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    Writing songs and recording them

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  1. When I was a kid I remember seeing an ad in a music magazine that said 80% or something of hit records had a Fender Rhodes on them. As I've gotten older I've developed a much better ability to pick out the sounds of vintage keyboards and I think that 80% is way overstated. I now know that a lot of the electric pianos that I used to assume were Fender Rhodes were actually Wurlitzers. As a matter of fact I think I hear more Wurlitzers than Fender Rhodes on most 60s and 70s music. A lot of bands in those days had either a Rhodes or a Wurlitzer but I think the Hohner Pianet has one of the coolest keyboard sounds ever recorded. From Wikipedia: Early Pianets were used on a number of hit recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, including "She's Not There" by The Zombies; "Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen; "Summer in the City" by The Lovin' Spoonful; "I Am the Walrus", "Getting Better", "The Night Before" and "You Like Me Too Much" by The Beatles; "Everlovin' Man" and "Sad Dark Eyes" by The Loved Ones; "This Guy's in Love With You" by Herb Alpert; "These Eyes" by The Guess Who; and "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night. About ten years ago I was at a studio that had an old Hohner Pianet sitting on a shelf. The guy said he would sell it for $50. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't buy it only because I didn't know what it was.
  2. Looks like there is an entire Industry of Nickelback jokes now: http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...gmovies_web_gs http://derekbrink.wordpress.com/2010...kelback-jokes/ http://www.jokeblogger.com/hottopic/Nickelback http://nickelbackjokes.blogspot.com/ http://www.tumblr.com/search/nickelback%20jokes Even though they are laughing all the way to the bank you got to feel a little sorry for them.
  3. Well Nickelback have been a running joke for quite some time now. They obviously have a lot of fans because they have sold millions of albums. But for many people they were the epitimy of bland, corporate, cheesy, overproduced, soulless, rock music that came out of the late nineties. And they were one of the worst offenders of the loudness wars. I think the main criticism was that they were light weights trying to cash in on the grunge sound. It's not necessarily their fault that they got singled out because there were dozens of other artificial grunge bands just like them (like Creed for example) but they became the poster boys for what some people considered to be selling out. But you know I think some of their fans can understand the criticism and even laugh along with the joke. It's kind of like high school. Some bands are cool and some bands are uncool and Nickelback were definitely uncool if you know what I mean. But hey if you like their music (I don't particularly like it myself) then what does it matter? I've liked a lot of uncool music all my life.
  4. Every once in a while I will hear a song that I haven't heard in a really long time and it will take me back to a place in time from my youth. Usually they are songs from when I was about junior high school age. The time when I was just beginning to really get into music. I heard this one yesterday and when it came on the radio I had the feeling of standing in the school lunch line and could almost smell the ravioli they used to serve. I really liked this song back then but had no idea who sang it or anything about it. Until yesterday I had actually forgotten it existed. SKYLARK by WILDFLOWER [video=youtube;Z9lWlFYTsBE]
  5. When that song came I out I would have never imagined it would still be played on the radio almost forty years later. Not that I dislike it or anything but it always sounded like a B-side throw away novelty song to me. Paul got a new synthesizer and an echo box and started playing around with the sounds and said this is neat and it's almost Christmas so maybe I should write a Christmas song. Since then it has become a Christmas standard and has had dozens of remakes.
  6. Rupert Holmes the "Pina Colada Song" was hated by a lot of people when it first came out but it was his next single "Him' that was the first song I really remember thinking was just a bad song. Listening to it today for the first time in over thirty years I don't think it's nearly as bad as I remember it. It's actually kind of catchy and has good beat but at the time I thought it was god awful. The next song I remember thinking was a really bad song was "Talk Dirty to Me" by Poison. I don't remember anybody liking that song actually and it became kind of a running joke at the place I was working at the time. I still hear it on "80s at 8" occasionally but unlike "Him" it just keeps get worse and worse every time I hear it. Everything about it is just plain wrong. Just awful. But it has fifteen million plays on YouTube ! Another song that I think is just plain terrible is "If You're Not The One" by Daniel Bedingfield. For me it just seems amateurish and awkward. No real hook and clumsy lyrics that don't seem to flow very smoothly. Since this song came out almost fifteen years ago I've heard countless songs like it though. Lots of songs on the radio today have weak melodies and no real hooks. Just a lot of vocal meanderings over backing tracks and beats.
