New Lizard Music?

Can it be possible? Yes, and it’s happening this very moment. Chopper Newt currently has an acoustic guitar track I did for a new version of Channeling Lou, Gator’s cool improv poetry chant.

Edit 3/7: We re-recorded Stay With Me first, in the end–and it’s amazing!

My big problem is that I need an electric guitar, having pawned my old Ibanez in 1993 to pay a speeding ticket, and I’m too much of a snob to be satisfied with a crappy instrument. Today, down in the East village of New York City at Ludlow guitars, I played my dream machine: an actual 1972 telecaster deluxe with a walnut finish. Way, way out of my price range, however. Way out. Fortunately Fender has a remake that Ludlow will order and sell for a mere $700.

teledeluxe.jpg

Except, can you believe, I don’t have $700! My old Ibanez back in college cost $700, which I could afford then. But now I’m strapped. I spend $1000 a month flying home to see my wife and daughter–so I just don’t fly home for a month, right! Ah, that won’t happen.

The question is what do I have I can sell for $700? My soul? No, it isn’t worth that.

Edit 3/5: Thinking more realistically, Squier, the cheaper brother of Fender makes a pretty similar guitar for a lot less. Maybe I’ll try to find one:

squier1.jpg

Doesn’t have the beautiful strat head stock, nor does it seem to come with the maple stain, but still a nice-looking axe.

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85 Responses to “New Lizard Music?”

  1. Oh, shut up.

  2. Chopper Newt Says:

    Your old guitar cost $700? The pink one?

    Still fiddling with what to do on the tracks you sent. I may have something worked out over the weekend. I’m really not doing much at this point. Last night I realized that I was pushing too hard, so it may well be that when I get something out, it will be pretty light. Your tracks really do a lot to carry the melody, so I don’t think I need to crap all over that.

    Less is more. The Anti-Lizard Credo.

    On the other hand, I got fed up last night and just started banging away with distortion, and I may have a thread on something new. I’ll keep you posted as it develops.

    All my cords are shorty and noisy, including the one I bought two days ago. Unless it’s the guitars themselves. Feels like old times.

  3. Chopper Newt Says:

    BTW, I’m so glad I’m the kind of guitarist (i.e. a sloppy one) that can get away with garage sale specials for $25 and not have them impact my playing negatively too much. Just saying.

    You should see my “telecaster”. It’s a Fender alright, but I think it was made around the time that Poison was all the rage or something. It has like all these pickups, not the characteritic Tele alignment, more like something you’d see in a Warrant video, and it’s baby crap green. Metro can testify – it’s shaped like a Telecaster, but it’s a weirdo. The guy at the pawn shop said it was built in Japan or something, by way of explaining why it was cheap and no one wanted it. ‘Cept ME!

  4. Yeah, the pink one. It’s long, long gone. Anyway, I hated that guitar, although it was smooth as silk. Just too damned loud.

    I have a new song I’m working, too. Of course, it will be acoustic, if and until I get that telecaster. By the way, I remembered what the original ’72 now costs: $3000. Damn. I nearly bought a New York Pro tele copy, with the single coils, for only $195, but it had buzzy frets. You gets what you pays for, right? I just couldn’t waste my money. Anyway, I want a tele, but with humbuckers, and that’s what the ’72 tele deluxe has. I found one on ebay for a measly $350, but I’m leery of buying a guitar from ebay–plus it was black, not walnut, and someone had replaced the original pickups with Dean Markleys, I guess because he wanted to play heavy metal. Fucks up a beautiful guitar.

    I also like this deluxe with the strat head stock instead of the rather weak looking tele head stock. I can’t help but be a snob. Fender is even reissuing its old tube amps, remakes from the ’50s and ’60s. I can’t believe I got rid of my old Ampeg! (which you never saw).

    Send me the mps when you get them done.

  5. Chopper Newt Says:

    Oh, ask Metro about the monster Peavey amp I used in the Freep days. I could barely get it up and down stairs, which for some reason I seemed to have to do a lot. It was such a piece of crap, but wonderful for the way I played. It would just sustain harmonic feedback for days. You can hear it on a lot of the Freep basement stuff and even the Boathouse tape, like on Marion the Librarian. I sold it. I wish I still had it, but I probably couldn’t even lift it anymore.

  6. 1) My name is NOT Metro…

    2) Yes, his amp from the Freep days was a BEAST…but as far as the feedback/sustain, I thought you were doing that on purpose.

    I’m not sure when I will be able to contribute musically to this project. I had a ‘procedure’ last week to have a trial-version spinalcord stimulator implanted. The week trial is up and I have the implant removed tomorrow. (As we speak there is a giant wire stuck into my back and into my spine.) I now need to decide if the pain-relief was significant enough to have the permanent implant. If yes, I’ll have a REAL surgery in about 2 weeks.

    Theoretically, after I recover from that I will be able to dig out my drums and fly the freak flag once more.

  7. Chopper Newt Says:

    I think there’s no rush, when you’re ready to hit the drums we’ll be ready to have you do so. Best of luck with the procedure. I’m willing to bet Gecko and I can draw this guitar stuff out for several years if allowed to, not helped by the glacial pace I am working at right now. Also, I can just loop some bit from Nicko behind it and we can forget about you entirely, if need be. I’ve done it before. Don’t fuck with me.

