About a year and a half ago my friend Greg Watton came to me wanting to write another song. I mentioned that I thought it would be a great idea to write about Veteran’s, especially since he is a veteran and was going through some rough stuff at the time. So he came up with some lyrics centered around forgotten warriors of America.
We tooled around with the musical direction. I had started one musical idea but Greg felt it wasn’t quite hitting the right direction. Thus I scrapped that and started something entirely different. He was excited about the new version, which meant it was time to go after the melody.
Once I finally started digging into the words we had to work on doing a bit of rewriting and editing, as good songwriters often do. The hook became a double-edged hook after I suggested we remove the ‘of America’ part of the title. It didn’t sing or flow well. Once that was removed it became anthemic! Anthemic in two different parts.
Greg and I wanted a song that could strike up the awareness about how our veterans are treated after serving our country. Many are left fending for themselves and in dire need of help after seeing the ravages of serving the country. As a terrible and prime example, consider the recent shooting in Thousand Oaks CA. There is a veteran who was obviously having some trouble and had no-one listening.
Our goal is to have you help make this song a national anthem for veterans. It’s easy to sing along for the chorus and feels wholly empowering in the process.
Our original plan was to release the song a year ago, but due to unfortunate circumstances I had to forego the idea of releasing last year.
Fast forward a year…
Now it’s been released as of last Friday morning. The buzz of the feedback has been great. As I was doing the first live performance of the song last night in sound check at the local TV station, the production crew and host was already singing the song before airtime. It’s always incredible when people you don’t know are singing your words and melodies back at you. Flattering and humbling.
I look forward to having you singing it back to me at a future show!
Life sure loves to throw a 180 turnaround don’t it?
If you hadn’t heard, I am to be going out on tour this summer. Opening for a significantly bigger artist.
Said act has disappeared into the ether, so plans have to be changed. I’m currently doing a zag when I was supposed to be doing a zig right now.
See, I was anticipating being homeless for a good portion of 2018 and on into 2019. I mean that in a great way. The plan was to be out on tour for 18 months, initially kicked off with the aforementioned artist. Its not a state secret that it takes roughly 18 months straight of touring in order for an artist to gain critical mass.
Band members were given setlist choices and had voted on their favs.
Based on the scheduling that was planned for, I should have been in Los Angeles now starting several weeks of rehearsals. To make sure the show was as tight as can be and to work out all the parts for everyone.
Said artist had requested that we were to be in the city of the first date of the tour a week early so that rehearsals could be done with their crew to work out the sound and the transitions between my crew and their crew. Smart thinking if you ask me.
Speaking Without Contracts
The drag is, I hate talking about projects before contracts are signed. This business is so erratic that its impossible to judge what is going to happen. We were to get the contracts for the tour in early February. Which meant we had a deadline for getting things in place in order to be ready to sign said contracts.
In a 180 turnaround, there was a desire to make a soft announcement about the tour to companies that I have endorsements with. Which is ideal at the winter NAMM show that takes place in late January.
I felt pretty darn secure in that my camp had gotten everything that was requested of us for the tour a week prior to NAMM. It didn’t hurt that there was a lot of communication happening between our respective camps. Thus I started leaking the tour plans to my endorsors. Introducing band members to them and helping band members to get endorsements with other companies that more directly related to their instrument.
Part of leaking the tour plan was to talk about how I was planning on doing the sound setup. A 180 turnaround from how its normally done.
All band members, apart from the drummer, had agreed to use a laptop and an audio interface as their sound source for their guitar sounds and vocals. This was a great selling point for several companies I have endorsements with. Most bands don’t do this. Consistency of sound and ease of setup for soundcheck is the primary reason. It really reduces the sound person’s job to mostly dealing with the drum levels, as that would be the most inconsistent source of sound.
With the rest of us going direct and using in-ear monitors it reduces a ton of the guesswork of sound. The guitar, bass, and vocal rigs would remain the same with very minor tweaks needed for levels and PA eq. That’s the beauty of the computer setups.
I found a fantastic company to make a rack setup to house the computers and audio interfaces. Which would have made setup a breeze. Especially since we’d all be wireless. Pretty much plug in the power. Plug in the midi switchers (my custom HIVE) for switching sounds for songs. Then plug in the output of the band to the board. No mics on instruments to mess with, other than the drums.
It started 180 turnaround about a month ago. I began reaching out to other contacts to find another tour to hop on. I felt like something was wrong when the communication tapered off from the artist’s camp. That’s when I was asked to make a list of a bunch of other bands I felt would be a good fit.
Then while in the middle of a writing session for another musical project I got a phone call from the point person putting everything together.
