2017 --- There's always a plan. You're here to learn from the inner workings of my plan to improve your own game.
MY PLAN: Record music for the next three years with the goal of creating one song every week. Then switch gears and paint for one year, creating one 6" X 6" oil painting on wood panel every day. Along the way, will be a few Kickstarter projects (click upper left to see our latest project). I'll document my progress here. Since this is a diary, the best way to read it if you haven't been keeping up is to go to the bottom of the page and scroll up.
Welcome to my diary. Visit often and share!
4/30/2017 --- They wanted two more 3D photos worked up. So I did that today. And with that my schedule is clear and I'm back on track to recording songs in the month of May. Today is my brother's 48th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE!!! If I find some time tonight I may work on another youtube video.
4/28/2017 --- VERY quick turnaround on that one! Got the call, worked up the 3D models and then spent most of all night rendering and photoshopping. Stick a fork in me. I am DONE! It is 9:26 in the morning and I am going to sleeeeeeeeep!
4/27/2017 --- No Ableton Live time yet. I ended up going to Waco to see a friend that's in the hospital then watched the latest Kate Beckinsale Vampire/Werewolf movie which was horrible because it was sooooooo dark I couldn't tell what the fuck was going on half the time. I realize it's about dark matters and all but yeeeesh! I expect that today will yield no Ableton Live work either because I'm working on a modeling/photoshop project for a client.
4/26/2017 (later in the same day) --- I had to bow out this morning. My feet began to swell up like huge balloons and that is very bad for me. Ever since I had the heart attack my heart has only been beating at 30% efficiency. My doctors thought it wise to install a pacemaker/defibrillator in me about a year and a half ago. When my feet swell that is a direct sign that my heart cannot handle the stress I'm loading on to it and blood begins to pool down at my feet. From now on, I am going to keep a sketchpad and pen next to my bed. When my feet swell then into bed I go but I will still be able to work out plans and sketch out artwork for my upcoming painting project. I sure as hell do not intend to work myself into the grave and end up dead in an elevator like Prince. I can still work. I just have to work SMARTLY! I'm sure there are other people out there reading this now who are in a similar situation.
I have worked up a new fretboard for white guitars, specifically the JS140 and JS2400 white Ibanez guitars, or really, any white or light colored guitar. I call it "Cool #9" for reasons that are obvious to any guitar geek. Click below to see details. And once again, I have procrastinated myself into a corner. All bills are paid, all house cleaning done, all current projects pushed as forward as they can go. That leaves only one thing for today. Either I bullshit the day away playing on the Internet, I watch movies on amazon, or I actually sit down with Ableton Live and put in the work to allow a new song to live. Decisions, decisions.
4/26/2017 --- I have a new instructional video for you! VLOG #8 Guitar Customization is ready for your viewing pleasure and please comment if you like it or found it useful or have any questions. And please support the people and companies in the video like John 5 or Wilkinson Image and Design or Neck Illusions.
4/23/2017 --- If ever there was a week where you just sit back and go "wooooaaaah" it was this one. I got the notice a few days ago that a friend of mine had been in a terrible accident. She confronted a friend of hers about a suicide note she found. They got into a fight and she asked him to take her back home to Marlin. On the way home he found a nice big ditch and intentionally rolled the vehicle to kill them both. They flipped multiple times. She ended up alive but with a broken hip, several broken ribs, a big puncture in her side, metal shards in her other arm, and one knee is so gone they're going to have to do several surgeries to get it back in any kind of working shape. Now I don't know about you, but this sort of thing throws me for a loop. Kinda hard to write songs and get anything done when friend's are hurting and the mood is shot to hell! I've been up to see her a few times but she's been out of it and inbetween surgeries so I'm going to wait a few days.
Today. Today, I am drinking coffee. I am going to import and edit some video, clean house, and maybe just maybe start another song or two. I have something special for those of you who are paying attention. This could save you some money. I went to Guitar Center after my last visit to the hospital. Guitar Center is what I call a "safe space." It just is. Every guitarist knows this. So I'm in there and I buy two CD's, one from Prince, the other from AC/DC. Here's a head's up. The Prince CD is called PRINCE: Purple Reign in New York and has two CD's in it. It is OUTSTANDING! The other CD is called "What Do You Do For Money Honey" and it sucks ass. The sound is terrible. It sounds like it was recorded in mono in some idiot's pocket recorder. Do not waste any of your money on the AC/DC.But DO buy the Prince!
