An Imperfect Mirror (Also, Some Of My Favourite Lyrics)

 

An Imperfect Mirror

As a songwriter, or someone who studies the use of language to shape or share emotion, there’s always something that inspires. Often enough, it’s something written by someone else as it is an emotion, a song, a movie, an occurrence. And as a songwriter, I believe that being inspired by someone else’s writing is okay. Because we’re an imperfect mirror. Our perception in the mirror isn’t borne out by what we actually look like, so therefore our copy of something isn’t an accurate reflection. Having said that, flat out theft of another person’s lyrics isn’t cool. At all. And particularly now in the age of information, directly stealing someone else’s work is a pretty dumb thing to do, leaving aside any comment on artistic purity, creativity, or lack thereof.

But being inspired by…

Well, that’s where the imperfect mirror comes in. Particularly if you’re drawing that inspiration from many disparate sources. What I’m going to share here is lyrics from songs that have burrowed there way right into my soul, for whatever reason. Some of them, just because I liked the language or turn of phrase. Some because I heard them at a time in my life where I related to them, in a way that I may not have at a different time. And some because they felt like a soundtrack that fitted exactly to a particular moment or emotion from any time in my life.

In no order of importance or relevance, here’s a few of them.

‘I poured my heart out. It evaporated… See?’

Ben Folds Five ‘Evaporated’ from ‘Whatever And Ever, Amen’

I was ‘the other guy’. No, I DIDN’T know when we started out. And when I found out, I felt pretty stupid. And betrayed, and disappointed. And when I confronted her, there was tears and apologies, and promises made. And then, about a week after, coldness. Like I was the one who’d done something untrustworthy. After I’d made my peace with her, and started towards forgiveness. But that’s not how it works. There’s another line in that song,

‘It seems that all men wanna get in a car, and go, anywhere’.

I drove a lot, back then. Just for. Fast, and recklessly. To be honest, it was more luck than skill that puts me here, right now, with some of the stupid things I did in anger behind the wheel. Driving fast, going nowhere.

‘Then the lights go out and it’s just the three of us, You me and all that stuff we’re so scared of, Gotta ride down baby, down into that tunnel of love’

Bruce Springsteen ‘Tunnel Of Love’ from ‘Tunnel Of Love’

Bruce is using the imagery of a carnival ride called the Tunnel Of Love, where he describes what some people might call baggage, some call the other passenger. Whatever you call it, to me, it means uncertainty, or fear. Fear of loss, fear of the unknown, and the way only to find out what it is, or get to the end of the story, is to take the ride. Scary. And relatable. On many occasions. I’m not really a fan of Bruce as a singer, or into his songs per se, but the lyrics? Hell yeah! Another favourite of mine is ‘Stolen Car’. That song was on the soundtrack for Cop Land, the movie where Sy Stallone proved he could act, at least that one time. There’s a scene where his character puts that record on, and lies down on the couch and listens to it. He’s so depressed, beat down, and it’s undeserved. And that song suits that whole scene perfectly.

‘No boy, don’t speak now, you just drive, drive, drive take me home’ Bic Runga ‘Drive’ from the album ‘Drive’

One time I met a girl. It was so unexpected, it was immediate, the attraction was absolutely apparent to everyone around us. From that second, it was just waiting. Delaying. Until we both couldn’t wait. I was driving, not fast, just driving. I started to say something, and she just put her hand on my cheek and said ‘You don’t need to say anything, you’re going to have me, I’m going to have you, you just drive’. And smiled. Then leaned into me and gave me a kiss that was full of promise. That promise was delivered upon, and then some. Whatever else happened after that, doesn’t matter. I have that moment, and that line to remind me. The rest of the song doesn’t really relate to my situation, but that line does. The whole song relates for other reasons, but those reasons are just for me.

‘Rock me Amadeus, Amadeus, oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh Amadeus!’ Falco ‘Rock Me Amadeus’

Not really. Just fuckin’ with you. It’s my blog, and I’ll write what I want to. 😉

‘I’ll take a quiet life, a handshake, some carbon monoxide, with no alarms and no surprises’

Radiohead ‘No Surprises’ from Ok Computer

The first time I heard this I was lying on the floor with my head on a cushion, just pressed play on the CD, and let it roll. I was half asleep by the time I got to this, but the intro chords woke me up. The way the song starts it sounds all Beatles like, and has a quirky prettiness. And then I had a closer listen, got up and checked the lyric sheet. Oh. Well, I love how Thom juxtaposes bleak lyrics over what is a melody crying out for something happier. But maybe that’s the point? I’ve never had the urge to have fun times with poisonous gases, but I’ll take that large spoonful of bitter over the top of that base of sweet.

