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  1. Songstuff
    Latest Entry

    By Songstuff,

    Featured Artist - Simon Darveau

    Simon DarveauMontreal based French Canadian artist  Simon is a singer songwriter, self-taught guitar and piano player and wannabe sound engineer in his free time.


    Simon is currently building his home studio where he hopes he will spend most of his time writing and producing his own music as well as collaborating with other artists in a near future.


    A proud member of "The Travelling Songstuffers", a virtual international group, Simon hopes to produce an EP featuring some of their work.


    Read About More Simon Darveau and other excellent Featured Artists 

  2. For the Relay for Life (Sunday, July 8 at 1 a.m.), the setlist looks like:

    SET ONE:

    Dead Things in the Shower—fast two-step (chairperson Robin requested it)

    Bungee Jumpin’ Jesus—deliberate Gospel

    Crosses by the Roadside—slow two-step (and one of my two cancer-related songs)

    Bluebird on My Windshield—fast bluegrass

    Invitation to St. Patrick—sleazy blues

    The World Enquirer—fast bluegrass

    Milepost 43—mod. tempo two-step

    Welcome to Hebo Waltz—fast waltz

    Selling Off My Body Parts—fast bluegrass

    One Gas Station—mod. tempo folk

    Prehistoric Roadkill—fast bluegrass

    Hey, Little Chicken—slow & sleazy quasi-blues

    Oil in the Cornfield—mod. tempo folk

    The Termite Song—fast bluegrass

    SET TWO:

    I’m Giving Mom a Dead Dog for Christmas—slow & sleazy

    Duct Tape—mod. tempo country

    Doing Battle with the Lawn—fast bluegrass

    You’ll Make a Real Good Angel (Tarra Young)—slow Gospel (the other cancer one)

    Free-Range Person—fast bluegrass

    Eatin’ Cornflakes from a Hubcap Blues—slow & sleazy quasi-blues

    50 Ways to Cure the Depression—folk-rock

    Song for Charity (and Faith, and Hope)—fast bluegrass

    Leavin’ It to Beaver—mod. fast bluegrass (starts slow though)

    20 Saddles for My Chicken—fast bluegrass

    Writer’s Block Blues—slow & sleazy

    Born Again Barbie—Everly Brothers-style rockabilly

    Pole Dancing for Jesus—slow, sleazy Gospel

    Meet Me at the Stairs—fast bluegrass (starts slow, again)

    Un-Easy Street (Stan Good)—deliberate two-step

    Yes, I remember all of them. (I’ve been running through the ones I haven’t played in a while, or don’t play very often.) I tried to concentrate on songs that didn’t require a lead break, since if I’m playing solo, there’s no one to do lead; “20 Saddles†does have a lead break, but it’s a joke—I do a voice-over saying how I’m not going to do the break from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus†at the same time as I start to play it. “Bungee Jumpin’ Jesus†also normally does the break from the “What a Friend…†song but I can leave it out easily.

    And there are a few songs on the list that I don’t normally perform because they are too long if they have a lead break: “Oil in the Cornfield,†“Leavin’ It to Beaver,†“One Gas Station,†“Hebo†and “Meet Me at the Stairs.†“Oil†and “Beaver†are six minutes long as is, without a lead break. (Both are old songs, from back in the 1970s. I wasn’t insisting on a 3-1/2-to-5-minute limit back then, and the Dodson Drifters didn’t care.)

    I guess I’m as ready for the Relay gig as I’m going to be. I’ll get to play music Friday night (Coaster practice), and then Saturday night at the Dylan Show in Nehalem, before going to the Relay gig. It did occur to me that this setlist would probably work okay for the house concert I’m supposed to do July 14 (I think); I can do these, plus (since they’re fans, and familiar with most of my stuff) take requests.


  3. Well a while ago I shelved plans for an album due to life getting in the road... but here I am back again, in the early stages of planning an EP and an album with accompanying singles.


    For now I have a provisional timescale, with the plan to release the single in October, followed by an EP in November. Hopefully then I will release singles and an album to follow in April / May. The tracks are mostly written for both EP and album and recording has begun. Tracks are being selected for EP and album as we speak, though at this point the track allocation is quite fluid.


    The good thing is that there are loads of tracks to choose from. I have enough written for several albums, and with new tracks being written all the time. I've also re-worked a few older tracks recently, so I may include some of those.


    I'm looking forward to this!

  4. Tip #1 - The music industry is a business.


    • That's important to understand because....if you deal with it as anything other than a business, you will almost certainly fail. If you've had very little business experience or lack a basic understanding of how they operate, you need to learn. Why? As I said above, you cannot succeed in something without first possessing a basic understanding of what it is.
    • Talent, musical proficiency dedication to your goals & self-confidence are prerequisites, not your ticket to stardom. Think of them in as you would a college degree. The degree itself guarantees you nothing....other than the opportunity to compete for what you want.
    • Intangibles such as "creative integrity" may have value to you & your peers, but NOT to a business. As a general rule, businesses care about 2 things - making money & saving money. When you present yourself to industry representatives, keep that in mind. If you can convince them of your ability to accomplish one or both of those goals, that should get their attention.
    • If you're unclear about how someone might "save" a record label money, I'll leave you with 2 examples:
    1. Think about the huge growth of the pop, rap & hip-hop genres in recent years. The bulk of the music & arrangements for those genres is created via software & sampling. That means fewer session musicians, less studio time and lower overall cost of production. They're able to sell those CDs & downloads at a competitive price, but the profit margin is higher because of the lower production cost. Do you really believe that change in public buying habits was a lucky accident?
    2. If you happen to be an artist with a huge online fanbase/following (Justin Bieber), that's tangible selling point. A huge ready-made fanbase means lower promotional cost for the label....again, saving them money.

    Tip #2 - Beware of the "Scamortunity"

    As you might guess, the term is meant to describe a scam disguised as an opportunity

    • What does a scamortunity look like? Not an easy question to answer, since they come in many forms. As a general rule, the more unbelievable the opportunity looks.....
    • the more skeptical you should be
    • the more extensively it should be researched
    • the more reluctant you should be to participate

    In other words, if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is! 

    Most cons (scams) are designed to take advantage of existing vulnerabilities. In the case of songwriter/musicians, those vulnerabilities are well known & numerous. Don't allow belief in yourself, belief in the uniqueness of your creations & desire for recognition to become liabilities in your quest for success. 

    • Remember....the music industry is a business & should be dealt with as such.
    • In business, opportunities rarely come looking for you. Don't expect them to seek you out in this industry either. With very few exceptions, they won't!

    Tip #3 - Nothing is owed to you.

    Many in this business develop the attitude that the world/industry owes them something. Simply put, that is not a productive mindset & will do nothing to further your career.

    • Countless hours of dedication to your craft, skills, talent & creative ability are prerequisites....not entitlements! Virtually every one of your competitors (fellow musician/songwriters) has worked as hard as you have....sometimes harder. Those prerequisites earn you the right to compete, nothing more. View them as you would a high school diploma. That diploma doesn't earn you money, it does get you a job & it won't guarantee admission to the college of your choice. But without it, you don't even qualify to compete for those things, because the majority of your competitors have one.
    • Forget about concepts like fairness. The world of business is based on many rules, but fairness is not one of them. Tangible results rule the day.

    Tip #4 - For God sake, spend a couple dollars & get your finished material properly copyrighted.

    We're only too happy to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartphone that'll be obsolete next year. ATM fees, wireless streaming fees, credit card interest, bank overdraft fees, apps....all things that we've come to accept as unavoidable expenses. BUT....when it comes to spending $35 to legally protect our own artistic creations, we'd rather not. Seriously....$35???

    That's the current U.S. Library of Congress online filing rate for multiple works by a single author. To the best of my knowledge, a Library of Congress registration is the only universally recognized method for proving legal ownership of a work. There are viable legal reasons for choosing this method & I encourage you to verify that for yourselves.

    Here are a number of direct links you may find useful:

    United States Copyright Office http://copyright.gov/

    Why Should I Register My Work? FAQ page http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#automatic

    Copyright FAQ - http://copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html

    Electronic Copyright Office tutorial - http://copyright.gov/eco/eco-tutorial.pdf

    Online Copyright Registration - http://copyright.gov/eco/

    Tip #5 - Remember...it's all about the vocals !

