As a somewhat maligned music critic, the phrase “when do we get to hear your shitty band,” or something like it gets drunkenly lobbed at me fairly regularly, as if the critiques I offer are out of some sort of spiteful jealousy that will collapse when challenged, rather than being an informed assessment of the talent on display.
The answer is whenever you like. I’ve been playing live for nearly 15 years and have more than a dozen albums to my credit, many of which are available online. I’ve opened for Vanilla Ice and Green Jello, both of whom sold millions of albums, and I’ve played garages, basements and dive bars all through the Northwest. I even graduated from Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles and briefly ran a record label. I make no effort to hide any of that. But I suspect my detractors also make no effort to seek out any my work, preferring to assume my musical knowledge is derived solely from an intensive closeup inspection of the inside of my ass.
I’m sure I’ll never win those people over. Not with my writing or with my music. But that’s fine, because I’m long past the point of feeling that I need to prove anything, especially not to dipshits who behave like the musical TEA Party. Music became much more fun for me once I stopped caring if I “made it,” or even what the audience thought at all. That allowed me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise because they weren’t “cool,” and resulted in the most satisfying music I ever made. Oddly enough, the audience and the critics seemed to like that a lot better too.
I recently finished recording just that sort of project: Godcrotch. It’s a collection of ukulele renditions of some my older material from other, much louder, bands. It was a chance to reinvent songs that already had a strong personality, and some which fans had a strong personal attachment to in their original form. The process was great and I’m really happy with the outcome, though it’s pretty much the opposite of cool. Punk, metal and garage turned to folk, pop, funk and prog. Tearing your own work apart and rebuilding it into something else totally different is something everyone should do at least once, even if just for the challenge.
I’ve posted one of my favorite songs from the collection, Doing Fine, here.
It’s a ukulele interpretation of a ska song VAM Commanders are working on for the new This is Not a Time Machine album, due out in fall. The rest of the collection includes three more VAM songs on ukulele, one original instrumental piece and a ukulele and accordion interpretation of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
For my next solo effort, I’m thinking of working on a new acoustic instrument based hip-hop project, possibly involving Tuba, or at least samples of people playing the Tuba from YouTube. But I may have to ge a new computer first. My trusty Macbook has been making a pretty horrible grinding noise for awhile now that makes me leery of starting a project on it that could be swallowed unfinished into the limbo of a crapped out hard-drive.
I’m also working to get the whole of the Godcrotch collection, along with my previous solo effort, The
Schenanigoats, and one of my old Portland bands, The Sucker M.C. Jive Turkeys, online as soon as possible. I know I could just put them up on sites like Soundcloud or Bandcamp, but those seem more geared towards people trying to “make it.” I just want to put the music out there in its own way, which will probably be through an independent website, possibly here, or on tinglefinger.com.