Random Thoughts, the Mashup

After a three day weekend detached from the world, I have exactly three thoughts left to share. Certainly, more may appear, but, for now, this is what I know. If my idea generating writer’s block (more like flu than paralysis) doesn’t lift soon, I’ll resort to writing the best possible posts about absolutely nothing. Exciting as that is, here are my remaining thoughts.

Ben Koller (Converge) - randomly generated best drummer

Ben Koller (Converge) – randomly generated best drummer

  • There can be no musical equivalent of fantasy baseball. A colleague at work sets up a fantasy baseball team with his son. Personally, I prefer to keep the dreary spreadsheets full of numbers at work, but that’s just me. Now, a fantasy band? Let’s build it and see what happens. Obviously, I get to pick the best at each position, throw them together and win whatever I’m going to win. So, the rhythm section has to start with the best drummer Ben Koller from Converge. Add in Savages bassist Ayse Hassan and it’s set. The vocalist would, obviously, be Jello Biafra. Who else? Then, Gordon Gano, from the Violent Femmes, would handle six string duties and, as needed, a few backing vocals. OK, that’s my band, the best of everything. Take the best, mix them together and you get this: a godawful horrible band! I have new respect for Malcolm McLaren.
  • As I drove home recently, I found myself just behind a truck with large boxes and an unusually heavy tarp covering it all. From beneath a particularly loose corner of the tarp, a continuous trickle of bees emerged. I have no idea what that truck was carrying, but the scene at the next fuel stop is bound to be dramatic. If life were a CSI:Whatever show, the investigators would track the truck by following the trail of bee carcasses. Fortunately, my car is not allergic to bee stings.
  • I am a novice guitar player whose skills are better suited to saying something sounds good than making it actually sound good (as in: some people have the perfect face for radio). I’m told I’m better than that, but, true or not, it doesn’t matter; I enjoy what I do. As my guitar adviser jhubner73 knows, I recently took delivery of ring modulating guitar effects pedal. I am in love with it! I have finally found a way to make my playing sound purposely awful rather than just incompetently awful. I finally sound like a second tier Sonic Youth cover band member rather than a third tier man pretending he’s still in high school. This pedal is completely musical in that it creates an extra tone above and below what I play. Those tones, the sum and difference, respectively, of whatever I’m playing on my guitar, make my guitar sound like a dial tone phone seeking revenge on the world. I don’t really know how to use that. But, when I dial it back, tune it just right, and add in a few other things, the sound turns into something really cool like a growling dog doing a bad heavy metal imitation. Perfect! It adds cool noise without obscuring anything accidentally melodic. I’m in love with a metal box of circuitry.

16 thoughts on “Random Thoughts, the Mashup

  1. The fantasy band idea is great. I do that in my head sometimes, but it always ends up absurd. The closest to a “fantasy band” that ever really happened for me was when Fantomas had Mike Patton, King Buzzo and Dave Lombardo. The weird part is, I actually didn’t much care for what they did.

    • Oddly, the best idea I had was to take my favorites (in the post) and, instead, take different members from each band: Converge’s Kurt Ballou (who has some non-metal tastes), DK’s drummer, Savage’s lead singer, and the Femme’s bass player. Pretty aggressive and … nah, that’s absurd too.

      The absurdity does kind of make sense. Is it me, or is Mike Patton just an absurdity mashup all by himself (to the Mike Patton fanatics: not meant as an insult!)?

  2. Sometimes even the most mundane can turn into something quite entertaining. Your shoes hurt…your pants aren’t fitting well…You just finished a 5 hour Dr. Who marathon…Go!

    • Pants! I so wanted to say that as if I lived on the British Isles. Thank you! My pants (trousers to those much closer to London) are actually fitting better … another product of the weekend (along with a little chafing, a little sun burn and lots of bike-related dust).

      Maybe, it’s time for me to have a little random blogging period. That’d be fun for a little while!

    • Completely teaching myself. I want to learn how to play what’s in my head and only the spookiest guitar teacher goes there. Also, I have enough of a background in music and music theory that I can easily switch between the intuitive creative stuff and delving into why something sounds good. As a result, I’ve gotten better (not good) at purposely playing something that sounds good. I’d probably do better if I had lesson, but, given the choice, I’d rather not feed the analytic obsessive side (lessons) and instead let the intuitive creative take over.

      How analytic/obsessive? I actually sat down and did the math on what a ring modulator does and, now, I can predict, for given settings, what will and will not sound good. I have to be careful and not overfeed that tendency. At some point, I’d be well-served by finding other people with which to play creatively.

    • Could I get a job as a crazy describer (descriptionist) or analogizer? That’d be so cool. I could ring modulate (modulate rings?) and make up stuff for a living …

  3. Oh my god, I laughed…but fantasy band? Isn’t that John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, or maybe the Travelling Wilburys? John Hiatt and Rye Cooder have pulled it off a couple of times – but all of that is history…I don’t know from your team…

    • That’d be a MUCH better way, choosing the band as a whole. I discovered fairly quickly that my best-of musicians could never make a best-of band. (Sudden grad school flashback) Isn’t that proof of the fallacy of composition? In any event, it was a fun thought experiment that turned into word barf!

    • Am I lame (probably)? I look at Pinterest and it looks like the moment just before cut up magazines turn into collage. I don’t get it. To be fair, there are many perfectly legitimate things that I don’t get (like opera). Yep, I’m at least semi-lame!

Am I wrong?