Archives for: August 2015

The Aristocrats Live in San Diego, Tres Caballeros Tour (August 28, 2015)

Please scroll down for pictures…

I don’t remember the exact set list, but these are the songs that were played as far as I could remember (in no specific order, other than the first 3 songs):

  • Stupid 7
  • Jack’s Back
  • Texas Crazypants
  • Pig’s Day Off
  • Smuggler s Corridor
  • Pressure Relief
  • The Kentucky Meat Shower
  • Louisville Stomp
  • Desert Tornado (with Marco Minnemann Drum Solo)
  • Blues Fuckers

As you can see, most of the songs were from the latest record, and the only songs that they didn’t play that night from the record were “ZZ Top” and “Through the Flower”. ZZ Top did get played played live from previous shows on this tour from what I have seen on Youtube. I was actually hoping to hear what Marco Minnemann explain the counting intro at the beginning of the song before the intro… (though I think I have an idea…), but I guess I’ll just have to wait for another day.

(Or maybe those were played! I’ve been losing my memory as of late…)

The band was tight as always and watching/listening up close to how Bryan Beller harmonizes things was incredible. The songs have indeed evolved a bit from the record, which made it really fun to watch. Marco Minnemann’s drum extended solo towards the end of Desert Tornado was such a treat to watch. Of course, Guthrie Govan was in God-Mode the entire show – well the entire band was. It is almost a given whenever these three special entities are up on stage together.

Security guys at UCSD asked everyone to leave soon after the show (around 11:15), which meant we couldn’t wait to meet the band members. That was a first because we were always able to thank them at the Brick by Brick venue, at all the Keneally shows in UCSD, as well as the Calprog show (double bill with Stick Men) last year up in Whittier, CA. The security guys were quite keen to wrap things up so they could go home probably. One thing that I don’t see everyday was that when security asked everyone to leave, one fan pleaded if he could talk to Marco Minnemann, seeing him leaving through the other door. The fan was denied, then cursed at security and tried to force his way through and around the guy anyway. Security got really upset, yelled at the guy and kicked him out….

…AT A ROCK FUSION/ INSTRUMENTAL SHOW!

Man, and I thought I was a crazy passionate fan myself… I’d probably not do that… But given that these guys are the best in the world at what they do, it’s good to see my heroes getting this type of attention….! (I guess)

 

Steve Morse Interviews

Interesting to listen to Steve Morse’s perspective and how he’s constantly thinking about how he sounds in the mix, even when playing live (not just in studio)- and how he adjusts his playing in his technique, pickup selection, EQ-settings, etc. When watching the Sweetwater interview where he talks about his pickup selections, watch where his picking hand is playing as relative to the bridge, and how he’s changing the distances depending on how high the notes are that he’s playing (- something he didn’t talk about in the video, but interesting to see).

Interview with Sweetwater

Interview with Premier Guitar

Mike Keneally Interview with SweetWater

Here’s an excellent 40+ minute¬† Mike Keneally interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgyNco_JISQ

He talks about his work, his upbringing, as well as his philosophy. 40+ minutes long.

Here’s an excerpt:

…especially nowadays where it becomes increasingly unlikely that anyone even at levels that appear to be successful. You’ll see bands that are touring all the time and are making records and people like the records and you’d think , “Oh, they must be doing ok,” and then you find out that they’re struggling, you know…. It’s just not easy.

There’s no shame in saying that I’m working 9-5 –¬† I’ve got this gig that subsidizes my life…. and then when I get home at night, I’ll get on the computer and work on music for a couple of hours, and maybe on the weekends, I’ll go out with my buddies and play in a bar or something.

Somebody will say that to me, “I’m not really a musician. I only play on weekends or anything. I’m only able to work on the computer once in a while and stuff, because I’ve got this gig.” …and I’d go, “That’s great! That’s really cool.” You’re not struggling, and you’re not panicked about the fact that music isn’t paying for your life. You have a thing that pays for your life, and then you’re able to do music for the best reasons to do music – because you love it.

They ain’t nothing wrong with someone that has a 9-5 gig and just does music when they can. The challenge of course is just making the time and having the energy, and that’s just something we all need to go through at any level – Just got to prioritize.

– Mike Keneally

 

As a very good friend of mine says, “Mike Keneally is a national treasure!

