I just finished reading an excellent book by Jacob Slichter, who is the drummer for the band Semisonic, called So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star. Slichter writes about the path his band took to the top with the hit Closing Time — with the classic line “Every new beginning starts from some other beginning’s end” — and the path off the top as they lost support from their record company and failed to connect with their audience again. His insights into the writing, recording and performing process of a musician on the wave is humorous and indicative of the pop culture world. Things move quickly and then implode.
Although Slichter is not the primarily songwriter in the band, he does pen a few of the tunes that get noticed by record reviewers and at the end of the book, he writes about the experience of being on stage, performing your own song in front of a large audience.
“For me, each hearing of a song is a trip inside the mind of the songwriter … Listening to my songs, I feel that the circuit between the performer and the audience is complete.” — Jacob Slichter, of Semisonic.
That passage really captures the intense and electric rush of playing an original song that just connects with the crowd of people in front of you in a special way.
Peace (on the stage),
I’ve been working a few new songs, perhaps for my band The Sofa Kings or perhaps for a side project with a friend of mine. Here is a song called Gotta Find Faith, with photos from Creative Commons via Flickr. I recorded it all myself with Audacity and a little microphone. The video was composed using PhotoStory 3.
And the second one is a bit more upbeat and is called Little Too Far:
Peace (through music),
Just testing out some new video embedding features here.
This is my band, The Sofa Kings:
In the interests of more experimentation, I am posting a song that I composed on software called Scorewriter, which I first exported into a MIDI file, and then converted into an MP3 file (nothing is easy and everything takes a few steps but the process is a learning adventure). This particular song called The Door to Five-Four was written in 5/4 time, which is tricky to pull off (the most famous being Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond’s jazz classic Take Five), and I am not quite satisfied with the voicings of the three parts (and the fact that Scorewriter’s internal voices are merely adequate — it is a tool for writing compositions more than listening to compositions).
I plan on doing a future Dogtrax Audiocast on my Scorewriter compositions.
Listen to The Door to Five-Four
I also realized that I could create a PDF file of the actual composition (in case you want to play it at home for yourself — laugh-laugh)
Here is the actual written musical composition
This is the the third in a series of audiocasts that I am experimenting with through this Weblog site, which has really become a mishmash of my thoughts on education, music, personal writing, and my work with the National Writing Project. I hope anyone who reads my site doesn’t feel the lack of focus is frustrating.
This audiocast features the archived music of a band that I was in during my college years at Eastern Connecticut State University in Connecticut. ECSU is in the shadow of the University of Connecticut, and is situated only a few miles away from UConn.
Our band, Rough Draft, was composed of myself and some close friends — Johnny D. on guitar and Alex D. on bass — and a drummer (Josh) who never watched the rest of the band when he played, but still did an OK job (it wasn’t easy to find a drummer in those days). We played parties, and some bars, and just got together to make a lot of noise and have fun.
The songs from this audiocast were from a short television show we did for the local cable company and are all songs that I wrote for the band.
Listen to Dogtrax Audiocast Episode Two: Rough Draft
I have been writing songs on and off for the past 20 years with a variety of bands and throughout that time, I have often turned on a tape machine or recorder and tried to capture the songs in some fashion or another. The advent of easy-to-use coversion technology has allowed me to convert many of those analog files into mp3s and there they have sat, collecting dust in folders.
The idea of audiocasts has intrigued me for some time now and I figured this weblog was as good a space as any to begin creating a series of audiocasts that track some of my songs over the years. So when a friend of mine recently asked me to share some of the songs, I figured now was the time to give it a try. (It is possible they may retract that request upon listening to what I have to offer, but … too late now.)
And so, I begin my journey with this first audiocast, which is a bit embarrassing to release since it features some of the earliest songs I ever wrote and recorded. It was in 1985 and I had just picked up the guitar and didn’t know what I was doing. Not that this stopped me, however.
Thanks for listening (in advance)
Listen to the Dogtrax Audiocast: The Wicked Early Years
Also, this is a running archive of the audiocasts I am creating (so far, only one other file is out there but more are on the way — next up: The Rough Draft Revolution):
I’ve been checking out some of the strange and neat things you can do with Flickr lately, just to experiment. A good site for Flickr Toys is here, if you are interested. Much of it is free.
I used some band photos as my experiment. Here is a roadside advertisement for The Sofa Kings.
And here I added some captions to what John and Duke are really thinking.