Detroit Techno & Old School Electro Hip-Hop

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I am listening to some old school beats, trying to get into a mood to use my drum machine sounds on something.

It isn’t something that I just jump into.

I have to be in the right mood for drum machines, I guess.

Without a reliable drummer, this is the best that I can do, I suppose.

Growing up in Detroit, during the birth of Hip Hop and Techno, it should be no surprise that this had an influence on me.

As kids, many of us would tape The Electrifying Mojo off of the radio at home and then breakdance to it during recess.

Breakdancing!

Remember that?

Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim are the closest things to it that I listen to nowadays.

I just don’t hear much happening in that genre that interests me much, lately.

Thirty years ago, it was much, much, different.

I still like all of that stuff and the groups that inspired it (Kraftwerk, Parliament-Funkadelic, etc.), although by and large I am pretty much a punk rocker at heart.

Lemmy Kilmister R.I.P. (1945-2015)

Lemmy is God

Today was shitty enough already.

This news is just shit-flavored icing on the shitcake.

Lemmy Kilmister has died, at the age of 70.

His birthday was just a few days ago.

Damn.

His health has not been very good for the past several years.

In fact he recently had to cancel a show in the middle of the first few songs, apologizing to the crowd who came to see him, because he was too sick to perform.

That was when I knew he would be gone soon.

An inspiration to thousands of fans, including me, the man was a rock & roll legend.

He never gave up.

He never sold out.

He always did whatever the Hell that he wanted to do, the way that he wanted to do it.

If someone didn’t like it, they could fuck off.

LOL.

Not only was he a hero to me and others for his music, but the way that he chose to live his life.

It is the only one you’ve got.

Better enjoy it while you can.

I ❤ that man for it.

Chuck Mosley

Chuck-Mosley
Faith No More’s Dreadlocked, Mohawked, Black Jewish Indian

I first got into Faith No More around when Introduce Yourself came out.

Punk rocker Chuck Mosley stood in stark contrast to the professionalism of the rest of the band.

They were a tight musical group, with this strange guy who could barely sing as their vocalist.

I loved it.

He had replaced Courtney Love as lead singer a few years prior.

Can you imagine what that must have sounded like?

Courtney Love?

Anyway, the difference between when he was replaced by Mike Patton is night and day.

It is like two totally different bands.

In turn, he replaced HR of the Bad Brains a few years later.

I think he was an excellent fit right there.

But, I guess it didn’t work out between them for some reason.

Like the David Lee Roth / Van Hagar dispute, Chuck showed me how important a lead singer can be.

Even if the vocalist isn’t very good, it is extremely difficult to replace them.

So, I always tried to take the lead singer position, when it was available.

Not that I have a great voice.

But, I couldn’t afford any instruments, at first.

As long as I was in tune and sang in the correct key, I felt that bands would have little reason to get rid of me, despite my personality flaws.

True, I was never kicked out of any bands.

But, people quit a lot.

Damn.

Mike Patton

mike patton

While I was still a teenager, performing in shitty cover bands, I tried to teach myself to sing like Mike Patton.

He is a damn good singer, with lots of range and diversity.

How many other vocalists can blend Frank Sinatra with Sade and Justin K Broadrick of Godflesh / Napalm Death?

Unfortunately, I just don’t have the pipes for it.

I have always hated my voice.

I am told that it is because I use cheap microphones.

But, I guess everyone’s voice sounds weird to them when they hear it played back to them.

I think that I am finally beginning to get used to it.

The less I try to sound like someone else and just be myself the better that the results are, I believe.

Still, it is good training to mimic something, at least at first.

I used to be an excellent mimic of voices and sound effects.

I did a lot of impressions as a kid.

Maybe it does help your singing voice.

 

Getting Used To My Shitty Voice

Self-Steem The Offspring

I have always hated my voice.

Not that I am exactly a bad singer.

I can hit the right notes if I try.

It just sounds kinda high and nasally, in a Neil Young kinda way, to me when I hear it played back from recordings.

I have tried learning from female singers how to improve it, with some moderately good results.

I am told it would sound a lot better if I used higher-quality microphones.

That is always a possibility, I suppose.

I have never been able to afford much more than the cheapest junk available.

I still use a beaten-up Radio Shack microphone that I bought secondhand in 1985!

Sometimes I sing a little deeper, off-key, deliberately.

Almost an octave down.

I kinda like it better that way sometimes.

But, that it is just me.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

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I started playing bass guitar in the late 1980’s, around the same time as the funk punk / funk metal craze was beginning to gain popularity.

I wasn’t deliberately trying to imitate anybody in particular, although I did get compared to Les Claypool and Flea quite a bit.

I don’t slap nearly as much as they do, just a little bit… as an accent.

But, admittedly, funk music is part of my repertoire.

I grew up on bass players in the 1970’s like Rick James, Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham.

Hell, even the Bee Gees had some good songs.

Add to that funky punks like Mike Watt (Minutemen / Firehose), Rob Wright (NoMeansNo), Larry Boothroyd (Victims Family), and Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd.), then it is no surprise that I sometimes got lumped in with guys like Flea & Claypool.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are okay, I guess.

They have always had a great rhythm section.

Without Flea, their band is nothing.

The RHCP’s songwriting, though, has always been kinda…. mehhhh.

Most of it kinda sucks.

A weird thing about them is that their best albums are usually released just after they have replaced yet another guitarist.

They use them up like batteries, sorta, and have to keep changing them to be any good.

Honestly, Anthony Keidis and Flea are the Beavis & Butthead of the group.

Keidis is an annoying asshole and Flea is an idiot, like his retarded friend.

Maybe their personalities suck the life out of guitar players.

I dunno.

I gotta respect Flea as a musician, though.

He did evolve over time, grew as a player, and was never half bad to begin with.

The dynamics of their guitars, created by original guitarist Hillel Slovak, has always been impressive too, no matter which replacement has copped his style.

The Island of Misfit Noise

NegativeM Stage View Redux

The Island of Misfit Noise went through many permutations during its original 15-year run.

MarshaKat and myself were the the only constants of the group, a bassist and keyboardist who both played some guitar.

The name changed a few times before we finally settled on the IOMN.

Now, it is not as much of a real band as it is a recording project, with many contributors coming and going.

I still wish that I could have made it work somehow.

One element that I wanted very badly was having two drummers, who could play some interesting rhythms that would be impossible for a single percussionist.

I dug bands that had double-drumming lineups, like Grotus, the Melvins, the Butthole Surfers, the Boredoms, … Hell, even the Grateful Dead, the Doobie Brothers, the Allman Brothers, and James Brown’s backing band the JB’s all had two drummers.

Unfortunately, finding any drummers around the Detroit area who are into that sort of thing was nearly impossible.

We had it going like that a few times.

It was great while it lasted.

But, they always quit before we could accomplish very much together.

Finding even a single drummer was sometimes difficult because, as one guy put it, my ideas were “too big and weird.”

I guess projecting a bunch of surreal film footage on a wall behind the band is too ambitious for some.

I eventually built my homemade ShitKit drumset because it didn’t look like we were getting anywhere without a dedicated percussionist.

I preferred the clunkiness of hitting pieces of scrap metal over the sound of commercially-bought cymbals anyway.

But, I am a shitty drummer and I know it.

For awhile, we had one guy named John Pirog – who’s only job was breathing fire and smashing shit up, like old TVs and guitars.

It was pretty cool, while it lasted.

But, he left to go make independent horror movies instead.

I thought it would be cool to maybe have three guitarists, one playing a classic Gibson SG through a Marshall amp, one playing a modified Les Paul with a Line 6 Variax installed inside hooked up to a really good quality Line 6 guitar/amp/effects emulator rackmount, one playing a Roland-Ready Fender Stratocaster with a bunch of Roland guitar synths and emulators, etc.

Either we could have had guitarists double on keyboards & samplers or simply had a dedicated keyboardist.

Currently, I kind of make-do by making sound collages on tapes and playing them back on my Dictaphone machine.

Will the IOMN ever be a real band again?

I dunno.

It is always possible I guess.

Will it ever be what I have pictured in my head?

Probably not.

It will just be whatever I am able to scrape together at a given time.

So, I will have to get-by, doing what I can alone, recording lots of stuff and maybe performing what I can as a one-man-band.

It sucks.

But, that is life.

Struggle With Myself

SkullEyesThoughts

I was reading an article about My Bloody Valentine‘s album Loveless.

Boy, is this depressing.

Because, it reminds me so much of myself when I am trying to complete something, the conflict between perfectionism and pragmatism.

It was only scheduled to be recorded in five days but took two years to complete, pretty much bankrupting their record label in the process.

While that is not as bad as how long it took Guns & Roses to complete Chinese Democracy, it is still pretty bad.

Kevin Shields had writer’s block for twenty years afterward.

The article compared his nervous breakdown to Brian Wilson and Syd Barret’s.

Yikes.

My medications help manage my depression, so the highs and lows aren’t as severe.

