Back to the Grind

Back to the Grind

I’ve been feeling inspired lately to play again. After a long hiatus of not hearing any music in my head, I finally feel motivated enough to finally get my shit together and finish up some songs that have been laying around for a while. My wife and I are expecting our second baby in September, so I’m determined to get some new and old stuff finished up before I have a whole lot less time and energy to be loud.

Most of the stuff is basic straight forward heavy rock. Those who know me will know my influences so you can probably guess where it’s going. For anyone else, stay tuned. Much heavyness is in your future.

I am also going to make a concerted effort to blog more about music. It’s something that used to be a defining part of my life and somehow I lost that and need to get back to it. Identity crises over…

Gear

As far as gear, i’ve been using Propellerhead Reason since it first came out. It’s fast, stable and easy on the processor load. I used to run Cubase for audio but now that you can record tracks right into Reason, I pretty much have an inexpensive, all in one solution.

It is really crucial that music software be simple, fast and sounds good. I find it amazing that, with all the tech advancements we have made of the last 10 years, this continues to be an issue. I would trade in piles of features, bells and whistles just so that I can fire it up and in a few seconds lay down an idea. I waste so much time configuring, updating, driver crashes and wrestling with compatibility that I could almost say that 70% of my ideas go to waste because of software issues. Maybe it’s because I am a UX guy, so it’s a soft spot for me, but seriously, it continues to be a major roadblock to creativity.

Technology is a failure when I want to throw my laptop out the window and go back to my Tascam 4 track cassette recorder. There is grace in simplicity.

Right now I am running Reason 6.5 and it continues to be really solid. I haven’t upgraded to version 7 yet because there is nothing in it I absolutely “need” to have and since it now has double the RAM requirements, i’ll hold off for the moment.

I am using POD Farm to record guitar since that is the only guitar support Reason has at the moment. I also use Guitar Rig 5 from Native Instruments for practicing because it sounds really warm and natural. They really got the cabinet modeling right in Guitar Rig 5. I just dial up a factory preset and pretty much never have to mess with anything because it sounds amazing right out of the box.

Guitars

As far as guitars, i’m still using my trusty Les Paul Goldtop that was made on my birthday. It has a thick 50’s neck, which makes it hard for doing any fast upper neck work, but it has god-like tone. As a result, i’m considering picking up a cheap shredder guitar, but I don’t know what yet. Also my brother-in-law let me borrow his little Fender Mustang practice amp and that thing totally rocks! Very versatile and sounds great for a little 20w solid state box.

Regarding strings, I am bummed that they don’t sell DR strings here in Germany, at least not that I have found. They’re my fav. For now i’m using D’Addario 10’s which are ok. They feel more stiff to me than DR’s though.

That’s it for now. Enough talking. Just do…
Stay tuned, rock soldiers.

How to Write a Book in 10 Minutes a Day with a Mobile Phone, while Standing on a Train.

How to Write a Book in 10 Minutes a Day with a Mobile Phone, while Standing on a Train.

I am officially an author. On July 17, 2012 I published my first book on Amazon Kindle. It took two years to write, and a majority of it was done using a mobile phone or an iPad, while standing on the train from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt Germany, during my long commutes to and from work.

Yes, two years is a long time to write a book, especially when edited down, was only about 120 pages. or so. The first year was kind of a wash because I just kept rewriting the first 2 pages over and over. It wasn’t until the following year where I actually took it seriously, created a solid outline (a plan) and dug in.

The goal of this book was not to write a bestseller or change the world. It’s certainly not a feel good, Oprah Club, curl up with a cup of tea, kind of book. (In fact it’s a little bit “shocking” but more on that later.)

It was simply to just write a book, finish it and publish it. It was purely an exercise in completion. In my post about creating a 20 year plan for myself, writing a book was one of my 2 year short term goals. Well… mission accomplished.

It almost didn’t happen though.. (more…)

Welcome to the Collective

Welcome to the Collective

I like to collect things.

Throughout my entire life, I have always had some sort of collection going.  It started with comic books and Matchbox cars, then model rockets, then tropical fish, then action figures, then guitars, then mexican art, then books, then Harley Davidson t-shirts, the list goes on and on.

You see, much like squirrels instinctively hoard nuts and berries for the winter, humans have these instinctive, primal urges hard coded into our brains too. With us, however, it is a little more complex.

With the advent of 24 hour grocery stores and electricity, somewhere down the line, we stopped NEEDING to hunt and gather to survive, or collect pelts or the skulls of our enemies. (more…)