‘Come visit me tonight at eight o’clock, and then you’ll see, how I am not the crazy one. Voices tell me I’m the shit’

Eels  ‘My Descent Into Madness’ from ‘Electro-Shock Blues’

Ummm…. I like this as much for the song, as much for it’s autobiographical nature, and the obvious. The whole ‘I ain’t crazy, my voices tell me I’m fucking awesome’ thing especially. Actually, I like that whole album, ‘Electro-Shock Blues’. Although it can be hard going emotionally if you really get down into the depth of it. Best avoided when there’s a toaster in close proximity to the bath.

‘I’m making some plans, Finding out there’s always new demands. And I can’t be precise; When people ask me what I’m doing with my life, I say, “It’s up in the air’

Kevin Renick ‘Up In The Air’

I first heard this song in the movie Up In The Air. I really liked that movie, loved this song more. For the words, the uncertainty, the procrastination, and the not giving a fuck about it. And for the chords, the lo-fi production,  and his vocal delivery. It’s not perfect, but neither is life and the situations we find ourselves in. If nothing else, it’s honest. And I’ll take honest over auto-tune and syrupy homogenised cliched blandness everytime.

‘Fun times in Babylon

That’s what I’m counting on

Before the dam goes up at the foot of the sea

Before the new wing of the prison ribbon ceremony

Before the star of the morning comes looking for me

I would like to abuse my lungs

Smoke everything in sight with every girl I’ve ever loved

Ride around the wreckage on a horse knee-deep in blood

Look out Hollywood, here I come

Fun times in Babylon

Momma they’ve just begun

Before they put me to work in a government camp

Before they do my face up like a corpse and say get up and dance

Before the beast comes looking for last year’s rent

I would like to abuse my lungs

Smoke everything in sight with every girl I’ve ever loved

Ride around my wreckage on a horse knee-deep in mud

Look out Hollywood, here I come

Look out Hollywood, here I come

Look out Hollywood, here I come’

Father John Misty ‘Fun Times In Babylon’ from Fear Fun

I needed a new soundtrack for dark times, and I got it just when I needed it. I love the imagery, I love the ‘star of the morning’ reference, I love the song for it’s chords, clever arrangement, melody, vocal harmonies. Actually, easiest to just say, for everything. I could dissect the whole song as a separate article, but meh. This’ll do. I like all the Fleet Foxes stuff I’ve heard, too. In particular, ‘Mykonos’ from the ‘Sun Giant’ EP and ‘Quiet Houses’ from the Fleet Foxes self-titled album.

‘See the devil may do as the devil may care

He loves none sweeter as sweeter the dare

Her mouth the mischief he doth seek

Her heart the captive of which he speaks’

Smashing Pumpkins ‘Cupid De Locke’ from ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness : Dusk Til Dawn’

Mellon Collie has 28 songs on it, and they’re all good. Some are great, actually, a lot of them are great. In this case, there’s a very good reason why this album was huge when it was released. I just like the poetry to this song, with the religious undertones, and talk of love as a grand achievement. The slightly country feel and the harp chords and arpeggios, along with backwards guitar parts, really float my boat too.

‘I been drifting along, in the same stale shoes Loose ends tying a noose, in the back of my mind’

Beck ‘Jack-Ass’ from Odelay

I like the first line, as at the time I felt like I was in a rut, and couldn’t see my way out of it. And it felt like the the things I’d left undone and didn’t want to face were coming back to bite me. And bite hard. That’s what the idea of loose ends tying a noose means to me. Also, the song itself manages to tie a bridge between alt country and lo-fi hip-hop. Interesting, to say the least.

‘It wears me out, it wears me out

It wears me out, it wears me out

If I could be, who you wanted

If I could be, who you wanted

All the time…’

Radiohead ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ from The Bends

Well. That verse has been a catchphrase in my head on more than a few occasions, for different reasons. Some a fervent desire, some a plaintive cry out, and some just wishful thinking that was ultimately denied. It’s easy to get down when something you wish for doesn’t come to pass, but I have learnt that sometimes you really didn’t want it to come true, with the benefit of hindsight. But that’s hard to see when you’re swimming furiously, to keep water from your lungs, when you’re drawing breathe to stay afloat, rather than calm yourself. More so than the other songs here, it’s Thom’s vocal delivery that grants the real power to these lyrics, not that they don’t have their own emotional gravity as is. It’s just the tone and timbre as he sings that give that connection more depth.