    It’s common for recording songwriters/bands to underestimate the importance of the primary vocal track. Bottom line….it’s "Priority #1" and should be treated as such.

    Why you ask? Simple!

    To the ordinary listener, it’s the single most important thing. Non-musician listeners focus the majority of their attention on the vocal (singer).

    Sure…everything else matters! Just not as much.

    Common Reasons for Substandard Vocals: 

    ·     Internal Band Dynamics - every member of a band wants to feel like their part is essential to the success or failure of a project. Unfortunately, nothing outranks the melody & the singer's presentation of it. Yes…a strong vocal can benefit from a great musical arrangement. But, if the vocal’s substandard, the best arrangement/performance in the world won’t save it.

    ·     When recording demos or finished material, vocals are one of the last things to be dealt with. If you’re working in a pro studio, you’re probably paying an hourly rate. If that is the case, you should budget your session time carefully. You can’t afford to blow the majority of the budget on preliminary musical tracks. When that occurs, the natural tendency is to rush the vocal recordings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen friends make this mistake! Remember, if that vocal isn’t done reasonably well, everyone loses. 

    Take whatever precautions are appropriate. When it’s all said & done, that vocal track will represent your song. Shoot for the highest quality you can reasonably achieve.

    Tom Hoffman

    Songstuff member profile

    *This article is the result of a question posed on the Songstuff boards. John Moxey asked the question, these were my responses.

  5. It's been all over the music press for a while now, will she, won't she. This includes a live appearance on stage in London to play the group's hit, "Don't Stop".

    Well, now it's official. Christine McVie is back with Fleetwood Mac. Liz Rosenberg, the band's publicist, confirmed that McVie has rejoined the band she left almost 16 years ago in 1998.

    According to Rosenberg, Christine McVie "has indeed re-joined Fleetwood Mac and we are hoping to make an announcement about a possible tour for the full tilt Macsters some time in 2014."

    After marrying the group's bass player, John McVie, and joining the band in 1970, McVie became one of the main songwriters with the band, and played with the group for 28 years, as a singer and keyboard player.

    McVie wrote some of the band's biggest chart hits, including:

    "Say You Love Me" (1976)

    "Don't Stop" (1977)

    "You Make Loving Fun" (1977)

    "Hold Me" (1982)

    "Little Lies" (1987)

    "Everywhere" (1988).

    Fans of Fleetwood Mac will now, no doubt, be hoping for a new album from the band lineup that brought us the massive album, "Rumours". The expectation of what singer/songwriters Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, might produce, must be incredible. No pressure! As a songwriting team, the three were the main song writers on a total of 5 studio albums for Fleetwood Mac:

    "Fleetwood Mac" (1975)

    "Rumours" (1977)

    "Tusk" (1979)

    "Mirage" (1982)

    "Tango In the Night" (1987).

    After an open discussion across the media between the band members, the return of McVie isn't exactly a surprise. The more cynical among you will no doubt be suspecting a carefully crafted piece of buzz generating, free publicity. A good lesson in getting free publicity for any singer / songwriter / band out there.

    For all their musical brilliance over the years the personal lives of the band has been full of headline getting controversy. The free publicity generated may have rubbed salt in the wounds, but at the same time I suspect the resulting publicity hasn't exactly harmed record sales.

    Nonetheless, for fans, this reunion is, most likely, very welcome news.

  6. In being a newer member of MAS (Minnesota Association of Songwriters), I received word of an invite from David K Rockstarwannabe.tv to local singer/songwriters for a contest Dec 18 at the World Theatre in Minneapolis. Rockstarwannabe.tv is shown on Twin Cities cable; it is a reality show in which David K happens upon towns in Mid-America literally asking residents, "who should have 'made it'?" and featuring that unknown artist. Secondly a famous artist is featured. David K's own story of continuing his musical journey is woven in as well.

    I immediately signed up. Several email exchanges took place with David K, from whom I sensed a sincere goodwill toward the singer/songwriter. In viewing Rockstarwannabe.tv's Dec 2010 Show, there was much to like, including one of David K's originals Border Ride, and especially the interview with Jon Anderson of Yes.

    The Suburban World Theatre is a true theater, picturesque, cathedral ceiling, substantial stage. The first person to speak to me was another contestant, and I ended up sitting in the same alcove with Troy Castellano, his wife and their friends.

    There were about 15 writers in all, including a cat whose original was traditional Mexican (he was runner up, good writer/singer and a very sweet guy). The format was David K calling up writers from his list, and there were giveaway raffles interspersed between blocks of performers. Following the contest was a short set of originals by David K's band and lastly, a free-for-all jam.

    We were to check-in with the sound engineer Kevin Hovey, whose resume includes international acts from Prince to Celine Dion. Amiable and easy-going, with a real smile, I immediately appreciated him.

    On a related note, I must mention David K's nephew, Nate. That young man adopted me, ceaselessly offering assistance (and pleasant company) including an escort at night's end to my car.

    The introduction I was given, was when I learned there were no other women writers, which I thought a little odd. Although the contest parameters may have had something to do with that, and not only for women. Winners were chosen by applause and writers were heavily encouraged to "bring your posse". [Mine consisted of zero people btw. That is not why I signed up, esp. on short notice. A number of folks said they wished to, or would try to come, nice that. I saw a great opportunity to do something I find difficult (playing solo), on that World Theatre Stage. David K's good attitude in email correspondence also had a lot to do with the follow through]. My goal was simply to do the best justice possible, in that moment and setting, to this song that had come through me.

    The contest was taped, the winner to be featured in the January TV show. I had heard that other clips from the contest would also be aired (which prompted my Facebook question, "is white OK to wear on TV?" to which there were dozens of replies).

    Fellow MAS writer Rod Kinny performed during the second half of the show. I'd only learned about a week ago that he has CD's (as in multiple) available. It was really nice, having been to the MAS songwriting critique meeting Dec 14 and seeing Rod bring in his latest fare, and then seeing the cat onstage playing those beautiful chords and voice melodies, notably enjoying himself, and later saying hello with a big smile.

    I'd a preoccupation with my car being at a parking meter, plus it was chilly in the theater (which I dealt with in part by going here and there within, and sometimes without just to get a cold blast to make me grateful for the theater temp again). During one of these forays came the first highlight of my night (besides getting up there solo). A man looked me in the eye and said, "I liked your song." What more could a songwriter want? To my delight I found out a moment later that I was speaking to Jody Ray, of The Flaming Oh's. He told me of his current project, RebbyRay (later I was given their CD). I stumbled in trying to tell him how I'd heard of him long time, that he was of the tier 'so high' and etc;

    Troy Castellano became the headliner of the show - after he was done, the writers were placed onstage and one by one, given the definitive applause to be judged by. Four writers received the most, then these four (including Troy) played an excerpt to refresh the memory. Then the final judged applause. Joel Kachel, who played a great song called Crow, won. And soon my second highlight in that Joel sought me out. That was an amusing exchange, repeating mutually "I liked your song!"

    David K introduced Troy by revealing that Troy was chosen by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue via an online collaboration contest, to record with Tommy Lee. Sure enough, in our conversation bits in the alcove, which included the Castellano's children, Troy's studio set up, and confrere Mike explaining some friend/family history, Troy showed me pictures of his session with Tommy Lee (but first he showed me pics of his 3 children - smart man). We exchanged contact info; and those guys were really nice in watching my guitar whenever I ran out.

    David K's band performed - I was delighted that one main b/u vocalist was the drummer (Bob), and had to nudge Troy, whose view was blocked, to point out who was doing those spirited backing vocals. It was a good set, the band sounded right on. The jam followed, and it was with happiness that I made my way to a drumkit. We did some originals from various writers - and notably (or perhaps not as it may've sounded not-so-good "out there")

    (eeeyow!!). I hate to be a broken record, but really everyone was very nice, especially Bob, David K's drummer, his brother David (guitar/vox) and Mike the (fantastic!!) piano player.

    I was offered a couple gigs afterward: the one that would pay right away, however, was out of the running for me as it involved road work. It was a great night, and I look forward to furthering musical relations with two last contacts made, and hopefully solidified right there (the final highlights of my night).


