I've been playing guitar pretty intensely the last few years. With two bands. I have a basic setup. Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, a little tube amp and a couple of effects pedals.
The effects pedals I use are an Ibanez Tube Screamer and an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay pedal. It's a nice combination that gives some color to the sound. Adds a little overdrive, sustain and shimmer.
Awhile back the MXR Carbon Copy went bad. The switch got stuck. The pedal was always on. Could not switch it off. I e-mailed their support group and surprisingly they told me they'd send me a new switch for free. I guess it was still under warranty.
They sent me a new switch, which I installed myself. Big mistake. Once I got done with the install the pedal was totally DOA. So I got back in touch with their support team and they told me to send it in.
Well, they put a new PC board in the thing and sent it back to me. It works perfectly - better than ever! They did a nice job. It's good to see a company standing behind their product.
** I don't know what was up with Blogger today. Every time I tried to post the little rant below, something would go wrong. I began to think that someone or something didn't want me to post it. This got me thinking about the Bavarian Illuminati, Knights Templar, the Masons, Tom Hanks, Dan Brown and those dudes flying around on those little go-karts decked out with rugs... oh yeah those freaky Shriners!
Even if you had a supremely diabolical imagination, you still probably wouldn't come up with this hideously twisted story about a Priest abusing 200 deaf boys. I mean it almost sounds like a set up for a really sick and twisted joke.
And worse than that mind-numbing horror, you then learn that the Catholic Church hierarchy's "highest priority was protecting the church from scandal."
This is truly evil! The Pope and everyone in that freaking decision loop should be defrocked or worse!
How about Hornswaggled!?!?
For some reason, I think about Sinead O'connor and her zany protest on Saturday Night Live those many years ago. I don't know the specifics of her beef with the Church, it may have seriously hurt her career. She broke the rules of showbiz. Do not say something real during our entertainment.
I'm thinking all those people who gave her shit for expressing herself, should get on their knees and beg forgiveness.
Ripping up a picture of the Pope. Oh how quaint! I mean, you don't want to paint with a broad brush but it's clear the Catholic Church is a supremely dysfunctional organization, no scratch that, a criminal enterprise that should be taken apart brick by freaking brick!
No matter what, even if the bill is kind of a mash-up of half-baked ideas, it's a great step forward. Proves that social liberalism can carry the day.
The bill isn't the greatest thing ever passed, but I think it will be a first step towards a more rational and inclusive healthcare system.
Of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But sometimes we need the good intentions to win against the greedy fear-mongering bastards. The GOP has proven to be a collection of craven shit-meisters.
Obama is too gracious to gloat. I'll do it for him! Nice going Big Guy!
Our little storefront space was packed last night. 25 human beings meant a full house - surprise, surprise! It's a very intimate space. Nothing fancy. A nice clean room. A little color, fabric, lights, and music. Our little cathedral.
We did our little skit "The Wig."
Someone commented that it was "Ike and Tina Turner meets Beckett." That's perfect.
Our method is our madness. A few people really tune into our wavelength, which always amazes me. I mean, on the other hand, I'm surprised that our stuff is considered strange, disconnected, and obtuse. What makes complete sense to me, or what I will tolerate in my own head as completely sensible, sometimes seems to totally baffle some folks.
It's something I've come to expect. And I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. So yes, the show went well, no major glitches. We didn't get to magic, but we did a good job. We did the piece justice.
It was an opening and closing night for this piece. A brief flash of light, and then it's gone. One shot. No re-do. That is kind of how it goes.
You would think tuning your guitar would be a simple thing. I mean, I've been tuning guitars for a long time. In fact, I used to have job where I tuned guitars all day long.
You'd think there'd be one way to tune a guitar. You'd be wrong. I mean, there are schools of thought and no consensus about tuning. There are "tempered" tuning systems - some people swear by them, some people swear at them.
There are tuners and tuning forks and all kinds of recommendations about how to "correctly" tune an instrument.
This is one of those topics that just seems to get more complicated and less settled the more you study it. Another one of those deep mysteries. So you can tune a guitar in the standard way, and some chords will sound great, and some chords will sound not so great.
You have to take into account that particular instrument, that particular player, that particular day. Whose finger is actually fingering whose fret-board? I've found that the more I pay attention to tuning, the harder it seems to get my guitar tuned.
I used to rely on a tuner with little lights and needles thinking it was all so scientific. And maybe it is, but not really the end of the story. I've followed some threads on the topic and ultimately you are left with lots of different opinions and theories, Pythagoras is invoked, Buzz Feinten is bandied about.
I've got two standard guitars and one Buzz Feiten tempered one. I discovered that I'd been tuning the "Buzzed" guitar correctly to my tuner but it just didn't sound right to my ear. Now I basically rely on my ear. It takes longer, I kind of go into an obsessive loop. I think I've found the sweet spot, but it takes work to get there, and finally it's really only my own ear that guides me.
I do think Buzz is onto something. My "buzzed" guitar does sound more in tune than the others in more places on the fret-board. But I find I really have to work and listen. My ear seems to be getting more sensitive. The more I listen the more I hear.
This is another one of those Holy Grail adventures. And maybe this isn't just a past-time, it's the whole thing. I mean the universe is a vibration too. And it's all about finding the right frequency and riding that vibe to enlightenment.
And all that obsessive tweaking of the tuning peg? That's just the essential work.
Anyway, I often put on my spurs and hitch up my pants and grab a lance and venture into the fog of war. I realize that it's my life, baby, I'm a long-shot, an underdog, an up and comer. Always.
And sometimes a dog does have it's day. Sometimes that sure thing turns out not to be a sure thing. And sometimes the long-shot walks away with the spoils. That's my hope, my religion, my job, my life.
Let's say there was a major catastrophe in your homeland. Maybe a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a horde of little green men blasts a hole in the artificial fabric of your reality.
Let's say there's no electricity. No food. No water. All the basics of survival are up for grabs.
Now you and I we figure we have to make it. No matter what.
So we go to the Supermarcado in our neighborhood, and we commandeer a couple of stray shopping carts and we start grabbing stuff like drunks at a strip club. We fill our shopping carts with all kinds of stuff and then we blow out of there. We head to our dark, blasted hovels and feast on our goods.
And some one back in their safe European home says "Why that's "LOOTING?!? Where is the military? Where be the cops?"
LOOTING?! Really? And you value property over people? Really?
It turns out our good friend Keralee is a Yogi. She teaches Yoga. I've never Yoga-ed until now. Since we opened our Black Forest Space we've been looking for things to do when we're not rehearsing or doing a show, and Sunday mornings are now all about Yoga.
A few neighborhood folks are into it. I decided to jump in the Yoga pool myself. So, I brought over a rug, (I haven't worked up to an official Yoga mat yet!), and gave it a go.
Some in the class (the Lovely Carla for instance) are Yoga pros. Still, I've decided no Yoga Envy for me. I'm just happy to get through the session in one piece.
I set up in the back row, so no one can really watch me stumble through the poses. I did my best not to hurt myself. I must say, Keralee really put us through the paces. I worked up a healthy sweat.
You must leach the poison out!
So I found some new muscles I never knew I had. Turns out all that running has made my legs tighter than the bark on a tree (or is that tighter than a bark on a rapid dog?). My favorite part was at the end - Corpse Pose. Alive and playing dead on my rug. Just like kindergarten!