  7. A good bass part can make a mediocre song great but a bad bass part can make a great song mediocre. I listen to a lot of "70s at 7" on XM radio and it has occurred to me that one of the things that attracts me to that music is all the great bass players on those records. Even the top 40 pop hits of the seventies had a lot of great bass lines in them. A lot of melodic grooves from that era and it seems the players back then were much more musical in that they locked in with the drums so well and they creatively composed their parts. Both up tempo and slower ballad type songs had parts that you could hum. They also had great punchy warm tones that really cut though the mix and you could hear all the notes they were playing. When I switch to "80s at 8" and beyond I hear a lot of that basic 1/8 note root note stuff and some slapping but the melodies and the grooves are not as distinctive. Many of the bass parts are further back in the mix and there's a lot of keyboard sequenced bass lines from that era. Some of the songs sound like the bass lines were just an after thought. Starting with disco and then punk and metal the bass lines seemed to become much more basic. "Just get some guy to play those driving 1/8 notes and we're done." I don't think guitar players necessarily make good bass players even though a lot of bass players start out playing guitar. It's just a different mindset.
  8. DSD technology came out in 1999. Super Audio CDs or "SACDs" were the format that used DSD. For a time back in the early to mid 2000s they sold SACDs at record stores. I remember seeing them at Barnes and Noble and Borders Books and other places that sold CDs. Many of them had a 16bit/ 44.1khz pcm layer on them so they could be played on CD players as well. I think Bob Dylan's entire catalog at one time was only available on SACD. The plan for Sony Music was to eventually move away from CDs and release everything on backward compatible SACDs. Not sure why that never worked out. The first SACD player cost five thousand dollars. They eventually fell to about fifteen hundred dollars so most people couldn't afford the players. Also there was a format war with DVD-Audio at the time but I think those pretty much disappeared as well. I got a cheap DVD player a couple of years ago and I noticed that it plays SACDs. I don't have any SACDs and I'm not sure they are even sold anymore. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Audio_CD
  9. I've lived a few places over the years that had cable. My girlfriend and I rented an apartment about 35 years ago when I was in college that had cable. Apparently the previous tenant had it but never had it turned off so we watched it for free. There wasn't much on in those days but we did have HBO. I've never really been a big TV watcher and have never been much of a homebody so I guess I never could justify the cost. But I have seen a good bit of cable over the years at friends and families houses. I have an old CRT TV that's been sitting in the closest for about three years now. I lost the remote and got tired of getting up to change the stations.. Recently I found the remote but haven't bothered to get it out of the closet because I don't really have much time for TV or the desire to watch it. I would rather just go on the internet instead.
  10. One of the complaints when drum machines first came out was that it was hard to program a convincing hi-hat pattern. Some people would actually program the kick and snare parts and then get a real drummer to play the hi-hat parts. A lot of the "groove" or "feel" in any given drum part usually comes from the hi-hats and being able to play them well is a mark of a good drummer. I've heard this song dozens of times on the radio and every time I hear it I'm drawn to the hi-hats. I just can't hear any type of coherent pattern. There are sections where it almost seems as if they were programed with a random numeral generator. So what's up with the hi-hats on this song?. [video=youtube;bujWwpxrSv8]
  11. I saw the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony last September. Jane had injured her back and was taking steroids but everybody knew she would be back this year because she wanted to break the world record. And she did it ! Wow what a story.
  12. I haven't noticed any reduction in high frequencies but I hear a lot less of that "digital" brittleness in today's' recordings. Digital converter technology has improved greatly since the early days and I think that has a lot to do with why today's recordings sound less harsh. I have a hypothesis that there are certain frequency ranges that are more pleasing to the human ear than others. Human ears are attuned to the frequency range of human speech and I think low-mid range frequencies are pleasing to most people. It just so happens that analog tape can produce a pleasing frequency range or "bump". To much high end and to a lesser extent to much low end can sound fatiguing after a while.
  13. Too late for that now. http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2009/03/fender-guitars-denied-trademark-registration-trademarks-and-product-design.html
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