But, it doesn’t “cure” me of anything.

I still have to fight myself to do ordinary things.

I have to remind myself that the ideas in my head aren’t going to translate unscathed into the real world.

Sometimes, I just gotta work with what is readily at hand and GET SHIT DONE…. NOW.

Obsessing over details is a common problem for me.

“Noise Music” isn’t like that.

It is more like controlled chaos.

Fingerpainting with sound.

Throwing sand into the air.

There aren’t any wrong notes.

I dunno how to get into “the zone” when I need it.

So, I try hooking up with other artists.

Maybe they can help push me along.

Not always effective.

I used to meditate.

But, that got boring.

Drugs are no help.

I try drinking a little.

But, it is also always a crapshoot, if it will work.

The best I can do is just wait until I am ready, then take the opportunities when they present themselves.

It leaves a lot of work unfinished.

Quantity over quality.

But, at least that is doing something.

Maybe if I keep reminding myself to just “Get it done and over with” I will get further ahead with everything.

Who knows?

 

 

 

 

Rush, Canadian Prog – eh?

rush-time-machine-1
I dig the steampunk stage design they have been rocking!

When I was a kid I HATED Rush.

Aside from a few hits, I flatly despised them.

Geddy Lee’s high-pitched singing voice was so annoying and their albums in the 1980’s were so over-saturated with synthesizers.

I am not a big fan of synths made in the 1980’s.

I prefer synths made in the 1960’s-1970’s.

They just had more warmth and bottom end to them.

The band were vocal supporters of that cunt Ayn Rand.

Everything about them was just so pompous and yuppiefied, it seemed.

But, after getting into groups like Primus and Ruins, I went back and gave them another chance.

I decided that I kinda liked them in some ways, but still disliked them in others.

Even when I hated Rush, I respected their musicianship.

They could write complex music and they could really play.

It was Geddy’s voice that grated on my nerves.

But, after awhile, after listening to Les Claypool’s singing it didn’t seem so bad after all.

In fact, Geddy’s voice has deepened with age over the years, making it a little more to my liking.

They have also distanced themselves from Ayn Rand’s bullshit “philosophy” of objectivism, over time.

So, that is a relief.

They also seem to have grown a sense of humor with age.

And, in contrast with their former headlining tourmate Ted Nugent, they are actually nice guys.

So, I guess, people can change and grow on you.

Maybe there is hope for us after all.

Beth Hart on how bipolar disorder manifests itself in the process of her songwriting

The Grammy-nominated singer writes about the darker side of her creativity

I don’t like to give credit to anything that’s dark or twisted like bipolar disorder: it’s a dangerous disease, statistics show that 1 In 4 people die from it by taking their own lives. But my doctor tells me that it’s a double edge sword – it’s not a good thing that I have it but I can be thankful because it’s a big part of my creativity.

I have to take medication regularly and this has had an impact me in a good way, artistically speaking. Before I was on medication the mania was so bad that I couldn’t concentrate, so although I’d feel very creative I could never really finish a piece of work because my mind was moving so fast.

I had so much anger and judgement towards myself for my work not being up to the standard that I expected it to be, so I wouldn’t allow myself to complete anything. And usually when I would be able to complete something would be when I was in a depressive state.

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Grammy-nominated artist Beth Hart

Now that I’m on medication I still get the mania and depression because the medication doesn’t cure it, but it makes it so much more manageable. I can complete all the work that I start and if I am struggling to complete it, it’s really my own psychological things that are getting in the way.

It’s very important for me to do things like talk therapy. That’s where you begin to see the walls that your illness has put up as a way to protect yourself… but of course those walls also keep us from getting to the truth of things. When I’m on tour, one of the lovely things about meeting journalists is that it’s kinda like its own therapy so I can still feel in a secure place.

My doctor said when I’m feeling good, it’s not healthy; it’s mania but could be early stage mania which is hypo-mania, you feel very elated and have many ideas.What’s dangerous about that is that when you have the type of bipolar I have (Bipolar 1 Rapid Cycling), the early bouts of my mania feel fantastic and then very quickly it stumbles to be very spiralled out; paranoia, fear, even hallucinations at times.

Now I’ll go into what is called “spinning thoughts” that I cannot turn off in my head. until I go to the piano. Then I’m really able to be creative. Although I take the medication which has made a huge impact on my life in a positive way, still, honestly, when I’m a bit sick is when I’m at my most creative.

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I didn’t think of my songwriting or music when I received the diagnosis of bipolar, what I thought of was “thank God”, there is an answer to why I have felt the way I have felt for so many years, since childhood.

I was so incredibly ashamed of myself, all growing up and through my 20s I thought I was a bad seed.

Once I heard this bipolar diagnosis it helped me to see that a big part of the illness is having self-hatred and self-doubt, which is why suicide rates for bipolar are so high, so this brought me great comfort.

When I’m in the mindset of either depression or mania, which is what really funnels my creativity, I will complete a song that day.

So I tend to become very obsessive and not leave the piano until I do – however when I come across pieces that I’m working on and I see that I’m struggling to find the lyric… that may take a year to write.

But no change or shift in mood takes me away from that once I start on it. If I’m feeling balanced I will probably leave it alone for a few weeks, and then once I go back I will shift back on the piano, and I will become very vigilant on figuring out that piece.

Beth Hart is playing an intimate sold out show at the Union Chapel on 14 December

For more information on bipolar disorder you can visitMind.org.uk

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/beth-hart-on-how-bipolar-disorder-manifests-itself-in-the-process-of-her-songwriting-a6764806.html

P.O. BOX Renewal

PO BOX.png

I renewed my P.O. Box this month.

But, the incoming mail has been kind of slow.

Bummer.

I admit, my response time is sometimes slow, because I often lack enough postage.

I still try to reply ASAP.

Folks who write to me might get published in my cassettezine, Thee Urban SpaceCat… if I ever get it published, that is.

Mike Nobody

P.O. Box 1201

Taylor, MI USA 48180

Meeting The Melvins

Buzz Beercan

I first heard the Melvins back in the late 1980’s, around when Ozma came out.

This was wayyy before they became professionally-known as the “Godfathers of Grunge” or Kurt-Cobain’s BFFs.

Hell, no one even knew who the Hell Nirvana were back then.

My first impression was that they sounded kind of like what-if Black Flag were chopped-up in a food processor and reassembled wrong.

I totally dug it, immediately.

Well, a couple years later, as Nirvana-mania was finally dying down a little, I got to meet them.

Our paths have crossed a couple of times ever since.

In 1994, the Melvins were getting their 15 minutes of fame, being interviewed on MTV and in all the big name glossy magazines.

They had released Houdini on Atlantic Records and, as King Buzzo would say, they became a “flavor-of-the-nanosecond.”

This was just a week or two after Kurt Cobain’s dead body was found.

So, I imagine that they were still reeling from the news of this, being old friends of his.

I was going to see them perform at Saint Andrews, in Detroit.

 

I showed up early and went inside St. Andrews, looking for a pop.

The bar wasn’t open.

No soda machines.

The place was still mostly vacant.

I asked the guy at the door if I could leave & re-enter.

He said “sure.”

So, I went out in search of somewhere to get a Diet Pepsi.

As I crossed the street,  happen to notice the Melvins and their entourage heading toward a Greek restaurant, to eat.

“Cool,” I thought.

I got back to the club.

But, the same asshole who said I could come back wouldn’t let me in! Bastard.

I wondered if the Melvins were still at that restaurant, and sought them out.

Sure enough, it was them, the other bands, and (pre-Foo Fighters) David Grohl.

I told them about my dilemma.

They were totally cool about it.

I ordered another pop and waited for everyone to finish their dinner.

Buzz gave me a backstage pass and we all headed back to the club.

David Grohl introduced himself to me and everyone else that he met, “Hi, I’m David.”

I thought, “Well, no shit. You’ve been on the cover of every magazine for the past three years.”

He was a really positive nice guy, though.

Dale Crover was very friendly too.

I got to stick my pass up to the guy who wouldn’t let me back in.

Everyone seemed to have guests with them, besides the bands themselves.

The band let everyone eat what they wanted from the deli tray.

I was too young to drink.

So, they wouldn’t let me have a beer.

I had a good time.

It was a little surreal though.

David Grohl told us stories about bowling in Germany.

I vaguely wondered if Allen Funt was hiding behind a door and that I was really on Candid Camera.

Anyway, it was a good show.

Like I said, we’ve crossed paths a few times since then.

A few years later, I was supposed to appear as an alien in their music video for Mombius Hibachi.

But, because of time and budget, my part got cut and they used “Goober” of Goober and the Peas (Jack White’s old band) instead.

Oh well, you win some you lose some.

The Residents

Residents _l8s16aSFL41qzuqofo1_400

I’m kind of in the mood for some Residents today, some psychedelic bunny-hop music.

My favorite era of theirs is the 1970’s-1980’s, up until the death of “Snakefinger” (Phillip Lithman).

