This Paul Stanley Impressionist has my respect!

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The Kiss end of the road was clearly the end of the last tour

This isn’t the kind of thing I usually write but I had a serious Face Palm moment at the Kiss show in Portland last Friday. Since the music industry model changed a whole lot in 2003-ish concert tickets have become pricy. There’s only a few bands I’m going to drop $300 or $400 on for a show. Tool hell yes, Rush, yeah I did but Kiss? No, I would not pay $400 for a Kiss show without Ace Frehley….. But my girlfriend would!

My birthday was last weekend so the show was a really nice gift. My Girlfriend is a talented musician, singer, piano payer and violinist who knows her craft well. The tickets were on the floor of the Moda Center about the middle of that space. They opened with Detroit Rock City and literally one minute into the song she grabbed me and said is Paul Really singing? I had already realized Paul was Lip Syncing and I was shocked. 

Not only was Paul singing to a backtrack, the AV team didn’t try in the least to hide it. Closeups of Paul Stanley on the video monitor miles away from the microphone singing in complete pitch. All night long he would look down at his guitar neck to change cords sometimes with his mouth closed. It was obvious!

The sad thing was as we left not only were people taking about how Paul was Lip Syncing, but how the merch booths had little or no lines. The booths were packed before the show. I was going to buy a Tee but after that show no chance. Even more peculiar was my Girlfriend who had seen kiss 11 times didn’t buy a thing. 

We both felt that the whole show was a complete farce. Don’t get me wrong I have never seen props in any Rock Show like the end of the road. It was fake as heck though, it was really bogus and inauthentic. If you’re planning on dropping big money on this tour I would check out the YouTube videos first. It should have been billed as the fictitious four takes your money. 

 

Bugera 1960 Infinium Part Duex

 

Since I last shared regarding the Bugera 1960 Infinium price increase new and nice developments have occurred. Guitar Center / Musicians Friend rolled back their pricing to last year retail. I have to admit, I pulled the trigger and expect the 1960 to arrive near my birthday.

Listen here as to why I’m so obsessed with this Marshal Plexi Clone:




Does MarinerSoftware.com actually have any employees?

I am saddened to report that Mariner Software has officially left me without any support on a new product PERIOD. My first purchase from Mariner Software I date at around 2002, I have been a customer for 16 plus years. As I had previously mentioned I was having issues with journaling software I have used daily for some time, the now infamous MacJournal. 

I purchased their iOS MacJournal app around a month ago. When I decided to sync it up with my MacBook’s MacJournal it quickly turned into a train wreck. Not only did the Journals not import from iOS it deleted many entries on the MacBook. I use this software for everything from Personal Journals, Blog entries, to do lists etc. It actually worked very well for that for many years and I was a very happy client.

I email Mariner  support from their website and say Yo mates WTH? They actually respond “Yeah the developer tried to make that sync work with drop box a while ago here’s a KB.” I respond I’m more concerned with the Journals that I lost during the sync, can we work that problem please? Crickets, nothing. I respond several times via email asking for an update, no returned message. This goes on for weeks. 

I was so unhappy with being shut out of any help for weeks I finally did something i’ve never ever done before, I flamed them on social media. I really disliked doing that. I’ve never purchased software from a well known vendor that dropped off the face of the earth like Mariner Software has. I really didn’t know what to do, I’ve never had any trouble with support in 16 years. Mariner Software advises “we sent that on to the developer some time ago, we will send this again.” That was 6 days ago, no response at all. 

The moral of the story here kids is DO NOT BUY SOFTWARE FROM marinersoftware.com 

Ramping up the creative process

I had to very abruptly move this last summer. I moved back into my old neighborhood after being gone for 3 years which had changed for the worse. I could not stay there and feel safe any longer. I had a heroin addict OD on my front lawn and the neighborhood had turned into a den of drug dealers. All my friends except one family had moved away.

This really threw a curve ball into putting together my creative space. I am now at a point where I have a space in my home but it needs a lot of work especially sound reinforcement. That is going to be pricy and I’m thinking maybe I should just mix my projects elsewhere. The room I have available is like an reverb chamber, it’s so wet in here I feel like I need a hoodie on my head.

