Archive for the 'Tunage' Category

Colorado Music Scene

Monday, November 7th, 2016

I posted this article to Facebook a year ago, but I’m reposting it here so I can find it again.

Because before I saw the post again today, I had absolutely no memory of posting it. That’s happening a lot lately, probably a function of age …

Go-Gos Still Go-Going

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

I recorded the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, for the sole purpose of watching the Go-Go’s — even though I’ve seen them do We’ve Got the Beat dozens of times over the years, and even though they never vary how they do it, even in length.

Kathy-nowFormer member Kathy Valentine, in a comment on Facebook the day after the performance, talked about the do-it-exactly-the-same mentality that she says is the reason she was booted from the group:

Well it’s old news now. better to comment with some distance. my opinion is that it sounded fine for a live tv performance. lead vocal a little pitchy and shaky but no biggie. No mistakes–how could there be though? The bass player played the song fine but looks wrong for the group vibe. doing those hard rock stances in a matron length dress doesn’t work for me. it didn’t look like they were having any fun, but I know it’s hard to do those big televised things. I felt bad for them kind of, because they got good placement and a great set, yet it still felt like they were the stepchild at the family reunion, and I bet they felt that way. It’s hard to be the irrelevant act on a roster of hit makers, no matter what your opinion of the song or the performance was, that was the circumstance. I never understood why the band wouldn’t work the WGTB breakdown better–I used to beg to make more of it. It’s the perfect chance for audience engagement, everyone at concert is on their feet having the best time–give them more than 8 bars to enjoy it. From afar, I give them this advice once again, for the farewell tour: change it! extend the breakdown! make it fun! stretch the song out to, oh I don’t know, maybe 3 and a half minutes. Oh wait, but that would be DIFFERENT, got forbid. When we played it with Beck sitting in and Jack Black singing, I was trying to make everyone play the song a little longer so we could have FUN. how often does that happen, where we have ****ing Beck and Jack Black on stage with us?! Keep it going! No way. They refused to make it longer. everything is exact. every fill, every strum, every length–unless it is decided on ahead of time and rehearsed extensively. exactly the same. drove me crazy. it’s all about giving the fans MORE, in my opinion. once they are there, having paid their ticket price, give them a show. While we’re on the topic, I also used to beg for this–check this out: I used to suggest, over and over, that Jane sing Rush Hour or some song of hers, while Belinda went off stage to change clothes. Presto!!! You have made Jane happy, given the audience another recognizable song, and added completely free production value with a simple outfit change. I really tried to implement simple easy things that would make a better show. They can say whatever they want about me, but that’s the truth, and I have the emails to back it up. ok, there’s my review and rant. enjoy. curse me out. whatever!

If it’s all true, it seems an odd habit for a band that broke so many of rock’s rules at the time.

J-Punk, Girl Edition

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Everybody who reads this blog knows how much I like chicks with guitars — I even have a whole category dedicated to them (although it’s a fairly new category, and I don’t have all relevant posts indexed as such right now).

ANYWAY: I recently ran across a Reddit thread from a year or so ago in which Japanese girl bands (rock, not pop) were being discussed, and I figured it was time to compile a few into a post. (Spoiler alert: There are several songs by Shonen Knife.)

So here we go:

The’s (the band featured in Kill Bill):

Princess Princess, mid-1980’s:

The same band, just ten years later:



Probably the most famous of all the Japanese girl punk band’s Shonen Knife, with a Ramones cover:

And while we’re at it — another Ramones cover by Shonen Knife!

And another!

And now for something completely different: Shonen Knife covering a Carpenters tune:

And the Monkees:

And at last, a Shonen Knife original:

Can you tell I like Shonen Knife? Does it show?

These girls are unclear on the concept: Thug Murder should be the name of an American rap act, not a Japanese punk band. Anyway, this is a cover of an old U.S. hit:

The best band name of the bunch, Red Bacteria Vacuum:

Watashi Wa Arashi:

Some of these bands are more heavy metal than punk, this one more than any of them. At least the sound is clean and crisp, and there sure aren’t any other metal bands that look like this. Bonus points: The band name, “Band Maid” is one of the great Engrish terms — it almost makes sense on some level, but mostly not.

And finally: A song that starts J-pop and quickly turns metal:

Okay, one more: Here’s a band that wasn’t mentioned in the Reddit thread, but I’ve known about them for years. I prefer their song “Soap and Cigarettes”, but I can’t find a video anywhere, so here’s Dirtruck with a different song that’s not as good:

Whew! I actually know about lots more girl J-Rock, but that is for another day. For now, go exploring for more by these bands on YouTube.

Roll Up For the Mystery Tour

Monday, May 16th, 2016

A writer unfolds how he Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Magical Mystery Tour. Spoiler alert: It was on a 1200-mile road trip when he was 13.

Das Band

Friday, May 13th, 2016

It’s really too bad that we didn’t have the Internet in the early 80s, or more postpunk/New Wave bands might have taken off. For instance, I’m just recently finding out about this all-girl German band named Kleenex:

No Shazam, no Facebook, no Google Translate — how did we ever listen to music back then???

It still counts

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

I’m doing what I should have done yesterday: Posting a quick video just so I can say I posted six days in a row.

