Damn I Missed It But We Can Still See It

missed-surh-ian-thornley

Don’t you hate it when you’ve missed something awesome? If you’ve been following me for at least the last two months or longer, then you know that I was in Anaheim for the NAMM show in January. The show/convention is so damn large it’s impossible, not virtually but truly impossible, to see everything that goes on. As it turns out, one of my favorite musicians was there and I had no idea. Grrrr. Ian Thornley is a powerhouse of a writer, guitar player and singer. Powerhouse! Not only was Ian there, but he also performed at a private party for an amp manufacturer Suhr. I’ve heard of their amps, though I’ve never played one. A few nights ago as I was prepping the video I released this week as part of the recording process for vocals on a new single – I came across video of Ian’s performance at NAMM. It’s so damn amazing that I had to share it you all.

So many live performances sound so horrible that live music can often leave a lot to be desired. However, when you watch this, you should be floored by how awesome it sounds. I know I am. It sounds like a freakin’ recording. That’s how tight, how solid, how rich, how in tune these guys are. Remember, this is live, and it’s a band that had one rehearsal (it’s not Ian’s regular band). This is why I love playing with awesome professionals. They make it look and sound easy – and it is if you’re like Ian. There’s a real joy when working with musicians who transcend to this level. I remember my first album and how I wanted to be able to pull it off live – to sound just like the record. Wish that band could have stayed together, they had the calibre.

Blown Wide Open Performance I Missed

Do yourself a favor, go buy his music. Go see him live.

Baby's Coming Back By Jellyfish

babys-coming-backIn learning about music and it’s past, there are tons of amazing bands that have been chewed up, spit out and thrown away by the wayside. One such band was Jellyfish. Today I’m taking a look at Baby’s Coming Back by Jellyfish which happens to be one of my favorite bands that never made it huge. The beauty of their writing was the heavy influences from the 70’s with bands like Wings combined with goofy image like glam rock. The heart of the matter was most definitely the amazing songwriting by Roger Manning and Andy Sturmer.

The amazing thing about their songs, other than how catchy they are, is how clever the lyrics are and how well they work the melody with the chords. It’s the total package. I’m saddened that they didn’t catch fire with the consuming public. Alas, you can enjoy them still.

Baby’s Coming Back

I knew that when I saw
That my life would soon move over from the fast lane
Gone would be the days
Of all by drinkin’ and my carrying on

But when I settled down, the party king uncrowned
This stubborn memory hadn’t faded
Too many dumb mistakes and all the grief it makes
Left nothing else to be debated

And if you say that you understand then you’re lyin’
But if you figure that I’m alright now I can’t deny it

Baby’s coming back
Baby’s coming back
So I’m on my best behavior

I can’t take it anymore
I just woke up on the floor today, yeah yeah
I’ve long run out of my last chances but she’s on her way

If I had a dollar for every single time I fought her
I’d buy a handgun
But that couldn’t shoot away
The bull’s eye that she made on my heart

And if I sound like a beaten man well I guess so
But on her way is the sweetest prize and I can’t let go

Baby’s coming back
Baby’s coming back
So I’m on my best behavior

I can’t take it anymore
I just woke up on the floor today, yeah yeah
I’ve long run out of my last chances but she’s on her way

What I told her on the telephone was that I’d been so bad
I wouldn’t blame her if she mowed down these wild oats I’d sown
But when she said she’d give me one more chance
I said knock three times when you arrive

Baby’s coming back
Baby’s coming back
So I’m on my best behavior

I can’t take it anymore
I just woke up on the floor today, yeah yeah

Baby’s coming back, my darling
Baby’s coming back, the feeling
I’ve long run out of my last chances but she’s on her way

SONGWRITERS
STURMER, ANDY

PUBLISHED BY
LYRICS © EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING

Hopefully I’ve hooked you!

Rockstar INXS And Why I Don't Shoot For Instant TV Fame

Last night I played a little gig in Novato CA. The man in charge came up to me saying how amazing my songs and the performance was. When I enquired about further bookings in the area I got asked about notable things I’ve accomplished. I started to rattle of a list and the guy said – but do you have a following in the area. My take on it was that he didn’t care about the accomplishments. Later last night I read a blog post linked by a friend of mine that was about a musician who refuses to audition for TV shows such as The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Rockstar INXS, et al. This got me to thinking about an experience I had with a TV audition and trappings that go with ’em. Get settled in, cause this is a little long.

