Category Archives: Music

Distinct Hitting Motion: Break Time

We’re halfway through already? Dang… let’s take a breather and enjoy the all-star festivities.

Oh, right. A song about taking a break probably shouldn’t be that fast, should it? Oops…

I had been thinking a lot about fast and loud music lately, from Slayer to Sick of It All, and that’s how this tune came about. Loud, fast, sloppy, and brash as all hell. For all the times I’ve used harsh vocals in the past, this is strangely enough the first song in this project where I don’t actually sing. I don’t fully know where September and October will take me, but there’s a good chance this might be the only song in this project with only yelling/harsh vocals. So why this time? Simply because the tune’s punk/hardcore/metal vibe called for it.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song in a completely different style!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Do You Want to Know the Terrifying Truth?

It was about time for a track like this, wasn’t it? I thought so, too. As soon as I knew I wanted to use a Simpsons reference (the song for the second half of it is actually mostly written and coming later this year), this one started to form a little in my head. Because it came first, the title really helped shape the song itself. Vocals? Lyrics? Who needs ’em?!

Even though I could’ve gotten away without it, I used the 8-string anyway. This is largely as a setup for the second half… and also because I reached for it long before the “7-string in drop-A” lightbulb went off.

Thanks to the title, I knew I wanted changing time signatures and plenty of dissonance. This tune, with the exception of one section, goes back and forth between 3/4 and 5/4 time. As for dissonance, the easiest way to achieve that was to have the guitars one fret off on the high notes in the 5/4 riff. I then had the bass decide who’s “on” and who’s “off” through its own line.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Human Rain Delay

“Human Rain Delay” is the baseball nickname that I loved the moment I heard it. Such a prestigious moniker is bestowed on a pitcher or batter who seems to take FOREVER between pitches. Guys like these are why MLB has a “stay in the batter’s box, you jerk” rule and why the top minor leagues have pitch clocks. Just throw the ball already!

I don’t really know why, but I’ve sorta been on a groove/sludge kick for a good chunk of this year. I think the new Mastodon album has a lot to do with it – that disc spent a LOT of time in my car after its release. Maybe it was also in anticipation of finally seeing Tool live (which was a good time, by the way)? I don’t know for sure. Either way, I wanted to slow down the tempo a bit, get heavy, and finally make use of an extended range guitar for this song. As a little bit of music reflecting lyrics, I decided the ending bit should have an occasional measure of 7/8. This gives the music some impatience to compliment the lyrics getting impatient and annoyed.

The haiku at the beginning really set the tone for the lyrics. I was hanging out, bothering my brother as usual, when we got talking about baseball and he just kinda blurted out that haiku. He agreed to let me use it in exchange for a beer to be named later.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take it easy and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Doubleheader

It’s the spring! Flowers bloom, grass starts to grow, leaves some back, and baseball season starts. Unfortunately, this spring has also given us rain. Lots and lots of rain. So much rain that as of this post (Memorial Day 2017), my hometown Rochester Red Wings have been rained out nine times. Nine times! How in the world are they gonna make up all of those rainouts? Through one of the things I love about baseball – doubleheaders!

Because minor league doubleheaders are shortened to seven innings, I decided to write a shorter song (clocking in at about a minute and a half), throw in some dead time on the organ, then play the song again. I did physically play and sing the song twice, though. Copying and pasting would’ve felt like cheating and not every baseball game is the same, so playing the song twice felt right. I also didn’t show the organ or the voiceover in the video because you usually can’t see the announcer or the organist in a ballpark.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: That’s Gonna Leave a Mark…

Baseball players. They seem to have a reputation as the “everyman” of athletes. I know they did when I was younger (in the 1980s and 1990s (get off my lawn)), and I guess it just kinda stuck with me. So, as a result, sometimes they hurt themselves in amazing and hilarious ways. That’s the simple premise of this song.

This song was 100% inspired by the news of Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner landing on the disabled list after injuring himself in a dirt bike accident. I then looked up an old blog post about injuries of that ilk and it helped me write the second verse – yes, every single thing I mention is true.

The chorus – music and words – just kinda popped up at the same time. The song was written in two separate quick sessions… and a re-write during recording because I learned almost too late that MLB replaced the 15-day disabled list with the 10-day DL this year.

The final piece was my cousin Steve objecting to my pointing out of a guy who threw out his back sneezing. I mean, that can happen to anybody, right?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

 

Distinct Hitting Motion: Early Deficits

Hooray! It’s baseball season! And your favorite team is off to a bad start. Yippee… This tune is dedicated to the Blue Jays, Giants, and Royals fans – whose favorite teams enter the month of May as the three worst teams in the league.