The first thing I was told was that the agent who was dealing with the extra dates, between the weekend dates with the artist I was to open for, the press and radio stuff – decided he was going to quit music. BOMB Drop…
Next up was the announcement that the person putting all the other moving parts together decided to also get out of the music business and become a preacher. BOMB Drop 2.
One of the main contacts I had reached out to find other bands came back saying: I can’t find anyone else who is doing an actual tour. Everyone is doing one-off dates. BOMB Drop 3.
A few days ago I started informing people that I had told at NAMM that the tour had gone into the ether.
The beauty is that everyone in the music industry can relate on some level. The pouring of support that I got back from people was certain uplifting. So many providing words of encouragement and some sending similar stories of things that have happened to them.
After the 2nd round of emails that I sent letting out what had happened, I got a call from an unlikely source who had contact with someone that had a cursory role before. Its a little early to tell but I’m encouraged about the initial contact.
To be continued…
New Single Thump Thump Thump
Thump Thump Thump dropped Friday August 19th 2016.
A labor of love that took a long road to fruition. I’m excited to finally have it out free in the world for you to enjoy. Interested in the lyrics and reading the liner notes? Click here.
Here’s the Spotify link:
See you on the road soon!
BTW – It features Jesse Stern on bass, and Erez Ginat on drums.
2016 is off to a crazy start.
It began with a quick set in Sebastopol CA just after the holidays. Immediately after that it was a quick stop home, then off to Los Angeles for the NAMM show. My favorite mass event to attend. Its like a Guitar Center on Steroids. For the 2016 NAMM I was only able to attend for a single day – the first day. In hindsight, it was a good thing. I made sure to zip thru the show and make face time with all my endorsements.
I did spot a couple of new things that caught my eye. One is the StageClix wireless system. The first one to operate on the 5.8GHz band. Plus it rechargeable with 100 meter range. Oh and it’s all digital.
The plugin that caught my eye was the E2 DeEsser. It appears to be a hyper intelligent DeEsser that can tell the EQ curve when to turn on and when to be off so that it is not effecting the rest of the track when it’s not needed.
I’m also going to be picking up the Trim Two by Radial. I’ll be sticking it inline after my Apollo Twin for my live performances going forward in 2016. In case you missed it, I’ve gone digital with my guitar sounds (acoustic and electric). But as I’ve already learned, my computer is often way too loud for PA output. Go figure! Thus the need for a highly transparent but durable direct box!
One other item I picked up was the Oasis Humidifier. Previously I’ve been using two humidifiers in my guitar case but they couldn’t keep up with the needs of the guitar. In steps the Oasis Humidifier and for 2016 my guitar will be keeping properly hydrated. Thanks guys!
I will also be adding the Telefunken M-80 to my vocal lineup in 2016. I need a kickin mic to do some of my looping parts and this mic will fit the bill nicely.
Right after NAMM closed on Thursday I was back on the road and headed to Park City for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
It started with a very cool dinner put on by White Bear PR and SESAC. I got to hang with some amazing composers like John Swihart and Carla Patullo. We enjoyed some amazing food at Cafe Terigo and discussed all kinds of things from music to life.
Over the course of Sundance I did multiple performances at venues like The Spur and Flanagans. Audience reaction was favorable. To the point that I’ve been asked to score a film that is in the final stages of funding. I’ve also been asked to do some co-writing with some peers that I’d really like to write with. That’s an awesome thing!
One last perk is that a manager has decided to start courting me about managing me.
I’m in the midst of working out the next video for the new single Thump Thump Thump coming soon. Thanks to Sundance I’m seeing about the particulars of making it a VR video as well.
If you haven’t seen Nightwatch on A&E yet, what are you waiting for?
That day or rather that night has finally come! Nightwatch on A&E has its season 2 premier tonight and yours truly composed the music that opens the show.
You read that correctly. I wrote the opening theme music for the show Nightwatch on A&E – airing at 10/9c. Set your DVR now, save the show! Watch each week. Tell your friends to watch. Hopefully you don’t end up on the show in the future – and I really do mean that.
HIVE is alive! You’ve seen pictures. I’ve blogged about it. Now you can see the actual device in this teaser trailer.
Get ready to hear the future of guitar tones, cause I’m taking this on tour in the near future.
Its always nice to get some recognition for the music I create. Recently I was nominated for Best Pop Song for the Utah Music Awards of 2015.
Best Pop Song
About a week prior to the event, I was contacted by the group putting on the awards and asked if I would be willing to introduce and announce the category for Best Soundtrack. I responded with a “Sure thing, I’d be happy to.”
Of course I told a few close friends and one of them asked – do you think they’re asking you because you’re not going to win your category? I wasn’t even thinking about it. But then I decided I’d go listen to the other songs that were nominated. One was a somber ballad. Another was an alternative rock song and the 3rd nominee was a folk tune. None of which really fit the category of Pop. I figured I was a shoe in and responded with nah.