As I ramp up for the rest of winter and spring I am having to rethink my process from A to Z. Not because I want to, because some of the technologies I was using 3 years ago have changed and much so for the worse.

One of these technologies is MacJournal, my go to daily writer for over a decade. MacJournal has been a train wreck since i installed it on my new Macbook Pro. It looses journals entries during sync from the iOS app (Which I just shelled out more money for) and Dan Schimpf the author does not seem to support it any longer. It’s a shame because it was such a fantastic piece of software. Sadly his website has a copyright year of 2016 in the footer, the sign of slow software Vaporware and yet it has an SSL certificate. Very odd indeed.

The Distributor Mariner Software doesn’t even try to support the product. Back when people actually used MacJournal Mariner would hand off Tier II requests to the developer Dan Schimpf, not so now. It’s just no longer supported at all it seems.

I looking for a suitable replacement I have quickly come to the conclusion that there isn’t one. Day One seems to be the leader in Journaling software, I have been using the iOS version on my iPad pro for a few years but rarely. When reviewing the MAC OS app for purchase it quickly became a fucking joke. Everything is stored on their cloud with zero flexibility for backups in the new version, at least not that I can find.

Day One also has a subscription revenue model, that model is garbage. The subscription model is nothing but an avenue to increase top line revenue at the end users expense. At $35 US per year it’s a bloody joke, what’s next? It looks as though Journey may be my only alternative. I am downloading the trial today, if it doesn’t hit it out of the park in the first hour I am going back to word. At least I will know where my content is.

The next mode of technology I had to replace was MasterWriter which I have also used for more than a decade. For writing song lyrics and basic charts MasterWriter was the best tool out there for years. Then they also got greedy and went to a subscription model like Day One Journal did. I have been down this road in my daytime gig, it’s not something I am willing to spend personal finances on.

I did find a replacement, I don’t know how well it’s going to work out for me but it wasn’t expensive. After a few nights of chatting with other writers on some of the boards most of the MasterWriter community moved to a program called TuneSmith. I’m not sure if this is a viable replacement yet, I figure I will know more in a few weeks.


10 reasons to love being a guitarist

Original story caught my eye from musicradar.com

WORLD GUITAR DAY 2017: The world is full of awfulness. You know the sort of thing – war, economic hardship, The X Factor. Basically, a whole tsunami of bad stuff beamed directly into your face by whichever glowing rectangle you’ve decided to stare at today.

With all that going on, it can be hard to stay positive – and yet there’s hope. For no matter how bad things get, guitarists are blessed. For the guitar is the single greatest musical instrument ever conceived, and we get to play it.

No matter how bad the conflict, how crippling the depression, how overwhelmingly awful the new Bieber single, we shall persevere. Because it is awesome being a guitarist. Here’s why…

1. Stress-busting

Your commute was awful, you spilled coffee on your crotch, and your boss was a classically trained bastard for nine straight hours. When you’ve had a day like that, there is no better medicine than plugging in a guitar, turning it up, and making a huge amount of noise.

Playing guitar is, in our experience, the most effective method of staying sane in a world that can appear to be actively trolling you. Like extremely loud yoga, playing the guitar clears your mind and gives you an enormous sense of peace. So, hooray for that.

2. The feeling of achievement

How do you feel when you’ve finally conquered a particularly tricky solo, or written a great song, or had a great jam? Like a great big sexy genius, that’s how.

We can all remember the first time we nailed the intro of Sweet Child O’ Mine, or Layla, or whatever your classic rock song of choice was when you were but a wee slip of a beginner. Many among our parish have spent the rest of our lives chasing that same feeling. Why? Because it makes you feel good about yourself and it’s a whole lot of fun, that’s why.

3. It makes you smarter

It turns out that learning things makes you smarter. Who knew? All those hours spent playing along to records or correcting rubbish internet tabs has actually made your brain… better.

Learning the guitar can actively improve cognition, aid hand-eye coordination – hell, it can even add points to your IQ.

Being a guitarist means that you are always learning, constantly teaching your brain to do new, intricate things, consistently pushing yourself. It’s almost as if playing the guitar makes you somehow superior to other people…

4. You get to be in bands

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: getting in a room and making a racket with friends is one of the best things you can do as a member of the human race.