    You are Metro. Deal with it. I think there was an episode of Seinfeld where George was having similar nickname issues, and there was nothing he could do about it either.

    I was doing that on purpose once I realized that the amp would so readily allow me to do that on purpose.

  8. I’ve already done a quick and dirty version of the CL drums on my drum machine app (which, hilariously, is called “Beatcraft”), so we don’t need you at all, Serp, I mean Metro, except for your winning personality. The only problem is that, as good as the sampled drums sound, a drum machine doesn’t really sound like a live person….

    We also have to find a bassist, apparently, and at some point I suppose Iv has to chant some lyrics. Yeah, I imagine this could take years.

    I wonder if Gator remembers my old powder blue and silver Ampeg tube amp from high school. I can’t believe I sold that. It would be worth a bundle now.

  9. Once upon a time I would have been pissed at the idea of a drum machine, but now I am more interested in the idea of creating well written music.
    I do however agree that the songs would probably sound a little more “authentic” if there was a real person drumming.

    Also, if you have a drum track…when I am able to play again I could use that as a “click track”.

  10. Chopper Newt Says:

    Gecko, I’ve had surprising success with recording a bass line on my guitar and using the software to tune it down an octave. You might want to experiment with that once you’ve got hands on an electric. You won’t get Flea- or Claypool-like results, but our songs don’t really require much besides a reasonable low end.

    Or Metro could see if Jerry wants to throw us a bone.

  11. Tuning down an octave? Interesting idea. I’ll see if I can do that. Otherwise, you’ll have to do it.

    The hard part with the drum machine is making it sound real and not looped–unless one painstakingly programs the entire song, complete with flourishes that are probably harder to program than simply to do live.

    I’d think the drum track would be too confusing to use as a “click track” I could just add a plain old click track to keep you in time?

  12. Chopper Newt Says:

    The only way I like a drum machine is when there’s no attempt to hide the fact that it’s a drum machine. Everything else is too much work, as you alluded to, and it still sounds… not quite right.

    That being said, a simple loop would be nice to use for our work while we’re waiting for Metro to convalesce.

    The octave tuning thing works surprisingly well, as long as the bass is sort of backgrounded. It helps to mask the minor weirdness that happens with software-detuning like that. I did a version of Indian Summer one afternoon, just to see if I could do a whole project by myself, and I played the bass line on my guitar like normal, then just used the software to take the whole thing down an octave while maintaining the same speed, and it worked better than I expected it to.

  13. I could ask Jerry if you wanted me to.

    As far as the click track, I’d think the drum track you have would be better for me…as I taught myself to play drums by playing along with radio/records/tapes/videos. A click track might actually CONFUSE me.

  14. Now I agree. I was jamming along this afternoon and I found I could keep time much better with a simple drum track than with a metronome. Might have to go back and rerecord CL.

    Voted today and afterwards treated myself to jamming on that telecaster, this time at Hauer music in Ohio. Plugged into a fender amp and totally overdrove it. Damn is that guitar nice. My wife didn’t like the idea of me buying a $700 guitar, however. “I can’t afford a piano, so you can hardly afford a new guitar!” she says, and “What’s wrong with the two guitars you have?” Nothing, of course….

  15. Hey, I understand the money thing. $700 really isn’t that much, but when you look at all the other bills you have it suddenly becomes a matter of priority.

    Having said that, now go out and buy the guitar. If your wife complains about money, tell her to go out and get a second job!

  16. If only. Things have been tough here lately, but I don’t want to get into it. Anyway, I’m applying for a new job here in Ohio–although the godz know I’d rather stay in New York, but without two salaries we’d never make it there. Actually without two salaries we couldn’t make it in Ohio, either. So, I’m trying to find something in this forsaken state: I may give up my professorship, even. The job I’m applying for is a staff writer for the public relations department at Miami University–a good job if only because I could still teach in the history department there. If I’m lucky enough to get the job (and who are we kidding, I’m not lucky), I’ll treat myself to a new guitar. Maybe. We’re also looking at houses, hoping to buy this spring.

    As it is I spend pretty much everything I make on commuting, rent, bills, student loan payments, food, and a teensy bit of saving. Life sucks.

    Incidentally, in a free hour this weekend I recorded a new interpretation of Stay With Me. It’s good! I did the whole darned song, except the vocals (although I actually took CN’s “One Two Three Four!” from the original studio recording to get everything started). I mixed down an mp3 of it, leaving out the “electric guitar” part, which I’ll leave for CN to add himself. I also changed the song a little bit, adding room for guitar solos, adding my own acoustic solo to the beginning. No, really, it rocks. I’ll e-mail the mp3 later today. I was blown away when I listened to the results.

  17. Yeah, I doubt I’m having it as rough as you right now, but last year pretty much wiped out my savings. (Pretty Much=Completely)
    The best part is that I just found out that the hospital over-charged me by $10,000 out of my own pocket. (Long story.) Now the hard part is trying to get it back. I’m sure they’ll just happily write out a check. [Seriously, I have to cross-reference all bills issued -vs- bills paid -vs- insurance paid and then submit a formal request WITH all of THEIR paperwork and then wait.]

