Monday, February 9, 2015

RPM Challenge update, Back on guitar

RPM Challenge update:

Day 9

Have twelve songs ideas laid out, can easily drop two or three of the weaker ones (or try to make them better). Worked on some guitar today. But scouting locations to start tracking drums this week, need to get on that ASAP. Laid out the last idea yesterday, wanted to try something in drop C.

Still not sure what the album will sound like exactly, but very pleased with some of the material so far.

Also swapped my pedalboards yesterday, the one I've been using for bass was a bit smaller and lighter than the one I've been using for guitar. Since I'm going to be playing guitar more, I wanted to use the lighter board for that.

I also added a TS-808 clone I built as a lead boost/additional gain stage. I'll need that for the Bleu gigs.

And my debut on guitar at the Redneck Country Club in Houston on Friday went great!

Glad I did the prep work with Hec Rivera leading up. I was still a little sketchy on some things, but in general it sounded and felt great! Awesome show, really great crowd. And that place definitely treats you like royalty.

Photo by Amanda Comstock:

Great to be back on guitar!

And the new bassist Tony Valdez killed it! Great player, great guy. Met him officially for the first time when I got to Hec's place to take everyone to rendezvous with Bleu in New Braunfels. Upon meeting him I liked him immediately. One gig in, this line up feels really good.

Then played with Eric Tessmer Band at the historic Poodie's Hilltop in Spicewood, just outside of Austin.

Fun show, really good crowd! Always good to play with Eric, as well as finally play with Rob again too, who missed some gigs in January as he was in Europe on tour with Nowherebound. Good for him!

More RPM updates to follow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

RPM Challenge! Developments!

It's three days into February and I am again participating in the RPM Challenge, an open call for bands or solo artists to challenge themselves to write, record, mix down and come up with cover art for an entire album (10 songs or 35 minutes of music) during the month of February.

I've been participating since 2009.

The RPM Challenge is directly responsible for all of my solo music, officially released instrumental solo albums, and Ocean of Stars live material.

I have completed by the deadline in 2009, 2010, 2012. The 2011 and 2013 albums were not completed (most of 2013 demos are gone but that's another story). The 2014 album was completed but after the deadline, I was gone half the month but completed the album in 15 days flat.

Some of this music will never see the light of day. Some of it is already in the Ocean of Stars live set.

Have the full month to work with this time too, that'll help! Came up with 5 ideas on Sunday, two more yesterday, one this morning. 8 ideas total. Pleased with the material so far. Not mind-blowing, but doesn't suck either. B- haha

Tracking demos on my trusty Tascam digital 8-track. Using my iPhone as a metronome. Guitars have been either straight in or my Epiphone Valve Standard mic'ed using my pedals.

I gotta say. I think I hit the sweet spot with the mic placement right off the bat. I'm afraid to move the current placement as the tones on just the scratch demos is pretty damn good! Very pleased thusfar. Some of these tracks may be the final ones.

Have also taken another stab at slide playing and have thrown down some hellacious Kamikaze wah action. Fun.

Also this album will be the first to feature my 1995 Les Paul Studio. It has been out of commission due to a broken headstock repair up until last year.

Didn't realize the significance of this pic until after I put it up on Instagram:

Behind the guitars is the Austin Music Awards listing from 2013. More on that in a bit.

So as the RPM album consuming me for the next 4 weeks, I will also been learning all of the Bleu Edmondson material on guitar now.

Officially making the switch from bass!

Very exciting development! First gig this weekend. No time for full band rehearsal. Me and other guitarist Hec Rivera will be getting together the next two days to work out parts.

This in addition to me playing at home on the Ocean of Stars material in prep for the Triple Crown show and Dave TV tapings, as well as this past Friday @ The Dirty Dog. On top of playing lead guitar instead of bass for Thunderosa that night.

I have been playing a lot of guitar lately. And will be playing much more. This pleases me greatly. I've been wanting to re-establish myself as a guitar player. And in all honesty, bass is getting a little unchallenging.

So I'm really excited that for the first time in about 7 years I will be more of a guitar player than bassist. Other than talks of filling in with ETB this weekend, every gig I have booked for February (unless Bleu changes his mind after this weekend hahaha) will be as a guitar player. Awesome!

Back to the Austin Music Awards listing pic:

I was voted #5 Bass Player as a member of Eric Tessmer Band. Pictured are the Whiskey Sisters, who won Best New Band. Playing with their former band The Mother Truckers allowed me to play music full time and never look back. And in May 2013, two months after being voted #5 bassist, I quit Eric Tessmer Band to focus more on my guitar playing.

Going back to the RPM Challenge. I curious to see how my guitar playing sounds this time around, as in years past there were times when I felt very out of shape and struggling at points. Prepping for Ocean of Stars last weekend, the 11-50 gauge strings I use were feeling a little to thick for bending during leads.

This week they feel just fine \m/,