    It's hard for me to judge, but I think in the interim between the last couple entries and this one, there have been significant steps I've taken, some of which come through in what's written above. There is so much going on that's hidden - it can require 20 steps to get to a single Big One. It made me uncomfortable to write about every little (or big) new thing going on: it seems vain and narrow-minded, because my world (and certainly your own!) is much bigger than that. Also, it's as if I don't have the words to open things out these days. Maybe there's less to say when one is doing more. I do want to mention that I'd been keeping some musical company lately with a Twin Cities' artist well known locally. I'm currently learning a lot of his music, and hoping that early 2011 will see me gigging some (drums). I think he's brilliant musically, and a fine writer.

    Thorny Swale, (the band I'm in) continues on amidst recession and all the rest, like everyone else in these lands. We're up to 5 of my tunes, and strangers continue to like the songs to the degree that I'm starting to get used to it. Each new original gets a strong reaction. I've just finished (er I think!) another song, and in some ways it's my favorite EVER. I have a great memory of our last gig: the 6 of us standing in a circle in the parking lot discussing which songs to learn next. We decide on one cover, then bassist Ken says, "and originals!"


    It was beautiful to come back home. Kayla is staying over, currently tucked upstairs somewhere, among 6 of the 7 Dwarves. It was warm here, nicely lit. I was greeted by Dylan, Kayla, and the new puppy who was beside himself with excitement in seeing me; then snuggled up close and quiet wherein I felt graced.

    Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!

    ~ Merry Christmas ~

  7. Well, here's the link to the jam with my friend Joey singing.

    I hope you enjoy this!

  8. Rudi
    Latest Entry

    Pensive melancholy thoughtful contemplative

    brooding pondering preoccupied absorbed engrossed. Yep I’m fragile alright.

    The intensive shift pattern I'm working is partly to blame. So the last day of the rest period may be a Thursday, but it will feel like a Sunday because I'll begin work in the morning. If working on Sunday, I'll drive in and wonder where all the traffic went. I'll probably never see other engineers who work opposite me ever again. They are working the inverse of my shift pattern.

    Oddly, it may be conducive to making music though. I am making progress again despite suffering ongoing jet lag like disorientation. Having 4 or 5 days off in a row is certainly helping me record.


    Yesterday I completed the recording of my instrumental 'Flamingo'. This is a major landmark for me. It was begun when I was in my 20s. I'm in my 60s now. Its only 5 minutes long, but it has undergone steady changes throughout a period of about 30+ years. Parts of it came and went (were lost through neglect or purging). It was in constant a state of flux. Always changing with only a couple of core themes to anchor it to. After buying my Camps spanish guitar, I worked on Flamingo in earnest. This was the voice it needed. Within a couple more years I finally completed the tune. That is, I formed it into a fixed (well, 98%) and repeatable piece of music.


    Since then I tried to record it a couple of times, but its my most technically demanding instrumental, and the Camps is my most difficult to play guitar. Being a classical guitar, the Camps has a much longer scale, and I had to adjust parts of the left hand technique to suit. I even invented a new technique to straddle frets, because my fingers could no longer stretch far enough. I gave up the task of recording twice. I couldn't get a good enough take.


    I had another try this week and could not get the mics working successfully (a Shure SM58 and a Shure Unisphere). Before abandoning the attempt I thought I would try using the Yamaha Silent. This is a nylon strung practice instrument that uses a piezo pickup. Its still a classical guitar with the long scale & wide flat fretboard, but it isn't acoustic. I got a performance I was satisfied with (still with flaws though) in a mornings work.

    It was certainly easier than using the Camps, but I was unsure how the sound quality would hold up on the Yamaha. Well it doesn't sound as rich, and you can hear the piezo sound too. Being a simple single instrument, I was bolder at tweaking the EQ and choosing a mastering toolset. Reverb also helped a lot too. But I'm enjoying the way it sounds.

    So its done at last. True, it was always a complete mess as a composition, but then it isn't a composition. It was never written. It was never arranged. It just evolved.


    Maybe I should just stick to acoustic guitar instrumentals. I've been steadily turning down the gain on my electric for years now. I'm never happy with my vocals. I cant play bass, keys nor drum. It makes good sense.


  9. TFunny old day today sunny but not very warm eh?

    Now on to the serious stuff how are we all ?

    Tues is our first gig since The Mint a while back and it's back to macsorley's in Glasgow and with us will be our mates from Fife The other side

    we are looking forward to this one, It's been a while

    we are still doing what needs done on the search for a perminent bassist and we have someone else comming to the studio on Monday for a try our fingers crossed

    the new tracks are comming on a treat and have been improved with slight adjustments and will only get better as we play them

    We have been short of a guitarist over the past week our mild mannered led axe playes sloped of to spain for a wee break lucky git!!!!

    However!......... being Mild mannered but rather vain he decided to go get himself a little browner before hopping over to spain, and went for a wee sunbed and did he not have a 15 min session well blow me down he was burnt to a crisp the big dafty

    so its true what some might say vanity kills or in Neils case burns your legs arms and other parts lol

    Last week i finished another painting that was inspired by a image taken bu Greig Stott from Dundee of the "Rowan Gorilla VII" in the sunrise

    You can check out Greigs work on his Facebook page as well ar the original shot

    Greig Stott Photography


    Sunday 3rd October we are off to Lochore to play along side our mates again The Other Side also on the bill are The fireside Aliens and storm in a D Cup, a 3 piece all female rock band should be a great day & Night

    The reception we receved the last time was fantastic and due to the high demand the gig has been moved to a larger venue in the Lochore Institute

    That will keep us busy for a few weeks

    so for now its bye bye

    Be Good

    Thomas x

  10. I know there are a few Aussies on this site.

    Just hoping everyone is safe wherever they are!

    My daughter has lost her house in the Blue mountains. My other daughters best friend has also lost her house (Susan Antonio who just joined this site recently) and many other friends of theirs have also lost homes or are being impacted by fires in some way or another.

    It's been the most frightening experience for our family as most of my family live right in Winmalee where over 200 houses have been destroyed and the crisis still continues with bad weather ahead.

    So many fires are still burning in different areas. It's just unbelievable that we are seeing this kind of thing so early in the season.

    My heart goes out to all those people who are now faced with having lost everything they owned, pets...oh that just upsets me so much. My daughters boyfriend braved the fire to try and get in to save their two dogs but unfortunately he was only able to save one.

    I have so much respect and gratitude for the firies who are out there facing horrific circumstances. Just true hero's.

    While so many homes have been lost, so many have also been saved, including my parents and my sisters homes.

    Just praying that what they are predicting weather wise will not be as bad as they fear.

  11. Graham Coxon 14/05/2009

    OK, sorry about the huge gaps here, and the missing gigs, but I am poor, and assuming there's no-one as really cares anyways :P I'm afraid this one is also a bit of an album review as well as gig, for a fairly obvious reason...

    This gig was too big a chance for me to pass on - probably my favourite famous person, and indeed musician, playing at an awesome (small) venue, playing his entire new album "The Spinning Top". The venue was the Thekla, which I'm sure I waxed lyrical about already, but that had a different feel, it wasn't sold out last time for a start! This gig was acoustic too, so made it feel lots more intimate.

    The support was pretty cool, I've forgotten the name (and he said he is usually the singer in a band as opposed to usually a singer songwriter), but he played some cool acoustic songs, with nice riffs and a good voice.

    Graham Had a backing band, a drummer and bassist anyway, the bassist having an electric double bass for most of it - very cool. As the new album is quite folky and acoustic, that was most of the gig, but it was nice to see Graham whip out the electric guitar and rawk away for some of it - it wouldn't be a Coxon album without it!

    The first few songs are nice acoustic finger picked things, had me wishing I could finger pick better. There's something special about Coxon's voice, a little thin and not too strong sometimes, but it fits his style perfectly, it always makes me smile, whether it's a sad or happy! On board the good ship Thekla, being up close and personal (almost close enough to lick!) really added to the already special feel of the album. Graham seemed to have an odd effect on the crowd, everyone seemed to get very giggly (I'll confess I did too), laughed at all his jokes, indeed, at all his comments, right up to the point he asked 'So, you all going out to a discotheque afterwards?', after we had chuckled away, he seemed a little confused and said 'That wasnot a joke, you know, it was a question!'

    It was my first listen to any of the new material, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and it is certainly different from his last record ("Love Travels At Illegal Speeds") which was very much a punky piece, full of energy. In fact The Spinning Top is more like a return to his first few albums stylewise, but better. His first albums are something of an aquired taste, and certainly don't demonstrate the songwriting skills he has obviously developed in the 10+ years since his first solo work. One example of this is 'In The Morning' 8+ minutes of somewhat perculiar sounding catchy happy.

