Archive for the Music Category

Am I getting old or are people just cunts?

Posted in General, Music on April 17, 2010 by doseofsalt

WARNING: EPIC LONG READ AHEAD.

Allow me to lay out my frustrations of a couple of incidents that happened to me over the last week.

I don’t know if anyone else finds this at gigs like I do, but no matter where I stand at a show, I seem to ALWAYS be blocking some sort of main thoroughfare that just happens to materialize right where I decided to plant my feet.  There could have been no one anywhere near the spot until the moment I decide to stand there, but once that happens it’s instantly transformed into the exact place person A needs to travel through to reach destination C having left origin B.  It could be a convoluted wacky route to the toilets, or the apparently new trendy journey to get to the bar by taking the least shortest path to get there.  I don’t know what it is, but people just start bumping into me or trying to squeeze between me and whatever I happen to have decided to stand near; and I take up a fair whack of real estate.

So here comes example one.  I went along to The Zoo to see the absolutely amazing Justin Townes Earle.  He’s an American singer/songwriter and son of Steve “you can smell the whiskey burnin’ down Copperhead Road” Earle.  The guy is a fantastic showman and writes some truly brilliant songs.  He was supported by The Wilson PickersAndrew Morris and fellow American, Jason Isbell.  The show is kicking along nicely and Morris has finished his cool set.  He was joined by fellow Pickers Ben Salter and Danny Widdicombe which was a nice surprise.  Jason Isbell blew the stage to pieces with his awesome music and absolutely insane guitar playing.  Justin Townes Earle was who I was here to see though, and great opener acts were just icing on a cake I already knew was going to be fantastic.

I decided that the best place for me to plant myself was off to the left side of the stage, right against the wall out of the way and took up this spot and got myself in a cool zone to soak up some good old country tunes.  Not five seconds after getting myself situated do people start cramming themselves between me and the small group of people I’m going to immediately name The Hillbilly Fucktards who had decided to move into the three metres of space I had in front of me.  But they decided to do this in the 70 odd centimetres of space that was directly in front of me…leaving them the full other 2.3 metres that they could have inhabited terra nullius…a veritable no mans land.

The Hillbilly Fucktards were clearly already full steam ahead on their journey to alcohol poisoning at this stage and were being jovial with each other and leaning against each other for balance or comfort or both while they loudly talked about some sort of bullshit I didn’t give a fuck about.  Their long and malleable appendages which were capped with full glasses and bottles of their chosen poison flailed around in the air, punctuating whatever drunken point they were making, or illustrating some detail of a story that was probably a lie.  I am thankful that none of the contents of these glasses and bottles ended up being spilled all over me, though it was close.

Within no time The Hillbilly Fucktards’ drinks ran empty and they all teetered off to the bar to refuel before continuing on their mission to be the drunkest cunts in the venue.  As they left I thought to myself “now salty, here’s the perfect opportunity for you to move forward here and occupy the space they were just in…so they can’t come back to it…you, sir, are a GENIUS!”.  So I slide myself along the wall and comfortably take up the space in which The Hillbilly Fucktards had vacated.  They booze, they loose.  Or so I thought.  The triumphant group returned from their bar mission and seemed to just reform in the exact same spot they had, which now included me.  I was like an adopted member of their group it seemed and nobody seemed to care.

FUCK THAT.  I cared.  So I slowly slid my way back to where I was before.  If they hadn’t noticed I was there, they noticed I had gone as they fluidly filled in the space I had left and planted themselves squarely back right in front of me, again leaving their claimed 2.3 metre buffer zone.  Now when it comes to times like this, I’m a real stubborn cunt.  There’s no way I’m moving.  Fuck those guys, I was here first and I want to enjoy the show.  I don’t drink anymore, so I’m stone cold sober and wanting to marvel at the display of musicianship and lyricism that is taking place in front of me on stage.  So I’m standing my ground and going down with the ship if it kills me…or I have to kill them.  Either way I’m watching this fucking show and The Hillbilly Fucktards aren’t going to ruin it for me.

Now it could have been my persistence and the epic negative vibes that I was mentally blasting at these idiots, or it could have been the fact that the journey to the bar so they could SINK PISS MATE was too far, but they decided to pull up camp and relocate to somewhere else and I didn’t give a fuck where, they were gone.  Peace at least.  I could stand with my three metres of nice space in front of me and let Mr Townes Earle take me away to a better place on the wings of his music.  Sure, I was still the footpath to the toilet and the bar for every moron that couldn’t walk anywhere else in the entire venue to get to those places, but generally if I ignore it, those fucks become easy to ignore.

