The story of the Dewey Decibel FlipOut guitar.


Bert - a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD - rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.
Bert – a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD – rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.

OK. So, you probably know I like weird guitars. Someday I will have profiles up of all of them on another blog. You may have even read about my Dewey Decibel FlipOut before, or have seen the FlipOut before (or even the knock-off Flipped brand). While the Galveston BB Stone certainly started my weird guitar obsession, the FlipOut solidified it. Sadly, I came to it after AiXeLsyD had been done for a while, and I think even after Gasoline Dion. It some incredibly small and ancient circles I will always be known as ERiC AiXeLsyD. I did, get to gig out with the FlipOut, quite a lot, with Ernie and the Berts.

A while back, I had the opportunity to reach out to Jimmie Bruhn about the Indy Custom Flycaster, and way way back I did some research on the BB Stone. (I have to try to recover all the stuff that used to live on SquareGuitar.com, all those links are now dead.)

I thought it would be fun to try and track down Dewey Decibel (a.k.a. Joe Jerardi – or is it Joe Geradri? Stage names are fun.), and get some insight on the inception and production of one of my favorite axes!

After some emails exchanged, here’s the story from the man himself!

Line of FlipOut guitars & BottomOut basses from the Dewey Decibel website.

Hi Eric,

I’m awfully sorry there was a delay on getting back to you.  I honestly have had my hands full this year, and it slipped my mind.  Just for your patience, I can offer the most information I’ve shared about my FlipOut days to this point.  And thanks for asking.

I was performing solo in NY back in the 90s, playing CBGBs and many of the NY clubs. My stage name was Dewey Decibel, and I always performed hooked up to an IV pole.  Just a thing I did – never mentioned it on stage.  Played electric guitar, with synth sequencers for backing, plus voice. 

One day I thought of this backward guitar – Its just wood I thought – so it would play the same, just super unsettling, and deeply rock and roll to my mind.  I found one shop out of all the NY guitar techs who would follow my instruction. It was Rick from Carmine Street Guitars.  I love him because he didn’t even blink, just said “sure, I can do that”.  I went on to form a band called… Dewey Decibel, and kept doing shows, and finished up my third album “Unnecessarily Beautiful” with those guys, great players Jon Howard, and Martin Miller.  We did good work.  I always played the original FlipOut, which started its life as a Fernandes brand Strat.  I always had the IV drip by my side.

Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!
Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!

We did no real promotion for the album, for any of my albums, so they reside in resplendent obscurity, rarely to surface.

Here is what exists online, though there are 3+ albums and an EP somewhere:

https://deweydecibel.bandcamp.com/

Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Guitar & Vocals) ● John Howard (Bass)
Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Voice/Guitar/Keys) ● John Howard (Bass)

At shows, my guitar got so much crazy attention I conceived of the nutty plan to use a release of these guitars to bring attention to my band.  In 2003 I went to the NAMM show on the recommendation of a friend, to look for a manufacturer.  There I approached many confused factory reps from Asia, and ended up having luck with a Korean group who were ready to please.  I ordered some prototypes during that year, and tweaked things.  Then at 2004 NAMM I introduced them to the unsuspecting earthlings, took orders, and started shipping out of San Francisco once the container ship arrived.  That first NAMM show was funny funny stupid funny. 

Dewey Decibel - FlipOut & BottomOut
Art from the Dewey Decibel website.

The stupid part was that Fender lawyers sent me a letter on the opening day of my NAMM  launch that I was in breach of their trademarks.  This is a much longer story but I ended up licensing with Fender later, which was great for name dropping and demonstrating to folks that it was a quality guitar.

I was living in a warehouse with boxes of these guitars and my drum set.  It was a time of odd existence, taking orders, shipping, doing R&D, and lining up reviews with the big guitar magazines.  The FlipOut got strong thumbs up reviews in Guitar Player as well as Guitar One.  I did care about the feel of the neck and the pickups.  It’s self evident I think when you handle one.

