Gear Geeked

Mike Nobody Bass 02 - Jaguar Urge Bass

I was going through my hard drive, looking at designs for new guitars and custom instruments. I didn’t know if anybody would care about this sort of thing, except other musicians… maybe. Of course, lacking any money, I build these things as opportunities come along. I can probably work on the cheaper ones for awhile.

I always liked the customized design of Jimmy Page’s Les Paul Guitars, with push-pull knobs enabling coil-tapping and phase-shifting. But, I like baritone guitars a lot, too. The first draft at my version went something like this:

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jimmy Page Les Paul Baritone Guitar

I kept making further refinements. Although Les Pauls have a nice tone, the original construction needs work. The headstocks are notorious for breaking easily. So, I changed it to a Zachary Guitars “samurai sword” style headstock. Also, I prefer guitar bodies with an offset waist, for comfort. So, I would keep the maple top mahogany body, just shape it more comfortably like a Fender Jazzmaster or Jaguar.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar Baritone GuitarNegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar Baritone Guitar 2NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar 3 Baritone Guitar

I played around with different pickup configurations, different woods, a graphite reinforced neck, etc.. I gave a Fender Bass VI style body a try.

MIKE NOBODY GUITAR 3

Mike Nobody Bass - Bass VIMike Nobody Bass 02 - Bass VI

Then, I moved on to basses. I want to combine a Fender Jazz, Precision, and Rickenbacker style tones together. Maybe a Gibson Thunderbird. Maybe not. But, I know it would not sound like any of them if I tried to do that. A close approximation would be nice, though.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Mike Nobody Jaguar bassMike Nobody Bass 01 - Jaguar Urge Bass

It is possible that the only way around this is to build a different one for each specific tone. But, I thought about including Line 6 Variax Bass wiring hooked to a piezo pickup for variety. Not sure if it would work.

This is all out of my price range, for now. I considered having the body made, then adding parts as I go along. The neck is the most expensive piece. I don’t know to what degree solid graphite necks can be customized. Having a comfortable neck is very important. I think a “Soft V” contour is the right shape for me. But, I’m not sure. If a pro shop could work out details like that with me it would be extremely helpful.

Making experimental “noise machines” is a lot easier for me to put together on a low budget. The most common that I like making are basically stringed instruments built from scrap wood and junk.

NEGATIVEM ELECTRIC HARP

Anything that makes a sound is fair game, though.

NegativeM Smash TableNegativem Rattle of DOOM!NegativeM Penny JarNegativeM Grinding PipeNegativeM Grinding MicNegativeM The WheelNegativeM Devil's DJ Turntable redNegativem CIRCUIT-BENT MYSTERY BOX

One thing that I thought about getting, for a long time, is a DJ rack case & table. It could store all sorts of effects, make room to operate small devices, and give me something to stand behind. But, they aren’t cheap. This is at the very bottom of my wishlist.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Rack

So, there it is. That is just some of the things I’ve been working on, for a long time. I’ll probably build the noise machines sooner than the rest. It would great if I could scrape together enough money to do the basses / guitars, though. I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing until then.

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Today’s Blog

Music For The People

I haven’t posted much on my website blog in awhile. I have kept myself fairly occupied most of the time, despite outward appearances.

I’ve finally closed the door on The Island of Misfit Noise, as a recording group for good. It is still the title of a no-budget movie and comic book. But, for the purposes of collaborating with other musicians, it has outlived it’s usefulness. I will think of something else if I need it. I’m currently working on a new album with some friends and am keeping an eye out for available musicians to perform live with again.

My disability pay has not come yet. I’m annoyed. A mistake has been made by the Social Security Administration. I updated my account information with them over a month ago. But, they deposited this month’s payment into an account that is no longer active. I called their office and the bank. Hopefully, it will be straightened out soon. I need supplies to work on a few projects and it is holding me up. I have a lot of stuff to catch up on;

  • This week’s mail is ready to go out as soon as I get some postage.
  • My homemade drum kit (aka The ShitKit) is coming along really well. I need to get some parts from a hardware store to put it together.
  • I’m working on a short film to submit to a film festival next month. I need a few items for building props, sets, puppets, etc.
  • I have some incomplete paintings that require art supplies.
  • Someone is offering a free drafting table on Craigslist. I’m out of gas, though. Hopefully, it will still be there when I can refuel again.
  • I need funds to send my zines to the printers, if I am to have them ready in time for upcoming events.
  • I have VHS tapes that need to be transferred to my computer for editing. But, the VCR needs cleaning badly and I can’t find any tape head cleaners anywhere. I gotta get replacements.
  • Of course, there is also the matter of monthly bills and mundane household things; rent, phone, internet, debts, medications, food, dish soap, cat litter, paper towels, toilet paper, car insurance & license plate renewal, etc.