You’d think that this was the happy ending and soon I’d be riding a wave of country music gold and wishing I was in Nashville with a geetar slung over my back and a huge cowboy hat.  But you’d be wrong.  No sooner had The Hillbilly Fucktards decided to vacate their land, along come who I’d like to call Pretentious Wanker and Dumbshit Mate.  I don’t know what it is, but by standing within the one metre radius around my body, people must just begin absorbing my aura of fucking awesomeness or something, because that’s exactly where Pretentious Wanker and Dubmshit Mate decided to stand.  I was so close to them if I had stuck my head forward as far as it could go without even moving my body I’d have been right between their faces.  Now the epic invasion of personal space I can sort of deal with.  The dodging half drunk wobbling fuckheads standing using each other as ballast I could mostly handle.  But Pretentious Wanker and Dubmshit Mate weren’t happy to just stand there and watch Mr Townes Earle play some great songs…they also decided that RIGHT NOW was the best time EVER to start having a conversation about something.  Again, no idea what they were talking about, I couldn’t give a fuck.  But by this stage the music on stage was quite loud and they clearly couldn’t hear each other.  “They probably realised this and just stopped talking and watched the show” I hear you all assuming.  Not quite.

Pretentious Wanker proceeded to lean towards Dumbshit Mate and scream what he wanted to tell hm directly at his ear.  Dumbshit mate then returned the favour.  They did this over and over, their conversation seeming never to end.  I was reaching my boiling point.  Everything within me wanted to crane my neck forward that little bit and at the absolute top of my lungs just yell “SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!”.  I cooled down and they stopped for a short while, then obviously realised they had something else they had to talk about and started again.  The same epic rage started building in me again as I started picturing scenarios in my head of what would happen if I had just let rip at these cunts and told them to shut up.  In any event it never ended well so I calmed myself again.  My fiance decided that she wanted to go and sit down at the back of the room and I come to the realisation that I was fighting a battle I just couldn’t win.  So with a heavy heart I joined her and we sat at the back of the room, where there was noone else anywhere nearby and sat and watched the rest of the show.  It wast really great.

So tell me.  Should I just stop going to shows?  Has deciding not to drink anymore ruined the gig going experience for me?  I’d hate to think that to enjoy a show like I used to I’d have to have had a few drinks or be off my face.  I know that I’ve probably been both Pretentious Wanker, Dumbshit Mate and any number of species of Hillbilly Fucktard at sometime drunk at a gig…but surely deciding not to be any of these things anymore shouldn’t destroy the pleasure of going to see live music should it?

OK so incident B happened a few days later whilst spending some quality retail therapy time at Chermside shopping centre.   I was in that fabulous glass fronted wonderland that is the Apple store.  I had seen a couple of iPhone cases that I really wanted to find and have a look at, so figured that the Apple store would be as good a place as any to start looking.  Plus I’ve only been in there twice before so I figured any excuse would do.  They basically have a wall of iPhone cases in the store against the right wall at the back of the shop.  The area was mostly deserted when I walked in so I went and planted myself in front of the case wall and started looking at some of them.  Now as mentioned previously, I take up a sizable piece of the floor when I’m standing on it.  I’m not a small person and I’m very hard to miss.  So I don’t understand how when I’m standing right in front of a wall of products, clearly looking at them, people feel that they should come and stand in front of me to look at the same things I am.  I don’t mind if you reach in front of me and grab something to have a look at…with a “‘scuse me” thrown in is always nice but not a deal breaker.  But why would you feel it was ok to lean right in front of me, or even squeeze between me and the wall of products to look at something, and just stay there blocking everything I’m trying to look at?  I’m not invisible and you are not a fucking window.

A mother and daughter clearly thought I was as they decided that they’d basically push in front of me to grab a couple of things from the shelf and have a conversation about them…call a staff member over and continue talking to them while I’m still trying to look at shit, now on tip-toes trying to look past them.  I decide to take a step to the side and look at whatever is in front of me then.  It was nothing too interesting, so I decided to be just as much of a fuck and reached into the even smaller space now between them and the wall and grab some stuff to look at, making it clear that I was basically shoving them out of the way.  And they moved.  Good.  Get the fuck out of my way.