And that’s just a few. There’s many. Too many to list. And some, well, they just mean things to me. And I’ll keep them just for me. But every one of these songs has inspired me to write something myself, based on how they made me feel. Some of those songs I kept, some I disregarded, and some I lost. That’s the way of things. Who knows if I’ve lost some irreplaceable magic along the way? I don’t. I hope not. Anyway, that imperfect mirror and my own take on what I read and how I process it, give me my own voice and style. One day I hope that I’ll have someone looking in to what I create and share, and have their version to read myself.

One last thing. You can see further when you stand on the shoulders of giants. Meaning, if you’re going to borrow inspiration, borrow from the best, not the least mediocre you can find. Please? You’ll be doing good things for the art-form, rather than diminishing it.

That’s a responsibility I take seriously.

peacelovengoodhappinesstuff to you all.

Brendan AKA B-Dub

 

‘Solitude Courts The Muse’

This day I had my heart ripped out, but I poured some of that hurt out on paper, via a pen and my guitar.

This day I had my heart ripped out, but I poured some of that hurt out on paper, via a pen and my guitar.

‘Solitude courts the muse. So know this: you have chosen a lonely path.’

I read this quote in a forwarded blog. Several years ago I saw the lady who wrote that blog, Mary Gauthier, in an intimate show that had just her and a dude playing guitar. Her songs are so personal and moving, it seemed almost wrong to applaud after them. I mean, sure we appreciated everything, but clapping for that vulnerability? It felt odd, is all I can say. Mary also spent a little time between telling her story, and what each song meant to her. Most of the audience were visibly moved to tears at some point throughout the show. I found it hard to fathom that Mary was so open about the things that had happened in her life, but that vulnerability was the thing that resonated with her audience, both in her recorded work, and her live show. She also had this to say in her blog.

‘Being vulnerable in your work will bring you strength.’

Damn.

I have a musical partner I’m working with right now. Her name is Leah Edwards. We met via my then girlfriend, who suggested I could show her some things on guitar to help her on her musical path. Sure, no problem. I love showing little tips about chords and musical ideas to people. There’s nothing like hearing someone do something cool, and knowing you had a part to play in that. Anyway, we hung out for the first time on Boxing Day, and jammed a few small things on our guitars. I had some tunes going on my girl’s computer while we were having a cigarette and a cup of tea, one of which was a demo track I’d shown to someone else. That person totally didn’t get it. Dodged a bullet there, I’ve come to see.
Leah however, went ‘What’s that? That’s pretty. Whose song is that?’ And that’s where it started. I had the first line for it, had it for a year or so, and…. Nothing. That’s all I had. The title was Jumping Puddles, which was the beginning of a chorus with those 2 words.
So I had 5 songs as demos, another 10 or so acoustic guitar ideas written on basic chord charts. No so much in the way of words, other than random sentences, or a verse or 2. About 10 days later, I got my heart forcibly ripped out, and that’s when the Muse came to hang out, commiserate, gently take my hand and place a pen in it, and put it all down on paper. With Jumping Puddles I now had 3 verses, a chorus, and a bridge. Another song with a working title of ‘I Know It Ain’t Love’ became ‘Ain’t Right’, 2 long verses, 1 half-length last verse, and a chorus with a double length one to finish. All this in one day, from about 10.30am till about 3pm. All that was left was for Leah to hear the melody ideas I had for the vocal. Which she did, about 4.30 or so. She knew me well enough to know something was seriously up, so I had to let her in on what happened that morning.
After a drink and a smoke or two, we got down to the business of learning these songs. We started with ‘Ain’t Right.’ I played the chords over and over for awhile, while she hummed and sang the words, finding the melody from the guitar notes I played to her. I wrote the words in such a way that they’d fit syllable wise over the 3/4 beat the song is in, so it didn’t take her long.
And then she sang the first verse. It was achingly beautiful. She tapped right into the heartbreak and sense of loss I’d written about, with that sweet tone she has. Right about then, I lost my shit, couldn’t hold it together. I had to go outside for 5 minutes and compose myself. It wasn’t just what had happened, it was how she sang it, what the words meant, the whole deal.

