10 Minutes - Recording Engineering in 10 Minute Increments

Hi. It's Joe.

This blog is all about writing for 10 minutes a day on whatever topic comes into my head.

But I have begun to realize that 10 minutes is a good amount of time to do lots of things, especially when you are really busy.

I am trying to read a book on music recording and mixing, but it seems I can seldom find the time.

While I was eating breakfast yesterday, I noticed that I am always trying to read something while I eat, be it the back of the cereal box, or the most recent coupon specials from the local Piggly Wiggly.

It usually takes me 10 to 15 minutes to eat my meals when I am not in a rush and I can enjoy them. So the lightbulb went off and I thought, "If I just keep the important reading materials on the dining room table, I will be able to read while I eat, killing two birds with a single stone..."

I can usually read at least a couple of pages of material in 10 minutes, so even though it is slow going, I will make more progress on the book that way than I would trying to make ADDITIONAL time to read. So that's the current plan anyway.

I am going to practice long and hard for the big GUPPY EFFECT show tonight at Brink Lounge in Madison WI. We are hosting their April Fools Day Eve Party from 8 PM to midnight. Should be lots of fun.

My neighbor is burning yard waste. It is such a nice day today that I opened all the windows in my house to freshen it up with Spring air. I didn't realize it would be smoke-filled air. Although, it's not that bad and definitely bodes well the summer night campfires that lie ahead this summer.

Both GUPPY EFFECT and PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND are slated to perform at PEOPLE FEST this summer. I want to say it is August 20-22 weekend. Visit www.peoplefest.info for more info. You can even subscribe via e-mail or RSS feed there.

Well, I have about 30 seconds, so I will cut it off now. I have eggs and a book on music recording to get through.



10 Minutes - Battle of the Bands and The MAMAs

Hi. It's Joe.

In a PREVIOUS POST I mentioned that GUPPY EFFECT was up for two (2) Madison Area Music Association Awards.

Fueled by inspirado from that honor, I submitted GUPPY EFFECT to the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands held in Milwaukee Wi in July.

My friends in New York City have a band called FRISKY BILLIONAIRES, and they are competing in the NYC phase of battle.

You should vote for both bands, as there is no conflict of interest geographically.

Vote for GUPPYEFFECT at www.battleofthebands.com/guppyeffect.

Vote for FRISKY BILLIONAIRES at www.battleofthebands.com/friskybillionaires.

It takes literally two minutes to vote and costs NOTHING. So, like they say, if you can do something important in two minutes or less, DO IT NOW!

I didn't work out today. I wanted to, but the day got away from me. Now I have to go to Whitewater and cohost Matt Alba's kickass radio show ENTER THE MEDICINE.

I haven't eaten today either. It is hard to work out on an empty stomach. So I am going to real quick eat, then go.

I am reading "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta. It's a good, short read about how to simplify life, eliminate mundane and useless tasks, maximize the important things, get rid of stress, etc.

I looks like I have been inadvertently doing all the right things, but this helps me to streamline things even further.



10 Minutes - Rock-n-Roll Parties

Hi. It's Joe.

I was thinking about live music performances and how to get people to come to them.

I think a lot of musicians are too self-focused. They want people to come hear their band because "they rock."

But people want to know what's in it for them. So what if your band rocks?

It is better to think of a music performance as a fun, rocking party, with a live band hired out for the occasion, and to market it that way. Tell people they will have the funnest time of their lives.

When a live band gets hired for a party, you know it's a kickass party. So make the live band part of it secondary to the focus - a good party where everyone has a blast and feels great for a week afterward.

I have been in a kung fu battle with a cold. I am winning, for now. I am kicking it in the balls with heavy doses of cold meds, vitamin C, cayenne pepper, benadryl, Theraflu, acetominophen, fish oil, and Boswellia complex.

I feel well enough to go work out today, and I think it is nice out. I will probably take Buddy over to the dog park and run the loop 3 times (=3 miles).



10 Minutes - Madison Area Music Awards

Hi. It's Joe.

I slacked off the 10 minute free writes for a couple of days. It wasn't because of laziness, I just had funner things to do 24/7. I know, I know...I said I can always find 10 minutes to write, no matter how busy I am. And that's still true. I just didn't want to because I was maximizing fun in other areas. That's the wonderful perk of being self-employed - no one tells me what to do but me.

That said, I do tell myself to do a lot of stuff. Probably more than I can chew. But I always seem to squeeze it all in somehow.

The big news is that CACTUS JOE and the GUPPY EFFECT had two SONGS advance to the FINALS of the Madison Area Music Awards.

We are so geeked.

"Porn Star Hot," featuring Wendy Staats of SUNSPOT on drums is a finalist for BEST HARD ROCK/PUNK SONG.

"Sara," co-written with Art Paul Schlosser and featuring Eric Shackelford of Aaron Williams and the HooDoo on drums is a finalist for MOST UNIQUE SONG. You will see why when you LISTEN to it.

You can check out these two songs and others FREE by visiting www.broadjam.com/guppyeffect.

If you would like to have a voice in the future of local music in Madison WI, you can VOTE in the MAMAs, CLICK HERE or visit www.themamas.org.



Thank You Jimi Hendrix

Hi. It's Joe.

I would like to thank Jimi Hendrix for giving me his post-humous newly released song "Valleys of Neptune" off the new record of the same name.