I was moving forward on the BottomOut bass, having received a few prototypes which worked nicely.  Even took orders.  The problem was that the whole business had me working in too many directions, and exhausted.  I’d gone to Europe, and did a bunch of sales, there and in Australia too.  I was overworking, and getting wiped out.  This was all on my own, and I’d been living with some fantasy that these cool guitars would elevate the music, and demonstrate my sovereign rock and roll whimsy.   But alas, the FlipOut project ended at around 500 guitars because I was exhausted, the R&D was too slow, and I couldn’t parlay the thing into working for another manufacturer.  I was too much of a lone wolf for them.  So I went back to graphic design and animation.  I’m an animator today living in incredible San Antonio. I also continue writing and recording a new album, to be released secretly into thrift store bins.

The guitar colors were just my favorites at the time, the names were inspired by memories. Barry Leventhal was I think a kid I played in little league with.  Austin really had cabs colored like the guitar.

I’ve seen the FlipOut rip-offs coming from Europe/China, and they look ridiculous, all backward and stuff.  Just joking – I guess it was inevitable someone would cash in.

Hey thanks for your interest.  Hoping it fills in some detail. 

Thanks

joe

For the Raging Guitar Houdini in you!

(ddB)™

What led Dewey Decibel, Brooklyn's recording enigma, to do what he did to his guitar that night? Frustration. His friends had snubbed him, his car had been totaled, but worst of all, his reading comprehension was way down, and he could feel the stares when he entered a room. That fateful night, Dewey did grab for his guitar, slamming his bedroom door, not to emerge for countless weeks (though he did leave once to go to a class on "Appalachian Fingertip Dancing"). It was during these weeks, through a period of painstaking research, made even more difficult by an ill-fitting lab coat, Dewey did travel to the edge of insanity. But once there, decided he'd rather be at the brink of madness, so he quickly switched when no one was looking. And when at last he did emerge, witnesses reported he held in his hand something resembling a guitar on muscle relaxant. Dewey Decibel's FlipOut™ was in their midst. And now, it is in yours.

www.flipoutguitar.com Write to us at flipout@deweydecibel.com

The guitar design configuration of Dewey Decbel's Flip Out™ is a trademark owned by Joe Gerardi of Dewey Decibel Inc. Any replication of this trademark is prohibited by law.

Dewey Decibel
Until now, this is pretty much all that was out there on the FlipOut!
Dewy Decibel FlipOut models | Invisible, Lit Cigarette, Barry Levelthal, Austin City Cab, Scandalicious, Shameless.
FlipOut models & colors

How cool is that? The entire story from the man himself! I urge you to go check out the music of Dewey Decibel.

The only mods I had done to mine is the inimitable Aaron Hutzel drop in some GFS Lil Killer rails. This was not a kock at all to the original sound, but the humbuckers are more my thing.

Check out the Facebook fan page if you’re a fan, would like to share photos of yours or you with it in action, have one for sale, or are looking for one: Facebook | Dewey Decibel FlipOut

I would also, of course, love to hear from you in the comments!

If you want to see me and my FlipOut in action, check out the stuff below this list of links.

Also, check out these links if you’re looking for more:

Ernie and the Berts “Toybox”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Everybody Poops”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Kate Winslett” (A poor cover of The Silver Brazilians):

Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”:

Me just rocking this one in the basement in 2016:

Top 25 Albums?


My cousin recently made a Facebook post asking for your top 25 albums. No restrictions. Just the thought that 25 is easier, yet more difficult than a top 10.

He’s right you know.

Opening up the post top 10 or eve 15 tier really digs into stuff. There are a LOT of great albums that I skipped that really deserve to be on here. This is what I was feeling recently. This may be a slightly different list tomorrow or a drastically different list next year.

I took it as 25 albums that I dig, that I like to listen to the whole way through.

Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)
Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)

They may not contain my favorite songs from the artist, or may not be my top favorite artists, but these are 25 dam solid albums that I have enjoyed end-to-end on multiple occasions and sometimes on repeat.

Because I like to talk (type/read) about music on the internet, here we are. I’ll drop a short explanation. They’re ina alphabetical order, couldn’t begin to order them. Please, share yours in the comments.

25 is harder than you think!

