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December 2005
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February 2006

Test Drive (mp3 Of My First Apple Garageband Experiment)120_2024

Last year when I bought this handy dandy Apple laptop, good for lotsa stuff, this was one of the first things I did on it.  I plugged a condenser mic into the powerbook, but since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was actually recording through this little hole in the upper left corner of the laptop--the built-in mic.  Doesn't sound too bad, actually, with a little reverb and the double vocal. 

This is only a partial song idea.  Anyone want to finish it?  I could send you the original garageband file if you'd like. 

In the process of learning a little bit of garageband (not to be confused with garageband.com--Apple has a license to use the same name), I layered and stripped apart some of the canned loops, added a little living room armchair percussion (I did this entire thing from my rocking chair), and added the vocals.  In the process, I captured my little Jakey yackin' and the grandfather clock chiming in tune with the song.  Too fun. 


In addition to receiving "Track of the Day" on January 24, I just learned tonight that we've been given several other garageband.com awards this week for "Take This Town":

  • Best Male Vocals in Experimental Rock, week of January 23, 2006
  • Best Lyrics in Experimental Rock, week of January 23, 2006
  • Best Melody in Experimental Rock, week of January 23, 2006
  • Best Mood in Experimental Rock, week of January 23, 2006
  • Chill-Out Track in Experimental Rock, week of January 23, 2006

This is kinda fun...


We have some fun news to report.  As a result of some very enthusiastic reviews from GarageBand.com members, "Take This Town" will be Track of the Day at GarageBand.com.

For 24 hours on Tuesday, the 24th of January, 2006 (PST) "Take This Town" will be featured on GarageBand.com's Experimental Rock front page.

Garageband.com is a site that provides independent artists the opportunity to get candid feedback from other musicians and music lovers.  As part of this feedback process, songs are rated and entered into a contest.  Take This Town just made it to round 2, rated #20 in the Experimental Rock category, as of today at least.  We currently have a score of 4.7 stars out of 5.0.  According to garageband.com, only the top 1% of the songs submitted receive a 4.5 or higher, so that's kinda cool. 

Many of you know this track featured a live studio performance of John Ganser, Tommy O'Donnell, and Clay Thompson (yes, the Spelunkers!)  They did two takes from a chord chart and no rehearsals, and I think this was the second take.  The track also features some beautiful violin orchestration from  Shannan Sullivan, plus some great backing vocals by Clay Thompson and Diann Thompson.  It is fun to read through the feedback on garageband.com.  Quite a few of the reviewers like the intrumentation, vocals, overall mood, production, and the melodies, comparing the song to early Pink Floyd. 

Anyway, check it out and pass along the good word...


I have thought for some time that indie music artists need to figure out a way to go where the people are rather than always trying to get the people to them.  So the trick: Find a crowd, go there and play your music.  Simple, right? 

Well, technology is making this much easier to accomplish.  One such example today is myspace.com.

It has been my intention, for some time now, to write a short blurb on the MySpace Phenomenon.  The teenagers, twenty-somethings, and technology geeks among us already know about all this.  After little more than two years on the web, myspace.com has grown to nearly 50 million subscribers for their free social networking web services.  According to a recent article in businessweek, "MySpace now draws so much traffic that it accounted for 10% of all advertisements viewed online in the month." 

What does all of this have to do with music?  One of the main drivers of the myspace growth explosion has been it's focus on music combined with social networking services.  Myspace allows online "friends" to discover all sorts of independent music, plus to socialize online via secure email, IM, photo sharing, and blogging.   

Bands can, for free, create an online profile and put their songs online, with bios and contact information.  Anyone can then search the profiles for, say bands that sound like Led Zeppelin or Jeff Buckley, or whatever.  If you had this listed in your profile of influences, you will be discovered by all sorts of fans that like this type of music.  Pretty cool huh? 

So, yes, I've joined the myspace rev and we have four songs on our 100 Year Picnic myspace page, including a free download of 'Take This Town.'  Check it out and see what the kids are up to nowadays.  You will also find celebrities from Madonna to Fiona Apple to Aimee Mann participating, at least on some level.  Some of my good friends and musical compadres have joined as well: 

Tony@Oxide Lounge Recording
Von Frickle
Waiting Room Records
Mr. Dynamite
OIE Records
Backyard Tire Fire
The Castle Theater

So, yes, we are finding new people to share our music with.  Whether they are engaged or truly listening may be another story.  Songwriter and musician blogger Scott Andrew helps bring us back to reality, telling the story of a band that was featured on the myspace homepage for a week, had their music played 20,000 times and sold how many CDs?  ZERO.  But they DID get 100 new people for their mailing list...

Regardless, I think this is one small piece of the puzzle for those of us promoting our own music.  It's intriguing and fun, but a huge time waster if you aren't careful.  It does make me feel part of a much larger community of musicians doing their own thing, and that's certainly a good thing. 


Happy New Year.  It's going to be a good year.  Don't ask me how I know this.  I do know there will be more music in 2006, starting with a couple appearances this month, plus lots of writing, recording, learning, maybe some teaching, more piano, and more live performances...you know, some of the good things in life. 

Here are those January dates:

January 14, Saturday, Illinois Brewing Company, 9:30 p.m:  I'll be doing a solo set of 100YP classic indie rock tunes (any requests???), opening for my friends in Los Vivos.  Check out their music on the web, or better yet, come on out and see us.  Did I say it's free?  It is.  And they have very good beer there.  And hardwood floors. 

January 19, Thursday, Chicago Style Pizzeria, 7:00 p.m: I'm playing drums with Brian Choban's jazz combo.  Bring the fam out for an excellent pizza buffet and some jazz from the fake book.

Cheers.