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If you cheered Rick Astley's resurgence on the Internet, and wondered why he gets so much disrespect, as I did, perhaps you don't remember 1987 when Stock Aitken Waterman released a bunch of identical hits that make you get really sick of synth trumpets.
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When you first start Wii Music, one of the songs that is already unlocked is "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees, who started their career also pretending to play their instruments.

Wii Music

Jul. 19th, 2008 01:47 pm
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I just saw the Wii Music preview. YouTube: drums and then sax, sax and then full band,

The drums looked neat, and sounded great. I've played the Guitar Hero drums, and it's fun, though I didn't quite get used to the bass pedal's placement. And it's a large, cumbersome thing to have lying around the place. This looks like a good lightweight alternative. Most YouTube coverage, sadly, either leaves out this part of the demo, or has floor coverage of the drums with lots of background noise.

The saxophone looks rather undignified, both on screen and in real life, and sounds robotic.

Then they played the Super Mario theme together, and HOLY FUCK did it suck. The instruments sounded like cheap Casio keyboards, and the timing was all sloppy and made everyone sound like a grade-school orchestra. And the Super Mario theme they used is just overplayed. The first fifty times I've heard that song covered, I was moved. The next nine hundred, not so much. At this point, you might as well have played Jingle Bells.

If I were to buy Wii Music, it would be for one purpose: to have someone play fake drums, while I play real guitar. After all, I live in an apartment, and would not inflict real drums on my neighbors. Electronic drum kits already exist, though.


Jul. 16th, 2008 11:54 pm
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Rush's appearance on the Colbert Report reminded me of a great local band I saw by accident once: Freewill, a Rush tribute band.

I was going to Bash on Ash, expecting to go swing dancing, but there was a record release party there, and Freewill was playing a monstrous set. How monstrous? Well, it must have been at least two hours, because I stayed for a good few songs, left the Bash, walked to the relocated swing dance party at Tempe Beach Park, danced a few times, then walked back to the Bash and they were still playing. Holy fuck. I think they played most of 2112.

One thing I noticed on TV just now is that Geddy Lee talks like a human being. I don't know whether he goes into high-pitch screaming mode when he's at a concert, bantering with the audience. But I know our local Geddy Lee impersonator does.

I just spent the last 45 minutes staying up too late trying to find the night I saw them, in my Livejournal. It was a big night; I'd be surprised if I hadn't mentioned it.
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I was listening to a mariachi version of Man Eater on the Adam Carolla show this morning, and I realized that for 2008, we need a mariachi rickroll.

If I'd thought of it earlier, I'd have left a message for the manager of Food City to make sure they hired a band that knows it.

For those outside AZ, Food City is our marketed-to-Hispanics brand of supermarkets. And I've seen mariachis playing there before, on Easter.
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I was listening to the soft rock/smooth jam at CVS Pharmacy just now. There's a song called "Baby I Love Your Way" or something like that.

The voice changed in the middle, and for the first time ever7, I noticed that he was singing Free Bird. Free Bird is in the middle of a song they'd play on KEZ.

As soon as I get home, I'm going to find out as much as I can about that song.

Update: I guessed right, but the Free Bird part isn't from the original version. I confess to knowing absolutely nothing of the works of Peter Frampton, even though I'm pretty sure I've heard this song a hundred times, mostly in pharmacies.

Live shows

Apr. 7th, 2008 02:15 pm
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Hung Dynasty wasn't the only band to record a live show recently. Limozeen's Atlanta show is now up on YouTube. How many wigs can Matt Chapman change into?

Officially, the Hung only recorded audio, and as a result, Ill Wind is now on the official Hung Dynasty page.

Surprisingly to me, neither band kas yet booked a gig inside the Large Hadron Collider. Safety was no issue to them, as the band was already composed entirely of strangelets.
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It's almost 1am again and I'm not ready to sleep yet, so I'll post.

Last night was a much needed Hung Dynasty show. I saw the band, and some familiar people who I've seen at other shows, and a couple of new fans. [livejournal.com profile] atillathehung even helped me with a minor bike problem that had just befallen me. Thanks, Bicycle Repair Man!

A sign of the times was near the end of the show where I could have sworn someone yelled "Rickroll!" As time goes on, that could replace "Free Bird" as what drunk people yell at bands. But it hasn't yet broken out of the Internet geek ghetto, for [livejournal.com profile] atillathehung didn't know what it meant. He thought the guy said "A Brick in the Wall", and he may have been right. I think they recorded the show, so we may know for sure soon enough.

That last paragraph reminds me, I thought I saw a guy with a phone camera there, catching a clip of their last song, that Judas Priest cover they useed to close with but brought up as an encore this time. I checked YouTube tonight, and sure enough!
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I decided to try and re-ignite one of my favorite hobbies from college.  So I picked up my guitar, plugged it into the amp, and played a few chords...

...I still have knowledge, but, I can't lose myself in the playing the way I used to.