I then thought I needed to take this mission closer to the ground, so I squatted down to look at the merchandise that had been placed closer to the centre of the Earth.  iPhone cases worthy of this antideluvian shepherd.  So I’m squatting down looking at some stuff when a customer I’ve decided to call Shitcunt comes and stands looking at some of the stuff that’s above me.  Which I’m fine with.  I’m not looking at that stuff!  Look away my friend!  Oh wait…what are you doing?  Why have you decided to look at the stuff above me, but by standing right over the top of me so close that if I were to stand up I’d be placing myself squarely inside your chest cavity, or at best in your armpit.  I was trapped!  Like a moth in a bath!  I could feel my bezerker rage building up inside of me again and decided it was time for action.  I figured I’d just stand up; through Shitcunt if I had to.  This is pretty much what happened.  I stood directly up and bashed Shitcunt aside.  He took a stumbling step away from me, looked at me in what seemed like absolute shock and exclaimed “OH! SORRY MATE!” like he hadn’t even seen me there.  I didn’t acknowledge his apology nor his existence, I just kept looking for the Holy Grail of iPhone cases that I was pretty sure I’d find.  Anyway what does Shitcunt decide to do?  Exactly the same as the mother/daughter pair had done, who I realise now I forgot to name.  Let’s name them after the fact, The Dumbsluts.  So here’s Shitcunt leaning in front of me, not to just grab something to look at, but to study intently at the sake of my being able to actually see anything.

Well my loyal readers, that was me done.  I exclaimed “FUCK THIS!” and made a retreat from the Apple store, once again defeated.

So my question is this…are people just cunts?  Or now that I’m in my 30s am I just getting older and losing patience with pretty much everything, most of all people?

Review: Rick Wakeman – Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974)

Posted in Music on December 25, 2009 by doseofsalt
Rick Wakeman – Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974)
Review taken from – http://www.ozprog.com/forum/showthread.php?p=164920#post164920
Progressive rock legend, Rick Wakeman is a name synonymous with prog, capes and synthesizers. Having recorded a nearly countless number of solo albums and probably most known for his stint in the seminal prog rock band YES, Wakeman is a master musician, composer and loves a good curry. I’ve known the music of YES for quite a while being that nearly all modern prog bands sight them as an influence at some point so just like Rush and Genesis, they’re one of those bands you just come across. Until recently however I had only heard a slight sprinkling of his solo work, and have an unplayed vinyl of Myths and Legends of King Arthur sitting in a cupboard with no record player to spin it on.

So I got my hands on some of his music. In what seemed like the same sort of musical awakening I had when I first got into progressive music, my world was thrown upside down as this music was coming from my speakers and going into my ears for my brain to process…and it was just an absolute joy to listen to. I had found something new in something old that has left me astounded and feeling a fresh wave of progressive appreciation.

So here comes the part where I review Wakeman’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. Much like his first solo outing “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, “Journey…” is an exploration in musical space blending classical composition and instrumentation with electronic instruments and synthesizers, most notably and very much synonymous with Wakeman, the Minimoog. The main difference between his first album and this one however is the inclusion of narration and vocals which gives a lot of clarity to the concept.

Based on the Jules Verne story of the same name, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” musically chronicles the adventure of a group of people following in the trail of an adventurer from the past as they decend deep into the Earth to find the wild, fantastic and wonderful sights of this “world within a world”.

The album was recorded live in 1974 at the Royal Festival Hall in London and features the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir and it is every bit as impressive as that sounds. Wakeman’s orchestrations are just spectacular and he incorporates the traditional orchestra with the electronic sizzling of the Moogs and other synths so well, it feels like they’ve always gone hand in hand. Recorded only 3 years after he joined YES, and at only 24 years old it shows the definite hallmarks of a musical genius both in pure skill and the ability to write and compose for such a variety of musicians and working with traditional and contemporary instruments to make them work so well together.

Lead vocals are handled well by Gary Pickford-Hopkin and Ashley Holt, both of who are old school British prog singers but who I’m not familiar with at all. In front of such an epic backing band of prog keyboard legend, rock band, orchestra AND choir they do a fantastic job. The narration was handled by late British actor/director David Hemmings.

With only two tracks to it, coming from a world of vinyl and side A and B, it’s definitely a “sit down and get taken away” listening experience that clocks in at smack on 40 minutes.

