Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Time for Rap and Breakdancing

August 7, 2008

I’m about 25 years behind the cultural curve.

Back in the early 1980s, in high school, I had a friend (a white guy a year younger than me) who was a heavy metal fanatic. Then suddenly he changed his passion to breakdancing. I couldn’t relate. I was a rock snob.

I’d hear Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” and Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” on the radio and thought they were OK, but that was about it for rap music.

Fast forward 20 years. A black guy from D.C. named Curtis Allen joins my church and releases his first Christian rap album, and I actually like a lot of it. I like a lot of his next album, too.

This spring, I found myself the as main engineer and co-Executive Producer of his third full length CD, and I love it. He told me I is officially gangsta. Here’s a picture from the recording sessions (we also made a video):

Several years ago I got married. My wife Bridgette loves dance and gymnastics, and it’s kind of starting to rub off. A few weeks ago I was flipping through the TV channels and came across a show that’s a competition to be named “America’s Best Dance Crew.” I discovered that the crew I liked the best were some breakdancers from Las Vegas called Super Cr3w. They’re acrobats, really. Here’s a sample (the performance starts around 1:45 in the video):

I’m up with the times. I just take 25 years to adjust.

(And I still like rock.)

Advertisements

Dysfunctional Basement Bands

August 5, 2008
From: jeffnmoe@MCS.COM (jeffnmoe)
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.guitar
Subject: dysfunctional basement bands
Date: 11 Dec 1995 07:47:04 -0600
Organization: MCSNet Services
Lines: 83
NNTP-Posting-Host: mars.mcs.com

 How do you know you are in a dysfunctional basement band?
 Well, here are a few signs fresh in my mind from yesterdays
 'jam'...

 1) you have to POINT to the notes on the neck for the bass
    player, even on songs you've been playing for several
    years ("..then we go to an A...no, A...bottom string,
    fifth fret...no, THICKEST string, not 'bottom'...(at 
    this point I'm pointing at the neck of his bass).

 2) Ronco Two-Speed Drummer(tm) - All New From Ronco! Like
    the old GM Powerglide transmission, has only two speeds:
    Keith Moon-style abandonment, with fills and rolls at
    every turn, dynamics be dammed; or, when hangover or lack
    of sleep has dulled his senses/energy level, a 
    continuously variable feature which allows him to slew
    seamlessly from 85 to 92 to 87 BPM.

 3) "Uh, hey guys, you know, the bass and drums should lock
    in together, sort of...". They stare at me intently like
    smart dogs, cocking their heads slightly as if they
    almost understand.

 4) Hey, I Don't Just Play Bass - I'm A Keyboard Player Too!
    He's a great accumulator of equipment. Now, if he'd just 
    learn how to play any of it (I thought that convincing
    him to buy the 'Learning to Play Bass' video at Guitar
    Center last spring, after we'd been playing for a year,
    would have been sort of a clue. I think he watched it
    once. No notes were taken). He also has four or five 
    keyboards, arranged quite nicely near his bass setup. 
    Can't play them either, but it doesn't stop him. Wouldn't
    bother me either, if he'd learn another chord shape (he 
    stumbled across some faintly consonant fingering one day
    and never let go).

 5) Can I Solo Now? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Due to previously mentioned points #1 and #3, any deviation
    from the chord progression by the guitar player (whether its
    a solo, or even a different voicing of the A-D-E change I've
    been banging on for 15 minutes) results in a quite amusing 
    (to the observer) scrum where the bass stumbles off
    chromatically in an attempt to locate the now missing chord,
    and the drummer, who receives his time signature inputs by
    watching my fingers, abandons any attempt to Hold Down the
    Previously Implied Beat and attempts to follow me, teeth
    gritted and a doomed but heroic glint in his eye, to wherever
    I'm going.

 6) We've Got An Effects Pedalboard and We're Gonna Use It!
    (the typist is uncharacteristically non-verbose on this issue)

 7) Are There Gonna Be Girls There? Lookit Me, I'm In The Band!
    Playing in front of people, whether its visitors or the
    occasional party, eventually clears the room. When actual
    live women are present, all of the above features are magnified
    by testosterone crossed with a certain musical lockjaw whose 
    usual attempted circumvention is volume, volume, volume. All
    original stuff is forgotten, and the last person who goes upstairs
    to get a beer (must be a long line, no one's returned yet) does
    so usually to a bad 12-bar blues or some hoary old chestnut 
    refried punk-style (why don't they get the irony in 'Wildfire'
    through my 4x12?).

 8) Hey, We'd Really Rock If We Had A Singer.
    (Many are called, few are chosen)

 9) One Pearl In a 4000 Pound Pile of Garbage.
    Occasionally, you'll stumble across a groove. Never from the first
    note, mind you, but after 15-30 minutes and the right combination
    of alcohol mixed with several hours of playing will eventually
    round off the sharp edges and produce something sort of
    compelling. Even if it's only five minutes out of six hours, it's
    enough to keep you coming back (and leads to lots of false hubris
    about your 'band' and how good they are, as your mind naturally
    keeps and remembers the good stuff and jettisons the rest). Which
    leads us to #10...

 10) Why Keep Coming Back For More?
     Because they're your friends...plus, the bass player owns the
     house with the basement.

                              jeff (jeffnmoe@mcs.com)

Videos of me in the studio

August 5, 2008

My summer intern, Stephen Kerr, produced a couple of videos to promote CDs we recorded in the Sovereign Grace Studio. They contain some footage of me at work in the studio.

The first video is for the Curtis Allen (Voice) rap album The Process of the Pardon:

The second video is for the worship album Psalms: