Forever a Clone

I'm just a clone, talking away while nobody listens

Archive for the tag “Drums”

Kick rocks, January!

I can’t believe we’re in February already!  What the hell happened to January?  Wait a minute.  I can tell you what the hell happened to me in January.  With the exception of one piece of good news which I’ll share with you momentarily, January 2017 was a clusterfuck.  Apologies on the vulgarities, but there’s no other good way to put it.  January was a giant clusterfuck.  Each week it was one bad thing to replace the other and I felt like I couldn’t escape it.  I was like Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV when Drago was kicking his ass from corner to corner.  By the way, why the hell didn’t that ref stop that fight after about round 2 or 3?  Anyway, I digress.  What the hell, January?  I haven’t had such a bad time in about 5.5 years.  I suppose as equally as odd, I didn’t let it completely ruin my mood as before.  I wish I could tell you how or why it was, but maybe it’s because I’m in such a good place emotionally that even with past 5 weeks of spectacular and individual train wrecks, I’m such a stronger and more mature person emotionally that I just let that shit slide.  All I can hope for now is that February is a good month and makes up for January, the party pooper.

As for the good news that I mentioned a paragraph before, the idea that has been floating around for at least 2 years with the band is finally going to happen this May.  Let me back track a bit.  6 years ago last month, we recorded our album “Zombie Platter” in an advertising agency that just happened to sometimes double as a recording studio.  This was the 4 of us’ first time ever actually recording music and we had no idea of what to expect or much less what the hell we were doing.  To be honest, we barely knew our songs well enough to go in there and record them.  But we were ambitious and had the desire to do it and we did.

You can stream that album now on your streaming service of choice (Spotify, iTunes Music, Google Play, etc.) by either searching by our band name, Searchlight Needles, or the album title “Zombie Platter”, by the way.

Anyway, 2 years ago while on a trip to visit one of the guys in the band, we caught a performance by the band Quiet Company.  They were playing at a bar somewhere in Deep Ellum in Dallas whose name escapes me, but anyway these guys were incredible!  Their energy on stage was electric and palpable.  They had a dude selling a couple of their albums and some other merch, so Gonzo bought two albums of theirs.  It was a great thing he did because about 2 hours west of the DFW metroplex we put the CDs on and it inspired us to re-record our album.  Ever since we finished the album and played it back for ourselves we actually learned the songs better (if that makes any sense) and therefore played them even better on stage.  Not only that, but the favorite tunes that we play at every gig eventually started to morph and mutate as we spiced things up with new fills and new energy to each song.  Gonzo and I thought that the way we play the songs now are better than the way we recorded them so why not give them the definitive editions of them, right?  So, we brought the idea to the other 3 guys in the band at the time (the lead guitarist has since moved out of town, but wasn’t part of the band when we recorded either) and they were all for it.

Of course, nothing came of it until April or so of last year when we went to practice at a recording studio in town that also rents out practice space.  The guys in the band thought “Why not record us live in a single take instead of the way you’re supposed to record music?! (which is tracking each instrument individually, in case you were wondering)” We all agreed that it would be cool to do that and try it out, so when we approached the people at the recording studio we practiced at with the idea we got something to the effect of “Ahhh… well… that’s really not the way you’re supposed to record albums… blah blah blah.”  And I almost felt like telling them “We know, guys!  We did one; we just want to record this way instead!  Would you want to do it or not?”  But we just brushed them off and off went the idea.

The idea never died in these past couple of months though and for some reason the idea really gained traction again last month and we tried to reach out to the same recording studio again and got no response (F those guys, by the way.  I won’t mention their name, but F THEM!), so Gonzo reached out to a friend of the band who played in gigs with his band before I joined up because he had recording equipment back in the day.  Turns out that he apparently still had some of the stuff but didn’t really record anything anymore but he knows a guy who does and got us in contact with him.  This guy, Chris, is a BADASS.  Instead of stopping Gonzo and I during our initial meeting to discuss the project at “Well, what we want to do is record the 4 of us playing at the same ti…”, he was all for it!  That alone was a fresh enough take to be open minded enough to want to be a part of it, it made us excited for it.  We couldn’t wait to tell the other two guys in the band that our meeting was a success and we were going to do it if they were up for it and the ball started rolling there.  It what has seemed to be perfect and beautiful timing, a gorgeous and new recording studio has opened up in town by the name of Star City Studio, and as you can see from the article I linked to, these people have created not only a recording studio, but a gorgeous masterpiece AND so happened to have THE perfect place to do what we want to do, which is record live and that’s what we’re going to do in Studio C.  I recorded a YouTube video that shows the centralized control room and Studio C to show to the guys, but more for myself so that I’d remember just how excited I was to see the place where one of the best moments in my life will happen.  Yes, I called it already!  This will be a big accomplishment.  We’re going to release it to the world so that it can be heard and purchased on every platform imaginable (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc.), so that will make two albums of our hard work and dedication that I can show the world.  Show the world that I did something.  I left a mark.  I existed.  I hope it really takes off and makes at least a little bit of noise, if even just locally.