    'If You Want Me' was the first song he brought out the Telecaster, it has a nice, the first half of the song is clean and quiet, and not knowing the song, it was a real kick when he slipped on the overdrive and effects and it all went grungy and nasty (in the good way). The only problem with the song I had was that I had the 'why so serious?' meme from the last Batman film brought to the front of my mind by the chorus 'It's all so ser-ri-ous', which distracted me somewhat! This kinda rawky burble of a song ended and we were told 'This next song is about bunny rabbits and fishes. Trying to make babies on the riverbank. There really are rabbitfish out there, you can google them when you get home'. I regretted doing that - real rarbbitfish are hideous! nothing like the cutesy image I got, especially after listening to the song, as it is an example of Graham's odd skill with getting away with the silliest lyrics, and indeed music.

    "Out of the tree and into the sea, swam my perfect love for thee"

    C'mon! But some how, with the fun, happy little guitar riff, and a kickass sax solo (performed by Graham himself - he's something of a multi instrumentalist, having played all the instruments for the recording of all but his latest album), it is just a silly happy summery song.

    The rest of the set started to get a little confusing as the album progressed, as the last half of the album seems to switch between electric and acoustic pretty much every song, and with 'Caspian Sea' hitting you in the face with an actually somewhat annoying repeatative rawk for a little to long at roughly the halfway point, it felt a little odd. It did make a bit more sense when I listened to the album, and found out that it has a backing concept - it is meant to follow a boys life from birth to death, which somewhat explains the confusion in places - who isn't confused a lot?!

    The end was reached far too soon for me, and the encore was a little odd, as it was two songs, both excellent. However, the last song on the album has a slightly funeral dirge in the background, and that combined with the last song being dedicated to a musician who had died last year (I'm afraid I didn't know, and don't remember, the name :s), led to a slightly odd elated-yet-sad feeling as I walked away.

    Overall a great gig, a really special experience. I can't wait for his full electric tour that is apparently coming in the Autumn, as while I love his acoustic side, the punk side of Graham is essential to the mix, and is guarranteed to be a fun gig!

    Sadly the only upcoming gig now is Blur, and I will not have regular internet access by then, so that review may be a while. It will be an awesome gig though, it can't really fail at that!

    Providing everything works out well in September with my new job, usual gig levels should hopeful return then! :D

  12. Before I delve into the Yamaha Variax Standard,....



    I've used Sweetwater for well over a decade now.  Though I did not purchase the Variax from Sweetwater.  It was Sweetwater to the rescue.  My purchased Yamaha Variax Standard did not come with a Battery Charger.  Rather then send the Variax back and wait for a replacement I looked around locally and online for a charger.  Sweetwater to the rescue . http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/L6VBatCharge  Not only did they carry the charger separate.  They did so at a very reasonable price compared to competitors.  The story would have ended there.  I had already waited a week for the variax to arrive and had my hopes up to play it before the weekend as I work two jobs.  I'd made the purchase Wednesday Evening and thought to myself there would be no way for the free shipping of the item would land my charger until Monday.   James Masterson a sales engineer at Sweetwater, followed up after the sale letting me know when the product was shipped and provided tracking information.  It arrived at the post office on Friday (because my mail box is too small) and I was able to pick it up on Saturday.  Very fast.  Very thoughtful 


    So on Saturday I was able to charge up the battery for my variax and get some play time in before heading off to work.  What's more is that added thing every Sweetwater customer knows.... SWEETS From SWEETWATER.   Me, I'm a happy camper I didn't need any sweets. but I had them so I gave them to a sweet gal at work.  She happily gobbled them up and had a smiled the rest of the night..   It's one of those little extra things that Sweetwater does which separates them from the crowd of online retailers.  Sales and Support have always been great with sweetwater, sweets always sweeten the deal.


    The Yamaha Variax Standard


    There is so much to write about this instrument it's really hard to cover all the bases. So I'll cover the Body first followed by the variax modeling technology and then other personal observations regarding it all


    The Physical

     This is the one in white which I own.  I've never owned a white guitar before. It is based on a Yamaha Pacifica Model.  Classic strat shape with few appointments. There is a forearm relief cut into the top, however no belly cut  Standard 4 bold properly joins the alder body to the maple neck. It is very much a "student" instrument.  Nonetheless it's a well fitted guitar.  The three ply pickguard fits securely to the top, joins perfectly around the neck and wraps well around the bridge plate. I have to say when I was making minor adjustments I was very impressed with the tremolo assembly. The screws for the saddles are fully recessed so as not to scrape the players palm.They turn easily and uniformly Yamaha was even considerate enough to supply the proper  Allen wrenches for the saddles and neck.  The volume and tone knobs as well as the model and tuning knobs have that traditional telecaster flat dome chrome feel.  It will never slip when you are sweating.  The maple neck sports a 25.5 scale length on a 22 fret standard C profile neck . The nut width is 1.614" with a flat radius rosewood fretboard 



    Yes, The variax faithfully recreates all the instruments it's designed to with the sonic espressiveness that the instrument has.  However at the root of that is the articulation which comes from the performer / performance.  One of my peeves has to do with the location of the volume knob which makes strumming near the bridge a clumsy affair.  My second and biggest pet peeve has to do with the neck setup.. Take this with a grain of salt. You may not get the same setup I did.  While the frets were properly dressed and the intonation is correct the action was simply too high.  It also had excessive bow.  I straightened the neck a little and brought down the action only to find uneven frets.  Which meant I had to raise the action and apply some bow to the neck in order to escape fret buzz.  This may be an isolated incident with my guitar that may not represent Yamaha Variax standards as a whole (I'll get into this more at the conclusion)  The guitar was sold as an "open box" by a retailer known for B-stock.  Which is why I received it for 525 rather then the 800 one would expect to pay for from a reputable seller.



    The Sound - Magnetics

    If the battery ever fails you'll always be able to play the equipped with three passive Alnico V pickups.  I've seen the videos as well.  Surprisingly they don't sound near as dark and aggressive on my guitar then those demonstrated.  However it may be something as simple as I'm not that aggressive a player and amp settings.  That being said they are darker and more aggressive then your average strat pickups.  They are single coil pickups.  They hum, not excessively.  To my ears they sound like Dimarzio.  Yes they are more expensive then those in a Yamaha Pacifica.  Call me a cork sniffer,  Every time I look over at my Stratocaster Plus with Gold Lace Sensors I say to myself I wonder how much it would cost to swap pickups.  I do the same thing as I compare my strat neck with the Yamaha...or for that matter every guitar in my stable.  


    The Sound - Modeled.

    Every variax be they JTV or Yamaha have exactly the same modeled sounds in them.  They all have the same workbench software.  What you get with different models of JTV's be they American or off shore goes down to aesthetics.   More Guitar sounds are to be found in the Variax Workbench hardware.  It is possible as stated over and over again in Workbench videos.  You can modify / create any electric guitar using the workbench by selecting the body design then swapping pickups, adjusting the pickup placement and selecting the electronics / wiring.





    Amazing recreations of the instruments they were modeled after. All the nuance is there if you can coax it out To be honest I haven't played with every model sufficiently.  Not enough time in a day and...I get sucked into one tone and lose myself.  The tone control for the acoustic instruments affects the mic position. In that regard it is both more subtle then your average electric guitar tone control 


    Here are my responses to common questions and concerns regarding the variax.

    Which one is the best?

    The JTV 89 (fixed bridge)  Honestly it all comes down to weight and playability.  It's the fastest most playable model of the lot. These oddly appear to have been discontinued.  Even the 89F USA is getting rare. Plays like butter as it should.  It has the same neck profile as my Yamaha Variax standard but the attention to detail regarding the overall neck work. Is vastly superior.  If you've ever played a top of the line Ibanez RG you'll feel right at home.


    One of the common excuses Line 6 touted about the JTV69's higher action was that in order to properly recreate the sound much goes to action of the original modeled guitars setup;  The "feel" helps with the expressive control.  Well, I've played Ric's with thier high action short scale length and they feel much more playable then the Variax standard.  I've also played some higher action jazz boxes.  It's just an excuse for poor neck work and possibly a belief held by James Tyler as he may like his action higher.  Prior to the JTV versions of the Variax it was not uncommon for many players to have transplants performed.  Taking the guts (electronics) of a Variax and placing them into a more playable instrument.  Yamaha (the current owner of line 6) would probably be able to have greater profitability  if they simply sold the electronics out to other companies then build their own.  It would be a win win  win. Yamaha cuts down production costs, Other makers get into the game with still the best modeling technology out there.  And consumers can have variax technology in a favored brand model.


