stick gauge. "SURE, I wanted to change back to the lighter gauge by the third rehearsal... but I vowed to play the gig with it to give it the 'proper' testing grounds.

The heavy (and I to mean HEAVY) sounds wonderful. It did exactly what I wanted it to. The 'string tension' per string is far greater giving it a more electric bass set up feel. The bass to melody strings glided nicely continuing the 8 string bass feel.

In this show I have a 'solo'. It's actually more a "So Loud" than a "So Low" BRUMP BUMP! Sorry folks, (you can take the man outta Las Vegas but ya can't take Las Vegas outta the man.)

Okay, so in this solo there is the "Plethora" of techniques involved, (C'mon... how often do ya get to use that word!! Ya gotta do it when ya can).

Plucking, tapping, strumming even the slide gets used. So the 'new gauge' got the FULL work out. It works brilliantly. Let me list the gauge here:

NS Heavy gauge set:
1-Bb-13
2-F-20
3-C-30
4-G-44
5-D-65
6-A-87
7-E-106
8-B-128

You definitely feel the tension difference in both hands whether tapping or plucking. When using the slide I needed to be a little more careful as the tension is greater on the melody strings. I broke string two at rehearsal when soloing. Hitting the metal slide against the higher tensioned string snapped it against the "fret like a cleaver".
(I digress here for a moment "I guess I could have called that moment the "Leave it to Cleaver" moment!)
(Okay we'll continue now... I heard the groans and moans lol).

Let's get right to my preference and why and what I've learned.
I have switched back to the regular gauge with the exception of .009 on my first string. I bend the 'heck' outta the melody strings and any gauge above that, the string will snap after the third bend. (It's a real mood killer when that happens).

I bend the bass strings a lot just for vibrato mainly and occasionally a whole step as well. The heavy gauge can do it... the lighter gauge I feel I have more finesse in doing it. and there is the ease of execution.

Throughout the neck and especially 'high on the neck' when tapping, thicker gauges will give you a 'thicker, huskier tone', the lighter gauge provides a 'singing, ringing tone'.

The heavier gauge to my ears sounded a little darker in tone on the melody side, the lighter treble-ier. Down low on the (frets 1-7 especially) the lighter strings need to be plucked with a lighter touch or it will 'thwack' and you get the "I overplayed the string" tone (not always desirable - though desirable is a 'subjective tone.

I've done a session where the producer said, "Give me a new and different tone!" So I said "Hand me that metal ruler over there, I'll give you different."... as I proceeded to smack the the strings with the metal ruler while playing!!" the result, "I love it" the producer said.... Like I said, desirable tone is subjective.

"EXCELLENT" (This was a donut light tour - none to be found- so I compensated with "Rice Pudding!").
Don

PS
Hi To George and Tim who I saw on tour SUPER WONDERFUL to see you all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Whew, L-O-N-G week of rehearsals with a busy schedule. I'm tired but a happy tired. A lot got accomplished. We (Rocket Scientists) head out to Cleveland tomorrow (3-27/09) on a quick tour. I'll be back Sunday... actually Monday morning by the time I walk in the door to my home. I doubt even the dogs will be up to greet me!

I hope to see you at the venue: The WINCHESTER

"ROCKET SCIENTISTS"
with special guest vocal appearances by Lana Lane and John Payne (Asia feat. John Payne)
Saturday, March 28, 2009

Located at:
12112 Madison Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44107
216-226-5681
http://www.thewinchester.net

It will be a fun show, "C'mon up and introduce yourself if we haven't met already." We'll have a blast, see you soon.
Don

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm on DVD and TV

Don Schiff at LocateTV.com

"Hey look, I found this (image above) on the internet. If you click on it you can see when I'm on TV or when a DVD I composed music for or acted in is available. 

Looks like this movie' is currently available. I did more acting than music in that one as the film featured 'artists music' from the late 1960's.

 You can see me in the first 15 minutes of the film 'painting rocks white' in full army clothes. I don't appear in the rest of the film... no I didn't get killed or hatch any diabolical plots.... I just didn't have any more scenes! Worse I guess lol.

Excellent, take care,
Don



































The Official Streamy Awards Nominees

"The following are the official nominees for the 1st Annual Streamy Awards, honoring the best in web television from 2008, announced on March 14, 2009. This is the single authoritative list of Official Nominees. The live Awards Ceremony will be live broadcast online on March 28, 2009 at 7:30 PM. Head to www.streamys.org to watch."

I just love the way all that sounds, in short "The Guild" is up for more awards. "Best writing, acting, directing AND...... "Best Original Music in a Web Series".

In case you are new to reading my posts, I wrote the Theme music to this show. I've done several Television Movies and Theater Movies and you are always hoping the next project you are doing gets the attention you wish for. 

