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Everything posted by borntohang

  1. Keyboardist in a big jazz group - up to 14 of us depending on lineup. Blinding soloist; sensitive piano accompanist; brilliant mind for theory and arrangement; total and utter asswipe. Virulently racist, sexist, and many of the the other available 'ists' or 'phobes' in the dictionary; Everyone he had ever been in a band with was an idiot (ignoring the common denominator as per); regularly belittled his long-suffering business partner because of her religion; unseemly penchant for girls a third his age; demeaning comments about the relative 'phwoar' factor of his teenage students; total lack of situational awareness after three pints; delusions of grandeur etc etc etc. The list was fairly endless and compounded by his constant inability to hit cues or not screw up simple parts - he was brilliant you see, so he didn't need to practice or engage brain for anything less than a Metheny tune. Regularly turned up for weddings and photo shoots in scrubby t-shirts and bright orange trainers but luckily was so hidden behind stacks of vintage keyboards that often entire shows could pass without anyone realising he was back there. It ended fairly acrimoniously when three members approached me separately within a few days of each other to tell me that either he went or they did. One of them told me in no uncertain terms that, although he was a brilliant arranger and a massive asset to the group, if they had to bunk with him again on a tour he would be preparing a lively and engaging original composition arranged for his fists and the keyboardist's face. A day after that he turned up on another member's doorstep late at night panicking about band finances and how we would be dividing royalties when we got on Jools Holland, totally ignoring the fact that due to the huge running costs required to keep us on the road we weren't actually making any significant amount of money at any time in the near future and not to mention that Jools rarely books wedding bands regardless of the quality of their interstitial jazz-fusion widdlings. The whole thing collapsed pretty quickly after that and lo and behold he suddenly had another set of 'idiots' to complain about. Real shame because there were some great moments but can't say I miss it much.
  2. The song is one of those 'funny once' things in the way most parody music that isn't Weird Al is, but Merle Hazard is a top tier stage name.
  3. We've been using click for the last year I've been in a band - it's actually a click alongside some sequencing so it's a bit more structurally rigid than just a click you can improvise around, but there's some clever tricks that the drummer does with re-triggering to let us spin out certain sections. He's the only one with it in IEMs so honestly I haven't really noticed any difference between playing with click vs just playing with a drummer with a strong tempo. We're all transitioning to IEM soon and I'm thinking of asking for a bit of the click in mine just to test it out, but don't think it'll be as useful if two of us are following the click instead of each other.
  4. Setting the master on full and controlling your volume from the gain pot is the easiest way to bypass a master volume circuit in a tube guitar amp. In theory gives you overdrive that's sensitive to changes from the guitar by winding back your volume pot. It's not an approach I would use for bass unless you're running into a tube amp and wanting power amp distortion.
  5. That would be the sensible way to do it, but I like the sound of the preamp always in the chain! I get more compliments from sound techs regarding my sound than I ever did with my full rig and it's small enough to chuck in the bass bag. I'm seriously considering buying a second to run as a Wet/Dry rig.
  6. I've used the VTDI straight into an amp for a few years now and had no major issues - the XLR routes out to front of house so they can do what they want with that signal, and then I just run into whatever bass rig is onstage and tweak the EQ appropriately for the room. The trick is finding your setting on the DI and then changing the amp settings to suit it rather than the other way round, or you end up chasing the soundman round with front of house tweaks vs your onstage tweaks... You have to have the confidence that it sounds good out front though. If you're not regularly playing through decent FoH rigs then into a poweramp or FRFR is 100% the way to go.
  7. Some of our versions are probably closer to theirs than the album ones. I would happily do a Polysics trib but think that might be the only way to be even more niche than before.
