Monday, March 2, 2015

(Belated) RPM Challenge update, Busy Weekend/End of February

Very belated RPM Challenge update:

I didn't finish by the deadline, so thats a bit of a bummer. Will go more in-depth on the making of the album in a future post.

I was going to try to finish it up (enough to submit, at least) by Friday night (gig that evening) but no dice. Saturday I would be booked all day, so that day was out.

Got halfway through mixing and hit the wall, as I still needed to name most of the songs, generate album artwork, as well as put in a good 2 hours prep work on music for a gig in Houston Saturday. I could have made it work in theory, but my body tapped me on the shoulder and said "You need to rest."

So, I will be reviewing the mixes that I've done, fixing a few things on guitar, and will have a new solo album ready for at least a digital release by SXSW, the follow up to last years "Automatic Writing". I may have lost the battle, but I will still win the war.

Pretty happy with what I came up with musically. More songs than any other year (10 full songs and one bonus track), but also they are generally shorter and concise arrangements as opposed to the wide, epic, abstract canvases I've favored in years past.

Didn't get to use my JCM800 stage rig for any tracking, but I could still remedy that. The tones I've gotten from the Epiphone Valve Standard 15w tube combo aren't too shabby as-is.

Experimented with more ranges of  guitar tones as well. In addition to my usual DIY-Keeley modded Boss Blues Driver, I used a Creepy Fingers Harikiri Fuzz on one track (guitar AND bass \m/,). Others I used a TS-808 Tube Screamer clone as well as a "Brown Sound In A Box II" (JCM800 preamp simulator), both DIY builds.

The fuzz is obvious as hell, but the other dirt pedals may or may not go unnoticed.

Weekend recap:

Played lead guitar with Thunderosa at Bull McCabe's on Red River Friday night (Feb 27).

That was a ton of fun! Have never played there, and have maybe been there once briefly. One of the last remaining bars on the old Red River block. And one of its most decorated veterans, Houston Richardson, was running sound that night. It's good to be among musical family and in good hands.

Photo by Teri Flemming Underhill

Good to see the Beat Dolls finally as well. they are awesome. Caught up with the singer/guitarist Angie after the show. We met at Headhunter's (RIP) a few years back. Whenever it was that you could still smoke inside.

I had dropped my cigarette onto the floor and went to stomp it out, but missed as it rolled under someone's bass cab. She came up and firmly explained that it was her BF's bass cab and I could have set it on fire. I was very apologetic, which wasn't going over so well, until I pointed out the Ironclad sticker on the side of said cab and said that was one of my bands. She instantly warmed up as she was an Ironclad fan, and felt better knowing that I'm a fellow musician who's cig just got away from them rather than some random drunken schmoe who didn't respect other peoples' gear, haha :)

Former Headhunters location, 8th and Red River St.

Angie apologized for being so firm at that time, but it was all good (and rather deserved haha!). So that was cool. Lotta good people in this town.

Saturday morning went with Heather to a taping of "Overheard" in the KLRU studio (former home of Austin City Limits) with Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, promoting her new memoirs "Girl In A Band." That was awesome. Def inspirational for sure! Will get the book when I can.

Not a great pic, but you get the idea

Drove home briefly before departing for Houston to play the Houston Rodeo Cookout with Hundred Miles Gone. It was a one-off with them and was fun. Until the end of the night. Not going into it but this would be my official last show with them.


Sunday afternoon I played with Deann Rene Band at the benefit at Freedom Oaks in South Austin for David Cassles. 

David recently passed, and tho I didn't know him personally, I know lots of people who did. A huge supporter of music til the end. He built the stage and most of the buildings at Freedom Oaks. Sounded like a truly great individual.

Our set was super short (two songs) as Deann had to run to Saxon Pub to play with the John Gaar Band. Played "Not Crying Today" and "River Song", and during the outro solo Deann hastily packed up her guitar and had to split, as Ric Furley, Kyle Judd and myself kept on rockin. Haha!

It was awesome. Great sets by Leann Atherton and several others. And lots of musical cross-pollination. Ric played drums for Leann, and Kyle played guitar with the next two or three acts after us, and another band or two later on. Bad ass. And a really great time.

I wish I could have stayed longer, but was pretty beat from the overnight drive back from Houston.

Coming up this week:

Lots of cleaning and housework, making up for spending most of February working on the RPM Challenge album haha. Rehearsal with Taking Back Thaxton Tuesday night at Jason Patten's place. Wednesday night Ocean of Stars rehearsal in prep for Thursday night: playing the Gypsy Lounge again with The Baffles and PetCatMan. Friday is Thunderosa rehearsal in prep for performing on Dave TV saturday afternoon and a gig in Killeen/Harker Heights TX that evening at the Twisted Wrench.

Busy Busy Busy.

Awesome poster for Gypsy Lounge show by Ricardo Acevedo of PetCatMan. (I was too preoccupied with RPM Challenge to put up posters as well. Hell, any band business went by the wayside during February...)

2nd week of March Bleu Edmondson has a several-day run to Missouri and Kansas. 3rd week of March is South By Southwest. May the Gods of Rock let me survive another one of those haha!

Looking to be a slower SXSW this year (tho I say that every year).

Possible Tuesday March 17 night gig on 6th Street with Bleu (waiting on word if it's him solo acoustic or full band). Wednesday March 18 Adrian has an official SXSW showcase, details still pending. Thursday March 19 I'm doing double duty with Ocean of Stars (5pm) and Adrian (?pm) at the Key Bar. Saturday March 21 I'm in Ft. Worth TX with Bleu. Sunday March 22 I come back (hopefully) in time to play the Saxon Pub with Deann Rene Band.

Looking like the Red Eyed Fly Tuesday Kickoff party that's been going on for 14? years is finally not happening. That really really sucks. One of the shows I looked forward to attending every year, and was finally honored to play in 2014 for Ocean of Stars' first live appearance.

Well shit.

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