4/19/2017 --- This cat is down to about... two lives from my estimation. Not me. The cat in question is a stray that hangs around the studio. I had initially thought she gave birth to kittens because she was skinnier and her tail was all bloodied. Then I saw her much later and she had her ass hanging out from what I thought was her vajayjay. Okay, maybe it's afterbirth? I'm a guy. I don't know these female things. But then days later it's STILL hanging out either her ass, or her woohoo, as my friend Erin would say and it reeks to holy HELL! So I try to catch this stray, which IS NOT easy when you're partially crippled, and take it in to the Vet, especially hard when the cat only tends to show up at evening after the Vet is closed. I thought I had it today, captured it around 3:00 p.m. and sped over to the Vet. Fucking assholes had closed early! I had nowhere to contain it so I had to let it go for the night. So my current plan, since I also need to get some recording in tonight is to pull an all nighter and try to capture it in the morning (if it hasn't used up its remaining two lives) with some wet cat food as a lure. The cage is at the ready. The Vet is either going to pull that rotten crap out of its body or put it down because if that's not afterbirth then there's no fixing this shit! She is that bad.
Besides all that yucky stuff, I completed another, probably final fingerboard design, but what I think is my best one yet. It uses the S.C.A.D. symbol, the HAND-HEART-EYE. To be true art or music you have to have all three to avoid mediocrity; the skill of the hand, the beauty of eye or ear, and it has to impact the human heart with emotion! When you have all three present in a work of art or music then that is TRUE ART and you can be sure it will cause waves. Click below to see details.
4/18/2017 --- After Mark's phonecall I revised the two designs, the guitar and the bass. I only show the guitar design because the bass is similar, just on a different scale length. It is 3:33 in the morning and I am jacked up on coffee and listening to John 5 while I clean up my studio. Sometimes you have to take a step backwards to make way for progress in the future. Tonight is one such night. If I feel like it, I may record the beat for my next song. Or not... as I do have beers in the fridge. I don't use or advocate hard/illegal drugs or heavy alcohol use but I do, on occassion, use coffee to speed up when I need a VERY sharp mind for detail and alcohol to slow me back down so I can sleep. I watch my feet and if they start swelling then that is it and I have to stop. Since my heart attack and the installation of my pacemaker my heart only beats at 30% efficiency and I have no intention of "letting the elevater bring me down." Anyway, here's the revised design. The Plague of Smiles logo is gone and in its place there is now a stack of poker chips and a pair of dice to mark the 19th fret along with the popular saying "Carpe Diem." Click below to see an enlargement.
4/17/2017 --- THE LAST DAY FOR TAXES! Wake up! Music begins again tonight. I have spent the first two weeks of this month modifying guitars, filming and editing video, and working up guitar fingerboards for Neck Illusions. I put together a few more designs. The first one uses the names of my favorite guitar players, each according to how many letters are in their name. The second one is all about symbol literacy and the third is for Classical Acoustic guitars. I also did a version of the Plague of Smiles fingerboard below (4/10/2017) to specifically fit bass guitars. Click on the fingerboards below to see enlargements. Having satisfied my inner graphic/art muse I am back in the realm of making music.
NOTE: UPDATE --- Mark got in touch with me and said he liked the acoustic design and could use the Plague of Smiles designs if I could ditch the logo. Gotta get those sales baby! So I'm doing another render sans logo. Also, he couldn't use the one with all the names due to legal issues and I think the symbol one scared him. One thing I learned a long time ago is that ego in the world of graphic design has to go! It's fine to have vision but your vision has to match that of the client's. And I've also discovered that when someone forces you to make changes your design usually ends up coming out 10-20% better than the first idea you had on your own. At the end of the day what matters is that some up and coming guitar player gets a KICK-ASS design that rocks their guitar and gives them the inspiration to push boundaries in their music. That is all that matters.
4/14/2017 --- If you're reading this now - on this very day, DON'T FORGET YOUR TAXES! With that out of the way, music was NOT the plan this week. My graphic design side took over and I've been cranking out designs for Neck Illusions. I'm doing the bass, guitar, and classical guitar but skipping the ukelele. Me and the uke do not get along. It's a fact. Small tiny frets and easily broken strings... uh, NO! I am also doing some photography today of my recent guitar mods. I won't have the video ready until my brother Mike comes over and re-solders the pickups in. I do have some still photos to show you though of the work I've been doing.