I recently sent out an email to those on my mailing list with a few details of upcoming events and a plea for financial support. I doubt that anybody will take me up on it. But, it never hurts to ask.

I’m writing a new horror story to be made into another low-budget movie, after “The Island of Misfit Noise” film is finished. It is a little more ambitious. It will actually require a REAL budget and not be made piecemeal like the IOMN.

Another project that I will undertake, a little bit later, is a compilation LP.  It will be funded collectively by the contributing artists. Everyone submits a song or two and their share of the budget to produce it. After the vinyl is pressed, everyone gets their percentage of the finished product, to sell at gigs. It is an old method of doing things, that I have participated in before. Another share of the records will be sent out for promotion, through radio and press.

But, before I embark on these and other projects, I need to finish up a couple of things and sort out my financial situation. I have enrolled in a debt consolidation program. So far, my credit cards seem to be under control. But, I have yet to get my payday loan debts arranged. I don’t believe that I can do that this month, because I have to buy a car insurance policy to renew my license plates. We will see how that comes along. Anyway, that is what I’m doing lately.

A Few Little Updates

Mikeycat Jammin color

I did a little re-adjusting to my Patreon tiers, recently. Some rewards will no longer be available outside of the United States (sorry). But, I’ll make it up to my patrons somehow. Postage and costs would likely make them prohibitively untenable.
I have gotten some offers to perform live and showcase my artwork in a few months. I’m a little on the fence about that. It would behoove me to bring some stuff for people to take home with them (recordings & merch). I have delayed, delayed, delayed putting those out for quite awhile. I know. I suck. It’s embarrassing.
If I can get those ready, though, I MIGHT do it (emphasis on the “might”). Would anybody be interested in that? Does anybody care? I dunno.
I may be doing more collaborations again. I have incomplete recordings that have been waiting to get finished for a long time. An EP or something might get released. We will see.
Meanwhile, I have been scavenging for things that I need. I hit a few jackpots. So, I’m very pleased with that. Every little bit helps to move my projects along. If I keep going on this lucky streak, I’ll be sure to get something tangible done.
Leave me some comments or send some mail, won’t you? It would be nice to know if anybody gives a rat’s ass.

Vlogging Update: May 2017

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Hey y’all,

Sorry for the long absence.

My computer died.

I gave it to my aunt to work on.

She does IT work for the local school district.

Unable to fix it, she gave me another one that a school was getting rid of.

I tried to salvage what I could from the old one.

But, most of my programs and files were lost.

I’ve been searching for the missing software and restoring what I can.

My scanner/printer didn’t want to cooperate with the new computer.

I tried replacing it.

But, the replacements didn’t work either.

After a couple of days messing with it, I finally got it running.

My van has a million problems.

But, at least I got the front tire fixed that kept going flat.

I’ve replaced that tire THREE TIMES and it still kept going flat.

I thought maybe the rim was bent.

I had it looked at and they found a piece of metal lodged inside.

They patched it up.

Now, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Only cost me $15 bucks (thank God)!

I tried to repay my grandmother $700 dollars I owe her.

She forgave some of it.

My ex forgave the $200 I owed her, too, since I’ve been helping her relocate and move her stuff.

Not sure how I’ll get my other debts paid.

But, I try not to get stressed out about it.

That really fucks up my creativity.

Groundhog Day

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I was gonna record a vlog to go with this (including a new song!). But, I didn’t get around to it. I’ll try to get it out this weekend, maybe. I have been digging through my old practice tapes and recording new demos for a couple of months now. I am not happy with a lot of it. But, you always have to dig through a lot of shit to find anything useful. Since I haven’t put out anything in a long time, I have been contributing to other people’s projects. I was asked by Uncle Ghoulie to provide some artwork and sounds to Truth Porn MilitiaNo Budget Radio Podcast. So, that is cool. I will be getting that out soon. There have also been some zines and other things requesting my input. So, I haven’t been completely unproductive, I guess.

I’m really beginning to wonder if maybe I should just give away my notes & artwork to let someone else make my movies. At least then they would get produced SOMEHOW. Tim Burton had almost nothing to do with making Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, yet his name is still in the title. He just gave his old sketchbook to another director and said, “Here. Knock yourself out.” Good idea? Bad idea? I don’t know. But, it looks like if I’m gonna produce it, it will likely be a few years until it it is done. Even if I cut costs to the absolute bone and it looks like dogshit, I don’t think I can get it done.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that I can get Theee Urban SpaceCat finally going this month. I should have enough raw material for a few issues already. I’ve been continually painting, drawing, recording, writing, etc. It really comes down to paying for putting it out there. I’ll deal with other expenses later, if it becomes necessary.

After over a year of keeping my stuff in storage, lacking enough funds, I recently had to let go of my storage unit. I have downsized a lot of it. So, at least I can fit everything in my grandmother’s garage (between the Christmas decorations and patio furniture). She gave me a nice bookshelf that was no longer wanted. So, I finally have somewhere to keep what is left of my vinyl LPs. I was very disappointed to realize how much of my collection that I’ve sold off.