That is the power of vulnerable feelings and sincerity in music, right there. The listener may not have gone through the exact same thing as the writer, but when it’s that honest and open, you can’t help but be moved by it. I get that sense from other people’s songs, have done a million and one times. I’ve got ‘go to’ songs to listen to, if I’m feeling that way. Could be Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ album, or Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ or ‘No Surprises’, Emiliana Torrini’s ‘Lifesaver’ or ‘At Least It was’. I’m listening to the last one right now, as I write. I’ve got plenty to choose from, thanks to many more artists who think and feel like me.
All of the above were written while being in a dark place, alone. Maybe not the finished tune, but the initial idea, absolutely. Sometimes I wish that my inspiration could come from a better place, but then I remember ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ and feel like vomiting out of my eyeballs. Nope, I’ll take it from where it resonates with me. If that’s what has to happen for me to create, that’s what has to happen. No point in wishing it wasn’t so.

And there it is. Every word in a song I’ve written has a very personal meaning to me. Whether it means the same thing to you, is up to you. Your situation or interpretation may differ, but that’s part of the gift. It can mean whatever you feel, and if it helps you with your emotional wellbeing by taking you away to that dark place, and releasing you from it, so much the better. That’s how it works for me.

It’s my hope and belief that you’ll be hearing these songs very soon.

Take care, peacelovengoodhappinesstuff to you all.
Brendan

The Reasons Why Sample Based Hip-Hop Rules My Universe

Hip-Hop, huh? That music where they steal other peoples songs and rap about guns and drugs and bitches, yeah? Well, technically yes to the first part, and sort of, to the last part. Copyright laws ignore the creative ‘Audio mosaic’ style that defines what Hip-Hop is, so technically speaking, it’s stealing.  And as to the last part? That’s a rather narrow definition, based on  a sub-genre that took off because record companies realised that a specific market would buy it. In the case of Gangsta Rap, that was mainly urban middle class white teenage boys. This view of Hip-Hop is  basically because of what commercial radio and MTV allows in their playlists. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to a few definitions, and take it from there.

Sample – a section of an existing song, mostly used as a loop (repeated musical phrase) which is then offered up as something new.

Why would anyone do that? Well, originally, because you could. But the real why? Because the person sampling had found a piece of magic that occurred in a recording.  If anyone reading this is a musician, you’ll know that magic is rather elusive to capture when it comes to being in the studio. It’s an ever tangible thing, why this recorded take is better than the previous, or the next one coming. It’s perhaps even harder to define, but when you hear it, you know it. And as far as trying to recreate that? Even more difficult again. So that’s a big why, right there. The last part of why is, the sampling person heard that piece of music and thought, I can hear that in a different context.

Maybe I’ll take another quick step back, here. Those of you who know about the evolution of Hip-Hop know this, but this is for those that don’t. Hip-Hop started from DJ’s at ‘Block Parties’, which were basically having 2 turntables and a mixer, and playing records to get everyone to dance, often on the street, parks, or houses. Kool Herc is credited with  being the guy who would have 2 copies of the same record, and using them to extend drum breaks or instrumental sections of songs. This reason for this was 2 fold, A – to keep people dancing with a particular groove, and B – to let someone with a microphone let you know what was going on, like introducing the next DJ, the cops are coming, run, or just general announcements. This is where the term MC, ( short for  Master of Ceremonies ) came from. When a few people decided to rhyme their announcements, and add some flair, it became a thing that was expected. It all started from friendly competition, and fun. Right, so that’s some relevant back story.

Given that the history of Hip-Hop evolved from using other peoples songs as a backdrop, this became the sound source for it. It’s much the same in actuality as any musician using chords from the major scale, only the methodology is different. If you look at a sound, melody,  or musical phrase in the same way as you look at a chord being a building block, this makes sense. But the real craft isn’t in just taking a section of a song, and repeating it over and over. This can be done with many different samples to make up the one song, say, a bass-line from that tune, drum sounds from that one, a sax riff from that one. Or, using the one element from a song, and rearranging it, like the following.

Chop – A process where a sound is loaded into a device known as a sampler (Such as an Akai MPC, ASR, or more likely today, software) and sliced into sections of individual sounds. These sounds can now be played in whatever manner or order the person sampling see’s fit. Great exponents of this type of sampling are Pete Rock, Premier, DJ Shadow, 9th Wonder, and more.

Flip – the process where chopped up samples are then played back (usually via assigning the chopped sound to a particular key on a sampler) by hitting each key to a beat, in whichever order the sampling producer chooses as a musical statement.  This can often result in a sampled loop being unrecognisable, other than to a highly tuned ear, from it’s original source. Again, producers like Premier and Pete Rock are great at this, along with the legendary J Dilla.

And I believe that that is significantly more honest and original than the sound of most commercial music released these days

Whoah! Big call! And can I back that statement up? Sure can. And here goes.

