Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mixing and my ears...

Sometimes I feel like I'm getting "old" and my body is breaking down...

I know my hearing isn't as good as it used to be. I have trouble hearing when there is noise in the background. Sometimes my ears get full of wax and everything sounds muffled. I'm glad I don't have tinnitus. My ears aren't ringing all the time. But I know I don't hear as well as when I was in my teens and 20's.

So what is my point? My point is that sometimes I wonder if I should be mixing my songs? I sometimes wonder if my songs sound horribly wrong and not mixed correctly to people have have good hearing.

When I used to work at Dr. Wax one of my co-workers would often comment on the mixing of certain albums or CDs. He would crack me up by saying, "this is a cocaine mix. the person mixing it used to much coke. There's too much high end." or, "this is a marijuana mix, too much low end." What?! According to him different drugs changed how you heard things.

I don't ever remember him saying however, "this is a hard of hearing mix"!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The sound of my voice

Do you remember the first time you ever heard a recording of your own voice? I remember it very well and thinking to myself, "is THAT what I sound like?"

I pretty much hate my voice. I wish I could be a better singer. I like singing. But I've never really liked the sound of my voice. I think I'm an OK backup singer but I was never meant to be a lead singer.

I've done about three or four different versions of this month's song over the years. Trying to get it to sound the way I wanted. At one point the beats were more "hip hop" and I really wanted to try to do a rap thing. I love rap. It was a horrible experiment. I really think I'm the worst rapper ever. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I've never found my rapping voice. I do this thing that sort of sounds like Chuck D but lamer. It's an obvious rip off. I wish I could be like Slick Rick or MC Guru in Gang Starr and just sort of talk and sound good. But I think that's the crux of the problem. I can't just talk because I've never liked the sound of my voice.

On that note, I think the vocals I recorded for this month's song sound great! Some of the best vocals I've ever done. Perhaps it's silly to even say that because they probably last for only about 20 seconds. I only sing in the choruses. But I really like the way my voice sounds in this song. and that's odd for me.

Stuffy nose

I woke up yesterday with a terrible head cold and stuffy nose. I had wanted to re-record a few vocals tracks for the song but I knew I couldn't sing in the shape I'm in.

It got me to wondering. Does this happen to "real" rock and roll stars? Has David Bowie ever booked an expensive session, had the band all lined up, and then gotten a stuffy nose? I'm guessing it happens all the time, but it's not the sort of stuff that rock and roll legend is made of, so it's rarely mentioned.

and I listened to the vocal tracks I recorded the other day and I think they sound fine!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What genre is my new song?

I suppose it doesn't help to ask this before I've posted the song but once again this month I'm asking myself... "what genre of music does my song fit into?"

It's not rock. it's not punk. it's not "indie". it's not hip hop. is it techno?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The whole mixing thing

I remember years ago reading an article in Musician magazine about how Camper Van Beethoven mixed their albums. They would do a mix and then create a cassette and pop it in their boom box and listen to it. They knew that most of the people listening to their album would be listening to it that way instead of a nice fancy stereo.

So when I mix my stuff I listen to it first on headphones. Then I put it in my boom box. Then I listen to it on my nice stereo. Then I listen to it on my car stereo.

My car stereo is important to me because it's the only thing I've got that has the "boom". Sometimes I listen to stuff on it and hear things in the low end that I just don't hear on my other stuff.

I make my mix in Garageband and burn a CD, rip it to iTunes, and then transfer it to my iPod.

I decided tonight that listening to it in the car stereo was the best thing because I really wanted to make sure the bass was booming in this track.

I listened to it the first time and thought the bass was too loud. Some of the tracks sounded a little distorted also. But it sounded great! and then to my surprise one of the older versions I had recorded of the song came on next. So I listened to that as well. There were some things I forgot about. Some good stuff, and some really bad stuff.

I had been trying to decide if I should keep this song an instrumental or not. I really liked what I did in the chorus in the older version I listened to. So I decided to try to add it to the new version.

I went down to the basement and tweaked the levels a bit and added a vocal track in the chorus. It only took me about 10 minutes. I burned another CD and went out to the car to listen to it again. I thought it sounded fantastic! It was so good that I started to sing along. I thought the sound of the double vocal sounded really nice.

So I went back to the basement one more time. I added another doubled up vocal track in the chorus part and burned one more CD. I thought it sounded amazing! I think I have my track. I think it's done for the month. I'm going to listen to it a few more times over the next day or two but I really like it.

Sunday Funday!

In between all the daily chores and grocery shopping and dinner etc... I worked on the song today.

As far as I'm concerned it's pretty much done. I "might" re-do the vocal tracks. but I might not. they sound great right now even though I recorded them with the built in mic in my MacBook!

I have such a hard time being objective with my own songs/material. I knew that the past few months were more "difficult" material. but I've listened to this month's song probably 30 times today. and I think it's one of the best things I've ever done! really. I think it goes straight to the "Best of Ted" album. one of my fave songs of all time that I've done.

I wonder if I'll feel the same way tomorrow? I was telling Julia earlier this evening that this whole experience sometimes reminds me of that King Crimson song about Adrian Belew's wife making a sculpture.

"I'm looking at it, trying to decide if I like it. I DO!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Samples and loops and beats, oh my!

I spent hours this morning working on the song for this month. It's taking a long time to break down all the different parts and put them all together. But it's also been a lot of fun and very interesting to me. A learning experience. I think I'm getting down the whole sampling thing.

There's one part of the song that bugs me though. The piano part just isn't syncing up just the way I want it. I'll probably go home tonight and spend hours trying to get it just right. The neat thing is that once I do get it, I can just pop it right into the spot in the song where it goes. It's almost like a jigsaw puzzle at this point. You can look at the computer screen and "see" where the pieces go.

It also hit me this morning that I've spent a LONG time working on this particular song. I've recorded at least three different versions so far. This is the forth. I've spent hours working on this version alone.

The reason I say that is because once again this song is made up of samples. So far I haven't played a real instrument on it. I'm not sure I will need to. So some people might listen to it and think it was easy to create. But there's a lot of work that went into it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trying to keep up...

One of the things that I’ve found with this “experiment” is that it’s a LOT harder to keep the blog updated daily/weekly/whatever than do the song each month. I have no idea how people write in their blogs each and every day. Maybe you have to be a super compulsive person to do something like that. I’m just too much of a slacker at heart to keep it up.

I’ve been working on the song for November but it’s been a lot of work. I hope I can get it done by the end of the month. It’s another sample based thing and I’ve been hard at work breaking down each part bit by bit and building it up so it’s all “in tune and in sync” as they say. I’ve “finished” this song several times in the past but I’m starting all over from scratch to try to get it done right. I have the first half of the song pretty much done but I’m working on the break right now. I have a feeling I’ll be up late some night this weekend working on it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last month was easy!

Last month was easy. On my iPod last year I created a playlist called “Halloween” and filled it with “scary” songs for the season. I was listening to the mix a few weeks ago when “Mental Music (Halloween Mix)” started to play. I listened to it and realized that as far as I was concerned the song was already done. It was nice! So no real work last month. It was sort of a bonus month for me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Song of the month for October


Here is the link for the October Pudge Song Of The Month.

Whatever you do, do NOT click on this link.

This month the song is evil and disturbing. You do NOT want to listen to it.

It is noisy and offensive and super long. Over 17 minutes of aural torture and pain!

It is called Mental Music (Halloween Mix).