Held at the Covey Center in Provo, it was like attending any other award show. People and musicians milling about, taking pictures, chatting and having a good time. I was given my card of nominees and the winner for Best Soundtrack just prior to the start of the event. I was given a seat front row center. I was feeling pretty darn good.
One thing I noticed about the awards was how fast they were burning thru the categories. Faster than any awards I’d ever been too.
It came time for me to head backstage to get ready to present for Best Soundtrack. When I was announced as the presenter, the announcer screwed up my name. WTF? ran thru my head as I walked out with mic in hand. Touch was playing in the loud system. and I walked out with a smile and proceeded to make a comment about doing music for soundtracks. Of course I’ve got experience with that.
I got a quick laugh with the off-the-cuff joke I made and on to the nominees I went. Reading out the names. I opened the envelope and announced the winner.
I was looking out into the audience and even asked if the artist was there.
The response was silence and then I was surprised by a video being played behind me of the winner making an acceptance speech video a pre-recorded video.
My thought as this happened? Thanks for informing me the winner wasn’t there and making me look like a moron on stage. Appreciate that one.
I got back to my seat and a couple of categories later, they announced the Best Pop Song. Read off the nominees and before the presenter could even open the envelope the screen behind him was showing the name of the winner and it wasn’t me. The presenter, clueless to the fact that he didn’t really need to read it, got his envelope opened and read the name. Odd that this was the only category of the night where that happened.
Was I disappointed? You bet. It sucks to lose. For a brief moment I wanted to go Kanye on the stage.
After the event, I did have several people question how the song that won was even classified as a pop song. What can I do? I didn’t have a hand in the voting or categorizing. I lost. But I will express it like this. I think I know how Metallica felt when they lost to Jethro Tull at the Grammys for Best Metal Album.
Waking up via an email in your inbox saying Touch nominated for best pop song is a pretty cool thing!
Touch Nominated For UMA
This morning my inbox contained an email from the Utah Music Awards, kinda like the Grammys for Utah, stating that Touch (feat. Jacarri) would be up for an award come this September for Best Pop Song. That’s enough to help get this week started off on a good foot.
Makes a musician/producer feel like all the hard work putting a lush pop song is worth the effort. Next up is submission for the actual Grammys. Yup, Touch will be in the initial voting round for the 2016 Grammys. Fingers crossed it can garner enough votes to break into the nomination round. Anyone willing to hold their breath for me?
Its gonna be an interesting week as other big changes are about to occur.
Moving Into The Lead
There’s a little event coming up called the Utah Music Awards. My single Touch has been entered into the process for Best Pop Song and for Best Music Video. There’s an ancillary award called the Audience Choice Award. Currently Touch, as I write this post, has been moving into the lead. But there’s a hot contender that is moving up fast.
Awards events can be a massive boost to the ego, or they can be a massive drain on the ego. I’ve won in the past for my song Falling In. That was a such a cool feeling. I’ve also been in the prelim rounds of the Grammys. I’d really like to make it out of the prelims and into the nominations round.
There’s an awful lot of work that goes into making people aware of the music being voted on. I’ve got a couple of friends that have won Grammys and its essentially becomes a full time job sending out the music, making friendships, calling in favors, and generally asking people to look out for your music – then vote on it. A lot of moving parts that have to coordinate.
Utah Music Awards Audience Choice Vote Here
Hit the link, throw a vote on it and help boost my ego a little bit. I’ll be a sour Jedi Knight, ala Anakin, if I lose to a cover song from a two year old movie.
Sometimes the best laid plans don’t go as envisioned. I was hoping that the label and the distributor would get both versions of Touch released in due time that all services would have it on launch day. Maybe that’s only reserved for the big boys and girls like Taylor Swift or Imagine Dragons. We all start somewhere right?
What am I referencing? Spotify.
Yes, I’m an advocate for Spotify, and other streaming services that are on the up and up for paying artists. Today marks the day that Spotify got one of the versions of Touch on their site. A week late from the actual release. Apparently they windowed themselves with their own plan. So far it’s only the explicit version that has reached the Spotify service. Better late than never. Though now I wonder if Spotify’s plan to wait another week to release the ‘clean’ version of Touch. Who knows?
If you’re a Spotify user I apologize for the delay, it was out of my hands. Hopefully you’ll be into sending the song out to all your friends and Spotify network.
My next step is working on getting into Rhapsody’s hands. I’m very interested in the new plan they’ve got going with Twitter. Instant audio cards that can be shared on Twitter without the need for a Rhapsody account, and somehow we artists still get paid. Someone finally cracked the nut on making music a more sociable sharing event via Twitter. Makes me wonder if Spotify will follow suit.
Time will tell.
Enjoy Touch on Spotify!