Fingerprince is probably my favorite album from that time.

They made few public appearances during this period, spending most of their time recording albums quite prolifically.

I first saw them on the fledgling MTV, back when it played music videos all day (remember those?).

The Residents, literally, invented the music video.

I feel like their songwriting suffered a bit as they relied increasingly on new technologies and spent more time on the road touring.

The death of Snakefinger was also a crushing blow to the group.

I am not sure if they ever really recovered from it.

But, even to this day, I still enjoy their creative output.

They never stopped making more and more music & art, of every possible medium.

Mike Nobody: One-Cat-Band

MikeyCat OneCatBand

I was not feeling well for a couple of days.

I am doing better now.

While making a mixtape for a friend, yesterday, I was listening to many musical duos and one-man-bands.

It got me thinking of ways that I could condense songs written for a five-piece group into a one-man-band format.

Not something I relish doing.

But, I feel like it is a matter of necessity, if I am ever going to get anything substantial done soon.

One-man-bands commonly are one person who sings and plays guitar while drumming with their feet.

My foot coordination is TERRIBLE, though.

I am working on ways around little problems like that.

But, basically, I will be playing bass & singing through my usual odd setup (it may be a little stripped-down for live performing) and playing my hodgepodge junk drum set, the ShitKit.

The original ShitKit got hauled away, mistakenly, awhile ago.

So, I am working on building a better one, a new-and-improved “ShitKit 2.0”.

It may be a slow, gradual, process.

Some pieces are cheap or free.

Others are a little pricey.

But, I will get it finished, eventually.

Anyway, I may alternate between the bass or drums.

I may play some parts simultaneously, if I can.

I will probably require my Dictaphone machine and taped drum machines, samples, keyboards, whatever.

I will work it out, somehow.

The first issue of “Thee Urban SpaceCat (CassetteZine)” will likely contain some of this material inside.

I will try to get that out as soon as I can.

The most common hurdle, for me, is financing.

But, maybe i can find cheaper ways of getting it done.

Later,

Mike Nobody =^.^=

November, November…

I Just Want To Get My Shit Together

Being poor gets so exhausting.

I am just tired of being tired of being broke all the time.

None of the jobs that I applied for have been interested in hiring me.

Probably because I am too old, unskilled, and disabled… just a hunch.

I found some possible parts to rebuild my new ShitKit with; a cheap beginner’s set at Value World, a truck spring, and an empty propane tank for free on Craigslist.

But, I can’t afford to buy anything, not even oil & gas to go get the free shit.

I am living on ramen noodles and peanut butter until my bridge card gets paid, and I only get $16/mo for THAT.

A lot of the problem with being poor is that ANY minor setback can fuck you up for months.

A traffic ticket leads to more expenses (like renewing car insurance), which leads to carrying overdrafts on your bank account for several months, which leads to compounded fees, etc.

Then, by the time you can dig yourself out of one hole, SOMETHING ELSE happens and starts it all over again.

Vehicle problems are good at that.

Living on social security is no life of luxury, for sure, and congress will not adjust COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) through the next year.

If a Republican becomes president, it will just get worse.

Oi, vey!

Vote for Bernie!


I missed my medications in the past few days.

I guess being stressed-out about the bed bug invasion distracted me a lot.

So, my mood is not very good.

I have been in the sort of mood where I get a lot of ideas for creative things that I would want to do, except that I don’t want to do ANYTHING at all except sleep and wait for death.

Which is really a shame, because I was kind of on a roll for a couple of days.

I produced a lot of drawings and came up with some new ideas.

I might have done more if I could get any supplies that I need.

I am resuming my medications, trying to get back on track again.


I have posted more used items in my “virtual garage sale” if anybody wants to check that stuff out on Bandcamp.

I successfully posted one item on Ebay.

But, I had trouble with some others.

So, I may just stick to selling stuff from Bandcamp where I kinda know what I am doing.

While going through some boxes, I came across a bunch of small leftover jars (like the ones I used for the “Beginner’s Luck” Microcassette-Zine).

I don’t like wasting something if I can reuse it.

So, I am making limited edition Surprise Jars.

Each jar is a little different, containing some unique items for collectors.

I will be posting an exclusive audio track to be downloaded with each purchase.

I will try to get that ready and posted soon.


I have no idea if the Island of Misfit Noise is going to perform anywhere anytime soon.

We were supposedly booked for December, but the plug got pulled.

I started on a few songs for everybody to contribute to.

But, it looks like they will just sit unused for awhile.

If any of the other collaborators wanna add something, we can still record it for the next album.

I am going to focus on my solo work for the time being.

I will try to have at least a partial live set ready, in case another gig is offered.

If I had my ShitKit built, I could put together something interesting for a Mike Damn Nobody show.

I was thinking of doing a noise-drum-vocal kind of thing, similar to Black Pus, but more chaotic.

It does not look like that will happen anytime soon, though.

I have a few parts laying around for building a noise machine, similar to Bradford Reed’s Pencilina, but kinda more like the modified guitars created by Masahiko Ohno (Solmania).

I dunno.

Maybe I should hold off on performing live again until all of this stuff is in order.

But, knowing me, NOTHING is ever in order anyway.

ACK!

I want a Pepsi.

Get Your STAMINA Zine Copy Today!

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Here’s What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety

Caring both too much and not at all means never winning.

[Editor’s note: Anxiety and depression affect everyone differently — but dealing with both is extremely common. Nearly one-half of people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety and depression are deeply personal, and although this list represents only one experience, we hope you find some solace in knowing others might be going through what you are.]

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. It’s freaking out at the idea of getting anything less than a stellar score on a test, but not having the energy to study.

2. It’s having to stay in bed because you don’t have the will to move, but unraveling at the thought of what will happen if you miss school or work.

3. It’s feeling more tired the less you move, but your heart racing at the thought of taking the first step.

4. It’s getting more tightly wound the more mess piles up, but only staring at it and thinking, I’ll clean tomorrow.

5. It’s making six million to-do lists just to untangle your thoughts, but knowing you’ll never actually cross anything off.

Here's What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

6. It’s believing that every canceled plan will end your friendships, but not having it in you to follow through.

7. It’s feeling hopelessly low that you’re still goddamn single, but canceling every first date because the thought of going through with it gives you heart palpitations.

8. It’s fearing every day that your partner will get fed up and leave, but your anxiety whispering in your ear that they deserve better and should.

9. It’s ignoring texts and turning down invitations, and it’s aching when the texts and invitations stop.

10. It’s the constant fear of winding up alone, but accidentally isolating yourself because you sometimes just need to hide from it all.

Here's What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

11. It’s wanting nothing more than to crawl home and sleep at 2 p.m., but your skittering, panicked pulse keeping you awake at 2 a.m.

12. It’s alternating between feeling paralyzed in the present and scared shitless about the future.

13. It’s not enjoying the good days because you’re too gripped by the anxiety that the next low is around the corner.

14. It’s sleeping too much or not at all.

15. It’s needing a break from your racing thoughts, but not being able to climb out of the pit of yourself.

Here's What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

16. It’s needing to do everything, but wanting to do nothing at all.

17. It’s coping mechanisms and escapism, because when you’re not trying to hide from one part of your brain, you’re hiding from the other.

18. It’s wondering if the things that are making your heart feel heavy are things your anxious mind just made up.

19. It’s sitting awake at 3 a.m. worrying about a future you’re not even sure you want to have.

20. It’s feeling too much and nothing at all at the same time, which means feeling like you can never win.

But you can. And you will. You’re not alone.

To learn more about depression and anxiety, check out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health here and here.

If you are dealing with thoughts of suicide, you can speak to someone immediately here or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which you can reach at 1-800-273-8255.

If you want to speak with someone anonymously, go here for additional help.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/20-feelings-that-sum-up-having-both-depression-and-anxiety#.klrmM7l6G1

The Mysterious Case of The Missing Mood Ring

buddha ring

My mood ring broke again and I lost the color-changing part.

The next one I get won’t be as cheap.

My Buddha ring has taken its place, for now.

I would like to upgrade that one too.

I am working on some songs for an upcoming show in December.

But, I have been a little distracted.

I easily obsess onto something when I am stressed and it gets very difficult to move onto something else.

Both Mike Nobody and the Island of Misfit Noise will perform.

But, each will be a little different.

Since I am playing one set alone, I can prepare more details.

It may have a more complex, jazzier, sound.

The other set will be simpler.

I do not know if we will have a chance to rehearse together.

I want to make it as easy as possible on everyone involved.

It may have a more straightforward blues-based sound, pop song structures, with plenty of room for improvisation if desired.

I need to go make some coffee.

Timmy Vulgar

Timmy Vulgar ca-f-humaneye

Life is funny sometimes. It lands some odd coincidences in my lap a lot, it seems.

