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!

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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.

Backwards Rock: It Beat

Well, we’ve reached the tenth installment of Backwards Rock. Crazy how a simple idea could get this far and yet still not feel finished, huh? Believe me, I have quite a few more ideas hanging around. So, what should we tackle for the tenth track? Of course – the King of Pop’s first (incredibly successful) attempt at a rock song. Here ya go – the main riff to “Beat It”… backwards.

It Beat

I skipped those weird seven synth notes at the beginning of the original. Don’t wanna waste your time too much… This one turned out kinda weird, but I think it still works. Placing the big accents on the off-beat can really mess with these things – I had to tab it out in Guitar Pro to make sure I was playing it right. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.

Backwards Rock: Level New A

Aaah, here we are. Took me long enough, didn’t it? They were only my favorite metal band for a few years. The combination of groove, aggression, and chops made Pantera really stick for me. There are so many good Pantera options for the Backwards Rock machine – which one do I choose? Well, this time around, I chose a simple riff that was guaranteed to work. Here’s the opening section from “A New Level”… backwards.

Level New A

See? Works great! I didn’t quite get the Dime tone (specifically, I didn’t scoop out enough midrange), but it still works pretty well. To give it that early-1990s sound, I put quite a bit of reverb on the drums. Just seemed like the thing to do… I had to record the drums on this one a few times because I kept playing too loudly and the microphones kept clipping. Oops… Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.

Backwards Rock: Name in the Killing

When you spend any time studying rock guitar, one band that will inevitably come up is Rage Against The Machine. Often imitated but never duplicated, they’re one of the most important metal bands to come out of the 1990s. They didn’t release a lot of material, but their first album almost singlehandedly launched a subgenre. So, uh, that’s gonna count for something, doesn’t it?

Like I’ve mentioned before, some riffs work really well for Backwards Rock and others turn kinda bizarre. I’m pretty sure this one falls into the “bizarre” category, but that’s ultimately up for you to decide. I give you: The main riff to “Killing in the Name”… backwards.

Name in the Killing

One weird thing I encountered while recording this: I used a click track and they clearly didn’t. This is why my “quiet” section is faster than theirs – they slow down a little when the vocals enter. Go figure, huh? Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.

Backwards Rock: Stew Brain

Today we tackle a super-easy Green Day riff. Sure, this may seem like a bit of a low-hanging fruit – that’s probably why I didn’t think of this riff right away when I started making these. But when I mapped it out, I quickly saw why this was a good pick. When beat One becomes the “and” of Four, the simple becomes much more complex. I give you: The easiest riff in Green Day’s catalog…backwards.

Stew Brain

The displacement is really what makes this track for me. Everything sounds all nice and normal, like nothing’s weird at all… until the drums kick in. For guitar nerds: I accidentally left my pickup switch at the middle position. Knowing that Billie Joe Armstrong typically used a Stratocaster at the time they recorded this song, I decided to keep it anyway. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.

Backwards Rock: dionaraP

I had to tackle this one, didn’t I?! This classic early metal song was just screaming for the backwards treatment. In fact, I went beyond what I normally do for this one – instead of one riff from the song, I did two. So, here you go: The introduction and the first verse (without the words) to “Paranoid”… backwards.

Dionarap

One thing I have been doing on my Instagram is I’ve been posting quick videos of me recording the guitar parts to these little experiments of mine. When I went back and watched the video of me recording this song, I realized I had played the intro wrong. Oops! So, within the week of posting that video, I went back and redid the guitars. In retrospect, I’m glad I did that… Also, I tried to keep the feel of the rhythm section as close to the original as I could. Bill Ward (drums), in particular, has such a unique style for metal that I couldn’t help but try to mimic it. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next time.