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Everything posted by Notes_Norton

  1. we should. We've been a duo since 1985 and have a lot of steady clients. Many are condominium associations that have parties every year. Leilani and I do what no government I know of does, we live below our means. We have an emergency fund, it looks like the gov't is gong to give us unemployment and other than my car payments, we have zero debt. We live in Florida, don't use Air Conditioning so the utilities are minimal, the mortgage is paid off, no Cable TV subscription, no streaming subscription, and so to live, requires minimal draw from our savings. When this is over, we will volunteer to play for free for a few weeks at the restaurants that have been hiring us for 12 years now, and help them build the clientele back up. We'll know when to ask for our pay again. I just think helping the people who have fed us for 12 years is the right thing to do. Notes
  2. Leilani and I are spending a lot of our time creating new style 'disks' and fake 'disks' for Band-in-a-Box. What spare time we have we spend goofing off and having fun. Next week the gear gets set up so we can keep our chops up. I'll probably sequence some new backing tracks so we will have new songs to learn. All in all, I think social distancing is a better choice than herd immunity, though neither one is a picnic. This too shall pass. Notes
  3. My apologies, Phil. There is some frustration around here. I'm starting to book gigs for the spring of 2021. I gave the cancelled clients a choice, either I would return their deposit since it was the governor who cancelled, or let them apply it to a future gig. Most of them have taken the second option. Hopefully this will be over and done by then. Notes
  4. I've never played a Godin guitar but they have a great reputation. So I haven't and still haven't read all the posts in this thread. But I wanted to acknowledge I just got the God In Heaven pun. Sometimes if the joke takes a long time to click, it's better. This is one of those cases. Thanks. 😁 Now .......... back to your regularly scheduled discussion. Notes
  5. All my gigs have been cancelled. I probably won't work until Halloween. Gigging is my primary source of income. March is usually the biggest money month of the year and it has been nearly zip thanks to COVID. So we are practicing "Economic Self-Isolation" and staying home as much as possible. Leilani and I have a 'moonlighting' job writing aftermarket plug-ins for the auto accompaniment app, Band-in-a-Box. So as we go on self-quarantine we are working 10-12 hours a day keeping ourselves busy creating new product. Two problems with that (1) no money comes in until the zillions of hours of writing and testing are complete and (2) we sell to musicians, many of whom are out of work. But we enjoy each other's company, 24/7 together is not enough time to spend with each other, so it's pleasant work. When we aren't being productive, we're goofing off together. Like any self-employed person, we have a reserve savings for work stoppages. I hate to draw on it, because then there is no reserve, so we are living close to the bone, only spending for necessities. We're keeping our health up so that if we do get COVID, most likely it will be a mild case. We both catch colds every 15 years or so, and colds are corona caused. What else can you do? Just hunker down, try to make best decisions, and persevere because "this too will pass." Insights and incites by Notes
  6. Yes, a good MIDI module will have tone about 95-99% as good as the "real" instrument and being thousands of times more editable it can in the long run produce much more expressive and individualized music. I can put the background vocals on a synth patch and don't sound like I'm a Karaoke band. I can extend solos, put songs in the best key for the vocalist exaggerate the groove, and do a mix for live performance instead of that karoke mix that is more for recorded performance. I can extend the length of songs that I know the dancers will want to dance to, I can change the sound of the instruments used for more punch in a live situation, and do a thousand other things that can't be done with pre-recorded tracks. But that's my way. There is more than one right way to make music. Notes
  7. They banned live music, saying it draws crowds (we do that). They closed bars and restaurants are take-out only. They closed museums, community centers, parks, rec centers, and the entire tourist industry in South Florida. The Canadians and other tourists are gone, malls and downtowns are like ghost towns, the only place to see people are grocery stores, scrambling for what's left. It's like a bad movie. I'm unemployed until at least August. August through mid October are comatose times for gigs here, so I'm probably unemployed until at least mid October. And the NSC Pandemic Team was fired before the epidemic. Sad days are ahead.
  8. I go with "tried and true" and "keep it simple" - the cutting edge can be the bleeding edge ;)
  9. We use OnStage stands that use a crank to raise. A drill would work too, but the crank is easy. Link My EV speakers are 38lbs each. Leilani and I lift them to the 'down' level (about 4 feet) and she cranks them up the rest of the way. They are rated for 100 lbs I think. Notes
  10. One of the worst gigs ever. I was a kid in a rock band. We got hired to play at a retirement village. At that time retirement crowd was still in the Big Band / Frank Sinatra era. It was for a New Year's Eve party, and they were desperate for a band at the last minute. I cautioned the leader about taking it, to no avail. They absolutely hated us. They actually yelled and screamed at us. The band leader learned a lesson. Notes