I don't just mean I thank him for writing and recording it before he died.

I am thanking him for actually physically sending it to me from the grave, via my friend Bryon in Iowa.

I was just on FACEBOOK asking for peer-reviews of the record before I downloaded some tracks. I was fully intending to pay for the downloads of songs I do not already have.

Then my friend Bryon e-mailed me the MP3.

I want to believe Hendrix watches me from above and appreciates my old school brand of hard-rocking in the face of modern mainstream pop drivel. He is my guardian angel, I am 99% sure, for a lot of things that have happened to me over the years involving him in some way.

So thanks Jimi. I trust you know that my band, GUPPY EFFECT, is going to try to cover it and play it live.

Then more people will get to hear your fabulous music. I am pretty sure you aren't too concerned about royalties wherever you are, and also that you wouldn't want the charlatans representing your estate to have any of them either.

Give me a sign if that's wrong.

Oh, and if it isn't too much to ask, maybe you can get GUPPY EFFECT's new song, "HOPE FOR HUMANITY," into the right hands for that movie soundtrack listing we submitted it to. We'll gladly give you credits.

10 Minutes - The Medicare Part E (for "Everybody") Public Option

Hi. It's Joe.

I ran 3.4 miles today, with my dog Buddy in tow. I call that "preventive medicine."

It might stop me from having a heart attack or getting Alzheimer's, but it won't stop that bus from hitting me or that dog from biting me. In fact, it probably increases my risk of those accidental things, even though there aren't many buses in Cambridge WI (but there are ornery redneck types in pickup trucks who have ornery dogs...).

On the return leg of my run, a bloody great Bull Mastiff came charging across someone's yard toward us, a subsonic growl signaling it's presence to me as I ran.

"Holy shit," I said matter-of-factly, as the beast set its sights on Buddy, who was dwarfed by the lion-sized dog.

I waited for tragedy to ensue. It did, but not as I expected...

Seeing a 200 pound ferocious dog lion reduced to a whimpering, frothing-at-the-mouth, cretin by an invisible (electric) fence is a sight to behold. The galloping monster was stunned in its tracks, making an immediate about face and heading back across its owner's yard, stump of a tail pointing at the area between its legs where an actual tail would have cowered.

Besides a few reckless drivers, no other events affected my run. I stretched when I got home, showered, and then did my civic duty online, promoting House Bill HR4789, which I learned about on Public Radio today.

Corporate media, the insurance industry, and the politicians they have under their thumbs do not want you to know about HR4789. But I do.

Watch this...

It's really simple.

Any American can buy into Medicare "at cost."

It makes Medicare available to all legal resident Americans who want it and want to pay for it themselves, with a few minor modifications to Medicare that fit in the four (4) short pages that make up HR4789 - stuff like adjusting premiums downward for younger, healthier age brackets based on standard actuarial tables used by the private insurance companies. It actually costs less for most people under 65.

Think about it, right now taxpayers foot Medicare for the elderly, the 1/8 of the population with the largest health care costs. HR4789 doesn't change this. It just makes Medicare available to everyone else, whose use of health care is less than that of the elderly, in general. Plus, everyone else has to pay for it (the premiums) themselves, out of pocket.

It costs taxpayers nothing, because Medicare's infrastructure already exists and those under 65 who want it pay "out of pocket." There is no effect on the deficit at all, because Medicare's administrators simply adjust their cost for the added burden of people on their rolls, and change premiums accordingly.

If people don't want it, they don't have to buy it. That's the beauty of this "free market" the right-wingers are so fond of (unless it helps the needy).

But this option also makes Medicare cheaper, because you make it available to younger, healthier individuals who pay the appropriate premiums. In addition, medical financial records are centralized, easing administration costs.

Right now, only 1/8 of the American population - seniors - can get Medicare, and it is on the taxpayers' dimes. It is like saying only OLD PEOPLE can drive on the public highways (horrifying to think about).

I support HR4789.

Read about it here: http://huff.to/cTOrtG


If you support it too, ask your representative to support it.


(NOTE: I copied some of this content from another of my blogs, which is why this post seems longer than most. All I had to do was cut and paste, make a few minor edits. I probably shouldn't have titled this "10 Minutes." That is a bit misleading.)

Sasquatch and "Baby Sas"

One of my favorite parts of Tenacious D's "Pick of Destiny."



10 Minutes - Jimi Hendrix's "Valleys of Neptune" + Runner's High

Hi. It's Joe.

Have you picked up the new post-humous Jimi Hendrix record called Valleys of Neptune?

What do you think? I want to hear some peer reviews from my peers. Given the poor track record of the Music Industry's re-issues of Hendrix's unfinished works, I am not touching this thing until I hear a review of it from an industry outsider.

The free previews at AMAZON sound good. Good enough for me to put it on my AMAZON wish list. But I am not ready to commit yet. So someone please tell me something good.

I once heard a very poorly produced bootleg version of the title track, Valleys of Neptune, performed live I think. A music buddy and I even tried to learn it once, but the sound quality was so piss poor we couldn't decipher anything useful.

Today, I overdosed on "Runner's High." That's this narcotic you can only obtain by getting off your ass and doing something physical. I donned my shorts and running shoes and took Buddy over to the Jefferson County Dog Park for a three mile run. That's three times around the dog park, by my estimation.