  18. Oy. Anyway, since you apparently have hardware sticking out of your body, I’d say you definitely have it worse. My only problem is that I don’t have a job in the state where my wife and daughter live and to get one there I’ll probably have to give up my “career” (for whatever that’s worth). So, that’s annoying.

    Of course, I already gave up a research professorship in Mississippi because my wife would never move to Ole Miss. I also gave up a job with the CIA. Where will it end? If I have to give up my professorship in NYC, I’m definitely buying a guitar as compensation.

  19. They took the hardware out of my back on Friday. I’ll have the permanent implant put “installed” in about 3 weeks.

    So is she just no willing to relocate or does she have a job she “loves”?

    I deal with something similar. My wife is a school teacher with a Masters degree in reading education. She could go to two-dozen schools in the Chicago area and make $60,000. Instead she works for the Catholic school system in the neighborhood she grew up. (Bridgeport) She would make more money working full-time in the service industry.

    …but she “loves” her job.

  20. No, my wife is from New York and would love to go back–which is why I took the job there. A foothold in the city! But she’s not quitting her professorship, where she nearly has tenure, unless she can get something in New York and thus far it hasn’t worked out. Getting hired for a tenure-track professorship, particularly in a good location, is about as likely as getting hit by a meteorite walking out of your door in the morning. It’s not like finding a job in retail. So, if she can’t find a job in NYC, I have to find a job in Ohio–which hasn’t worked out, either. It’s one fucked up situation. Of course, I’m more willing to leave my career and do something else than she is. Why, I don’t know. I guess because she’s got my daughter….

  21. Well, let’s look at the positive:
    At least being away from home gives more time to record music…

  22. I wish. I only have a classical guitar here in NYC. My steel string is back in Ohio. Always a catch, isn’t there?

    Dude, I’m so wasted! Went out to dinner midtown and drank a whole bottle of chianti. Then for dessert I had some amaretto (on the house). Too bad I have to go to work tomorrow. I can hardly see straight.

    And where the hell is the Chopper Newt? I’m wondering if he received my e-mailed mp3 of Stay With Me and is duly recording some kick ass guitar and vocals for it. And then there’s Channeling Lou, which will have to be sent to Gator for lyrics once we have the music down. Not that I know if he has any recording software.

    Incidentally, I heard from Gator today informing me that Gary Gygax died. It’s the end of an era.

  23. Chopper Newt Says:

    I’m here, just hating life hard at the moment, but I did get the SWM file and I love it, I even recorded guitar for it last night, but I’m going to re-do it a few more times before sending. I’ll do vocals too. That one’s easier than CL or NW, because I’m just doing pretty much what I always did, on the other ones I’ve got to put in some time to decide what I want to do on them. Sorry for the radio silence.

  24. No problem. I just finished teaching a three hour course with a mild hangover. My throat is starting to close up on me, I think.

    In honor of Gygax, I’ve been listening to Rush on my iPod, which is the music I was really into back in the very old days when I liked to play D&D.

    When I pay my astronomical credit card bill this month, I’ll barely have enough money to eat (unless I charge everything, which I will), so no electric guitar for a while. I may blow $50 for a USB condenser mic so I can record my classical guitar. Maybe this summer when I’m not flying every week I’ll sneakily buy a guitar…. What am I saying? We’re spending the summer in the UK; all my cash will go to that, I’m sure. I knew there had to be a catch to getting married and having kids, and now I know what it is: can’t buy a guitar whenever I want to.

  25. I made a joke the other day when I heard Gygax died, but nobody got it…or found it funny:
    Gary Gygax? Isn’t he the guy that invented Dangerous Journeys?
    (The joke being that was the failed gaming system he invented when he was ousted by TSR…)

    As far as money for the guitar, can’t you sell some blood and semen?

  26. Chopper Newt Says:

    Wow, that’s like a Tool song come to life. If you’d thrown in something about fisting, you would BE MJK.

    I put these heavy strings on my Tele, and the fifth string is bugging me when I play SWM, but I think I will ignore it’s incessant bright buzzing and do it anyway, unless I try the old Ibanez and it does better.

    I’m direct-lining a Rockman into my Mackie mixer, from there to the computer. It’s like buzz-and-hum-a-licious. But I love the Rockman. I feel just like Tom Scholz, without the inconvenient, obsessive perfectionism.

    I’ve been playing my SWM part with a light distortion, which I never used to do, but it’s very nice, and it separates it from the rest of the guitars in the mix. I’ve been thinking alot about trying not to do everything with every instrument. I think it might hold promise. Sometimes I strum lightly, which is a new experience as well. And there’s less bleeding.

    On the other hand, I will be multitracking 50 voices for an angelic CN choir, to add the needed dollop of pretentiousness. Cause it wouldn’t be one of mine otherwise.

  27. The Rockman is a cool toy, without doubt. But I’m going to get one of those little Fender tube amps, which seriously rock. Unless I come into money somehow, at which point I’d get a Marshall stack!

