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.

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,

"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

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.

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 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:

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!").

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