Notwithstanding last week's six mile power walk I mentioned in a previous 10 minute free write, a shorter run, and a five mile bike ride yesterday, I have not really exercised ("gotten high") at all since last October. I have been watching my diet and rocking a lot (which requires a fairly decent level of exertion...), but things have started to ramp up on the physical fitness front only recently, as the weather improves with impending spring.

So today's run was fairly intensive. I didn't take it at a really fast pace, but I was determined to make it the full three miles, non-stop.

I had to stop a couple times. Well, not completely stop...but I had to walk a little bit. Not because I was out of breath or fatigued, but rather because I was way too "high."

My body's natural endorphins kicked in full force about half way through my second lap. I became all light headed and any residual stress and pain I was feeling vanished, along with my motivation to keep running. I generally do physical exercise for health reasons, because I worry about my health.

But the catch 22, is that my "runner's high" neutralizes all my worries, including that one.

I knew it was the "runner's high" making me feel so good. So I was able to consciously force myself to finish the three laps, with minimal walking. It was kind of a pathetic half shuffle punctuated by calls of "Buddy heel!" erupting from my mouth.

I am still high.

That is what I love about running. The "runner's high" lasts all day and makes you feel awesome.

What I don't love about running is the high impact wear and tear on my poor muscles. I'm no spring chicken anymore. Actually, I still am to a large extent. But when I have not run for several weeks, then I go, my body does this big detox thing and it makes my muscles sore with lactic acid the next day.

After four or five regular runs, I am usually back in full form and as long as I keep it going consistently, running at least thrice weekly, and biking on off days, I am usually fine.

I am doing RAGBRAI this summer, and I plan to be in great shape for it.

Who knows, maybe I will even do a trithlon this year.

Doubt it. Swimming is my least favorite activity, even more so than running.


10 Minutes - Better Than Axe Body Spray = Male Sex Pheromone

Hi. It's Joe.

Let me show you something...

That is me in the middle of what has become commonly known around these parts as the CACTUS JOE SANDWICH.

It's a common occurrence at my rock shows. For a long time, I had no idea why I attracted so much "bread" at shows, even post-show on the dance floor when other bands are playing.

Then, I realized why.

When I perform and/or socialize, I sometimes dab on a little bit of cologne. Very subtle, almost imperceptible, definitely not overpowering.

Except at the subliminal level...

Because my cologne contains THIS.

I had picked up a sample bottle of male sex pheromone when I worked at the vitamin company, at an industry conference or something.

On a whim, I followed the directions that came with it and added it to a bottle of my usual cologne. Then I put the cologne back in the bathroom cupboard and pretty much forgot all about the trace additive it contained, just using the cologne occasionally as I normally would.

In retrospect, I now realize that my "game" improved considerably around that time and I have now conducted enough experiments to confirm that this stuff does indeed seem to work.

It isn't just that I am a rocker. I was a rocker before I started using this.

For the past few months I have been going to shows or social events, either with or without this stuff on my body. I have two separate bottles of cologne, one with the pheromone additive and one without.

I dab a little bit on my wrists, and that's all. It's not even enough that you can smell the cologne, unless you put your nose to my wrists. But the male sex pheromone itself is completely odorless. It acts on receptors in the female nasal passages, sending subliminal signals into their brains.

Socially, I can definitely tell a difference in the attention I get from the ladies when the additive is on me. When it's the unadulterated cologne, generally nada.

There are other explanations, of course. Knowing the stuff is on me, perhaps I act more confidently around women, a sort of psychological placebo effect. This is a very real possibility.

Another is that the pheromone actually works on ME, not on the ladies, to increase my own libido and attraction body language.

However, this last option seems less probable, because if it is acting on male pheromone receptors, it should affect the males who are around me in social situations, improving their game as well as my own. I don't really observe that.

In fact, most of the males I am with when I am sporting the male sex pheromone cologne look at me with wide eyes, amazed at the game I am attracting. I'm usually just as amazed as they are.

In any case, I don't know how this stuff works, but I know that it does seem to result in a higher percentage of CACTUS JOE SANDWICH sightings when I use it vs. when I don't.

So forget Axe Body Spray. Use this stuff: Androstenone Pheromone Double Strength Concentrate.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying...


10 Minutes - It's Only 10 Minutes + Watchmen

Hi. It's Joe.

I didn't do my 10 minute free write yesterday because I was, on paper at least, busy.

But that is no excuse.

It is only 10 minutes of my time. I think I can find 10 minutes even on my busiest day.

It is for the same reason that I am not going to write 20 minutes today to try to make up for the lost 10 minutes of yesterday.

It's 10 minutes daily. Boom. Goodbye.

It's kind of like when you forget to take your prescription medication. The directions expressly say don't double dose when you realize you have forgotten.

Granted, my diatribes probably aren't going to cause liver damage if they are longer than 10 minutes. But they might cause mental angusih, so why risk it?

Today was a good day. Stefan and I tracked guitar parts for a song written by a local tween pop rocker named Shannon Behm. Tomorrow Al and I will track drums and bass. It was quite an ordeal to figure out how to set up the metronome track for this song. It has a tempo change after the second chorus. I figured it out, but it was a little bit consternating.