    Why do all the modeled sounds have a sameness to them?

    Turn up your master volume.  If you like me live in an apartment with thin walls you are prolly playing at low output levels so as not to disturb the neighbors.  As a result your ears are getting a blend of the acoustic tone (yes even from a solid body) and the amp tone.  Also,  play around with your amp / effects settings. What we hear when we listen to recorded music is filtered guitar tone.  Effects. the amp, it's settings, the speaker cab and speakers, the placement of the mics and types of mic's the mixing board eq and post processing even the type of analog tape used to record and the delivery process (vinyl, cassette, radio, digital compression) all effect the final tone.  Line 6 can only capture the guitar's character, it can't capture the performers character of performance nor all the other things which make up the tone.


    The Spank Model Doesn't sound like "my strat"

    Eric Clapton's strat doesn't sound like Eric Claptons strat,,, what's your point?  EC has played many stratocaster guitars over the years. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_(guitar)] "Brownie"[/url] doesn't sound exactly like Blackie

    Which doesn't sound like his 80's fender signature sporting lace sensors, which also doesn't sound like his current signature guitar that features fender N4 noiseless pickups. One important note about early pickup windings.  They usually didn't have counters to to count how many winds the copper had around the bobbin. If someone operating the machine lost count they'd guess.  This resulted in some single coils having more winds which produced a "hotter/darker" sound and some were under wound producing a "quieter/brighter" tonality.  This wasn't limited to single coil production.  The famous "Peter Green" Les Paul sound that was slightly out of phase was a result of improperly placing the magnet in.  It was a factory oversight.  To be honest if you want a noiseless single coil sounding pickup that properly reflects the tone without the noise... It's in there.  If you long for single coil noise you can always switch to the magnetic pickups or blend the magnetic sound with the modeled sound (via Workbench HD software)


    Why does the guitar jump volumes when switching instruments?

    If you want to faithfully recreate a specific guitars sound then you also have to faithfully recreate it's output.  That's "Keeping things real"


    Why don't they have more guitars and pickups?

    Well they do but those are in the workbench HD software. No it's not every brand of ever model imaginable.  Sure I'd love it if they modeled a Parker Fly or a Ibanez Satriani or various other guitars and pickups


    I only get 10 custom slots?

    Actually no. All 60 slots can have custom modified guitar sounds  Which you can load from Workbench HD.  You can swap either an entire 60 at a time or as few as one fairly easily.  It took me about 3 minutes to load the entire collection. YMMV depending on your computer setup.


    I get clipping

    More then not it may relate to sending the guitar signal out to an input where the trim is set to high.  (Just like what would occur with any other guitar. Other reasons include playing too thick strings too aggressively.  The obvious answer is to use the gauge strings Line 6 advises and not play like a thrash metal idiot.  If you are still getting clipping consider using Workbench HD and lowering the individual string volumes or simply reducing the volume on the volume control.





    Yes I to get the warbling effect while playing harmonics on the acoustic 12 string. It's the only one I can reproduce the warble effect and the only way.

    I've got the latest in Variax technology Workbench HD 2.0 and while it's improved the overall virtual instrument quality this quirk though minor is still present.


    Final Thoughts

    Before the advent of JTV there was a great deal of interest in Variax guitars yet minimal sales.  Line 6 sold less then 1000 variax guitars.  Many of which where transplanted due to mostly visual appeal and secondarily to play-ability.  JTV's did what the old 00 variax models didn't.  Capture the imagination and present the instrument in a visually pleasing form.  Mostly by just adding magnetic pickups.  There was always something holding me back from purchasing the original Variax series of guitars and later ones including the JTV line.  Yes played them all in stores and still walked away from the deal.  The yamaha variax standard offered a new hope.  Mostly in regards to the body style and play-ability of the Pacifica neck of which I've owned a Pacifica in the past. After a few days of constant tweaking I've finally got the neck into playable shape. Making minor adjustments to the truss rod and the bridge saddles.  One thing I've noticed about the JTV 69 (strat) is that many guitarists are swapping necks.  Yamaha has spent most of it's time focusing on Line 6 amplifier and effects lineup.  It's also borrowed back and is evident in the THR series amps which... I love.  The dedication and re invigoration to developing technologies especially yamaha's point to point  modeling has brought line 6 back on top of the Amplifier modeling market with Helix.  While I find the Variax a complete solution with little need to advance.  (it's near perfect) I hope Yamaha's enthusiasm isn't lost on helix / thr and some of it can come back to advancing Variax technologies.  One need not look to far into the past to see Yamaha dropping the ball on many an acquired project.  Such as when they acquired the Charvel/Jackson line and due to poor oversight dropped the quality and sales.  It wasn't until Fender acquired Charvel / Jackson from Yamaha that the guitar was revitalized to it's full potential.   Over the last few days I've been making adjustments to my Variax setup with hopes that it would play better.  Yes it plays much better then when I first received the guitar but it's still a far cry from...every guitar I currently own and many I've had in the past.. including Pacifica's.  Granted I'm a stickler for action, the average joe/jane guitarist would be rather satisfied with it.  Enough Whining....


    It's taken me much longer to write this review simply because... I pick it up and play something then I can't stop finding songs to play.  I love the tone and I love the expressive responsiveness.  Magical.  I'd prolly not even bothered writing the review had I not struggled with the neck so much.... I'd be too busy playing.
















  13. typo
    Latest Entry

    nice to see how songstuff is coming along. new features being added etc.

    as a music site it's really pretty cool, and it's good to see site crew active on the forum.

    i thought it about time i acknowledged this in my blog!

  14. such a pathetic day yesterday was !!

    early in the morning, dad wasnt feeling well..so i was sent to my granma's home..when coming back..some guy coming from wrong side hit me..and i hurt my leg..

    day was boring and painful. i went to hostel in the noon and slept over there..and room-mate didnt see my spects and he broke them..so it was hard for me to come back home on my own..

    i asked him to drop me of home on my scooter..he was riding too fast..he couldnt manage to hit the breaks..and whole front part is damaged..it have been only a week since i had got my new scooter !!

    whole front part will have to be replaced..such a gross !!

    thats it..it still pains in the leg though !

    current mood : apathetic

    now playing : grimskalle trell - borknagar

  15. blog-0487539001329905437.jpgFeb 21, 2012 Thorny Swale performed 5 of my original songs at Northwestern Community Television (http://www.nwct.org/) a public-access cable station west of Minneapolis. This great opportunity came through a partnering between NWCT and the Minnesota Association of Songwriters (http://www.mnsongwriters.org/), of which I am a member. "Minnesingers" the original music program consisting of MAS performers is the brainchild of MAS member and NWCT Executive Producer Rita Fox.

    This was an ambitious undertaking because just weeks before the taping guitarist Scott Iverson and I began playing our respective instruments (Scott had played drums on the originals while I fronted and played rhythm guitar) and I also began using an in-ear monitor system with my own mixer. In addition, there were three new songs - one of these (Be My Love) was so nuanced that it necessitated drawing up huge charts on gigantic-child paper (4 in all -- the Out took up one page in itself). I cleared my mantle, took down the painting over the fireplace and fastened the charts to the wall, where they remained for 2 weeks.

    Guitarist Mark Rocheleau and I additionally spent an afternoon one-on-one with this song, for which I was very grateful.

    Because of circumstance, we lost 2 rehearsals (I had wanted 6) and I think ended up doing four. I must thank "Sneakers" (http://www.reverbnat...om/sneakersband), the other stellar band I'm in for an intense period of regular rehearsing, the results of which were so edifying, I could come to T-Swale with complete confidence that we could and should do the same kind of focused hard work. I try to remain mindful of the sacrifices the wives and families make in letting their men go - bandmates who have full time dayjobs, busy families, and some of whom drive from out of state to rehearse.

