Archive for April, 2008

One Weekend, Two Shows

Monday, April 28th, 2008

This was a fun weekend for music. I think that Ben Folds and Jonathan Coulton are my two favorite musicians and I got to see both perform live this past weekend. Neat.

On Saturday night we went to see Jonathan Coulton perform at the Triple Door. We’d never seen him perform but we expected it to be good. It was better than we imagined. Not only is he a relaxed and confident performer (or makes it seem that way), but his singing is way better than we realized. It’s not that he doesn’t sing well on his recorded music, my impression is that his recordings (while excellent) don’t show off just how good his voice is. It was quite beautiful. I was worried about the show because I usually don’t like seeing performers play alone when their recorded music has a suite of instruments. Coulton had a couple of folks singing backup and adding percussion (and ukelele played by an adorable teenage budding YouTube star — I think she travelled to the show with her Dad) but it was still primarily a solo affair. And again I was surprised. He clearly thinks a lot about his performances and had tuned his songs appropriately. His slow and sweet version of Code Monkey was really beautiful. He also had a couple of fun toys to perform with. One was a Zen Drum which let him play samples (some looping, some not) and improvise some live DJing of Mr. Fancy Pants (note: in Seattle he was even better on the device than he was in SF). Very cool. He also had a small white rectangular device “with lights” that appeared to be some sort of sequencer or MIDI controller (please let me know in the comments if you know what the hell that thing was thanks GOOG – it’s a Yamaha TENORI-ON). But I’m not entirely sure. If I ever end up performing, clearly I will need to get one of these things (I think I want the TENORI more than the Zendrum, but it’s $1300 – damn sam). I can’t defend the decision, I can only tell you it’s already been made.

On Sunday night we went to the Ben Folds concert. (Thanks for driving Chris.) I’d seen him perform maybe 7 or 8 times over the past decade. And while Ben Folds puts on a great performance solo, it’s my preference for him playing with other musicians that made me nervous about Coulton performing essentially alone. Luckily, Folds had a bassist and drummer with him who matched his energy and attitude. (There was also a weird dude who would show up periodically and dramatically play a tambourine as well as an odd synth solo from Moby — yes Moby.) Odd moments aside, Folds was fantastic. He puts so much incredible energy into his shows — they border on violent. It’s like punk showtunes. He also debuted several new songs from his upcoming September release. They sounded great. I’m excited. There was also one moment where he spent five minutes explaining music theory to the audience. I imagine that most of the college kids understood very little of it. I did ok given my paltry understanding of music theory, but he was a pretty good teacher and I was able to follow most. It didn’t matter though. The crowd cheered no matter what. They just love him. It didn’t matter what the hell he was talking about. They would have cheered if he’d read out the obituaries. It was especially fun/amusing when he demonstrated his music theory lesson during the first several measures of his cover of Bitches Ain’t Shit modulating the chords to be more “bad lounge jazz” (as he said).

All in all, a very fun weekend.

Song — Private Island

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Since I recently restarted writing and recording music I’ve written several new songs. However, there are a handful of older ones that I think deserve to be re-recorded, updated, and posted. (There are also many that need to be forgotten.) This song was written in the fall of 2001. I always imagine that everyone has a place, somewhere in their mind, where they can go to be alone. Sort of a private island where they can meditate. That’s what this song is about.

Special thanks to Chris who recorded the bass for this track way back in 2001 – and his bass line still rocks!

Private Island [LYRICS]

Lyrics — Private Island

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Lyrics for Private Island.

VERSE

Look in the mirror at myself, I can make it another day
Feeling for heartbeats and my health, and my trip’s still got a ways
To go to get there intact
Where will I end up in fact
My suitcase has always been packed
For the moment when I would go there

CHORUS
I’ll take you with me when I go
My private island told me so
Please trust me here, cause I should know

VERSE

Drawing the maps and diagrams, when I’m bored throughout the day
Where will I sleep and eat and read, and I’ll need a place to stay
When I go all in good time
The water’s warm and sublime
My suitcase has always been primed
For the moment when I would go there

CHORUS

I’ll take you with me when I go
My private island told me so
Please trust me here, cause I should know

BRIDGE

And if I walked into your room
Tickets in hand, our flight leaves soon
And if I said it’s time to go
You told me before so I should know

VERSE

Pack my CDs or take some food, and it doesn’t matter now
Not to just be a trusting fool, it’ll work itself out, how
I don’t know when but it’s clear
Each day the clock shows it’s near
My suitcase has always been here
For the moment when I would go there

CHORUS

I’ll take you with me when I go
My private island told me so
Please trust me here, cause I should know

I’ll take you with me when I go
My private island told me so
Please trust me here, cause I should know

Art — Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess)

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Another lovely graphical exploration from the in-house art department here at Sugar Fix Music Industries (that’s SFMI to you!). This is for the latest song I posted. I particularly enjoy how angry the stewardess looks. My daughter had particular fun drawing this one. I think she’s living vicariously through the stewardess. Apparently at the age of 4 she has a lot to be angry about.

Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess)

Song — Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess)

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

On a recent flight home from vacation we encountered a super annoyed stewardess. I don’t know that my asking her for the entire can of seltzer was the tipping point, but it certainly was the point at which I became the object of her naked hostility. Clearly there was something going on with her. I don’t know if it was alcohol, job dissatisfaction, or just a bad day. But to me she seemed “on the edge”. She had a bit of the “crazy eyes” if you know what I mean. (I’ll stop putting things in quotes now.) I should point out that this story may be entirely made up as well. (That last point was inserted by the Sugar Fix legal department.) Hope you like.

Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess) [LYRICS]

Lyrics — Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess)

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Lyrics for Terry (the Probably Drunk and Definitely Angry Stewardess)

I’d like a seltzer with some ice
And a wedge of lime would sure be nice
And the can if you can
Cause I know I’ll soon want some more

It’s either this or the cranapple mix
Which I usually get as my flight time fix
But today it is seltzer and lime
That I’d really like please

CHORUS

I think I’ve upset you
Maybe it’s me but you’re yelling
You woke up the baby
What’s that on your breath that I’m smelling

I’m sorry that I asked for the can
And I can see that you’re not a fan
Of working here

I know that it’s sexist and shallow too
That said I could swear that it used to be true
That the stewardesses were so young
And quite pretty as well

It’s not that I mind if that’s not you
I’m sure you’re attractive in your own way too
You just seem so pissed off
And I can’t stop from wondering why

CHORUS

I think I’ve upset you
Maybe it’s me but you’re yelling
You woke up the baby
What’s that on your breath that I’m smelling

I’m sorry that I asked for the can
And I can see that you’re not a fan
Of working here

BRIDGE

The guy with the broken headphones
The lady trying to pass your cart
You knocked into that kid’s elbow
None of them can melt your heart

VERSE

You’re working the cart and your partner’s scared
I think she is dreading the flights where you’re paired
Though It’s so hard to tell as she grins
Just a little too much

It seems like you may be slurring your words
Could it be at the bar that you ordered thirds
When you’re swearing out loud
It just seems like you may be off

CHORUS

I think I’ve upset you
Maybe it’s me but you’re yelling
You woke up the baby
What’s that on your breath that I’m smelling

I’m sorry that I asked for the can
And that your life wasn’t according to plan
And I can see that you’re not a fan
Of working here