It is based on the radio shows that Jamie Hodge used to do in the middle of the night at WHPK back in the early 90’s. We would “mix” together two (or three) completely different records and add samples to it all. Sort of early mash-ups but more noise based. This song is a pretty good
re-creation of what you would have heard if you had tuned your radio to 88.5 FM in the wee hours of the morning on the south side of Chicago.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten posts for the price of one

I've found that keeping up with the blog is just as hard as doing the songs each month. It’s hard to force myself to sit down and write a little something each day. Especially when I haven’t been doing that
much with the music stuff because I've been so busy otherwise. But over the past few weeks I wish I had put up a few more entries. At night when I go to sleep I think of what I should have written that day. So I’m going to try to write down a bunch of thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks and try to put them in some sort of order…

Crap, I really need to deal with my guitar situation. My beautiful black Fender Strat is all messed up right now. The pickups are loose and need to be screwed in correctly and I think the wiring is messed up. It makes an evil hum every time I plug it in. I really need to take it into the guitar repair place but I don’t have the money. My other problem, and this is lame, is that I can’t find my distortion effect peddle. I NEED distortion when I play. But the darn thing is somewhere in our messy basement and I can’t find it. I’ve spent a long time trying to find it but it seems to be lost. Once again I don’t have the money to just go out and buy a new one. I really want to work on the song for September but I want to record a bunch of guitar tracks.


So I’ve been thinking about the song I’m planning on working on for September. Now I’m wondering if I should use guitar lines at all? I’ve been listening a lot to the Congotronics stuff and loving it. I’m 99% sure that I have an African thumb piano as one of the sounds built into Garageband. Maybe I could try to do a Congrotronics type of thing instead of a guitar based thing?


I checked out Garageband and it’s even better than I thought! Yes, there is a thumb piano built in. It’s called the African Marimba. While checking it out I thought I would play with the various amp settings. It was pretty easy to add distortion and viola. Congrotronics! Right away I seemed to be getting that distinctive
sound. Very cool… now I just have to find the time to sit down and try to do some recordings.


My work schedule has been crazy busy but this is the first time I’ve had all month to sit down and get some recording done. I spent about three or four hours working on the track for this month. I like the sound of the distorted marimba a lot more than the guitar but recording the tracks still hasn’t been easy. I’m trying to build some really cool polyrhythmic stuff and I find myself playing on top of the same rhythms I’ve already laid down. It’s hard to get outside of the groove and make it even more funky. It’s also just hard to get down a
good track. The things I’m recording are very simple and minamilist. Sometimes I think those types of tracks are just as hard as something more “complicated”. You try playing the same four notes over and over
again in perfect rhythm for 7 minutes straight!


Arrrggg… Civilization is an evil game. I admit I have a problem. I am addicted to Civilization IV. I can spend hours staring at my little guys building their farms and cities. But it’s also such an amazing time suck. I had two days last week when I could have worked more on the song but instead I sat all day playing Civilization instead. Part of the “problem” is that I really just felt like chilling. I love making music but sometimes it feels like “work”. I really just wanted to relax and not worry about anything for a few days. So I blew off the song and played Civ instead. It was really nice to feel like I could relax and not worry about working on cover letters and sending out resumes. I really want to get a song out in September after blowing off August so I probably shouldn’t have done that. I think there’s still time.


It just hit me that I only have two days off of work until the end of the month. So I almost have to dedicate those two days to the song if I want to get it out. I know I can do it…


I just spent most of the day it seems working on the song. I started with four tracks done and ended up adding five more tracks. It was a lot of work but I also love the way it’s sounding. While I’m not 100% sure it’s as “good” a track as some of the other things I’ve released I really do enjoy it. It’s also an unusual track in that I’m using an old DragKing jam as a basis. Actually it was a DragKing reunion thing we had a few years back. So Stel is doing some noise stuff on it and LV is on drums. His friend is on congas. It’s also an “original”
composition. Not a cover or sample based thing although I do use samples in it. I think what I’ve got now is good enough. I have all day on Thursday to work on it more and update the web pages. So in other words the Pudge Song of the Month will be back!


I dig train sounds
I dig the sound of rain
I dig bird sounds
I dig the sound of thunder and lightening


One of my “problems” this month is that I’m not sure what to name my song. I have a name already for the song but it’s the internal band name for the song. I’m sure all bands go through this. You start to write a song. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So you name the new song something like, “The Fast Sabbath Song” or something like that. Then the song at some point becomes complete and the name you’ve been calling it for so long may or may not apply. In DragKing we would rename songs for our CDs but still refer to the original “band” names on our set lists because that what we knew them as. I think the name I’ve got for this month’s song is “ok” but maybe it could be better? Although the name also inspired me when I was
deciding what samples to use. So maybe I should just keep it? I’ve got a couple of days to decide.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh no, I got a job!

The best possible thing has happened in my life. I got a new job! It's still only part time but it's a better gig, more money, and more hours. I'm continuing to work in my old part time job as well so between the two of them it's almost like a full time job. I couldn't be happier!

except that I know it's going to make an impact on my little project. I'm already a month behind.

On the other hand after working so hard I'm really looking forward to some time off to work on music. I feel inspired right now to work on some stuff and I've got some great ideas for some of the songs I want to work on next.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Failed!

One of my 13 year old's favorite expressions is, "you failed!"

and I failed... I never got a song out for the month of August. bummer... I should have known how busy my summer would be and that I would have no time to do much for myself because the kids were out of school and I'm Mr. Mom.

I can only blame myself, and part of the problem is that I'm a good Dad. I just can't ignore the kids and go down to the basement to my little studio and record for hours while they're home. They need too much attention and I like to spend time with them doing things.

When I record I need complete concentration and time. I can't be interrupted. These things just can't happen when I hear, "Dad, I'm hungry", when I'm trying to record. It all reminds me of one of my favorite Monty Python sketches. The one where Beethoven is trying to work on his ninth symphony and keeps getting interrupted. While I certainly don't think I compare to Beethoven in any way the sentiment is the same.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August delay

I haven't done anything with music this month. I've been too busy being Mr. Mom. The kids are out of school for the summer and it seems like every day is crazy. It's really hard to find the time to sit down and really concentrate on making music. They'll be back in school in September and I know I'll have more time again then but as for now...

My plan is to get at least something up this month. I don't care if it's on the 31st... as long as it's in August I'll be OK with it. Then I'll try to get the September song as quickly as I can and then get the October song out on the 1st. I already know what song I have planned for October and it's already done.

so there we go. time to try to get back to work and get a little work done.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Intersting article

A young girl in the UK used an 80 year old Charlie Chaplin song in a video to raise money for charity. The company that owns the copyright asked the girl to pay about $4000 in licensing fees fer permission to use the song.

This is why I can't make the music that I want legally. In the last song I posted I used samples from three different sources. It could cost me about $12000 to put out that song legally. For an artist like me who doesn't make any money from their music and is only doing it for pleasure this is crazy! How could I possibly come up with that kind of money just to record one of my songs?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Pudge Song of the Month for July

This month's song has a long history. This is my third attempt at
recording it. I first recorded it about 20 years ago when I was in the
band The Noise Factory with Jamie Hodge, then while I was in DragKing we
recorded it again for our 1999 release “Indie Authenticity Crisis”.

