Hey, Wolfie can really shred!

10 01 2012

I had no idea the boy had such skills! He’s really good.  It shouldn’t surprise me given the musical talent in his genes.


My year in music

31 12 2009

The year started out with a bang.  I had just seen Oasis in mid December and was quite interested in the current British music scene.  Before January was up, I got my hands on both Fratellis’ albums, two from the Kooks and Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare.  Credit for these finds goes to magazines like Mojo and Q, which I was reading heavily at the time.  I did my level best to get my hands on Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album from the local library, but that took until Spring.

Luckily, Dennis Wilson’s revived classic Pacific Ocean Blue got a lot of love late 2008, early 2009, particularly from the Brit mags.  That has been one of the best albums I’ve bought in years.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

February was also quite interesting because the Beatles’ Take 20 of “Revolution” surfaced, and exploded across the ‘net.  EMI and/or Apple Corps made sure, within a day or so, that it vanished from some of the more notorious sites like youtube.  I wasn’t immediately convinced it was an authentic Beatles track – seemed possibly to be a mash-up of some kind – but “Beatles historians” roundly came out with opinions that it was the real deal.  That it was squashed within 48 hours of hitting the world wide web seemed to be good evidence that it was the real thing.  It’s a very cool track.  It’s basically “Revolution No. 1″ from the White Album, with loops and audio bits that ended up on “Revolution No. 9.”  As a big Beatles fan, I’m not one for second guessing them, but I think, in retrospect, “Revolution Take 20″ (let’s just call it that) would have fit better on the album than having two separate Revolutions.  No. 9 is just too long and goes nowhere.

The Beach Boys are frequently in my playing rotation (though not at the moment.)  Last Spring, I really wanted to go back and full up my collection from their post-Smile late 60’s, early 70’s catalog, but never quite got around to it.  I did dig out my copy of Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys, and played discs 2 and 3 quite a bit for a few weeks.  I came to love Dennis Wilson’s “Little Bird” from the album Friends.

Speaking of Beach Boys and Wilson brothers, Brian Wilson’s performance of Smile from a few years was an amazing surprise.  I’ve had the bootleg tracks (and songs from the box set) for years, but his performance of the aborted album from start to finish is something special.

Virtually out of nowhere, I felt this draw toward bass guitar.  My six string had been in the case for years; I played it a bit and decided I wanted to be a bassist.  In March I picked up my Dean EABG and jumped right into it.  I got Bass Guitar for Dummies and started playing (or learning) quite diligently.  In April I bought a 1997 Epiphone Accu-Bass and a Kustom 80 watt bass amp from a pawn shop in Detroit.  I have not played the electric much, but it’s there if I need it.

Late spring and early summer came.  I still played quite a bit of bass, taking my acoustic with me on family trips and weekends out of town.  I didn’t quite finish Bass Guitar for Dummies, but I’m planning a return to the book.  Because of my love for bass, anything with excellent bass found its way into my rotation.  I picked up What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977), an absolutely fantastic 4 disc set put out by Rhino.

Midsummer my MP3 player completely crapped out.  I couldn’t replace the battery for it, either.  We traveled a lot on weekends so my daughter had frequent requests for the Beatles or the Beach Boys, so that’s most of what I heard.

Christmas came early, on 09/09/09 in fact.  Apple Corps released the Beatles’ entire catalog, remastered, in stereo and mono (at least up through 1968.)  I got the Beatles in Mono box set before the stereo set.  I burned the CDs and put ‘em back in the packaging immediately.  I never even looked at the booklets, liner notes etc.  I got the stereo set a few days later, but still have not opened it.  September and October were Beatles-filled months.  Even now, at year’s end, I’m listening to bits of Abbey Road quite a bit, mostly because I’ve picked up the bass again and am trying to learn some of the licks.

Noel Gallagher “quit” Oasis but, surprisingly, this didn’t bother me a bit.  I’d love to see them make music forever; but if it ends it ends.  Noel’s the heart and soul of the band and he could go on making great music without his pesky little brother.  Here’s to a solo career that he will hopefully launch…and soon.

They never made sense to me in 38 years on this planet, but I finally gave in and got a few Pink Floyd albums, The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon.  I would never have bought them at the store, but they’re at our public library, so I’ve given them a whirl.  I have to admit that I quite like both of those albums.  I’m not quite convinced that I like PF enough to start buying up their other albums, but I certainly am at least open to considering a bit more exploring.

The burden of sick loved ones and the “death” that comes in late Autumn probably put me in something of a slight funk.  I found solace in U2’s song “40.”  I think God wanted me to hear that when I did.

I’ve kind of fallen in love with music again in the last week or so.  I recently replaced my MP3 player and loaded it with really great stuff.  Of course it’s got all the Beatles stuff.  But I really love that I’ve got a few Miles Davis albums, Elvis in Memphis, a great two-disc set from his 1969 work, Little Richard and Ray Charles compilations/anthologies, Johnny Cash’s Personal File and a bunch of his compilation discs, and the new Black Crowes double album, Before the Frost…Until the Freeze.  I almost can’t take my headphones off these days.  I’ve already used up all 8 gig on this player and I like everything on it.

It’s hard to say what next year will bring.  If I’m going to resolve to do anything, one of those things will be to play more bass.  Perhaps instead of listening to and writing about other people’s music, I’ll make more of my own in 2010.