Getting a band together, writing some songs, playing a few gigs – whether you have success or not, these are things that every guitarist should experience, if only for the sheer joy of ripping out a solo at full volume in a space that isn’t your bedroom.

Practising in a garage is among the most fun things on Earth, and playing live? Well, it’s as addictive as any drug (probably), and one of the most exhilarating, terrifying and downright exciting things you’ll ever do in your life.

5. You learn the value of perseverance

What was the most difficult thing you ever learned? It took bloody ages, didn’t it? Poring over it second by second, painstakingly learning each note, slowly linking them up, working on your phrasing and timing and tone, then blending all that together to form a coherent whole – learning a piece of music is an enormously complex task.

But you’ve done it, time and time again, and you are an Advanced Human because of it. You’ve learned that you’re capable of achieving things that at first blush seem impossible. All it takes is time, patience and perseverance. If that’s not a solid-gold Mr Miyagi-style, hard-earned life lesson, then we don’t know what is.

6. The pose

Of course, once you’ve spent all those hours practising, you get to show off the fruits of your labours to actual, living people. Whether you’ve only got a few chords or can bang out the entire Zeppelin back catalogue with your guitar behind your head, people will be impressed.

And it’s a great feeling, a vindication of all that time spent alone playing with yourself (easy now). Whether it’s a party, a gig, or a formal recitation in the parlour like the precocious youngest child of a Victorian household, showing off your chops in public is a thrill. Plus, you get to throw all your favourite rock star shapes, which, as we know, is what this has all really been about.

7. Guitar shops

Glorious caverns of guitar-y goodness, guitar shops have been the location of some of the best moments of our lives (barring, you know, children, marriages, that sort of thing).

From endless hours spent staring at beautiful slabs of want hanging in windows, through to the most recent snap purchase (you only went in for strings, but…), it’s at the guitar shops that dreams become reality.

Tentative first strums on guitars you would cherish for decades, random pedal recommendations from fellow punters, in-jokes with friendly staff – these are the reasons we love our local guitar emporiums, and probably always will.

8. The gear

Most musicians don’t fetishise their instruments in quite the same way guitarists do. We’re a bunch of nitrocellulose lovin’, tube-huntin’, tone-wood tappin’ gear hounds and proud of it.

Guitars have a beauty all of their own, even when they’re not being played, and we cannot stop ourselves from obsessing over them. The same goes for amps, pedals, stands – you name it, and somebody will know the exact date of manufacture, materials used and what the guy that put it together had for lunch.

We’re like trainspotters, except much, much cooler. Plus, we get to drive the trains.

9. Being a human jukebox

Sure, sometimes it can be a burden being asked to play the same songs over and over, but let’s be honest with ourselves here: we all love it, really. Having a few folk sing along to your playing, even if all you’re doing is banging out a half-remembered bit of Johnny Cash, is a fine way to spend an evening.

Not only do you get to show off just how many chords you can play (loads) and how many songs you can only remember the intro to (also loads), but people will buy you drinks. What’s not to love about that?

10. We rock

Guitarists quite literally rock, which means we wander around the place with the self-esteem of Greek gods. Ultimately, we know that we play guitar for our own satisfaction. Yes, it’s nice to get compliments or the odd free beer, but only we, the players, get to experience the satisfaction of a lick well played or a song well strummed.

It’s an endlessly rewarding pleasure, and one that only grows sweeter as the years roll by. There’s always something new to learn, some other trick to try or tune to pick up. If we’re lucky, we get to surround ourselves with gear that we’ve spent years accumulating, playing music that we love, whenever the hell we want. And that, if you ask us, isn’t half bad.

Memories of Gregg Allman

Gosh, I have found so much music press lately that has been so inspiring. This is an article about Greg Allman who played a private concert for A Buffalo high school while in Rehab in 1976. It was a really lovely Read I wanted to share, read it here:

http://www.canisiushigh.org/news/news-item/~post/memories-of-gregg-allman-20170605

The student body has shared remembrances of this performance on the Canisius High School Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/CanisiusHS/