So why did I record it again? A few months ago I was going through my old
cassettes and I found some of the mixes that Jamie and I had made from the
8 track recordings we did years ago in the Noise Factory. I listened to
the old cassette and loved it. One of my fave songs was “King Richie I”.
Then I listened to the DragKing version again. I decided that there were
things that I liked in both versions and thought it would be fun to do it
one more time since it was one of my favorite songs. So I created a
mash-up of sorts that I think combines elements of both versions. I hope
you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mixing and being a perfectionist

Moving along on the song. Spent some time on Wednesday re-recording the bass and guitar lines and everything sounds great right now. My "problem" is that I made a quick mix of everything and I think it sounds like crap. I've got to spend some time working on the mix now.

but... to do this I need several hours of uninterupted time to really listen to each track and get everything sounding right. I have no idea when I'll be able to get this uninterupted time however... hopefully this weekend? I'd like to get this song out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It worked!

My samples and my beats are in sync and sound amazing!

holy shit... you have no idea what this means to me. I've been working on trying to make the samples and the beats sync in the particular song I was working on tonight for at least ten years. I first recorded this song with Jamie in the Noise Factory. Did it again in DragKing and made it more sample based but could never get the samples to "work" quite right. We released it anyway on our first album even though I was never completely happy with the way it sounded.

Tonight for the first time it sounds like I've been wanting it to sound. I'm really excited about this! I will be releasing this as my song of the month for July shortly.

and this opens up a whole new door for me... wow...

Went to Garageband school

so for the past two days I've spent hours looking at videos on YouTube about how to use Garageband. Go to YouTube and type in "Garageband tutorials" or "How to use samples in Garageband" and you can find some very interesting stuff.

One of the things that cracked me up was one of the tutorials is done by a kid who seems to be about 10 years old. He was good. and I really did pick up some great tips how to do some of the stuff I've been trying to do.

My main issue/problem is getting my samples to link up with the beats. In a book I got it said that if you take your sample loop and save it in the library if you use it in a song it will automatically sync with whatever beat you lay down. It doesn't seem to work that way for me. When I lay down my beats at a certain bpm and then put down the samples in a loop they never sync up. Or at least they never sync up for the length of the song.

but several of the videos seemed to give a hint to what the secret is. I was thinking too literally in a way. When I would lay down my sample loop tracks I would put them on one track. Repeat the same thing over and over again. After awhile it would start to go just a little out of sync.

so instead of putting the looped samples on one track what you do is use two different tracks. alternate between tracks with the sample. and on each track make sure the samples are synced up with the drum track.

I'm guessing this makes no sense to 99% of the people reading this. but for me it's a massive epiphany. If this works the way I think it will work it will allow me to create the kind of music I've been wanting to make for years. but haven't had the technology to create.

It's about 10pm on July 4th. I can hear the fireworks going off all around me. I'm going to run down to the basement and fire up the studio and try this theory out. If it works I have a feeling I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Haven't done crap...

I haven't done anything in weeks. nothing... have barely thought about the site and/or my music.

To be honest I got totally caught up in life. The second week of the month was my son's birthday and it seems like I got totally caught up in that. Then last week Julia and I flew off to SF for a week to celebrate our anniversary. I spent a lot of time before we left planning and thinking about the trip. When we were away I didn't even think about updating the blog. I didn't bring my computer with me so I couldn't work on the songs or anything. It was an awesome trip though!

so now it's July 1st and I have nothing ready. I'm trying to figure out what to do? I could just skip a month. blow off July and post a new song on August 1st. I also have one thing in the can that is totally 100% done. but it's sort of a "cheat" in my mind. It's the version of Dead Pope with Tommy singing instead of me. I only released Dead Pope a couple of months ago. It seems too soon.

so what I'm thinking of doing is just putting something out there late. give myself a week or so. got a long weekend coming up with the holiday. and I always can just blow off the month as a last resort.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Evoking a response

fascinating... the love song got me more of a "response" than any other song I've put out there. I got more emails back from people but I also, for the first time, had several people ask to be taken off the mailing list. once again, fascinating... why would they ask now to be be taken off the email list? is it because it was a love song this month? is it because I've been doing this for four months now and don't seem to be going away?! Is it just a coincidence?

but as I said I also got more positive responses for this one than any other song. and next month I still plan on putting out a "horrible" noise piece. ;-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Pudge Song of the Month for June

Hello Friends,

Here are the links for the June Pudge Song Of The Month.

This month's song is a "nice" song. In fact it's a love song! "Je T'Aime"

June 16th is my 20th wedding anniversary. wow... So I felt inspired to
write a love song about my lovely wife Julia. I know love songs aren't
"cool" but the sample just inspired me. I promise that next month's song
will be more "noisy". In the meantime I hope you enjoy this month's

Remember to also check out the Pudge Song Of The Month Blog. I've been
trying to keep it updated at least once a week.

This month's song is based on a sampled loop from the classic Serge
Gainsbourg song "Je t'aime... moi non plus". If you would like a chuckle
or two check out the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Gainsbourg. He led a
fascinating life!

As always if you would like to be taken off the email list just send me a



Gotta roll ahead...

I updated all the web pages yesterday and sent out the email this morning. "Je T'Aime" is now live and on the web!

oh yeah... I should do like I did last month and put up a posting about it on the blog. I'll do that next.

It hit me this morning that I can't slack this month. I'll be going out of town for almost a week at the end of June with Julia. We're going to SF to have the honeymoon we didn't have when we got married because we couldn't afford it. (although our dream was to go to Spain when we got married)

So I've gotta get right on it, figure out what song is going to be next month's song, and do it. Part of the problem is that I've gotta figure out what song to do for next month. I had the first few months figured out. I know what I want to do in October (Halloween) and December (Christmas) but I don't have the rest of the year figured out. That's going to be my next task. Sit down and re-listen to the stuff I've got in "the can", and plot out the rest of the year.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A day or two late

So I was listening to the new song for June. There is one line in it that kind of bugs me and I thought of a better line to put in its place. So I'm going to re-record the vocals one more time to get it right. I'm considering the songs that I put out there as the final versions. That is one of the whole points of this thing. Once it's out there I don't want to make any more changes.

So tomorrow I'm going to wake up. Redo the vocal parts and put up the web pages.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picture Book

I pick out a picture each month for the song of the month. It's sort of fun.

I was thinking of finding a nice pic of Serge and Jane for this month but I thought it would be nicer to use a pic from our wedding. I got out the picture book from our wedding for the first time in years. It was weird/fun to look at the pictures. I/we look so young! I found a picture of Julia that I sort of forgot about. I think she looks really pretty and beautiful in it. Like a movie star. So that's the pic I'm going to use.

Actually I'm planning on scanning a bunch of them and putting them up on Facebook. My friend James of Five Lake Arts did the photography. It was the first wedding he ever did. One of the happiest days of my life. :-)

Fun day!

I had a really fun day on Thursday. I was so busy I didn't have a chance to write a post about it.

Basically I really worked on the song for June. First I worked on the vocal tracks. That was interesting. I had trouble getting the first word out of several of the lines because the words were so close together. I would still be singing the end of one line when I would have to start the next one really quickly.

So I thought about it and decided to try a little recording trick. I used two tracks for the vocals and alternated lines. It worked great! You can hardly tell it's two tracks put together as one. I tried double tracking the vocals in a few parts of the song as an experiment and I didn't like it at all. It needs just one voice but the way I did the recordings it sounds like one voice.

Then I really listened to the music. While I was doing the vocal part I started to hear a string part in my head based on the string part in the original song. I also wanted the drum part to have a little more punch. Very specifically I wanted there to be a nice hard snare sound.