I am going on RAGBRAI this summer. I'll be a day late for it. That is because GUPPY EFFECT is probably going to perform on a pirate ship on Lake Wisconsin on Saturday July 24, the day right before RAGBRAI. That means I can't drive out there until Sunday, which means I can't ride my bike on Sunday of RAGBRAI.

I will meet my team, TEAM CRAZY BIRD, Sunday night in whatever Iowa town the ride is in that night. It is on the tip of my tongue, but in the interests of maximizing this 10 minute free write, I am not going to even take 30 seconds to go look it up on the RAGBRAI web site.

After Stefan and I got done with recording today, we taped some semi-acoustic videos of songs. Nothing very useful to the general public though. Then Shelley came over and we all ate food and watched the movie WATCHMEN. It is based on a graphic novel about washed up super heroes. It is actually pretty good.



10 Minutes - Cat Litter

Hi. It's Joe.

I am subscribed to the mailing list of an internet marketer who goes by the name of Niche Chick.

Every few days, she sends me an e-mail about a niche marketing topic. Usually they are product niches that I have no interest in whatsoever.

Today was no exception.

Cat litter?

I don't like cats. I especially don't like cat poop. I had a roommate in college who had a cat. There is nothing good about cat litter. And it gets everywhere. Cats are not very tidy about their kitty litter. If cat litter smelled better, it might have been tolerable. Like pine needles. I guess there is, according to Niche Chick, a pine fragrance cat litter called "Feline Pine Cat Litter." It probably costs an arm and a leg.

There is also a product called "Tidy Cat Litter." I'm not exactly sure how they enforce that. Do they have people who come over and reprimand the cat if it's NOT tidy?

I wonder what is the world's best cat litter, and what makes it the best? I am sure a lot of cat litter brands SAY they are the world's best, but even the best is sub par in my opinion.

I still have questions.

What is natural cat litter made from? What are the best cat litter pans and cat litter scoops? These things are essential to the containment of vile smelly cat litter. I have seen some pretty elaborate cat litter boxes, designed to keep the stuff from spreading into areas of human habitation. Those poor cats, having to climb into what is essentially a kennel box to crap. Cats hate kennel boxes. It reminds them of travel, a purely terrifying experience for most cats.

My parents once had to transport a cat in a kennel box across country when they moved from New York City to Akron, OH. The cat's hair stood completely on end for the entire trip and the cat was never the same ever again. It had PTSD for the rest of its days.

What is cat litter even made of? Sand? What is silica cat litter? Crystal cat litter? Clumping cat litter? (YUCK!)

I did like that television cartoon "Ren and Stimpy." They had a mock product on that show called "Gritty Kitty Litter" that was put to many hilarious uses (including food). But that was the closest I ever got to liking kitty litter.

How could anyone find passion for this subject, enough to try and sell it to people?

It just proves that there is a marketing niche out there for almost everyone.

Did you know there is even a niche for cat litter furniture? Does a cat really want to lounge around it's own feces? I think that aesthetic is more for the benefit of the owners.

For my readers, if you have an opinion on what is the best cat litter, please comment below. I would like to hear from cat (litter) lovers (really?) and try to understand how you can love this stuff. I have an open mind and I want to learn.

But what I mainly want to learn is if this blog post will attract any traffic from cat litter aficianados. The only way I can know that is if the aficianados comment here.

Yes, I spelled aficianados wrong, I know this.




10 Minutes - GUPPY EFFECT Live Music Videos

Hi. It's Joe.

I would first like to thank SPARXMIND for the constructive suggestion that I qualify my 10 minute free write titles with more descriptive information.

I have done so. Part of the problem with a free write is that I have no idea what I am going to talk about during the 10 minutes of stream-of-consciousness free form writing. So I usually just title it "10 Minutes" and let randomness happen.

However, in re-reading past free writes I have noticed that there always seems to be some strong thread to the path of my mind, something going on that day or happening soon.

For example, last night I had band practice with GUPPY EFFECT and, as I think I mentioned in earlier free writes, we decided we would attempt to record a video of us performing live at the end of each practice.

Well, we ended up doing the recording first, because of the rigamarole of getting everything wired and miked and setting up the laptop in a position to capture the entire band. It was actually rather time consuming, but we learned a lot and the next time we do it will be a lot easier.

So, even though I am only about 1/2 way through this free write today, I already know that I am going to title this post "10 Minutes - GUPPY EFFECT Live Music Videos." I am even going to post a live music video at the end of the post when my 10 minutes is up and I am done writing.

As I mentioned in my 10 minute free write yesterday, I went on a six mile POWER WALK yesterday afternoon around 2 PM. One thing I noticed on my walk, besides the prevalence of leggy blondes, was the abandonment of America by the bulk of the population.

America is largely unmanned during normal business hours. People willingly get up and go sit in cubes for most of the useful part of the day, leaving the streets in most small towns abandoned. Besides the leggy blondes and a couple of old people, the town I live near was like a ghost town. There is no one at the helm of America's rural cultural heart, thanks to Corporate America.

This scares me more than any kind of terrorism or disaster capitalism. That leaves us culturally weak. There should be people out everywhere, talking and interacting, and keeping an eye out for Osama Bin Laden. Instead, they are chained to desks in cubes under artificial light, seeing the sun for only a fraction of the day. Slavery?

