2019… So Far, So Good… I Guess.

Almost done........................
Almost done…………………….

Time still flies when you aren’t having any fun. I am absolutely certain that time speeds up as you age. That is why old people wear clothes that are out of style. It was still in fashion just a minute ago, for them.

I was planning to include a vlog today, since vlogging is meant to be half of these posts. But, honestly, I don’t have anything worth videotaping right now. I also don’t have any new paintings to show.

2019 is speeding by, just like the past few years have. WTF is wrong with me? Besides the usual shit? Things actually are going pretty okay right now. I had a few rough months between December and February. That mess is finally settled, notwithstanding my growing piles of debt.

I have a list of folks waiting for Theee Urban SpaceCat cassette-zine. I have been digging through stacks of demo tapes and gigabytes of incomplete data trying to finish it. I have enough material already done for a complete issue or two… or three. But, I have spread it out over several zines. I didn’t like the way it was when I compiled it all together. So, I am filling each issue, finishing each song, one-at-a-time. A friend suggested that I do this to get myself focused, instead of hopping all over the place like I usually do. Get one thing done. Then, move on to the next thing. This approach seems to be pushing the process along, I suppose. Creating the equivalent of two double albums every few months is kinda hard when doing it all alone and you keep shooting yourself in the foot. Everything is absurdly late getting it out.

I asked around about getting my mixes mastered. But, I cannot afford to do it, not entire albums anyway. I might have one or two singles mastered for radio… maybe. The rest will just have to be a raw mix.

I am waiting for the government to process some of my tax shit, so I can finish setting up the business side of things. They’re still catching up from the Trumptard shutdown a few weeks ago. It has delayed everything. I’m never happy dealing with that sort of stuff. But, I anxiously want to get it done and out of the way.

Here is a Daniel Johnston song from my record collection for you. I get the same feeling myself sometimes. I am always starting my life over again… and again… and again… and again….

Making Movies, For the Hell of It

horror

I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.

As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.

The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.

I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.

The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way,  it shares some similarities to The Banana SplitsThe Archies, or Green Jellö. Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.

I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.

My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.

Okie-Dokie Lokie

everything will be ok

Hi folks,

I thought I would give you some GOOD news, for a change.

My van has been returned and drives better than it did before. My aunt loaned me enough money for the tire. I think they tightened something up to stop the wheel from wobbling. It helps. But, I got an estimate for repairs to the damaged tie rod and related issues that still need fixing. I do not think I can do this by myself. It looks like more than I can handle. The van still has trouble starting up. Someone said that the teeth on the starter may be worn out. I have a new one to replace it with. I couldn’t get the old one off. It is too tight and I’m not strong enough. But, it doesn’t have as much of a transmission problem as it did before. That could just be because they added enough fluid to it, finally.

My bank account balance is not in the red for the first time in months! I think I’m finally catching up, at least a little bit.

I’ve gotten a bunch of new pen pal letters, lately. I’m looking forward to replying to all of this mail. I’ve also been mentioned by some very prominent YouTubers, lately (Wow!). Maybe I’ll get more traffic on my site.

I have found and fixed my webcam problem. It was a system glitch. Not sure yet if I will include a vlog with today’s blog. Maybe I will post one after I finish this new painting I’m working on.

Today’s song from my collection is a Nirvana cover by Flipper. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Choose Your Destiny (or It Will Be Chosen For You)

pickle rick ratfight bigger
Pickle Rick is BADASSSSSS!

Making mistakes are inevitable. You learn what you can from them and try not to make the same ones twice. But, as I’ve been told, I “never know when to quit.” I guess there are upsides and downsides to that. I’m persistent.

I’ve always hated the business side of art & music. There are some aspects that I don’t mind doing myself. But, most of it I’ve always left for someone else to handle (booking shows, collecting the door, etc.). I’m just really bad at it. But, as a club owner once told comedian / performance artist Andy Kaufman, “This is show-business. Show… Business! Show…Business! Without the business, there’s no show.” It took a very long time to beat that into my head. But, I still relied too much on others to get things done.

I’ve always known how important it is to have backup gear; strings, cords, cables, picks, etc. But, I never considered having a backup for other contingencies. A friend would set up a show for me and I’d prepare to get by at that one show. If something went wrong, though, I’d be fucked. I’ve been stood up by bandmates at booked gigs. I’ve had important pieces of equipment fail. If something CAN go wrong, it usually does.