So first I played with all the drum sounds in Garageband and got the snare sound I wanted. It was "hip hop remix" as I recall. Then I practiced a few times and recorded me hitting it for 4 minutes straight. I must admit I impressed myself and got it on the first take. It's a little "funky" in some parts but I kept the beat going strong. I think it sounds great with the percussion Spoon recorded and the original percussion in the song.

Then I added the string part. That was the icing on the cake. It makes the whole song sound so awesome and beautiful. I ended up listening to my creation about 10 times in a row. I love it. I think it's a great little song and once again I can't wait to drop it out there. Once again I'm curious what the reaction will be. Love songs aren't "cool", and yet I think this could be the most accessible "pop" song I've recorded. Even more pop than "The Hate Song".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Catch 22

so I was thinking more about yesterdays post about illegal music.

it's a total catch 22. I can have the freedom to do what I want creatively as long as I stay anonymous, underground, unknown, and under the radar.

but if any of my songs were to attract attention and I started to make a name for myself, the corporate vultures would come swooping down to get their money, and I wouldn't be able to afford to make the kind of music I liked.

so ultimately I don't want fame if I want to be able to create my own music. what a world we live in...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Illegal Music

The "song" I'm going to put up on June 1st is without a doubt another "illegal" song from me.

It is "illegal" because I didn't pay the licensing fees or get permission from the publishers of the song that I sampled so heavily from. and how could I? I have no idea how much it costs to legally pay to use a sample anyway. If it's over about $100 I couldn't afford it. I did some research on the web and found some really interesting sites about sample clearance.

It looks like things are taken on a case by case basis and it's a huge hassle. "Real" groups/artists like U2 or DJ Shadow have their labels legal departments take care of this stuff for them. It also appears that the bottom line to a large degree is that it's all about money in many ways. If you're U2 and you use a sample to make your latest hit record the artist that you sampled is going to want a cut. If you're an underground artist like me who has never made a dime and is completely unknown and under the radar it's a big gray area.

and I think it is a gray area. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Stop making the kind of music that I like? When I start to make one of my songs should I say to myself. "hmmmm... I better stop and clear these samples and pay some lawyer thousands of dollars so I can release this stuff for free and have about 100 people listen to it"?

the point is this. copyright laws and licensing fees as they currently exist inhibit and crush artistic expression. at least legally.

I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing and I'm guessing that I'll be fine because I am under the radar. I would be thrilled if one of my songs became famous and I got a cease and desist letter. I can also say that it has always been my intention that if one of my songs ever were to be a "hit" and make any money that I would split any royalties 50/50 with the artist that I sampled. This is one of the reasons why I often list the original songwriters along side myself in the songwriting credits. That will certainly be the case with this month's song.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Silly Love Songs

I must admit I'm a little nervous about this month's selection. I'm going to put up something very odd on June 1st. A "silly old love song" as Sir Paul would say.

I think in all my previous bands I've ever recorded only one "love" song and that was "Miscegenation" by DragKing and that was cloaked in a protest song. I recorded a love song for Julia was back when I was first doing this stuff on my 4track and I haven't listened to it in years. I remember being kind of embarrassed by it. It was a super cheesy poppy guitar thing.

But our 20th wedding anniversary is coming up in June. It seems like the perfect time to drop a love song out there. Love songs aren't "cool" though. I'm very curious what the reaction will be...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just not in the mood

I really should be working on the song for next month but I'm not in the mood.

I had a job interview last week, I was all hyped about it, thought it went great... but I got yet another rejection letter yesterday.

The song for next month is a happy song. I'm just not in a happy mood right now. I'm going to have to force myself somehow over the next week or two to get into it.

Which brings up a point. There are good and bad things about the project of the month. mostly good... it is forcing me to work on the songs one at a time and get them done. that's a great thing. but... in the past I would work on music when the muse really struck. when I was in the mood. when the creative juices were flowing. I think that shows in some of the songs. you can tell the joy with which they were created. I wonder if some of the songs in the future will sound more "forced" as I try to just get stuff out? I hope not.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Version galore!

One of the weird things about this whole project is that I'm pretty much a month ahead of my "audience" all time. I just released this month's song but I'm already deep into thinking about/planning the song for June 1st.

I really like the song I have planned for June as well. Totally different from last month's song. One of the other thing that makes it different is that I consider it a "version". So far I've released several sample based songs and one original. This next song is different. In many ways it's based on reggae versions of rhythms. It's not a cover version. But it uses the music of a famous song with very different lyrics. Maybe it is sort of like "The Hate Song" in that way? But I think it's an even more extreme example. "The Hate Song" had a very different sound from the original because of the bass and guitar parts. Next month's song keeps the sound of the original but changes around the lyrics. That's what makes it a "version" in my mind.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A legacy

Two different friends have died in the past month. It was sort of strange to take a couple of emails off the mailing list at the beginning of the month.

Last night I was talking to a coworker about "modern" deaths. How often it seems people end up putting up some sort of website that becomes a virtual morning area to share stories and pix, etc. I was saying that I thought it was sort of a cool use of technology and the web. A great way for people across long distanced to connect and share thoughts. Just what the web is for. It also ends up leaving a site that is sort of a legacy to that person. One of my friends who passed away kept a blog about the experience. It was sort of sad to see her stop posting after awhile knowing that the end was near.

Then it sort of hit me this morning. The Pudge Song of The Month will be a nice online/virtual legacy that will remain after I pass away someday. What a morbid thought. I hope I can contribute songs each month for years to come so I have a huge legacy that remains.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Pudge Song of the Month for May

It hit me the other day that I should probably go ahead and post the song of the month each month on the blog as well. Hit it from all angles. Perhaps there are a few people out there that have stumbled across the blog but don't know about the actual website? In any case here is the song of the month for May.

I was going to send out the email yesterday but it hit me at a certain point. I could wait one more day and release it on a Sunday. For some reason it seemed more "appropriate" for some reason. :-)

I hope I don't offend too many people. I really like the song a LOT! and I also know that next month's song is going to be a "nice" song. So my karma will all even out in the end.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Return of the Minutemen

I spent about six hours yesterday mixing the new song. And the song is only 56 seconds long! There's some dedication to the craft there eh? I think it sounds awesome though. The guitars are crunchy and loud and awesome and it freakin rocks. All the web pages are good to go. Tomorrow is May 1st so I'll upload everything sometime tomorrow and send out the monthly email.

Three months down and it's all good so far!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mixing is an interesting process...

I'm taking a quick break while I'm in the middle of mixing down the latest song.

One of the things I do each month is take the time to go through each track, remove the noise from the beginning, and put in nice fades at the end of each track. make it sound as clean and nice as I can. (although sometimes I also love what I find in the background and leave it in on purpose)

This month I thought I would spend the extra time to really go through each track one by one and really get them to "sound" right. Make sure the levels weren't peaking out and distorted. Check out the different sounds for the guitars and vocals. Use the built in EQ to really make each track sound really nice.

So I just spent the last two hours going through track by track and doing this. I made the guitars sound awesome and crisp and sharp. I made the vocals stand out a little more. I really balanced the tracks and made sure nothing was distorted. It sounded great in Garageband when I listened to it really loud. When I transfered it over to iTunes it didn't sound as good for some reason. It may have been just volume but it just didn't sound as good as I remembered it. Everything is really clear and crisp and separated. One the one hand it sounds great. but it seemed to be missing something...