  8. I've briefly mentioned it on here before, but I think I've probably got a claim to most niche tribute on the board. I've been having fun with my DEVO tribute for a couple of years now; we're not regular and only average about a show a month except we tend to do them in two batches a year - one spring run and one autumn run. We're in an odd position as we tend to bomb at tribute festivals but our own shows can pull 200+ in the right town. I guess not many DEVO fans also want to be able to catch Noasis and The Killerz after our set... In musical terms we tend to go for attitude over accuracy so I scored a bunch of bootleg live sets and live footage when we were setting up so I could work on the synth sounds and arrangements. I think I listened to just about nothing else for about four months and to be honest I've only recently been able to get back into enjoying them as a band. Had to go total cold turkey except for when we played the sets!
  9. Usually means at production cost or nearabouts. It's not a steal or anything but it's better than RRP. Companies tend not to just give out free guitars these days; it's a lot more common to borrow some kit for a tour or festival season. I think 'endorsement' would be a bit strong at the moment as I'm only a sessioneer with a band who have an arrangement with the manufacturers, but I've been using kit on long term loan from Eastwood, Hiwatt, and Ashdown. They've all been very generous for a low profile band and I've been really happy to be able to use their kit - got lucky with them really as we have personal relationships with various members of their teams that have developed into professional relationships. It does get weird seeing yourself pop up on Instagram or in their newsletters though!
  10. When my old man was a student he used to do the folk circuit with an accordion duo plus percussion playing English trad. Now, Morris and other associated English musical forms have a long and glorious history that tends to get overshadowed somewhat by the fact the Celts wrote all the tunes you can get whizzed and roar along to, but there's a lot of landlords who see it all as the same diddly-dee nonsense so book whoever. This evening in question they were playing in a particularly low-rent Irish bar in Northern England and going down fine (by which I mean everyone was too whizzed or uncultured to notice the difference) and were looking forward to winding the set up and getting to the drinking part of the evening (my dad used to describe them as a drinking club with a musical problem) until the end of the set when the landlord comes over: "About to close up now lads, can you play the anthem for time?" This wasn't in the plan but was a regular request back then so they decide on a key and off they go into God Save Brenda. Three bars in there's an almighty clatter as all the pints go down on the tables and as one the entire room is stood up glaring daggers. Landlord comes storming back up to the stage: "Not that shite, the bloody Anthem!" Cue muttered and frantic discussion on how to busk Amhran na bhFiann arr. for two accordions and sphincter whistle; in the end they meekly admitted defeat and made a sharp exit stage left. He wasn't sure how much of it was genuine and how much of it was just a setup to get a full night of free music with extra entertainment at the expense of the daft folkie students, but he wasn't about to test out any working theories...
  11. They have a ridiculously good setup - I've been dying to know so will get on this when I get home. Always seem to maintain incredible separation and clarity while making sure it still has some power at the micro-volumes they must be playing at.
  12. With the other team I usually play with it's art galleries, second-hand bookshops, vegan cafes, and early nights. With these guys I suspect it will be endless motorway miles, sushi, early morning radio interviews, and trying to cultivate inner peace because there certainly won't be any outer. Different strokes! We've got a week away in February that will be the main stress test run but we've already done a few mini tours and a bunch of festivals so I'm not expecting any nasty surprises. I'm just going to pick up a cheap laptop and a kindle so I can try and catch up on a bunch of reading.
  13. We'll be covering approx 6000 road miles in just over four weeks and there will be a huge amount of downtime apart from the twenty minutes a day we're onstage so I was planning to take a laptop and do some writing anyway, but I'll keep a gig diary of sorts on here if anyone would be interested in the more performance-related aspects of that kind of show.
  14. Up until March last year 200 was a decent turnout for me. As I mentioned, it's all got extremely busy extremely quickly...
  15. No mate, not me on any of the proper video releases. The newer live stuff I'm either on guitar and keys or bass, depending on the lineup. It's not the sort of genre I would generally be playing either but I've known them a long time and they're a pretty great live act, even if I do say so myself. We played to about 10k at Isle of Wight and 14k at a christmas show for Capital FM, but I'm looking forward to doing some properly big shows!