The top guitar WAS a simple plain white Ibanez guitar model RG370DX and the bottom guitar WAS a simple plain black ESP LTD MH-50 model guitar. Image Google those and see how these two guitars looked BEFORE I began the mods. I'm working on a youtube video and I'll tell all my modification secrets and stories and you'll learn what I've added to the guitars to get them to where I can say, "HOLEY FUCKING SHIT, that sound and image ROCK!!!" Anyway, too much talking. Here are my modded guitars.
4/10/2017 --- My plans went in a completely different direction once I got onto the Neck Illusion website and discovered they had templates! So I just spent the last ten to twelve hours or so listening to Metallica and creating my very own Plague of Smiles and Paranormal Strangeness custom fingerboard for guitars. Click on one of the images below to see the enlargement. As you can see from the enlargement I created this unique fingerboard in 3D. Just as on my poster, the reflection of "Paranormal" spells out "Strangeness." How freakin' cool is it that I used an H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu Elder Sign in the red skull's eye for the 5th fret marker! I created the Paranormal Strangeness fingerboard for MY GUITAR, an ESP LTD MH-50 model that I am customizing. I then created an official Plague of Smiles fingerboard for the general public, in that it will fit both 22 and 24 fret guitars. I got no taxes done at all. It is morning. The arthritis and carpal tunnel in my hands are starting to be a serious bother!!! But for now... Sleeeeep!
4/9/2017 --- The TIME has arrived! I have put most things on hold. It is once again that dreaded day when everything stops... and tax forms are filled out and double checked. I only have so much good procrastination left in me today. Kinda hoping to do it later tonight and be done with it for another year. I am currently reading the diary of Paul Amadeus Dienach who I believe died in the 1920's. His diary has extreme ties to the paranormal. He was afficted with encephalitis and would go into sleeping coma's for months on end. Upon waking one day after 12 months in a coma he recounted a life lived 2,000 years in the future and wrote it all down in his diary. I tend to believe it is bullshit as it sounds like an anti-capitalist's dream of a utopia where war and money no longer exist. Paranormal it may be, I am leaning toward putting it down as so much socialist propaganda. So I've added a title to my song list of titles to work on as, "Die Glock corrupted Dienach so We Reset THAT Future." For those who are not in-the-know the Die Glock is the Nazi's rumored time machine. It supposedly went on many missions before perhaps crashing in Rendlesham Forest in 1980. The future is unwritten. Dienach can write a diary of future events and hope that he creates a self fulfilling prophecy. And so can I, simply by writing a song to bring awareness and counter his future! Freedom, the ability to earn a living and keep what you earn, capitalism, and a meritocracy... THAT is the future. And taxes. And cockroaches. And...
Tomorrow I begin a new song.
4/7/2017 --- HOLEY Freakin' MOLEY I discovered a cool effect in Ableton Live! I found it by accident. I kept hearing this oscillating sound and couldn't tell from which track it was from. So I went back track by track, looking at the each track's effects, and finally determined it was an after effect of using the same Auto Pan function copied and pasted onto multiple tracks. So I dialed it down and for the climax - dialed the frequency up across all the tracks with Auto Pan and daaaaaaamn that is a cool type of drop. I automated the Auto Pan frequency so it goes from high to low over a few bars and it makes one helluva weird sound as the phases of the various tracks battle each other because they're not all the same. (at 2:23 into the song)
Now to tell the truth, I don't know music theory. But I am smart enough to find a scale on the Internet and use some electrical tape to mark out that scale on my guitar neck. And... then I'm playful enough to not use all of that scale and every so once in a while say FUCK IT and play what my heart says are the right notes as opposed to some music theory asshole!
