Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

New Old Video

Posted by on January 2nd, 2015

Happy new year!  And nothing ushers in the new year like video footage from last year.  Here’s an unplugged version of “Paragon” from January 2014, recorded live at the Acoustic Coffeehouse in Johnson City, TN.


Hammered Dulcimer“The Inner Life” is obviously inspired by the Beatles’ B-side “The Inner Light”. George Harrison took the words for that song verbatim from a passage in Lamps of Fire, a collection of religious writings by Juan Mascaró. That passage was a translation of Chapter 47 of the Tao Te Ching.

I got the idea for “The Inner Life” while in Florence, Italy in 2009. I was thinking about how contemplation must come more easily to the introvert than to the extrovert. I’m an introvert, and often have a hard time comprehending extroverts, so I wrote a verse from each perspective. I had a melody in mind also, but since I was traveling abroad I had no musical instrument, and I’m not musically literate enough to write down notes on a staff from my head. So the words were captured, but the melody was lost.

I had always envisioned the song as quiet, meditative, and with an Indian flavor; the drone of the tamboura and the bright, buzzing sitar were definitely part of my vision from the start. So I’m not sure what inspired me, in September 2012, to recast it in a funk mold. But it came to me that way, along with chords and a melody. I quickly wrote a final verse recognizing that we need both introverts and extroverts, and the song, which had languished for three years, was suddenly complete, as what I can only describe as raga-funk.

The recording of the song is notable for the strange instrumentation; I played not only an electric sitar, but a hammer dulcimer, a bowed psaltery, and an ashiko, while John contributed synthesized strings in addition to the bass. Years ago I had actually envisioned doing a sort of Indian-themed song using traditional western acoustic instruments, so this was a chance to give it a try.

Skeleton SuitsIn the fall of 2012 I took a class online called “Recording with Reason” (referring to the software package made by Propellerhead); as part of that class I had to choose a reference track from a commercial CD as a starting point in recording and mixing a song.  My reference track was “Girlfriend is Better” by Talking Heads, and the song I ended up writing was “Skeleton Crew”.  It lacked the second verse, guitar solo, and the “second chorus” at the end, but in other respects, it was pretty similar to the end product you hear.  In fact, some parts of the Chameleon Red recording recycle bits from the original class project.

When I finished writing the song, December 1, 2012, I had just been laid off from my day job, which may explain the bent of the resulting lyrics and the fantasy of revenge on greedy corporate dudes.  The “second chorus” is an adaptation of the well-known (and creepy) “dry bones” passage in the Bible, Ezekiel 37:1-3. An engraving by 19th-century French artist Gustave Doré, illustrating this passage, was incorporated into the Skeleton Crew cover art.

The video was mostly recorded in one evening. I had a hard time keeping a straight face during the filming of the “presentation”, especially when I copped a move from David Byrne’s frenetic performance in the “Once in a Lifetime” video.  The “Night at the Roxbury” skull heads were filmed later and were also laughter-inducing. John designed the actual presentation that is seen in the video quite a long time after those scenes were filmed.

New Video: “Impatience”

Posted by on April 17th, 2014

Today we’re unveiling the third Skeleton Crew video: “Impatience”.  It’s an catchy, poppy kind of tune featuring John on vocals (he mostly wrote the song, too), with video we shot while recording the different tracks for the song.  If you like it, please share it with your friends!

New Video: “Skeleton Crew”

Posted by on January 31st, 2014

We had a good time and great turnout at the album release show. Now we’re ready to present the second video and title song from Skeleton Crew.  It’s totally different from “Westwood”–a danceable, slightly menacing peon’s-eye-view of corporate culture.

We are proud to present the first single and video from Skeleton Crew: “Westwood”.  This song literally came to me in a dream where Tom Petty was helping me write it.  We hope you enjoy it enough to share it with your friends!

Also, the pre-sale of Skeleton Crew begins on iTunes today.  If you order now you will get to download “Westwood” immediately, and the rest of the album will be automatically downloaded to your device when the album is officially released on January 17, 2014.

Most people know that September 19 is International Talk like a Pirate Day.  Not as well known, but equally FAR MORE important, is the fact that today, September 20, is Multinational Talk Like Christopher Walken Talking Like a Pirate Day.  In honor of this glorious event,  we offer this:

I’ve Got Nothing

Posted by on March 15th, 2013

We’re still diligently working on the new album, to the point that I can’t coax a blog entry out of my overworked brain right now.  Here, enjoy this video of Beck performing “Guess I’m Doing Fine”.  Did I mention that Beck and I were born on the same day?

O Farfisa Where Art Thou?

Posted by on December 7th, 2012

John here.  Though I’ve primarily played bass guitar in my collaborations with Brian over the last 10 years, I started out as a keyboard player.  And the first keyboard I ever played (in the first band I was ever in back in 10th grade) was the Farfisa Combo Compact.  The sound could be harsh, but the keyboard itself had a great feel, and was awesome for both rhythm accompaniment and solos, especially when paired with a Mutron Phasor II, which I also owned.

Sadly, I never liked that keyboard when I had it — there was another (a Crumar something-or-other) I lusted after that I could have afforded, but that my parents forbade me to buy (confession: my friend Tony and I spent one afternoon cutting wires in the Farfisa guts, in hopes of rendering it unusable so that my parents would relent and permit me to purchase the Crumar — note to kids out there: THIS DID NOT WORK). A few years later, I bought a 3 octave organ/string synthesizer and gave away the Farfisa.

Gave it away.

But if I hadn’t, I believe in my heart that I would have eventually created this video:

New Video – “What’s This Music For?

Posted by on November 26th, 2012

Just uploaded a new video for “What’s This Music For?”.  The theme song for this blog, as it were.