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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.