And man, yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL DAY. So is today, and I am going to go enjoy it by taking Buddy for a run at the doggie park. Self-employment has its perks. I thank SPARXMIND for that too, indirectly.

He is the one who turned me on to such things as Tim Ferriss's "4 Hour Work Week" and other screeds of the freelance entrepreneurs, among whom I now count myself.

More time for stuff like this...

A lot of people have been buying "4 Hour Work Week" via my affiliate link, which I like. Spread the word.



10 Minutes - My 90 Minute Workout + Leggy Blondes

Hi. It's Joe.

The title of this free write sounds impressive.

Actually, I just walked the three miles into town and back.

And it was only 80 minutes of actual walking. I timed it with a stop watch.

But it did take me about 8 minutes to mail my stuff at the Post Office, which was the main reason for the outing. So all told it was pretty darn close to 90 minutes.

Still, it was a six mile power walk and I never slowed pace or broke stride, outside of my Post Office mid-point respite.

I even wore shorts and running shoes. I broke a sweat and my pulse increased. Sure, it was no Iron Man, but for the first real exercise of the season, I did good.

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. It was the first real Spring day of the year in my opinion. The weather has been strongly hinting at Spring the past couple weeks, but today it was direct and explicit about it.

I am always amazed how so many leggy blondes seem to magically appear at the first occurrence of warm weather. Have you noticed this? Where are they all winter? Or is it just that when they are all bundled up in their wintry garments, they are somewhat camouflaged?

I had barely walked a mile towards town when this fabulous looking leggy blonde popped out into the street and started walking her Golden Retriever about 30 yards ahead of me. The view was fabulous and really added to the day's gorgeous aesthetic.

I am glad I got out today. The exercise felt awesome and will inspire me to keep on working out daily for as long as the weather holds out. I am one of those people who is fairly sedentary all winter because I hate working out in the cold. But I will rock arse all summer. I am even going on RAGBRAI, the big bike ride across Iowa, this summer. So I expect I will be doing a lot of biking.

Sadly, my roommate Matt told me that more wintry weather is on its way this weekend. That sucks for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have to drive to Neenah WI for a GUPPY EFFECT (unplugged) show on Saturday evening. Hopefully it is not an all out blizzard.

I'm over time.

10 Minutes - David Sedaris

Hi. It's Joe.

Why am I writing my 10 minutes at 1 AM?

Because I can. THE MAN can't do a GD thing about it either.

When I sleep in until 8:30 AM tomorrow morning, THE MAN will have already been hating his cube drone life for a good two hours, including a painfully slow commute in horrific traffic following a breakfast of 3 bran muffins and a half a pot of coffee.

I will be happy and rested, and looking forward to an afternoon of rock-n-roll music, following my two hour morning workout.

What are you gonna do about it, THE MAN. Gosh, he loves to hate me.

I am going to see David Sedaris in Madison on April 13. I do believe his book, NAKED, is the funniest book I ever read. I read it on the train to work when I lived in Chicago and on more than one occasion I burst out laughing so abruptly that I just about shot coffee out of my nose.

I don't know if he will be that funny in person, but I definitely support his efforts to bring laughter (the best medicine) to all of humanity, and this is a way I can do that.

Well, I have a minute left. What do you want me to talk about? I am going to be on FM radio this Thursday, followed by a solo show in Whitewater WI. Friday and Saturday, GUPPY EFFECT (unplugged) will perform two sold out shows. Friday it is at Tuvalu in Verona WI. Saturday it is at the aptly named Rock Island Cafe in Neenah WI.

They aren't really sold out. I just like the way that sounds. And this is a free write dammit. Anything goes.



10 Minutes - Cool Idea

Hi. It's Joe.

Well, the cool idea I had was simply to video record GUPPY EFFECT live at the end of each band practice and post it to YOUTUBE. Then we can basically have live shows any time we want. I will probably post these to the COUCH CONCERT site and then refer all potential fans there. I can also embed the YOUTUBE VIDS right on the GUPPY EFFECT web site, which is www.guppyeffect.com, if you didn't already know that or figure it out by trial and error.

I am going to run this idea past the guys at band practice on Wednesday. It could be lucrative. I will include links to the GUPPY EFFECT STORE, as well as a TIP JAR where people can DONATE if they love our rocking. And they will.

This was another excellent marathon weekend of rock-n-roll. PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND rocked a great show at Mr. Roberts bar in Madison WI on Friday night (3/12). My parents came down for the first set and said they really enjoyed it, once we got the sound sounding right.

GUPPY EFFECT then rocked it Saturday night (3/13) at Real McCoys bar in Delavan, WI, about 45 minutes southeast of Cambridge. My roommate Matt and buddy Branden came out to party and support that show. It was fun for us. The provincial backwoods hicks of rural Wisconsin were not as blown away by our high energy brand of original rock-n-roll as we were, but that is because they fear things that are "different." They are used to the same standard fare of cruddy cover bands. Even though we brought them something unique and culturally enlightening, and exciting, they wanted SAMENESS. This is what I call the STARBUCK'S EFFECT. Sameness = comfort in their world. Different = fear = dislike.

But, we don't care. We rock our brand of rock because we have to, we are compelled to. We don't want people to like it who don't like it. Well, that makes no sense. What I mean is, we want as fans people who really like us, not just friends and family, although we rock just as hard for them, probably even harder.