💿

  • 12 Hits From Hell – The Misfits | This was the album that never was, that should have been. Is it the ultimate bootleg? Bobby & Doyle on the same tracks? Probably Glenn & I think the producer too? At any rate, the songs shine. It’s inherently an unnatural entity, but isn’t that in the spirit of melding dark campy lyrics with poppy melodies over distorted guitars and driving rhythms? I wish this got a proper release.
  • …And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid | This album is frantic and melodic and gravely and beautiful. How do you not like the unapologetic frantic pop punk shenanigans infused with a bit of street and reggae and ska? I know this is the album that “cool” rancid fans pretend is not the best. Listen to it. It smacks you around for less than an hour and makes you happy about it.
  • American Cheese – Nerf Herder | I had a hard time picking, because How to Meet Girls could easily be here too. I think “Jacket” is my favorite track, so that slightly tipped the scale. These guys are fantastic, and Parry’s solo stuff is a trip. You can tell they’re fans of a lot of the same stuff I grew up on. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. They can really craft a powerful melody.
  • Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses | I wore out this cassette tape at least 3 times. I have bought the CD more than a few times. A friend gifted it to me on Vinyl. I bought the digital version of the new 8,479 “disc” set… even though I may or may not have had decent quality bootlegs of 99% of it. I think it’s the first album I dove into head first. Just listening to how Slash & Izzy play off of each other, Axl’s layers of vocals octaves apart with Duff & Izzzy singing, Duff’s guitar-like bass grooves locking into Adler’s swing. Lightning in a bottle may be a cliché, but it totally fits here. These guys had their finger on the collective pulse of punk, metal, glam, hard rock, classic rock, and pop culture. They rocked harder than most of their peers and these are great damn songs. The arcing overall crescendo of “Sweet Child of Mine” was just epic, and definitely contributed to my itch to pick up a guitar.
  • Bitter Tongues – Ann Beretta | I heard “Bottlecaps” on a Lookout! or Asian Man or some other comp and just had to know more. I think pretty quickly, I acquired all the albums and even Inquisition and eventually Sixer, Foundation, and Rob Huddleston’s solo stuff. It reminded me a lot of Rancid, and obviously pays homage to the Clash and some more street punk stuff, and even folk or honky-tonk. These guys took their influences and blended them together so well to make something in a voice all their own. It’s anthemic. It feels working class-ish and just relatable and super catchy.
  • Bloody Kisses – Type O Negative | It doesn’t sound like anything else. I think I heard the “Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes Mix)” on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack first. It was dark. It was Sabbathy and Misfitsy and Metallicish. I needed more. I think there was about a year where 90% of what I listened to was Black Sabbath, the Misfits, and Type O Negative. I used to put this on low on repeat when I went to bed at night. It is best enjoyed as a whole album. Even within a lot of the songs, it’s like there are movements. The metal guitars and incredible bass vocals are fantastic. Again, they had an incredible balance of humor, a dark scary tone, and it’s just… fun. Don’t tell anyone the goth kids are having fun though.
  • Boogadaboogadaboogada! – Screeching Weasel | If the Ramones created the pop-punk template, these guys stole it and ran. This is just a fun, snotty, whiny, poppy, witty, and goofy album. What a great sense of melody mixed with suburban angst and sloppy buzzing guitars.
  • Chimborazo – Foundation | Rob can really craft a song. This is a beautiful stripped-down heartfelt collection of stories in song form. It’s awesome how much emotion can be conveyed with a few lines. Rob is definitely up there as one of my favorite song writers.