So, we’ll see what happens!  We’re going to record 15 songs live on May 27th of this year in front of whoever wants to show up and be a part of (at least our) history.  I can’t wait.  Our practices and preparations are going to start next week, so I’m sure that things will start to take shape then!

Life is looking up.  Hopefully for you all as well.

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January Madness

Well, what a crazy 3 weeks it’s been to start this month/year.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up with the gym as I had promised myself, but for some reason outside forces have kept me from getting back there.  Week one was a vicious sinus infection.  There I was New Year’s Eve all happy that I thought I had cheated the sickness around me only to find it hit me early that morning and went full force the rest of the week.  TERRIBLE!  Ok!  I do enough drugs to get myself to get to the gym on Monday, everything is coming up Milhouse and boom!  Family medical emergency goes down and I had to put my life on pause (willfully and gladly I thought I should mention here) to take care of business.  This past Saturday rolls around and it’s my first day to really sleep in in two weeks.  Everything is going cool and I decide to get to my happy place which is cleaning my house and doing laundry when all of a sudden during a 5 minute break at my dining table, one of my chairs decided to take out a finger and there I go bleeding out like some kinda moron who apparently didn’t learn to fear and respect dining table chairs.  Hahahaha!  I laugh at it now because at the time I was literally telling my walls “Really, dude?!  For F’s sake!  I can’t catch a break, man!  If it ain’t one thing it’s the other.  Alright, stupid finger, you can stop bleeding any time you’d like dude.  *insert various other vulgarities here*” So, here I sit at week 3 of this month continually staring at the base of my left middle finger that is still throbbing with pain any time I move it because the cut is at the very base near the webbing between index and middle finger wondering why it is that things are keeping me from getting to my life goals.  What did I ever do, man?  In the words of The Dude in one of my favorite films, The Big Lebowski, “I can’t be worried about that shit man.  Life goes on.”  And it will, my friends.  I may have lost the field at the starting gate, but you better know that I’ll catch up and pass everybody in the race too!  It’s just a matter of time.

In happier news, even with all of the chaos that has engulfed my life, I think I’m really finally settling into a good groove to start off the year.  I decided to finally pull the trigger and get to a project I’ve been having on my mind to do with the house and fill a blank wall with one of my 50 or so movie one-sheet posters I had from my time working at one of the now no-longer-in-existence movie theaters in town and although I really wanted to frame up my Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back one sheet, I chose Ocean’s Eleven instead.  It just made more sense to me.  It fit a few spots I wanted to represent:  comedy, adventure, and of course Las Vegas.  It’s pretty funny when I think about it.  I have little things everywhere in my house that represent little pieces of things that mean the world to me.  I have memorabilia and posters/flags of some of my favorite bands, rally towels and collectables from some of my favorite sports teams in between cool specialty designs of some of my favorite bottles of booze (all empty of course), pictures of family and religious articles proclaiming my Catholic faith, and of course my drums are all in there too.  Almost everything that made me who I am today are there for me to see.  I was looking around yesterday after I put up that one-sheet, one of my 25+ year old Metallica posters, and a Beatles poster I bought about 2 years ago and thought to myself, “Hell yeah, man.  This is you.  Be proud of all you’ve accomplished, man.  It’s been a helluva ride these past 36 years and things can only continue to go up from here.  Be proud of who you are, where you come from, and where you’re going.”  It feels good to have some pride in myself for once in my life.