    I’m toying with the idea of financing a guitar from musiciansfriend.com. They have a no-interest deal. But I’d rather buy a guitar from a cool shop that will provide service, too. Maybe I should go find a Fender Squier for $150 and forget about the ’72 telecaster.

    I also thought distortion on the electric guitar in SWM would fit, since my acoustic is so clean–although I’m not sure I’ll leave the funky flange that’s there now. I had to try it out for old time’s sake. Flange and delay: my favorite effects. “How much flange do you want on that track?”

    I’ll add a drum track to CL and see if that gives you any ideas. It looks like the Metrognome is out of commission with percussion until April.

    Now that my hangover is gone I’m thinking I should go get a beer….

  28. yeah, grab a beer. I’m on the Scotch at the moment and life’s looking a little more tolerable ; )

  29. Gator!

    Now that I’m fully beered up, I’m absolutely rockin’ to Chopper Newt’s guitar and vocals to Stay With Me 2008. Unbelievable. What a nice break as I worked on taxes (no better way to work on taxes than after a beer, I suppose). I forwarded it to you, Iv, so go check your e-mail.

  30. I have to say I also really dig the buzzy cables Chopper is using. Talk about authentic.

    When I bought a new guitar cable to start all this recording, the guy at the shop in Ohio tried to sell me a super fancy Monster studio cable: 10′ for $149 bucks. Crazy. I said, “Show me the normal cables, I don’t care if they’re buzzy.” I got one for $25. But CN must’ve bought a $10 cable with only about 80% shielding.

    And check above: I found a guitar I can afford, and it still rocks.

  31. Chopper Newt Says:

    I did buy a $10 cable, but then I didn’t like it so I just kept using the worse one a bought for $5 back in the Freep days. Monster Cables can eat my shorts.

    I sent the track to the invalid Metro, but I haven’t heard from him yet.

    You’re right, the vocals are too hot, but I have a really hard time getting the mix right on vocals – my inclination is always to bury them, so I think I was just trying not to do that.

    My guitar solo = my inner Edge finally coming out. Also, please enjoy my yelping at the beginning and before the solo, which is my obligatory Boss tribute, and also a ploy to make the song sound like it’s an actual band playing.

    And what, no comment on the fact that I got Def Leppard to do backing vocals for me?

  32. 1) I can’t get over how great this track came together. I am uber-jealous!
    NOTE: I am actually so jealous that I think I might get the drums out of the attic tonight, pain be damned!!

    2) I also think the lead vocal is a touch too loud in the track, but just assumed there would be a final mix-down…if you guys allow me to try and put down a drum track, that is.

    3) The Def Leppard vocals are great…they’re nothing like the Slang album…

    4) I say get the $700 guitar that you want. I watched my father spend his whole life getting nothing because he felt he had to play it safe. I’m just saying that life is too short, treat yourself to a guitar.

    5) Chop, I think I have some cables from the Freep days. (Not sure what’s up there anymore.) When I bring down the drums should I bring them along?

  33. Chopper Newt Says:

    Cables: I’d say just bring whatever you need, I’m fine with what I’ve got, and I don’t know that they are necessarily the real problem in my chain, there are a lot of real iffy connections (1/4″ to 3/4″ jack adapter, anyone? That ain’t the way they roll at the Record Plant).

    Yeah, this is by no means a final mix, there is space reserved for your drum contribution. I’ll need to get a drumless version of Gecko’s bit at some point, then I can get you in there instead. And I’m already making a list of things to change next time I call up the session, number one being lower the vocals a bit, number two being give the whole thing a little more bottom. It sounded really thin on my big stereo. And I will probably redo the solo just to make it a little less sloppy – I threw that on after probably three runthroughs – I wasn’t even necessarily going to do one, I thought I might leave it for Gecko, but I liked how the U2 thing sounded.

    Also, I don’t necessarily need final cut on this thing, once we’ve got all the tracks we’re going to use, I could send Gecko a CD-R with the WAV tracks if we’d rather have him do the final mix and master. Wheatever y’all think.

  34. I did have to grin when I heard the Def Leppard backing vocals. It works very well, though. Your voice sounds awesome and I also really dig the guitar. It’s got a great edgy telecaster sound. Your solo at the end is very catchy, too. I’m glad I added these new sections to the song: gives it more time to groove.

    I was listening to that acoustic Nursery World thingy I did, and I say just forget it. If we redo that song, it ought to rock. Channeling Lou is a bit more problematic. I haven’t really figured out what should happen in that tune–it’s a little too repetitive, I think. It also needs some groovin’.

    At some point, when we’re satisfied, one of us will need to collect WAV files of each track–each instrument and vocals–and do a final mix. I can do that with Mixcraft very easily, I think, but I suppose Cool Edit pro will do the job well, too. I do have on Mixcraft all the standard effects, including a digital EQ. I tried EQing the SWM tracks I have, giving them a standard V equalization, and it definitely smoothed out the song.

    Metro: Are you going to want the song as it is now, with drums, or sans drums, for recording? Or should I add a VERY simple drum track without all the frills for you to play over?

