My Musical Education

My parents were both born in 1939, and were squares. They missed Elvis & the Beatles, settling for easy listening & classical. That’s what I grew up with in Wisconsin. There were two kindergarten classes in Winneconne when I went, and both had nice teachers, Mrs. Broderick & Mrs. Kontos. I had Mrs. Kontos, who played piano, and got us singing as a group to “Old McDonald”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and other children’s standards.

Looking back now, I can see that it was her job to stimulate as many senses as she could in all of us. By doing this, Mrs.Kontos & Mrs. Broderick could recognize who had ability, and who needed help. Thus, no one got left behind. By 1st grade, the kids had been sorted by ability, and a few were already recognized for their prodigy talents. I had a Winneconne classmate who was a math & science genius, and everyone knew it. We rode the bus together.

We were were introduced to music class in first grade, and it was mandatory through fifth grade. The teacher was Mrs. Alberta Doverspike, a hard but passionate Irishwoman, who loved kids & teaching music. She also played second-row violin in the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, which was nationally recognized at the time.

Mrs. Doverspike mostly played the piano in class, while teaching from the songbook we all had in our laps, and always stayed in the classroom. She was the Winneconne elementary, grade 1-5, music teacher for decades, and beloved by many. We viewed these crazy film-strips on the treble & bass clefs, with notes calling out in the night to a kid asleep, and then the journey to follow these sounds & discover the musical scales. We all laughed & learned.

It was the same songbook year after year, with old-school classics such as: Stephen Foster’s “Oh Susanna”, and “Land of the Silver Birch”, a traditional 1920’s Canadian folk song. “Hi diddle unakum feedle” is an Irish ballad I repeatedly requested, to the irritation of other classmates– also known as “The Tailor and the Mouse.” On Fridays, we always sang a song (I think) called “Friday-day” which goes like this:

1st verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. All week long without a blooper, hit the books and come out super. Friday we’re all in a stupor. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

*2nd verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. Five full days to get some learning, and we never stop our yearning. but by now our guts are churning. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

3rd verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. Other days are overrated, all those classes that we hated, five long days we’ve sat & waited. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

* I’m not entirely sure on this verse, so I improvised. That’s all I got on that one, as I can’t find the complete lyrics anywhere. I want that songbook.

In 3rd grade I was made to take private violin lessons, and showed little interest. My mother wanted me to be a classical musician– only. My dad was a good man at heart, but an alcoholic. He was functional, but his addiction took away from his interest in being a father to either of his sons. My younger brother was forced to suffer these violin lessons with me, and had even less interest & ability.

We ‘performed’ once at an Oshkosh recital, and we were the first ones to leave the stage, so the really good kids could play. They were brilliant, but I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want to be with them. This leads to a major point I’ll make about music, and anything else. Go with your strengths & your heart. I never felt the passion for classical music, that I do for rock, so I instinctively knew where to draw the line.

Anyways, these private lessons lasted only 2-3 months, and were then dropped, because I had stopped practicing. That’s how it is in an alcoholic family. No one can just talk it out. Everything is manipulated & distorted, so you have to find unhealthy ways to express yourself. This is what one must recover from, to become a healthy adult.

Back to grade school music class, one day in maybe fourth grade, Mrs. Doverspike found the generosity in her heart to let one of us finally pick a song, so I raised my hand and called out “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, with the page number. Everyone got REALLY excited when they turned to it, and when we hit the first chorus, you could hear our class singing boldly & in unison all the way down the hall. Mrs. Doverspike knew talent when she saw it, and I was placed into a leading role for every grade school production.

I was a “Drummer Boy” for every Christmas concert. I did it because it got me out of the chorus for a few songs– supposedly to warm up. I really didn’t need to ‘get loose’, but I learned early to grab rock star privileges wherever you can get them. Each year it became another song I had to drop out of, to prepare for my bit with the hand drum & mallet. I never thought I was great at percussion, and always wanted guitar lessons, but despite being from a privileged family (upper-middle class), I would have to wait. My parents didn’t want that noise.

At Winneconne back then, young Wolves were allowed to take a real art class in 4th & 5th grade, which I did. It was Mr. Griffin, then Mr. Bartelt [?] in middle school, I don’t remember either of their first names, but both were excellent. I went to a different high school in a different town, and the teachers in these subjects weren’t nearly as good in my judgment, so that’s when I stopped with music & art classes.

In middle school you had to take either: marching band, chorus, or music appreciation every year. I opted for the last. Overall, Todd Oxley was very good, but he weighted towards ragtime, tin pan alley, early big band & opera– his favorite. Mr. Oxley had a problem with anything that came after the Beatles. An interesting movie on a new musical tool called the synthesizer, made an impression, but that was as current it would get.

Mr. Oxley was adamant that heavy metal was ‘devil music,’ and was playing AC/DC records to the class a grade ahead of us, as a study in Satanism. One day I walked into class, sat down in the back center chair as always, and saw “AC/DC”, “Black Sabbath” & “Ozzy Osbourne” on the blackboard. I got excited, and said loudly, “I like them, what’s that about?” Mr. Oxley snapped back, “That’s devil music hidden in distortion,” while angrily erasing the board. The kids (myself included) laughed at him, and told everyone in the school. The next year, he removed Satanism from his music curricula.

This is the most influential children’s record for me. I listened to all the Disney animation records as a kid, and The Jungle Book (1967) outclassed all of them. It holds up because of its genius musical soundtrack, and unforgettable characters. The gate-fold packaging, with artwork, was superb for all the Disney releases. I didn’t see The Jungle Book movie until it was re-released theatrically in North America in 1978. That’s how it was with Disney back then, and that’s why these records were so popular.

Only The Lion King (1994) comes close as a musical & film, and it largely depends on what you grew up with, in choosing a favorite. The original Jungle Book record is narrated, with character dialogue and the famous songs you know & love weaved in: “Trust in Me” by Kaa, “The Bare Necessities” by Baloo & Mowgli, “I Wan’na Be Like You” by King Louie & Baloo, and “That’s What Friends Are For” by the Singing Vultures & Shere Khan. Rhythm, groove, crazy rhyming, alliteration, and other songwriting tools come through. It takes brains & brawn to deliver these hooks, and The Jungle Book is loaded with both.

I rode the school bus, grades 1-8, and it was by far the roughest bus in the Winneconne school system. It was for the kids furthest out, and most lived on family farms. It carried grades K-12, so you had big kids mixed in with grade-schoolers, and a bus driver with a laissez-faire approach to discipline. He didn’t believe in constant supervision, he believed in not crashing the bus, so he mostly let us work our stuff out amongst ourselves. Only (maybe) twice did Gus-the-bus-driver, stop and take action in all my years. He would handle most of it by looking up into his rearview mirror to eyeball the situation. It was a tough & thankless job with all types of crazy.