This is a quintessential Eighties song and video, by a very typical British band. Enjoy!

The Balance

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Well, how about that — I’ve posted to my blog five days in a row! As I’ve said recently, in the early days — 2003 and 2004 — I sometimes five times in a day, but these are different times.

And I’m proud to say that the previous four days that I’ve posted were not just some quick-post days. I wrote long and detailed posts each time, at one point approaching 600 words, and often included pictures.

So I earned myself a break: An aforementioned quick-post day.

I was reminded recently of a particularly profound (yet fairly obscure) song by the Moody Blues, one of my favorite bands of all time, so today’s post is that song:

And just for fun, here are the lyrics:

After he had journeyed,
And his feet were sore,
And he was tired,
He came upon an orange grove
And he rested
And he lay in the cool,
And while he rested, he took to himself an orange and tasted it,
And it was good.
And he felt the earth to his spine,
And he asked, and he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
And the veins in the leaf,
And the light, and the balance.
And he saw magnificent perfection,
Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
And he knew he was.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it’s always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart
And that’s a start.

And he thought of those he angered,
For he was not a violent man,
And he thought of those he hurt
For he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened
For he was not an evil man,
And he understood.
He understood himself.

Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
It was because he was not understanding,
And he learned, compassion.

And with his eye of compassion.
He saw his enemies like unto himself,
And he learned love.
Then, he was answered.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it’s always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it’s always been.
Just open your heart
And that’s a start.

It seems to me that this would be a perfect song to play at a funeral. It basically says, “I know I wasn’t perfect, but that’s really not the way I meant to be. Please try to understand.”

I’m really surprised that people don’t regularly request this at their funerals.

Or maybe they do and I just don’t know.

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

It’s February, and that means it’s time once again for the RPM Challenge! As I’ve mentioned in past years, the Challenge is an annual event for writing abd recording an album during the month of February. I’ve done it twice, in 2008 and 2009, and now that I’ve actually writing songs with lyrics, and playing keyboards and guitar well enough to at least record in pieces, I’m doing it again this year.

In case you’re not familiar, here’s the latest video:

It’s not only a wonderful way to meet musicians from all over the world, it’s a great way to prod yourself into finally finishing some music — it certainly worked for me!

Twelve Year Blogiversary!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Okay, so at this point I can hardly say that I’ve been blogging for 12 years — although I post regularly to Facebook, which automatically cross-posts to Twitter — but it was 12 years ago tonight that I started my brykMantra blog, back when about 1% of the population had even heard the word “blog”, so that’s something. And I like having my own domain name, so that’s something else. And when (hopefully) I can get a bunch of my songs recorded, this can theoretically be my promotional base.

So let’s talk about that music, in hopes of making this an ACTUAL blog post, and not just a “this is a post” post. Every day for about four years now (except for that one week in the hospital after my stroke) I’ve been practicing my guitar, and writing songs. My first two albums (I’ve mentioned those, right?) were instrumentals, and were recorded without playing a note. My new songs have actual lyrics — which means I’ll have to actually SING — plus there will be substantial guitar playing involved, so it’s a much trickier endeavor.

Okay, enough about that.

Are you on Steam, the online gaming portal? You should be on Steam. They constantly have sales, so I’ve been getting some fairly recent games for dirt cheap: I scored Fallout New Vegas and Borderlands 2 for $2.49 each! I only played FNV up to level 15, then got tired of the post-apocalyptic bleakness (and the deadingly-retro soundtrack). Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is colorful and full of possibilities, plus it’s funny as all heck. I’m playing the Techromancer class, which means that my Special Skill is summoning a killer robot to spend a couple of minutes helping me take out enemies.

I’m up to level 17 with no sign of being bored.

Okay, next subject: Oh binge-watching, where have you been all my life! I’ve been doing quite a bit of that this past year, starting with Breaking Bad. Yes, I saw the finale about a year after most of the rest of the world, but it was worth it: Instead of waiting a highly suspenseful week between episodes — and a year between seasons! — I was able to watch episode after episode after episode until it was done. I didn’t have to watch each installment trying to remember all the little minutiae that makes up the complex plotting. And the series ended for me with maximum impact.

By contrast, I decided to follow that by bingeing Arrow, the CW’s interpretation of DC Comics’ Green Arrow character. I got a watch two whole seasons in quick succession, then watch the first two episodes of Season 3 online … then had to start watching the rest of the series at the maximum rate of one episode per week! LIKE A CHUMP! How did we ever watch TV like this???!!! It’s excruciating!

ANYWAY: Twelve years ago tonight! I did a quick “more later” first post, then I wrote out my second post — by hand! Like a CHUMP! — at the laundromat and typed it in the next day.

Again, like that proverbial CHUMP.

Staking my homestead in the nascent social media landscape.

Thank you for reading this, which you didn’t, because nobody does any more. But it’s here. And so am I.

Spook music …

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 10: Okay, I missed day 9.

But onward and upward. Tomorrow is the birthday of The Spook, my old college buddy as you might recall, and designer/maker of this blog’s metal logo whose photograph appears at the top of this page, so today’s post is a series of music videos for his listening enjoyment:

So that’s it! Happy birthday!