If you sample something, you’re acknowledging that you’ve borrowed some magic, or created magic from something pre-existing as a piece of music. That’s honest. And flipping it so it’s unrecognisable from the place you got it? That’s original.

But how is that more honest than commercial music? Because it’s acknowledged. As a musician myself, I hear so much plagiarised music on most commercial radio, when I’m unfortunate enough to be in a place where it’s playing. It comes down to most songs using what are called scale tone chords, which are chords only containing notes that are included in a scale. That’s fine. However, it’s mainly only the major scale being used (the white keys on a piano) and there’s only  7 notes in that scale, ergo, 7 chords to use, and the last chord, a Minor7b5, isn’t often heard in anything but Jazz and Classical music. So that’s 6 chords, then. What about key changes, the musically literate ask? Still the same chords, just in a different key. So there.

Don’t believe me about all this? That’s ok. You can believe what you like, doesn’t make you right. It’d be worthwhile checking this out, though.

Axis of Awesome – 4 Four Chord Song (with song titles) – YouTube

And that’s just a tiny snapshot of songs you can play with just 4 chords. THE SAME 4 CHORDS. That’s not to say NOBODY is doing anything original, as that’s just untrue. Meshuggah are doing crazy things with their 8 string guitars and tunings, and adding in strange fusion style guitar solo’s, within some defined parameters. I’m sure there’s some avant garde stuff I’m missing, and there’s some guitar players doing some wonderful things with alternate tunings and capos. But still, there’s only 12 notes to pick from. And as much as I don’t like Dubstep, I’ll acknowledge that certain people were using sounds rather than notes to create something new. It’s just that it sounded like a Transformer ass-raping an unhappy smaller Transformer with a fax machine dildo, to me. Each to their own.

Right.

So why does sample based Hip-Hop rule the Universe? Because unlike a lot of genres, the use of samples actively encourages the listener to find out about the origins of the sample used. Right, and? In most cases, the listener has their ears opened to a whole new world of music, by artists they may never have heard of otherwise.  Be that Jazz, Soul, Funk, Disco, Classical, Latin, Bossa Nova, Rock, or any sub-genre thereof. It certainly did in my case. Each new audio mosaic presented as a beat was not only  a celebration of the use of magic and creativity, and proof of great taste in music and the contents of the producer’s record collection,  it was also an invitation to a history lesson. And it was a gratefully received invitation. Sure, along the way I got some shit albums with just that one little thing, that 2 -4 bars of magic on one song, but way more often than not,  I got something that altered my perceptions of what music is, has been, and can become. Also, there’s quite a few Hip-Hop crews that used real musicians blended in with samples, such as A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, Spearhead, Disposable Heroes Of HipHoprisy, or currently Madlib and his Yesterday’s New Quintet project.

Here’s just a few examples of tracks I followed the thread back with and copped the originals of, that I’ve listened to just recently, both originals and samples.

The Pharcyde, and their track  On The DL.

The Pharcyde – On The DL

A sample they used, ‘Travelin’ Man’ by Stanley Cowell.

Stanley Cowell – Travelin’ Man

Also by Stanley Cowell, ‘Equipoise’. This one is on my want list, but it’s horrendously expensive on CD and Vinyl. Cheapest vinyl I found was over $140 USD. Ummmm, no thanks.

Stanley Cowell – Equipoise

J Dilla. The master of re-imagining samples into brand new things, and adding his own played sounds too, to such an extent that you most often don’t know which part is which. Genius.

J Dilla – So Far To Go (Feat Common & D’Angelo)

Contains this sample.

The Isley Brothers – Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love) (Parts 1 & 2)

And a little vocal part from this one.

Junie – Tightrope – 1974

Pete Rock, often imitated due to his innovative use of filtering, a technique where you use eq to make some sounds louder or quieter, to give you more control over what sounds or phrases from a song you can use.

Pete Rock & C. L. Smooth “They Reminisce Over You”

Here’s this very subtle sample used, it’s a very clever re-arrangement. That sax riff, just brilliant.

Tom Scott — Today

Jurassic 5, production by Cut Chemist. Uses 3 awesome songs.

Jurassic 5 “Thin Line” (Ft. Nelly Furtado)

My god, this song.

Minnie Riperton – Les Fleur

And  this one.

Lynn Williams  Don’t Be Surprised  (1969)

A Tribe Called Quest, ‘Bonita Applebaum’. Sample classic magic.

A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum

This is the most recognisable element.

Ramp – Daylight

Along with this..

Rotary Connection – Memory Band – 1967

Jungle Brothers, sampling one tune I’d heard before, and one I hadn’t.