I was first picked-up, and last dropped-off, every year until 8th grade. I spent a lot of time on that bus, and the radio was always going. For years it was 1280 WNAM, which was AM, top-40, conservative talk radio. For those who don’t know: FM is stereo radio; AM is mono. I think Gus-the-bus-driver was a fan of Paul Harvey, who rambled on every morning with, “The Rest of the Story”.

I heard countless broadcasts, and can’t ever recall him getting to a point. I would usually stop listening after a minute, and look around only to see that everyone had already given up too. NONE of the kids liked Paul Harvey. This is what happens when someone who doesn’t like music is put in charge of the radio. I was part of the rebellion that finally got our school bus radio station switched to 105.7 WAPL, which is FM rock.

Like I said, it was a tough bus. It had a primitive communication system which worked something like this. If you were sitting next to the heater in the rear, in January, and it was getting too hot, you just yelled “TURN OFF THE HEAT,” and Gus would flip a switch– and there was no more heat. If you later called for it to be turned back on, he wouldn’t be so quick to hear you, if he did at all– so you learned when. That’s an example of the responsibility that came with sitting in the back of our school bus.

Just to show how cruel boys can be, we called the fat girls “heifers,” which has a nasty sting coming from America’s Dairyland. Around 1982, we had a few high school heifers sitting in the back, in what was cool, but rough territory. For reference, sitting up front was for grade-schoolers, and it was how to be ‘on gool’. Gool is imaginary sanctuary. For instance, “You can’t touch me, I’m on gool!”  This works well enough in 2nd grade, but evaporates by middle school. Anyways, when Joan Jett and the Blackhearts hit big with “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”, the intro drumbeat & riff would start, and one of the heifers in back would scream “TURN IT UP,” and Gus would turn it up. It was a rockin’ school bus– in every sense.

The point I’m making is that music education happens everywhere, because music is constantly around us. Network television & radio were the media back then. They worked together, as television brought new music to kids, even before MTV. The three network channels CBS, NBC & ABC (along with PBS), all programmed the same time-slots, with 3:00-5:00 in the afternoon being for kids. So while we were watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, commercials from K-tel Records would appear, and impact us.

K-Tel was a budget record label that would put together sampler albums, and advertise when we were watching. K-tel mostly sucked, and kids didn’t buy into much of it. But in 1980, K-tel released their three best (and most remembered) albums: The Rock Album, Rock 80, and Power Play. Seeing & hearing Debbie Harry sing, “Call Me” in this commercial, still jolts me. It was meant to. K-tel’s Power Play brought Blondie, punk, and new wave to the midwest & many other places.

Columbia House was the original subscription music service. When you signed up, you’d get a bunch of ‘free’ albums for a penny, and in turn you promised to buy a set number of albums over the coming year– whether you realized it or not. The box of records, cassettes, and/or 8-track tapes arrived a few weeks later, along with the real bill.

This is called as “negative option billing,” which is defined as an unfair business practice by the FTC. It’s where customers are given goods or services that were not previously ordered, and must either continue to pay for the service or specifically decline it in advance of billing. The reason Columbia House (and later BMG) could offer such steep discounts was because they obtained a copy of the master tapes from all the other labels, and manufactured their own records, tapes & CDs to sell. The artists did not get paid for any of these sales.

The biggest problem for me as a consumer with all these ‘music house clubs’ over the years was their poor selection. Their titles were mostly lame & old. Columbia House was always in TV Guide, meaning it was in nearly every household with a television, for two decades. I would look through and mark the ones I wanted, but it was always only 2 or 3, and you needed to pick a lot more, so I always tossed it away as trash.

BMG was the competitor of Columbia House, who bought them out in 2005. BMG would slip in their catalogs with a purchase of any Sony stereo component, since they are partners. It would be packed-in with the instruction manual & warranty card. I finally went for it, when I got my new Sony CD player around 1992, at the point when BMG offered “10 CDs for the price of half,” meaning you could get 10 CDs for $27. Their selection finally included titles from alternative artists, so it was a GREAT deal. In the entire history of Columbia House & BMG, this was the only time to ever try this deal with an honest approach– IMO.

It was at the end of 7th grade, when I finally took guitar lessons. Becker Music at the end of Main St, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s been a family operation for decades, and I learned from Roger Becker, the son. They were all old-school taskmasters, but he was the most mellow. They could get abusive, especially the mother & father, and that’s why I finally quit as I was starting high school. That reason, along with my parents getting divorced, which takes the fun out of everything.

I had learned a lot in a year-and-a-half– all the basics on chords, notes & technique. It wasn’t until dental school that I started getting back into playing guitar. Lots of other students played, and Guitar Player started publishing tablatures of songs in their monthly magazine. Also, album songbooks which they accurately transcribed with permission from the artist, became the best way learn to play a great record like Nirvana’s Nevermind, for only $20, and some time.

At Marquette University back then, Kinko’s photocopying shop on 17th & Wisconsin was the place to take songbooks, magazines, etc, and get yourself an educational copy at low cost. I still have many of those photocopied tabs.

I was starting to practice a lot again in dental school, by myself as a study break activity. As the dental school years went on, I took more & more study breaks. It wasn’t until my final semester of dental school, in January 1994, when all my requirements were completed and I was one of many of us who were just marking time until graduation, that I was introduced to marijuana.

I grew up straight. My first beer was in my sophomore year of high school. That’s the way I partied through college & dental school, until weed. But that night, my guitar & amp were around, as I first got stoned with my friends. I then picked it up, plugged in, and started playing more freely & naturally than ever. I was age 25. Since then, marijuana has been my preference. It’s a gateway to another part of the mind, that helps me relax & be creative. I have never tried anything stronger, prescription or illicit. I believe I’ve lived ethically, and have no regrets on that.

I took the Florida dental boards in May-June 1994. By August, I was working as a professional dentist in Orlando, FL. A year later, I began writing songs, and conceived becoming a musical artist. I made an attempt in 1997-98 to make a record, which was pressed as a cassette tape. I had passion, and some great songs, but no clue what I was doing– so it failed. Around 2000-2002 I attempted a self recording, using two borrowed recording consoles: one digital & one cassette tape. I studied, and learned some more useful stuff, but the final recordings hastily pressed to CD, still weren’t good enough. Another expensive failure, and lesson learned.