I was, recently, reading a blog explaining the pros and cons of touring alone vs touring with a band. It got me thinking about how I can better prepare myself. I should ALWAYS have a backup plan ready for when shit goes wrong, “Always have a plan A, B, C, and D.” If an offer comes along and I don’t have a backup plan for it, then I probably shouldn’t accept it. I’m not ready. The best way to avoid this from happening is to DIY all of the work, as much as possible. If I’m bad at it, then I’ll learn how to get better. I’ve always been bad with cars, but eventually I had to learn shit or it didn’t get done…period.

If I’m setting up a show by myself, I can control the variables and take precautions. If bandmates flake out or cannot show up, I can still do it alone. If a piece of equipment fails, I can do something else instead. Whatever happens, I got this.

Part of this mindset is influenced by my “prepping hobby” or whatever you want to call it. I liked the TV show “Doomsday Preppers”, while it lasted. Sure, there were lots of nutcases on there with too much money to waste and not enough common sense. But, the general principle is a sound one, “Be prepared…for anything.” It got our grandparents through the Great Depression. The pioneers survived travelling across the wilderness because they prepared for it. Shit’s gonna happen, inevitably. What are you gonna do? Cry about it? No. If something needs to be done, get it done. No one else will do it. Think ahead, then you won’t have to worry as much.

I have repairs & replacements that need to be taken care of. But, I would like to set up a few mini-tours down the Midwest or The East Coast. Whether that is with a group or alone (or both) I’d like to somehow make that happen. If I can secure a decent-priced rental van and insurance with Roadside Assistance it would make a world of difference. Would it be a deal-breaker if I can’t? I’m not sure.

Another thing that has taken me a very long time to learn is, “If you can’t do it the way that you want to do it, find another way to do it. Then, do it anyway.” Being stubbornly perfectionist can really hold you back. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I’ve had some great ideas which would have been fantastic to see materialize, “only if…” It’s always some details that prevented it from happening, when I could have done it in some other fashion and at least gotten SOMETHING done – instead of nothing.

This kinda goes back to my point of being more self-reliant. I’ve often needed someone around to break me out of my depression,  get me motivated, and to bounce ideas off of. If I had simply recorded & performed everything myself, all along, I could have accomplished so much more! I thought that I NEEDED other people to do things. But, I really only WANTED them. That is a big difference. It is a huge mistake to wait for anyone for anything, if you can avoid it. “Don’t wait around for help, because it isn’t coming.” Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there, forever, Waiting For Godot.

One of my favorite cartoons is “Rick & Morty.” I think that the best episode, so far, has been “Pickle Rick.” In this episode, the title character (transformed into a limbless pickle) is physically helpless, trapped down a sewer drain, but manages to save his own life through sheer ingenuity and persistence. Just like one of my other favorite TV characters, MacGyver. He could have simply despaired there at the bottom of the sewer, hopelessly crying to himself, until the rats and roaches ate his lifeless corpse. But, instead, he used his environment to escape and survive. I’m a little envious that I don’t have more positive moments like that myself. It is something to strive for, though.

pickle rick toilet
PICKLE RICK!!!

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve been kinda busy lately, helping my aunt and ex-gf move. I was also not feeling well for a week or so. Then, my van broke down. I’m behind on my projects, including providing this month’s MP3 for Patrons. I’m doing my best to catch up.

I received a small batch of comics, recently, that I contributed to. It’s called Five O’Clock Shadow. This is issue #25. I’m including them with orders and donations on my Bandcamp page, while they last.

I am recording a bunch of exclusive music for my supporters on Patreon, as well as contributions to The Residents, David Liebe Hart (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), and some new collaborators who want to put a band or something together with me. Lots of stuff going on!

Issues of “Theee Urban SpaceCat” Cassette-Zine have been held back for an absurd amount of time, mostly for financial reasons. I’m always broke. Just to get them out there in some form, any form, I will be releasing the first couple of issues digitally (PDF & MP3). They may get printed physically at a later time. But, look on the bright side. At least you can download them instantly instead of waiting by your mailbox.

Another project that I’m working on is a series of paintings, each including a compact disc of unique material. I will show them for you on future videos. Plus, there is all of the other art that I’m making every day. So, perhaps good things are happening.

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Please Share, Like, and Subscribe!!!

