Friday, November 30, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: Urban Dance Squad's Silvano Matadin On "Man In The Corner"

New readers:  every other Friday I feature a great bass player/bass part.  There's a ton on this blog - just search the blog using the term "Fat Friday Feature".  You'll get your fill of bass awesomeness.  Today, I'd like to bring your attention to Silvano Matadin's playing on "Man On The Corner".

Before I headed out to Wednesday night's audition, I remembered to run down to the basement and grab a handful of old CD's that I hadn't listened to in years.  It was a very, very good call.  Hurtling down the road, blaring the stereo, having my own private party.  It was a great way to get pumped for the audition.  (But again - to drive the point home - there's no substitute for practicing.)

In my slightly over-an-hour commute, I must've listened to at least 3 different Urban Dance Squad songs.  Do you remember Urban Dance Squad?  They peaked out at #21 on the U.S. charts with a pretty good tune called "Deeper Shade Of Soul".  Don't feel bad if you don't remember them - I bet no one does.  But in our family, I have at least three other siblings that gave their album "Mental Floss For The Globe" regular rotation in the '90s.  I think that makes us a pretty big anomaly; I also think we account for about 1/3 of UDS's U.S. fan base.  There are different things I like about each of their songs - there is one that even has pedal steel guitar, and you know how much I love pedal steel guitar - but they consistently have great guitar and bass on every tune.  What I like about the bass playing on "Man On The Corner" is that it is fast but fluid; and there's some funky timing stuff going on in there at points.  It's a great "jam" (as they used to say in the '90s), so take a listen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Jamodo Audition Was Probably A Bust

I had my audition for the Indianapolis band Jamodo last night.  While I've not officially heard one way or another, I pretty sure I didn't get the job.  My playing was stiff, soulless, and clumsy; I basically came off as kind of not all there and clueless.  Drag man.  Drag.

Still, I'm not too down about it.  It's hard to get too bummed when I have 3 other musical projects that I'm involved it.  The take aways are this - many of which are conclusions that for some reason, I most learn over and over again, ad naseum:

  • Practice, practice, practice.  And when you think you've got the songs down, practice some more.  If, like last night, I even have the slightest feeling that I didn't practice enough, it's another voice in my head that I don't need, distracting me from what I should be doing:  tearing it up.
  • Have got to get that formal background in theory.  There's no two ways about it.  And as much as I want to go into lessons, I should probably just find a fucking book and work through it.
  • Regarding practice:  it's fun.  I should definitely do it more often.  I don't know why I procrastinate on doing it.
  • My bass (1997 Music Man Sting Ray) sounds bad ass through the right amp.  I used the horn player's bass amp, and it sounded way better than my poor SWR LA Series amp.  Not that the SWR is bad at all.  I just think I'm ready to graduate to more tonal options.
  • If, on the off chance I get in; and if, on the off chance I can make this work (they are based in Indy after all, which is an hour away - a big deal when one has a family and other obligations), this will be a big challenge for me, one that I welcome.  I'm not really steeped in this kind of R&B/Jazz/soul thing they have going on, so this will pull me in a completely new, entirely desirable direction.
  • Along the lines of "new directions" - all of the guys (and gal!) in this band are way more accomplished than me musically.  For me, one of the best ways to get better is to play with folks who're better than me.  I would've definitely had that with this group.
At any rate, once I know for sure if I'm in or out, I'll update accordingly.  But he benchmark I use for judging my performance was this:  would I hire me?  My answer is: probably not.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

James Zink On The Post Election "Secession Movements"

My brother Jim's a pretty sharp cat.  I've told him multiple times that it was only a matter of time before he'd end up answer questions on NPR or CNN or whatever.  Lo and behold - here is Jim on "The State of Things" discussing all the post election talk of secession from those disappointed with the results of this year's election.  Give it a listen.

Follow Up To Last Month's Updates

As October was drawing to a close, I did an entry that updated everyone on my musical comings and goings.  Things didn't quite pan out the way they were supposed to with a few of those adventures.  That's not totally bad though.

My audition for Jamodo got bumped back to tomorrow due to a family issue with one of the members of the band.  I have to admit I"m a little nervous, and it's totally my fault for not practicing more.  Still, I think I can make a run at this.  I'll let you know how it went after tomorrow night.

In early December, I was to head to the Redmond, Washington area (aka Trowar HQ) to do another gig and some rehearsing.  That also was bumped back - probably February of 2013.  I did get an update from Fred on the status of the CD as well as my "homework" before we meet again:
Matt, things went well the CD is mastered and sounds amazing
We need a photo of you asap, we figured possibly something of you sitting at a table playing cards with a bottle of whisky and a cigar or something?
Oh Lord - this should be funny.  Maybe I should head to Brown County and get one of those dopey souvenir faux tintypes made.  The upshot is it will provide an interesting photography challenge for me, and I can showcase the rad rye whiskey I've been sipping on lately.

Okay - updates soon.  Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!