    As for the guitar, I e-mailed Ludlow and they have the Squier vintage modified tele in the picture at the top of the page for a mere $230. I’m going to buy it next week–on my credit card, of course. Need to figure out what to do about an amp.

  35. Incidentally, I also used a 1/4 to 3/4 adapter to get my acoustic guitar plugged directly into my computer’s mic jack. I noticed a little buzz, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. Gives the whole affair a vintage air.

  36. I would like a “full” drum track, but just keeping the beat. No fills or rolls or anything. That would be perfect.

    …and my name’s not Metro.

    PS-Why do I get the feeling that you two could Axl Rose this song for 10 years, never be happy with it and coninuously find things to change?

  37. Chopper Newt Says:

    I don’t know where that’s coming from. I did my bit in less than 90 minutes last night, start to finish, and it was in the email right away. You hurt me, Metro, you hurt me deep.

  38. I didn’t say “were”…I said “could”.

  39. I.

    Am.

    METROGNOME!

  40. Chopper Newt Says:

    I guess I misheard you, what with that flaming dork hanging out of your mouth.

  41. I did my part in less than 90 minutes, actually!

    But the piece does need some further mixing work.

    I wouldn’t change CN’s guitar solo. It’s great.

    Serp: Did you add a comment saying “I Am Metro?” Because I have one waiting for moderation, which shouldn’t happen since you are already approved. Maybe it’s spam.

  42. Okay, I figured it out. You changed your handle.

    BTW, shouldn’t it be “fewer” than 90 minutes? With an English prof for a wife, I’m always trying to pay attention to my English.

    I’ll send CN my tracks of SWM with the modified, simpler drums for recording the live drums. Are you still going to record at CN’s, Metro? Can you even move around enough to … beat the skins? And do these electric drums you have sound any good? Just curious.

  43. My plan in the beginning will be to record at Choopers. If I feel that I get the hang of it, I would probably haul my drums back home and record in the basement.

    Right now I could play, but it’s not really worth the pain it puts me in. I’ll wait until post surgery.

    For the price I paid for the things 5 years ago ($600 on clearance), I thought they sounded great while jamming live…distorted through an amp and the old Kustom LFA P.A.
    How good they will sound going directly into a computer? I guess we will find out.

  44. Chopper Newt Says:

    I expect that we can get something decent out of the drum set the way it’s been described to me. As long as it has an OK sound, it gives us a way to get that Serpent flavor – the je ne sais quoi that our boy brings to the table.

    And then we’ve got a mountain of effects that we can use to totally get rid of that flavor.

    I will need Metro to bring Gila down so he can add Jew’s Harp to it.

  45. Who’s this Gila you mention?

    Sounds like a Meat Loaf wannabe…

  46. Maybe Gila isn’t enough of a half-life, like us–or at least like me–to care about this little project of ours.

    I’m just wondering if the drum set uses sampled real drums or if it sounds electronic. But if you say it sounds great, I’ll assume that’s because it sounds real.

    I thought I’d record something today, but it snowed like hell here–and snows still–so my daughter’s day care was closed, which meant I had to take care of her all day. At 2.5 years, she won’t sit still and let me play guitar for very long.

  47. A little bit of music work today: I did some further guitar parts, as well as bass, on Channeling Lou 2008. Working on the new coda now. I’ll e-mail to CN and S when I’m done to see what can be done with it. I’m still not sure it’s falling into place, however.

    A big question is: will Gator want to add new chanting to this?

  48. A fellow Mac user I know is going to give me a…trial version…of multi-tracking software called Q-Base (sp?) for the MAC. He is a guitarist and has been in a few bands. He recommends it highly.

    Maybe I will just set my drums up in the basement and give it a try on my own…

  49. Cubase. It’s a professional music editing application. Pretty expensive, I think, although I just checked online and they have a “essential” version–i.e., stripped down–for individual use: http://www.steinberg.net/983_1.html.

    I don’t know what the trial version does, but you probably can’t do something critical, like save your work…. You get to figure out how it works, just enough to whet your appetite, then you have to shell out the dough.

    I can’t say I have much experience with these apps, but I really like Mixcraft so far (www.acoustica.com). Incredibly easy to use and relatively cheap, although not free. They’ve come out with a new version that is MIDI compatible and comes with about a hundred midi instruments onboard, but I haven’t yet upgraded (even though I qualify for a free upgrade). My version works perfectly, and I’m worried the new one will have some glitch. Still, it would be nice to have access to all those instruments, but I’d have to buy a USB MIDI keyboard. Always something new to buy.

    Damn, I just heard my 7:35 flight is delayed until nearly 10:00 pm! I knew I wouldn’t make it out tonight, but you’d think they’d at least let me know earlier. I checked online for flight status all day and all they said was “On time.” Liars!

    I wouldn’t rush the drumming if you’re in such pain. I remember the pain of my hernia operation: I didn’t feel like moving for days it was such agony.

  50. Well, I didn’t mean…trial version…I meant “trial” version. (Buddy discount so to speak.)

    I meant that I would start drumming in my basement AFTER my next operation. In the meantime nothing to stop me from learning how the software works.