For some people this review will be really old news, but for some people who might be interested in discovering some classic prog for the first time, or who like me have been aware of Wakeman’s solo work but never delved into it, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” would be a great place to start. It’s every bit as bombastic and epic as Wakeman is when he graces the stage, cape flowing and surrounded by the tools of his trade.

A sequel album was released in 1999 which features narration by Patrick Stewart and includes vocal performances by Ozzy Osbourne, Bonnie Tyler, Justin Haward and more.

– Andrew Saltmarsh

Black Clouds & Salty Linings

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by doseofsalt

It’s that time again!  Dream Theater are on tour and I get to write an epic blog about my day.  This year however the blog of reflection will be somewhat smaller as I have only attended one show of this tour.  The previously blogged about responsibilities are part of the reason, the other part is the previously blogged about back injury that I didn’t want to aggravate with cramped plane seats and epic long days after long days following the tour.

So here I sit, at my cosy day job the day after Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation ripped the guts out of the Brisbane Convention Centre with an epic night of prog goodness.

My day began at around 1pm with the now traditional catch up with Jordan Rudess for lunch.  For those who don’t know, I’ve been working for Jordan in a variety of capacities for around eight years or something now from running his chat room to running his website to dealing with online publicity and interview arrangements to cover art producing to whatever else needs done that I’m able to do.  In that time I’ve also had a variety of interaction with other members of Dream Theater either through my involvement with Jordan or through OzProg.com and doing interviews.

So I head down to the hotel that the band are staying at and hit the first hurdle. “Excuse me fine-looking reception lady of posh hotel, can I by chance call up to a room from here?” to which said fine-looking lady says “Of course you can sir, what is the room number?”.  I reply with the correct information and supply the last name of said musician, being “Rudess” to which I am responded with “Sorry that doesn’t match”.

Curse you rock star aliases! So I went with the alias he was booked under last time but to no avail.  This chick is obviously thinking I’m some sort of band fan stalker guy, so I say “That’s fine, thanks, I’ll just call his mobile”.  So I head over to the big plush seats in the lobby and dial away.  “Sorry, the Verizon Wireless customer you are calling is unavailable…”.  DAMN!

So here I sit, continuing to try and get through to Jordan’s mobile in the lobby.  From over my shoulder at the reception desk I hear the girl on the phone saying “What name was that?  Please hold…Salty?”  I turn around to find her smiling and holding the phone receiver out towards me.  Woo success!

So Mr Rudess makes his way down to the lobby and we take a stroll up the Queen Street mall to Jo Jo’s and head up for a bite to eat and a good old-fashioned catch up.  I never realised that place had so much white marble inside of it…I’m sure last time I went there (years and years ago) it didn’t look like that.  But anyway, it was really good and I was thoroughly impressed with my Spaghetti Bolognese, which it claimed in the menu was “THE BEST IN THE WORLD!”.  I’m not sure about that, but it was pretty damn good.

We sat and ate up there and watched the various types of Brisbane wandering around below and spent about two hours or so catching up and talking all things life, business, music and iPhone apps!

Actually…lets back track this 24 hours…

24 Hours Earlier…

In New Zealand, Jordan’s V-Synth rack started having some problems and playing up, so the call was put into the salt-man to see if I could source another one locally here for him to use for the rest of the tour.  So I spent the day before the show on the phone with Roland reps in New South Wales and Queensland trying to track down this piece of uber synth gear that apparently nobody anywhere stocks.  Ended up organising a demo model of the Roland V-Synth XT rack to be express shipped from Sydney to Brisbane.

So that’s the back story of what I was about to say, which was that during lunch I got a call from Brisbane Sound Group to let us know that the V-Synth had arrived and could be picked up.  A call was put into the production team and a runner was sent out to deliver the hire paperwork and such so we could take the rack.

During lunch I gave Jordan as a gift the original pencil drawing that I did for his album Notes on a Dream.  I was worried in the days before that I wouldn’t be able to find it, but I did and he was very happy that I had given it to him.

Over lunch I was lucky enough to star in one of Jordan’s famous tour videos which I have embedded below!

Jordan has uploaded a few Brisbane videos which can be seen here, here, here and here.

So on finishing lunch and making videos it was drawing close to time for sound check so we headed back towards the hotel.  Of course, a small stop off had to me made at Starbucks along the way where we encountered a Dream Theater fan whose name I believe was Aaron, but I can’t be sure…it was probably something completely NOT like Aaron.  Sorry Aaron.  If by chance you are Aaron, or the guy I’m now calling Aaron, make sure you send your photo with Jordan to the Jordan Rudess Facebook page!  This dude Aaron had mentioned that he had spotted The Pirate LaBrie floating around nearby, so who knows what sort of plundering had been going on in the Brisbane CBD that day.

