Category Archives: The Hockey Project

The Hockey Project: Intermission

Hello again. We’ve reached the ninth tune for The Hockey Project. Halfway home! Now, I know there should be two of these “intermission” tracks at around tracks six and twelve, but TOO BAD.

Lyrically, well… there are no words. Literally. It’s an instrumental!

I’ve always enjoyed the nice little acoustic-style songs in the middle of metal albums. It’s always good to mix things up every so often, you know? I don’t play acoustic guitar often, either, so this excursion was even more worthwhile for me. I started with a favorite alternate tuning – DADGAD – then tuned string 1 back up to E to make the middle part easier to play. So, uh… DADGAE it is! It’s not as fun to say as DADGAD, but it still worked well. Since it’s a quick little song, I simply set up my stereo condenser microphone, hit “record”, and played it multiple times. What you’re hearing is the third complete take.


Enjoy and I’ll see you next time with a return to rock form.

The Hockey Project: Scary Numbers Take Over The World

Allright, time for a little fun. Lyrically, this one is tailored to hockey but could easily be about baseball. In fact, you only need to change one word to make that happen – swap out “Corsi” for “OPS” and there you go! At any rate, I guess this song is a sort of battle cry for stat geeks. Old fart sports guys may bemoan the rise of numbers, but good fancy stats never hurt anyone.

One metal sub genre that has always fascinated me is grindcore. I’ve never been really good at it – I’ll admit the drums are programmed here because I can’t play blast beats particularly well – and I don’t have a lot of it in my music collection either, but it still fascinated me nonetheless. I think it’s an excellent testament to how much you can do in as little time as possible. Sure enough, I was able to fit three time changes (starts in 4, switches to 7, followed by one measure of 2 which goes back into 4), a tempo change (the last riff is slightly slower than the rest of the song), and a fully developed idea… all in 45 seconds.

Lastly, Puig Destroyer was a big influence on this one. If they can do baseball grindcore and make it work (and holy crap do they make it work), then hockey had to be possible.

Scary Numbers Take Over The World

P.S.: Since I intentionally made the lyrics hard to understand, here they are:

Numbers everywhere / But we ignore them / Instead of knowledge / Stick fingers in our ears / Why

Facts are good for you / Corsi is not evil

Enjoy and I’ll see you next time with the near-polar opposite of this song.

The Hockey Project: Et Le Butt

Well, that was a fun little musical diversion, wasn’t it? Now BACK TO THE METAL. This song wasn’t the easiest to get together, but it still works despite the trepidation. I think this is one of the few songs where the words were easier to write than the music…

Musically, the song finally came together when I wrote the riff under the singing. At the time, I had everything else but clearly needed something to bridge the gap and that riff fit the bill. Outside of that, this song adheres to an assignment I gave a band in my Rock Ensemble class – each riff is only used twice at the most. Also, it was about time for me to do the “wall of guitar” thing again, wasn’t it? At its peak, there are seven guitar tracks happening at the same time.

Lyrically, this song – and the terrible pun in the title – was inspired by this:

The best part? I was at this game. Seeing a crazy goal like that in person? Come on – I had to write about it. And to fully explain the terrible pun: “Et le but!” is what French commentators say when a goal is scored. Translation: “And the goal!”

Et Le Butt

Enjoy and I’ll see you next time with a shorter yet more abrasive tune.

The Hockey Project: Dead By December

Hello there. It’s time for a new song! And how about a song with a little more melody than the last one? This time, I kept the harsh vocals to a minimum, saving them for the end of the song.

So let’s start with the music. It’s pretty djent-tastic, if I do say so myself. The first riff is a good ol’ 3-against-4 rhythm interrupted at the end to keep it confined to four measures. Outside of that, the real noteworthy thing is the fact that the song is in B-flat – not a good key for string instruments. It’s an interesting but still worthwhile challenge to play in keys that guitars don’t like. You’d be surprised how much we guitar players rely on open strings…

As for the lyrics: This song was inspired by the notion that the bonus point in the standings for games tied after regulation actually makes it more difficult for teams out of the playoff seeds to catch up. Therefore, if a team isn’t less than 5 points out of a spot by December 1st, then they’re pretty much done. But at the end of the song, I resign myself to the fact that I’m still a fan of a team that’s well out of the playoff picture and I’ll just keep watching anyway.

Dead By December

Enjoy and I’ll see you again soon with the next track.

The Hockey Project: Now What

Hello again. After a bit of a recording hiatus, The Hockey Project is back on track. I’m all caught up to where I want to be, so expect a lot of music over the next month or two. NOW, on to track four!

