Thursday, July 28, 2011

TiLT: Inspirations to fix

I've been really wanting to start "working" on myself. Fixing some things I guess.
So this week I soaked myself in a lot of inspiration and made a list of the things I need to work on.

- Gala Darling emanates self love and even teaches it. Her recent post about how to love yourself more today, helped me evaluate my self love, or lack thereof. I've taken a look in the mirror and started fixing my perception of what I see there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School of Hard Rocks Lesson 6: If you don't support your SCENE don't expect it to SUPPORT YOU!.

So far I've covered
-the necessity of a good recording.
-the downfall of playing too many shows (in your hometown)
-the value of merch. 
-the value of flyers.
-the sad truth that not everyone will like you, and you can't make them.

In this lesson I wanted to stress the point that if you don't support your own scene then you can't expect it to support you.

It seems like an easy thing to get with with like-minded musicians in other bands who are all working for the same goal; to make music. But after ten years and two scenes I've learned that it's not easy at all and at times is much worse than high school.

Pop the genre bubble.
Just like high school, musicians can be cliquey. Metal bands tend to stick with metal bands, hip-hop groups tend to stick with hip-hop groups, and so forth. It's a sad occurrence of genres closing in on themselves.
Most musicians are influenced by a number of different genres, so it's ironic that they would limit themselves to their own genre when supporting local bands.
Getting out and discovering new bands in different genres not only shows other musicians that you're supporting them but it can also help educate you on your scene. You can find new venues, new promotional tools, and see what works and doesn't work. Who knows what kind of awesomely talented bands are right under your nose.

Don't be a dick.
Being an unjustified jerk to people whether they are a fan, a fellow musician, a sound guy, a promoter, or whatever doesn't make you seem like a professional , it just makes you seem like a dick. No one likes the asshole singer who thinks he's too good to hang out with the other bands or the guitar player who talks shit in the bathroom about a fan "being on his nuts" about his guitar tone. That's not going to build a fan base or make people want to support your band. If you're at a show to check out a new band or whatever don't stand in the back with your arms crossed the whole time. Go talk to them, introduce yourself. Whether you liked their music or not just showing that you were there to check them out is a great gesture.

It's not a competition.
Bands shouldn't act like they are competing in a race. Networking and supporting each other is the best approach to making the scene work. No one wins if you're treating other bands like they're a rival sports team. There's no trophy or Superbowl ring for having the most fans or playing the most awesome shows.

Cohesive show trading, utilizing each others resources, and supporting every positive aspect is how the scene can thrive.

You can't sit around complaining about the scene if you're not participating in it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snuff by Slipknot

Weekend Redux In Photos

This weekend: House sat/dog watched for my parents. Played in the pool. Saw Queens of the Stone Age at the Cosmo Pool on Saturday.  BBQ'd and watched True Blood.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Today my little boy is five. 
 @ 2 Days
 @ 5 years

He came rushing into our bedroom at about 6:30am letting us know today was his birthday. We groggily sang him happy birthday.
Five minutes later he freaked out about how we needed to buy a Pet Rider (a car seat cover) for Barley.
"It's a PET RIDER! And Barley can ride in the CAR WITH US and not get hair all over the place. It's only 99." He rewound the commercial so we could see this amazing thing we needed to have. It was $14.99. The dog in the commercial looks just like Barley, so I can understand the enthusiasm.
It was extremely cute but hopefully not a foreshadowing of a life buying crap off TV.  Maybe it's time to sit him down and make him watch Hoarders.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Endless Summer

Yesterday I grabbed the mail and found an envelope that said To The Parents of ....
inside was a letter from Hayden's new school; a greeting from his kindergarten teacher and a list of school supplies needed.
I didn't think I would be emotional about my little man starting kindergarten, but as I read the purple letter I started to cry. I couldn't help it.
He only has 39 more days of Summer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Redux in photos:

 Saw Ben Folds at the Cosmo pool. This was after 3 fosters.
 Hayden Celebrated his 5th birthday early with a party on Saturday.
The cake he picked out himself.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Downtown Stroll

Yesterday for lunch my friend/co-worker Kelly and I went downtown to check out a Farmer's Market on Fremont Street.
It was a little lackluster for a Farmer's Market. There were only a handful of vendors and it seemed like they only had onions, peppers, and herbs. 
Although one man had some local honey. His sign said he had honey sticks, but alas was sold out to my disappointment.

After the whole two minutes it took to stroll around the market we headed over to The Beat Coffee House and had lunch. I had an amazing beef brisket sandwich.
When we were done we perused the art galleries on the upper two floors.
While walking back to Kelly's car in the El Cortez parking lot we cut through and I spotted this.
Kenny Rogers just makes me laugh...thanks Will Sasso and Mad TV!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

School of Hard Rocks: Lesson 5...Every band needs a good recording.

Just like merch and fliers a band should have a great recording to represent themselves after a fan/listener has gone home.
It really sucks to totally dig a band live and then when you pop the cd into your player it sounds like a giraffe dying or like they popped a cassette tape into a radio shack recorder and thought it was the best sound ever.