    Good luck with the flight. (Air travel has not been your buddy lately.)

  51. Hey, I made it to Brooklyn, and it’s only 11:52! Have to be up in a whole 6 hours and 8 minutes.

  52. News: between teaching, writing, and doing taxes, I worked on Channeling Lou 2008 and think I have something interesting for the coda. In fact the whole piece sounds rockin’. Did a bass part, threw in some guitar strumming for my own sanity which I assume will be replaced later by Chopper’s guitar work. Put a compressor filter on the bass part and it now really drives. I have the ol’ drum machine working there, too, but it just doesn’t sound like real drums.

    One interesting piece of technological information: downloaded the Mixcraft 4 upgrade and now have access to various synthesizers. The new version also has a guitar amp simulator, so I can simulate an overdriven Marshall Stack. This new computer technology blows me away.

    Problem is that I need an ASIO driver for my sound card and don’t know where to find one.

  53. Don’t be greedy. E-Mail that file!

    I hold in my hands the “trial” version of Cubase for Mac OSX.
    Included are a couple of “complimentary” synthesizers. Amp simulator and I guess there is one that simulates different instrument microphones…which could be perfect effect for my drums to give a less synthesized feel.

  54. Yeah, I suppose Cubase to be very powerful, from what I’ve read. But regular joes like me can’t afford such expensive software.

    To use the synths effectively, one needs a USB midi keyboard as well as an ASIO driven sound card to reduce “latency,” which I’ve encountered already. If you try to monitor the sounds you are recording directly through the mixing software, non-ASIO capable sound cards will give you a big delay, making it impossible to record, really.

    I can’t e-mail the file until I finish the coda, which will be the new part of the tune. I doubt I’ll finish until 1) I buy that guitar, and 2) I have more time. If I can get out of my office this evening soon enough, I’m going to stop by Ludlow guitars in the village….

  55. Okay, mailed out a _VERY_ rough version of CL to involved persons.

    Oh, and I bought a new electric guitar–the black one pictured at the top of the page. Running it directly into my computer and using Mixcraft’s onboard “guitar amp simulator” produced some seriously distorted noise, I tell you. Buzz, feedback, fuzz, the works. Too much probably. I used to get such a clean distortion from my analog distortion pedal. I wonder what happened to that pedal.

  56. Chopper Newt Says:

    Got the file and listened to it this morning. I think I’ll have an easier time coming up with something for this than the guitar-only version. This one really suffers from the drum machine, though, I’ll be interested to get Metro in there down the road.

  57. I got the copy of Cubase but didn’t get to install. (Was at work 2 hours late last night and then the son didn’t want to go to bed…)

    I’ve only listened once through:
    1) Agree about the drums, I need to add my own unique stylings
    2) I like the “coda” at the end
    3) As a critique, do either of you think the tempo is just a hair too slow? I can’t decide. I don’t think it needs to be significantly faster.

  58. Yeah, the drums are no good, but that’s partially because I put no work into them, I guess. Metro said he only wanted drums as a “click track” so these are really boring drums just to get the idea across.

    I’m still not really happy with the coda, but this was my idea, so we can perfect it if you like it. I have trouble with the distortion, too. Although the amp simulator simulates an overdriven marshall stack, it seems way too distorted to my ears. I need my old distortion pedal, or maybe my own amplifer that I can control better.

    As for slow, yeah, I slowed it down. I wondered if it were too slow (it’s 110 bpm), but after I had gone this far I decided to keep on keeping on. I can probably speed it up, but I’ve found this often isn’t as easy as it should be. Might be easier to rerecord the whole thing if we want it faster. I think I picked 110 bpm because my intro guitar part was easier to play at that speed on an acoustic guitar. If I redo on electric I can play much faster.

    I had forgotten how easy an electric is to play, I mean in terms of the small neck and the low action of the strings.

  59. Chopper Newt Says:

    It is slow, and I’d say if we want it faster it should be re-done because the stretching would hurt the sound quality of the tracks. That said, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the slower tempo, whatever you guys think.

  60. Let me know what you want to do. I kind of like it slow, however. I always felt we rushed through our songs instead of grooving to them.

    If you want a better drum machine track let me know, too, but if this will work until Bob can play his drums, leave it at that: it’s too complicated to program the damn drum machine.

  61. The drums are fine. That’s exactly what I need to record my part.

    I’m sure once Chopper adds his guitar, I add my drums and we get vocals in, the tempo will be less of an issue. Like I said, I don’t think it’s horrifically slow…just a touch.

    So the questions that remain for this track:
    – Will Gator provide vocals?
    – If yes, how?
    – If no, Chopper? (Ya know…there IS only 1 Lizard that never had a lead vocal…)

  62. Godz, I’m still doing my federal income taxes. But I think I’ll finish tonight!

    Anyway, Check your e-mail for a slightly improved version of CL. Drums are the same crappy loops, but I changed the drums sounds to something a little more pleasant. And did a vaguely better guitar solo at the end. It’s funny: I have so much latency in my crappy laptop sound card that I can’t actually use the music software’s built in amplifier live–everything I play I’d hear about 2 seconds later. I have to play the guitar clean and add all the effects later. Makes it hard to imagine what the solo will sound like, really.