Then, for a period of 7-8 years, I focused on personal & dental professional aspects of my life, and music was set aside. I spent this period intensely studying dentistry, as well as Marxism, history, film, music, art, and science. But I never stopped writing songs. When one came, I would get it down on the back of an envelope, or whatever. I had purchased a digital 8-track console, and recorded all my songs onto it, so I knew I had demos. It was these songs from this console, that I burned onto CD and gave to Jay Stanley, when I went in to record Magnified in the summer of 2011. All my music history since then, is already on this site.

No discussion of music education is complete without a few thoughts on ethics. I’ve discussed the Columbia House & BMG scams already. While researching, I was reminded of all the ways my friends had cheated them, and even learned a few new ones. There was never any ethical dilemma amongst kids when it came to shorting the industry. They were overcharging us, and advertising their garbage everywhere, so we learned to take back when & where we could. Sneaking into shows, moving up from bad seats, recording albums onto cassette tape, ripping CDs & DVDs, etc, was all good.

Napster changed everything from 1999-2001, because you couldn’t put a mp3 in your hand, nor could you trace its source. How you feel about what happened to that revolutionary website, says a lot about your musical ethics. Napster was cool, and for the kids. The music industry ramped up its corporate & political machinery to kill Napster so Harvard graduate Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, could rule the ‘authorized’ streaming & download market with iTunes. That’s when pirate sites like Bittorrent, Limewire, Kazaa, etc, popped up like mushrooms to replace Napster.

Most music today is shared via streaming services. Sharing mp3’s illicitly is new radio, so keep doing it. But it is not cool to steal from artists selling their physical product. It isn’t cool to steal from record stores & vendors, as they work to keep music available, and need to be paid fairly. To hide coveted records in obscure bins, until you have enough money to buy it, is to cheat not only people looking for that record, but also the establishment as it keeps the store from making a sale. As a rule, tip musicians generously when they move & entertain you. Unless it’s superstar level, or near that, pretty much every musician is underpaid. Music is what gives us joy & hope. It gives us strength & courage. We need music to get through this COVID-19 pandemic, and help guide us to something better. Always be honest with music, and it will infinitely reward you.

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DIY Haircuts

I’ve seen a few friends & celebrities get haircuts by loved ones since this pandemic became reality, and I think that’s great. COVID-19 is going to wipe out barbers & stylists everywhere, as people are going to have to learn their own hair care. I’ve done my own hair for a long time now, and it has many advantages, such as: 1) convenience, 2) no cost, and 3) consistency. My hair looks great, because I take complete responsibility for it.

Using a mirror & ambidexterity are required skills to DIY. There are certain cuts which must be made either left-handed or right-handed, to come out right. I didn’t use electric shears on this trim, but I will the next time, which will be in about a week or so. Whenever it needs it, which is nice. You’ll also learn how to touch-up in-between, when you goof.

Here are a few helpful tips. If using shears, start with them. Use electric shears to thin the back, sides, and eyebrows– using a comb to guard the latter. Scissors are primarily for the top, bangs, and finishing. Again, ambidextrous is best. You can use a hand mirror to see in back, but it’s better to develop “a feel” for your hair, and cut by that. Use the Force. Not only will you be taking better care of yourself, while saving time & money, you’ll also improve your coordination & dexterity.

It’s implied you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror. Grab a recently used t-shirt out of the hamper, or do it when you’re about to throw the one you’re wearing into the hamper. This make clean-up easier, and cuts down on the itchies while you work. When finished, sweep up the hair & shower. That’s the most efficient & hygienic way to cut hair. Give it a try!

One last item. Since we never have composting where I live, I flush the clippings. I used to put them in the trash, until creepy neighbors started going into my garbage to grab locks for themselves. Just be aware.

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Coronavirus checklist: What to do, Part 2

Today is the first day that Florida is on official lockdown. What this means in Sanford (for now) is that you can still go out for walks, fish on the river walk & go out for “essentials.” That word “essential” is given broad interpretation, and enforcement is kept vague. A few hold-out non-essential business are still trying to do business as usual, mostly using kids for employment, but most small-business owners get it and are home. More & more people are wearing masks.

Ventilators have become an issue to keep patients alive, as they flow oxygen to taxed & infected lungs. To avoid this fate, ventilate daily at home by opening windows & doors to let fresh air in. Direct sunlight kills most microbes & such pathogens, so do this as part of keeping your place clean. Also get out and exercise just enough for your needs, while observing best hygiene & social distancing practices.

I stayed home most days for over two weeks until the quarantine lockdown was finally ordered by Republican governor Ron DeSantis yesterday. I felt I had to lead by example, as I’m conspicuous in my area. Governor DeSantis had to wait so long, despite intense popular pressure, because: 1) he’s a puppet of Trump; and 2) he’s beholden to the Florida state machinery. Donald Trump wants his favorite golf courses to remain available to him. This is just one of a million examples of personal interests affecting Florida politics. The people who live here have no say, and are kept in the dark about everything important.

      1. Problem-Solved.mp3

 

One group I neglected to mention in my first checklist was homeless people. They get forgotten, even though they exist everywhere. If we as a society are serious about dealing with this coronavirus epidemic, then we need to find homes for all the homeless– so they aren’t spreading more disease. To not do so only kills the economy (& people) even more. Since most people don’t think much about homeless people, maybe presenting this as self-interest will give them pause.

At this point, there is nothing helpful coming from Bernie Sanders, AOC, or any of the rest of the fake left in mainstream US politics. The presumed Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, is a racist, sexist, militarist zombie. The truth is that none of them are significantly better than Trump, and that’s why none are too anxious to succeed him at this point. Every day we get closer to the cancellation of Election 2020.

The primaries haven’t been officially been cancelled. But what about the conventions? Much depends on pseudo-socialist Bernie Sanders, who has been ready to concede to Joe Biden for weeks, except for these extraordinary circumstances. Bernie Sanders knows how to deceive a naive Democratic constituency during regular times, but these are no longer ordinary days. The US is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, which means it’s an epidemic in America. Any answers, Bernie? Hello, anyone home?! He’s gone away, like all the rest of his ilk.

Only a few brave months earlier, Trump boasted that no coronavirus would be getting to America, or into any of his rallies. Now all the rallies have been cancelled, and his daily White House “press conferences” are a tragic farce. Strict censorship by the volatile Trumpster allows no serious issues to be brought up. At this point, any half-serious White House journalist has probably had their credentials revoked by the Trump team, or at least been threatened.

The Commander-in-Chief doesn’t follow the most basic social distancing rules himself, and probably doesn’t even wash his hands, so who can take him seriously? The rational world sees this and wants to vomit. Zombie supporters of Democrats-Republicans normally cheerlead each week’s inane talking points on social media, but I notice they’re mostly quiet now, as we have to “come together” in this time of crisis. This is the sort of sorry-ass BS that losers force themselves to believe every time they don’t want to admit they’ve been wrong all along. The only comfort here is that there will be much more hard reality coming to these formerly-affluent, but still confused upper-middle class liberals, and they need a healthy dose for sure.