Several years back there was a show called Rockstar INXS wherein INXS teamed up with a production company to make a show out of finding a new singer for their band. I had numerous friends suggest that I try out for the show. Personally, I wasn’t all that into auditioning for TV shows after seeing some of the results of American Idol. However, it was certainly flattering that friends felt I should front a popular band known the world over.

Rockstar INXS

Rockstar INXS Story

I started getting calls from various friends who were being contacted by the production staff who were looking for specific recommendations for people to audition for the show – not the typical video-yourself-cattle-call thing. I got about 5 of those calls all from different people all saying exactly the same thing “They’re looking for X quality and the only person I can think of recommending for this is you.” So I relented and said yes, you can recommend me for a private audition. Which was how it was presented to me.

I got a call from the production company for Rockstar INXS giving me all the details, the time, the date, what not to wear, what not to do. I said no problem I’ll be there.

The Arrival

When I arrived at the audition location for Rockstar INXS, The Whiskey A-Go-Go in Hollywood, I was a little taken aback as there was a line out the door, down the block and around the corner. I walked to the front door, and mentioned I was there for a private audition to the door person for the production company. He looked blankly at me and said “Go get in line.”

I replied saying that you guys called me, I have a recording session I have to be at at 3:00, obviously that’s a cattle call line. If you want me to audition great, if not, I can go. He then said “Hold on.” Turned, walked inside and brought someone higher up the food chain for Rockstar INXS who came out to speak with me. Said person had a manilla envelope with my name written in sharpie. He said “Fill this out and then come inside.” Then he handed me a pen. I stood to the side and pulled out a contract which I proceeded to read through.

The Contract

There was one clause in the Rockstar INXS contract that stated any song I perform, the rights would revert to them in perpetuity. Knowing that I wasn’t about to give up the rights to a song for an audition, I decided to scratch out that clause. Initial it, then signed it. I put the contract back in the envelope and proceeded back to the front door to go inside.

The Line

The nice person that gave me the contract then shuffled me to the front of the line for my Rockstar INXS audition (not all that private in reality). Which incidentally winded around the room along the wall, until it passed the film crew and ended up at the side of the stage. There was actually two people in line or rather on deck. The “musician” on the stage at the time I was put in line was doing everything the production crew for Rockstar INXS told me shouldn’t be done. He was dressed like Michael Hutchins, he was “performing” an INXS song, and he was doing the moves from the video of that song. Fortunately there was a musical friend whom I knew next to me in line, Kat Parsons. We chatted a bit as we were wondering why this guy was doing everything they asked people not to do. Oh well.

The Performance

Kat got up, did her thing very well for the Rockstar INXS peeps. Then came my turn. As I walked onto the stage, the stage hand had adjusted the mic to what he thought was the correct height. I walked up to the mic and stood behind it only to have to come up to about my collarbone. I made a move to adjust the mic at which point the stage hand came running out stating I wasn’t allowed to adjust it on my own. Ok, weird.

He got it adjusted and I stood back at the mic that was now towering over his head. Guess, he didn’t realize, I’m tall. The director proceeded to ask me some questions which I answered and got some laughs with. Then they asked about the song, I gave them the story behind it. They asked me to play and I proceeded to roll with the song.

The Response

When I finished I got an unexpected response. The whole room erupted in applause, starting with the production crew. This didn’t happen for any of the artists I had seen prior to me. I caught sight of the guys from INXS who were sitting in the upstairs private area. Even they were applauding. As were other musicians in line around the room. It was pretty strange.

The Callback

But Jody – we never saw you on the show.

This I know. I never got a callback for Rockstar INXS. For a short while afterwards I was a little bummed that I got such a great response from the film crew, even from the band and never got called for the show. Life goes on and I didn’t really think much of it. That is until a year later.

Another Show

I got another round of calls from people saying hey this show is coming and the only person I can think of that fits the bill is you. This time the show was called Rockstar Supernova, by the same production company as Rockstar INXS. I shined it on until another friend, Brian Austin Whitney, called and very pointedly asked if I would audition and also asked if I could recommend a few other friends. So I came up with a list of several people that I figured would be great for it, including my buddy Jeff Scott Soto.

The Snub

Brian gave the list to the production company. I never got a call. Brian called me back saying hey – did they call you for an audition. I said no and he replied thinking it was a bit weird because they were asking him for more names. People I had recommended all got called, I did not. So Brian made another list and put my name on it again.