I don't know why but the song to me is very sad, which is strange because I had thought it was in A# Major. Perhaps I'm wrong on what key it's in? Maybe Steve Vai can clue me in. I was going to call it DARK HOBBY INVENT NEW BREED (which is an anagram for my name; KENNETH DAVID BRYON WEBBER) but now that the song is spinning around in my head I am thinking the 5/4 time suggests dancing with ghosts as the human race commits suicide ****. I tend to be a control freak when I'm playing instruments. It's all caffeine baby! But at the end of the day when that shit wears off I swing in the opposite direction and I am currently 5 Montejo beers into mixing this badass song down. Alcohol is good for allowing my inner spirit to let loose and focus on my feelings, not the orders coming down from my controlling mind. (fuck that asshole right? Of course I'm right!) So as Frank would say in the movie Blue Velvet... "FUCK IT!" Which is why I believe this song should be titled by my soul, which says it is named...
A Song For Carolyn
****NOTE: Just to clarify, that was NOT a reference to Trump bombing Syria yesterday over their illegal use of chemical weapons (drop those bombs baby!). It was more a reference to how I feel about the world ignoring the Fukushima disaster and the poisoning of our oceans and planet with deadly radiation.
4/2/2017 --- Got up late, but in time to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead during which my mother had what can only be called, a screaming bloody murder conniption. We had to call an ambulance. My sister Mary thinks it's either a hernia or an obstructed bowel. I dropped her off at the Temple VA and got back thinking I have goofed off enough this week. So I loaded my latest song into Ableton Live and the mood was perfect for laying the bass line. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow so when I return from my monthly shot in the ass I'll go through the line and ensure all the cuts are warped as best as possible to get out all the "pops." You have to zoom in on the waveform and find a null spot to both start and stop clips which pop. Tedious. But... the more I replay the song, the more I can hear guitar lines that I want to try out when the time to lay them arrives.
3/28/2017 --- JOHN 5 FUCKING RULES!!!!!!! Saw John 5 and The Creatures live at Trees nightclub in Dallas (on Elm Street close to Dealey Plaza) on Sunday. He played for about an hour and a half in support of his CD "Season of the Witch." Had thought I was going to jump back into music but the house is a mess and tonight I am going over to my sister Mary's to celebrate Haley's birthday. Tomorrow is a complete laundry day as well so, maybe April? In the meantime I leave you with this. John's opening number. Apologies in advance for the crappy ipad audio. You would think these tech companies would create a filter that attenuates loud frequencies so you can grab good sound at a concert but no. Anyway...
3/25/2017 --- Song number #24 is coming along nicely. It began life with the name of "Miles" because it reminded me of Miles Davis' work, especially the bass line (which is now buried in the mix sorry to say). I'm not entirely certain but I believe the song was done in the Key of A#, the scale being the A# Major scale but... the song, to me, definitely sounds sad and I don't know why. Somebody out there who knows music theory can explain it. All I know is that it sounded sad when I put the piano in there and I intend to expand upon that sadness tomorrow when I lay the guitars. The guitars are going to sit back and wail. I don't want them coming up front and taking away any of the piano's "shine."
My house is a complete wreck. Guitar mods will do that. Waiting on chrome wrap in blue and silver to arrive so I can add stripes and polka dots. Thinking about painting my lipstick pickup in gloss white. Once my brother works his magic I'll be able to restring it, double check it, and then we're off and cooking. I am going to be busy on Sunday taking photographs and enjoying the musical styling of the one and only John 5 in Dallas. Check back later. I'll mixdown song number #24 which is now 'DARK HOBBY INVENT NEW BREED' post it if it meets my standards, and maybe some pictures from the show.
3/23/2017 --- Work progresses, not on the Kickstarter video, but on the guitar mod video. Two guitars, a black ESP-LTD MH-50 and a white Ibanez RG370DX go from plain Jane stock guitars to something you'd want to take with you out on the road and stage. The ESP guitar is finished. I've covered it front and back with stickers. For the Ibanez I'm going with a guitar that pays tribute to Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and Randy Rhoads. Joe has a chrome silver guitar. His guitar was actually dipped in silver chrome metal. On mine, I wanted gold chrome. The guitar had previously been repaired. A huge dent had been filled and sanded down. This left part of the guitar with a rough finish. That rough finish proved to be problematic when I began applying the gold chrome vinyl car wrap. The wrap could be pulled off again and again and repositioned on the smooth finish areas but where I had roughed it up the adhesive stuck to the wood and I couldn't reposition it. So it ended up bubbled up and no amount of heat gun would fix it. In fact, it bubbled even worse with the heat gun so I had to patch over it with more wrap, which did create some cool looking textures but... I sort of wanted smooth. But being the artist that I am I believe in happy accidents. I realized I could use the texture. Further, by adding stripes of different colors I would have a sort of Eddie Van Halen-esque chrome guitar in blue, gold, and silver chrome. FUCKING AWESOME! The neck of the guitar got an official Steve Vai sanctioned neck decal via a company called Neck Illusions and all I had left was the headstock. So by cutting out small circles I was able to create a Randy Rhoads polka dot inspired headstock. The final thing is that it's a guitar whose primary colors are blue and gold, the color of the Pharoahs... which if you'll notice above, the blue and gold are the primary colors on the Egyptian Hook and Flail, signifying royalty! That of course, is ME! Finally there are some pickup surprises going on with the Ibanez that really take the guitar to a new level.