What I don’t need any more of is television, and I haven’t watched in weeks. I tried a few times, but it’s all commercials & no content, so it’s off again within a minute or two. Here’s a fact we all know. People learned about coronavirus online. That’s because they know they can’t rely on the MSM. These are generalities that hold much truth about our future.

Many frontline medical workers are making out their wills. This is a grim reality to face, and heavy responsibility to bear. This is what they dedicated their lives to do, and it can be a heroic adrenaline rush on the front line. But now it’s mostly overwork & fatigue, knowing you’re fighting a losing battle. The resources to win aren’t there. The compensation is far too little, and the personal cost is far too high.

Capitalism is responsible for all this. Its puppet-masters have gone into hiding, from the public at least. Where is Warren Buffet, with all his fortune & expertise, to take questions from the public? Answer: He’s too susceptible to talk– until May at the earliest. Where are all the rest who are responsible for this catastrophe? Why is there no public accounting or admission of wrong-doing?

For the rich, this is time for them to watch as COVID-19 is unleashed on the North American continent, with no coordinated preventive health measures in place to protect the population. In the very near future, food and other living essentials will be in short supply, meaning hoarded by the elite, in order to starve the masses into submission & death. That’s their plan. Socialist revolution must be the plan for international youth & the working masses.

Since I live among the many, and right next to a hospital, here are some thoughts to take to the grave. No one can live forever, which is why organizations & institutions exist, as these entities can outlive us. The ones you identify & act with in life, are the ones that will carry your name in death. So be very careful about whom you support, because you give a part of yourself that is hard to take back.

Therefore this is my online will, so to speak. Facebook is to freeze all my pages upon death. No more posting, commenting, or liking allowed. It can then be made available for public viewing to all who wish. YouTube videos are to allow comments into posterity. This allows the original online content to be preserved in it’s integrity, while making room for discussion. These are basically online diaries, which you must (and should) own.

Website content should also be frozen and preserved in its original form. “Some rights reserved” is the 21st-century creative model, and it means available to share, but if money is made, then find a way to pay (or at least credit) the artist.

      2. 04_Atheist-Psalm-Ric-Size.mp3

 

I’m still an atheist, no thanks to god. Full support always to the SEP/ WSWS/ICFI. Just bury my body anywhere when it’s my time, and remember these songs among others.

      3. Rolling-Stoned.mp3

 

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The Coronavirus Concerts, Part 2

The Coronavirus Concerts deserved a full encore, so here it is. The first Coronavirus Concerts were about breaking new ground & figuring out how to do it– in a new era. With that knowledge & experience already in hand, this follow-up was captured in only a few hours. Part 2 probably flows better as a program from start to finish, because this time I knew what I was doing from the start.

As a production note, you need to be your own cameraman & director to do this. This is about being totally responsible for sound, lighting & your appearance. After the performance is captured, you must upload it to a computer & get it online with everything labeled & thumb-nailed correctly. Then marketing & promotion… Don’t worry, I couldn’t do it all at first either.

For me the performances are the easy part. This time it’s mostly my songs, with only three covers out of the fifteen songs. This shows I can play either way, covers or originals, all night long while keeping it strong. Fugazi used to call it “throwing down.” It’s good to be able to throw down.

I intentionally featured songs that haven’t been made into official videos already. Therefore songs like “Talented”, “Sugarcoat”, “Ridiculous”, “DDSeuss”, “Sun-Wind-Bird”, etc., aren’t covered here. Perhaps if/when I do Part 3. The format is the same, with the video posted above, followed by a description below.

“Self Made” is one of the first songs I ever wrote. When you start songwriting in the rock genre, you’re going for 3-minute rockers & anthems. I throw in a Modern Lovers “Roadrunner” lick at the end in that spirit.

“Problem Solved” is a favorite for women. TomP & I never did any videos for Hwy 19 & Main St, so I’m glad to get this song officially up on YouTube. We were too busy doing Fully Covered.

“Just Because” has a much different feel on Electrified!, with the extra vocals. Here it’s pretty much a straight blues-boogie number, with my lyrical twists.

“You are my Brother” was inspired by the owner of Elijah’s café in Eustis, which doesn’t exist anymore. Back when I had my own dental practice, which also doesn’t exist anymore, I ate there frequently. Elijah would say to me, “You are my brother,” and then he would serve me his delicious food. Absolutely.

“Atheist Psalm” is an ambitious song, from an ambitious album. I deliver it about as well as I can here. People have strong feelings about this one, so I never played it to a live audience. But if provoked, I would have.

The full title to this song is “Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero Part I).” Neil Young was re-energized in the late-1980’s by grunge & alternative, and Freedom was a huge artistic comeback for him. This song is never played on the radio, or covered, but I say it’s the best song on this record. Rust Never Sleeps is my favorite Neil Young album.

“Weird Ideas” is one of my favorite Hwy 19 songs. I played it a few times live at a place called Norm’s in Mount Dora back at that time, and the yuppie audience would go blank on it. But the riff, which I stole from A Tribe Called Quest, gets in you head.

“Rolling Stoned” is always a crowd favorite. Understand that my live crowds consisted mostly of baby boomer classic rockers. My friend & colleague Bill Pelick ran an open-mic jam at a place called Pug’s in Eustis for years. It’s no longer there, but Bill would let me come out whenever I wanted and perform. I got three songs, and that was it. After a few times, I was well-known, so I started trying crazy new stuff like “DDSeuss” & “Haters Step Aside” on them. “Rolling Stoned” always got huge applause from an old-timer audience that typically sneers at originals.

“Working Class” is one of my favorite early songs. It’s tight, with punch, and this is a strong version, save for the fluff at the beginning of the guitar solo. I guess that proves this is really difficult, and the trick is making it look easy.

Being from Wisconsin, I’ve seen the BoDeans live three times, more than any other ‘name band’. “Dreams” was their big single from their second record, but this is from their first album, which are both Americana classics. Other famous Milwaukee bands include the Violent Femmes & Die Kreuzen.

“Anna Rex” is another song that obviously appeals to women. This may be the best song on Electrified!, with the talent we had on it. Here I have to use a slide to simulate Jessica Lynn Martens violin effect.

“The Birth of Song” is one of my favorites from Over & Out. It’s economical & elegant, like this description.

“Obvious” is one of my favorite early rockers from Magnified. I was thinking specifically of the Counting Crows, Hootie & the Blowfish, Dead-Eye Dick (who was being payola promoted on Orlando radio at the time), etc, when I wrote this song.