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Mike Nobody

c/o Theee Urban SpaceCat

P.O. Box 1201

Taylor, MI 48180

USA

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\,,/(^_^)\,,/

Oh and if you’re a troll coming here to give me any shit…

ᶠᶸᶜᵏ♥ᵧₒᵤ

My Routine, Paintings, Records, and Halloween

 

I’d love to get any feedback from you.

When I get stuff in the mail, it also gives me fodder for making zines and things.

 

 

Blogging Painting Drawing Noise Music Schedule

 

SCHEDULE2

now o'clock

Hi.

Yo.

Hello.

Konnichiwa.

I know that I need to put myself out there more if I want to accomplish my goals. My natural inclination is avoid everybody, though.

Procrastination is another big problem of mine. I “rack disiprine.”

I try REALLY hard to do better. But, I’m my own worst enemy. I self-sabotage everything.

I have put myself on a regular schedule, of sorts, to take care of everyday things, so I don’t have to think about it much. I make myself a daily to-do list. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d get anything done. But, it isn’t foolproof. I still get sidetracked with something else a lot. I tend to fixate on something, to the exclusion of everything else, and lose track of time.

intps

I was thinking about the creative process, the thinking process. If I document it, publicly, maybe this will help to keep me motivated, creative and honest. When I write to friends or collaborate with other people I seem to get more stuff done. It helps, I guess. I might be less likely to throw everything away before I’m finished.

I’m blogging for my Patreon-supporters (the Superduper Secret SpaceCat Blog) almost every week-ish . I share things to keep it interesting.

I had a busy week or two, making a bunch of horror movie themed paintings for a show at the Phoenix Cafe’ and putting together a short movie for the Planet 9 Film Festival. Now that it’s over I’m catching up on neglected housework and van repairs.
Moving on to the next thing or so;

  • Working on issues #1-3 of “Theee Urban SpaceCat” cassette-zine. It has been held up for a ridiculous length of time already. It was always my intent to publish new issues every three or four months. But, I never have any money to do so. I’m considering just posting MP3/PDF versions online until I can get enough cash together. I have a growing backlog of material to do something with or discard.
  • Building new custom instruments, ShitKit 2.0 and miscellaneous noise machines. Everything was taking up space and had to be moved. My grandmother needs her garage back.
  • “The Island of Misfit Noise” movie might make a little more progress. The recent experience of making and showing a short film has been educational.
  • Recording new music for collaboration albums: David Liebe Hart (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) and The Residents!
  • Of course, I will continue to collaborate on other things as well. I may have found a new drummer!

I doubt if I will perform alone again for awhile. Had a bad experience a few weeks ago. Was offered another gig in two months. But, I’ll pass, just stick to recording for the time being.

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.

Making Something Out of Nothing

Dali mustache_zpsw9li7xxj

I’ve been drawing & painting since I could walk. My parents even tried persuading me to turn professional and go into advertising as a career. PFFFFFFFTT! Fuck that. I cannot think of a more surefire way to suck out and destroy any enjoyment from creativity than having a boss tell you what to do, and when. Furthermore, selling your soul to marketing agencies adds insult to injury.

Usually, my artwork was given to friends or destroyed and discarded. I started selling my art locally in the 1990’s. But, not really understanding how the professional art world works, I only sold items in person at music venues or record stores (wherever I happened to be). I have been reluctant about taking it any further than that.

I don’t really have a lot of room to keep anything. I rented a storage unit for about a year, until I could no longer afford it. So, if no one wants what I make, it often goes into the garbage. Maybe the rats and seagulls at the landfill can use it for a nest.

I’m finally dipping my toe into the “real” art world. I was offered to showcase some paintings. So, I figured maybe I should sell some. I have an account online at ArtPal. There isn’t much there, yet. I’m only beginning, just now. But, I will continue to put pieces up there if it interests anybody. I thought about it for a little bit and decided to do commissions, too. If it doesn’t work out, I will stop.

I made a few updates to my Patreon account rewards, since I’m doing this. Patrons can get discounts on merchandise and original artwork. Details will be listed with items as they are posted.

We will see where this goes, then.

Death Cat @ Fireside Inn (07/22/2016)

One year ago.
Damn, time flies.

http://www.deathcat.us/

https://www.facebook.com/deathcatmusic/

https://www.facebook.com/firesideinn.divebar

Vlogging Update: May 2017

BIG EYES & MOUTH FIREPAINT.png

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

monitor

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!