Jungle Brothers-What’s Going On

The one I’d heard.

Marvin Gaye  What’s Going On Full album vinyl LP (Original Mix)

The one I hadn’t.

KOOL AND THE GANG – N.T. (HD)

D J Premier remixing a Nas track with Kanye West, and making the Nas version look absolutely amateur. And somewhat unbelievably, the spoken word intro is from a live recording by… Liberace. Didn’t see that coming.

Kanye West, Rakim, Nas & KRS-One – Classic (DJ Premier)

Here’s the main sample.

Carl Douglas – Dance the kung fu (1974)

Okay, so there’s a few. A definitive list? Fuck no, not even close to scratching the surface. Just some I picked up the originals of recently, and some that came to mind.

Here’s a small list of some people I would most likely not know much about if it weren’t for them being sampled, and me listening to 90’s Hip-Hop.

Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, Dave Pike, Minnie Ripperton, Rotary Connection, Stanley Cowell, Harold Alexander, Gwen Macrae, Curtis Mayfield, Kashmere Stage Band, Maceo Parker,Vicki Anderson, Bobby Byrd, Patrice Rushen, Betty Everett, Brother Jack McDuff, Lou Donaldson, Grover Washington Jr, James Brown ( meaning, I woulda missed out on the good shit, rather than the obvious stuff like ‘I Got You’ ) Lyn Collins, Marva Whitney, Nina Simone, Kool & The Gang, Art Blakey, Betty Wright, Grant Green, Sly & The Family Stone, The Commodores ( 70’s stuff, not the 80’s pop shit ), Blackbyrds, Darondo, The Isley Brothers,  Astrud Gilberto, The JB’s, Idris Muhammad, Gene Ammons, Bernard Wright, Parliament, Ramsey Lewis, Bob James, Gil Scott Heron, Inell Young, Johnny Guitar Watson, Spanky Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Pleasure…

And that’s just a few. And that DOESN’T include all the other artists I came across after following the thread backwards, and seeing what else was out there along with what I was tracking down. I’ve found so much righteous good music that for one reason or another, just didn’t get the chance it deserved back in the day. And do I wanna hoard it for myself? Hell no. It’s my most communistic trait, sharing great sounds with people. It’s why I took up DJing in the first place. I learnt so much about great music and having my mind expanded by some DJ’s I knew, some I’ll never meet in person, some I’d heard and didn’t catch their name, as well as online mixes and links.

All from a few songs that I loved being honest about their origins, and their place in the record collections and hearts of the producers who sampled them. I can’t think of any other genre of music that would inspire that dedication, not just by me, but by millions of ‘beat-heads’ who just get it, and want to know more.

You DON’T have to buy Vinyl to do this, this is no purist statement about sampling or listening.  It’s kinda cool if you want to, but definitely not a requirement. You just have to be inquisitive of the origins, and open minded. That’s it. You can just set yourself up a Youtube playlist of what you’ve found, that’ll do. Mind expanded, method of listening = irrelevant. It’s the fact that you are. And good on you, and I mean that very sincerely. Have fun!

Tips For Following The Thread Back 

Try using http://www.whosampled.com/ to find out some stuff. I use it frequently.

These ones here give you related artists and releases. I use it to check similar Hip-Hop crews out, AND similar sampled artists. There’s plenty more you can use, just make friends with Google.

http://audiomap.tuneglue.net/

http://www.musicroamer.com/

Stuff that happened at gigs, this one time and that other one time.

Image

Hi.

So I’ve been playing Guitar for about 22 years in bands, approximately. And a lot of stuff has happened. And it’s all real, no embellishments. Well, not many, anyway. That photo above has nothing to do with me playing guitar. Like, at all. My son took the photo, so I thought, good enough. I like playing records, too. But that’s for another day.

The first band I played in that was a working covers band, (industry code for shit songs not played well) I was 17, or 3 years under the legal drinking age at the time. I played Bass, as my boss from my day job was of the opinion that any experience was good experience.

A – You get paid.

B –  You learn what / not to do.

So the singer thought he was Robert Plant. More like Bryan Johnson with a throat cold, mixed with a dentist drill. Also, he had Elmer-Fuddism, where the letter R was kind of a problem. Usually I let it go, but one night the set list was songs like Wock n Woll by Led Zep, Wun To Pawadise by The Choirboys, Wun To You by Bryan Adams, Wockin’ In The USA by John Mellencamp. For some reason, on this particular night I found my self unable to contain my mirth, and  ended up standing sideways on stage with tears coming out my eyes, almost bent in half. Hardly missed a note, though. Hopefully, couldn’t really say. And then I fell off the stage, cos I wasn’t looking. Was only about  2 feet high, no damage done. I told ’em I had food poisoning, and went to the toilet to pretend to throw up. Only I didn’t. Cos I didn’t really have food poisoning. I had ear-rape poisoning. They thought I was smoking mah-ridju-arna.