The main riff to this song came about the way a lot of really good riffs do – completely by accident and with little to no thought. I’ve been obsessed with music in 7/4 and 7/8 time for years, so combine that obsession with the 8-string guitar and we get some new ideas on how to be heavy in compound time. I added some other riffs in different meters (including a clean section) and realized I had a bit of a winner.

Now, about the lyrics: As my friends and family know, my favorite hockey team is the Buffalo Sabres. Well, the Sabres are bad this year. Really bad. Really really really really really really bad. So bad that they were painful to watch in October. In mid-November, they fired their head coach and general manager – a move fans were clamoring for all season (or, in the case of the GM, since about 2007). This song is about those firings. Verse 1 is a fairly typical sports fan reaction while Verse 2 is the realization that wishing for somebody to lose their job is kinda weird. And then, the chorus: “Our coach was fired (now what) / GM was fired (now what) / Those guys are gone (now what) / We got what we wanted, so now what?”

Now What

Enjoy and I’ll see you soon with the next installment.

The Hockey Project: Allright, That’s It

Well, it’s about time for another Hockey Project tune! This one is a combination of the type of metal from the first tune and the subject matter of the second one, but this combination has resulted in something completely different.

Today’s new song is what I like to call a musical approximation of a hockey fight. There is no singing and speed metal is abound here. But what’s really different – and also solidifies the theme – is its length. Since the vast majority of hockey fights are over in 30 seconds, this song is also over in 30 seconds. In fact, this song is shorter than the introduction in either of the first two songs. It’s fast and ridiculous… and it was a lot of fun to make. Enjoy!

There is a far-reaching history of punk and metal with this sort of song length. In metal, it’s a whole sub-genre called Grindcore – my favorites are The Locust and Puig Destroyer. In punk, I tend to look at bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag, but there are plenty of other examples (one of my favorite really short songs is “I LIke Food” by Descendents). Have fun in that little rabbit hole and I’ll see you next time.

The Hockey Project: Anatomy of a Match Penalty

Allright, NOW it’s officially a project! Finish one song and that doesn’t really solidify things. But two songs? Yep – project time. This one is a few days late, but that’s because this song took more time than I expected. Oh well – it’s a good problem to have, really…

Musically, this was a pretty tough one. I have been a bit out of practice on the drums, (no) thanks to my time in Ohio, so this song was more difficult than I anticipated. BUT I got through it and they turned out allright. As for everything else: I like off-beats. A lot. Music would be boring if everything was on the beat, you know? But besides that, I wanted this heavy, groovy thing in 4 through two verses and two choruses, then drop all of it and have the rest of the song be completely different. Sure, that caused the song to clear the six-minute mark, but I’m still really happy with how it turned out. The ending section was definitely inspired by the band Tesseract (one of the absolute best “djent” bands out there now) and I guess is the minor key equivalent of the 50s progression. I like how it starts quiet and builds right up until the end…

That ending section also helped dictate where the lyrics went. The chorus was written first again. I’ve always been fascinated by “The Code” – it’s hockey’s version of baseball’s “Unwritten Rules.” As I went on, I started writing from the perspective of an enforcer… and that drastically different ending helped write the rest of the lyrics. He does something bad in verse two, gets thrown out of the game, and starts to deal with the repercussions in the ending. The weird thing, though? The John Scott Incident between the Sabres and Bruins happened within 48 hours after I wrote these lyrics. My brother thinks now I need to write a song about the Sabres winning the Cup…

So, here you go. Enjoy!

See you next time for a MUCH shorter song than this one… that’s, oddly enough, also about fighting. Hmm…

The Hockey Project: Drop It Already

Ten years (and one month, but whatever) ago, I unwittingly embarked on my first sports project. Dubbed “The Football Project”, I would write and record a song – or, in a few cases, a bizarre sort of soundscape – while watching football. I was a senior at SUNY Purchase at the time and it seemed like the thing to do while being bored on campus on Sundays. Not that I’m a big football fan – I enjoy it, but it’s not my favorite fall/winter sport. Well, ten years and eight sports projects later, I’m finally taking on my favorite fall/winter sport. Introducing: THE HOCKEY PROJECT!

Here’s how The Hockey Project will work: There will be a brand new song about hockey on this here site every two weeks throughout the regular season. When the playoffs start, I will make one song per round. In total, I will (or at least should) finish with 18 tracks when we wrap up in June.

So, when does the first song go up? Well… NOW. A little bit of the Canadian national anthem, a little bit of speed metal, and a long intro are in the mix for this song. Lyric-wise, I decided to write about the drastic spike in “guys getting kicked out of face-offs” that started last season. I started with the chorus, then wrote everything else after that. Seemed to work pretty well… Anyways, please to enjoy and I’ll see you in two weeks.