  • Countdown to Extinction – Megadeth | I know. this is the “sell out” commercial album. You can’t deny that every track is killer metal while also being commercially successful. It represents a time to me where the “underground” stuff that I was aware of became mainstream. Why not celebrate more people being able to discover something you already know is great? Dave is a monster on the fretboard and sounds like an unhinged maniac on vocals. These songs are put together really well.
  • Danzig – Danzig | When you’re 15, Danzig is the coolest thing on the planet. Punk. Goth. Metal. Badass. He reads weird books! He reads comics! Rick Rubin probably deserves a lot of credit for image crafting and turning Samhain into this. John, Eerie, & Chuck provided a killer band! John definitely had an instantly recognizable sound. It sounded like metal, but it was clearly channeling the blues and hard rock. Danzig does not seem to have a sense of humor about his music, but that makes it humorous.
  • Dookie – Green Day | This was a solid album. Again, it brought stuff I liked to the masses. It took me a while to realize what a solid album this was. I don’t even know if I’d put Green Day at the top of my Favorite Bands list… but an this is a great pop punk album. Those drums! That wild bass! The vocal harmonies are perfection. Mike Dirnt is the yin to Bille Joe’s yang. You can tell these guys loved what they do. You can tell that subject-matter wise, they’re not the Sex Pistols or the Ramones… but they loved all that stuff. Is this skate punk? I don’t care about labels. This is well-crafted end-to-end and hit the right place at the right time.
  • Energy – Operation Ivy | A great example of working backwards to find gems. Like the Misfits, it has some Lo-Fi appeal that is just hard to quantify. Energy is so appropriate. It’s like they had to let it out before it became destructive. It sounds so sloppy but it is so tight. It’s chaos. It’s chocolate and peanut butter. Watch the East Bay Punk documentary!
  • For Dancing and Listening – Guns ‘n’ Wankers | I wish more people knew about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. I wish I knew more about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. This album stands alone as incredible. It’s a bit of a mish-mash as Fat Mike could not leave it alone for the Fat Wreck release. It’s missing a few of the more metal tracks. I don’t know if Duncan Redmonds wrote all the songs, or what. His sense of harmony is fantastic. The song structure is just great. The tone is great. I love where the vocals sit in the mix. It’s another example of great storytelling with just a few lines.
  • Good Company – The Dead South | Usually I like loud distorted guitars. I like them clean too. This is clean acoustic guitars, as well as some more traditional stringed instruments, and just powerful melodies and vocal arrangements. Some of the vocals almost sound painful and sorrowful. I dove pretty hard into their discography after hearing the first few tracks.
  • High Risk Behaviour – The Chats | These kids are what I wish AiXeLsyD was! Ha ha. They are cheeky, hilarious, and totally serious. Ha ha. These songs are super fun. I need an Australian to English dictionary. This is another one that I heard an instantly wanted more more more.
  • Kill ‘Em All – Metallica | What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said? It is the template. It is the sum of its ingredients and the sum of it’s strong-willed creators. From start to finish it just assaults your eardrums and raises your heart rate. Those riffs! That bass solo! Is he singing about the apocalypse? All killer, no filler. I think the first time Metallica hit my radar, it was …And Justice for All. When I worked back to this my mind was successfully blown. It was SO HEAVY at the time, which seems almost quaint now. Again, they get hate for success, maybe borrowing too hard from their influences, or for not being cool to Mustaine, to selling out, but… you can say they have ever compromised.
  • Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys | The kids that are too cool for school or old heads will give you Paul’s Boutique for sure. I get that, and respect that. Again, this album brought it to the masses. This made music fans give a resounding collective “What?” Hardcore kids rapping? Sampling? Playing guitars? I don’t care if it’s hip hop or punk or pop. I love it. Another Rick Rubin album on the list? He must be on to something.