Musically, This one was inspired by two bands: Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age. I had been listening to them quite a bit when I sat down to write this song, which got me jonesin’ to play in good ol’ Drop-C tuning. It’s a tuning I rarely use but it worked out super well here.

In other news, I’m releasing monthly EPs. With this song, the first EP is now complete! It’s available to stream and download HERE.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take care and I’ll see you in two weeks with the next song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Opening Day

It’s baseball season! Finally! Winter is over, spring is here, and my favorite sport is underway again! As the season approached, I thought “why not do another baseball project? It’s been years!” So… I mapped out a full project, thought of a bad joke for an album title, and got to work!

Musically, this one has a few twists. Between the intro and the Ol’ Ballgame ending bit, the song structure is almost identical to “A Hard Day’s Night”. I even put the guitar solo in the same spot… I wanted to keep this one simple and to the point, and I think it worked. Sure, the outro is a little gratuitous, maybe, but too bad – I did it anyway.

Lyrically, it’s about as straightforward as you get. It’s Opening Day! Baseball season! Overall, I was just going for a simple slice of power pop. Big, loud, fast, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The whole song was written in about an hour (except for one line in the first verse – I changed that towards the end of the recording process).

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. The next tune goes live in two weeks, so I’ll see you then!

The Assignment

This semester, I had a great idea for my Rock Ensemble class. Instead of assigning bands or eras to cover, how about a specific thing to use in an original song? So I did. Every band in the class this semester has to use the following chord progression:

Am   G   F   Dm   E

Yes, five chords. Was that intentional? You bet. Want a four-measure phrase? Then you have to make a decision somewhere. Want one chord per measure? Then you’re stuck with a five-measure phrase. Pick your poison!

In a show of solidarity, I decided to partake in this assignment as well. And uh… hmm… how to put this… I went overboard.

The chord progression happens in two places – the beginning and the end. In between, I channeled my inner Opeth and wrote lyrics about a college student finally sitting down to write a 10-page paper that was assigned at least a month ago. Got the assignment “today”, huh? Riiiiight…

Please enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you soon.

Edmas 2016: Christmas In 11 Minutes (And 24 Seconds)

santaball.pngWell, it’s that time of year again, isn’t it?! This year gives us the new longest batch I’ve ever done (over a full minute longer than 2014) and a theme – songs from movies and TV shows. This theme meant I wound up playing the most difficult tunes I’ve ever tackled in these annual holiday projects – I have the charts and the Guitar Pro file to prove it. The end result, though, was well worth the effort. The annual “traditions” are all there, though the layered guitar bit is a little different this time around. Enjoy!

Christmas Vacation

What’s This

Linus And Lucy

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Recorded and mixed at The House, Rochester, NY, November 2016. Mike’s contributions recorded at Sukhenko Design, Rochester, NY. Guitar noodling/solo and line reciting in “Christmas Vacation”: Mike Sukhenko. Additional vocals/yelling in “What’s This”: Ed, Steve Begy, Kate Begy, Adam Donnelly, and Eric “Irk” Bryan. Additional vocals/yelling in “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Ed, Steve Begy, Kate Begy, Adam Donnelly, Eric “Irk” Bryan, Mike Sukhenko, Rob Klingenberger, and Sarah Klingenberger. Grover in “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Steve Begy.

 

 

 

 

 

Edmas 2015: Christmas in 7 Minutes

santaball.pngWell, judging by the calendar on my computer, it’s about that time of year again. MORE CHRISTMAS RECORDINGS! This is my eighth year in a row making these little EPs and it’s been fun every time. This year, though, I made this batch a lot earlier than usual. I guess it was a subconscious decision to make December as stress-free as possible… But hey – I’m not complaining. The standard “traditions” are all in place, including the new gang vocal bit. We took that to the next level this year – twenty-three people pitched in. Enjoy!

Do You Hear What I Hear

Little Saint Nick

Last Christmas

Here Comes Santa Claus

Recorded and mixed at The House, Rochester, NY, Oct-Nov 2015. Additional vocals/yelling recorded by Ed at NCCC Room F112, Sanborn, NY. Additional vocals/yelling on “Last Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus”: Ed, Rob Klingenberger, Sarah Klingenberger, Steve Begy, Kate Begy, Adam Donnelly, Brandon Fess, Jillian Sherwin, Eric “Irk” Bryan, Morgan Brader, Maria Fabiano, Zachary McDonnell, Matt Sawyer, Mike Fortin, Zachary Kronenwetter, Nathan McCrea, Chris La Greca, Andrea Lynch, Courtney Pearson, Jeremy Schlierf, Jake Butcher, Mat Mondo, Scott Woodean, Jesse Johnston.