Category: Music


Guitar Loot

These were the fruits of my Christmas haul:

New Guitars

I got a 1973 Yamaha FG-260 12-string acoustic (same kind recorded on Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”) from my stepdad and a 1986 Washburn G-IV electric from my uncle Dan Sweeney. They’re both great guitars, definitely more than a beginner could hope for. The electric is fresh from a tune-up at the luthier’s, so the action is great all over, and it’s in great shape.

So now comes learning the darned instrument, which is going well so far. It’s definitely intimidating going back to the absolute basics with one instrument after being a drummer for 13 years, but I’m already to the point where I can have fun with stuff instead of wondering how the heck this thing is supposed to make music.

I’ve got the electric set up to interface with my MacBook Pro, so I can mess with all of the amp modeling and effects in Logic and GarageBand. My roommate Eddie let me borrow an old amp of his as well.

So I’m set up pretty well as far as learning guitar goes. In addition to that, my roommate Eddie and I converted our seldom-used dining room into a music room, because we and our other roommate Jeff want to start playing blues together on a regular basis. So we now have one room with V-Drums, a piano, and rigs for both guitar and bass. The room’s nice and spacious, so it’ll be accessible for practice and for parties and such. And having the V-Drums in there will be a total lifesaver for everyone’s ears, just like they were for Deliver Me Seven rehearsals.

Blogging about blogging

Creating Tunelog, a Music Industry Blog

For the last week I’ve been working  a lot on a new project of mine: a blog providing commentary on the changing face of the modern music business. I’m calling it Tunelog, which will be at once I’m ready to launch.

I have a few reasons for doing this right now. I’ve enjoyed keeping this blog, but at the end of the day, the stuff I write on is for myself, and it’s a nice bonus if anyone else cares to read it. It’s mostly personal stuff that’s a bit more thought-out than a quick Twitter or Facebook posting. And for every two things I post, I’ve got a mostly-finished rant sitting as an unpublished draft that I ended up rereading and thinking, “well that’s great, I guess I worked that thought out in writing and came to a better understanding of it, but I don’t want that drivel being seen by anyone.” But when I get more focused on writing focused material that would be presentable to others, I remember how much I’ve missed writing for an audience. (It’s one of the things I gave up in going after a Business Administration major.)

So I’m going like crazy after this syndicated blog deal. It’s amazing just how simple it is to produce content online these days, and the social Internet is making it even more effortless to access a loyal and interested audience. I have professional experience with WordPress and have the know-how that unintentionally comes with being a Facebook and Twitter user, so that helps me personally, but I really can’t believe how the barriers to building a brand from scratch have fallen in such a profound way.

I’m learning a lot as I go: unlike this personal blog, I’d actually like to gain some serious readership and make a bit of ad revenue from it. So I’m doing a lot of thinking about the right strategies to employ for such a business venture: search engine optimization (SEO), marketing through social bookmarking sites, and active participation in related online communities. There is something to be said about using these things effectively, but at the end of the day, publishing high-quality content that people actually want to read is what will make or break me.

I’m going in with an extremely minimal investment in the site beyond my own human resources. I’m intentionally telling my web app developer side to take a back seat to my side that likes to actually produce written content. I imagine that I will have spent less than 20 hours on technical site setup before it launches. I figure that even if Tunelog fails to gather an audience, I’ll be spending a good amount of my free time doing professional writing on a topic I enjoy writing about, and I’ll have developed several different kinds of professional skills and a portfolio site in the process.

My to-do list of pre-launch tasks is getting smaller by the day, and I’m looking forward to taking it public. I have two big strategy things left that I still need to think a lot about, even after the initial launch:

  1. I need to properly gauge the target audience’s attention span. I don’t want to be regurgitating other news blogs, but rather offering insightful commentary. The question is about how to effectively do that amidst today’s “too long, didn’t read” mentality. I have to figure how independent artists and other interested parties want to consume content.
  2. I need to polish off my writing skills to present stuff professionally without sacrificing the unique voice that I want to associate with my personal brand. I’ll probably tackle a few of my journalism nerd friends and try to tap their brains for ideas on how to do this.

So that’s it for now… I’m really excited about all the work I’m doing on this site now, and you can be sure to hear more about it as Tunelog comes closer to launching!


Sail On, LeRoi

If I go before I’m old
Oh brother of mine please don’t forget me if I go

LeRoi Moore, founding member and saxaphonist of The Dave Matthews Band, left us yesterday due to complications from an ATV accident earlier this summer.

The outpouring of grief on DMB fansite is moving. This blog tribute to LeRoi seems to best sum up his effect on his fans and fellow musicians.

Thanks for all of the great music, LeRoi. You will be missed, and it won’t be “The” Dave Matthews Band without you.


Video Tribute to LeRoi Moore


How music is faked

This was on Digg, so some of you may have seen it, but I think it’s worth repeating here. They took the strict ingredients for pop music to recreate its end result:

(link for facebookers)

This happens for all styles of music, including classical. Except for the most trained ears (not mine) it is impossible to tell whether or not recorded music reflects upon the actual skill of the musician. Right now it’s most true with vocalists, but the tools are evolving to let even the most complicated of instrumentals be edited and tweaked to the point of false perfection.

For many, this doesn’t make music any less enjoyable. After all, who cares how it was made if it sounds good? As a music listener, I don’t have huge problems with it, as I’m sure that a lot of my studio albums (if not all of them) have received such treatment. But as a musician, it feels like a disappointment. I like to appreciate artists with remarkable skills, and talented musicians are the ones who really lose out most on this “musical photoshopping”. Sure, when I record drums, I want them to sound perfect, so I don’t object to fudging a few things so that listeners don’t notice my mistakes, but that can’t be done with live music. Hearing something difficult to play on a recording is one thing, but seeing them pull it off with such precision live is another one entirely.

Here’s another point in case, just to beat a dead horse: Saosin’s “Voices” has been nagging at me for about 2 weeks now. Watch the first verse twice: first pay attention to the singer, and then the drummer.





The vocalist is considerably more annoying live- whiny and shaky on pitch. But the drummer’s beat during the verse is incredibly solid – both in recording and in live performance. That’s something that only comes with a lot of work, unlike studio tweaks.

I’m shutting up now, I’m longwinded even when I blog.