Like the "Regis and Kelly" musical theme I submitted a few months back, well it got attention alright.... however not for the music I wrote. Another composers music was selected. (All my best wishes to him). 

Maybe this is the time my music will be selected for the award, and that's "Show Business!" If you do it for the love of your art you'll be fine. If you do it for the "Hope of big bucks, fame and fortune" you may become disillusioned and unhappy. "Fame and Fortune" are by products for me, not my passion for doing it. 

I have a meeting coming up next week for another "Web Television Series" that is going into production. This new medium is starting to take off. The productions on these shows is still quite involved and can get expensive as you see on the credits they run at the end with 'a list of names' just like network television. The same amount of production goes into them, they are just geared for 'internet television' which means they aren't 30 minute shows, usually each show runs 3-6 minutes. That's without commercial interruption, so that is equivalent to about 15 minutes of a network show.

Anyway, this is a new medium, a wide open new territory equivalent to when radio shows became television shows...and "we're" on the ground floor and rising! Very exciting I think.

I believe, Internet and Television will merge and you'll just select from your television what show you want to watch, either a Movie or network TV show or the Internet TV show. It will all take place on your high definition Tv in your living room. And God willing, my music will appear on many of the shows.

Hey, well all for now, I've got to get learning the songs for the upcoming "Rocket Scientists" tour. Lot's of music, lots of fun.
Be well and stay there!
Don

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Strings and Things"

Hi Everyone!!! (and especially 'you') See it's a personal posting just for you.


I've had a few gigs come up where I was thinkin' "Ya know.... if I had a thicker string gauge on the NS melody side I could..." (insert picture of me staring into space on a gig thinking this while counting bars so I don't miss the next entrance... (suddenly I see theres a 6 bar drum solo...I think to myself, " why not just take 8 bars so I don't have to count... I can feel 8 - I'll have to count 6". --- Oh well, I'm a pro, I guess I can count to 6, let's see thats one hand and one finger... Alright! Got it - hopefully the drummers counting too!)

Oh yeah, I had an idea going. It goes like this. At times I like to play 'across' the neck because of the "tones on that area of the neck". Especially say the "Eb" on the open "D" string and of course the "Ab" on the open "G" string. (first fret on those strings for us 'tab' readers).

SUre, if it were just a matter of 'string thickness' I could always play those notes higher up on the previous strings... however the tone is different on that part of the neck (even though it's the same pitch).

I love the regular NS/Stick gauge but the melody strings are to light to pluck "bass player style" on those open strings and lower frets. You get the 'thwack' sound if you dig in.

-----------------
NS medium/regular

1-Bb-11
2-F-14
3-C-20
4-G-30
5-D-44
6-A-65
7-E-87
8-B-128

(I substitute a .09 for the thinnest string that normally is an .11).

"WHY?? the .09" I hear you ask.

Because you can use the old .09's to slice cheese and donuts!! "Really... no." BUT you can "Bend" the heck out of it and it won't break!

ON the light gauge a technique I sometimes use is to pluck the bass strings (like a bassist) with my RH - first and second fingers. Then for the other half of the rif switch my hand shape to pluck the melody strings with my thumb, 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers. Very 'guitar-esk'.

I do that to 'capture' the feel. I want my bass notes to sings like a bass player and my melody strings to sing like a guitar player.

(Tip 'o the day: Just playing the right notes isn't good enough - Music is about 'feeling'. If you don't capture that, then you've only told half the story.... leaving out passion and interest).

I visited Stick Enterprises and Emmett had already thought this through and had the thicker gauge set all mapped out and ready for us to try. All I thought about was, "Gee I hope the "G" string is around a .40 cause that's what I like my Fender to be around. And of course, as serendippity would have it, he was right in there. Emmett you are "incredible".

So, now I've got my 'new' gauges to try out.

NS Heavy gauge set:

1-Bb-13
2-F-20
3-C-30
4-G-44
5-D-65
6-A-87
7-E-106
8-B-128

Of course it's 'different' so my first reaction is... "I can't bend the strings like I used to - WHAT HAVE I DONE!." However this thicker gauge makes plucking bass notes into the melody strings feel good and it is easier to hold the tone without the 'thwack' sound of "over powering" the string.

Yes, learning to pluck across 8 strings and navigating to the correct ones at times feels like jumping the Grand Canyon on a tri-cycle... however once you get it!... Ohhhhhh, ahhhhh, the wind in face, your feet pedaling like crazy, then the lift off!!! ahhh very nice. A great technique, worthy of this new gauge.

So off I go out from SE with my 'new' gauge intact to the first session. That's the only way I know is to just "take it in the field' for the ultimate test.

Session #1: Singer/songwriter session. Great tune by the way and very picky producer/engineer. Really liked the tone and I liked the extra melody tension and tone their as well. A success for the new gauge.