  • Master of Puppets – Metallica | This album could be included for just “Orion” and the “do-do-do-do do-do-do” double-lead part in “Master of Puppets.” This is another cassette tape that I wore out at least twice. I remember it being a go-to when I used to mow lawns for cash. Metallica matured here, but they weren’t yet racked by tragedy or swelled with excess. You could feel what I think was Cliff exerting guidance & expertise. All these songs felt great together. My favorite Metallica songs mostly reside on other albums, but this album makes a great statement as a whole piece of art.
  • Ramones – Ramones | Again. This is an iconic no-brainer. Did the Ramones start punk? People will argue to the end of time citing earlier examples. Are they what you think of when you think of punk? They are to me. It’s either that or the Sex Pistols. This album is fantastic. Guitar panned hard to one side, bass to the other… so you can play along! Cranked out in just a week, it’s frantic. It’s intimidating. Its 4 guys that have no idea what they’re doing while simultaneously knowing exactly what they’re doing. It’s loud, it’s catchy, it’s funny, it just rocks.
  • State of Discontent – The Unseen | Yeah, another “sell out” album. The dirty street punks found a producer so they must be inherently evil and capitalist and whatever other darts you can throw. Regardless, it’s an album full of screamy-yet-melodic shenanigans and I’m all for it. It’s catchy without losing it’s edge in my opinion. These guys spit fire and you’re either flammable or not.
  • Static Age – The Misfits | It’s got “Last Caress” which is probably one of their most covered songs. It’s got a bunch of stuff that is lo-fi on its way to becoming hi-fi. It’s catchy, it’s campy, it’s sort of funny, it’s melodic, it has loud guitars, it checks all my boxes. It’s just fantastic.
  • The Impossible Kid – Aesop Rock | I don’t even know if I can do this album justice by writing about it. I don’t have his vocabulary. I got this album and could not stop listening, on repeat. It’s layer upon layer in between level upon level. It’s an introspective and deeply personal look at anxiety and artistry intertwining, but it is so incredibly relatable. The tracks flow right into each other. You don’t want to stop. It lacs the guitar presence of every other album on this list… but we need a little variety, right?
  • The Ozzy Osborne Years – Black Sabbath | Admittedly, I cheated. I could not pick a Sabbath album proper and I graduated from listening to the Bootleggy-ish We Sold Our Sul for Rock ‘N’ Roll to this all the time. This collects all the Ozzy stuff. The one sentence in the Wikipedia article about it is “This box set includes all songs from Black Sabbath‘s first six albums, excluding the songs without vocals.” It’s dark. It’s doomy. Iommi’s riffs are just massive, Ozzy melodies with Geezer’s lyrics and thunderous bass lines all marching along to Bill Ward’s inimitable swing is just crushing.
  • Tweet Tweet My Lovely – Snuff | This is definitely top 5, probably top 3, or even 1. Snuff have mastered sounding like snuff whether they’re playing punk, metal, ska, or anything else they want to play. Duncan Redmonds is a mad genius. Loz’s guitars sound beautiful… jangly almost. There are horns and keys throughout, and they’re not jarring. The vocal melodies and harmonies are epic. (Green Day cites them as an influence and you can immediately hear how.) I like everything Snuff has put out, but this was my first from them and it really encompasses the gamut of their sound.
  • Within a Mile of Home – Flogging Molly | I could have probably picked any Flogging Molly album. This is where my taste in music & my wife’s taste in music overlaps. (Although, I have brought her more into punk rock and metal than she has pulled me into pop and top-4o-ish country.) We always end up with Flogging Molly, Willie Nelson, or Johnny Cash on road trips… usually all 3. Flogging Molly definitely has a punk rock ethic and bent. They have beautiful tales set to music in a traditional Irish vein. It’s sentimental. It’s raucous. It makes you tap your feet. This is a collection of bangers that also tug at your heart strings.