I await some soldering work that my brother Mike is going to do. I simply lack the small hands necessary to get in there and do the work. Once Mike is done, I'll apply the other colors, and finish up the video as VLOG #8.
3/09/2017 --- I've been flushing out my system with red beets, kidney beans, lemons, Ibuprofen, and apples because it may not just be gallstones but kidney stones as well. But... I am sooooooo much better today. I got up early this morning to catch the animation. The clip finished and I am re-rendering my intro because I didn't get the colors quite right the first time. That won't be done for another two days. By that time I shall return from Dallas. I am taking a day off to meet Brian Mahoney, a friend of mine from my Marine Corps days. He's flying into Dallas and we're going to the UFO/Saxon concert on the 10th. I had time yesterday to tinker around with a 15 second clip and once the rerender is done I shall render that then do some live video and that should get me to a finished video by next week.
I received all the test pieces I had produced from a company called Aspen Creek Photo. Totally astounded at the amazing quality of their prints on metal. FREAKIN' loving it! Highly recommended company. They really make my oil paintings POP in glossy. In my fourth year I'm going to switch gears and complete 333 oil paintings squares in a year. They're all going to be turned into limited edition signed prints on metal. So excited!!! Talk to you after the concert.
3/08/2017 --- It's true. Fried chicken IS The DEVIL! I know I shouldn't do it and yet I do it anyway. I've been sacked for a few days now. Gallstones completely suck. This cannot be. I am supposed to be at a UFO/Saxon concert this Friday. The apples and red beets are helping to stave off the gallstone attack. Every month, since about 2007, I go in to the nurse for a shot of somatuline depot (lanreotide), which helps to lower my GH levels and prevents the brain tumor from growing back. The side effect it has is that over time it creates gallstones. I am to the point now where I should seriously have my gallbladder removed. In fact, I went in yesterday to the VA for my monthly shot, came home, and went right back to bed.
In art, I have one computer rendering an animation clip now. Later today I am going to create my next 12 CD's as digital digipaks. Not real CD packages but highly accurate 3D models to animate in my upcoming Kickstarter video. Animation is a tedious process. First you create 3D models. Then you set a digital stage with the models, light it up, and create the animation. Once you have all the timing issues and kinks fixed you render the clip. Depending upon the complexity of the animation, reflections and such, it sometimes takes as long as an entire week to render 10-12 seconds of animation. When you're done, you save the clip and begin animating the next 10-12 seconds. Those clips are then strung together in a video editor. The clip I'm currently rendering is only ten seconds long but is only half way done and won't be done for another 24 hours. In that time, I have to get all my 3D models ready and perfect. So... this week, no music. Music ain't happening! But I may have a video ready for you to see sometime next week.
3/06/2017 --- My latest song is going to require some meticulous tinkering. First off, it's a piano song and I don't play piano. ANYTIME you hear piano (or anything other than a string instrument really) on a Plague of Smiles recording you are hearing MIDI data that was manipulated note by note by hand. For this song, I have taken out my orange electrical tape and marked out a scale by ear on the keyboard. I later discovered from an online site that I am tinkering around in the A# Major scale. For some reason, the scale sounds sads to me. Anyone else? Once the scale is marked out I record each note and then use the FOLD tab in Ableton Live to eliminate ANY note that is not in the scale. That way, everything you hear is in the correct key and scale and I can draw notes in freely without worrying too much about how they're going to sound. Now, the drums (tuned to the key of E) still sound good to me but I may have to go ahead and move them either 6 tones up or down to fit in with A#. I may be able to get away with moving them one tone down to D#, which also is in the scale. Anyway... tinkering.