The Second Snub

Again no call.

Brian called yet again to ask if they had called me and I said no. Apparently they were asking him for even more names, but were not auditioning me. So I told him the story about Rockstar INXS, which you’ve now read about. He stated, well, you’re only looking out for your interests, I’m going to ask them why they won’t call you.

The Realization

I heard back from Brian a few days later, but all he could say was they wouldn’t give him a reason as to why they wouldn’t call me. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure it out. Regardless, I’m not bitter about it. Though I will say it was disappointing to be passed over strictly because I wasn’t willing to sign away my rights to a song on the spot. Any good lawyer worth their salt would have negotiated that point.

Yet Another Show

About a year ago, I was called by yet another friend asking if I would like to do a special audition for America’s Got Talent. I said sure. So he sent the producers forms over for me to fill out. Can you guess what happened?

The Ignore

I haven’t seen you on that show either Jody.

Bingo – no callback.

The Reality

I don’t begrudge people that are looking to fast-track their roll in the music business. However, as an observation about these shows – very few of the winners and contestants go on to have meaningful careers. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it’s a pretty small amount. I’ve met several people who have been on those shows and gotten to the semis and the finals. Most of them have gone back to their hometown and back to their day jobs. Only one that I personally know, and have worked with, has turned his time on The Voice into something that is working for him. That’s Will Champlin. I applaud him because he’s really been able to use his 3rd place finish as a great springboard. Plus he’s still an excited musician and down to earth dude. Will is a career musician and as far as I can tell, always will be – no matter what. Which is what I am.

As I’m finishing up new songs, I’m now working harder than ever to get things to percolate and rise. One person at a time, until it becomes thousands, then 100s of thousands, then millions. It all comes down to the song and the performer and the audience and the word of mouth. Besides there’s nothing like bouncing back after you’ve lost everything and been homeless.

Thanks for reading.

Jody

p.s. – have you signed up for my email list?

p.p.s. – Feel free to comment, discuss, and chat about your TV experience.

Stylo By Gorillaz

Stylo-Gorillaz

Having just shot the video for Touch last night and being that there are elements of Touch that sound like they were inspired by Gorillaz, I had to throw in today’s Throwback – Stylo by Gorillaz. One it’s a cool tune. Two, it’s got that indie but high budget feel. I really like how they took the previous elements of their animated characters and moved them into a more “real” world, rather than an animated world. I’m excited to see how Touch turns out, however we have more shooting we’ll have to do. Much like how Bruce Willis gets out at the end of Stylo to check and make sure he has to shoot ’em dead if he finds ’em.

Stylo

[Mos Def:]
Love, electricity, shockwave central
Pummel on the motherboard, yes
Push up, overload, legendary heavy glow
Sunshine, thunder roll, keep it all together
Yes the lantern burn, burn it easy
And broadcast, so raw and neatly
Thunder roll, sunshine, work it out

[2D:]
Overload, overload, overload
Comin’ up to the
Overload, overload, overload
Comin’ up to the
Overload, overload, overload
Comin’ up to the
Overload, overload, overload
Comin’ up to the

Oh Stylo… (juice)
Go forth, blossom in your soul
When you know your heart is right
Electric is the love
When the mako flies (a giant fish)
Up from the bottom in your eyes
Then I know the twilight skies, not so broken hearted (from the end of the line)

[Bobby:]
Yes, this love is electric
It’ll be flowing on the street
Night after night
Just to get through the week
Sometimes it’s hard
Right now

[2D:]
Sing yourself (juice)
Out of depression, rise above
I’ll be searching if I know your heart
Electric is the love

[Bobby:]
There’s only one way
Let it pray a little while longer
It’s got a way of passin through man and woman
In another world
In another world, in the universe
Right now
Here’s what we got to do
Yes, this love is electric
It’ll be flowing onto the street
Night after night
Just to get through the week
Sometimes it’s hard

[Mos Def:]
That’s what I’m talking about
Love, electricity, shockwave central
Pummel on the motherboard, yes
Push up, overload, legendary heavy glow
Sunshine, thunder roll, keep it all together
Yes the lantern burn, burn that easy
And broadcast, so raw and neatly
Thunder roll, sunshine, work it out

[Bobby:]
Right now

Enjoy!