This other one time I was playing Acoustic Guitar with a friend of mine, who has a lovely Jeff Buckley style voice, when he chooses, and is also a good player. We were playing songs at a pub for cash money, some of which were good, some of which were complete anus. And this 50-60 yr old Man-Bear-Pig/Female came up and started talking to me as I was playing a relatively intricate fingerpicking solo. Did my best to ignore her/it. She/It didn’t take the hint, and started waving her hands between my eyes and the guitar neck. Song finished.

Me – ‘What?’

It – ‘Finally! I was waving my hands so you’d see me and you didn’t see me so I was -‘

Me – ‘What do you want.’

It – ‘Do youse do any Cold Chisel?’

Me – ‘No.’

It – ‘Why not? What do you mean, no?’

Me – ‘I mean, no, by saying no.’

It – ‘But, I wa-‘

Me – ‘Talk to him.’ Age old trick, that one. Talk to the singer. Anyway, some blah-blah-blah went on.

Singer – ‘She wants to know what we call ourselves.’

Me – ‘Sex Panther.’

Singer – ‘Ok. We’re called Sex Panther.’

It – ‘The Sexy Panthers?’

Singer – ‘Sex Panther.’

It- ‘Hey! (calls to similiar fiend in the distance, the too near distance, in my opinion) They’re called The Wild Panthers of Sex, or something!’

Singer – ‘Sex Panther.’

Me – ‘Sex Panther.’

It – ‘So are youse gonna play any Cold Chisel, or what?!’

Me – ‘Or what.’

It- ‘What?!’

Me – ‘Exactly.’

She then said something of a sexual nature, however it had nothing to do with any large member of the feline family. Seemed anatomically improbable, and unhygienic at best, but hey, I’m not here to judge her/it’s proclivities. Wouldn’t put that under ‘Interests’ on my e-harmony page,  though. Not that I have an e-harmony page. That ad I saw on the TV with this one chick, she was all, ‘I’ve been on so many different dates, and they’ve all been exactly what I wanted.’ So… If they WERE all exact matches, allegedly, how come you have to keep going on different dates, then? Like, if I found a TV that was EXACTLY what I wanted, I’d just buy one. Not every single TV that there was and ever will be. I must be missing something. Herpes, probably.

This one time I was in a really Funky Rock band. Had a residency at a cool Hotel by the beach, consistently had 300 people there on a Thursday night. Kinda like early Lenny Kravitz mixed with BSSM era Chili Peppers. The drummer was awesome, so we used to do  a coupla Led Zep inspired riffs in a real funky way, and let him have a coupla minutes for a drum solo. One time we’d been drinking adult beverages before the gig and when we got on stage, myself, singer/percussion, and bass player all realised it was soon time to hang the sheriff. So we did the Zep riff thing, waited for the drum solo to start, and simultaneously took off to the ‘Gentlemans’. We figured the drummer would be fine, seemed energetic enough that night, so we decided to have a smoke break too. (Cigarettes, I mean.) Anyway, we got to talking, and suddenly realised we’d been gone for over 10 minutes. Ooops. So we took off inside, and could hear a floor tom being hit, every 4-5 seconds or so, and this voice, mumbling. Ooops. Kinda quiet in there too. Got on stage, and saw that due to exertion, he’d vomited all over his snare and mounted toms partway through the drum solo. But as we hadn’t come back, he continued, saying ‘Where are ya’s, where are ya’s’.  So we let him get a drink of water, while we did a little free form jazz chord thing, with the singer reciting lines from Jim Morrison’s American Prayer. But then we made him come back. He was fine. Smelt a bit horrible up there though.