    Thanks to a new mini digital recorder, we were able to record and and I supplemented w/ other MP3 files (rhythm & lead guitar motifs, etc;) so the guys learned the new material increasingly with each rehearsal. I hoped to encourage them (within some strict visions I had of the songs) to make their parts their own. They did, to the point of re-arranging the 4-chart song Be My Love to a manageable complexity, and it was the right decision. I watched as the short weeks rushed by, my busy bandmates keeping up with MP3 files & accompanying musical ideas/notes/proddings, plus the logistics of my new monitor set-up, and increasing technical/practical details of the NWCT taping itself.

    Myself, I was in athletic training mode 2 1/2 weeks prior to the taping. Number one, I practiced drums at a much slower bpm than normally played, to a click, recording everything and forcing myself to listen to all playbacks in a very focused way. I knew from the past (http://forums.songst...studio-lessons/) this was crucial for getting inside the groove; and since I hadn't played these songs on drums live (save one), I was writing parts and shaping the songs. Many tools were needed to above all try to communicate the vision I had to my bandmates, and I learned that intimately knowing that vision could be an obstacle in said communication. I had to try to listen to what they were saying, try to understand what information they needed. They were very patient and dear with me.

    Our bandmates are our best and only allies in very real ways. They deserve respect, gratitude, and sweetness wherever possible.

    Vocally I had my work cut out. The 5 songs seemed quite different in power, style, etc; Be My Love uses the highest end of my range purposely breathy almost throughout, while There's Gonna Be A Storm is to the wall heavy. I practiced all vocals sitting down, because that is the way they'd be performed, sometimes a single phrase repeatedly...then 2 phrases in a loop and so on. That kind of care was needed in analyzing strengths/weaknesses vocally, not only because I was playing a different instrument now, but a loud instrument. I'm no stranger to this nit-picky work, it is how I learned to sing my own songs. A satisfying day when I was ready to concentrate solely on singing & playing as a whole.

    The material came together at the eleventh hour. I wished for more time to reflect on how hard T-Swale had worked. These guys are accomplished soloists. As I learned (again) in drum prep, I needed restraint most of all in order to let the groovy licks shine. The whole band learned a lot about the discipline of doing this. I cannot express how pleased I am with our result. Simple to say "The Song Is Queen - Serve Her", but it is much harder to do. I know at least some of the guys wanted one more rehearsal (bless them!), but our time had run out.


    We arrived at the NWCT studio intact. I'd been sick for a few days, striving to remain calm above all in the face of sore throat/sinus woes. We were one of 2 acts scheduled to tape and thus slated to have 90 minutes to set up a 6 piece band, sound check and then film, a challenging undertaking that we accepted, yet were nervous about being able to fulfill. Yet various supportive and buoying things had happened along the way. The people were sweet and really for us, in various email and other exchanges concerning gear & logistics -- notably Wayne Hamilton (President of MAS), Rtia Fox Executive Producer, and Ray Dahl, Sound Engineer at NWCT. It was an unexpected happiness therefore, to find out at the studio that we were granted additional time, as the second act couldn't appear that evening.

    The studio was large and felt expansive, housed in a modern, sound building. There were amenities like a large, clean break room (w/ treats) and a great ladies room (LOL). Ray Dahl, Rita Fox and Wayne Hamilton (himself nursing a winter illness) all helped us load our gear into the studio. I was especially touched and felt supported to see Wayne there under that circumstance. He immediately asked if we wanted to use risers and began discussing some set design. Risers seemed like a good idea, so people began getting various set pieces and hauling them in. I was so happy to be vocally warmed up and confident I could sing.

    (Sidenote: Tenor saxman and vocalist Jeff F and I are both hairdressers - I cut his hair last month, and he cut mine a week before the taping. So it was to him I showed the clothing I'd brought and we discussed possibilities. It's a comfort to know he's there on-the-gig for hair tousling or any aesthetic needs).

    Once our stage set up was completed, we got a chance to sound check & actually rehearse. That was my favorite part - maybe because the studio door was open, and there was a buzz in the air. Producer Bob Woods then sat down with me, introduced cameraman Mike (we later met cameraman Mark and lighting tech Nikki), and we mapped out the songs in some detail regarding soloists and other cue-like info the camera crew would find helpful. The last few minutes before taping I listened to a recording Jeff F had done with new sax parts, which I was to yay or nay (he ended up doing them).

    We were fortunate at being able to do some second takes of songs if we weren't pleased with the 1st result. I had one monitor in my ear and the other bare, to hear the whole stage sound. I love in-ear monitors, I can finally hear myself sing in a way I never could before. It felt so good to be playing those songs -- which happen to be my songs, but as writers tell it, often enough the song writes you. It's really been in the last 2 weeks that I have ever heard some of them, the way they've been in my head for so long. It is rare & thrilling in a deep-down way to behold. And frankly, it was wild to have an audience and be filmed right on the heels of still kind of in shock about the tunage being realized outside one's head.

    This is T-Swale -- exceptionally able, tasteful and never robotic. Yet it had been a long day. In the end, we were tired and our own worst critics. But I have the little rough draft tapes of tonight, already listened to....even without hearing them, this writer couldn't be more pleased. But I am totally stoked! I am not the only songwriter in Thorny Swale, for one. And we are up to at least 7 originals live, with more of mine waiting in the wings, if the guys want to do them.

    So grateful to God for this wonderful opportunity via the MAS, NWCT & Thorny Swale!


    -Shrove Tuesday, 2012

  16. blog-0049394001373343673.jpg3 Easy Steps to Better Sound - Part 3 - High Frequencies - Control Your High end, - give some sparkle and air

    This is the third part of three steps to improve your demo recordings. If you have not read the other two, no worries. You can find them here.

    The Three Steps: click on a link to view that document.

    1. Part 1: The Low Pass Filter - Less low noise, -this will clean up your sound and make all the parts sound out clearly
    2. Part 2: Sweep - Find the bad sounds and cut those frequencies from your song
    3. Part 3: High Frequencies - Control Your High end, - give some sparkle and air

    There is a lot to know about mixing and being a sound engineer. I am not a sound engineer, nor I am a professional with years of work in the studio. Those professionals are part of what you pay for in the studio work. They are well worth it.

    The High Shelf Filter

    What we've done so far

    We've gone through the steps to control the low end. We then found the bad frequencies and brought those sounds under control. We now want to give back a bit of the high end. A little bit of sparkle and air is how I hear it. It will be different for each ear. Listen carefully to what you hear without it and then with the filter in place.

    The high shelf filter looks like the screen below. What we are going to do is to boost the signal about +6 db and then move it to the left to increase the range. As we do this we listen to the difference in the sound. When you find what you like stop and roll it back a bit to the right


    I will do this with a clean EQ, in other words there is no other settings being used for the moment. Why do it this way?

    I do this so that I can get a feel for how much high end I want to boost. You may have heard that you don't boost you cut. Yes that is true. For the most part you really don't want to boost your signal. However, you can do so, and by the way, the pro's do it all the time. Just keep in mind that those pros are boosting very good recordings. If your recordings are on the thin side you should boost in very small amounts. Somewhere between +1db and +3 db. The numbers that I call out and the screens I show are only rough ideas. Your final settings will depend on what your ears say it the right amount.

    Stage 2

    Now that you have an idea of what your high pass filter will add to your sound its time to use it with the tweaks we have used from parts 1 and 2. The screen below has the low pass filter done. The notches are in that cut out the unwanted frequencies. All we have left to do is to add in our high pass filter.


    Place your High Shelf filter around 10 k Hz to start. Again your final setting will depend on what you hear as you adjust it's place to the left and right in the frequencies. How much you boost will also depend on what you hear and what you like.


    My starting place screen below.


    And where I ended up placing it for this song.


    I had it a bit more to the left and then I made the effect less by going a bit to the right. That's it. you are done.

    You can play with this and all the other EQ tricks that I talked about in these three documents. The main idea that I hope you get is to have a basic starting point and then play around. Your ears will be the only real guide for this task. Stay fresh, don't work too long, and enjoy your self.

    With The High Shelf Disabled, all the other tweaks are on.


    And now I've enabled the High Shelf Filter


    You can find the full version of this song on my soundcloud

    Closing Words

    I wrote these easy steps with the idea that it could help those of you who create great music but found your final product not sounding as good as it could. These documents are just a small beginning of what might happen in a studio. I wanted to keep it very simple and clear. I hope that it will help you all feel that it's not so hard and that you can control your EQ just a bit better.

    If you have any questions or comments do post them. Send me a pm or two. I'd love to hear from you.