Highwire By Badlands

badlandsAs a guitar player, one that is into bands and players of yore that were considered guitar gods, I delved into all kinds of bands and players. One such player that I loved while learning to play guitar was Jake E. Lee. Jake came into guitar god fame by getting that coveted guitar slinger spot for Ozzy Ozbourne. He recorded two albums with the Oz master then went on to start a band called Badlands. Still rockin, but in a very bluesy sense compared to the metal stylings he had with Ozzy. All this leads me into the opening cut of the debut release of Badlands self titled disc, Highwire. Super energetic and bluesy in the vein of Led Zeppelin with a flair of metal = something that still rocks years later after it came out.

Why am I even thinking about this tune? Well last weekend was NAMM and a bunch of my friends happened to catch Jake E. Lee’s new band performing at a NAMM event. I was at a separate event so I missed the performance but I heard about it and that Jake was still rockin’ hard.

Highwire

Standin’ here, I got my eye on you
Your story bleeds, but there’s no review
Honey drip and set my soul on fire
Stealin’ hearts got me walkin’ the wire
You’re gonna lose control
All night long
When I find my love, love, love
High wire

Flash a smile, like a shiny blade
Everyone there thinks ya got it made
Sorry, child, can you take me higher
But you keep me hangin’ on your lonely wire
You’re gonna lose control
All night long
When I find my love, love, love
High wire

(Solo)

Oh, feels so good
You give me lovin’ like no one could
You turn me child, inside out
Still you leave me drownin’ in a sea of doubt

You’re gonna lose control
All night long
You’re gonna steal my soul, mama
You can’t go wrong
When I find my love, love, love
High wire

Love, love, love
Oh, sweet child, I know where you come from now
High wire, baby
Oh, oh, oh

Enjoy and rock on!

Rise Today By Alter Bridge

rise-today-alter-bridgeHot damn it’s that awesome time of the year. Today is the opening day of NAMM. Wanna find me right now – I’m somewhere in the annals of the Anaheim Convention Center mingling with my endorsers (hint, they’re listed at the bottom my website here), and meeting fellow musicians that I don’t get to see all that often. One such musician that I’ve only met in passing is Myles Kennedy. He is hands down one of my favorite rock singers of all time. The dude has awesome clean tones, amazing grit, and serious emotion as he sings. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a great charisma as well. I’m a fan. It would be a dream come true to craft a song with Myles, however, I don’t know him well enough to get him on the phone to make it happen. Not yet anyway.

Here’s one of their songs where you get the roller coaster of clean to grit and high rises on the melody along with cool and smashing guitar tones. Enjoy Rise Today by Alter Bridge as vocalized by Myles Kennedy. If you want to get some instant visual updates of my adventures at NAMM then follow me on Instagram.

Rise Today

The wind is blowing cold
Have we lost our way tonight?
Have we lost our hope to sorrow?

Feels like we’re all alone
Running further from what’s right
And there are no more heroes to follow

So what are we becoming?
Where did we go wrong?

[Chorus:]
Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
Oh, won’t you rise today
And change this world?

The sun is beating down
Are we ever gonna change
Can we stop the blood from running?

Our time is running out
Hope we find a better way
Before we find we’re left with nothing

For every life that’s taken
So much love is wasted

[Chorus:]
Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
So won’t you rise today
And change

This world
Only love can set it right
This world
If only peace would never die

Seems to me that we’ve got each other wrong
Was the enemy just your brother all along?

[Chorus:]
Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
Oh won’t you rise today
And change this world?

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Maybe I'm Amazed By Wings

wings-paul-mccartneyMy parents were big time fans of classic rock. What that means is that while I was wee little lad running around the house, really cool melodic oriented rock music was the sound du jour. One of the bands that got a lot of rotation was Wings. Sometimes known as Paul McCartney and Wings. One of my favorite songs he’s written is his ode to Linda his wife, Maybe I’m Amazed. I really love the music, the melody and the flow. It’s one of the most perfect love songs of all time. Period.

One time I decided to learn the song and translate it to acoustic guitar and vocal for a live show in Hollywood, CA. It went over extremely well. In fact, thinking about it now, I need to dig that song back out and put it back under my fingers and stuff the words into my mouth. I really don’t play enough cover tunes. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good, that’s the feeling I get when it comes to this song and now I want you to feel that same feeling. Especially if you’ve never really taken the time to enjoy the song. Enjoy it now!