In other news, up above you and to the left will find that I have added a KICKSTARTER button. That button will take you to my latest project. The draft for the page is up so that press can get a look at the REMOTE VIEWING / E.S.P. Experiment that I will be running when we launch. I have also provided the page for general critique. It has a comment page. Look over the project and leave a critique if you please. I do not as of yet have a video for the page but I'm working on it. IF YOU are the press contact me now email@example.com
3/03/2017 --- Sometimes the plans do not flow according to the plan! Today was one such day. INSTEAD of the plan I took a step backward, which I believe has lead to six or seven steps forward. I spent my whole day working on a new Kickstarter project. 98% of the Kickstarter is done. I have to work on some future stretch goals and there is of course the video. Aside from that I am again using the strategy of, "GO BIG OR GO HOME." It is time for an announcement.
I AM GOING TO LAUNCH A REMOTE VIEWING / E.S.P. EXPERIMENT!
You read that correctly. (in addition to a CD) I have had many paranormal experiences in my life. I want to expand what I've experienced in a new and daring experiment designed to pull in people who are interested in the paranormal. If YOU like the music that I'm creating and YOU are interested in the paranormal then I'd like to hear from you and I want YOU to get involved. Click on this link and read the page, read the rewards, pay attention to the experiment. THEN... if you know someone who'd be into this then contact them now and show the link to them. Post comments. Enough talking. CLICK ON THIS LINK!
3/02/2017 --- Skipped working on music for the moment, though I may lay some drums later. Instead of working on music I started my day (1:30 a.m. that is) with a trip to IHOP for some late night food. The coffee got me going so that by the time I got back home I had a lot of ideas. I opened up my Kickstarter account and began playing around with plans for a new project. The sun's been up for about an hour so I'm heading out for lunch and to visit my mom. Drinking coffee as I did last night is going to keep me up for a few more hours. Plenty of time to straighten things out.
2/28/2017 --- Homework time. Listening to David Bowie's last EP and Stephen Pearcy's new solo CD called "Smash" which is fresh and surprising. I spent last night working on several digipaks. I don't know if I will EVER produce a CD since they're not really profitable anymore but if I do decide to a limited edition run then at least my next 12 releases are ready to go.
2/27/2017 --- (Later in the same day after sleep.) Ever heard of the word “PAREIDOLIA?” It is a human trick of the senses in which people seem to see, hear, or feel hallucinations and patterns that aren’t really there. Some people see Jesus or the Virgin Mary, in say, their pancakes. Some people see things in clouds such as faces, people, or animals. Some people hear words whispered in songs where none are present. I frequently hear these pareidolias in my studio while recording music. This particular song has, to me, three very distinct pareidolias in them. There is one 39 seconds in where I hear the phrase “Desert Sadness.” Sprinkled through the middle of the song there is a chorus phrase that sounds like background singers singing, “A Doot Doot!” Then at the end of the song, where it repeats, I hear voices saying, “Figure it out. Your money don’t bleed. You know the Devil sleeps with a nailgun, gun, gun!” But no voices or samples did I use in this recording. Just instruments and effects that created cool sounds.
The song is called Human Pincushion: Your Money Don’t Bleed! The original working title was Epincushion because the song is in the key of E, using the melodic minor scale (which I am having lots of fun/sadness with).
Have you ever met someone who you know damn well is working themselves to death to get that $$$? I myself am sometimes guilty of this. I get overwhelmed with my medical problems and the feeling that I HAVE NO CHOICE, I have to push myself to break through the wall or die. And now, when I go to sleep to repair, I rarely wake up feeling better. I feel like I’ve been fighting with devils all night and it makes me sad. I got so bad, pushing myself chasing money and all, that I just recently had a heart attack. Now I see doctors a lot and it’s a lot of bloodwork and shots. So there you go, the song’s a no-brainer lesson in psychology. You’re welcome!
Listen to the song and think about how it makes you feel, that relentless push and drive to succeed and in the end… we all die. “Figure it out. Your money don’t bleed. You know the Devil sleeps with a nailgun, gun, gun!”
Your money don’t bleed, but YOU do.
E melodic minor.