But we did have a few closet fans come out of the woodwork after the Real McCoys show. A couple of people told me they had seen us there before (regulars) and liked us, so when they saw our flyer advertising our return to that bar, they came out. That was nice.

One guy even bought a t-shirt.

All told the weekend of rock landed me $185 in direct fee-for-service and merchandise. Not bad. And that doesn't even include the complimentary 1/2 pound cheeseburger that Rick McCoy gave me at the end of the night, as well as a couple NA beers while we were playing. We really love the McCoys, Rick and Nancy, and I think they love us too.

I watched ZOMBIELAND with Woody Harrelson and the boyfriend from JUNO in it, for the 3rd time tonight. Bill Murray does an awesome cameo, totally worth it. They don't ever mention him in the extra features though, which hurt a little.



10 Minutes - Non-Stop Rocking

Hi. It's Joe.

PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND rocked a mighty show at Mr. Roberts bar in Madison WI last night. It was PACKED, because right next door to the bar is the Barrymore Theater, and they were showing a Pink Floyd Laser Light show last night, which ended around 11 PM. So a lot of the laser light show audience came into Mr. Roberts afterwards.

They were probably only planning to come in for a drink or two, but when they heard PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND, they stayed the whole night until we got done playing at bar time.

In fact, they wouldn't let us quit. The bartenders were mad at us, because we played until the clock on the wall read 2:22 AM, meaning they only had eight minutes to clear the bar of patrons and avoid legal ramifications. It was a blast though and we made decent money.

I slept in this morning, which I could ill afford to do, because I need to practice A LOT for a show I am playing tonight with GUPPY EFFECT. I always wait until the last minute to do stuff. It's a habit I learned in college, and which was always frowned upon by others, even though those same others were usually procrastinating last minute crammers themselves.

Come to find, in recent years, cramming and last minute pushes are standard, legitimate practice in the real world. In Tim Ferriss's "4 Hour Work Week," the author condones last minute cramming. In fact, he says it is the cure for procrastination. Why worry yourself with tasks when you know full well you won't complete them until the last possible moment when they are due? Instead, do other things, relax, and don't stress until you really need to put your shoulder to the grindstone and crank out the thing.

That is what I am doing today, practicing songs for 3 hours before the band comes over for a last minute rehearsal. You should consider coming to the show tonight, although I know it is a long shot that you live anywhere near Delavan WI. The show is at a bar called REAL McCOYS in Delavan. We start at 9 PM. It's FREE.



This is Cool

Hi. It's Joe.

I just discovered these cool widgets on CD BABY, where my CD "INSPIRADO" is sold.

Cactus Joe: Inspirado

Cool, huh?

Don't buy me a coffee. Buy the CD.

I am offering the entire album for digital download for just $1 right now. That's right. A dollar. Get it now!

10 Minutes - 5 Song Guppy Effect EP

Hi. It's Joe.

My parents arrived this morning. We are about to take our dogs out to the Jefferson County dog park so they can all run free and get acquainted. They have been acquainted before, but my dog Buddy has mental problems, and even though he knows a person or another dog, sometimes his reptilian brain overrides his reasoning abilities. It's quite remarkable to see.

He never does it with me, but even though my roommate Matt has lived here a good 4 months now, Buddy still greets him at the door with growling and barking. It is only when he smells Matt that recognition kicks in. Weird.

Anyway, my folks are going to come to the PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND show tonight for a little while. That should be fun.

I just created a 5-song GUPPY EFFECT EP that we will sell at upcoming GUPPY EFFECT shows for $5. It includes these songs...

1. Road Hoggg
2. A Face Like Yours
3. A Romeo and Juliet Thing
4. Hope for Humanity
5. Gingerbread (Zombie) Army

Most of these songs are available for download at BROADJAM. But the EP puts them all together in one location. Thus, it ends up being a savings in terms of fewer hassles and less time to get all the songs.

And you will want ALL these songs. They rock. HARD!

After the doggie park, I am going to rehearse GUPPY EFFECT songs for the show tomorrow night at REAL McCOYS in Delavan, WI. It's our first show of 2010, and it will kind of define the new incarnation of the band for all future shows. The REAL McCOYS crowd loves us, but we are going more heavily into the original music right now, so it's a bold move and I hope the good people of Delavan are open minded enough to recognize rock-n-roll genius when they see, hear, and taste it.



10 Minutes - Bowling, Darts, and Shuffleboard

Hi. It's Joe.

Yesterday was a full day of ROCK. I got up early and practiced songs for the big GUPPY EFFECT SHOW this weekend. Then Stefan and Al of GUPPY EFFECT came over and we raged through our three sets of music, and a handful of songs we call "pull-out-of-our-arse" songs - easy tunes we can use as filler if needed.

After band practice, we went bowling, but the lanes had been oiled for league play, so we couldn't bowl. We settled for darts and shuffle board. It was fun. My roommate Matt came with us. When we got home, GUPPY EFFECT (unplugged) performed a COUCH CONCERT, which you can watch part of below.

I dilly dallied during today's 10 minute free write. So I am actually out of time. But see you soon, OK?



10 Minutes - Rocking is the Best Job Ever

Hi. It's Joe.

I enjoy this. There is nothing easier than writing for 10 minutes a day. It's only 10 minutes, less time than it takes to go on a short walk. Plus, I can write about anything I want, whatever comes to mind.