  16. I'll save you the trouble! I'm just playing session for them at the moment so only my band in a technical sense, but if it means I get to play Wembley then I'm not complaining about not being in a video or two. https://youtu.be/3SAAgrOXf-E
  17. To my utter amazement it's not metaphorically, no. We're doing 18 EU and UK dates as baby support for Pink this summer; UK dates are two nights in Glasgow, Cardiff, Liverpool, and two nights at Wembley. I'm as baffled as everyone else to be honest but pretty sure our agent is getting a pay-rise this year.
  18. Being as I'm a long-time office spod in a yard full of tradies I'm already well acquainted with the dangers of publicly sticking your creative head above the parapet. It's all suddenly got a bit busy on the musical front recently though, so it's nice to be able to finally meet the sneers of "when's yer band playing Wembley then mate?" with "July, actually. Twice." More of a personal victory than a definitive one as they're generally the sort of blokes who like to get the maximum amount of use out of a joke once they've invested time into coming up with it, but it does keep the more irritating banter down to a minimum!
  19. Same as anything in the industry - know somebody who knows somebody on the team and can persuade them you're worth the shot. They must get ten thousand unsolicited submissions a year that they won't have time to listen to, so the bookers will have a list of promoters and agents that they can approach for new acts and then will choose from a list of those based on a changing table of what they like, how good their team is, how likely they are to be catching onto an act right before they take off, and how long since your agent and their agent did dinner. The more push you have from your agent and/or label than the better the chances but it's not just biggest wallet wins. We actually played with Record Company in London a few weeks before they filmed their bit and we were vaguely aware there were Jools agents floating around, but didn't exactly get chance to sit down and discuss the process with them...
  20. Yeah, they're original Rick hardware from looks of it so are to fit Schaller. The knurled edge are the vintage style ones and are the closest to a standard strap button they do.
  21. One of the all time greats for blurring the line between artist and art in a way that barely anyone else has approached. I have a collection of his interviews and/or people being interviewed about working with him which is about the closest thing to an autobiography we'll get from him and it's well worth a read. My particular favourite anecdote was from a film director who had approached him about a part in a movie - I want to say Jim Jarmusch for Coffee and Cigarettes but can't quite remember. He's trying to arrange a meeting but only has a day in the area, so he can't do an evening like Tom wants; eventually after a lot of back and forth with his agent he gets told to come to Tom's house in the morning. On the day he turns up nice and early at this little bungalow in a perfectly normal California suburb, and he gets let inside and shown down the corridor to this closed door at the end. Behind the door is an almost empty room with all the blinds closed and paper over the windows so no light can get in from outside - Tom is huddled up on a single wooden chair in the middle of the floor wearing sunglasses and his hat pulled down over his eyes alone in this dark room at 9AM, and he looks up at Jim for a second and then exasperatedly gestures at the blocked out window and he growls: "Tell me, does it stay like this for long?"
  22. Been working with Eastwood this last summer and they're nice guys - enjoyed the instruments I've got chance to play so far. I've been bending their ear about a hardtail Map Bass with "32 scale finished in the nifty metallic green colour they're doing the Airline 59's in, but they're not biting just yet... I think your major limitation is going to be agreeing on a spec without even a broad design proposal. Pretty sure you'd get more people if you brought forward a general design from the start and then ran a poll to work out the little details?
  23. The St Moritz restaurant is great for the lactose tolerant though. Eat yourself into a fondue coma! I have fond (not really) memories of the Attic at bloody Accrington (who they etc). Third story venue with no lift - the load in was fine because you could come up the nice wide staircase, but after they opened the doors to punters you had to load out down the awful rickety fire escape covered with ice and god knows what else.
  24. The VM PJ has a jazz neck. The CV has a P. If you're definitely wanting blocks then Sire perhaps.
  25. No smoke needed mate, if you hadn't put us onto Keith I would never have starting picking up sessions and there's no way I'd have done half of what I'm doing now. If we're ever down in the area I'll give you shout.
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