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.