  17. Steve
    Latest Entry

    which is a most dangerous pastime for me! I was listening to a news item regarding obesity!The general concensus is that we are all becoming obese, and in another 40 years, a huge percentage of the population will be clinically obese! The government is worried! The strain this would place on the, already stretched health service could be critical! It could cost millions of pounds to treat this 'new age' condition. The news item included expert testimony from er, 'experts', who concluded that our changing lifestyles were to blame! The evolutionary process is failing to keep up with our changing ways! Apparently? The Government is suggesting that we change our slovenly ways and will more than likely find a new tax or two to 'help us'

    Well, I'm no expert! So I suppose the following points will make no difference in this ever changing world!

    Children aren't getting enough excercise.

    Government (and local council) response?

    Sell off school playing fields to developers.

    Allow the building of huge housing estates with tiny, or no gardens.

    Set aside NO green areas in proposed new developments for children to play in.

    On already existing green areas, erect signs bearing the legend 'No Ball Games Allowed'.

    Reduce the alloted time spent on physical education in the school curriculum.

    Set parents minds at rest by releasing known paedophiles into the community, and not keeping proper tabs on them.

    And while I'm fired up!

    We keep hearing from the government about 'visions' and 'the future'. What's best for the country and all that bollocks! Well I'm getting a little pissed off with it! I don't want some assholes 'vision'! Gordon Brown keeps on about his 'vision' Well I'd like Gordon Brown to come and work with me for a few years and then tell me about his f*cking vision! I'd like him to have the same bank balance that I have! With no realistic chance of ever having a decent retirement payout. I'd like him to wake up in the morning and go to a job that he doesn't like that much. But I'd like him to do that for the rest of his life! The trouble is, we can't all be politicians! Who would pay for the pensions then? I hate politics because it is, in my mind, exclusive and not inclusive. The old chestnut of somebody representing the views of the community is the biggest con ever. Politicians represent the party they belong to. Party politics is a joke. The opinions and 'visions' of a tiny minority taking sway over the majority. If somebody can distinguish the difference between the two major parties I would like to hear it! Gordon has decided that the European constitution, that nobody wanted, is what we all really want, but just don't realise it? So he's going to call it a 'treaty' and give it to us anyway! Now the fact that we were promised a referendum on this by the government, is neither here nor there! The tiny minority in government wanted the 'constitution'. The vast majority of the people don't want it. As witnessed by the referendums held in other european countries. Never mind, lets change the name ! We don't need to hold a referendum then!

    By the way! If anybody can tell me what the difference is between the parties at the moment? I'd love to hear it! When the Tories thought there might be a general election, they trotted out their proposals for a 'better' future. Then Gordon upset everybody and didn't call an election, but adopted all the Tories proposals instead? Do we need three parties? Do we actually need hundreds of MPs? Why not just have a prime minister? He makes all the decisions anyway? Why bother paying all the others? Like us, their 'visions' don't count for much! Unless you happen to be a sycophantic Gordon lover! If we have all these other 'Members', they start thinking! They try to invent new policies without first putting their brains in gear, (Or even starting the engine!) Some bright spark has now aired his (or her can't remember now?) views on what they want to get to grips with next! They are thinking of, get this, 'Targeting' middle class commuter belt citizens for drinking in their own homes! I don't know who said this but it was just another news item I heard. Whoever did say it should be deported back to the planet they came from! I remain quite exasperated! This shows you what kind of mentality is inherant in our politicians. Somewhere, somebody voted for this idiot! The thought of he/she ever becoming a powerful political entity doesn't bear thinking about!

    I have abstained from voting since 1974. Not because I don't want to vote! But because I have yet to find somebody I feel deserves my vote! Another thing we hear lots about after elections, the low turnout! That's because the system is flawed! If the Governement was a business, it would have been insolvent years ago. "It's the best system we have" is something I've heard. Well I'll wait untill I hear of a better system before I waste my time thanks!

    I'm going to finish now before I get too tense! >:(

  18. For those that have read my past few blogs you will notice a short gap (of a couple of months) since my last post! I have been studying away at trying to nail the Swedish language... pleased to say that it is going well!

    Anyhow, on the music front things are moving along and it looks like 2011 could develop nicely. I've been chatting to a guy I used to work for in Stockholm, who owned a studio, he's looking to open a new place sometime this year. Should be a nice place running Pro Tools HD and doing a range of activities from band recordings to voice over and general audio work.

    On the producing front we are starting a 3 track EP for a UK artist next week. For this project I will be in on the songwriting side as well as the production. Its paid work, so I am not moaning!

    I am heading back to the UK next week for a few weeks of buisness development with my company 'Kayto Sound', I am working with a couple of people on developing a range of studio training days and other programmes, should be fun! (Also managed to get in a visit to Liverpool to watch a football match at Anfield and have a chat to a few guys up there about some project management ops and tips and tricks on online marketing and promotion),

    I am looking forward to looking around this site again and seeing what everyone has been up to in the last couple of months. Speak Soon, AndyC

  19. Welcome to the Wonderful World of LYNZEE…



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    Bursting onto the Southern California metal scene in the 1980's Lynzee hit the Hollywood strip performing at many of the legendary strip clubs and regional nightclubs throughout California. Lynzee offered up a serious serving of In Your Face Arena Rock, progressive grooves with Metal and Rock roots influenced by the masters; The Scorpions, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, KISS, Dokken, Y&T, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Hurricane, Alcatrazz and Van Halen to name a few. Lynzee had Metal to spare and more. Lynzee played with many of the Big bands and Hollywood Strip headliners from the Decade of Decadence and was a staple of the Hollywood Strip scene. Melodic Metal, Meaningful lyrics, Ripping guitar, catchy riffs, soaring guitar solos, MONSTER musicians and Classic Kick Ass Rock n Roll.


  20. Have you ever stopped to look at where you are, and compare it to where you were? I have, but accidentally. By accidentally, I mean I didn't put myself into the famous "The Thinker" pose, or even sit back and consider life in general. No I was playing some of my own songs, and noticed some rather profound differences between then and now, and it got me thinking...

    I have been writing songs on and off for over 40 years. I know, you don't get that for murder! Funnily enough, usually the first thing I play when I sit down to a piano is the very first song I ever wrote. I don't play it correctly, I've changed a few things over that time, and to be honest, I don't play piano enough, and never practice! *naughty boy!

    While I think the lyrics were pretty sucky, and very juvenile (I think) the melody stands up quite well after all this time, and so does the technicalities of form, key, progression etc, and I marvel at that. I knew so little then, yet wrote something I am still proud of, despite scrapping my original lyrics. If only I knew then what I know now, how good could this piece have been? My music teacher at school loved it, and said she could hear strings and an extensive orchestral arrangement (which horified me, I was into Deep Purple and Status Quo and not Symphony Orchestras!)

    40 years down the line, I've now been calling myself a songwriter for about a year. I joined Songstuff in October 2012, so I thought it about time I reflected on the past year. My apologies if this is somewhat self absorbed, but I think there may be some interest by the end of the article, I hope so anyway.

    This morning I was listening to a song I was writing about a year ago, and thought of the original lyrics. The melody was pleasant, but never really produced any dynamic climax, and the lyrics would make even the most hardnosed country singer balk. It was about a domestic abuser finally realising he had gone too far. These days I've learned that no artist would want to paint himself in such a negative light. I've learned that in the last twelve months.

    I listened to another song from late last year. That song goes on for over four and a half minutes and it quite plods along, once again without any real dynamics, although the realisation the song is a eulogy doesn't come until the second last line of the third chorus. A few ladies have mentioned tears in their eyes... However, upon Googling the title, it's been done to death, no pun intended. Well alright, I did intend it. But the title is nothing unique. A title needs to stand out. I've learned that in the last twelve months.

    I listened to another song from around Christmas time 2012. It told a sad, but often repeated tale of unrequited love. The singer lamented this and despaired about that, but nowhere was there an emotional connection with the listener. There were no details that a listen could identify with. It was full of fact, and devoid of feeling. It didn't engage, I told a story without the most important thing in it... the listener! I've learned that in the last twelve months.

    These are just three of the things things I've learned in the last year. I don't know if they are the biggest, the smartest, the hardest lessons I had to learn, but to me they are each significant. However there is yet another lesson I have learned: however good I can write on my own, I can write so much better with others. I have embarked upon a few collaborations lately, mainly through the Weekly Lyric Challenge Group. I am so happy I took up the challenge. I encourage everyone who gets this far down the article to approach somebody regarding a collaboration project. Like me, I'm sure you'll be glad you did. And I've learned that in the last twelve months, too.