Right now coffee comes to mind, because I haven't had any yet. I just got up, a bit earlier than usual because I have a lot of practicing to do this morning before noon. GUPPY EFFECT is having dress rehearsal today for the big show on Saturday. That means I need to have parts and lyrics all memorized.

I'm close already. But not close enough. My new band members Al and Stefan are awesome. They really put a lot of effort into the rocking. It used to be me who was the rock-n-roll super hero in my band incarnations, but with these guys I feel like I need to keep up.

My parents are coming to visit later this week. They might have the opportunity to come watch my other band, PEOPLE BROTHERS, perform. They have a show on Friday and if it is not too late for my folks, they will come.

I don't think I have anything today except GUPPY EFFECT practice. So this should be a normal work day. Two hours of solo practice in the AM, then four to five hours of full band rehearsal this afternoon. When you don't work for THE MAN, you can set your own hours and schedule. Today, I am working six or seven total hours, and I am starting around 10 AM.

So ram that up your ass, THE MAN. I hate you, and if you were a real physical man and I saw you on the street, I would kick you in your nuts. So stay clear of me.

I have about 30 seconds. I just want to say I love you all, and your coffee donations are always appreciated and consumed.



How Star Trek Should Have Ended

Hi. It's Joe.

I thought this was funny.


10 Minutes - Couch Concert With Beth Kille

Hi! It's Joe.

Beth Kille is performing Cactus Joe's Couch Concert today. I don't film these live. I like to edit the videos down to the best material and since it is going on YOUTUBE, it has to be under 10 minutes. It is ironic that my blog posts are titled 10 Minutes and that is also the length of the longest YOUTUBE videos.

It's also completely unrelated. Yes, it takes me 10 minutes to write these posts, but it only takes readers about 2 minutes. Plus, these posts aren't videos.

But maybe there is a similarity unbeknownst to me. Maybe the human attention span is closer to 10 minutes for visual material and closer to 2 minutes for written material. Maybe that is why video is the preferred medium for marketing things, because it holds people's attention longer.

Or maybe not, because I have no factual information to base that on.

Before Beth gets here I still need to eat and let Buddy out. Then shower and get ready. After she leaves I am going to rehearse GUPPY EFFECT songs in preparation for the first GUPPY EFFECT show of 2010 on Saturday March 13, at REAL McCOYS BAR in Delavan, WI. It's actually closer to Richmond, WI, between Whitewater and Delavan, but it has a Delavan postal code.

Tonight I will rock the open mics in Madison WI. From 7-9 I'll be at Art Paul's open mic at Mercury Cafe. Then I will head over to Come Back Inn open mic, hosted by PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND. It's actually hosted mainly by Tim Lochner of said band, but some of the other PEOPLE BROTHERS usually show up to jam or share some of their music gear.

I play bass with PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND and they have a lot of shows coming up. Not enough to make me rich with money, but instead very rich with soul. That doesn't really make sense. But hey, it is a FREE WRITE. And my time is up.



10 Minutes - Mental Energy

Hi. It's Joe.

I'm getting my 10 minute free write in late today. As a result, it will probably be crap.

However, if you think it is better than most of my morning, pre-coffee diatribes, please comment to that effect below. Maybe I will start doing my free writes later if they are better.

I have always read free writing is best first thing in the morning. But frankly, my brain feels dead in the morning, especially before coffee. But maybe that is why they suggest you do it then. I guess they figure if you get good at finding the muse when he is no where to be found, then when you are in your element later, you should crank out miniature masterpieces.

Let's hope.

I am hopeful that I can channel my mental energies into the immediate tasks at hand. The first GUPPY EFFECT show is this Saturday March 13, at REAL McCOYS BAR in Delavan WI. The band has a brand new line up of members, including Stefan Chandler on guitar/vox and Al Calderon on drums.

As a result, THE BANDwe have a whole bunch of new original and cover songs on the set list now. I still have to memorize lyrics on a lot of the songs.

My plan is to practice extensively tomorrow, which would be Monday. Self-employment is awesome because Mondays no longer suck. They are awesome, because I can rock-n-roll all day and at the end of the week get paid for my efforts. Not as much as I would get paid working for THE MAN, but not working for HIM is priceless, so I think it pays off.

My time is up, but I am going to cheat and remind everyone that singer/songwriter Beth Kille is performing at my COUCH CONCERT tomorrow as well. It should be up on THE SITE by tomorrow night.




10 Minutes - The Ashlee Song

Hi. It's Joe.

I wrote a song for this girl Ashlee that I know. She loved it. But her friends all loved it even more and they are all in love with me.

This free write is lame. All I can think to free form write about is what I plan to do this month. While simultaneously job hunting, I will preparing my house to put it on the market, cleaning and making it look pretty to controlling, manipulative house wives who will coerce their spineless, wimpy husbands into buying it, even though it is beyond their means. I will also be writing my book, while simultaneously seeking freelance writing work via elance.com.

I think there is one other thing I wanted to do this month, but I cannot remember what it is. Write book, job hunt, prep house, find freelance work, and one other thing, probably music related. I would like to register a few more of my songs with BMI. I think a few new ones might be in rotation at the radio station in Whitewater. So if I want to get royalties, I need to make sure they get registered.