Here she is

17 05 2009

For the last month or so I’ve been meaning to post pictures of my most recent instrument purchase.  She’s a 1997 Epiphone Accu-Bass.

Supposedly she has a plywood body, but she has really, really good sustain.  Sometimes I can get the growl I want but I think she sounds better in the mids.  Her action is good and she’s pretty easy to play for a 34″ scale bass.  I haven’t weighed her, but she’s a tad heavy when strapped and over my shoulder.  I suppose that will just take some getting used to.

For $300 out the door I got the bass and an 80 watt Kustom amp.  The bass is definitely worth all of $150, which is what the pawn shop guy was asking for her.  I s’pose I paid full price for the bass but saved some money on the amp.

Hopefully when the NHL playoffs end — I’m loving watching them this year — I’ll be able to get back to more playing.  I feel like I’m missing out on quality time with my new girl. (That’s a joke)





Instrument buying spree

9 04 2009

As I’ve said here several times lately, I have been obsessed with bass guitar the last month or so.  It has been a long time coming.  Digging out the guitar, trying to re-learn it just wasn’t going to happen.  Almost 3 weeks ago, I bought an acoustic/electric bass.  https://soundofthepounding.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/my-new-baby/

It’s been great, but I’ve wanted an electric bass for versality.  I also knew I’d need an amp if I were going to play the acoustic anywhere in public, so I decided I would see if I could get some kind of package deal.

I stumbled across a 1997 Gibson Epiphone Accu-Bass in a pawn shop in Detroit.  It is in near perfect condition, plays well (at least to my untrained ears and fingers) and was a pretty good price.  I liked it better than a few brand new models that were higher priced.  I talked the shop owner into shaving a nice chunk off an 80 watt amp (Kustom KBA80) and walked out the door ready to play.

This isn’t my bass but it’s essentially identical.  I can’t wait to get home and play it as long as time and family commitments permit.


Obsessed with bass

1 04 2009

If you’ve read this blog lately you know that I recently bought a bass and have been playing.  I’m in that honeymoon phase with my instrument.  I play when I can, I frequently look at other (used) gear to buy and have been reading and asking a lot of questions, trying to figure out how to best master the instrument.

I’ve also been watching a lot of bass players on youtube.  Paul McCartney is probably my favorite bass player and I found this guy who can play Paul’s stuff to the note.  Watching this gentleman practically brings a tear to my eye.  This guy is a dynamite player and he shows just how much Paul added to the Beatles’ sound, especially on a lighter, more melodic tune like “Someting.”

Check this out  I think you’ll enjoy it.

You gotta crawl before you can walk*

24 03 2009

Maybe you’ve read that I bought a bass guitar this Saturday.  Since then I’ve been “playing” it quite a bit, getting to know the instrument.  But just fooling around on the fretboard gets a little boring so I figured I would tackle a song right away.

I found the tablature for the bass for Paul McCartney’s “Coming Up” (from McCartney II) and began fiddling with it.  I could play it pretty easily, in terms of hitting the notes, but I didn’t know where the notes went in the song (which is one of the problems with tabs.)  So I dig up this video on youtube and played along with the song.  I got it right the second time through.

Look, I’m hardly bragging.  I think this song has a great little bass line in it.  It’s very funky; really sweet.  But it’s kid simple.  It’s been a nice boost of confidence to have found a cool bass line that I can actually play along with the song.

If you’re new to an instrument, start with something easy and play along with it.  You’ll feel good and enjoy yourself.


*See if you can catch the clever pun in this otherwise cliche title. 😉

My new baby

24 03 2009

deanbass1In the last month or so, I’ve been (re)bitten by the music bug.

20 years ago I was in love with my guitar.  I never mastered it, but I really enjoyed playing.  I managed to get good enough to play a dozen plus cover tunes in a little band.

The demands of working, grad school, relationships and getting bored with my lack of progress as a musician ultimately lead to me shelving my guitar.  For the first time in maybe 3 years, I took it out of the case and started playing again last week.

Guitar, though, will never be an instrument at which I will excel.  I lost the desire to start over with it.  At the same time, I’ve been paying lots and lots of attention to bass.  If I’m playing a CD or listening to MP3s, my ears are searching for the bass lines.  I’ve just become enthralled by what a mediocre (let alone great) bass player can do for a band’s sound.

Not wanting to buy hundreds — maybe thousands — in gear, and wanting to try out the instrument before making it a major investment, I decided I would probably get an acoustic bass.  I can sit on the living room floor and noodle with it without either blasting out the windows (if she’s amped up) or being able to hear it (if she’s unplugged.)

Our local guitar store, Blue Fish Music, had just what I was looking for: an inexpensive acoustic/electric bass in nearly perfect condition.  I didn’t get it for a steal, but I paid a fair price.

She’s my baby now.  I’m really enjoying discovering this instrument and what it can do (or what I can do with it.)  I’m massively intimidated by people that have been playing for yours.  I watch players on youtube and think, “Damn, I’ll never be able to do that.”  But then I’ll find a cool song with a simple bass line, play it a bit and feel like, “Hey, if I stick to this I could be pretty decent someday.”

Whatever comes of it, I’m enjoying myself.  It’s a great creative outlet.