    Don't forget to check out my other less self-absorbed articles here: http://forums.songstuff.com/blog/181-kelisms/

    Till next time,


  21. FinnArild
    Latest Entry

    In the pine right outside my balcony two magpies has started building their spiky nest. Last year they had 3 little ones, and I wonder if these are the same ones - they probably are - but more importantly: it's a sure sign spring is just around the corner. An especially long, cold and snowy winter looses it's grip, and to celebrate me and my wife will be off tomorrow for a week of R&R in lovely Prague.

    If you have followed me on my Facebook or Twitter pages you will have known that I have been featured on many radio shows throughout the world lately. Tomorrow (April 4) I will be featured with a longish interview on the Oslo based Rock FM from 23:00 Norwegian time. I can also recommend Progulus on-line radio where you can easily preview my album by requesting tracks. Reviews are continuing to come in - check out the review page.

    Between PR work and day job I am also getting together a band - we are still short of someone on keyboard, so anyone interested should just contact me.

    That's all for now - I'll be back soon with more info about the band!

    Finn Arild


  22. We recently introduced the "Member Hub", a place to pull together a whole host of useful stuff for our members. The main hub page itself includes:
    • The latest Songstuff Stuff site blog entries.
    • Access to the latest Member Articles (new feature!)
    • The latest topics from our Showcase board
    • The latest images
    • The latest Lyrics critique posts
    • The latest song critique posts
    • Who's online and a selection of community info
    • Latest community blog entries
    • Member Birthdays
    and that's just on one page!
    The hub itself gives you access to:
    • Member Articles
    • Music Tools (Music theory tools)
    • Rhyming dictionary
    • Music Industry News (Billboard, ASCAP, BMI, Sound Exchange, PPL, SESAC etc)
    • More...
    We are evolving and improving the member hub to better support your needs.
    Your feedback is not only welcome, it is an important factor in how we develop the Member Hub and the features it provides access to.
  23. Currently Listening to - Dont Jump - Tokio Hotel ( I love the guitar riff at the start, you should listen to it)

    Current Mood : Moderatley Happy

    Time : 00:32

    I Scream Into The Night For You, Dont Make It True , Dont Jump, The Lights Will Not Guide You Through, They Are Decieving You.

    I love this song.

    Anyways I now have a nice cup of tea and a lit cigarette so to my day.

    I finished my work experience as part of my course for college today and now have a 2 week break for the easter holidays.

    Hmm Easter...

    I have never been a fan of religion to be honest, it all just seems so fake, I may aswell take up believing that a pepsi bottle is the ruler of the universe because its all the same, actually a pepsi bottle could be a ruler of the earth because of how much the companies are making these days that they could do anything they wanted.

    Sorry for the off point rambling but thats me...

    I had an hour of rearanging my bathroom today thanks to my OCD which I dont get that often these days but there you go.

    Im glad my work experience has finished because on top of my real job and writing it gets a bit overwhelming.

    And the fact that I was being told to use like 4 different towels to clean a fridge it all seemed a bit stupid so im glad its over.

    I havent done much writing these few days and I havent played my guitar much either.

    Oh and today I was woken up with a cheese grater and a spoon being smashed together by my grandfather because I wouldnt get out of bed, I was supposed to be up at 11am but was told I had to be out of bed at 7am... I seriously think he is loosing his marbles slightly but I guess thats excpected seeing as my grandmother has been in hospital for 9 months after suffering a stroke.

    And an interesting thing I heard today was that if an eldery person doesnt drink enough water then it can seem as if they have dimensia because of not consuming enough water and I noticed that he all he drinks is either tea or beer.

    The ammount of alchohol that my father and grandfather drink is unbelievable it is shown by how much food is in the house, not a lot, so it's left up to me and my 16 year old brother to pick up the pieces and fend for ourselves and feed oursleves with our own money that we earn.

    Dont get me wrong I love my father to bits because of all he has done for us over the years (my mother left when we were 5) but I mean if I ask him to buy some groceries or something then its always the same reply " I have no money"

    Right thats enough for now

    Good night all

    Shows how long I havent been on here, this has been sitting as a draft since Easter 2008 LOL.


  24. In the past two months my music has taken a turn in a slightly different direction.

    Sometime in mid September, a guy from Paris France named Guy Debreilly who plays guitar (in many different genres) posted a link to a song on the 2090 forum he had recently completed which he called "Green Prairies" and asked if anybody thought lyrics would be appropriate. He said himself that he didn't hear a lyric/vocal line in it but wanted some other opinions on the matter. I was the first to respond and said yes, I can envision a lyric line. He responded once again saying that he didn't hear a vocal/lyric, but thanks for checking it out. I sent him a PM asking if it would be OK with him if I played around with it. He said it was not only OK, but he would be honored if I would. One of the other guys also had an idea but I got mine in first (not that I would've been offended if somebody else would've taken it on. After all, it was Guy's song, so it was really up to him). I added a lyric/vocal track dubbed over top of his guitar. I also embellished it with a bit of string synth. I wanted to retain his original title of Green Prairies but Green Fields suited the lyric better. I posted it and Guy was very impressed. He sent me another idea he called "Waiting For Tomorrow" which was another success.

    Since then, Guy and I have agreed to a more or less permanent partnership we call Euromerica and started a separate page on Soundclick for it. We have 6 completed projects. Four are currently posted on SC.

    "A Work Of Art"-pop tune (posted for review on Songstuff)

    "Green Fields"-Acoustic ballad

    "Waiting For Tomorrow"-Acoustic ballad

    "Ambiance (Vocal Mix) -Acoustic Jazz

    "Ambiance (Instrumental mix)-Acoustic Jazz

    "d-lerious" (a hard rock instrumental)

    The first four are currently on Soundclick.

    Guy sends me several new ideas a week. I've temporarily shelved my new solo ideas to work on the "Euromerica Project" and as we move forward I will ask Guy to do some guitar work on projects I initiate. The idea is that we are pooling our ideas and resourses together to make a quality form of indie music. We like to think of ourselves as a "cyber Steely Dan"

    Please have a listen:

    <a href="http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=762647" target="_blank">http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=762647</a>

    Guy's solo site here:

    <a href="http://guitarlover.free.fr/" target="_blank">http://guitarlover.free.fr/</a>

    Guitarists take note that Guy lists his tunings with the samples on page 2.

  25. Whenever I sing in the shower, the water turns cold! I guess this is Nature's way of telling me not to sing, but being a contrary individual I grit my teeth and put up with the goosebumps.

    I don't know why I started singing this song in the shower, but in the shower it was. Yes, it went cold, as usual! And also unusual, the words came out for a female vocal, rather than male oriented like I usually write. By the time I was dressed, I had the chorus in my head and headed for my keyboard as fast as my feet could get me there. Another oddity; I usually write with my guitar, but this time, I used keyboard as my main instrument. It took all of five minutes to come up with a rough melody for the chorus:

    I'm more than he wants,

    But I'm less than he needs,

    And he's everything I've been looking for.

    I'll break his heart,

    I know I must leave,

    But I don't wanna be here,

    Don't wanna be here, when I'm gone!

    I had a chorus, now I needed a couple of verses to tell a story. This took a while longer. I went onto youtube and searched out a couple of my favourite soul/blues songs, "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "If Loving You Is Wrong". I put these two songs on a loop and went and checked emails, a few other things to pass the time, even did some laundry, all with these two songs playing in the background.

    I came back to my keyboard after about two hours and wrote the first verse in another five minute burst.

    I'm laying in his arms

    Feeling his sighs

    As he's sleeping.

    Feeling so secure

    Ah da da da

    And I'm weeping....

    The second verse didn't take as long, and the bridge almost write itself!

    I had a friend who is a fabulous singer, but unfortunately I'm on the outer at the moment. Don't know why. But she loved it and said it described her previous relationship, which was before I knew her! Go figure. She sang it beautifully but alas, I never got a recording.

    I asked Lisa to sing it for me, and she kindly obliged. We only have Audacity between us, so the production is nowhere near studio quality, but I never claimed to be a producer, nor do I wish to be.

    Anyhow here it is:


    Featuring vocals by Lisa Gates.

    Till next time,