Anyway, we left Starbucks and headed along to the hotel where I had some stuff to grab from Jordan’s hotel room, so headed up there where we proceeded to get completely distracted by checking out some more awesome iPhone music apps now that we were in a quieter environment.  So much awesome stuff.  So we jammed on some iPhone music for a little bit and then I took off to let him get ready for some serious fucking rock.

I made my way over to the Convention Centre at around 4pm and headed in to find some fans lined up already at one of the doors.  Those mothefuckers wanted some prog and they wanted it NOW!  Good to see keen as mustard Dream Theater fans.  I wandered around a bit, had a look at the merch desk and decided I was gonna grab a Dream Theater bandana and fucking totally forgot to get one.  Ah well, I’ll get someone to pick me one up at another show.  Hear that people?  Someone please get me a DT bandana from one of the other shows!  Seriously, I’ll pay you back.  [Edit – This has now been done – Thanks Sam!]

Anyway, I put a call in to Matt, the ever amazing and helpful Dream Theater Production Assistant dude to let him know the salt-man was in the house.  He came and let me in and gave me my shiny laminate VIP pass which I slung around my neck and started a hardcore chill out inside by the stage.

The band turned up shortly after and I said hi to a couple of them who spotted me hanging around.  Said hello to Robert, who is Jordan’s keyboard tech, who, like a LEGEND was rocking the OzProg.com shirt he was given last Australian tour.  What a champion of a bloke.  I made my way up onto the stage to hang out and kicked around keyboard world for a while.  Then it was practical joke time…

I climbed up onto the keyboard riser while Mike, who at this stage hadn’t seen me yet was fiddling around with something to his left on his kit.  I took position where Jordan would usually be, hands on KORG ready to BUST OUT THE PROG!  Mike started saying “OK so shall we play…” and looked around to find a gigantic bearded me standing where he would usually see the much smaller also bearded Jordan.  He looked…blinked…looked and exclaimed “UNCLE SALTY!!!”.  He come over and we had a quick chat and catch up and went back to drum world to get the sound check started.

Jordan, who is forever discovering new gadgets has this new camera made by Zoom called the Zoom Q3, which is more microphone than it is camera, but it’s awesome!  The camera is pretty limited, only has a 2x digital zoom which in my opinion isn’t even worth putting on it, but the microphone is brilliant.  It’s a stereo mic and does a really great job.  Jordan’s recent piano improv pieces on YouTube were done using it.  Why don’t you check one out!  So we figured a good way to test it out would be for me to bootleg a couple of songs from the show and see how they turn out.  I walked around the stage with it filming part of the sound check which was cool.

Dream Theater finished their sound check and ducked off to get some food and have some rest before they had to make a room full of musicians feel really bad about not practicing more (thanks Mikey!).  In their place come the support act for the night, but I know the draw card for some, Sweden’s Pain of Salvation!  They took the stage and did a line check and a bit of a sound check while Mike’s drum tech Jose and the sound guy threw a football the length of the venue to each other.  Mike come out to watch some of the PoS sound check and then wandered off again.  I hung around and checked out Dream Theater’s video guy’s set up, which is absolutely mind-boggling to someone who doesn’t really know what half of it is, and so complex in programming and coding that I was lost after about 5 seconds of him explaining how some new thing works to Jordan.  I have to say, very very impressive.  I wish Clint from Red Tape Pictures had been there, I’m sure he would have been in heaven.

I got a call from Jordan shortly after doors opened to let me know if I wanted to come up to the platinum ticket meet and greet to head up to the production office where I could hang out and watch that go through the motions.  I did that last tour in Melbourne.  It’s awesome seeing all the people there with their stuff, so excited to be meeting the guys and having their photo taken and their stuff signed.  I did some filming of the fans for Jordan on his iPhone and snuck in at the end of the line to get my photo with the band.  I have no idea when I’ll end up getting that, but I’ll post it as an edit to this blog when I do.  When I jumped into the middle of the band calls of “Uncle Salty!” went up again.  I’m not sure where that come from, but apparently that’s me [Edit – OK so “Uncle Salty” is an Aerosmith song – Thanks Mike (Mills)].  Then, strangely, Mike, James and John (Petrucci) proceeded to make up a plethora of nicknames for me in rapid succession that included the word “salt”.  This was strange because the exact same thing happens whenever I go into Billy Hyde Music to see Mikey.  There’s usually two or three new “salt” themed nicknames for me from different staff members.  Dream Theater’s highlights were  Sea Salt (James), Saltrinitus Monks (Petrucci) and Tyrano-salt-us Rex (Mike).  There were others but I can’t remember them all.  So I stood around and every now and then helped James sign a shirt by holding it taught for him.