And you know what?  Things are looking up for me.  Once this stupid finger heals, and I don’t have to worry about MRSA or any other infection I could get with an open cut on my hand where I could easily grab something at the gym, I’ll get back to that full force… Well unless some other calamity occurs in my life before then.  UGH!!!  And sooner than later here, the band is going to start back up and hopefully we’ll get to put a project we’ve been talking about on wax.  Just playing music again with my brothers will be good enough even if the project we have doesn’t pan out.  Overall, it continues to be the happiest time I’ve ever had in my life.  Time to hope that I can finally move this train down the tracks.  I have no more time for delays!

Take it easy, y’all!

For the love of music

I started this blog 5 years ago today.  FIVE!!!  Can you believe it?!  A lot has happened in those 5 years.  Deaths, moves, stupid relationships that I SHOULD HAVE NEVER gotten myself into, divorces that friends had, babies that friends and family had, parties, drinking… more parties… more drinking, and just a little bit more partying and drinking.  Oh!  And jamming here and there with the band happened.  It’s been a fun ride.  I’ve gotten the chance to meet a bunch of new people from all over the world, created close friendships that will last longer than, well… a while, and I’ve also gotten the chance to really know myself.  One constant thing that hasn’t changed, however, is my love for music and specifically the love of playing my drum set.  I think I’m in love just as much or even more than I was when I wrote this love blog to my preferred brand of drums 5 years ago.  It was my first real blog, actually.  It’s what I was and still am in to.  Playing music.

Funny thing about playing music, though, is that I haven’t done much of it in the past year and a half or longer.  Life and near death has gotten in the way of the band.  Nothing sucks more than that, man.  Right now, my drums are sitting zipped up in their cases in a corner of my bedroom.  My beautiful red burst Tama Silverstar 5 piece maple shell set is nothing more than a side piece right now, a constant reminder of what was and what could have been.  I miss playing so much.  Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t want to play anything with anybody just for the sake of playing either.  I need to feel a part of something and I need to play the music that makes me feel alive.  Pretty much that means everything with the exception of that speed metal/death metal garbage.  I don’t care what anybody says, that “music” SUCKS and I’ll admit that I’m not fast enough to play blast beats and hit my snare with occasional tom fills for 4 minutes or so at a time, but I also find that trash very boring even if I could build up my stamina to do it (which I know I could if I just sat at my drumset for a while nonstop every day for a week or two) I still would refuse to join a band that played that garbage.  Anyway, my very strong dislike for that crap aside, it’s very unlikely that I’d be able to get a group together that would play everything from George Strait and Alan Jackson, to Michael Jackson, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, The Gap Band, and Bruno Mars, to Mötley Crüe, Poison, Bon Jovi, Ratt, Guns n’ Roses, Van Halen, Chickenfoot, and of course I can’t leave Pantera, Metallica, Steel Panther, and Hellyeah behind either.  Who would want to do that, right?!  Those are just some of the things I’d like to cover off the bat.  Anyway, it won’t happen.  But it would be nice if it did though!  Instead, my drums will stay where they are, in my bedroom until we (Searchlight Needles) get off our asses and decide to play again.

Getting back to that, looking back I really miss everything about being in the active band scene.  I miss the practicing, the gigging, and most of all the recording.  Granted, we’ve only recorded one album 5 years ago (that you can still buy on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon or stream each track on YouTube too!  We’re a topic on there!), that was still an experience that I am craving to have again.  I think if I had the money for it, I would probably be constantly recording.  It’s so much fun to create music, record it, and have it there as a permanent memory.  AND you can share your creation with the world if they want!  It’s a beautiful thing with this technology in this day and age.  It also sucks at the same time because with the exception of a lucky few artists, there is no more money left in music.  I should make myself clear that I don’t play music for money because I’ve never made a dime from playing with my current band and I have been very happy about being able to play and create with my best friends, but in the crazy chance that some record exec were to hear it, there’s no way that a indie band like ours would make it in today’s music business culture.  Sure there have been very famous bands that have come out of here, most notably At The Drive In and the band that came out of that breakup, Mars Volta, but out of the countless other bands only another hipster/weird/who knows what band named The Royalty have gotten signed, but their contract got terminated after a year and that band pretty much broke up after that.

So, I say all that to say that I miss creating music.  I miss playing the songs I like playing right now and I’m dying to play the songs that I really love to put my little percussive spin on them, then to create my own music from all of my musical influences after that.  I want to do it for the love of the art and not for the cash or the bar tab I’d get for doing it.  I hope it happens sooner than later!

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