“Moneybug” is a riff copped from Wire’s “Straight Line.” I had a lot of help with this tight rocker on Electrified! Jessica Lynn Martens on violin & backing vocals. Craig Roy came up with a great bass line, and Tom Pearce hit the beats & then produced it. This is one I re-worked the lyrics on a lot over the years, so I don’t remember them completely here, because I haven’t played it in awhile. I don’t practice much anymore, I just play. That’s how it goes.

This is the first artist I’m repeating on my covers. On Fully Covered, I did “Down Payment Blues.” This one is also from Powerage, which along with Dirty Deeds, is my favorite AC/DC record. Bon & Malcolm are gone, so here’s the best version I can do.

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The Coronavirus Concerts

Here’s my new cover album, self-recorded at home on an Amazon Fire. This is going to be the new (& live) music delivery model for awhile, so of course I’m leading the way. That’s what it means to be a revolutionary artist.

These videos are listed in the order they were recorded, with publishing info on YouTube. One general performance note: I wear sunglasses because these aren’t my songs. It’s impossible to sing someone else’s song completely honestly, hence the dark shades when I do covers for the camera. Each video is presented, followed with a blurb.

I loved this song since high-school, even though I didn’t know what it meant. This is the single from their debut album, released in 1969. Mott the Hoople was a deep band, and are have always been disrespectfully under-represented by classic-rock radio. My style is to keep it simple, so I cut out a lot of the jamming. BTW, if I’m doing MTH covers, then I can’t be credibly accused of anti-gay bias.

It’s really hard to do Eddie & Dave well, but this is a good try, I say. No way I can do Eddie’s guitar wizardry, so I play it as a simple blues number. I mess up the intro, and start again, but who cares– right? David Lee Roth was a genius in so many ways, as this song really isn’t about ice cream. Van Halen through 1984 were the greatest rock super-group ever. If you don’t cover them, then you don’t rock.

This is a really difficult song to barre on guitar and sing as a man, so I shortened it where I could. Being able to mimic the electronica feel is the tricky part. I really loved this song from the first time I heard it. It’s also the first song I ever downloaded on Napster. The rest of the CD wasn’t up to par for the $20 it cost (IMO), and 45 singles weren’t available anymore. That’s how Napster changed the internet back then. Getting back to Madonna, anyone who can get “zephyr” into meaningful song lyrics, is a artistic genius. Take that from someone who knows. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Madonna on Facebook for a long time now, so I’m paying her my respect. Love

Final production note: This was the only song I recorded with a fan blowing on me. Like I already said, it’s an electronica-type song, so I thought I’d experiment with an electronic device. It mostly kept me cool, so I could sustain the vibe. Anyways, that’s the slight difference in fidelity from all the rest.

Remember when I said this was a cover album? I lied. I took the sunglasses off to perform this song is about payola. “P2P” is fun for me to play live (whenever I can get a show), observing so many blank expressions in the audience. You either get it, or you don’t. I ham it up a bit here, so you can get it easily. This is a punk-pop song.

I reviewed this album here already. This was their MTV single, and every female singer-songwriter today should know & play it. Tanya Donelly uses an androgynous voice in this song, so it’s fairly do-able for men. See & hear more my link.

Liz Phair was the musical girlfriend all us lonely college guys could listen to, back around Exile in Guyville. I’ve listened to her CD hundreds of times. Somewhere around this song, running through “Canary” & “Mesmerizing,” it becomes sublime. This is another songwriter every woman (& man) with a guitar & voice needs to respect. Otherwise you’re fake.

“Kararak” is from Electrified! The riff was copped from “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” with the lyrics turned around.

“Haters Step Aside” is from Hwy 19 & Main St. I’ve done it live a few times, and it always works great. Sometime the club pulls the plug on me before I can get to it, so here it is forever.

Fugazi was perhaps the tightest punk band ever. They were masters of songwriting, sound, production & packaging. I blogged about them here.

“Tubthumping” is a great single, so I have it in my covers playbook. It’s party, as well as defiance. Chumbawumba was much more than a one-hit wonder. They also do a version of “Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire,” which I cover below.

This is from Over & Out, and I’ve thumb-nailed an image from the liner notes. I try to do this as a beer drinking sing-along, so feel free to yell out when cued. I’ve always thought this was a catchy novelty song, so I’m resurrecting it here.

“Millennial Whoop” is our latest single, as Tom Pearce & I extensively collaborated on this one. I delivered the song, while TomP produced the hell out of it. Rachel Decker is the vocalist. We were going for a Beastie Boys feel, if you can dig it. Here, I strip everything away and give you a rap song straight on guitar & vocals.

“Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire” is a soldiers’ song from WWI, so it is public domain. It’s only four verses, but very powerful in it’s economy & accuracy.

This is my favorite Tom Waits song, from my favorite Tom Waits album. You really need sunglasses (& a capo) for a song like this, because there is no way you can completely get to Waits’ abstractions. That’s the kind of artist he is. Someone who relates, but is also unknowable.

There was a time when the only way you were going to hear the Sex Pistols was to go to the record store and buy the album. I remember when I did and put on side 1, and then “Holidays in the Sun” exploded out. “EMI” is the closing track to their classic debut, which never lets up.

I felt obliged to do this song. Woody Guthrie was perhaps the original singer-songwriter. Bob Dylan & Bruce Springsteen also have moving versions of this classic. Everyone from Neil Young to John Fogerty were deeply influenced by Woody Guthrie.

I will end when I began, with “Primary Colors.” The coronavirus concert encore is my latest anthem, recorded & published on March 20, 2020. I believe it caps the show off nicely, delivering a compelling new song for the times.

Program notes: All this was performed & put together in 3 days, from March 20-22, 2020. I never left my home to do any of it. Now that “quarantine” & “social distancing” have entered our lexicon, these performances prove that meaningful music can still be delivered to people everywhere. What it takes is talent & heart.

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“Millennial Whoop”

Promo tagline: Stick this new single in your vaporizer & inhale it

Intro: Tom Pearce & I have a deal. When it’s either of our turns to go to work, that person has full control. Tom Pearce has attracted attention within the music industry as a respected producer & electronica artist. Through his new affiliation we have a new distro deal that offers us great penetration into the music business.

We have set an official release date for “Millennial Whoop” at 11/26. This song is a monster crossover single, so we’re doing everything we can to get it as much distribution as possible. “Millennial Whoop” is the first single from the 4-song mini-album: Extended Play 2019.

Note, November 27, 2019 is when this song will be available on all the major streaming services including: Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, etc… “Millennial Whoop” can be downloaded here & now for FREE, because we’re about the fans. Share it if you love it, and let the new-release, underground buzz begin!!