I had never listened to The Clone Defects, although they have been around the Detroit scene for a number of years. I did not know that guitarist / vocalist Timmy Vulgar was also in a bunch of other local groups. He has been around the block as much as I have (and then some). I also did not know that he & I had met before, when he was in his first band The Epileptix. I still have their debut 7″ EP that I purchased from him. We talked about the band Chrome and guitarist Helios Creed a little bit. That is all that I remember from our encounter.

Anyway, I got an invitation on Facebook to see his most recent band Timmy’s Organism play at the UFO Factory next month. I did a little research, and dang! This is my kinda guy. Mostly, he plays a kind of psychedelic punk and employs the style of low budget freakishness that I am known for. If he ever needs a bassist, or wants to collaborate, I think I am up for it… if he is.

Timmy Vulgar tim

The Island of Misfit Noise Movie and Comix

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Thus far, I hadn’t given the plot of our film much thought beyond the original premise that I gave TomCat Z. and John Pirog. I had assumed that we could just continue to add material until we had enough for a complete film. It is possible that we may still follow that method to some degree. It may be a financial necessity. But, it also occurred to me that having a few characters that we could build stories around wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. I mentioned the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all those 1990’s bands who styled themselves as superheroes for examples.

One of my big influences on The Island of Misfit Noise movie is Japanese Tokusatsu (特撮) shows like Ultraman, Giant Robot, and the Godzilla / Mothra franchises.

Oh yes, there will be giant fighting robots and monsters. There will be.

If this is a group of heroes getting into constant trouble, I could sorta model them after characters from Doctor Who, Star Trek, Lost In Space, Josie And The Pussycats, and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, always arriving somewhere new and finding some shit to get into. If they are musicians, there will be four of them, like The Monkees or The Beatles. Each has their own character archetype, skills and abilities, like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Marx Brothers. When they get into deep shit beyond their capabilities, the giant robot comes to save them. Also, the robot is a fill-in drummer, because he keeps excellent time and doesn’t get tired. They are constantly losing and replacing drummers, like Spinal Tap.

Other big influences of mine is, of course, cheap B-movies and television programs. Sid & Marty Krofft‘s 1970’s Saturday morning children’s shows comes to mind as an excellent example. I even called the IOMN movie “H.R. Pufnstuf on crack”, once or twice.

So, there will be lots of green screen, cheap sets, cheap costumes, cheap, cheap, cheap. It is very likely that almost everything you see is gonna be made of cardboard, tinfoil, and papier-mâché if it isn’t something found or outright stolen.

Before we get started putting together any props or shit, I may publish the IOMN comics in my zine, Thee Urban SpaceCat. At the very least, it will give me an opportunity to work out some things that will eventually wind up in the movie. The Walking Dead TV series began as a comic. Hell, most of the movies out lately are based on comic books. They must be doing something right. It is also fitting, because the zine began as a concept for a comic book and I will probably be publishing through a printer that specializes in comic books. So, there is that too.

Tatsuya Yoshida, John Cage, and Boxes of Tapes

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I do not know where all of my old tapes are. Here are a few. Despite my reputation as a pack rat, I do discard and lose a lot of important things. There is still a lot here to dig through, some dating back to the 1970’s. There are more recent ones laying around from making memos to myself, quick jams, meeting up to jam with various musicians, etc.

I learned to read music in elementary school. I forgot how, though, after years of just jamming with bands who couldn’t read. Also, transcribed music never felt like an accurate representation of “music”, to me. I always visualized music in waves, shapes, and colors, like a rainbow oscilloscope!

John Cage wrote music kind of like that. I preferred how he wrote down music. It just made more sense to me than traditional transcribed music.

john cage 56john cage bild

Tatsuya Yoshida seems to have been influenced by Cage a lot. He even wrote a tribute song, composed in John Cage’s style. Of course Tatsuya Yoshida’s biggest influence would seem to be Christian Vander and Magma. His group, Ruins, borrows Magma‘s compositional style almost completely, adapting it to fit a drum & bass duo.

Tatsuya Yoshida
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tatsuya Yoshida (吉田達也 Yoshida Tatsuya?) (born in Kitakami, Iwate is a Japanese musician; drummer and composer who is the only consistent member of the renowned progressive rock duo Ruins, as well as Koenji Hyakkei. He is also a member of the progressive rock trios Korekyojinn and Daimonji. Outside of his own groups, Yoshida is renowned for his tenure as drummer in the indie progressive group YBO2, a band also featuring guitarist KK Null, whom he also joins in the current line up of Zeni Geva and he has played drums in a late edition of Samla Mammas Manna. He has been cited as “[the] indisputable master drummer of the Japanese underground”.
Along with his participation in bands, he has also released several solo recordings.

I like the “cut & paste” style of composing. It offers a lot of freedom. I mean, it is nice when a complete song just hits you all at once. But, that seldom happens when playing in a group. I would be lucky if I found a really good drummer that I found a good groove with. Maybe composing alone will help me write more easily. I have plenty of raw material that I can draw from.

Mike Damn Nobody Returns!

Lightning Bolt Mindflayer Mindflayer-Earthunder-1

I think that, until I get some songs completed, I will accept new offers for gigs… performing improvised noise as Mike Damn Nobody again.

If I can get a new ShitKit started on, I will use it for percussion while I add other noises.

Max Grean (Uncle Ghoulie) said that he would help me to acquire an old gas tank from someone in Clarkston.

If I can get that, it will help me a lot.

I may do something akin to Black Pus (drums + vocals + noise), but perhaps more chaotic.

No Budget

Russ Meyer

I like cheepnis.

Maybe it is growing up on a steady diet of bad movies and shitty TV shows.

We would go to the drive-in back when they had double features, triple features, all nighters, etc.

When home video tapes and cable TV became a thing, my mom got us to watch some the worst movies ever made.

So bad, they’re good… and went back around to being bad again.

Some of the films used on Mystery Science Theater 3000 are Shakespeare, by comparison.

I used to stay up late and try to watch midnight movies on TV, before cable came along.

Then, there was The Ghoul and Sir Graves Ghastly for cool weekend shows.

Ed Wood, Roger Corman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, John Waters, Lloyd Kaufman, Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Russ Meyer, it’s all good.

I Fixed My Mood Ring

20150920_193614
Don’t look at my ugly face.
mood ring
I Fixed My Mood Ring!
20150930_004533
20150930_003524 I found an extra set of strings and replaced the old ones, FINALLY! They were deader than dead. They were Beetlejuice Night of The Living Dead. I cleaned-up the crud around the pickups while I was at it, too.
20150930_003550
Not everything was sold by my grandmother. I still had this one PA and the cabinets from the other one. I didn’t have anywhere to store the cabs. So, I donated them to my grandmother’s church.
20150930_003612
Three projector screens were also left behind. That is okay. I may still use them if I can get some projectors. The big industrial monochrome projector and stand got sold. But, it was only in green color. I would prefer to get full-color replacements. Also, the industrial projector was very big and heavy, requiring a steel stand to be put into position. I need something lighter and more portable.

Comparative Anatomy

Comparative Anatomy_n

Comparative Anatomy are another group that I have liked for many years. Their 2010 CD Mammalian is really good. I have been waiting ever since for a follow-up album, which never seems to come.

They are an experimental drum & bass band from Charlottesville, Virginia. Known for their elaborate costumes, absurd humor, simple but diverse textures and unique sound, the band has become known in the experimental and noise rock scenes for their outlandish performances. Their early work has been referred to by reviewers as a “patchwork, cut-up style” similar to bands like Mr. Bungle, but recently they have created their own unique sound with robotic sounding bass lines, frenzied loops of animal samples, and beat-focused drums. To date, they are the only band to consistently use animals for vocals, recording their sounds in a variety of settings and programming them to the music, often altering the sounds and layering them in their more recent work.

Comparative Anatomy started as an experiment in 2009 between the two main members, Sir Puffers Rabbinald the Third and Ron Chickenbaby. At this time, the band name was not yet chosen. The original line-up went through several guitars and one real drummer, all of who were eventually eliminated. After deciding to work alone, the group took a different route, eliminated guitars altogether and moved away from the quirky, death metal sound where they started as well as completely scrapping vocals. Their musical direction began to take an experimental, drum & dual-bass approach utilizing special tunings, a drum machine, and various samples from a variety of sources. They’re known for its odd humor, which relies heavily on absurdist and quasi-dadaist dialogs with the crowd and symbolism focusing totally on animals.

During live performances, Comparative Anatomy is known for wearing costumes, which were at first simple designs made with dismembered, stuffed animals, but eventually became elaborate and full-body pieces hand-made by the two main members featuring everything from top hats to black metal guantlets. In addition, their live act involves a set of films and animations created by the band that follow the music and are projected behind them on a giant screen.

Another cool thing about them that I like very much is that they tour in a refurbished ambulance, playing their music over the PA system as they approach their performances.

If you ever wonder what a Mike Nobody solo performance looks like, without a real band onstage, this probably isn’t far from it… minus the costumes.