Honorable mentions would probably have to go out to The Sword, The Bloodhound Gang, Masked Intruder, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Graves, Gotham Road, Dogpiss, Duncan Redmonds, Rob Huddleston, Wat Tyler, Crotchduster, ALL, Descendents, Poison, The Devil Makes Three, Alice in Chains, Warrant, Peelander-Z, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Teenage Bottlerocket, Ozzy, Jimi Hendrix, and so many more that I am probably momentarily forgetting. Don’t even get me started on greatest hits, compilations, and soundtracks.

What are you waiting for? Leave yours in the comments!

I know I just said these are solid albums, but it doesn’t negate the fact that they contain solid songs too. Check out 2 tracks from each album!

The Christmas Carrolls: “Jingle Bells”


The kids & I apparently have a band called the Creepy Kittys. While we haven’t released any official music, we have already successfully completed a minute-long side project. Here’s “Jingle Bells” by The Christmas Carrolls.

We were going to go a more traditional route, but Molly insisted on a bit of punk rock energy. I also wanted to go right into the song, but Ian insisted on an introduction.

I hope you enjoyed this one, maybe I’ll get some more out of them as the holiday approaches!

For you guitar & gear nerds, this featured my acrylic Strat copy with the Green LED’s;

Christmas Playlists and Streaming Services


I am signed up for too many free streaming accounts. I like raucous punk and metal Christmas music in addition to some of the more straightforward poppy and traditional stuff. I wish that all of these songs were available across all platforms. I have some stuff from the wild west days of mp3 downloading that I can’t seem to find on any platforms.

Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube
Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube

I do need to work on refining the lists I have. The YouTubes ones are all over the place. I hardly use Pandora enough to thumbs up or down to get it where every song is a smash. Spotify and Amazon are the ones that are easy to use… but I wish I could add more content.

I do have the free accounts for all mentioned. I don’t feel like playing for a streaming service unless it can be complete. I heard Google Music was pretty awesome, until it just became the YouTube Music thing. I need to get my personal stuff all digitized someday too. Man, I miss just running WinAmp on a giant desktop.

What do you use to listen to Christmas music? What are your favorite songs, traditional, wild, overplayed, or obscure?

Here are mine:

Spotify | Christmas 🤘🎸🎄

Amazon Music | Christmas

(WordPress doesn’t seem to want to embed the Amazon playlist.)

Pandora | Holiday Rock N’ Roll ☃

https://www.pandora.com/station/1758025359576278863

(WordPress won’t embed Pandora I guess, either.)

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | ☃ ♩♫♬♪ Christmas Songs ♩♫♬♪ ☃

Christmas YouTube Playlists – Naughty or Nice?


I have two playlists.

Which is better?

What would you add?

What am I missing?

Reflective Retrospective Recollective


AiXeLsyD 🎸 Gasoline Dion 🎸 Ernie and the BertsSo, recently turning 40 has me reflecting on life in general (which is pretty damn great) & on my accomplishments as a “musician” even though I’m not actively gigging right now.

I’m pretty self-deprecating of my musical talents, but I am proud of the major part of the aural art that I helped create.  I compiled and uploaded a few of my favorites after using Audacity to clip out some silence and mp3Gain to try to get all the volume levels somewhat similar.

If you’ll indulge me I’d like to give my thoughts & memories on each of these songs that I was proud to be a part of with AiXeLsyD, Gasoline Dion, & Ernie and the Berts.  If I have any of the stories, names, etc. wrong, please correct me in the comments.  Being that these are punk rock(ish) bands, you may find the content explicit and/or objectionable.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

🎸

  1. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy came up with this cool shuffling progression and I played a super easy solo over it.  I believe we kept the first take of the solo even though at the time I thought I could do better.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It was cool to open shows with this then rip into something completely different. It was called “Tommy’s Jam” until an inside joke on a local message board inspired the new name.

  2. AiXeLsyD – “Wait”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Probably the first song that I wrote that I liked, and probably the first original that we worked on in the band.  We dug on this & recorded it a million times.  It morphed a bit, but was basically the same simple jam.  Ben doubling the vocals an octave lower and the guitar part at the end really fills it out.

  3. Gasoline Dion – “Pickle Farm”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy had recorded this song solo, and it contributed to the itch that I needed to scratch when we formed Gasoline Dion.  I really liked the melody.  I think he stole the lyrics from Space Ghost or Brak.  This song to me is about not being a square peg that’s forced into a round hole.  I liked singing background vocals & playing guitar.

  4. Ernie and the Berts – “Toybox”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin wanted to start a band to play rocked-out Willy Wonka covers.  That never happened.  This did.  It was the first original that stuck, and an early recording became the soundtrack to a friend’s video project.  Dave learned to play drums in/for this band.  This is a nice simple driving groove and is the perfect vehicle for the introduction of Erin’s gnarly gravelly voice.

  5. AiXeLsyD – “Hopeless & Heartless”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I wrote this on the outside of seeing someone with a broken heart.  I thought it was pretty catchy.  The “whoa-oh’s” are overkill but oddly necessary in my humble opinion. I think An-Die, Ben, & I are all singing on multiple tracks here.

  6. Gasoline Dion – “Cold”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This riff was a leftover AiXeLsyD riff that almost became part of two songs but never really went anywhere.  Mike had some leftover Who’s.Keeping.Score? lyrics that Dave & I re-arranged.  Dave & I work really well on arranging musical parts & lyrics. I really really dig Tommy & I singing together on this one.