      1. Millennial Whoop - Ric Size

 

I’ve never done a rap/pop song to this extreme, so this was fun. A year ago, Tom sent me a YouTube link on this phenomenon in modern pop music production. Patrick Metzger coined the phrase a few years earlier in a study he published, which is now well-known & cited. Months later after learning about this, I was out and recognized it on someone’s cranked-up car speakers as they drove by, and starting singing my own improvised chorus back to them on the spot.

Millennial Whoop official video (YouTube): Coming soon!

I consider this song to be partly a public service announcement, as well as a punk cross-over single. References include: Woody Guthrie, The Sound of Music (1965), Kelly Clarkson, Coca-Cola, square dancing call-outs, Donald Trump’s aversion to people coughing, The Birdcage (1996) & Basic Instinct (1992). I ‘baby’ it up a lot, which is my hybrid of Barry White & Justin Bieber. We had a real good time together.

Rachel Decker: vocals

Tom Pearce: beats & tones

Bill Pelick: bass

Written, published, & copyrighted by Ric Size; No Cliché Songs / Infinitelink Records 2019

Produced by Tom Pearce / Last Minute Production

We are currently about two decades into the “noise wars,” which is defined as excessive compression to make songs louder for cheap mobile headphones. Car commercials which blast non-stop, louder than the rest, is the comparative to the “noise wars” in television audio production. The only way an independent artist can compete against this degradation of music is by having better songs, and knowing how to record & produce them.

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Music Catalog Review

As the 2010’s close out, this is a review of all my albums and their songs. When people ask me, “What is your best song?” I reply, “I have a lot a great songs, go to Spotify, et al, and pick a title that looks interesting.” Then people ask me, “What are your best songs?” That’s tough again, because I feel I can easily fill any top-10 (20, 30…) list with songs that no one in my era can beat. My personal top-3 are “Ridiculous”, “Anna Rex”, and whatever other song you love. I have a lot of amazing songs. Much depends on what you prefer.

I was really excited, and very naive, when I finally released my debut album Magnified in January 2012. It was really fun to record with Jay Stanley, who is a songwriter, turned producer. He had a great studio on the 2nd floor of his house in Ocoee, Florida. It was separated from everybody else, which allowed us to work well together without interruptions in the summer & fall of 2011.

I would come in with my songs, and we would usually record 2 per two-hour session. I laid down the guitars, vocals, bass and harmonica– in that order. Jay would loop the rhythm guitars & bass to keep it tight to the click track. Then Jay would drop in beats electronically, as I would monitor & make suggestions. I’ve said it before– in many ways this is a rock-electronica album. I did the beats (mostly looped) on “Mercury Rising,” and the hi-hat on “Pay to Play.” The rest were done by Jay, and I feel he was very creative with them.

The biggest limitation of this album is in its production. Jay Stanley isn’t a professional producer, which is a skill that takes decades to master. He has the passion for music, which can get you a long ways, but there’s a lot of harshness of sound & distortion clipping on Magnified. I wanted that punk, trebly edge, but there’s too much in hindsight– IMO.

There’s also very little bass, which is under-mixed, and a common error among under-experienced producers. There’s a lot of wash in the sound, but I accepted that knowing I played everything, and that much of it was looped. For a debut album, this is a 4.5 star effort on the 5-star album scale. Every song is an anthem, and it’s delivered on time. It was a lot of fun to make, and nothing else from 2012 sounds anything like this underground classic. I dubbed it revolution rock, and established this site with the help of webmaster Tom Pearce to promote the record.

I wanted better sound separations, and more live playing for my follow-up album. I went back to Jay Stanley in the summer of 2013, who had by then moved his residence (and home studio) to Apopka. I was to be among his first clients in this new studio, which is a suburb garage converted into a music studio. The acoustics and sound-proofing were problematic from the start.

This is when I brought in Tom Pearce to be my drummer. Tom is a professional musician and sound savant. He immediately began making me aware of issues with the recordings. I intended Electrified to be my best album, and as Tom began to challenge my conceptions of what this album could sound like, I began to butt heads with Jay. There was one time where Jay’s needy girlfriend busted in on our session (again), and Jay flipped out. He left the control room in anger, then came back and said to me, “The session is over.” I had been there for 20 minutes.

I packed up & left, stopping at the first gas station to relax and gain my composure, when Jay texted me that I could come back, and that the issue was his girlfriend is an alcoholic. I went back in a mood, pulled out my Stratocaster and told Jay to record. It was the guitar riff to “Brothers.” I remember singing those sobering lyrics to him in the soundbooth. That’s an example of the intensity level throughout the recording of Electrified.

I also brought in videographer Susan Cameron to film a studio session, and it was inserted into my attempt at a documentary movie of the same title. There was a lot going on, for sure. By autumn all the songs had been tracked (except for Rachel’s vocals), and I asked Jay to do a rough mix-down. I was asking him to impress me, but he didn’t. It was at that point I asked for a copy of all the tracks to Electrified. Jay wasn’t happy about it, as anyone would be, but to his credit he acquiesced and put the tracks on an external hard drive. From this point, onward, everything I have recorded has been produced by Tom Pearce.

As mentioned, I made an attempt at a feature length motion picture. Electrified! the movie died in the rough cut phase because: 1) no more money, and 2) creative differences between myself & Susan Cameron– my partner on the project. I financed the project, and she was underpaid for sure. Susan Cameron was an amazing inspiration to this film, and we patched it together in a little over a year– using entirely local talent.

All it needed was some production polish & final editing, but when I introduced the “Marxist lecture” portions of the film (near the end of shooting), she suddenly lost interest. By January 2014, local businesses & influencers had gotten wind of Ric Size, so they threw a bunch of money at her to do their overblown projects while abandoning the film. That’s my version of what happened. I’m not bitter, just disappointed.

When it came to forming a list of potential promotional partners (sponsors) for the film, Sue kept suggesting Bill Maher, et al. I kept insisting it could only be a revolutionary superstar artist, such as Madonna or Brian Eno. Sue is a liberal Democrat producer, and I ‘m a Trotskyist artist with creative control. In the end we did amazingly well to get that far into production (~98% finished) before breaking up. It’s still a powerful film, and the original soundtrack is all Jay Stanley mixed.

Orson Welles was asked near the end of his life at a press conference, “What is the best part of making movies?” A once-again defeated Orson Welles candidly replied, “When you know the money is in the bank.” Don’t attempt to make a film, unless all the money is there to finish & distribute it. That’s a hard lesson.

Tom had to transfer the digital files out of ProTools (Apple), and convert them into PC format so he could use Studio One, which is the software he decided upon. It has been a great choice, as it records very clean, and I am doubly happy because I paid for all this.

