6.26.2016

Guppification


I rounded out the weekend down at Funks Pub, rocking a solid set with my band GUPPY EFFECT. Ever since our marathon of rock a week ago Tuesday at MAKE MUSIC MADISON, we've been busting out some solid jams, really tight and potent with crisp vocal harmonies. Since we play mostly original music that is unfamiliar to 99.9999% of the populace, it is contingent upon us to rock our songs amazingly hard so that they can stand on their own merits. And we do. Our motto is "thrice the rocking power of other name bands," and that is the minimum level of rocking power we guarantee at our shows or your next show is free. Usually it is far higher than that. They are good songs, but presentation is everything when you are playing original material. Cover songs please audiences easily because they are recognizable and don't require as much thought from people who are not very musically discerning. Many audiences will prefer a cover song played sh!ttily over an original played awesomely. That puts GUPPY EFFECT at a disadvantage since we don't take the easy path to pleasing audiences by playing popular covers that someone else wrote. We write our own stuff - a lot of it I daresay superior to a lot of the well known songs out there - and we frost it with our rock sauce (the unique and tasteful mojo that each member of the band adds to the performance of the music).

6.23.2016

I Like These Sorts of Days


I guess it's the second full day of summer today. It's a bit anticlimactic though, because it's a grey day, with a misty on-and-off rain and temperatures in the middle 60s. I actually enjoy days like this in the summer because it is a nice respite from the usual heat. To tell you the truth, I enjoy these kinds of days in winter too because they are also a respite from the brutal cold. That being said, a day like today in, say, February would be unusual and probably would inspire and inflame some debates on social media about global warming, repleat with a lot of TL;DR comments from armchair climate scientists.

I just finished reading "The Golden Compass," downloaded as a free eBook from the library. The download had expired, but I turned off my tablet's wifi connection before it did to prolong the loan by tricking the online eBook system. It was a strange tale. I mostly read it as reference material for the sci fi book I am working on. It's well written, so I was studying the author's writing style, and the story involves portals between universes, which is directly relevant to my story.

The Golden Compass is the first book in a series and my understanding is that it was written as a secular counterpoint to CS Lewis' Christian themed "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

6.22.2016

Make Music Madison

I woke up on Tuesday morning with giddy anticipation, long before the alarm clock was due to go off, like I used to do on Christmas morning as a child. Only there were no presents under a fir tree and it was the dawn of a summer day - in fact, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.*

It being Tuesday, Deborah had the day off and remained in bed as I got up and prepared for the marathon day of fun ahead. It was MAKE MUSIC MADISON, a city wide music fest in Madison WI, that I was so excited about. My band GUPPY EFFECT had been preparing for it for weeks and we had an action packed day of shows booked.

I drank coffee, ate some breakfast, and loaded my music gear into my car before driving over to my guitarist Stefan's house to carpool downtown for the first gig. At 10 AM, we performed as an acoustic duo outside in front of the Veteran's Museum on the Capitol Square. The weather was beautiful and sunny, and we were playing early enough to not be cooked by the sun. Though the museum staff had a small PA system to offer us, it wasn't quite sufficient for our needs. We had loaded our band PA in Stefan's SUV as a backup and used that instead. During our performance, a chaperoned group of first graders stopped by with egg shakers and rain sticks to accompany us.

"Your rhythm was excellent," I told the kids from the stage near the end of our set. "I want you all to go home and tell your parents you want to become a drummer."

After we finished the first gig and packed up, we had about an hour to cruise over to Festival Foods on E. Washington Ave to perform a noon set inside in their mezzanine bar. We had to use our own PA there because they didn't have one, although they were supposed to. Deborah met us for that gig and we were also joined by my friend and fellow rocker Kelsey Miles, who had some shows of her own that day. Our drummer Verge arrived in time to play the Festival show with us as a trio. A guy at the bar introduced himself to me after our set and asked if we ever did house concerts. I said we did and he took our contact information, because he hosts house concerts. The store Director Paul also gave me his card and said he wanted to have us back to perform in the bar on a Friday or Saturday night. Nice!

At 2 PM, we performed as our full band power trio (with drums) on the outdoor patio at Graze restaurant on the Capitol Square, under the shade of a big tree. They also had an insufficient PA system for our rock and the same was true for the band that performed there after us, The Begowatts, so we let them use our system as we dined at Graze after our set and listened to them. They are a great band that plays straightahead rock-n-roll. It had a vibe kind of like Alice Cooper.

We didn't have to perform our next set until 4:30 PM, and it was nearby, so we had ample time to load and travel after The Begowatts finished rocking on our gear a little before 4. The next gig was on the patio behind Zoma Cafe, a coffee shoppe, and they did have a decent PA for our needs. The stage area was partly shaded by an awning, but the sun did cook our legs and feet a little bit, so when I wasn't singing, I would step back under the awning for shade. We were back to the acoustic trio for that show as well as our last one of the day at 6:30 PM at the Goodman Community Center, which also had a decent PA. My friend Sherry showed up after she got done with work and joined Deborah to take in the Goodman set. A couple people in the audience at Goodman were really blown away by our rocking and Deborah said they were really enjoying our music. After we finished rocking and packed up Stefan's SUV with our gear, we walked over to Next Door Brewing nearby to decompress over dinner and drinks. Sherry joined us there too, though Deborah went home after Goodman because she was tired.

We had pulled in about $84 in tips performing over the course of the day and I used a chunk of that to cover the band's dinner tab. We had $30 remaining to put in the band fund toward merchandise we plan to have made (tee shirts probably) soon. The couple who had liked our Goodman set were also at Next Door and they gave us more high praise. That always feels good to hear.

I got home about 10 PM, concluding a fulfilling 13 hour day of solid rocking. It took me a while to wind down from the day's fun and excitement. That was yesterday. Today felt a little anticlimactic since GUPPY EFFECT doesn't really have any official gigs lined up in the near future, nor in the distant future for that matter. But we'll probably perform at the weekly Sunday open jam at Funks Pub fairly soon.

* Note: Actually, the day with the longest amount of daylight hours, since all days of the year have 24 hours.