As it turns out it’s even more difficult to put a rock band together than I expected unless you’re looking for a tribute, playing 4 sets of covers at a bar or just “jamming,” none of which interest me. I also had a very specific vision for the musical direction and material which further reduced the likelihood of pulling a live act together but the nail in the coffin seemed to be the requirement for homework (i.e. learn the songs thoroughly before rehearsal). Well practiced musicians in my age group are usually in at least one or more bands already and like the rest of us, are busy with life in general so spending time learning and rehearsing new material really killed the vision.
Without a musical project on the horizon, the last several months have been void of inspiration altogether.
And now for something completely different. I’ve found a new artistic outlet in jewelry design and jewelry making. It’s been more design than making because I’m learning a digital sculpting package called zBrush which is fairly complex, but it’s fun nonetheless.
For the curious, here are a few screen shots of pendant and a ring designs along with a couple pendants I made in sterling silver (I have some unfinished castings available so if you’re interested in buying either of them, let me know).
I spent more years than I’d like to admit thinking the only single coil sound was the “Fender sound.” Much of this can be attributed to the fact that I’ve had a serious distaste for Gibson style guitars for decades and never really considered or cared that Gibson had also developed a single coil pickup. Plus, I’m a creature of habit so if it wasn’t a humbucking pickup I really had no interest.
Rewind to a few years ago when I decided it was time to reinvent my approach to guitar playing. I stopped using a floating trem (whammy bar) with a locking nut, started playing hard tails, went from playing 9’s to 10’s and started trying more traditionally styled guitars (as opposed to only super strats).
While I bought a USA Telecaster to try out something totally different (it’s for sale, who wants it?) the end result was that I still preferred the full, “hum-less” sound of humbuckers… and then I gave Gibson styled guitars another chance.
The difference in sound between the P-90 and Fender single coils is dramatic. The P-90 sounds fatter, has a very pronounced midrange and has a wicked bark/growl when using vintage gain type tones.
On the downside, traditional, non-hum cancelling P-90’s definitely have the dreaded 60Hz hum (sounds like a buzz) and the more gain you throw at them the more pronounced the hum. On the upside, I use less gain today than I did 5-10 years ago plus my main amp for several years has been a single channel channel amp so riding the volume knob with my pinkie is nothing new.
I still love humbuckers but the P-90 is right there with them at this point and I’m now loving Les Pauls (at least for the moment), but that’s a story for another day.
I had the pleasure of recording a couple new demos this week for Henning Amplification. This soon to be released amplifier follows Henning’s fireworks theme, appropriately named the Bottle Rocket. This small box, 50 watt, EL34 based amp packs a heavy punch without compromising string clarity or the ability to clean up using only your guitar’s volume control.
There are currently two prototypes of this amp, consisting only of a minor difference in the preamp section. The difference is subtle but certainly audible so as you listen to these new Henning amp demos be sure to put on your cork sniffing attire and come up with some creative terms to describe the differences (wooly, woody, warm, wicked, weird…).
Whether one or both versions will be released is still under consideration but to my ears you really couldn’t go wrong with either one of them.
About 9 months ago I decided that live band performance was a part of who I am and that it was time to get back on the horse. Remembering the process from eons ago I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get something off the ground but I had no idea how difficult it would really be. This isn’t “hard to do” difficult but difficult in the sense that I’m no longer 25 years old, which seems to still be the range where there’s interest in doing original music, plus the fact that what I want from a band and what I’m willing to deal with is even more specific than when I was 20 something.
What I’ve found is most musicians my age either want to be in a club cover band playing 3-4 sets a night for $100 a piece or join a tribute band who generally, also makes $100 a piece per show. The money isn’t a concern to me. I’ll play for free until the band builds a following for as long as necessary, but I MUST be loving the music.
The tribute thing seems to go like this:
Figure out what band you’re going to cover
Decide whether or not you’re going to dress up and act like your designated character
Decide on a set list
Book and play gigs
All of this is generally expected to occur within a 2-3 week timeline. What? Yes, that’s what I’m being told.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it, older dudes don’t want to mess around they just want to get down to the business of performing, but this seems like a half-cocked way to get out there to me. Sure, you’ll hopefully improve over time…
Of course, this is moot anyway because really, I’m not interested in a tribute at this point, although about 8 months ago I was ready to do an Iron Maiden tribute (no dress up) playing Number of the Beast from start to finish. That would have been fun but as often happens with band stuff, it fell a part before it got off the ground.
So what’s the point of all this? I guess it’s that forming a band is just as hard nowadays as it was in the 80’s but being even more selective than I used to be along with not being a kid anymore makes it even more troublesome.
All that said, I am not discouraged. Apparently in some ways I’m actually more patient than the 20 something Savage.
This site has been in need of renovation for years so here we go… Please be patient, I’m getting content back in place but didn’t want to wait until I had this site done before yanking the stagnant, outdated eyesore.
I’m ready for the next chapter of life so after years of foregoing live performance, primarily because I really couldn’t deal with the man-drama, I can hold out no longer. There are some interesting things in the works which of course, being “band” related could fall through but if it doesn’t I’ll soon have the opportunity to work with a singer who’s timbre, range and style I’ve had a great appreciation of for several years now.
Outside of the new direction, I’m feeling rejuvenated, ready to write and above all else, READY TO ROCK!