    Chopper: Is the acoustic rhythm guitar part I added distracting?

    I hope Gator will provide vocals somehow. But I could always try to sing it, since I suppose you are referring to me as the only Lizards never to sing…. There’s probably a good reason for that.

    But we still need new vocals. CL 2008 can’t have the exact same lyrics at CL 1993. T’would be an absurdity.

  63. Chopper Newt Says:

    I don’t want to sing it. I think only Gator can do this one. Anyway, this project would seem a little emptier without contributions from at least all four members of the Mark II contingent. Without Gator, there is no Lizards, you know?

    I DLed the track and listened through once this morning, and I think it’s good. I agree with you Gecko as far as our propensity to push the tempo on everything back in the day, and I think the song will benefit in the end from being a little slower, even if it sounds strange to us right now.

    I don’t think I’ll have any trouble coming up with some stuff to add guitar-wise, give me a few days to mess with it and I’ll get something back to you.

  64. I thought about improvements to my guitar solo at the end, which I’ll add next week. No rush, I suppose. I also think I should remove the distorted chords at the end for Chop to do instead. We might as well all be in every section of the music. I’ll also remove my acoustic strumming from the main section, I think. Not needed if Chopper adds guitar there.

  65. Well, I installed cubase last night, but on your recommendation I didn’t install any of the extra “filters”.
    I was able to upload a WAV file into TRACK 1 and play it back.
    …that’s as far as I got before I went nighty-night.

    In general, Matt, you are right. That is a very robust and complicated system that does WAY more than I understand or will probably ever use.

    Next test: get out a microphone and figure out how to record a second track.

  66. Ha, you’re surfing the web when you should be working, right? Oh, wait, that’s what I’m doing. Actually, I’m now done for the day. It’s off to the airport to fly to Ohio.

    When did I recommend not installing any filters? I never said that. Install away. I love all my filters: a zillion effects, in particular, and loads of VST effects available online for free. Of course, I suspect my computer might have picked up a bug from this. Behaved weirdly last eve and had to run a virus check–but came up with nothing. Not that these things are foolproof.

    Tata. I’m not taking my computer to Ohio this weekend, so no recording for me. I have to entertain the visiting in-laws.

  67. In one of your previous posts you mentioned that the filters caused problems.

    The base application (I am told) comes with some built in fx and distortion, so I thought I would learn about those b4 loading additional.

    …and yes, I’m in a bad-work-mood, so I am avoiding doing projects that I am cranky about having to do by surfing the web.

  68. Chopper Newt Says:

    I played along with CL for an hour or so last night, I still don’t have anything that I like. I’ll keep banging away at it until something makes sense.

    Gator, it’s time for you to jump in and offer to sing this b*tch. C’mon, step up to the plate, I know you’re out there.

  69. Naw, I never said the filters were a problem. Or, if I did then I disavow it.

    Yeah, I wonder where Gator is? I was thinking about the lyrics and have a few ideas, but Gator has to come up with something unless he is disavowing the whole crazy, mad, probably pointless project.

  70. “…one needs a USB midi keyboard as well as an ASIO driven sound card to reduce “latency,” which I’ve encountered already. If you try to monitor the sounds you are recording directly through the mixing software, non-ASIO capable sound cards will give you a big delay, making it impossible to record, really. ” -Matt

    This is what I was referring to. Now, having re-read it I guess it doesn’t really refer to ‘filters’.

    – – – – – –

    Gay-Tor must have a much more fulfilling life than any of the rest of us. He doesn’t spend his days reading this thread and his nights figuring out how to re-record 15 year old songs that only 100 people even know of…

  71. He just doesn’t have any kids, so he’s got lots of his own very interesting projects, I suppose. My projects mostly consist of worrying about my daughter. Guitar playing is a big escape. Actually, I wasn’t playing much guitar until recently when my wife bought me a classical guitar and I started studying it again in my few odd moments, usually sitting in the living room while my daughter played with her doll house.

    I think “100 people” knowing of our music is probably far too great an estimation.

    Anyway, have you encountered this latency problem? I can listen to my guitar directly through the mic input on my computer, but if I try to go through the music software and monitor the sound all nicely processed with distortion, delay, reverb, etc., I get about a 1 second delay. It’s impossible, I find, to record that way when one hears everything one plays one second later than one plays it. This could be fixed by a better sound card, but I’m using a laptop and you can’t change the sound card. So, I have to record listening to a clean guitar and then add all the effects afterwards.

  72. yeah…I took my boy to a hockey game this morning. Morning shot.
    Then I spent some time on the couch. (Sick + surgery injury)
    When I got up I spent an hour playing Buzz Lightyear with him.
    Kids are a full time job…AFTER your full time job.

    I haven’t actually done any recording yet. I need to get a microphone down from the attic and I need a few pointers from the guy who “loaned” me the software.

  73. How are you going to get your electric drums plugged into your computer? Do you have a mixing board? Can you line in directly?

    Maybe you will have to visit CN who says he has a mixing board direct lined into his computer.