You Could Use A Dose Of The 80s

Sorry I've been so m.i.a. lately.  There's plenty to catch up on, and December should feature some stuff I'm pretty excited to share.  For now, enjoy some obscure music videos from the Golden Age of the Music Video.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fat Friday Feature DOUBLE SHOT: Stuart Zender On Jamiraquai's "Runaway"; Paul Denman On Sade's "Smooth Operator"

Okay, okay I admit it:  this Jamiroquai tune is (at least in my mind) disco.  Disco is the alpha and omega of suck; the beginning, ending and ever shall be.  But Jesus, listen to the bass.  I found myself tuning out everything else.  Damn.

And then there's Paul Denman, whose playing is typically very simple, very supportive of everyone else.  As a kid, I thought this groove sounded like it would be hard to play; it's actually not.  But I still love how this bass line sounds.

Interesting fact:   seeing Denman play a Sting Ray in this video was the first time I can remember seeing one (though other dudes like that guy from Aerosmith had been playing them since the late 70s).  I wanted one from that moment on.  Eventually, I bought a 1977 Sting Ray off my bass teacher.  It's been my primary electric bass ever since - it's one of my most prized possessions.  And at Quack's insistance, I named it after a woman:  Sade.  Why?  Because it's so ssssmmmmmooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeee.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breaking News: I Just Inherited A Ton Of "Bass Player" Back Issues

I went to help a woman with her computer here at work.  I noticed she had an issue of "Bass Player" magazine on her desk, and it had the address tag on it.  I casually mentioned that I'd take her back issues if she didn't want to hang onto them.  Man, did she come through - there's probably 40 issues in there.
Now I can spend hours looking at lessons that I can't read and equipment I can't afford!  Seriously - I'm pretty stoked about this for some reason.  Thanks Mandy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Audio Scratch Pad: Irate Romney Supporter [Not Safe For Work Or Children]

The election is over.  There are winners (Obama, pot, gay marriage, Nate Silver and cold hard data aggregation) and there were losers (Romney, Tea Party backed candidates, conservative pollsters and pundits, conservative PACs).  So now, we get the same tired post-election news stories about the losing party needing to do some "soul searching" and crap about one party/candidate or another having a "mandate from the people".  Of course, the post election coverage will soon cave in under the weight of the coverage of the new movie releases for the Christmas season, end-of-year "best of/worst of" lists, and "how to host the holidays"-type coverage.  We won't have to endure it too much longer.

The one new story that seems to be cropping up in various forms from various outlets is the post election white rage that has exploded in conservative circles.  It's an amazing phenomena - you know it's "viral" (Lord how I hate that word) when there's a Tumblr site for it.  Instead of greeting the results with thoughtful stoicism, we get pissed off one percenters and of course protests filled with racial slurs.  (And what's with Obama's "black face" at the Fox News website?)  It's been a little scary to watch; but mostly it's entertaining.  The one embedded below has orchestral accompaniment that makes it a bit more entertaining, but the original is the stuff of legend.  Take a listen:


I want to be clear:  although most of the election results pleased me a great deal, I'm not gloating.*  All I have to do is remember the darkness that overcame this country from 2000 to 2008.  A kind of hijacking of processes, policy and mentality that will take decades from which to recover (if at all).  Those years will keep me modest.  Instead, I'm presenting this clip for two reasons:

  1. This woman can cuss, and there is something amazing about that.  I'm serious.  There will be a blog entry about this in the future, but some folks make cussing sound like poetry, like song.  A song that that in this case can bludgeon you to death.  Some folks just sound annoying/stupid when they cuss; others are like verbal prize fighters.  It's hard to explain, but this woman's got it going on in the four letter word category.
  2. Regarding this woman's "work" on behalf of conservative causes:  there is this emerging, extremely troubling, uniquely modern way of thinking, that, regardless of your political/moral leanings, people thing that posting links on your Facebook page or tweeting about a given cause is somehow "activism".  Look at the Arab Spring, right?  That was won by Facebook and Twitter, right?  Wrong.  Social media is the tool.  People are the change.  You must go out and live your values.  This poor bitch can post all the links she wants.  Doesn't mean a thing if she's not getting involved.

* - But if I was gloating, I'd like to dedicate this song to Mitt Romney.  Listen to the words.  It works.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Change To The Blog Format

It occurs to me that the focus of this blog, or at least the writing, is too myopic and of no real interest to anyone but myself.  As this blog was meant to primarily be an entertaining meditation for me, I'll probably continue on with it anyway.  But I would like to make one change in the hopes it will be a bit more entertaining to everyone who swings by here.

I'm going to start doing "Fat Friday Features" - this blog's showcase of great bass players/bass parts - every other Friday instead of every Friday.  In doing so, it is my hope that those entries will be a bit more carefully thought out/written.  It is also an attempt to introduce a greater diversity of subjects within the confines of "pondering the audio input of my life".

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: The Throwing Muses' Leslie Langston On "Colder"

On Fridays, outstanding bass parts/bass players are featured at this blog.  Today, it's Leslie Langston of the Throwing Muses.

This is how I like to imagine my bass playing sounds to others.  (Even though it doesn't sound like this.)  I love the tone and yes, the business.  I also love how she switches down to a much lower register around the 2:05 mark.   (I also love Kristin Hersh's psycho laugh at the end, but that doesn't have anything to do with bass.)  This bass line is BAD ASS - and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Colder by Throwing Muses on Grooveshark