Good recording isn't cheap. The average price is around $45-$75 an hour. But if you're selling merch and getting paid from your shows  (cause people love your awesome fliers) then it should really pay for itself. It's totally worth waiting for a bigger budget then just going with something cheap and unprofessional to save dough. The incentive to your fans that if they buy the merch they are helping fund your upcoming cd might help as well.
A great recording is an investment, you have to put into it what you want out of it.

Shop around for the recording engineer that best suits your sound.
Find a local band with a great demo and talk to other bands about who they record with. Don't settle on someone because they are a friend or a friend of a friend. Make sure you get samples from the engineer. You're paying them a lot of money they should be able to provide references to earn that money.

Recording might be expensive but don't let them rip you off.
Like I mentioned earlier; the average cost of recording for an unsigned band should be $45-$75 an hour. Anything more is ridiculous. We don't have big labels or producers backing us so any recording studio should be professional enough to understand that.

Be well practiced and ready to maximize your time.
Don't go into the studio hung over, drugged up or rusty on the songs you're planning to record. Time is money and if you're wasting it, that's your own fault. An engineer will sit back and watch you make a fool of yourselves while he/she see's dollar signs. Come to the studio well rested. If you're a singer bring water and a secret tip from me Throat Coat tea. It's amazing for warming up your throat, especially if you're a screamer.

New strings & New Heads.
New strings are a requirement. Drummers make sure your new heads are in tune. Don't spend an hour tuning your kit, again time is money!

Know when enough is enough.
Ten hours in the studio may sound like a cake walk for some musicians, but the harder you push yourself the more tired you get and then your sound will suffer. If you can split up your time in blocks over two or three days it's much better for the whole band.
You don't need to record every single song you have written. When you're unsigned, six song albums are just fine. When you're just starting out even just four songs are good.

Don't waste too much time or money on mixing & mastering.
Some people don't know the difference between mixing and mastering. I didn't at the beginning but after recording six albums now I know.
Mixing is the process right after recording where you add your effects, EQ your tracks, and put everything together so it sounds just right. All songs should match up and sound as close to a professionally recorded cd as possible. A good mix is necessary.

Mastering is expensive. Some recording engineers can't do mastering because it requires different software, set-up, etc. So they might ask you to send your stuff to a mastering studio. If you can't afford it, don't do it. A well mixed cd shouldn't need to be mastered if you're in an unsigned band. Mastering takes a well mixed cd and adds enhancements to it. If it's a bad mix, it can't be fixed by mastering.

Make it a good package.
With technology where it is today a badly packaged cd is unacceptable. If you can't afford professionally duplicated and printed cd packages, you can buy cd cases, blank cds, blank cd stickers, and thick stock paper at Walmart . If you don't have a color printer find someone who does. This is what people are going to take home with them, it has to have value.

If you have any questions or need advice email me:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend Redux w/Photos

Thursday was Brian's birthday! We celebrated for the last two weeks really. And he gets a third week when we go to the Queens of the Stone Age show at the Cosmo next weekend (my birthday gift to him).

We went to see our friends Shrapnull & Klunk play at Diablo's on Thursday night.

It rained all weekend on and off. Hayden cried every time he looked out the window at the rain. All he wanted was to go to the pool. 
This was before our street became a small river.
But he LOVES tater-tots!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Birthday for HIM

Happy Birthday today to my best friend, baby daddy, and the most awesome dude in the world !!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


A few years ago I used to like to drink a $3.99 bottle of Arbor Mist all by myself.
It reminds me of the first (and only time) I got to see a show at the legendary Jackson Street Studios in Oakland and being 22.

Weekend Redux: 3 Day Weekend & The 4th!

On Saturday we rocked out at Boomers' for Brian's Birthday Show and Dave's (guitar) probably last show with us.
Sunday we pooled it up, bbq'd, watched True Blood and then played Rock Band until we all wanted to pass out.
Yesterday we had a huge breakfast, had friends over for pizza then lit fireworks until we all wanted to pass out.
Hayden loved the fireworks much more this year than ever before. Especially when Brian and our friend James had roman candle battles that looked a lot like a Harry Potter fight!

Friday, July 1, 2011

State of Rock N Roll?

So, Rob Zombie asked a question on Facebook : This is a serious question so please give me serious answers. What has happened to rock music? Why does it seem to be dying in the world? Country, Rap or pop music all seems to be more popular. What is the fucking deal? Any thoughts?
It was answered by 1,518 fans in a matter of two hours. I answered too however I know my words will be lost in that ocean.
So I wanted to pose that question here to my readers. Do you feel that rock is dying?
My answer is :
I disagree that it is dying. I have been in an unsigned/DIY metal band (bipolar) for 8 years in two different music scenes (Northern Cali & Las Vegas) There are thousands of rock/metal bands that are out there putting out amazing music and playing great shows, but the music industry itself has become a completely different machine then it was 10 years ago. The big labels are obsolete to the modern rock/metal bands and the term "mainstream" has a different meaning now. Sure MTV dropped it's music programming, but Youtube is providing all levels of metal/rock bands a utility for showcasing their music. Radio stations are being replaced with ipods and satellite radio. It's all a matter of promoting and marketing much smarter (not harder) than before. Evolution has been happening in rock since it's birth, it's just a matter of evolving along with it or fading away with the dinosaurs.