Session #2. High end studio, I saw this band play live at the Whisky on Sunset. Great presence, tunes, playing and Ohhh darn fine look too. A couple days later I got a call from their producer and engineer to do their CD. Here's the fun part. Average age of the band SEVENTEEN!!! Kids today I tell ya. Fortunately no mirrors were in the studio so I wasn't able to see me lookin' like eveyone's dad! LOL.

The producer and engineer where seasoned music veteran and had there minds set on using an old vintage Fender Jazz bass. I brought the NS. I played both. Both sounded great, I would have prefered the NS but... because I think they had mentally decided on the Fender, "And that's what NIRVANA used" that tipped the scale for them. They then marked future songs for the NS. So we'll get there on the next session.

Well, let me still experiment. Quick synopsis: As I still 'miss' the regular gauge, as I love to finesse the strings with vibrato, bends and such. Yet, the heavier gauges gives us a deluxe relaxing bass feel and allows ease of 'tone' on the first few frets plucking the melody strings ('bass player') style.

"Rocket Scientist" quick tour coming up. C'mon down, I'll shovel the snow outta the way for ya.

ROCKET SCIENTISTS
with special guest vocal appearances by Lana Lane and John Payne of (Asia feat. John Payne)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Winchester
12112 Madison Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44107
216-226-5681
http://www.thewinchester.ne


I'll try the new gauge on that gig and I'll have more to say about it then. It's an ongoing experiment and I'll keep us posted.
"Be well, play Loud 'N Proud"
Don

Monday, February 23, 2009

In Session

Hi all! and as always "you too'...(just in case you thought I didn't see you lookin' at the screen)

I had a session the other day worth a mention as it required being able to give options to the music that the writer didn't realize where there. It happens every so often when you are called into a recording as a 'session guy' and there is already a bass line down. Right there, the writer already has that line embedded in his mind but the engineer felt there needed to be more.

Usually you would be called in to do the whole album but they are on a tight budget and could only afford this for one song, so they pick the one they feel is there better tune and go full bore on fixes.

The call went like this; Hey Don can you come into the studio tomorrow we need this tune to be bumped up a few notches. I said, "Well, let see that would be Valentines day, my wife's birthday is also the day after that. If I screw up Valentines day by taking a session and not bein' around, that 'mishap' will spill over into the next days birthday, puttin' the pressure on and if I mess that up (like I did Christmas already) it's gonna be a L-O-N-G year gettin' the "Happy" back in 2009. Soooo I'm gonna have to say, "Let's pick another day! After 34 years of marriage let me get one year right. (and so we scheduled it for later in the week).

And now back to the studio...

I brought my NS/Stick, the engineer said they had a lovely studio Fender Bass that sounds great if we needed it, (we both new the NS would most likely end up on the track and it did.)

I heard the track and the original bass line was nice, did the job but didn't move with the drummer, they weren't in groove sync and it left the track feeling like it was harmonically correct but without 'that spark'.

All the players were wonderfully recorded and fine players. The background vocals were incredible and the tune well crafted. When the writer showed up (I'm 99% of the time 1/2 hour early) usually whoever the session is for is late... and so they were fashionably late as I had started getting familiar with the tune already (no chart was written, not even a chord chart). No worries, I like to 'punch and play'. A lot of the sessions I never hear what I played on the tune top to bottom until the album releases. I record all the verses, chorus's then bridge... grab the last donut then leave lol..... This was a well run session where the writer and producer knew what they wanted once they heard it, and so you're out the door in no time. I like that.

Anyway when the writer came in I said, "I need you to listen to the options, the bass line you have is a "D" note held through 3 different chords. It sounds wonderful however the melody to me suggest different notes and the drums suggest a pocketed rhythm. (in other words, the feel and harmonic tonality is going to be altered changing what you had, a lot! - hang on to your hats kids.)

The chorus has such beautiful moving vocal harmonies that, that held bass note masked their movement. Once I moved along with it, it opened it wide open and let the harmonies breathe.

This is my favorite part (aside from playing), when you see the "Light" go on in someones eyes that says, Wow! That's what I want, that makes a huge difference. (then my mind says, good now find the rest of the budget money to hire me for the rest of the tunes!!)

Anyway, we left a nice impression and off we go. That engineer coined a funny saying that has stuck in my mind for years. Many years ago... we did an Eddie Money album together and yikes was there budget tight, SONY records was squeezing each dollar. There were all sorts of problems and finally they shell out $20,000 dollars to fix things. This engineer shakes his head and says, "There's never enough money to do it right the first time but plenty of money to fix things!" Great saying.

I'm thinking of changing string gauges on the NS for this upcoming Rocket Scientists tour. I'm thinking of bass gauges throughout all 8. I'll grab a dozen of the donut shops finest and head over to SE this week and see what Emmett thinks would work best. Emmett is the greatest thinker, I love to ask him question while I eat a donut and he thinks. Sometimes I get through 2 maybe three donuts if it's a good enough question. I may need a few jelly filled for this one.