So then I listen to the mix I had before I did all the tinkering this morning. and it sounds great! I thought it sounded better to be honest. It's distorted and ugly sounding. I think I made the song sound too "nice"! Now I'm not sure what to do... I'm going to listen to the various mixes with a clear mind and try to figure out a plan... What I might do next is take the original "dirty" version and at least clean up the tracks at the beginning and ends but otherwise leave it the same and see what I think. Compare the two... maybe try to figure out how to make a compromise mix between the two?

I'm really glad I saved the original version before I started doing all the mixing stuff I did this morning.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Noise annoys!

So I finished up all the web pages and everything is pretty much ready to go.

but I wanted to spend some time today working on the vocal tracks. I think they're fine the way they are but I thought I would see if I could do them even better. improve on them. but first I needed to do a few chores.

So I loaded up the dishwasher and started the washing machine and finally was able to sit down and work on some music. I set up my computer and mixing board and plugged in my mic. I put the headphones on and realized that I could hear the washer and dryer running in the background.

crap! It hadn't occurred to me that the washer and dryer were on the other side of the basement from where I work on music!

thank god I have all day off on Thursday. It really shouldn't take me long to work on the vocal tracks. gee wiz. do real "rock stars" have to put up with this?!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Punk Rock

I actually really love "Dead Pope" and I'm really looking forward to releasing it on May 1st.

While "The Hate Song" was a deliberate attempt to write a "pop" song, "Dead Pope" was my attempt to write a spot on straight edge punk song. I think it sounds totally like something that could have come out in the classic punk period of the late 70's. Very much inspired by the Clash.

To be honest I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. If I had it in me. But I think it turned out fantastic if I may say so myself. It's weird for me to really like my songs like this. Usually I'm more full of self doubt. but I love this song...

Fan letters

So I was driving around the other day listening to the iPod on random mix when "Stan" by Eminem came on. While I was listening to the song it hit me...

I also get "fan" letters. and I've been a jerk about answering them.

one of the reasons it all hit me was that it had never even occurred to me that I get fan letters. I can be so self depreciating at times. but every time I send out the email with the song of the month I get responses back. Some of them are really nice notes from my friends. and what do I do? treat them like any other email and eventually write back. when I get the time... and I've been bad about it. Sometimes I haven't written back to my friends for weeks at a time.

In a way I was unintentionally acting like a stuck up rock star. To busy with my own life to get back to my fans. Exactly the opposite of what I think I am.

So from now on I have made a promise to myself to write back right away to anyone who is kind enough to send me a note.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a Pudge original

haven't posted in about a week... it's been a crazy month it seems. today is the first day all week without kids around. still running a bunch of errands but I thought I would post something that's been on my mind.

I occurred to me that the song for May is going to be very different from the previous songs in one very important way. "Dead Pope" is a total Pudge original. There's a brief sample to start the song but otherwise all of the music is original and written by me and my friends.

As a matter of fact the songwriting credits will be Gray/Gray/Wardo. Spoon plays live drums so as far as I'm concerned he's a co-writer of the song. The second Gray though is my daughter Elli! We actually wrote this song together. She really helped come up with the lyrics and the melody. We wrote it together during that brief period when she was interested in music and learning how to play the guitar. Since then art and drawing have become her passions. But I'm very glad I recorded "Dead Pope" when we came up with the idea. A very nice/cool audio memory of her youth and our time together.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I feel like I've been a total slacker this month. then again a lot of crazy stuff has been going on it seems...

sometimes life gets in the way of the music thing. I feel like I've had some good excuses. But I need to get back on track and start doing some work on the song of the month.

The song for May is going to be an interesting one because it's going to be a little "controversial". It's called "Dead Pope" and is almost a straight up punk rock song. It's funny to me because I had planned out in my mind when I first started this project that "Dead Pope" would be the song for May. How was I to know that all hell (lol) would break out at the Vatican?! Purely a coincidence but ironic and sort of funny at the same time.

Today feels like the first day in about two weeks that I have pretty much free. I'm going to work on a cover letter for a job and then try to do some music stuff. I would like to redo the vocal track and try to get a better vocal. It's really really good right now but I think I can do it better. It also might just need a little compression. But for "The Hate Song" I spent about two days working on the vocal tracks. Doing it over and over and over again till I felt like I had some really strong tracks. and I think it showed. I want the vocals for "Dead Pope" to be just as strong.

I also need to work on the web stuff. I haven't done a thing to the site or created the new page or anything. Not a big deal though... at this point I can probably whip that off in about 20 minutes. I've got my method down. and I'm guessing it will take me about one minute and three clicks to find a good picture of the dead Pope.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jen is dead

I found out a few days ago that my friend Jen died on April 7th. I'm so bummed... Looks like there's a visitation at a funeral home tomorrow that I'll probably be going to with Spoon.

It's all sort of ironic because the song of the month for May is going to be about death. Nothing to do with Jen and sort of "topical" given some of the news going on. It'll be interesting. It'll also be put out sort of in "honor" to the memory of Jen. RIP.

This is Jen singing on DragKing's version of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Out of Order

So I was planning on alternating each month between a more "traditional" rock song with lyrics and a "noise" sample based piece. March was "The Hate Song" and April was "Spock Sox" so I was planning on a very specific song for next month with lyrics for May. But June is my wedding anniversary and it's a big one. One of my fave songs that I've recorded is a good old fashioned love song. So I really wanted to release the love song in June. But that would throw my lyrics/noise thing out of order. Should I do two noise songs in a row after if I do lyrical songs in a row? I guess if that's my biggest problem things are going well! In a way it's nice to know what I've got planned for the next few months. I think as the site grows larger and larger and there is more and more material up it will attract more interest as well. I got some really great notes about Spock Sox. I honestly can't wait to put out the next one. ;-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

One day late...

Well the email announcement is going to go out one day late. Last night was just to busy and crazy. We have a guest in town and it seemed like I spent most of the night enjoying his company and hanging out. I'm really worried about it. I'll just send out the email today. I was also slightly worried that if I sent it out yesterday people might have thought it was an April Fool's joke. so no worries...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The April song is up.

I did it! Two months in a row now. It was really easy this month because the song was 99% done already. Although it was a "process" listening to the two different versions I had, deciding that I liked the one with the real drums more, and then figuring out how to transfer the tracks over into Garageband.

I really like "Spock Sox". My gut feeling however is that it won't be as well received as last month's song. In many ways I like it much more though. The samples bring back such happy feelings for me. It a very personal song on many levels. Or more to the point it appeals to me on a very personal level. I suppose that's why I created it.

We used to talk in DragKing about playing music that we liked. We used to argue, or more to the point have philosophical discussions, about whether it was a good or bad thing to simply play music that we liked and not worry about the "audience". Was it self indulgent and pretentious to play things that we and only we were into? On the other hand if we're doing stuff that we love and are into, shouldn't that reflect itself in our music, and make the music better? and if it's better music isn't there more of a chance that the audience will like it more?

Who knows... all I know is I like Spock Sox and I think my enthusiasm shows through. I hope the "audience" likes it also.

So the web pages are all updated. Just need to compose and send out the email. In a funny way I'm wondering if I should wait till tomorrow so people don't think it's a weird April Fools joke? I'm not going to worry about that and send it out. I really wanted to make the plan to send it off on the 1st of every month. I was a few days late last month in large part because it was the first month and there was a lot of work to do. Now that I've got it all set up I'm hoping I can keep on the schedule for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Pop" Samples

A few months ago I played a bunch of the songs I've created while my pal Duke Lee was visiting. He is a friend who has been making sample based noise music for a long time and we've collaborated several times in the past. He knows me and what I do very well by this point. When we were listening to the songs I remember in particular his reaction to "Spock Sox". He mentioned that this song really showed how he and I treat samples and noise very differently. In that his stuff is more abstract and pure noise. I, on the other hand, tend to do things that have voices in them, things that you can recognize. I make "Pop" noise.