Comparative Anatomy_____________908875_n

Super Action Kung-Fu Power Rock & Roll!

beatles toon

In the 1990’s, there were a number of bands who styled themselves as cartoonish action heroes, complete with a theatrical image and fictional backstory (GWAR, Supernova, The Aquabats, The Cocktails, The Amino Acids, Man or Astroman?).

I am not sure if this is the legacy of KISS or The Monkees.

The nice thing about these groups is that they are fun, for starters, and make additional income for the artist through merchandising. I wrote about merchandising before. Yes, there is a dark side to avoid. But, there is also potential to have a lot of fun with it. Comic book culture thrives on it. Go to any comic-con and check out the mountains of stuff available for almost any property. I cannot help that the inner geek in me likes collecting things. I blame Star Trek and record collecting for getting me started on that.

Mog Stunt Team were one of these groups, and were also close friends of mine.

I liked their music and whole schtick. But, I always felt like they put most of their energy into an image and not their music. I believed that I could write better songs, for sure. Bassist / vocalist Kenny Mugwump must have sensed this on some level, because he often asked for my opinion about stuff and wanted my input. I regret that I never asked to join their group. But, I was a bit intimidated. These were old pros with management, years of experience in a number of bands, touring, getting signed to labels, etc. I was just this weird kid who hung around a lot and helped when they needed a favor.

I kinda forgot about these sort of groups for awhile, then realized that The Aquabats were still kicking, and had their own TV show for two seasons! Christ, how did I miss THAT? I did a little research and discovered that the lead Aquabat, Christian Jacobs, was a former 1980’s child actor. He tried making a go of The Aquabats band for a couple of years in the 1990’s, unsuccessfully. In 1998 they made a failed Aquabats TV pilot with Bobcat Goldthwait. In 1999, he tried pitching Yo Gabba Gabba! to the networks instead. After belatedly appearing on the internet for a few years, it was a big success. Afterward, he was asked what his next project would be. So, he simply dusted off his VHS recording of The Aquabats! Super Show! and tried that again 15 years after it was originally made. Ta-Dah!

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to make The Island of Misfit Noise sort of like these groups. The IOMN movie certainly shares some of the same influences. I don’t want to wear costumes onstage or anything like that. But, I think that I could create different characters that we could make toys out of and stuff like that. Sorta like The Archies or Josie and The Pussycats. That could be fun.

This abomination actually had a TV show!

As a kid growing up in the 1970’s-1980’s, I knew even then that most of the cartoons on TV were just half-hour commercials for toys. It was a little annoying, sometimes. I mean, c’mon, they made a TV show about a talking Rubik’s Cube! Really?! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were one of these shows. Literally, the show was only made so they could make toys. But, damn if it wasn’t still a good show! I think the fact that they had already developed it as a successful comic book for a few years gave them the chance to flesh out the characters more.

Anyway, I still look forward to writing songs with anyone who wants to add them into this. Not sure what will come of it. But, we will see.

Space Streakings

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Space Streakings was a noise rock band from Japan formed in 1993 by four video game programmers. Very little information is available about them, not even their real names.

Space Streakings:
  • Captain Insect – bass guitar, vocals, programming
  • Kame Bazooka – alto saxophone, vocals, horns, illustrations
  • Karate Condor – turntables, vocals
  • Screaming Stomach – guitar, vocals, trumpet, kazoo

As those pseudonyms may suggest, the group took a cavalier attitude to their craft, producing a series of unclassifiable songs which have confused critics in and outside of Japan’s borders – the band themselves dubbed it ‘Cyber-punk-techno-core’. They had unusual instrumentation. No drums, for one thing. But, they also featured a gasoline-powered guitar and flamethrower trombone.

In 1994, musician and music engineer Steve Albini flew to Japan in order to record the band’s second album 7-Toku.  Shortly after the album’s release Screaming Stomach, who had grown tired of the band’s cacophonous sound, left the band. This resulted in a collaboration with Mount Shasta of Chicago, forming the supergroup Shakuhachi Surprise:

  • Jason Benson – drums, percussion
  • Carl Brueggen – guitar
  • Captain Insect – bass guitar, vocals, horns
  • John Forbes – vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Kame Bazooka – alto saxophone, vocals
  • Karate Condor – turntables, guitar, horns
  • Jenny White – guitar, bass guitar, vocals

I actually like this collaboration even more than Space Streakings itself. The addition of a real drummer smoothed out the jagged edges of the stiff-sounding drum machines. Space Streakings Sighted Over Mount Shasta is the sole album recorded by Mount Shasta and Space Streakings together, released on October 1, 1996 through Skin Graft Records. It is a shame that they didn’t make any more.

After a brief tour of the United States, Space Streakings disbanded.

Jobless Zine Tapes

FUN

I applied for another job again, Value World (aka Value Village).

Not sure if it will do any good.

They were the only place that required applicants to apply in person, instead of online like everywhere else.

I later walked to the store for pop & bread and actually did some housecleaning today, too.

Wow!

I’m on a roll.

♛ ★★★★★★★★★☆★☆★☆★☆☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★★★★★★★★★ ♛

I am feeling kinda brave and pulled the Roland workstation out… seeing if I could operate it at all.

I may dig through some boxes of old tapes and see if there is anything that I wanna work on again.

I may lift some material directly from them for the zine.

Maybe.

I am thinking that I will just keep accumulating material as I go along.

Then, when I have enough cash to publish I will put a new issue out, hopefully every three to four months.

It would be easier if I had some extra income for this.

But, I am working with what I have for now.

Thee Urban SpaceCat CassetteZine may be printed by a company that did Death Cat comics, Ka-Blam is their name I think.

It seems like they work in all sorts of volumes with good quality.

The tapes may be recorded, mixed, mastered, and dubbed totally DIY, though.

I am undecided if I want to get them made at a duplicating plant or just dub them myself.

I guess it depends what the demand is for them.

If I get too many orders I will have to go with the duplicating plant.

I am making a distinction between the CassetteZine and the RecycleTapes, though.

The CassetteZine will use fresh normal bias cassettes, probably Sony.

They seem to be the most readily available.

RecycleTapes are hard copy recordings of Mike Damn Nobody’s noise albums, dubbed on reused tapes and re-labelled by me.

I may have to create new artwork for the older titles.

I cannot find the originals.

I was thinking of when I want to take my recordings into a legitimate studio.

Money is a factor, of course.

But, when I am ready, I am thinking that I may only release vinyl singles and EPs like that for awhile.

If they do well, I can compile them onto CDs later.

The Weirdos are an LA punk band from way-y-y back.

They released only vinyl singles for twenty years before they put out their first full-length album.

“Weird Al” Yankovic says that he will no longer release full length albums.

He is only doing singles now.

It seems like that is the direction that the music industry will be going, eventually.

I haven’t been in a record store for years.

So, it is a little tough for me to gauge.

♛ ★★★★★★★★★☆★☆★☆★☆☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★★★★★★★★★ ♛

I am probably gonna upgrade my my video capture software and get a chromakey program added to it.

I need to get a green screen or some fluorescent green paint.

I have a few leftover projector screens that I could paint if I had something for fabric, that wouldn’t crack and peel off.

Ultra Bidé

Ultra Bide Hide Fujiwara

Here is another group that I like very much. I have been listening to these guys for years and years. Touring with them would be pretty awesome if the opportunity ever came up.

Japanese experimental punk trio Ultra Bidé was formed in 1978 by Hide Fujiwara (bass / guitar / vocals) and released their first song in 1980 on the five-band compilation Dokkiri Record. It’s sort of the No New York of Japan’s south-central Kansai region (which contains Osaka and Kyoto), and Ultra Bide’s contribution, the dissonant “1979!,” bolsters its babbling vocals and thwacking bass with thunderclaps of guitar. After the band’s debut full-length, 1984’s The Original Ultra Bide, it took them 11 years to put out another, at which point they dropped three between 1995 and 2003—and 2013’s DNA vs. DNA-c (Alternative Tentacles) is their first since then. These guys can still make a whole lot of noise (“Phase Is Massive Power Attack Weapon” consists mostly of reverberating guitar feedback), but they’re also great at cleaner, more melodic tunes built from blunt guitar jabs and driving, nimble bass lines.

For many years, they were a standard power trio of guitar, drums, and bass. But, in recent years, they have eschewed the guitar for a two-bassist lineup. It is a really bad-ass sound. Their last album was recorded entirely at home, then mixed & mastered in professional studios. Definitely my way of doing things!

Ultra Bide - 1

It Is Only A Movie

Who is in charge here?
Who is in charge here?

I look at making music as kinda like making movies.

There are different styles of making music, just as there are different styles of filmmaking.

Some bands are very dictatorial, with one or two people in charge.

I have always hated that and avoided it like the plague.

Frank Zappa was like that.

So was Captain Beefheart.

If a band were a film crew, both were the writer, director, and producer of their band.

The rest of their group would be the cast and crew.