  11. HNGD!!! That blue is blue-ti-ful.
  12. Bernard Purdy did a lot of drumming for Steely Dan and I consider him one of the best. Nice grooves, tasty fills, always supports the song, never overpowers it, and always makes it better. The Royal Scam album is a good testament to his talent and taste. The reason I shifted from drums to sax was I wanted to play melodies. Then keyboard and guitars because I wanted to play chords. Then the hardest instrument for me of them all, vocals, because it was so hard to find a singer for the bands I was in. I could still play drums, but I'd have to woodshed to get my chops and stamina back up. Notes
  13. Getting schooled drummers is sometimes difficult, but rewarding. I was in a band with a guy who went to the U of Miami (great jazz school). Not only could he play softly or loud (carried a variety of stick sizes) but also was great with brushes. If that wasn't enough, he could play vibes but rarely took them to the gig (too heavy and bulky). My first instrument was drums, and I used to sit behind the kit in a band where the drummer was a very good singer. It was nice to put him up front and I enjoyed a song or two on the drums (but I wouldn't want to do it all night). Notes
  14. I guess I'm a traditionalist. Everybody's job in the band is to support whatever voice or other instrument is singing/playing the melody. Rhythm section should be rhythm. That doesn't mean bland, but to listen to the lead and make sure what you play supports the lead. Anybody playing fill-ins or counter-melody should strive to make sure whatever they play makes the melody voice sound better and never-ever try to compete with the melody or overpower it. But there is more than one right way to make music. Notes
  15. Indeed. My weakness is vocals. I'm adequate and she is fantastic--world-class. Plus she plays rhythm guitar and synth. And even better than that we get along fantastically. 24/7 wouldn't be too much time together. Notes
  16. Regarding karaoke tracks. A lot of duos and singles use them. The problem is that they are recorded music mixes. They sound dead compared to a live band, but if you mix your own, you can sound more like a live band. I do my own tracks and exaggerate the groove, pump up the snare, bass and other essential groove instruments, and our customers tell us we sound like a real band. One even asked how we sounded so much more live than other duos (and hire us once a month in the slow season, at least twice a month in the high season, and for the big-money dates like New Years Eve, Valentines Day, etc. I'm lucky to be able to play drums, bass, guitar, flute, wind synth, keyboard synth, and sax. Notes
  17. I think the iPhone sound meter app would be the most accurate since the iPhones are all made similar. But for Android, if you have an LG, Samsung, or whatever and which model it could vary widely - I wouldn't trust it. Besides you can get a decent meter for about $50. BTW, drummers can play with smaller sticks, and not be so loud --horn players can play at appropriate volumes and without mics if needed. The last 5 piece band I was in played at yacht and country clubs and during the dinner set, we were at 65db on the dance floor, and later during the dance sets we averaged at 85. (Guitar, bass, drums, e-piano, and sax). Being able to do this gave us a lot of very good paying gigs. An entire symphony orchestra can play at ppp levels. A pro musician should be able to control his/her volume to what is necessary for the audience. If they are playing louder than 85dba and you want to risk losing your hearing, it's your personal choice. But IMO you shouldn't be hurting your audience. On the other hand, if they want it louder, it's their choice. That's just my opinion though. Insights and incites by Notes
  18. Every musician should own a sound pressure level meter. Anything over 85db set at A weighting and Slow response means you need ear protection. Anything over 85db when it reaches the audience is harming heir hearing and do you really want to harm the people who come to listen to your music? Insights and incites by Notes
  19. I used to belong to a blues society. I would go to the jam sessions, play sax on the first set, and leave because the volume escalation of the guitarists simply got too loud even for my 25db musician's ear plugs. There is more to musicianship than just playing well. In a band setting the musician must listen well too. That includes playing to complement each other and always to support whatever voice or instrument is singing or playing the lead at any particular time. The idea is for the band to blend with each other but not be as loud as the lead. If any musician in the band can't do that, IMO all the chops and timing in the world won't make him/her a good musician. Notes
  20. Notes_Norton


    Thanks - and ditto
  21. I consider myself lucky to be able to make a living doing music and nothing but music. I've had two 'day jobs' in my lifetime. I wanted to see what normal was about. Telephone Installer Repairman (when phones had wires) and Cable TV Field Engineer. I found normal to be sooooooo overrated. I still played music on the weekends during these two experiments. The only time I got slightly burned out was on a cruise ship. I worked for two lines, Carnival (3 years on a 3 week with options contract) and Celebrity (two months). I enjoyed Carnival but Celebrity had us working 7 nights a week. Without that day off it was eventually difficult to remember if we played that song for this weeks cruise or last weeks cruise, and by the end of the 2 months the spirit needed a rest, so we didn't renew. We still did our best every night, after all the passengers weren't the problem. A week later the spark was back. I get up in the morning, go to bed at night, and in between do what I want to do and love to do. That's one definition of success and it's also one definition of freedom. Insights and incites by Notes