Best. Line. Ever.

 

ModernDrummer: Progressive Drumming Essentials

ModernDrummer: Progressive Drumming Essentials. The videos on the site go into the basics of odd time signature, polyrhythms and polyrhythmic grooves. The actual article in print form (from the magazine) shows everything in charts to make things easier to dissect and follow along if you’re interested, but the videos themselves are very, very cool in their own right.

Part1: http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2015/05/video-lesson-progressive-drumming-essentials-part-1-understanding-odd-time-signatures/

Part2: http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2015/06/video-lesson-progressive-drumming-essentials-part-2-demystifying-polyrhythms/

Part3: http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2015/07/video-lesson-progressive-drumming-essentials-part-3-polyrhythmic-grooves/

New Album Release – “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown Sauce)”

This past week was the release of my third solo/studio album, “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown-Sauce)”.
The CDs have arrived and I’m quite happy how everything turned out. The album cover art, designed by the very talented Shawna Armstrong (O Totally Studio) looks fantastic – even more so in physical form.

The drum parts that Tobias Ralph played were tasteful and excellent, and Ronan Chris Murphy was able to help me with the final finishing polish in mastering to make things sound ‘like a record’. As a writer, I feel that I have progressed (and I am gradually becoming a little bit more efficient at it).

In case you’ve missed it, here is a recent interview I did with SomethingElse! Reviews where I talked a bit about the album. This album, (for the most part…), was a joy to make, although the work needed was extremely tedious, intense and involved. If you get a chance, please check it out. Currently, there are preview samples up on CDBaby, as well as a teaser on youtube. However, the record should be out on various digital outlets (, such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.) in upcoming weeks.

I am also planning on having a more detailed write up on the recording process, so please look out for that.

Mike Portnoy’s Perspective on Odd Time Signatures and Groove

Just recently came across this Mike Portnoy interview on Drum Talk TV. Very cool interview where he talked about odd time signatures and groove.

From around the 10:33 mark:

I spend so much time playing odd time signatures and a lot of people ask me about that, and these are 2 schools of thought.

There are people who play odd time signatures that know exactly what playing in 15/8 is and playing in 19/16 is – There are people that technically know that stuff. Then there are people like in Soundgarden that play in 7 or 5 all the time but I would probably venture to guess they don’t even realize it, because they’re playing by the way it sounds, or the way it feels, and there’s something to be said for both. Now I”m at the point where I could feel pretty much any time signature. I don’t have to count it out. I can recognize it, just from the feel and the sound of it. But it’s also nice when you can count it and you do understand it. Because once you understand it, you can dig a little deeper and you can start breaking up the phrasings into different combinations and things like that – which is something I’ve always done. I think in the early days, the most important is to sound and feel right, you know, rather than it being a mathematical equation on a piece of paper.

I think when it comes to groove, first and foremost, to me, is it’s always about the kick and snare. Everything else is just icing on the cake and back in my old Dream Theater days, I used to think more about the icing on the cake, and I would spend a tremendous amount of time with the nuances. As time went on, as I grew older and as my tastes changed I realize those nuances are nice, but at the end of the day it’s about being the anchor and the groove and what is a kick and snare doing and a lot of times now, if I’m writing with the winery dogs, like the first album and as well as the new album that we’re currently making, we wrote both albums at Richie Kotzen’s house and he has a drum kit there that is literally kick, snare, ride and hi hat, and that’s it. No toms, no splashes, or chinas or anything. Kick, snare, ride, hi-hat and I’ve written now two Winery Dog albums, you know, writing the songs on a kit like that. Because at the end of the day, that’s what the groove is. Kick, snare, and then either the hi-hat or the ride. A good song, and a good groove and a good drum beat and a good performance is based around that. Everything else is icing on the cake. The icing is nice, but you’ve got to have a good cake first.

 

 

This is eye opening for me. I think as a non-drummer, it simplifies the writing process for me greatly. Knowing that I can set the foundation of what I’m looking for in my demos with just the kick and snares (even for odd time), I can ball park the feel of it with just those two in my programming, and let the real drummers do their thing when it’s time for the real thing. I can move on and concentrate on the parts for the other instruments. I’ve been doing that more so without knowing it, mainly because of my limited knowledge of drums, but it turns out that the strategy was valid!