She also gave me a free pizza promotional card that she got in the mail from Domino’s Pizza. I later brought the pizza back to her house. She, my nephew Michael, and I enjoyed a large deluxe. Mmmmmm.

I gotta finish cleaning up here, soon. There is an apartment inspection coming Monday. The landlord is making sure that no bed bugs have returned. Thankfully, the place has been pest-free for a year now. As a matter of fact, it was during the bug extermination last winter that I began renting my storage unit. So, it lasted one whole year.

I just got a small loan to cover my rent problem (last month’s check bounced!). I needed to pay two month’s rent and late/returned check fees IMMEDIATELY or I would get evicted. I’m not sure how much more financial Jiu-Jitsu I can pull off before it finally catches up with me. The van has a lot of mechanical problems needing fixing. I still cannot afford to put insurance on it. I’m risking jail time for driving without it (a misdemeanor in Michigan!). I’m in debt to my eyeballs to doctors & hospitals, credit cards, collection agencies, etc.

I set up a Patreon account. Maybe, I can find a little help from some folks, to fix my money situation. It is a long shot, I guess. But, what have I got to lose? I will post music, videos, and other stuff for patrons that won’t get released anywhere else. I’ll be adding more bonuses for supporters (t-shirts, stickers, magnets, flamethrowers, meat cannons, etc.) when I have them available. Any assistance is appreciated! Thanks.

Become A Patron!

Metallica

I gave up on Metallica a looong time ago.

But, I gotta admit that their new album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is the best original recording that they’ve put out in thirty years!

In my opinion, the original line-up is still the best.

Dave Mustaine’s fingerprints are still all over their first two albums, despite having been ejected before putting any records out.

Cliff Burton kept them in a really good groove.

But, his untimely death totally took the wind out of their sails.

After he was gone, the best that the band could muster were cover tunes.

That’s it.

Really, I cannot think of any original material that was any good by the 1990’s.

…And Justice for All KIND OF still had some balls to it.

But, the sterile computerized bassless production just destroyed any soul left in the songs.

 The Black Album put me to sleep.

The rest afterward was really shitty and kept getting worse.

Death Magnetic showed a drastic return to their older sound….somewhat.

Their new producer, obviously an old-school fan, gave them a swift kick in the ass to break bad habits that the band had accumulated since becoming mainstream arena rock-stars.

But, poor sound quality hindered it quite a lot.

This time around, they seem to be getting their shit together again…finally.

I still think Lars Ulrich is a douchebag tool and James Hetfield is a meathead asshole.

Kirk Hammet always seemed like a quiet guy just doing his job.

Jason Newsted got a raw deal from the get-go.

They always treated him like shit and eventually he, rightfully, quit.

I don’t know much about Robert Trujillo to have an opinion, though.

The whole Napster thing showed everyone just how little Metallica thinks of their fans, freedom of speech, and their own naked hypocrisy.

Being on the same side as Senator Orrin Hatch, on any issue, should give someone pause to reconsider their position.

File-sharing is no different than the tape-trading that Ulrich and Hetfield did in their younger days, turning each other on to new music that they could not hear through the mainstream media.

Now, since their contract with Warner Bros. has expired, they have started up an independent label Blackened Recordings.

They seem to have learned a few lessons about the internet since the 1990’s.

Each song has a corresponding music video on their YouTube channel.

I dunno if they still sue people over copyright bullshit or not.

But, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Will I buy their new album?

I dunno.

Maybe.

But, at least I don’t hate them as much as I did before.

Spring Has Sprung

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I was watching some YouTube videos lately.

I got very annoyed.

Other bands are doing stuff that I wanna do.

But, they keep beating me to it.

I hate when that shit happens.

Maybe it is just that everything has already been done to death and we keep repeating and reinterpreting what came before us.

I dunno.

I know that, financially, I am gonna be screwed for the foreseeable future.

I am robbing Peter to pay Paul for as long as I have to.

I seriously doubt that I will break even before summer begins.

I keep putting off working on and publishing the zine until I can get ahead a little.

But, that doesn’t look like it is going to happen very soon.

I may do a cheaper version, than what I had in mind, until it begins to pay for itself.

Just a thought.

I will probably raid my boxes of old tapes that I have in storage and dig around for some incomplete material to finish.

I have a lot of it, going back nearly forty years.

Since I have been tinkering with the analogue multi-track machine, maybe I will include some fresher stuff with it, too.

I dunno.

A guitarist whom I have not played with in years contacted me and is eager to jam again.

So, maybe he can give me a morale boost and help me get my shit done.

Maybe.

I am always willing to jam with other people if they are interested.

I need to find somewhere that I can paint and make loud noises too.

Maybe somebody can help me with that.