I was thinking about this in anticipation of releasing "Spock Sox" to the world on April 1st. To me, and people like Duke Lee who are used to this sort of stuff, my stuff is "Pop" noise. But what will the other 99% of the world think?! I'm imagining that a lot of people will hear the new song and just hear noise. Or different things that "don't go together".

I spent a big chunk of the day today getting ready for the 1st. I updated all the web pages but haven't uploaded them to the server. I'll do that at midnight on the 31st or something like that. I also spent almost all afternoon mixing the song. It always takes me a long time to get that done. I'm planning on listening to the mix a bunch this afternoon in different places to make sure I like it. I usually check it out on the home stereo and then on a boom box and also in the car. It's gotta sound good in all three places.

While I was listening to the song something struck me. I don't actually play any "real" instruments on this one. Spoon does some fantastic drums and percussion but I never recorded a bass or guitar or keyboard part. It didn't seem necessary. The samples that I put together sounded good enough to me. So in some ways this puts "Spock Sox" on the fringes of music. What is this thing? Is it a song? What genre is it? What do I "play" in this song? Does creating, using, and modifying samples count as creating music?

Monday, March 29, 2010


My daughter got a PS3 for her birthday. Still trying to figure out if we got it for her or me! It's been a time sucker.

and this week is Spring Break for the kids. so I'll be lucky to get much of anything done. Fortunately the song is almost ready to go and I've updated most of the web pages. Just a little more work to do. I have tomorrow off of work so I'm planning on making tomorrow a Pudge day. Going to do a final mix of the song, update the main page, and update the songs page. That should do it.

then I'll go back to MLB The Show and Oblivion IV!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This whole thing has been among other things a learning experience for me. I've really brushed up on my CSS coding for instance. I would expect that each month as people check in for the new "song of the month" they'll see small improvements of the web site.

One of the things I'm dealing with now are some simple logistical matters. I want to work on updating the site for the April song but I don't want to "reveal" too much too early. I already have a bunch of the April page done and people could probably find it if they really want and even hear a rough mix of the song. But I would also like to work on the "Songs" page and update it as well. Probably the main page also.

So do I do the updates just locally and keep the files on my machine until the 1st? Or do I create "secret" pages with a different url and put them up on the web so I can check them out and make sure they look alright? I would assume this is common knowledge to experienced web designers. But, like usual for me, it's another D.I.Y. experience, so I'm learning as I go along.

In the meantime I've listened to "Spock Sox" a bunch of times and love it. Just need to do a little mixing stuff to get it all done. Basically chop off some noise at the beginning and that's about it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spock Sox

So I talked to Spoon today and let him know that I "recovered" his old drums and percussion and he was psyched! I've listened to it about 20 times and I think it sounds great myself. It all came back to me when I listened to it. We spend several "sessions" recording the drums and percussion. Spoon plays on the kit. There's a separate high hat track, and then there's a separate track of him doing his funky Spoon percussion/noise stuff with all of his "toys". I'm so glad I took the time to listen to the old version and the new version with an open mind. I need to do a little cleaning up and mixing stuff but it shouldn't take me too long to have it all done.

I also took the time to put together the April song of the month page. It's pretty much ready to go. Anyone can probably figure it out if the look at the address of the March page. I'm much less stressed about everything than last month! It's really nice that the web page is all done and from month to month all I need to do is build on it. This was a great idea! I'm already beginning to think ahead... why not just keep it going? A song of the month for as long as I can keep it up. I think I'm capable of recording a new song each month. I have a lot of ideas ready to go and a lot of ideas in my head. Perhaps release CDs for each year? hmmm...

The only "worry" that I have is that people might be confused how different this is from "The Hate Song". In many way "Spock Sox" is much more indicative of my work. I really like finding weird/interesting samples and mixing them together to create wonderful music. At least it sounds wonderful to me. I hope people will like it because I think you can tell how much I enjoyed creating it when you listen to it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spoon is in the House!

So all this talk about Deck and Garageband was all about this month's song. Or more should I say, the song I'm working on for April at this point. It's called "Spock Sox". I had totally redone the song in Garageband and liked it a lot. But then I listened to the older version I had done in Deck and liked it even more except for the fact that Deck would cut off the first second or two.

So today I spent all morning figuring out how to transfer the original tracks from Deck into Garageband. I ended up doing a crazy roundabout thing of mixing down each track in Deck as a separate .WAV file which I would then import into Garageband. One track at a time. As I said it took me a few hours but it was totally worth it. Now instead of the drum machine tracks I was using in the Garageband version I have a version with real drums courtesy of my man Spoon.

We spent a few days recording his drums tracks awhile back. I love the way they sound. It makes the song sound much more open and gives it more "air". I'm also just glad that Spoon is going to be represented on the April Pudge Song of the Month. I felt sort of bad that he wasn't on the first song I put out there. Sweet!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

if I were a rich man...

If I were a rich man I would use Logic on a nicer machine instead of Garageband. I know Garageband isn't up to snuff as far as "pro" recordings go but for me it's a matter of money. I just don't have the cash to buy a top of the line MacBook Pro. I loaded up Logic on my MacBook and I could barely open it on my machine. So Garageband it is.

But honestly Garageband is way better than Deck which is what I was using. and it's such a huge difference from what I was using when I first started doing home recordings. I still can remember the 4-Track cassette days of long ago. When "mixing" meant a day of sitting down and trying to get just the right sound because you knew you only had one chance. If you made a mixdown, listened back to it, and there was something you didn't like in the first song, you would have to do it all over again. Now you can just go into the digital file, fix the problem, and redo the mix. The whole process is so much easier.

To be honest I still can't believe it all. It still sometimes strikes me as a miracle. That I can have a 12 track digital recording studio that fits inside of my notebook. I can record tracks, mix them down, and burn a CD. I may not be a rich man but I'm certainly not complaining!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deck and Garageband and ProTools

Almost every "real" band that records in a studio these days uses ProTools. It's the industry standard. The problem with ProTools is it's pretty much a Windows thing and for years I've been a Mac person. So back in the day my pal Stel turned me on to Deck. We used Deck to record almost all of the DragKing stuff we put out. But nobody else used it and they had crappy support and they've pretty much gone out of business from what I can tell.

But all my files were created in Deck. So I still used it. I even spent about $200 about six years ago to upgrade to the latest and greatest version at the time.

I started recording all the songs that will end up as the Pudge Songs of the Month in Deck when I was working them out about five years ago. I wasn't happy with a bunch of the recordings but I had a bunch of songs done in Deck. But then I got a new MacBook about three years ago with a more current version of OS X. For some reason Deck didn't work right on the new machine. Whenever I would mix down a song it would cut off the first second or two and add a second or two of silence at the end. It sucked.

I tried to contact Deck support but they didn't seem to exist any more. The message boards on the support site didn't have anything new for years. There were no patches or anything to download. I felt like I was sort of stuck.

and then I realized that this new Mac that I bought had Garageband installed on it. I started to play around with Garageband and realized that it was WAY better than Deck. So at some point I had a crazy idea. I would re-record all of the songs that I had been working on in Garageband instead of Deck. Since I was starting up this new band, Pudge, why not make a break from the DragKing past and use software that the rest of the world actually used and was supported?!