And even though all my adjacent neighbors are on vacation, I was still self-conscious about how loud the amp was.

Is it time to sell my gear and give up, or is there something I can do to jog my creativity once again?
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I was unpacking a box in the closet, and in a late 1990s paperback edition of "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", I found as a bookmark, the first concert ticket I'd ever purchased. I bought it at Dillard's, and got it for $20 with my KUPD Red Card.

It was for Ozzy Osbourne, and it was actually postponed at the last minute because Ozzy had gotten ill, so my best friend Donnie and I had to wait in the parking lot for his gigantic Ford Galaxie to cool down. He wore a T-shirt from the "Filthy Smelly Puking Habit" anti-smoking campaign of the time, which he proudly described to other concert-goers while smoking. I ended up getting a cheap (though possibly bootleg) T-shirt in the parking lot, and we met up with some other pissed off concert-goers while we waited for Donnie's car to cool down. Some of them had driven in from Tucson. But since I hadn't, I had fun anyway. It's also the first time I peed outside within the Phoenix city limits.

And a few months later, we got our concert, though the opening act had changed. It was just Sepultura then, which I didn't really care for.

The reason for the poor condition of the ticket could be the ravages of time, but it could also be because I dropped it in a puddle of beer. I actually left it at my seat while I went out to get refreshments, and had to sneak past a security gate as a result.

And just as Ozzy was about to come on stage, the lights to the seats went out, and I still hadn't found my seat yet, and as a result I crashed into some guy and made him drop his beer. He got angry enough to raise the attention of security, but before he got there, I'd diffused the situation by covering the cost of the beer, with a $20 bill. I didn't care about making change, I just wanted to not get in a fight, not get kicked out, and not miss the beginning of the show.

I don't really remember much else about the concert, except it being my first concert I didn't really know how to emote properly.

Funny, now that I'm working for Ticketmaster, I don't see many concerts anymore.
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Best comment of this video: ** I move away from the mic to sell out

(I'm not opposed to selling out, it's just a clever comment.)
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I posted that Tay Zonday video, and another one, to my Facebook profile last night.

Today, they both showed up as "Popular posted items in [my workplace] network."

So if you want people to watch what you share, you can probably get more face time than you expect by sharing it on Facebook. People I never heard of are probably watching Canon in Z in their cubicles right now and wondering what the big deal is.
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I wondered what Tay Zonday was up to, and it turns out he's done an arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon. Pachelbel will follow you to your grave. You cannot hide from it.
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Forget about Enterprise vs Death Star.

Who would win in a space battle: the Boston flying saucer, or the Journey Escape ship?
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Wensday opened for HD last night. They're pretty good, and I won a signed CD from them by winning a name-that-tune contest in like four notes. They're also loosely connected to Alice Cooper in a few ways I forget the details of. Dick Wagner's in the group and used to write for Alica, and they did three Alice cover songs in their set. They have a female vocalist with an amazing voice, and they have a pirate song written in waltz time, and there's one song where the chord structure, of all things, really impressed me. I'll update once I've had some quality time with the CD.

Unfortunately, because they showed up, HD went on around midnight and as a result I was out way too late, even though I left right as they went into Judas Priest. At that point, nobody had yelled "free bird" all night, not even the two high school grads who were running around with their shirts off. In fact, the interplay with the audience was pretty good with both bands.

I think Wensday might be at the next level above Hung Dynasty for local music; they have a recurring gig every month somewhere. I'll try to show up to at least one of those.
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Two Homestar Runner songs, AND Pachelbel. It's meme-tastic.
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First of all, Jack Black looked totally different in the HBO series. If he were a serious actor, he would have gained 40 pounds to play himself in Pick of Destiny.

I also, by chance, found an old tape of Mr. Show episodes, where the D's HBO series premiered, and I stopped recording right before the D started to play, because it was the late 90's and I was like "this looks like it's going to be lame," so I didn't get to hear Double Team until years later. So I missed out on a few years of that fandom.

Also, if you go to their website, it will play a few songs off the Pick of Destiny soundtrack, but cleaned up as if for TV or Wal-Mart, using the kiddie-swear approach (fuckin' → frickin', suck a cock → suck a rock). They should have hired a real Mormon to replace the swears more creatively, or at least used "frak" so that Battlestar Galactica fans wouldn't notice.
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As a follow-up to my earlier post about Esteban playing Pachelbel's Canon on his infomercial, I decided to look up guitar tab and see what level of skill it might take to play it.  My own level of skill is that I know a lot of chords and scales but it still takes me a lot of concentration to play anything, and I usually end up sounding like your roommate playing the Indigo Girls.

The only guitar tab I can find plays it in D, but you have to use drop-D tuning, which makes it possible to play a low D, but makes it hard to play a low F#, so it's hard for me to find good reliable hand positions for a lot of this stuff.

I could slog through it on a text editor and see if I can make it work as well in standard tuning, switching the low D's out for middle D's.  I wonder if that would be any easier to play.


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