ProTools mucks-up the recorded sound with its built in effects. ProTools is the “industry standard,” but it’s also why so much of today’s music sounds the same. Many serious musicians have moved away from ProTools in the past few years for the same reason. Tom & I have been leaders in this movement towards better sound quality & the return of dynamics.

There were many tracks on Electrified that had to be re-recorded after my split with Jay Stanley, due to poor or faulty microphoning, especially on the drum kit. Tom used his own snare, but the rest was Jay’s in-house kit, which was mic-ed by at least 8-10 microphones. Some worked, and some didn’t. Lots of spillage, etc. There were 30-40 tracks for each song, due to this style of microphoning, along with digitally duplicated tracks. Many were just empty air.

Once again, this isn’t good professional technique, and I want people to understand how much work it was for Tom Pearce to wade through all this jumble, and piece this album back together. This was also very frustrating for the songwriter, as I knew these were great songs, but the studio engineer/producer kept dropping the ball and making me look bad, when he’s supposed to be covering my mistakes and making me sound good. Like I said, there’s lots of tension on this album, but in the end it was worth it. I thank Jay Stanley for giving me what he could. At least he was willing to “go there” with me, which no one else would do. It takes balls.

The biggest improvement on Electrified are the professional musicians & producer. The song quality is roughly equal to Magnified, perhaps a bit better. Tom’s live drumming shows up instantly in “Spirit of the Road” and is an essential element to this 5-star classic. There is (again) not a bad song on this album, and I’m pushing every button. I’ve got what sounds like a backing band, but in reality, are supremely artistic musicians helping out. Electrified may be the best rock album of the past 25 years or so. I know I haven’t heard anything better, or even close to it. If you have a suggestion I’d love to hear it.

Craig Roy did all his bass in two sessions– Anna Rex, Old Friends, Tip of the Cap, Listen to the Woman, Brothers, Moneybug & More Like Us. Bill Pelick did his guitars & bass (Tip of the Cap & Just Because) in one session. Jessica Lynn Martens did her violin & vocals (Anna Rex, Old Friends & Moneybug) in one quickie session. Rachel Decker did her vocals twice, because Tom accidentally erased her initial session for “Listen to the Woman.” That’s kinda how it went.

The biggest blunder I made with Electrified was the cover. I already had the image, which is shown above as Tom & I playing live in Apopka in summer 2012. The photo was taken by Laura Rivera, my ex-step daughter. But I eventually switched the cover to a black & white screenshot from the movie, as a promotional tie-in. Big mistake, as the movie was never finished, and the live image is better. Tom says he wants to re-mix & re-master Electrified, and when he does, Laura’s live photo will be the cover.

Tom worked on producing this record, night & day, for nearly two years. He had finally opened up a watch repair shop of his own in a tin shack at the corner of Highway 19 & Main St in Tavares, FL and set to work on producing when things got slow– which they mostly were.

When he finally finished production and put Electrified online in October 2015, he then asked me with a smile, “What’s next?” I told him I wanted to make a “Beefheart record.” Tom instinctively understood what this meant, and so he closed the watch shop for a few hot afternoons in October-November. We recorded six songs live in the makeshift studio he had built. I had taken up the slide by this point, as it was apparent I was never going to find a stable backing band for live shows. A slide adds an element of attack and sound separation to guitar playing. A solo performer can use this effect to stand out.

We recorded “Haters, Step Aside”, “Rolling Stoned”, “Problem Solved” and the rest in two sessions, I took the album art pictures immediately after the final session, and TomP shot me while I was playing. Tom recommended the title, the format of me playing solo, and doing it as an EP. Today, Highway 19 & Main St already stands as one of the best rock EP’s ever. Tom & I both like this record better than Electrified, because it’s recorded live and we were having fun.

We then recorded 16 covers for what I titled Fully Covered, but never released officially, because of licensing rights. Fully Covered was only released on YouTube and linked through this page on my site in November-December 2016 & January 2017, with videos for every song. I provided most of the content, and TomP put the images together to produce the videos.

YouTube has brutally censored my content, so this project hasn’t been allowed to receive the distribution it deserves. We’ll eventually release Hwy 19/Fully Covered on a single CD. Honestly, I don’t believe any solo performer can do these types of covers as well as I do, so everything that Tom & I recorded in this tin shack is a 5-star classic.

After these landmark underground albums were released in rapid-fire succession, I focused on blogging, as no touring or live performance opportunities were available to me. My influential blogging career began in earnest in 2016, and has continued up to the present, as there are still no live performance opportunities for me.

I was sent an eviction notice in the spring of 2017, and had to move from my Mount Dora apartment by July. Before I left, I told Tom I wanted to record my last batch of songs. I wanted to make sure this final album would get made, as I wasn’t sure where I was moving to, and if I would be able to record with Tom after I had moved.

Over & Out was released that summer, and was somewhat a rush job, as everything except “Yes/No Wave” was recorded in one session that May. Tom brought his recording rig to my apartment, and was experimenting with different techniques, which is why some of the recordings sound a bit different. If you really listen to this album, you realize how intense & serious these thoughts are. To keep them in one’s head indefinitely can only lead to frustration & insanity. That was my motivation to get this record done, and for its title.

This was another solo, acoustic record. Tom added beats & effects to “Up Around the Clock” & “Many Miles.” We now have a rehearsal recording of “Up Around the Clock,” with Tom on drums & Bill on bass from fall 2018, and maybe someday we’ll release it, as it’s surely better than the album version. The song I really don’t like on Over & Out is “Waves,” as I had issues with my capo, which I rarely use. The songs on Over & Out are strong, but could have used some help from other musicians in certain areas. I rate this as a 4-star record, as the best songs are really strong and it does hold together, but could have been better.

One of the hardest things to do as an artist is to let go. Once an album is done & released, it’s not yours anymore. It now belongs to everybody who listens, and it’s what they think that counts– especially the kids. I’ve spent a lot of time here, nitpicking at my work, which is what you have to do to be a honest critic of yourself. It’s not easy, and definitely not fun, but it’s necessary– since it is the only way you can control your narrative. If you don’t do this, then someone else will, and they may promote a version you don’t approve.

I really did think I was finished with music after Over & Out, but somehow a few new songs crept into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone, so by late 2018, I had informed Tom of my intention to record a new single– at least. This morphed into a 4-song EP which is currently in production.

I think Extended Play 2019 will be the best batch yet. The songs are strong, and the playing & production have overwhelming technique– it’s remarkable. It’s a lot more fun this time, because I have great help everywhere. It’s easier to do now, but that’s only because of all the challenging experiences I’ve had in the past. Actually it’s never easy making art. It’s fulfilling, but always challenging. Making it look easy is the genius part.