Maybe I’m Amazed

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time,
And maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you pulled me out of time,
You hung me on the line.
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.

Baby, I’m a man, maybe I’m a lonely man
Who’s in the middle of something
That he doesn’t really understand.

Baby, I’m a man,
And maybe you’re the only woman who could ever help me.
Baby, won’t you help me to understand?
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh,
Oh.

Baby, I’m a man, maybe I’m a lonely man
Who’s in the middle of something
That he doesn’t really understand.

Baby, I’m a man,
And maybe you’re the only woman who could ever help me.
Baby, won’t you help me to understand?
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you’re with me all the time,
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I leave you.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song,
Right me when I’m wrong-
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.

I Want To Break Free By Queen

i-want-to-break-freeA few years ago I was invited to dinner by one of my best friends Jeff Scott Soto. He prefaced it by saying, we’re going to dinner with Roger Taylor from Queen, don’t bring any music, don’t say you’re a musician, don’t ask about Queen. To which I asked Jeff when had I ever done something like that to anyone I’ve ever met through him [never was the answer]. I got to Koi near the Beverly Center in Los Angeles a few minutes late. They had already had some drinks and the moment I arrived we got seated.

First thing that comes out of Roger’s mouth as we sit is: “So what do you do?” I turn and look at Jeff thinking – what the hell do I say since he’s put it out there that I can’t say I’m a musician. I pause for a second and point at Jeff saying “I do what he does.” Roger responds with “Oh fantastic. Anything I’ve heard.” From there on out it was much easier conversing. The song “I Want To Break Free” comes on over the loud system. Mind you, I’m really curious about the solo in the song and I’m holding my tongue knowing I’m not supposed to ask. That is until Roger blurts out, what the hell is this doing on the loud system? It was never a hit for us. Boom, open game. Both Jeff and I express how cool of a song it is and I got in the question “Is that Brian on guitar or is that someone mimicking Brian on a synth for the solo?” Roger chuckles and proceeds to tell Jeff and I the inner workings of how and what Queen did when recording. I’ve written a book about my musical life and the story about this dinner, the song and what Roger told us is in it. You’ll have to wait to find out what he told us.

I Want To Break Free

I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free.

I’ve fallen in love
I’ve fallen in love for the first time

And this time I know it’s for real
I’ve fallen in love, yeah
God knows, God knows I’ve fallen in love.

It’s strange but it’s true
I can’t get over the way you love me like you do
But I have to be sure
When I walk out that door
Oh how I want to be free, baby
Oh how I want to be free,
Oh how I want to break free.

But life still goes on
I can’t get used to, living without, living without,
Living without you by my side
I don’t want to live alone, hey
God knows, got to make it on my own
So baby can’t you see
I’ve got to break free.

I’ve got to break free
I want to break free, yeah
I want, I want, I want, I want to break free.

Collective Soul Shine

shine by collective soulIf there is a band with a more interesting story of a comeback before hitting fame than Collective Soul, I’d like to know who it is. As the story goes, Collective Soul got signed after they had already broken up. All because one of their songs was starting to get a lot of airplay. Along comes a label who sees the song is doing well, contacts the former band’s leader and offers them a deal. The leader contacts the band and gets ’em back together. The rest could be called history. Collective Soul has a super string of amazing hits and if I’m not mistaken it started with this particular song Shine. I once crossed paths with Collective Soul backstage at one of their concerts in Los Angeles. Super cool guys who play really catchy tunes. Here it is Collective Soul Shine.

Shine

Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water
Love is in the air
Show me where to look
Tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

Enjoy!

Jingle Bell Rock And Snow

jingle-bell-rockWhat a swell time of year…

Talk about a phrase that sounds dated. Actually it’s more the word ‘swell’. That really feels like something straight out of the 50’s. So far it doesn’t seem to translate to the 10’s, sixty years later. However, the sentiment of the holidays does. What I usually end up associating this song with though is the opening scene of a movie called Lethal Weapon. I don’t remember which one, but it takes place during the holidays and some woman jumps off a building at the beginning. How’s that for a crazy holiday song connection between Jingle Bell Rock and the holidays? Regardless, I still like the simplistic nature of this original version of Jingle Bell Rock.

Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air.

What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away

Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Jingle around the clock

Mix and a-mingle in the jingling feet
That’s the jingle bell,
That’s the jingle bell,
That’s the jingle bell rock

Hope you’re enjoying your holidays!