Edit – Here is my hijacked Meet and Greet photo!

The rumble of Pain of Salvation started floors below us as the line was dwindling down and the guys finished off signing the last of the fans bits and pieces.  Let me take you back 23 months to the last tour.

23 months ago…

At the Melbourne Dream Theater show after show meet up I was with Mike Mills and Brad Dixon and some friends and James come out to say hi and took some photos.  Knowing that he was tired and I was no doubt going to see him again a bunch at other shows I was attending I didn’t worry about getting a photo and we both agreed “we’ll get it later”.  That never happened.  The night of the New Zealand show I sent James a message saying “Don’t forget you owe me a photo…” to which he replied “AHAHAHA I remember!  Let’s make sure we do that”.

Present day, Brisbane Convention Centre…

The platinum meet and greet finishes and the band get up to leave and James turns to me and says “Hey Sea Salt…lets get that pic now to make sure we don’t screw that up again!”.  So the below dodgy photo was taken by Matt on my iPhone.  Shit photo, but it was awesome that James remembered and we finally got it done.

It was time to go and see the awesomeness of Pain of Salvation bust out their phenomenal dark brand of prog metal.  They put on an awesome show!  Would have been nice if a few more people had been there to see them though.

After their set I headed over to the front and made my way backstage again so I could get Jordan’s camera ready to film the first song of the night and headed into the front of the barrier with the other photographers.  They kicked off with “A Nightmare To Remember” which was awesome.  I got some brilliant shots of the guys playing and the audio very rarely peaked, even that close to everything.  On reviewing it though Jordan was sad to report that it was mostly bass and double kicks…but at least they weren’t peaking!  I’m not sure if that video will turn up on his YouTube channel but you never know!  After that I headed out into the crowd to watch the show.  I took the camera back out and recorded Jordan’s keyboard solo from the sound desk…levels sat at a perfect level, so that probably sounds awesome.  The only shame was that the camera is limited, like I mentioned earlier, so JR is a tiny speck on the screen.  After that I headed forward into the crowd and stood about halfway in to film “The Mirror” and “Lie” which it was AWESOME to see played.  Lie rocked like nobodies business.

But get this…I was all over the place with this pretty awesome microphone/camera bootlegging away filming a bunch of songs.  When I finished road-testing Jordan’s camera I found my girlfriend Kylie and started watching the rest of the show.  During Whither I got out my iPhone to record a little bit of the song, knowing the audio would be disgustingly blown out, but you know, just sussing it out.  It was doing THAT that had security come over to me and tell me to cut it out.  Idiots.  I felt like getting all self-important and shoving my big shiny VIP laminate in his face but figured it wasn’t worth the potential hassle if he decided to be a prick.

So Dream Theater rocked my head off.  It was awesome and The Count of Tuscany completely blew my mind live.  Such an amazing song, and a HUGE way to finish the night.

Found Mikey who I had scored an aftershow pass for as he was instrumental in my previous day’s efforts to source Jordan a V-Synth rack.  So we zipped off with Super Matt upstairs to this lounge type area where we sat and hung out.  Jordan come out and we all had a chat and talked about the show and various things.  James come out but couldn’t stay as he had to be on a conference call from the US so said a quick goodbye and he took off.  Did the usual photo taking with Jordan to mark the occasion and made our way back through the production office where we said a brief good-bye to Mike and Rikk, Dream Theater’s tour manager, bid Jordan a fine farewell for another tour and made our way into the night.

A very long but very awesome day was had by your friendly narrator.  Spending some time with Jordan again reinforced with me that he is not only an insanely creative genius but one of the absolute most stellar human beings on the planet.

Until we meet again, Dream Theater…fare thee well.