(PS, on a side note: On the BBC.com news I heard Tim Horton donut shop stocks went up! On my last visit to Canada "I did my part!" Maybe I'll get a 'royalty' donut in the mail!

Excellent,
Don

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Good Lunch and meeting"

(I turned the music off as it keeps playing through the other posts - 3/14/09)
"Hit the PAUSE button!value="sameDomain">I just noticed the 'music' comes on "Right away"! "Hey whats all that racket going on up there!!"
I wasn't sure if I could get this player to show up on this blog... turns out "It works!" It's amazing, I have no idea what I'm doing... and yet, (a lot of the times) stuff works!






Buy mp3 At GreatIndieMusic.com

Here (as you heard) are little snippets of tunes from the "Peering Over Clouds" cd. Sure it's been a while since I put a new cd out... hence I'm working on 4 albums at the moment. Each will be a different style of music, Progressive rock, Smooth Jazz, Meditation and my version of Rock.

Other music coming up will include the Movie theme I'm working on with Lance Matthew which will include a sound track of the music from the film we're scoring. He will also have a new CD release not tied to the movie release, we're almost finished with that.

A new Internet Tv show is going to start production soon and is very funny. They will have me write a theme for that, I don't know how much interior music there will be, but if there's the need... I know lots of notes I could use.

I had a meeting in "Westwood" about it last week with the production company, same restaurant as before (previous blog rant) BUT this time I valet parked... only $5.00 (with tip)... last time I paid $25.00 (with no tip) at the facility across the street and vowed!! "You won't get me next time!" (as I was gonna be late for the meeting if I spent the time looking for parking soooo I bit the bullet and... it bit back).

After this meeting I learned there's FREE parking one block north. (Oh and lunch was VERY good... I had Turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries... kinda like thanksgiving actually but in February - with fresh berries for dessert). That's good "Listening food". If I don't have to talk a lot, I get stuff that you can shovel in your mouth and chew whilst ya listen! Good meeting, half a season is already written, most of the casting is done. Next, get a 'line producer' to hire the rest of the production people (gaffers, lighting, locations etc...) then shooting will start, the lead is already cast (can't mention him yet) then I'll start writing the theme as the director will start to compile thoughts as to what they would like it to 'sound and feel' like. That's what I'll go by, as I begin composing.

The Guild" which is another TV show I do for the internet (and now signed a nice deal for a third season) is going strong. Click >>> "The Guild" for more news of that show.


All for now, I got sent a session I need to complete, then 'send it back' to Canada. I was asked to solo on a tune... 'and so I did' I hope they like it. We'll now I have to finish it, so they can like it!

Take care, it's rainy here in Southern California, It rarely rains so it's a treat. For those of you in Oregon, it would just be another day. To our back east friends, (My Mom's on the east coast) "Stay warm" and June will one day, come again.
Don

"

Monday, January 19, 2009

A quick Vote


The Guild Season 1 is now available on DVD!



The online TV show "The Guild" that I wrote the theme is up for some 'new' and 'improved' catagories. 
"Best Original Score" being one of them. "
And that's where I come in!" So... if you would cast a vote at:

http://Streamys.org/nominate.shtml

and scroll down to: 
"Best Original Music" then 'click those words'
Put "Don Schiff" in "composers name box" (I voted for him too!) 
Series name is : The Guild
site: http://www.watchtheguild.com

For "Best Original Comedy" of course vote "The Guild"
....And there ya have it! Thanks in advance.

The show is an exclusive on Xbox. You can download each episode (Season 2 is now available) onto your Xbox or see them online, 4 weeks after Xbox gets them.... yup! I see them 4 weeks later Lol, I don't have an Xbox.

Well I just got back from Las Vegas and I'll post some pictures from the gig, I'll be getting them within the next week. It was fun. The son of "Don Everly" (of the Everly Brothers) joined the Frankie Avalon show and sings his dads hits with Frankie. It was fun and I'll talk more about that later when I have some pictures from backstage. 
Excellent! See you real Soon!
Don



Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Score one for "Good job!"

  So I was sent this job from my agent Renee at "Eight Of Hearts Entertainment". She said the Regis and Kelly show were looking for a new theme. I thought I'd show you the video with the theme music I wrote for it.
"darn fine job if I say so myself".

Though they didn't chose my theme, regardless, it sure looks and sounds great. I thought I'd share it with you - being that you put a lot of work into writing/recording/contracting players - "and that it won't see the light of day on TV" ... it can live here for the moment. My thanks to Renee and all that were involved.

(Tech talk for those that care: I played the NS/Stick for the guitar and bass parts, added 9 tracks of trumpets, Flugelhorns and drums).

Enjoy
Don