2/27/2017 --- So tired. Sleepy tired and tired of listening. The guitars are laid in but after so many hours working away at it I had to force myself to quit rather than push on and mix it. I never like to mix on tired ears because a type of hypnosis develops that is similar to road hypnosis. You think you got the curves and in your mind speed is completely under control but what's really going on is that YOU are headed for a ditch my friend. Say HELLO TO MUD! Because that's where you're headed when you mix on tired ears. Today's tip for musicians, who like me, don't know jack shit about music theory, and don't care to learn music theory but still want to sound cool, concerns very thin electrical tape in bright colors. I used orange electrical tape on my keyboard and fretboard to mark out a position in E melodic minor. You can find all your scales here: https://www.apassion4jazz.net/keys.html
The electrical tape peels off easily without leaving any residue. I mark a position where I know I'm going to play and I only play the notes in the scale that I've chosen at random. Also useful is a chord wheel by Jim Fleser published by Hal Leonard. You just dial in the key of the song and it gives you the primary and secondary notes and 7th's so you can write popular song progressions without having to study music for years and years on end. Fuck music theory. That shit gets in the way of passion and developing a good ear. You don't need that. Electrical tape. That's what you need. And sleep. Get lots of sleep. I'll wake up fresh, listen to music other than my own to clear my head and when I'm ready I'll mix down and post song #23 to the Internet. See you tomorrow.
2/26/2017 --- My latest song has several aural pareidolia's in it. Look up the word. It's not intentional. It just so happens that sometimes when I'm chopping or running things through different effects I'll hear what sounds like English speech. Lead keyboards are done. Tomorrow I lay guitars and the last day of February I mix down and post to the Internet. I'm done early today and my house is cleaned up already so I may watch a few episodes of AMC's Human's or perhaps a late night drive to clear the mind, that's always fun when the talk radio is good. It's 2:11 a.m.
2/25/2017 --- The more I record the easier it gets and also the more addictive. I think the secret is jumping right in and playing, not waiting until you have a finished song. To experiment in glitch is divine. Tonight I did the bass line. Once the drums are finished to a point where a bass can bounce off them is where I jump in. I usually play the music once or twice and try a few things to see how they fit. With that initial idea I record one line, all the way to the end of the song, and sometimes a little beyond. Anything that sucks gets chopped out. I'll put one or two bars on a loop and play them over and over and over again and slowly start composing the line on two tracks note by note. I will try anything. Reversing audio, using effects, chopping, stretching, punching in if necessary, warping... it's all good so long as the song is properly served. Tonight I would like to thank the spirit of Mr. Gene Simmons and a little known member of the "Wrecking Crew" a bass player who goes by the name of Carol Kaye and has written literally THOUSANDS of hits over the years. When it comes to bass, if I'm not playing some Flea inspired stuff, I pull out Gene and Carol and ask, "What would they Do?" The song is coming together nicely so despite half a pot of coffee I am taking a nap before my feet swell up. Since my heart attack my pumper only puts out pumps at the 30% level and anytime I push it too hard I feel shitty and my feet swell up like elephant trunks because the blood is pooling down below and not circulating. Tomorrow I add keyboards and noise candy!
2/24/2017 --- The drum work I did tonight feels good to me. It is a fine example of glitch; "glitch music" is a thing if you didn't know it, sometimes called "chop." The guy I call the MASTER of this music would be BT, Brian Transeau. I procrastinated so long today. It was shot day. Every two weeks I jab a needle in one of my legs to give my body the testosterone that my damaged pituitary gland no longer delivers. And every month I go in for a shot of somatuline depot (lanreotide) that comes in a HUGE needle and a nurse gives it to me in the ass (It soaks up the excess growth hormone and keeps the brain tumor from growing back while we're waiting for the gamma knife surgery to kick in). I'm currently calling my new song "Human Pincushion." Tomorrow I add bass and probably some keyboard melody work. I love it when the beat/drums come together as well as they did tonight. It makes everything that follows easier and a lot more fun! I'm hoping my dreams today are going to be as awesome as the ones I had last night. I felt like I had just graduated from some art school and was gathering my paintings. I paint and create and show off a lot of art in dreams but hardly ever compose music. Weird.