    What’s your boy’s name? I need to start a new post: Who the hell are LFA now? Post some pictures of our kids. My daughter is unbelievably beautiful, and I’m not just saying that because she’s mine.

  74. Since it’s been packed away for 3 years and I never tried to record before, I’m not really sure. I do have a mixing board, but it’s also pretty old. I may be going up in there tomorrow. I’ve also possibly negotiated a location for the drums in the basement.

    Elwyn Robert Geisert III.

    I was thinking about doing something like that on the myspace page…but since I couldn’t get ahold of Komodo and Gila didn’t want to participate, I let that drop.

  75. Well, I did my first “multi-track” recording test today. I think I am getting an idea of how the software works.
    Lesson 1: The built-in computer microphone does NOT provide suitable results. (But for just figuring out what the program does it was fine.)
    Lesson 2: Bobby McFerrin I am not.
    Lesson 3: It’s actually very intoxicating to do. If I could get a “decent” microphone sound, I could theoretically ‘beat-box’ song ideas for you guys to flesh out.

    So what did I record?
    A Bobby McFerrin version of how I THINK Choppers song Zipboard (Slack-Jaw) should be arranged.

    Future things to learn:
    – How to add the effects
    – How to do a “lead in” click track (Which it supposedly can do automatically for you.)
    – How to play guitar & bass…then I wouldn’t need the two of you anymore…

  76. OK. I made a trip into the attic. Here is what I found.
    1) The drum machine “brain” has midi imports and exports. So all I need to do is get a connection from that into my computer.

    2) I still have my very nice set of headphones…but they are 3/4, so I will need to a connection for that into my computer.

    3) I have about 6 microphones. (4 “good”, 2 in pieces). They are 3-prong (and I have no other cords as I had previously thought), so I will need to get a connection for those into my computer.

    – – – – – – – – –

    Summary:
    Radio Shack is about to make a shitload of money off of me.

  77. You’ll probably need a USB mixing board or something to get MIDI inputs into your computer. Bummer. The easiest thing would be to go directly into a line in jack. Maybe wait until you visit Stucky, I mean Chopper. Can we get out of character or are we stuck with lizard names?

    Speaking of Chopper’s song, wasn’t I supposed to receive from lyrics from him to work into music at some point?

  78. I’ll be able to use my mixing board…I think…

    Choppy doesn’t like his real name being used on the WWW. Other than that we don’t have to use aliases. (BTW-Have I ever told you that I always regretted the name SerpenTuh?)

  79. Chopper Newt Says:

    I don’t speak MIDI, it has ever confused and baffled me, so I can’t help you there, other than to say if you can make it work, you should get some real nice drum sounds indeed. Like, using MIDI, I think your set could trigger any sounds you can assign int he computer, like anything at all that you could sample or download. So that’s good.

    Yes, I was supposed to send Gecko the lyrics to Clipboard… that is on the list…

  80. Ha! What did you prefer? Salamander? Hmm, that is better.

    As for not using one’s real name on the web, I suppose CN has such an unusual real name he’d be very easy to track, wouldn’t he?

    Did you guys know there’s a band named exactly after my name: The Matt Adkins band. http://www.mattadkins.com/

    It’s enough to make me want to change my name, too, because that guy just aint cool at all. No, sir.

    I’m pretty sure you’ll need a USB or firewire input to trigger MIDI sounds, by the way.

  81. Chopper Newt Says:

    If I had ever been able to talk Amanda D. into playing keys for us, which I tried desperately to do, I had reserved “Sal-Amanda” for her. And about the time I went to Cali, she came to me one time and asked why I never asked her to play keys for us. Sigh.

    Quick background for Gecko, who did not meet Amanda that I know of – the short version is she would have been really good, she did a lot of composing and played extraordinarily well.

  82. I thought SerpenTuh was very ‘clever’ at the time I came up with it. I thought it sounded Middle Eastern and the “tuh” was supposed to be pronounced “Tuhhhhhhhhhh”…because I thought it would be funny to hear everybody over-pronounce the T.

    By the time the second album came I regretted it because it became apparent that nobody was going to over-pronounce the T and that it wasn’t really clever at all. At that point there were a couple of glam bands I enjoyed whose members changed their names after the first album and I disliked it, so I felt doing so myself would’ve been wrong.

    Names I considered:
    Snake Innagrazz
    Sir Pent
    The Serpent (because it was close and less stupid…but there was already “the” Gecko.)

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Yeah, that other Matt Adkins looks like he should be shovelin’ some maneur. His playin’ out a lot, though.
    I wonder how much flange HE uses…

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Amanda was an incredibly nice chick that always seemed a little unstable to me. I never heard her play, so I can’t speak to that.
    As far as what Chopper “tried desperately to do”…getting into the band might not have been the “getting in” he was most concerned with…

  83. Chopper Newt Says:

    Wow. I think I internally predicted that response as I was typing the last comment, and yep, there it is!

    Outside the scope, dude.

    Sir Pent would have been cool, you should have done that.

  84. Sir Pent is nearly as good as Metrognome.

    We have too many entries in this boring thread. I’m starting a new one, just for the hell of it.

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