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.

"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:
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.

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".