Archive for the 'Tunage' Category

Sixty Years Ago, Media History Was Made …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.

In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.

Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.

When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.

It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.

Anyway, for more information on this historical moment, check out What was the “Checkers Speech” and why is it so important?

A musician friend’s blog …

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Check out New Beginnings through Online Music Collaboration « Tamra’s BLadifrigginOG, the blog by my Second Life friend (and real life singer/Broadway star) Tamra Hayden. She doesn’t post often (yes, like me, shut up), but she gives great insights into various aspects of being an independent musician, plus advance music of her live music dates.

RPM Challenge, Day 1

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

You may recall that in 2008 and 2009, I participated in the RPM Challenge, the challenge to write and record 10 songs (or 35 minutes of music) during the month of February. My two previous projects were all instrumental, and were composed entirely in my computer on Cakewalk software.

This year is going to radically different: I’m actually writing lyrics, and — you’d better sit down for this — I’m actually going to sing them. I know, scary thought.

Almost as frightening is the fact that I’m actually going to be playing the guitar this time around.

But enough explanation. I just checked in to announce my progress, which is that I just completed the (very) rough draft of my first song, Little Pink Flash Drive.

Yes, this new approach might actually work.

But I need to get back to work now, so further chatting on the subject will have to wait.

My music, via an embedded player!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

It would be cool if I could embed this in my sidebar, but I think that would make it too small to see the song names. Anyway, here’s my original music! And maybe soon I’ll have some online that’s not 3 years old!

Mandatory Update, Various Things

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

… so let’s make this quick, shall we?

Brutal summer is OVER! But it’s still hotter than it should be – close to 90F on Monday. Here at the end of October.

Only watching a few current shows on TV this fall: Community, 30 Rock, Venture Bros., America’s Funniest Home Videos, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole (though that’s in reruns … just 10 original episodes so far), SNL, Attack of the Show, Infomania … and that’s it. 3 NBC, 1 ABC, 2 Cartoon Network, 1 G4TV, 1 Current TV. That’s all that’s worth watching. On the other hand, the dearth of worthy programming — seriously, there’s not any decent filler any more to just have on while doing chores around the house –frees me from the tyranny of network scheduling, and allows me to focus on things outside of the tube’s reach.

I’m still not getting anything accomplished, but it’s the principle.

Most of my posting is on Facebook these days, so go friend me other there, ‘kay? ‘kay.

And on Twitter too. I often “live Tweet” the shows I mentioned above, so if you want to join in, send me a comment or IM and I’ll show ya how it’s done.

And oh yeah, I still DJ occasionally in Second Life, although not as much as I once did:

Okay, that’ll do for now.

A Trip Down Memory Lane via Tornado Alley

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Today is the 40th anniversary of the big huge devastating May 11 Lubbock Tornado. More importantly, it’s the 30th anniversary of the 10-year disaster commemoration concert: Tornado Jam, starring Joe Ely, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and … um … lots of other people … in Buddy Holly Park. And I was there! As I recall, my date was a girl who didn’t much like me, and who I didn’t see much after that, which was pretty much the story of my dating life (especially when it came to big events) back then, just like the Chicago concert my senior year in high school. But I digress: Watch the video! Maybe you’ll see me in the background somewhere …

Another Year, Another Birthday Greeting for the Spook

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Yes, if you’ve been reading this blog all these years [and who hasn’t?!], you’re familiar with with my colorful ol’ college buddy that we called The Spook, and you know that every year I struggle to think of a different was to announce his birthday (which is actually tomorrow, April 11). This year, it occurs to me that I still haven’t posted the song that country singer Jake Kellen wrote about him [seriously!], so here’s the amateur music video that accompanies the song:

First Irish Festival Posting!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Yeah, yeah, it’s been almost a week since the Irish Festival and all I’ve posted is this video, and it’s just related to the venue and not to the festival itself, and I didn’t even post it here until now — I haven’t even put any of my festival photos on Flickr!

Hey, blogging isn’t what it used to be. Diminishing returns is the name of the game. I blog in short form these days, on Twitter, Facebook, and (as well as Flickr & YouTube & Tumblr and whatever else) and route it through here.

Anyway, here’s this, more to come:

You may recognize the music as Aaron Copland’s Hoedown, better known as the “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner” music, and as the song covered by ELP in about 1971.

Anyway, enjoy, and check back.


Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Just found this person/band on Facebook, and I’m using my Press This bookmark bar app so I won’t forget to go back to it: Thistle Radical Music Home Page, an original-folk-music band out of Madison, Wisconsin.

Plus, this counts as a blog post, right?

First Day of Autumn!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Okay, okay, I haven’t posted a real post since July 4th, but it’s one of my favorite days of the year – the day that the hellish Texas summer is given its eviction notice – so I’m going to try to get a wrap-up posted without murdering 30 minutes to do it:

I actually have been posting on my blog — if you’ll look in my sidebar you’ll see my Twitter feed, which also includes my posts, which are also routed through Facebook. Those things are mostly how I blog these days, so if you want to follow me on those, click each of the links in this paragraph.

But keep coming back here too, of course. Not all of my thoughts fit into 140 characters.

All summer they’ve been tearing up the street in front of our house, but it hasn’t been as bad as I’ve feared (like it was on another street 3 years ago) and the end may finally be in sight. Still, it’s been awfully blasted inconvenient.

I made Employee of the Month for August at my job! Not bad, considering I’m just part-time and I’ve only been there 8 months.

The astounding thing is that this is the first job I’ve had where at least some level of management doesn’t have their head up it. Seriously: first job EVER. I was at the point where I didn’t realize it was possible for management NOT to have their head up it.

At this one place I worked once upon a time, the person who kept getting Employee of the Month was the one who was occasionally known to sit on the assistant manager’s lap. I’m not saying there was any connection between those two facts — hey, maybe it was statistical clustering — but I do know that she was lazy, incompetent and tended to spend all day playing on the computer, so …

But I digress: My point is that I’m amazed and thrilled that my skills and my diligent efforts were actually noticed – and shocked that they were rewarded! Wow. A small sliver of Life actually makes sense.

And for the record, I didn’t have to sit on anybody’s lap.

Another reason I haven’t posted much is because I’ve tried to dedicate September to try to get to the next plateau in my music projects. I haven’t been totally successful so far, but I’ve brainstormed more lyrics in the past 30 days than in all the years since I was in a garage band in Lubbock.

And by “brainstormed”, I mean “come up with a lot of stupid crap that I would never want anybody to see or hear”, but if you don’t do that when you’re brainstorming, then you’re not doing it right.

But there is one musical advance I hope to get out of this month: Tomorrow I start my piano lessons! Yes, yes, old dog, new tricks, shut up. I’ve been piddling around on keyboards for some time now, but this will be my first exposure to actual educated training. I’ve found a music teacher that’s looking for some very basic computer lessons, so we’re doing a swap.

I’m still occasionally Djing in Second Life, including tomorrow night at Belar Inshan Social Club. Drop in at 8 Central if you’re in the Metaverse at the time!

Our big screen TV went out in early August, so we were without it for like 3 weeks, but fortunately it was still under extended warranty, and of course we DO have other TVs in the house.

But that was the BIG one.

Anyway it’s back now and we can breathe again.


OK, that’s all for now, and I ended up slaughtering MORE than 30 minutes.

But now you’re fed. So follow me on the other things, and keep coming back here.