2/23/2017 --- I began work on a new song by creating a beat with my custom drum rack. Word of advice... TUNE YOUR DRUMS people! I use the Spectrum utility in Ableton Live to tune each drum in my rack (look it up on youtube to find a How To). I have one rack tuned to E and another tuned to A and both are panned as if it were a real drum kit sitting in front of you. Most popular music is either in E or A because human vocals sit well there. If I need something in another key I can just record a clip of my beat and use the envelope editor to transpose it. Tomorrow I'll tighten up the drum track and hopefully get to the bass. I'm also working with an engineer on a secret modeling/animation project so time is going to be precious until that secret project is finished and delivered to the client.
2/22/2017 --- There was no song this week. I took a step back and returned to youtube school, watching videos from ill Factor Music, AK, and Vespers to up my game. Anytime you feel bogged down or stuck, humble yourself down, go back to school and learn something new!
In merch I have added a Plague of Smiles BLEEDING CUT Skateboard to my page. The company that produces my skateboards is BoardPusher.com. The boards are of the highest quality, with colors that pop, and they arrive within days of putting in the order. I don't expect the board to sell until The Bleeding Cut gets a lot more songs on it but it's up nonetheless.
Behind the scenes I have been working with Aspen Creek Photo (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!) to produce my artwork on metal prints, as seen below. They've done several pieces for me and I've ordered two of my oil paintings in both glossy and satin finishes to see how they look. As many of you already know, I have a backburner project that involves 333 oil paintings and depending upon how these metal prints come out I may have something stupendous to offer in the year 2020 in the form of signed and numbered limited edition prints on metal, bundled with my music on bandcamp. Wish me luck!
2/08/2017 (later in the same day. What a busy night!) --- This is song 22 that I wrote last night for one very special person and is in fact, the title track of The Bleeding Cut CD. This song is dedicated to her. Note by note I wrote this music and decided that unlike my other songs I would let this shine without the fancy accompaniment - and hurt you all on its own!
The cuts that hurt the most are the ones you never see coming. Everything starts out so well, the sun is shining down on you, everything is so easy and simple, laughter fills your life, and then out of nowhere… a fucking monster attacks and begins cutting someone out of your life.Forever. This song is like that. It takes you on a journey from beginning to end. Some things cannot and should not be said in words. This song, and the way it makes me feel, says everything unsaid that I can’t get out without breaking down into a blubbering mess. None of us are immortals. You should use this day you have to communicate to someone close to you, by any means possible, and tell them that they hold a special place in your heart. Enjoy and share The Bleeding Cut.
2/08/2017 --- Steve Vai does this thing where he stands still right in the sweet spot on stage and allows the guitar to feedback. He will then shift ever so slightly in the sweet spot to pick up these amazing harmonics. I was able to recreate something like that in the studio using a MIDI keyboard line and used that buildup of sound for the song’s ending.
For those who are interested, the term “CHOP” is something modern studio musicians throw around. It means to take a recorded line and chop it up, rearranging the notes, and playing around note by note to get the line that you want. Sometimes this means reversing passages, stretching and warping certain sections, and playing around with effects to get a sound that otherwise could not exist, and though it could be mocked, it usually cannot be played live.
Most performing musicians loathe chopping because it’s something that sounds good to the engineer but they’re not going to be able to use it live. Other musicians create their chop line and use it as the basis live to turn effects knobs and take it to a new level as a DJ. Because I have ZERO INTENTIONS of ever performing live I fully embrace the CHOP. Love it. Other musicians that I admire and look up to who also use the chop are Trent Reznor from NIN, BT who frequently scores some of your favorite movies, and a young performing artist called Grimes who recently went out on tour as the support band for Lana Del Rey.
Anyway, my song this week is a day late but it required some last minute mixing to get it to sound just how I wanted it to. The piece of music is entitled: "You Gonna Eat That Chop?" Enjoy and share!
Kenneth David Bryon Webber is an opinionated artist, designer, 3D modeler, animator, musician, and CEO of Plague of Smiles LLC, an art and music company.
He worked on avionics for the FA-18 Hornet while in the Marine Corps then left with an Honorable Discharge to pursue a career in the arts. He attended the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, but only for a short time as a growing brain tumor brought a touch of madness and homelessness. The tumor was discovered late but thanks to the VA, brain surgery, and gamma knife a real life is still salvageable. 2015 brought a heart attack and the installation of a pacemaker/defibrillator. So it's safe to say that Ken has felt many thorns in his pursuit of the roses. Stay smiling!