Don’t forget to check out these awesome links –

Jordan Rudess’ Personal YouTube Channel

The Official Jordan Rudess YouTube Channel

Jordan Rudess on Twitter

Official Jordan Rudess Website

Missing Milestones and Responsibility

Posted in General, Music on November 13, 2009 by doseofsalt

You know, it really sucks.

I hurt my back, as anyone who knows me would be aware of, and it happened at a rather shitty time.  You see, the band that I manage, Arcane, are playing their first interstate show this weekend in Melbourne and I can’t be there.

I should be there; I even have a plane ticket to GET there. But my back just hasn’t healed itself enough for me to risk on the trip.  Considering the journey starts at 6am Saturday morning, the gig is at midnight Saturday night and the return journey is 7am Sunday morning.  Practically 25 hours non-stop I think would just destroy any progress I’ve made on my “active rest” and trying to take it a bit easier on myself to let whatever I’ve done fix itself up.

It made me think to myself, if it was perhaps two or three years ago I’d be on that plane tomorrow morning 100% and would basically have said “FUCK IT” and dealt with whatever relapsed damage I did to my back when I got home.  I’d be able to just rest around the house for weeks and do fuck all.

But you see my dear readers, I have a job now. I have this responsibility that I have to take care of every day Monday to Friday every week of the year. I used to have pretty much unlimited free time to do whatever.  Pursue art work, do music industry stuff, whatever. In those times though, I was pretty much broke.

I’ve gotten myself into that cycle of really liking and appreciating the fact that every week like clockwork now I get a nice little wad of cash put into my bank account.  It’s not a spectacular amount, but it’s better than the situation I was in those two or three years ago.  I come to this office every day, do pretty much the same job over and over again and I get money for it. Responsibility is pretty awesome!

So if I had decided to just be reckless and go to Melbourne sure I’d have a hell of a time, and it’d be awesome to see Arcane play their first show down there. But I’m at a time in my life where I can’t afford to be that reckless dude because I wouldn’t be able to get in to work, which would be bad for cashflow.

And if working on the latest Toehider EP “In All Honesty” has taught me anything it’s that life has nothing to do with integrity and honesty, it’s all completely about making fuckloads of money.

I guess in all of this I could turn the blame onto the band itself.  Afterall it was whist doing work FOR the band that I hurt my back.

So yeah…I guess it’s not because of the increased responsibility I have in my life now that I’m having to miss this milestone…it’s because of Arcane.

FUCK YOU GUYS!

Have an awesome show.

Toehider – Metaltarsus art

Posted in Art, Music with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by doseofsalt

Something I love is when I do some artwork, like it, eventually decide I hate it and abandon it, then even though I know it’s a lost cause I do some tweaking, and I end up LOVING it!

That’s what happened with this EP artwork.  I did this original digital painting and worked myself into hating it.  I then decided to make a joke of it and make the EP a total tongue in cheek project and use this –

Then in the dying hours of our self imposed deadline of the 12th of each month to get the EPs out by I decided to revisit my original idea…made a few changes and BAM!  It struck me as being a completely different picture and really worth keeping!  So at the last minute we decided to go with the original, now tweaked artwork.

Which I present here –

Super double plus fun artwork in the end, after passing through a phase of being the target of my utmost direct HATRED!

You can check out the October offering the 12 EPs in 12 Months project at www.toehider.com/12in12

Enjoy!

Daft Punk – Interstella 5555

Posted in Music with tags , , on October 11, 2009 by doseofsalt

I’ve been a fan of Daft Punk’s album “Discovery” pretty much since it come out in the early 2000s and for many many years had it on cassette in my car.  I don’t own it on CD though, but will remedy that before too long.

Anyway I remember seeing the videos for the first few songs off of it one night on Rage I think and was just amazed by the amount of effort that had been put into them.  They played them back to back so it seemed like a little short film spanning 3 or 4 songs.   They were all Japanese animation and very futuristic.  The story played out as a pop group from outer space was kidnapped by an evil earth music baron and re-manufactured to be a mind controlled earth based pop band.

It was some time ago now that I discovered that the whole album was actually turned into a full length Japanese animated film with each song being a chapter of the movie.  I finally got around to getting it on DVD a couple of weeks ago and have just finished watching it for the first time.

WOW.  So amazingly cool.  The animation is awesome and not over saturated with 3D animation cut aways which usually drives me crazy.  The story is like I mentioned from the first few songs, but as it goes on it’s discovered that this evil music baron is some super powered villain set to conquer the universe with some giant apparatus he’s built covered in gold records.  Doesn’t make sense?  Of course not!  But who gives a fuck?  It’s awesome.