I hope I can place a song in a film or TV show soon too. That would keep the wolf from the door.



10 More Minutes - Cock Flavored Soup (Yum!)

Hi. It's Joe.

This is a rare 10 Minutes More post on the site. Technically, it is tomorrow, if I am still carrying over from yesterday.

I saw this at Teresa's house tonight, after band practice...

I posted it to Fail Blog.

My lower back still hurts from the balls to the wall rock-n-roll last weekend.

I met so many cool people at Festivus. I didn't know there could be so many beautiful and amazing people in rural N.E. Iowa. I guess I have just spent far too much of the last year with NEGATIVITY.

The PEOPLE BROTHERS saved me. I think they were brought into my life to swoop in and rescue me from the NEGATIVE NELLIES in my life.

It is simultaneously shocking and saddening when a person's true colors are revealed.

Also, self-actualizing to realize you are the good and true person you are.

Thank you UNIVERSE. You rock.


10 Minutes - Tween Pop Stars

It's a Thursday. In a couple of hours, I will be teaching a bass lesson to my bass student. Between then and now I have to feed Buddy and take him for a walk, move my car out of the garage, eat, and drink coffee.

Hopefully, after I do all that, I will have some time to practice for GUPPY EFFECT rehearsal, which starts at noon. After that it is a non-stop day of rock. At 5 PM the band goes to Whitewater WI, where we will join Matt Alba's "Enter the Medicine" radio show. Shannon Behm is his guest and GUPPY EFFECT is going to help this tween pop rocker to produce one of her songs with full band backing. Hopefully, we will get some album credits and when she is old enough to come hear our band play, she can perform the song live with us.

I have about a minute left to this 10 minute free write. But I think I will call it because I have stuff to do and also someone is trying to chat with me via FACEBOOK.



10 Minutes - Shannon Behm...Our Ticket to Fame?

Hi. It's Joe.

I just got up. I am still sore from rocking with PEOPLE BROTHERS in Iowa last weekend. My legs aren't as sore, but my lower back is stiff, and I think this is mainly from lifting and hustling music gear, heavy amps and crap like that. I am getting a massage next week, and really looking forward to it. My health insurance plan is expensive, but one of the features is 50% off therapeutic massage. It also covers chiropractic, which I need as well. That is one of the only things I miss about my LAST JOB, was the free on site chiropractic care. But I don't miss anything else.

This writing stuff is super fun. I really should find money-making opportunities to do it. I am gradually working my way into Elance, an online freelance writing brokerage house that lists writing opportunities for freelancers. I am going to spend most of March writing my book (initially as a series of blog posts at RED STAPLER BRIGADE, and eventually as a real book - or maybe e-book - once it has garnered some attention). Maybe I can find a publicist.

I am cranking out the free writing this morning, notwithstanding a lack of caffeine that needs to be remedied ASAP. GUPPY EFFECT is going gangbusters learning and tightening up new musical material for the 3 upcoming gigs in March (5 if you count the 2 acoustic shows me and Stefan are playing).

I saw a drummer last night who played on an acoustic set using a snare drum and brushes. I wonder if GUPPY EFFECT's Al can do something similar. Then he can join us on our acoustic shows. These shows usually pay very crappy, but it is almost worth having the extra member if it ramps up the energy of the show a bit. I will have to ask Al if he plays with brushes.

The band is going to meet Shannon Behm, up and coming tween pop rocker, tomorrow. She is guesting on Matt Alba's radio show in Whitewater. GUPPY EFFECT is going to help her produce one of her songs with a full band backing. I wanted the band to get to know her and hear her music, and more importantly her amazing PIPES. I think she has real talent and I would like GUPPY EFFECT's name to be associated with her talent when she hits it big. So that is why I don't mind offering a little pro bono help to a fellow up and coming rock star. After the initial song we do for FREE, I will charge a nominal fee for additional session work, provided they like what we do. Probably $400. That is based on 3 musicians and about 4 hours of hard work (at ~$25/hr), plus a 25% overhead. Simple.



10 Minutes - Music Biz

I am making an effort to do my 10 minute free-write immediately when I get up, before I even get coffee. We all know how useless I am without coffee, and this will probably be no exception.

Last night I went to Come Back Inn open mic night hosted by PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND. It was a good time. Prior to the open mic, GUPPY EFFECT had an awesome band practice, in anticipation of our first 2010 show, which will be Saturday March 13 at the Real McCoys in Delavan WI, starting around 9 PM. It's a free show.

GUPPY EFFECT had a marathon practice and we raged through 50% of the material we are working on for upcoming shows. When we practice on Thursday we will rage through the remaining 50%. Then we have 2 more practices before the shows to hone everything down to a brilliant singularity of white light rock-n-roll. I am not even sure what that means, but it sounded cool, and that is what 10-minute free writes are all about.

Today I have radio show in Whitewater. I cohost Matt Alba's college radio program ENTER THE MEDICINE. Today I am going to bring him an EP with 5 new GUPPY EFFECT SONGS. He might put them into rotation. If he does, I will need to get these registered with BMI ASAP.

I also need to register as a publisher with ASCAP ASAP, since I am helping Stefan Chandler to publish and distribute a few songs commercially.

We have already released his song NEWS MAN, and you can check that out for FREE at AMAZON.COM.