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Mission 2, Do I Have The Courage And The Chops?


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blog-0954351001372645558.pngMission 2,

Do I have the courage?

I am going to talk a bit about the first online meeting we had today.

This morning marked the first online meeting for the Music Promo Workshop, hosted by John Moxey, it was full of information and good solid knowledge. I am very happy I got up early to be there.

We had the meeting this morning, sort of, it was 8 am my time and 1 pm John's time, EST and BST ;). [ USA-Eastern Standard time, British Standard Time ]

I almost missed it since I was sure it was going to start at 9 am for me. I woke up early since I wanted a nice cup of coffee before the meeting but before I could get out the door, 'Ding Ding', My computer chimed at me for attention and holy shit, the meeting had started. Damn!

I grabbed my headset mic, plugged in my headphones and joined in.

It was a bit strange at first, hearing John speak, he has a bit of an accent and a few times I just lost track of what was said. My ears soon got up to speed and after a while I total forgot about the accent and just tried to keep up. John can talk pretty damn fast.

I have to say It felt pretty cool to be hooked into this international conference. Talking to the world is a very good feeling.

The meeting had started and kept going and going. I did begin to feel seriously coffee deprived but I couldn't just leave, John talked so quickly and I didn't want to miss one word.

John said in his post:

Meeting will last between 60 and 90 minutes.

Ha!

I had no coffee and the meeting went 120 minutes easy. John ended up talking until his voice got sore.

So no coffee but lots of great information, Thanks John!

Our next goal:

  • Create a Personal Artist Website
  • Undercover Operation: Create Pen Names and Join Fan websites of artist you like or are in the style you want to be in.

This is not, as John said, to be sneaky or bad. Its a way to learn how the big music fan sites are inter-connected. What do they have on their site?, what are the fans saying and doing, etc. In other words its a place to learn. Sorta like music, I often use other music to inspire me and help me grow and be a better song writer.

I think I'll look into joining Wezer and Foo Fighters. I'm not sure I'll stick to that but its a place to start. I'll let you know how it works out .

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do I have the chops?

I have a lot of worries about the songs I write, Are they good enough, or in other words, do I have the chops?

A bit of my music background

I started guitar when I was 10, but quickly gave up on it...too damn hard to play a big guitar with little fingers!. I then went back to it at 16 and have played on and off ever since. I'm not a great player so I have to work hard to be ok. I mostly play rhythm guitar with a few solos here and there.

I played in various bands in college and try to make some things happen but I have to say I hit one wall too many and gave up on music. I still played, but only for fun. I did a lot of professional artwork, in the game industry mostly. I just keep that going and let the music slide. Though it always had a place to hideout in my heart.

Then, about 3 years ago I met the bass player for our band. He was a guy living in the same apartment complex as me. He had gone to every building in our huge complex, something like 100 buildings, and posted a little note on inside of each buildings main door. The note said,

Hi,

I play bass and I'm looking to have people come over and jam. Please call me if you are interested.

Wow! I was stunned. I hadn't even thought about playing for years!

Somehow that note made want to do it. I was very nervous but called.

We set up a time for the next Sunday to hang out and jam. I had no amp nor electric guitar so the day before the session I went out and bought both amp and guitar. The jam session was great, or at least he was. I really sucked at playing the guitar that day. However the singing was fab. He has an awesome voice and range. The blend of us singing in the harmonies gave me chills. I'd never met anyone who could sing like that with me before.

We decided to form a band together. I suggested doing a Beatle Cover Band, he was very easy going about my idea and just said 'cool, lets do it.'

We got my nephew to play the drums. He was a guy who'd only played in his room before. No lessons, no other bands. Just his room. He came over to play and holy mother of drummers was he good. Unreal! That was a win.

Andy, Bass guitar, said we needed a lead guitar and vocalist. I said sure, lets do an Ad. Andy didn't think we'd get much of a response. I just said lets trust our luck, its been good so far.....

....and so I put an Ad on Craigslist for a vocalist and Lead guitarist. We got a lot of very weird guys to tryout. Some close but no cigar guys too.

When Nathan Fox showed up with a 12 string Rickenbacker, Beatle boots and able to sing harmony and play a wicked lead....well!, we knew we had a very special thing going on.

It's been a real joy to work with these musicians. I love singing with them and we have so much fun together. Its been amazing to me how important they've become.

If you want to check out what we look like and sound like you can find the band here

You can see and here the band here

http://www.reverbnation.com/thebeat64

and Here

https://www.facebook.com/thebeat64

We've done a few good shows and a lot of small ones.

For the last year or so I'm been writing original songs.

I tried not to. I wrote a bunch and then put them away so that I could focus on the Beatle material. I didn't want to be distracted. I'd put in 3 hours, every day, of practice on the guitar for the covers. I'd sing myself horse trying to learn the good tone and notes needed to create my part in the harmonies. [i sing mostly the John Lennon parts.]

At first it was really really hard. I couldn't hear the notes I needed to sing. I'd practice endlessly so I could learn just my part by sheer repetition. It was tiresome, it was gruesome, it was really hard on my voice....... but I never gave up. I guess the love of the music and how it made me feel kept me going. I can say this now since looking back is 20 20 vision, yet it still falls short of what I felt and why I did it. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain it any better.

Then it got a bit easier......

I started to be able hear my notes I needed to sing...

. Then it got a lot easier.

Then we dropped our tuning down a half step to make the high end range less straining. That was like a magic wand and all the strain went out of the vocals and they just flowed.

So, we learned three hours worth of Beatle songs. Phrew...... *cheers for us etc etc.*

Then the writing bug returned. I started new songs. I started learning how to record them and make demos. The songs started to get better. Its still a struggel but with each song I create a demo for I learn more about how to do the next one better.

If you like you can hear my demos here

https://soundcloud.com/jameszarubin

So, do I have the chops? I can't truly answer that. I think I've written well but I've not gotten them out to enough people to know for sure. I know I've not written the songs that make you stop and go "oh shit, who the hell is that band!"

And that will be the song with the chops. I don't want to stop till I get there.

Wish me luck and grant me grace.

Peace and music,

James

4 Comments


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Whew! That sounds like a long meeting! After reading and then listening to your personal music I'd think song-wise I don't see why you wouldn't have the chops to do it. I think that of a lot of songs I hear on here. I do think there's quite a few members who, given the chance, could be right up there with any of the songs currently on the radio. But, from here to there is a long path. Keep working hard at it and just keep pushing forward. In my small mind all it really takes is one person in the business to appreciate and like what you do and also like you as an individual. If they like your music, and like your work ethic then you'd be on your way. But finding that one person is the trick and doing that involves so many different aspects it makes my head spin! Well, and then there's luck. I do think you need a little bit of that.

 

Great post. I appreciate what I've read from you and heck, I didn't have to get up early!!! :)

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Hey Randy,

 

Thanks for the feedback! Finding a way to get heard, yeah its a tough wall. Getting heard is what making music is all about for me. I don't know if it's going to be one person. I think every artist has to overcome that wall with a lot of hard work

 

Peace,

 

James

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It just seems like every time I see a documentary or movie about musicians there's always one person who really stands out as being a big help to the start. A manager, producer, dj, just someone who hears the music and believes in it enough to talk about them to the right people.

 

I re-read my post and wanted to add to that last sentence in first paragraph. I wasn't saying YOU in particular are going to need luck, I was speaking of musicians/songwriters in general.

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Yeah, I think you have a very good point, right person , right time. I have met a few good people like that. Heck I feel lucky to have meet the guys in my band if you know what I mean.

 

Oi!  please do send me luck! Really I need all I can get. ;)

 

J

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