They would compose the music alone, then hand it off to their band, who would play it exactly as it was written.

I always tried to be more democratic than that, involving everybody in the process, through the whole thing.

I am terribly uncomfortable in a leadership role.

But, that is not a very efficient method.

People get frustrated by it and leave.

After years of trial-and-error, I think the best approach to operating as a group is to be a “benign dictatorship” of sorts.

Someone has to have an idea of where they are going or the whole thing will drift apart.

They also have to leave a lot of wiggle-room for others to work with.

I try to look for ideas from the world of filmmaking, when it is applicable.

http://filmmakermagazine.com/95125-10-lessons-on-filmmaking-from-roger-corman/#.VgClvtJVhBf

I think my biggest problem is the lack of social skills.

I don’t read people or situations very well.

I don’t communicate what I am thinking very well, either, it seems.

So, if I want to do anything at all, it seems like the best approach for me is just working alone (for the most part) with some occasional collaboration with friends.

This really sucks.

Part of the reason I make music is to overcome anxiety, depression, and have some sort of social life.

I don’t really participate in much else, besides music.

But, it seems like having a real band is going to always be out of reach for me.

Stripping It Down

"Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau
“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

I am stripping my rig down a bit.

Still a work in progress.

I am trying to fit everything onto the pedalboard.

There may still be a few things sticking out.

Ideally, I should be able to set up my gear in about ten minutes, give or take a few.

Fewer parts, fewer complications.

Gotta think like a NASCAR pit mechanic, in & out.

“The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

– Scotty (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock)

My equipment has evolved a lot over time.

At one point, I had a built-up a huge Frankenrig from two old PAs, some preamps, and pieces of my current Mini-rig.

I got inspiration for my setup from a bunch of different bass & guitar players; Bootsy Collins, Chris Squire, Cliff Burton, Greg Ginn.

Some players have elaborate switching systems, with tons of pedals and rackmount effects.

Some players have truckloads of gear, insane shit.

Sonic Youth had a different guitar for EACH SONG.

I am trying to pare it down to whatever my live sound will be.

What do I REALLY need?

Other effects and sounds that I use I will probably just record samples of.

This changes the dynamics of composing quite a lot.

It is gonna sound way different than if I had everything plugged into the bass.

You can sort of hear how this is shaping my sound, so far.

But, this is for demonstration purposes ONLY (sorry that I got fat):

This is an unfinished song that The Riverviews were working on a couple of months ago.

I might re-purpose it into an Island of Misfit Noise song, if Mike Hayes doesn’t mind.

Stripping down the mini-rig.
Trying to find a compromise between my “live sound” and “studio sound”.
The strings are long overdue to be changed.
But, I haven’t got enough money for replacements.

The Shapeshifter Who Fell To Earth

Bowie-Album-Cover-Final-Major-Project-For-University

Actor / singer Meatloaf was interviewed once about his music career. He corrected the interviewer, though. He said that he was an actor, who happened to play the role of a musician.

I think that is the best way to sum up David Bowie. He is a shapeshifter. Each album is a new role to play. He changes his costume and persona. He becomes a new character each time.

I don’t think I could do that. Maybe its a stubborn streak of honesty. I am just always myself. Some friends I used to have would tell me how they “grew out” of certain kinds of music. I don’t really grow out of anything. I just keep expanding my vocabulary. I kinda look at my musical tastes like the Borg, assimilating everything in sight.

So, maybe I have more in common with Locutus of Borg than David Bowie. I dunno.

bowie_wallpaper_by_radioheadedlove-d37p2p6

Bowie the-many-faces-of-david-bowie

I think somebody else likes David Bowie, too.

Staying jacked-up on coke for a few decades probably had something to do with it, too.
Staying jacked-up on coke for a few decades probably had something to do with it, too.

I’m A Loser, Baby (So, Why Donch’ya Kill Me?)

My Name

Besides artists from the outsider music genre (Wesley Willis, Daniel Johnston), I have also been compared to a few other people. It didn’t always annoy me. Some comparisons were flattering, I thought. But, this is kind of how I came to be known as Mike Nobody.

Corey Feldman:

Frog brother truth justice american way

Honestly, I do not know where anyone got this from. Is there a physical resemblance? I dunno. Maybe a little. I guess there are worse things than being a Goonie, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, or one of the Frog brothers from “Lost Boys.”

Thurston Moore:

Sonic Youth - Thurston

I didn’t mind this one very much. Kenny Mugwump ( bassist / vocalist for groups like Princess Dragon-Mom, Mog Stunt Team, Loudhouse) made this observation a few times. I don’t know why. Maybe, like Thurston Moore, I know a lot about music history and collect a lot of it.

Beck Hansen:

A few pen-pals made a comparison between me and Beck, a couple of times. This is quite funny to me. I began using Mike Nobody as an ironic commentary on the whole Grunge / Loser thing. When asked what my musical style is, I used to jokingly tell people that it was just “Beck, with a bass.”

Kurdt Kobain:

At the peak of Nirvanamania, I do not think hardly a day went by when someone didn’t tell me, “Oh, my GAWD, you are just like Kurt Cobain!” AAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHH! This annoyed me to no fucking end! I was followed and constantly harassed by a Cobain-obsessed stalker for months and months. I ended up fucking her, just to make her go away! I eventually had to move TWICE to lose her. I know that I should feel bad for saying this. But, it was kind of a relief when he died. That is about when those comparisons stopped happening.

On the upside of this, it landed me a role in a biopic about him, a few years after his death. The movie began as an independent film, then got bought by HBO (who increased our budget by a LOT). But, it seemed like the script was being rewritten every week. The story that they were going with became more fictionalized and ridiculous each time (Kurt Cobain becomes a zombie?).  I got fed up with it and quit. Production fell apart shortly thereafter. However, the project started up again when they brought in Gus Van Sant to direct. The finished movie became “Last Days”. It stunk. My only regret is that, if I had stayed in the movie, I could have met Kim Gordon (bassist / vocalist from Sonic Youth). She had a role in it too.

No one ever called me by my given name, not even as a child. I later discovered that my surname is a lie (I never liked it anyway). So, I only felt like my middle name, Michael, was my real name. What eventually made me settle on using the pseudonym Mike Nobody was the recommendation from Rob Wright (bassist / vocalist from NoMeansNo) to keep it, after I sent him a letter with that as my name. Hey, it was good advice. So, it has been my pen & stage name ever since.

Just because I dig your music, doesn’t mean I have to like your dumb ass!

ASSHOLES Pink Flamingos

Separating an artist from their work can sometimes be difficult. It stirs mixed emotions and makes us question ourselves. It makes us see our heroes as the flawed human beings that they really are.

In 2015, Bill Cosby has been revealed (by his own words, under oath) to be a serial rapist. Does that mean I can’t enjoy his work anymore?

No.

The comedy albums that he recorded, that I grew up with, are still classic. I still love them. I still like Fat Albert, The Cosby Show, and some other work that he did in film and television. But, I won’t be giving him any of my money anymore.

The Bad Brains are one of the greatest hardcore punk bands of all time. Being one of the few all-black groups in that scene certainly made them trailblazers as well. But, they are (at least they were, back in the 1980’s) extremely homophobic.

During the summer of 1982 they became involved in the Rock Against Reagan Tour, during which time they fell out with the band MDC when Rastafarian singer H.R. learned that Big Boys‘ singer, Randy Turner, was gay. H.R. and MDC‘s Dave Dictor had an intense confrontation. Upon Bad Brains‘ departure from the bill, they refused to return a loan owed to Big Boys and instead left a note that reportedly read, “burn in hell bloodclot faggot.” The incident resulted in the MDC song “Pay to Come Along.”

“First let me say I hated that whole incident. MDC adored the Bad Brains 1980-1982. After a gig where we really hit it off together in Oakland, we dropped everything in our lives to go across country on a mini tour with them on 2 days notice. Ended up playing 2 shows with them. One in Houston and the infamous one in Austin where we dropped off the tour. There in Austin they freaked out in the middle of the show about Gary Floyd’s and Randy Biscuit’s out gayness and refused to sing using the same microphone as them. The Bad Brains seemed to always have these much younger people in the scene around them. And it seemed no would call them on their bullshit. We were about the same age as them and a bit more politically sophisticated then the typical people in the DC and NY scene.

I only felt mistreated in that they came into a show that MDC and others had set up and hurled a lot of insults and anger towards our friends. Insults like “All gay people are blood clot faggots and they should be put to death.” It wasn’t like they expressed that they didn’t like gay people and disapprove of their lifestyle. It was wishing death for the singers of two of our favorite bands in our original punk rock home town. It was sad to see it all go down and didn’t feel good at all. It was confusing that we could adore and agree with people about many political topics including human rights, yet disagree about homosexuality. With HR-Joseph we have never resolved anything, but with Darryl and Dr Know (the bassist and guitarist), we all expressed regrets on the topic years later.”

P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) my ass!