  22. I'm a little late to the party. We had a delightful Christmas Gig yesterday for well over 100 crazy French Canadians spending the winter down here in a RV Resort. It was a blast. So I'm wishing you all a health, happy, and prosperous new year. Notes
  23. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" because I love hearing Leilani (wife & duo partner) sing it. "Silver Bells" because it's fun doing a call/response duet with her. And for the dozen or so others we play every year, I'll miss the holiday gigs, with the festive spirit. Of course, coming up is Valentine's Day and then the annual Patty Parties. :D Since our audience is of mixed religions, we don't do any religious songs, only the secular ones. We feel in this situation it's better to be inclusive than exclusive. Insights and incites by Notes
  24. The karaoke folks at my fan's Elk's lodge didn't come in costume. Too bad, it would have been more entertaining. As a pro, I wouldn't sing at a karaoke bar or night. It's unfair to the amateurs. But your post put ideas into my head about costuming. If I weren't a pro I could: Dress up like a werewolf an sing Guess Who's "Clap For The Wolfman" A space suit and sing the Byrd's "Mr. Spaceman" A super hero costume and sing Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's "Superman Lover" Black and white stripes to sing Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" One of those half male/half female costumes and sing both parts of "Baby It's Cold Outside" or any Louis Prima / Keely Smith tune The possibilities are endless But besides for the fact that I'm a pro and it wouldn't be fair to the amateurs, in reality, it would simply be too much work for the amount of fun I'd have. Some things are better off to live a fun life in the brain, but never leave ;) Notes
  25. ...Karaoke... Phil, the more they drink, the better the singers sound. They've omitted the 'competitive edge". :D We have a fan who sings karaoke at an Elk's lodge. He is a good fan, comes out to see us almost every week, and has done so for years and years. He invited us to his karaoke night so we went. The thing I noticed besides for all of them being untrained singers -- is that they all wanted to sing slow songs. I guess they don't realize that slow songs are harder to sing well than the fast ones. Anyway our fan did OK, weak breath support but good pitch and acceptable expression. Actually better than most. That's a good thing because I was afraid I would have to lie in order not to hurt his feelings. Karaoke competes with us a bit, because it's amateur, free entertainment in places that used hire bands. Karaoke Jocks - that's what I call singers who buy karaoke tracks and sing along, not telling the audience they are karaoke tracks, and not inviting the audience to sing, are competition too. They pretend to be bands in a way. They often undercut live bands because they haven't the investment in learning to play instruments nor the expense of being a musician; a computer, mic and porta-PA is all they need. ... ... Blues ... ... We used to have a blues society here in which I was a member. The founder died, the former secretary tried to keep it going for a few years, but it slowly faded away. We had blues jams once a month, and the house band was paid a fair wage, so I had no qualms about sitting in. There are no blues clubs open in our area. ... ... Open Mic ... ... Around here, open mic nights are actually more plentiful than gigging band nights. Sad, but true. Some nights there are 4 or 5 going on, and we even have them on Friday and Saturday nights. Fortunately I'm no longer in the bar business but the yacht club, country club, and retirement community end of the biz. It pays well, it's a huge market here, and moved over to that market 29 years ago. It's served me well. ... ... Geezer Talk ... ... I feel sorry for the younger musicians. They don't have the gigging opportunities I had when I was young. Between DJs (which the young dancers prefer), Open Mic Nights, Karoke, Football Night, Comedy Night, and so on, there are not many places where a young musician can gig and make a living at it. Back in my day (read that with a creaky voice) we walked 6 miles to school in the snow - strike that -- singles bars hired band 6 nights a week. Everything from a Holiday Inn up to Show Clubs also hired bands at least 6 nights a week, some of them two bands per night. TVs in bars were only small dozen bar stool taverns, not night clubs. Playing disco was considered inferior and cheap. And any musician who was at least decent could gig if they wanted to. We toured the US states just west of the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean and from Canada to Florida playing college towns. Cover songs, people buying us drinks, and enough pretty girls that were attracted to musicians to make my life delightful in every way. Eventually we became the opening act for major stars in concert while their hits were Top10 on Billboard. Ah yes, now I'm with my wife playing for people our age. When we started this market, they were all at least 20 years older than us. Now it's the same grey hair and glasses, but instead of wanting Glenn Miller, they want Eric Clapton. And we say, "What are these old people doing listening to OUR music." :D Life is still delightful. I wake up in the morning, go to bed at night, and in between, do what I want to do. That's success, and that's freedom. Notes
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