So I re-recorded almost all of the songs in Garageband. Doing them over again made them better. I changed things here and there. Re-wrote parts that I didn't think worked before. The original Deck version of "The Hate Song" was a disaster. I thought it had so much potential but the guitar parts and vocal parts sucked.

next month's song is a different story however... more on that tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creative Commons

btw... I intend to do some more research and register all of my stuff with the Creative Commons. One of the totally cool things I learned about while in library school. I also found the book I want to re-read and post a few lines from about copyright law. In a funny way a lot of my project is about copyright law because virtually every song uses samples.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Web page updates

Well... I ended up spending most of the day fiddling around with CSS coding and the web page. I think it looks a LOT better now I must say. You can now also write to me at

I'm doing the back end work first before I start working on this month's song more. Although I may very well hang out in the basement late tonight though and start working on it. While it's 99% done in one form I have an inspirational idea to make it even better but it will take some time and effort. I would like to give it a shot though and see how it sounds. If it doesn't work out I know I've already got something that I really love.

Melodica in the header

Sweet... I got the header looking a LOT more like I wanted it to look. Love the pic of the melodica. Those of you who know me and my musical history know I'm all about the melodica. Augustus Pablo is one of my biggest musical influences of all time. In fact "The Hate Song" had melodica at the end originally. I edited it to make it more of a "single" when I put it up on the web. I may well release the extended remix version that goes about a two minutes longer and has a melodica solo at the end.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is "cool"?

I'll admit it. When I was in my 20's and 30's I used to obsess about if something was "cool" or not. I wanted to be "cool".

I can't tell you how often in DragKing I would want to use some sample and either myself or one of the members of the band would say something like, "you can't use that. it's not cool."

Well, one of the things I decided about my current batch of music is that I could care less about what is "cool" or not. I think "The Hate Song" is a perfect example of that. I really doubt that I would have ever considered bringing to DragKing a song idea based on a loop from an ELO song. ELO is NOT cool! and the funny thing is that I bet DragKing would have done something even more amazing than what I did. I wonder?

The song for April has some very "uncool" samples in it as well. Very cool! :-)

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have to say I got some really great/nice comments from a bunch of my friends. Thanks to everyone who wrote or called! It was nice to re-connect with a few old friends as well that I haven't talked to in awhile.

I wonder that some of these people will think about next month's song?! I'll be hitting everyone with a 180 degree turn and introducing one of my "noise" tracks.


I made a small upgrade to the site this morning. I figured out how to add a favicon.

Until yesterday I had no idea what a favicon was to be honest. I only knew that I wanted the site to have one of those little picture things in the tab and the address bar that you always see. I went to google and typed in "how do you make those little picture things on a web site?" and I found my answer in about one minute! I knew exactly what image I wanted to use so once I got down to it this morning the whole process probably took about 10 minutes at the most. and it looks very groovy in my opinion.

Here is a good site that explains it all and what code to use in your header.

Here is a nice site where you can create your own favicons.

I'm going to spend a fair amount of time this week working on a few things with the site. The header is really bugging me. I have a great image of a melodica I want to use but I just can't get the CSS code to cooperate with me. I have an idea of how to fix it and make it look a lot more how I'd like it to look. Just gotta get a little time on Photoshop. I would also like to put up a contact page with info on how to get in contact with Pudge. I have an email address all set up already. Ultimately I'd like to figure out how to put up a comment field on the song of the month pages as well. We'll see about that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Day After

I did it. I'm so glad I finally did do it! The sun went down and rose in the morning. nothing much really changed but I did it. I threw myself out there. and personally, I really like "The Hate Song".

I got some really nice emails from some old friends and some great comments. One of the things I'd like to figure out is how to put comment fields in my site so people could just put stuff up.

I already know what I have planned for the April song of the month. and May and June for that matter. I may have to start working on some of the later songs that aren't as done as the ones I have set for the next few months. One of the things this project is showing me is that I really did have a bunch of songs that were 95% done. but some of them are only about half way done...

I really need to post my long "disclaimer" about copyright laws sooner than later. It's gonna be like a term paper discussing one of my fave books of all time which is all about sampling and copyright laws and creativity.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I did it...

I wrote the email and put all the addresses in the BCC field and hit send.

to be honest, just as nerve wracking as a lot of the live shows I did. especially at the end when I got to really enjoy playing live! this was way different. I feel like I'm "exposing" myself in a weird way. What are people going to think about this thing?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I have a LOT of friends!

I really thought I would send out the big email with the links to the site, the song, and the blog tonight. but it took me a LOT longer to put together a document with all the email addresses of all the people I know. I didn't count but I'm guessing it's at least 100 people. I compiled a list of all the addresses so I can pop it in a BCC field and send out a mass mail message. The problem is that I would like to work on that first note/message. I want it to be a nice introduction so I'd like to work on it for a bit. but it's already midnight. damn... another day.

but tomorrow is going to be "the big day".

Monday, March 1, 2010

A sense of perspective...

One of the hardest things about being in a band is having a sense of perspective about your own material and songs. You work on the so hard. Months and months. and you listen to the song over and over and over again. It gets to the point were you get a little sick of the song. You also get to the point where you have trouble being able to tell if a song is "good" or not. I can't tell you how many times I've recorded a song by myself or in a band. When you first listen back to it you hate it. You hear all the mistakes. Then you listen to it six months later and it sounds great! The opposite happens as well. You think a song is great. You listen to it six months later and realize it sucks.

I must admit I still don't know what to think about "The Hate Song". I keep listening to it and I'm thinking it's one of the best songs I've ever done. I think it's great! So what will I think six months or a year from now? and what will all my friends think? all the more reason to get it out there...

Big Day

well today was the day I wanted to debut the web page and the first song.

but I may be a day late.

the reason why? Casimir Pulaski Day. so the kids are off of school. So instead of putting the finishing touches on the web site and putting together my email list, I'm Mr. Mom.

I may try to stay up late tonight and still get it done. although I guess a day or two really wouldn't be the end of the world. I should have spent more time over the weekend getting prepared but once again, the kids... it seemed like a really busy weekend. I also spent a lot of time watching the last weekend of the Olympics so I really can only blame myself.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Icing On The Cake

so I got an awesome present for my birthday. a new 120GB iPod!

I had a 30GB one but I had completely filled it up. I've really gotten into listening to new music recently. I figured out how to create a playlist to not sync my entire library but I still didn't have enough room. I had to cut out all the jazz, the blues, and Elvis, Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

So now I've got all this room to download more music. I spent a few hours today looking at my fave vinyl and seeing if there was anything that I didn't already have on my iPod. I found a few things like Jesus and Mary Chain and The JB's. A couple of things didn't seem to exist on ILL, CD or on the iTunes store. It looks like I'll have to digitize "Seconds Out" by Genesis.

The other thing that wasn't available anywhere was one of my fave obscure LPs of all time. "Exposure" by Robert Fripp. It was his last "solo" album before he put the Adrian Belew version of King Crimson together.

I put it on to check out and I had totally forgotten about the amazing sample at the very beginning of the album. No background music. Pure vocals so it's a great sample. I always thought it had the potential to be just as memorable as the classic "this is the first song..."

You put the needle in the wax and you hear:

"Uh... can I play you, umm, some of the new things I've been doing, which I think could be commercial."

as soon as I heard it I realized it was perfect. I had to have as a sample at the beginning of "The Hate Song". What a perfect way to start out my project!

so I did it. I digitized the entire LP and then opened up "The Hate Song", created a new track, and recorded the sample. It took a little while to figure out how to shift the entire song a few seconds to the right the squeeze the sample into the beginning but I figured it out. and it sounds awesome! the icing on the cake...