Politically conservative rock & roll musicians are an oddity. Rock & roll, by definition, is anti-authoritarian and anti-conservative. Ted Nugent, Lee Ving, and Johnny Ramone never seemed to understand that.

I don’t understand how Alice Cooper, Dave Mustaine, or Ozzy Osbourne can go on about Christianity and keep a straight face.

Some artist’s work can also be questionable (or just plain vile). But, I may appreciate certain aspects of it, regardless.

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead has long been criticized for his collection of Nazi paraphernalia. But, no serious person believes that he holds any sympathies for them or their ideology.

Lemmy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Lemmy collects German military regalia, and has an Iron Cross encrusted on his bass, which has led to accusations of Nazi sympathies. He has stated that he collects this memorabilia for aesthetic values only, and considers himself an anarchist or libertarian, and that he is “anti-communism, fascism, any extreme,” saying that “government causes more problems than it solves”.

Jeff Hanneman, the late founder of the thrash metal band Slayer, befriended Lemmy due to their shared fondness for collecting Nazi memorabilia. According to Keith Emerson’s autobiography, two of Lemmy’s Hitlerjugend knives were given to Emerson by Lemmy during his time as a roadie for The Nice. Emerson used these knives many times as keyholders when playing the Hammond organ during concerts with The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, often before destroying them.

Some stuff that I like, I know is just totally horrible and in bad taste. It doesn’t make me a bad person, though.

Overall, if you don’t want to support someone because they offend you, then don’t. Save your money. Give it to someone more worthy. Meanwhile, enjoy whatever art & music that you enjoy. If other people don’t like that, fuck ’em.

All About That Bass

bass its a bass

One band that I was in played at a party once.

The host was mixing our soundcheck and the guitarist complained about the bass being loud.

We were at the same volume.

“Feel the bass! Feel the bass! God of thunder-r-r!” I said in my best Gene Simmons impression.

Lower frequencies only “sound” louder, with increased air pressure.

Know your physics.

 

My first bass was a 1970’s Gibson Ripper.

The kind that Gene Simmons played on “KISS Alive!”

Someone had modified it, by adding a precision bass pickup in the middle.

It had a solid set-neck maple body and sounded really good.

It was only $100 dollars.

They currently sell for thousands of dollars (no thanks to Nirvana and Green Day!).

I had been playing guitar for a few years.

But, I equally wanted to play both.

Lacking much money, I tried to maximize the interchangeability between them.

I purchased a 1960’s Guild Thunderbass amplifier head on a brand new crate 4×12, useful for both basses and guitars.

I later also bought a 1970’s Rickenbacker 4001 bass.

I got a good deal on it, just a few hundred dollars.

I had to liquidate most of my possessions a couple of years ago, to avoid homelessness, and they were sadly sacrificed with some other gear that I miss.

 

Ripper & Rickenbacker Basses

I began playing bass around the time that the funk metal craze happened.

I liked those bands.

But, I can’t really say that I tried to emulate them.

My playing style got compared to Les Claypool a lot, even though I never slapped as well or as often as him.

Maybe it was just because I played a lot of notes or something, instead of always just playing the root note of the rhythm guitar.

Maybe it was the only popular frame of reference people had back then.

Anyway, I always looked to other players for little tricks or techniques that could help me.

Most players use just their middle and index fingers.

What I picked-up from Claypool was using ring-middle-index instead, making triplets and odd-meter rhythms easier to play.

I later discovered country guitarist Danny Gatton’s fingerpicking style, including the thumb like a banjo player.

I am still working on that.

But, I usually reserve fingerpicking for when I am playing with a dry signal, no distortion or effects.

I prefer using a pick, recycled copper-nylon 1mm, to get more attack and articulation.

I prefer ground wound strings (GHS Brite Flats are the most readily available), brighter than flatwounds, but smoother than roundwounds.

I also looked for ideas to set my rig up with, borrowing and improving upon the peculiarities of some favorite bands and musicians.

I was trying to fuse my guitar and bass set-ups together.

Partially, this was because I was too poor to dedicate equipment money to both individual instruments.

But, also, because I was trying to be more independent, relying less on another guitarist or another bassist.

This, of course changed my playing style a little, as they were both sounding more alike.

I never liked playing big chords on guitar a whole lot, except as a punctuation or color.

But, I also didn’t like playing too many single notes on the bass, adding more chords to it.

Funk and jazz players usually got a good groove going.

Admittedly, so did some disco and new wave players.

Punk and metal players had the energy and heaviness.

Progressive rock players had sophisticated compositions which were challenging.

Blues, folk, and country players had soul.

I try my best to integrate everything together.

I like to build-up a foundational base on something, a skeletal framework (like the rhythm section), and decorate it like a Christmas tree.

I am not a very good improviser, I admit.

If I have to come up with something on-the-fly, I am more comfortable just playing a simple rhythm or random noises.

Jam sessions aren’t always productive with me.

But, I always try remembering to record everything when practicing.

I can take that material back later, cut-and-pasting what we have got into a song.

I call this “making Jam-Paste.”

It is a slow-w-w-w-ass process though.

I work better alone.

But, paradoxically, I need someone around for motivation or I get depressed and nothing happens.

I am trying to write more independently.

But, it is taking time for me to get used to it.

 

The End of Music

glitch_db41290f57_o

Noise is what punk rock wishes that it could be, but never will.

I believe that the use of noise to make music will continue and increase until we reach a music produced through the aid of electrical instruments which will make available for musical purposes any and all sounds that can be heard.

— John Cage The Future of Music: Credo (1937)
Noise music
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Noise music is a category of music that is characterized by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect. It can feature acoustically or electronically generated noise, and both traditional and unconventional musical instruments. It may incorporate live machine sounds, non-musical vocal techniques, physically manipulated audio media, processed sound recordings, field recording, computer-generated noise, stochastic process, and other randomly produced electronic signals such as distortion, feedback, static, hiss and hum. There may also be emphasis on high volume levels and lengthy, continuous pieces. More generally noise music may contain aspects such as improvisation, extended technique, cacophony and indeterminacy, and in many instances conventional use of melody, harmony, rhythm and pulse is dispensed with.
The Futurist art movement was important for the development of the noise aesthetic, as was the Dada art movement (a prime example being the Antisymphony concert performed on April 30, 1919 in Berlin), and later the Surrealist and Fluxus art movements, specifically the Fluxus artists Joe Jones, Yasunao Tone, George Brecht, Robert Watts, Wolf Vostell, Dieter Roth, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Walter De Maria’s Ocean Music, Milan Knížák’s Broken Music Composition, early LaMonte Young and Takehisa Kosugi.
Contemporary noise music is often associated with extreme volume and distortion. In the avant rock domain examples include Jimi Hendrix’s use of feedback,Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, and Sonic Youth. Other examples of music that contain noise-based features include works by Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Helmut Lachenmann, Cornelius Cardew, Theatre of Eternal Music, Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Ryoji Ikeda, Survival Research Laboratories, Whitehouse, Brighter Death Now, Merzbow, Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, Blackhouse, Jean Tinguely’s recordings of his sound sculpture (specifically Bascule VII), the music of Hermann Nitsch’s Orgien Mysterien Theater, and La Monte Young’s bowed gong works from the late 1960s. Genres such as industrial, industrial techno, lo-fi music, black metal, sludge metal, and glitch music employ noise-based materials.

The Dust Brothers

Dust_Brothers_MTV

Hip-hop producers The Dust Brothers are on my shortlist of people who I would like to work with someday (if I could actually afford them).

Contrary to popular belief, sampling and mixing is an artform.

Some people do it very well.

The Dust Brothers, The X-Ecutioners, or The Bomb Squad come to mind.

Some people are just talentless hacks.

MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice come to mind.

In the meantime, unless a million dollars falls into my lap, I will have to do this sort of thing by myself.

Pop

powerpuff girlzband

Sometimes, less is more.

So, keep it simple stupid.

Pop music
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Pop music (a term that originally derives from an abbreviation of “popular”) is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the Western world during the 1950s and 1960s, deriving from rock and roll. The terms “popular music” and “pop music” are often used interchangeably, although the former describes of music that is popular (and can include any style).
As a genre, pop music is extremely eclectic, often borrowing elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music. Such elements include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure) as well as the common employment of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks.

The Capitalist Conundrum of KISS and Jamming Econo

kiss kiss_wallpaper-1a8a26b

The funniest description that I ever heard about KISS is that they are like if The Beatles signed a record contract with McDonald’s.

Most musicians are, by necessity, also businessmen.

They have to be, in order to survive.

But, none take the capitalist cake like KISS.

I am pretty confident that they hold the world record on band merchandising.

Is there anything that they HAVEN’T put their faces or logo on?

I mean, I understand the mentality of a collector, having been one myself.

But, does anyone really need a “KISS Kasket” to be buried in?