Final Critique: What TomP & I have accomplished, with a little help from our friends, is nothing less than revolutionary. How many rock artists are considered as a serious political leader & theorist? None, until I came along. This has opened up new artistic fields for musicians, as blogging has become THE influential underground internet journalism format. Now everyone makes their own movies and uploads them to YouTube. I still say Electrified! is the best of the bunch, and deserves a sponsor to produce & distribute it.

The fact is that even the best songwriters can’t write a really great song every day, week or even month. Artists can fill that creative void in music, by reading & analyzing world events in all fields: economics, politics, sports, art, science, literature & pop culture. That was never possible before the internet & social media. What the persona of Ric Size did was show everyone how to do it. I got essays, mp3s, pics, videos & a movie. That’s hard to beat, especially considering it’s all DIY and in the establishment’s face. Imagine if I had some real money to work with…

When it comes to “Artist of the Decade,” it isn’t close. No one has been the artist I have been in this era. No one has been more influential in revolutionary politics & youth pop culture. That’s why I am blacklisted. So I will never appear on any mainstream lists of this “decade’s best.” The further reality is that 2nd place isn’t even close, and that really can’t be acknowledged. That’s the current impasse with me not being critically acclaimed. It’s the power of art.

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Advanced Liner Notes: Extended Play 2019

In this era fans want/expect to be informed– as things are happening. So in that spirit, here’s a good chunk of the liner notes from the upcoming 4-song EP.

Extended liners: We lined-in dry on all guitars & bass. Lining-in means direct cabling from the instrument to the soundboard that links to a computer, which records the performance. Dry means no effects. If you are studio recording “live as a band,” then effects can be used, as long as they are kept under control. But if you apply effects to the guitar/bass during multi-track recording, insisting “that’s the sound I gotta have,” then the guitarist is leaving the producer with little-to-no headroom for sound treatments, including the three most important parameters: reverb, equalization & compression.

Those three effects are ~95% of properly-done sound production– in any era. Getting the best sound is the purpose of multi-track recording, and it’s how most music is put together. To all those guitar heroes with racks of effects & foot pedals, here’s some good advice from studio experience: save them for the live shows. They are mostly useless in the studio today, due to computers & digital-effects software.

We are currently about two decades into the “noise wars,” which is defined as excessive compression to make songs louder for cheap mobile headphones. Car commercials which blast non-stop, louder than the rest, is the comparative to the “noise wars” in television audio production. The only way an independent artist can compete against this degradation of music is by having better songs, and knowing how to record & produce them.

With this in mind, what you need from a guitar in the studio is a clean & strong signal. If the player(s) get it right, and the engineer records it properly, then the music has a chance of eventually smashing all the loud junk on the radio, MTV, American Idol, AGT, et al. Effects muddle the input signal, which hurts the cause, so apply them only in the mixing stage, not during recording.

Marketing, social media & internet censorship: Once uploaded to the internet, mp3’s quickly proliferate onto all the streaming services, big & small. But don’t be deceived, each service has their own proprietary algorithms which mysteriously work against independent artists. I’m at the top of these blacklists. YouTube, Facebook, et al, are revolutionary social media platforms, which have been hijacked by corporate ownership to work for the military-intelligence apparatus.

Therefore, don’t waste too much time in these domains, because they can (& will) turn you down, make you invisible, & de-platform you without your consent or knowledge. Make quickie thumbnail-image videos for the songs, and let your fans speak for you in the social media forums. That way you’re not devastated if/when videos get taken down, turned down, etc… Fakebook has designed its AI algorithms, so you’ll only see your haters if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t like you.

The greater truth is that most kids today download mp3’s either through the artist’s site directly (free– like me), or through an illicit sites (if not free). The message is: make your mp3’s free, as their quality isn’t that of wav files– which is compact disc quality sound. Free mp3’s maximizes distribution, and the name-of-the-game is making new fans.

Streaming is internet radio, so don’t expect to get paid, because you won’t. You don’t have the industry clout. This scientific understanding & revolutionary approach is how underground artists can keep their sanity, while fighting fascist censorship & winning the loudness wars.

Final thoughts on recording: You must be able to work with a click track in order to get set pieces like “Patch Me Up Doc” or “Millennial Whoop” to work. Set pieces are defined as songs you don’t play live. They are more studio creations than anything else. A songwriter typically needs lots of help with set pieces, in musicianship & production. The Beatles “A Day in a Life” is a classic example of a set piece.

It often depends on what instrument the songwriter plays, to determine the order of recording. Does the songwriter have perfect time? Most often, the answer is “No.” The rock music songwriter must find a way to match up melody, riffing & lyrical ideas, with beats.

If both the songwriter & producer aren’t drummers, then the drum track should be recorded first, followed by the bass. This is typically recorded by placing a microphone in front of each guitar & bass amplifier, and around the drum kit. That is a traditional recording sequence & microphone technique when multi-tracking.

You have to know the circumstances & your strengths, while having no weaknesses when studio recording, otherwise you will crack– wasting time, money & relationships. Your team is there to cover your weaknesses with their expertise & skills. It’s a lot easier with digital, if you know what you are doing. My colleagues on this project are true professionals, they are as talented as anyone, and have my eternal respect & gratitude.

What happens to the original tracks & recording masters? Today, any independent musical artist & record label needs to be at the cutting edge to make an impact– both creatively & in business practice. The model we’ve developed is low-cost & top-notch because it’s revolutionary DIY, using the latest technology & boldest ideas from start to finish. Every studio recording that I’ve ever made, dating back to 1997, has been uploaded to a Google share drive. TomP does the same thing with his ex08 project, and everything else.

The Universal Music Group (UMG) fire that blazed through its irreplaceable archives in 2008 (and then was hushed-up for over 10 years) is a valuable lesson in corporate priority & artist responsibility. UMG is a conglomerate money-making machine, with little sense of artistic value towards it archives. They kept things quiet, and collected the insurance money, while the artists whose masters were torched didn’t even know what had happened. UMG allowed the works of many, many legends it was supposedly safeguarding, to carelessly burn to ashes. Many of these incinerated archives were never transferred digitally, or uploaded to a cloud server– so they are lost forever.

Of course, Tom & I have these files on our computers & external backup drives too, but a cloud-based share drive is how to communicate large amounts of data, such as multi-track recordings, final masters, videos, etc, with a producer. The other benefit is that it protects the music & art from being destroyed into posterity.

This also means a private corporation (Google) has all my stuff in its cloud. And by extension, it means the NSA, FBI, CIA, et al, also have them. That’s the price an artist has to pay today, to protect the existence of content. This takes confidence that you have maximized your abilities, knowing that no one else can do it as well. These songs be proof.

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