I went ahead and burned it to a CD to create an MP3 file and went ahead and uploaded it to the new site. I checked it out and it sounds awesome. I'm completely happy with it now! I'm so happy with it that I'm going to just leave it up at this point. Hopefully my web hosting company won't take it down before I get a chance to send out an email to all my friends and have them check it out. I don't think that'll happen though...

the website is done for the most part. it works. it functions. I would like it to be better and I'll be working on the CSS coding. but I could send out the email tomorrow and I would be happy. I'm ready to go for the 1st!


So something hit me today while working on the "liner" notes on the web page.

my pal Spoon doesn't actually play on "The Hate Song". It's all me. weird...

part of me thinks that I should have him over to sing a vocal track or add some percussion or something. but I also really like it the way it is. This wasn't intentional. but it looks like the first song really is going to be a "solo" track.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Today is my birthday! Usually I make an effort to take a personal day and not go to work on my birthday. For some strange reason I didn't think about that so I have to go to work tonight. Not a big deal... I need the money.

But I've been having a fun/nice day in the meantime. I think "The Hate Song" is ready to go. I spent most of the morning working on it. Redid the vocal intro thing and then I redid the vocal tracks as well. I had one note that was off in the original recording. I ended up recording two takes of the vocal track and using them both. I think it sounds really nice to have both of them going at once. It supposed to be a trick that the Beatles used a lot.

Then I spent a bunch of time trying to add some beats to the thing. Tried a few different things and had something that was starting to sound really good. But then I decided to try it once again with no extra percussion sounds, just the samples, and muted the stuff I had done out. I liked it better that way. There really is no need for extra percussion/drums. It sounds great the way it is in my humble opinion. More "clean" as well without the extra stuff.

So now I'm off to mix it down, burn a CD, convert it to an MP3, and try to load it up to the web site. March 1st should be no problem.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I figured it out!

turned out I just needed to set up the FTP setup in Dreamweaver instead of using the FTP setup in their web browser to get past the size limit. I uploaded the MP3 and it worked! sweet!

I'm going to bed now. :-p


gotta go to bed soon... but it's been an interesting night.

I mixed down the "single" version of "The Hate Song (ELO)". It took me about two hours. Going through each track and putting in the fade ins and fade outs. Cutting out the stuff at the end. (that's a topic for another post)

I listened to it three times in a row and I love it.

burned it to a CD. imported it back into the computer but this time as a MP3 file. when I tried to upload it to the hosting place I got an error message.

"The file exceeded the file size limit of 500kb and was not uploaded."


I checked the size of the MP3 file and it's 5.3MB so yeah... it's way past the limit. but I don't remember seeing anything about a "limit" on file sizes when I signed up at this place. and I'm supposed to have 512MB with the plan that I bought so I thought I was fine. So I'm pissed.

I went through all the FAQ's on the site and the info on the plans and I don't see shit about a limit on uploading size. This could really throw a monkey wrench into my plans and I only have a week to go. I can get everything up but the song itself?! fuck...

sorry for the language but I'm upset.

I sent off an email to the customer service folks at the hosting company. I'll see what they have to say. I'm sort of upset that they don't have a phone number listed. My question to them was if they had a number I could call. We'll see if they respond. I sent a message to them about a week ago and never heard back.

keeping focused...

I can already see how hard it might be during this "project" to stay focused.

For instance, I've become totally obsessed with a group recently. The LCD Soundsystem. I only discovered them about a month ago but they've quickly become one of my favorite groups. I particularly love the lyrics to "Losing My Edge". I can totally identify with a lot of it. One of the first things that hit me when I heard it was that I would love to do a cover version of it. With my own life experiences put into the lyrics.

and check this out... I was hanging with Spoon today and was talking to him about "Losing My Edge". I ended up singing a bunch of the lyrics to him and he could totally identify as well. He said to me, "dude, you should totally do a cover of it but change the words to reflect your own life."! so of course I have to do this...

but I also need to do a bunch of coding and writing and mixing just in the next week to get the first "Pudge Song Of The Month" up. so already a bit of a conflict.

but I think it's a good thing to stay focused. and now I have a very cool idea in the can as well. so it's all good!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting nervous...

So what have I done here?! I must admit I'm starting to get a little nervous about this whole thing.

What if everyone hates my first song? What if I get a cease and desist letter? The song is based on a sample from ELO. What if they pull my hosting account because of it?

and will I even be able to pull this off? I've pretty much got the web pages in place but they need a lot of work still. I also need to work on the song itself. I listened to it the other day and I thought it rocked. I'm wondering if I need to work on it more though? I at least wanted to mix it down a little better. Create a "single" version that is shorter than the version I have now.

Throwing a monkey wrench into all of my plans is the fact that I have a job interview on Thursday. I couldn't be more happy and thrilled! But if I get a job it will definitely impact this project and make it harder. When I came up with this idea I assumed I'd still be working only part time for the next few months at least. So we'll see what happens. I would LOVE to get a full time job so while this project is very important to me my career comes first.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Here we go...

My name is Ted E. Gray and I have a band called Pudge. Right now the band is pretty much just me and my friend Mark on drums/percussion.

I used to be in a band called DragKing. I still think DragKing was a great band but we made one big mistake. When we first started we released several 7" singles. Singles were "hot" back then. We made a bit of a splash and our singles sold well and got critical recognition. Then we decided to record our full length CD.

We had a big advantage over a lot of bands in that we had our own recording equipment and home studio. This was good and bad. We saved a lot of money but we also had to learn to do everything ourselves and it took time. We ended up taking over two years to finish the CD. By the time we released it our fans had moved on and forgotten about us.

Several years ago we had a DragKing reunion and a bunch of us got together. I had been thinking about it and I told the rest of the band that I thought we made a big mistake by taking so long to release the CD. What we should have done, I told them, was to keep on recording 7" singles. Just concentrate on a couple songs at a time. Then over time we would have released enough songs to put out a full length CD comp with all the singles on it. That way we would have kept up interest and kept on putting stuff out every few months instead of waiting for over two years.


After I left DragKing I was in a couple of other bands. But for the past five or six years I've been pretty much working on a bunch of songs on my own. Formed my own "solo" band I call Pudge. With modern technology I also have a home studio in my basement. It hit me recently that I'm falling into the same sort of rut that hit DragKing. I've been working on my CD for years now. A bunch of the songs are pretty much done and some need a lot of work. But it might take me years to finish the whole thing to my satisfaction.

Then recently I read an interview of Sufjan Stevens. He was talking about the death of the CD. About how with the web it doesn't really matter anymore. Songs can be as short or as long as you would like. Since people download songs, and rarely buy or listen to entire CDs anymore, why should artists even bother putting out CDs anymore?

Thinking about all this stuff (and perhaps having recently watching Julie & Julia helped) I came up with an idea.

The Pudge Song of The Month web site.

First, get my shit together with web hosting and set up a site for my band. Also take control of the DragKing web site and get that hosted in a good place.

Then, instead of working on the entire CD focus on one song at a time. Release one song a month on the web. Send out a mass email to every single Facebook friend I have to promote it.

I can do this. It seems a very realistic project. One song a month. Most of them are already done anyway. I just need to clean up some tracks and really work on mixing them nicely.

I've already set up the web hosting and started a basic web site. My goal is to put up the first song on March 1st. wow...