The rock band Kiss' wide reaching merchandising is on display in Gene Simmons' office in his Beverly Hills home, which he shares with his wife Shannon Tweed, as seen on HGTV Celebrities at Home. Simmons, a producer, entrepreneur and actor is the bassist and singer-songwriter of the rock band Kiss, which has sold over 100 millions albums.
The rock band Kiss’ wide reaching merchandising is on display in Gene Simmons’ office in his Beverly Hills home, which he shares with his wife Shannon Tweed, as seen on HGTV Celebrities at Home. Simmons, a producer, entrepreneur and actor is the bassist and singer-songwriter of the rock band Kiss, which has sold over 100 millions albums.

The first record that I ever bought was the Paul Stanley 1978 solo LP.

I also got a KISS t-shirt.

It was the silver glittery iron-on logo on black.

I gotta admit, at one time, they were a good band.

They wrote good songs and put on a great show.

That was long before Peter Criss and Ace Frehley were ejected, before it became just two greedy old Jews and their hired hands.

Honestly, the group should have disbanded by the 1980’s.

We would still have better memories of them.

Kiss Krunch

Okay, I understand that putting on a big spectacle every night like they do costs a lot of money.

Revenue has to come from somewhere.

In the band’s early years, they sold out venues, but couldn’t sell any records.

The label was going bankrupt trying to keep the band afloat.

So, merchandising had to take up the slack.

The same phenomenon happened with the film “Star Wars.”

George Lucas received very little money or support from 20th Century FOX.

But, he owned the merchandising rights.

In both cases, merchandising saved the projects.

Hell, during their entire career, The Ramones made most of their income from t-shirt sales, not records.

The Misfits make their money the same way, putting their artwork on skateboards, belt buckles, coffee mugs, almost anything.

You cannot swing a dead cat in a Hot Topic without hitting some Misfits merch!

I don’t begrudge artists trying to find ways to support themselves.

But, it can reach a point where you lose your integrity and become another corporate whore.

John Lydon took a lot of shit for doing a butter commercial.

I admit, it was annoying.

In his defense, though, Public Image Limited wanted to release a new album, but had no backing from a record label.

The financing needed to come from somewhere and this was an opportunity that presented itself.

The butter ad money was exhausted on this project alone.

Now, some bands avoid these moral dilemmas by keeping their overhead low, “jamming econo.”

I can dig that.

I usually TRY to do that.

It means figuring out how to do more with less.

Fugazi never sold merchandise of ANY kind, no t-shirts….nothing.

Their reasoning was that if they had to sell stuff at a table, then that is one more person needed to watch the table and make sales.

Cut out the merch table and cut expenses.

Overall, I guess it depends on what compromises that you can live with.

I am generally against making commercials, unless I can have creative input.

I made some for a friend’s record store once, which appeared on the MTV Music Awards no less.

There is no way that these commercials could be mistaken for something cooked up in committee at an advertising agency.

No way.

Showbiz vs. DIY

Sex Pistols whos on stage

Art and commerce have always had a shaky relationship.

During the renaissance, artists were supported by wealthy benefactors, kings and merchants. Now, art is just another commodity on the market. Artists have to sell themselves to be supported. Every dollar has strings attached, though.

There is a scene from “Man On The Moon” where Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) is fired from a club gig because of his stubborn refusal to conform. I couldn’t find a video clip online, unfortunately. But the exchange with the club owner goes like this:

Andy Kaufman: So, Mr. Besserman, same spot tomorrow?

Mr. Besserman: I don’t know, Andy. I think I have to let you go.

Andy Kaufman: You’re firing me? You don’t even pay me.

Mr. Besserman: I don’t want to be insulting, but your act is like amateur hour. Sing-alongs for six-year-olds……puppets that aren’t funny, playing records…?

Andy Kaufman: But it’s original. No one’s ever done it. I’m not like everyone else.

Mr. Besserman: Everybody else gets this place cooking.

Andy Kaufman: I thought it was cooking. There was a man really upset.

Mr. Besserman: He stormed out, and other people left during your act. I can’t sell booze to people who–

Andy Kaufman: It’s about booze. Not comedy, not art?

Mr. Besserman: I can’t sell booze when you’re singing “Pop Goes the Weasel.” I’m running a business. It’s show business. Show. Business. Show. Business. Without the business, there’s no show. And there’s no show for you.

My experience dealing with the “legitimate” side of the music business has not been very pleasant. Half the time, clubs will try to rip you off. I got the sense that they were really mafia fronts for drug smuggling or human trafficking. I overheard talk about some clubs blacklisting bands for playing at DIY shows.

When I tried to book shows myself, I mostly got rejections everywhere because I was too different from what they wanted, except pay-to-play venues. Fuck that. So, I played coffeehouses and parties when I could. Hell, I even played in parking lots, anywhere with electricity.

I would rather avoid the “business” side of music, if at all possible. I am very suspicious about people wanting you to sign a contract or join something. I know that it is often necessary. But, I prefer to do things DIY when possible.

Some artists have done pretty well by this work ethic; Big Black, Fugazi, Crass, NoMeansNo, etc.

Is compromise sometimes necessary? Maybe. But, it usually better not to be put into a situation that forces you to.

Redd Kross

Redd Kross RK

I was not planning to add another post today.

But, a friend requested to keep ’em coming.

So, okay, one more.

Redd Kross is an American alternative rock band from Hawthorne, California, who had their roots in 1978 in a band called The Tourists, which was begun by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald while they were still in middle school. With the addition of friends Greg Hetson and John Stielow on drums, the band’s first gig was opening for Black Flag.

With deep connections to influential groups like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, Off! (and even the White Stripes), Redd Kross are a band that I can relate to for a couple of reasons:

  • They began very young (11 and 15), performing in a hardcore punk scene full of adults.
  • They’ve had a thousand different drummers and lead guitarists.
  • They embrace campiness and 1970’s pop culture.
  • They are not afraid of change, trying new musical styles.
  • They wrote a song titled “Notes and Chords Mean Nothing To Me”.
  • They are punks with long hair, like moi.
  • They are still at it, decades later, with little or no recognition to show for it.

Overall, I dig their pop catchiness and the colorful retro presentation that they usually bring.

Chameleonesque Polystylism

Meat Grinder SECTION-1-4-Mat-Osmond_Big-Meat-Grinder-from-Pits-Letter-Sue-Coe-1

To me, rock & roll is like a musical Rosetta Stone.

It has co-opted everything in its path, blurring the distinction between genres and cultures.

There are fewer degrees of separation between musical artists than Hollywood actors and Kevin Bacon.

Because I like so much different music and want to play it ALL, I have always relied on other musicians to filter it, molding it into whatever style we were going to perform together.

Also, other musicians may be more skilled at performing different styles than I am.

Frank Zappa set such a high standard for people to join his band that he, himself, admitted that he couldn’t pass the audition.

I never had such a luxury.

I just had to work with whoever would work with me and try to make the most of their talents.

Writing music by myself, I have more freedom to work without having that filter.

But, the limits of the technology available is still a factor.

Having only one performer (me) is a factor.

The skills that I possess (or the lack thereof) is a factor.

So, will it really sound the way I want it to?

I don’t know.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

All I can do at this point is continue to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Polystylism
From Wikipedia:

Polystylism is the use of multiple styles or techniques in literature, art, film, or, especially, music, and is a postmodern characteristic.
Some prominent contemporary polystylist composers include Peter Maxwell Davies, Michael Colgrass, Lera Auerbach, Sofia Gubaidulina, George Rochberg, Alfred Schnittke, Django Bates, Alexander Zhurbin, Lev Zhurbin and John Zorn. However, Gubaidulina, among others, has rejected the term as not applicable to her work. Polystylist composers from earlier in the twentieth century include Charles Ives and Eric Satie. Among literary figures, James Joyce has been referred to as a polystylist.
Though perhaps not the original source of the term, the first important discussion of the subject is Alfred Schnittke’s essay “Polystylistic Tendencies in Modern Music (1971)”. The composers cited by Schnittke as those who make use of polystylism are Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Edison Denisov, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Jan Klusák, György Ligeti, Carl Orff, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henri Pousseur, Rodion Shchedrin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Slonimsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, Boris Tishchenko, Anton Webern, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

Homemade Noise Machines

Tom Waits plays his truck air horn.
Tom Waits plays his truck air horn.

I have always been a packrat and tinkerer.

So, naturally, I liked to build my own instruments and noisemakers when I had the materials for it.

Anything that vibrates and changes pitch is fair game.

I made many attempts, but never mastered building electronics.

Some of my simple guitar-based instruments worked pretty well, though.

I once played “The Electric Stick” with Carey Loren’s Monster Island and MSBR, from Japan.

MSBR were so impressed that they put a video of me on their website.

I ended up giving the The Electric Stick away to Davin Brainard, of Princess Dragon-Mom, during a housecleaning Marsha Postel and I had in our Detroit apartment.

I recently uncovered some old parts in storage that may be useful.

So, maybe I will make something again, soon.

Frank Zappa on TV!