This other time with the same band, we were booked for a classy joint about 160kms outta town. We’d recently signed with a booking agency on the strength of our reputation, not any form of demo. So the booking agency had no idea what we sounded like / did, basically. We went down in a flatbed truck with a canopy on top. Used to be a school bus, apparently. In 1971, or something. Back in the days when asking ‘Is that safe?’ translated as ‘I enjoy same-sex relations, and many unhygienic acts and sequences’. Anyway, our singer brought a friend with him, who was copiously drunk when he got in the truck. Got to the gig, set up, had a couple of drinks, played. First set was quiter stuff, don’t remember exact songs. 2nd set, got funky. This one chick in a small black dress with an impressive set of twins that didn’t fit into that dress, who for some reason was bra-less that night, started jumping up and down in front of me. Singer/Bass/Drums/Me = mesmerised. Then, whoomp, there they were. Didn’t bother her for about 15 secs or so, which is a long time for titties to be jiggling, exposed to both scrutiny and the elements. Anyway, she put ’em back in, we managed to get back ‘in time’ with each other, as well as the same key, and her boyfriend gave us serious stinkeye. Whatever. While we were doing this, our singers drunk friend had got 6 double bourbon and cokes, said they were for us, and then drank them all. And then vomited. So the bouncers kicked him out. But he wouldn’t leave from out the front. Too busy sitting on the ground vomiting all over himself. And people were leaving. Not because we were bad, but because they were expecting some Acoustic Duo doing whatever shit was popular on the radio, mid 90’s. Hootie, or some shit. And we weren’t that. And people who did come were disgusted by the sight of someone sitting in his own vomit at the front door, even though the bouncers were pouring buckets of pine scented warm water over him every 10 mins or so. Picky. Anyway, halfway through our 3rd set, one of the the bouncer’s told us we had to stop. There was only 5 people there then anyway. Then he escorted the singer to the owners office. So we packed up super-fast, all The Flash On Speed, like. Then the singer came out and said the owner wanted to see me, specifically. Whut?! So I went in and he says ‘I’m not paying you.’ I say ‘Yes you are.’ He say ‘I’m not! The Pub is empty. I’m not paying you.’ I say ‘You entered a contract with the booking agency, you pay, in cash, now.’ He say ‘That friend of yours is vomiting outside! What about that? Huh?’ I say ‘He was intoxicated, your staff shouldn’t have served him. We said for them NOT to serve him before we started. And yes, it’s disgusting. But your staff shouldn’t have served him.’ So he paid us and we left. It was cold.

Halfway back, we were all in need of a toilet stop. Oh yeah, that  canopy on the truck was not connected to the cab, so we had no way of contacting the guy driving. Tried yelling, no good. Glass windows all the way around the truck and canopy, none that opened. Nothing other than the single door in the middle, back of the truck..

Luckily, we had some empty bottles, so with a pair of pliers I got all McGyver and  constructed a splash guard from a 600ml Coke bottle to go into a 2ltr bottle. All good, as far as that sort of thing goes. Then the drunk friend woke up, and started heaving. After 15 seconds or so of panic, we opened the back door, and held him, while he got all projectile widdit. Thing was, this truck wasn’t real fast, and we were just about at an overtaking lane, so there was a blue Holden right there, and the vomit sorta landed on his windscreen, and he was sorta unhappy about it. At least, that’s what I thought he meant with all that yelling and gesticulating and swerving and yelling. Ooops. So we didn’t play at that joint again. No reason.

One time I filled in with a band for a friend of mine, who said he was going on holiday, and who neglected to mention they were shit. I had one practice with them, and they were shit. Easy gig though, same ol’ same ol’ set list and all that.  There was about 8 paid gigs to be had, so on with the show. So at the first gig in a pub, in the last set, they informed me that the singer was going to do a solo performance, with the keys player. So not really solo, but whatever. So I grabbed my beer and sat down at the table where my girlfriend at the time was, who had been smirking at some of the faces I’d pull when someone would trainwreck a song. Aproximately 3 train wrecks per song, give or take. Anyway, this female singer announced she was going to do Wuthering Heights. ‘This should be interesting’ I said to my fair maiden. Meaning, ‘This should be fucking god-awful’. And it sorta was. Like, if you think it would be awesome sounding if someone hit Tiny Tim AND a pissed-off cat with hemorrhoids in the anus with a cattle prod,  at roughly the same time, then it was awesome. If you don’t think that that would sound awesome, then saying it was fucking god-awful would just be overly polite. Yeah, so the guy who was the cloth-eared oaf boyfriend of the singer took offence to my reaction, and said that my services wouldn’t be required anymore. Cool. Thanks mate. There is absolutely NO WAY I want to be associated with that, ever again. Ever. Ever ever. Plus 1.  I rang my mate and said that his gig was safe when he got back from holiday. He said ‘What holiday? I just didn’t wanna tell them they were shit and I didn’t wanna play with them anymore. Gotcha!’ Cold man, real cold.

Fun times.

If you’d like more, then holla. This may have been an ill-conceived idea, so I’ll stop otherwise.

‘Kay, bye. 🙂

B