Is There a Mike Nobody Style? Maybe.

noisegiphy

When I am jamming with other people, they motivate me and kinda help focus what I am doing.

So, I am always bouncing ideas back-and-forth with them, trying to see where their talents and interests are.

If half of the group is into a specific style of music, that gives me a vague reference to work from.

I know what will work and what won’t.
My improvisational skills are kinda crappy, I admit, though.

Ironically, I need people to get out of my way and let me work alone when I am writing original music.

Cutting & pasting jam sessions into songs kinda works.

If I have no one to work with at all, I am kind of at a loss.

The music can go in all sorts of different directions.

So, finding my own “sound” can be difficult sometimes.

I am trying to shape what I do into a cohesive sound of my own, without tying my hands too much.

I would like to maintain the freedom to play whatever that I want.

Near as I can figure it, I guess that I kinda sound a little like Beck with a weird bass setup and tapes, maybe.

My working process, and limited resources, probably have more to do with any style that I may have than anything else.

I don’t have a drummer.

So, for percussion I must rely on drum machines, keyboard sounds, and whatever found objects that I can bang on.

I do not have other band members.

So, I rely on recordings of myself on guitars, noises, and assorted samples, to fill out the sound.

Compositionally, I like the cut & paste approach of artists like Magma, Cardiacs, Omoide Hatoba, Boredoms, Melvins, Ruins, Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, John Zorn, Carl Stalling, etc. and “mixtape style” of the Butthole Surfers, Ween, Faith No More, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.

I like a mixture of Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi in recordings = Mid-Fi!

But, I prefer a specific squashed compression sound found on early Primus, Ween, and Butthole Surfers records.

I was able to ask guitarist / producer Paul Leary once about how he achieved that sound for the Butthole Surfers.

He said it was due to cheap tape recorders, and only having one microphone.

So, I think they recorded directly from their preamps a lot.

I know that Primus did.

That works great for me, since I only have shitty cheap microphones anyway.

Vocally, I have a kinda nasally high-pitched voice that I never liked.

Kind of a bit like Neil Young, Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Curt & Chris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), Marc Bolan (T. Rex), etc.

Although, I try to give it a little bit of a Tom Waits-like growl on the lower end.

I guess that I compensate for my voice with cheap microphones and whatever vocal effects that are available, trying to bury it.

Visually, of course, everything is very cheap by necessity.

I like papier-mâché and cardboard props and sets.

Puppets and miniatures can be very useful, too.

Green screen, data-bending, and other cheap effects.

My mixed-media paintings and artwork kinda have a cheapniz aesthetic, too, I suppose.

I use stuff from thrift stores, hardware stores, dollar stores, and found materials a lot.

I tend to visualize the exterior world, the “real” world, in black & white colors.

A cold, decaying, dying, world.

The interior world, the world of the mind and imagination, by contrast, is warmer and more colorful.

It is vast and endless.

Duluth-lynching-postcard

bodies-of-deceased-concentration-camp-everett

Detroit_riot_-_arial

I will probably post more about my gear setup & playing techniques later.

John Zorn

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“All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I’m an additive person—the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can’t see the connections, but they are there.”~ John Zorn

Continuing in a pastiche-composition style as Frank Zappa (although neither actually invented it) avante-garde jazz composer John Zorn has always interested me, since I first heard about him in the 1980’s.

His early career in the 1970’s included playing modified duck calls into buckets of water, as well as his improvised saxophone performances.

That alone, piqued my curiosity enough as a teenager to investigate further.

“The Big Gundown”, an imaginative reworking of Ennio Morricone covers, was his first big “hit” record in 1985.

Ennio Morricone, himself, praised the album.

His later hardcore jazz groups Naked City and Painkiller really made me into a big fan.

He was also instrumental in the release of Carl Stalling’s Merry Melodies / Looney Toons  cartoon soundtrack recordings.

I am guessing that those projects are why Mr. Bungle chose him to produce their first album for Warner Bros. Records. in 1991.

I think I have to agree with Mr. Zorn’s philosophy of musical composition.

I was always an obsessive record collector.

Everything that I listened to felt interconnected on some level, even if they seemed separated on the surface.

William Shakespeare isn’t James Joyce or Dr. Seuss.

But, they all speak English.

Something like that.

 

 

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.

Bombs Away!

Valentine’s Day

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?

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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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

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Don’t look at my ugly face.

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I Fixed My Mood Ring!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Super Action Kung-Fu Power Rock & Roll!

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.