I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to check out something different.

Here’s the trailer!

Digital Radio Fail

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by doseofsalt

Digital radio is upon us and while I don’t have a receiver yet I do indeed want to get one. Anyway, when all of the different off-shoot stations were announced I heard that one of them, called Radar Radio was going to be made up of user submitted content. I at first jumped for joy as it is such a great idea and an awesome way for bands to get their music listed and heard on the radio.

So things start spinning through my head about this awesome new station that bands will be able to submit their music to and build their fan buzz around getting it played on there and hopefully being a great way to get some exposure.

A utopian radio station full of awesome non-commercially driven SHIT where bands can be among their other independent brothers and sisters who are out fighting for exposure without the piles of money being shoved down the throats of the station to make sure it’s played over and over and over.

So I head over to the Radar Radio website with thoughts of utilising this fantastic tool in my work with Arcane…my first step as always for all things music related (which should be for every band) is the Terms and Conditions.

GADZOOKS!

Allow me to quote from said Terms and Conditions –

5. THE SERVICE

(a) The Website and the Service may contain material or content; including, but not
limited to, Recordings, uploaded, posted, emailed or otherwise electronically
transmitted (Posted) by users of the Website, including you (User Content). When you
post material on our Website, you grant Austereo an irrevocable, non-exclusive,
royalty free licence:

(i) to access or examine any User Content;
(ii) to use and reproduce the User Content and to communicate the User
Content to the public, including but not limited to, on and in connection with
any of our radio stations including any digital radio station established by us,
on the Website or any other website operated by us and through any wireless
service (including any service which enables material to be accessed on a
mobile telephone or similar device or by podcast (whether such service is now
known or hereafter developed)); and
(iii) at our discretion, to move, remove or disable access to User Content which
we consider, in our sole opinion, to breach any law or to be otherwise
unacceptable.

(b) To the extent permitted by applicable law, you unconditionally and irrevocably
waive all moral rights you hold in the User Content in favour of us and our successors
and assigns and you unconditionally and irrevocably consent to all or any acts or
omissions by us, or any person authorised by us, in relation to User Content Posted by
you which may infringe any moral rights you hold; including, but not limited to, your
right:

(i) to be identified as the author of any User Content;
(ii) to take action against any false attribution; and
(iii) to object to derogatory treatment of your User Content.

OK so let me now break that down into plain English –

Part 5. The Service – Part a) is basically saying you give them permission to air your music on the station or on any sort of technology that lets people listen to the music, even shit that isn’t invented yet.  You also give them this permission without being able to retract it, so basically forever.  Also, you’re letting them do it all royalty free.  Which means you can kiss APRA payments goodbye from any airplay it gets on the station.  That whole clause to me sounds like a way for them to get out of paying for massive licenses.  Anyway, while not all THAT horrible, it still sucks if you’re not going to get any royalties.

On to b) which is to me actually the more horrific of clauses.  You’re agreeing to give up all of your moral rights in the music to them.  The points i, ii and iii are seriously SHIT for bands, especially ones trying to build themselves a name.

Let’s look at them and some worst case scenarios shall we?

i) To be identified as the author.Hey so they played our song but didn’t say who we are and it’s not listed on the playlist“. It’s all good having your music played on the radio, but what’s the point if they never actually have to say who’s playing it?

ii) To take action against any false attribution.Oh wait they did play my music, they talked about how awesome it was, but they said it was some other band“.  Oh well, too bad you signed away your right to be identified as the author.

iii) To object to derogatory treatment of your User Content.Ok so they played our music and said it was us but then went on to trash the shit out of it, and then they decided to use it as the theme song for their new segment “The Shittest AIDS Infected Music In The World Today“.  We really don’t agree with our music being used in that way.  I mean sure they don’t like it, but they’re just havin’ a laff”.  Woops, you signed all of your moral rights away.

So yeah a great idea, a radio station that bands can submit their music to easilly and potentially get some airplay and get their name out there.  But in reality, is it worth signing so much of your fundimental rights away to the station?

Pretty much every Terms and Conditions out there has some clause that could pretty harshly fuck a band over and I always wonder how many bands actually read the fine print and know what it’s actually saying.

Be vigilant! Make sure you always read what you’re actually agreeing to when you submit your music to these sort of things as you could be giving them permission to do a lot more than you’d know or like them to do.