  7. Ernie and the Berts – “Fred Rogers”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin supposed that a local hero may not really be a hero on this one.  Maybe he read that weird urban legend.  I really like the guitar part here, although it’s missing some kind of effect in my head.  Wah?  Phaser?  Not sure.  Erin let me just go goofy with background vocals here.  I felt like Danzig or that Not-Danzig guy in the Cult.  I love how this song builds into chaos.

  8. AiXeLsyD – “Stand Up”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This is where it all pulled together, and it was the last proper thing we recorded.  Ha ha. An-Die wrote the riff & lyrics, I arranged them.  Ben came up with the guitar noodling& octaves riff. I think I came up with the stupid  guitar part for the verse. I really dig my guitar solo here,even though I went too long.  (Oddly, this sounds a lot like “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” by Dramarama as played by Buckcherry.)

  9. Gasoline Dion – “Political Songs (With Deep Meaning)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I was listening to a lot of the Unseen, I think.  I don’t really write political stuff that often.  This was taking the piss out of that genre.  Dave sounded better on it with vocals.  I scream “feet” in the background and give the creepy laugh at the end.  We lost the original lyrics, so Dave used what he remembered and made the rest up on the fly.  I don’t really think any one ever tried to intemperate a deeper meaning. If they did, they didn’t tell us.

  10. Ernie and the Berts – “Don’t Fuck With Ernie”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It was hard to tell if Erin was serious or joking a lot of the time. He had a deadpan delivery, and it was hilarious. To deliver this ridiculousness so seriously is hilarious to me.  I think I sort of came up with this riff over top of his bass line.

  11. AiXeLsyD – “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It’s “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”, not “Dave’s Ugly Girlfriend.”  People always seemed to get that wrong.  Dave Ugly played bass & sang for one of our favorite local bands, Useless Torment.  I don’t tell the story as well as An-Die, but Dave was apparently saying he loved him, and An-Die was playing the “even if…” game, and arrived at this.  I remember being “mad” when Sum 41 came out as a punk band rapping.  I think Boner played guitar on this one and Ben played Drums?

  12. Gasoline Dion – “Bitch Pants Opera”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I don’t know if we could do this one today.  People seem so easily offended.  It’s just a joke.  We don’t really care if you wear girl pants.  We’re not insinuating or implying anything.  We look ridiculous too.  Another Dave vocals song, I am screaming the high parts.  All of us are in the beginning. I think the breakdown was inspired by hardcore /screamo kids in skinny jeans doing the windmill and Peelander-Z’s “S.T.E.A.K.”

  13. Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Dave suggested I try a little more dynamics with space and clean.  Dave is usually right.  You can do a lot with the same 3 chords over & over. This was a slice of Erin’s life, full of his observations.  We almost got permission to go in & shoot a video there.  Somebody must have really listened to the lyrics.  He had “nicer” ones prepared just in case we needed to sell out.

  14. AiXeLsyD – “Love, Hopes, Dreams, & Smiles”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] |I think An-Die hated this one.  I liked the noodling& the melody.  The lyrics are super dumb & trite.  The song was made infinitely cooler when Ben put in that volume swell in the final mix.  That was never there, then we started doing it live after he did that to the recording.  This could probably be punched-up a little bit more.

  15. Gasoline Dion – “Two of a Kind”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy sings like an angel.  I have no idea what in the hell he’s talking about here.  I think Dave & Mike made this honky-tonk-ish.  I played a little solo under Tommy’s vocals at the end because nobody ever told me not to.  The end sounds like the Misfits’ “NY Ranger.”

  16. Ernie and the Berts – “I Don’t Wanna”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin stole this one from a band called Suck-Your-Brains-A-Go-Go.  I don’t know if they ever recorded it.  I should ask the man who wrote it some time.  We made it ours. I think Bengt punched-up some of the guitar & added a bit of harmonies during the recording process.

  17. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug (Reprise)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Same thing as the first track, second solo take by me with a wah pedal this time. Dave is also on guitar making crazy noises and soloing in between all of my notes.  Ha ha.  If you don’t “get” the speaking part, watch the Josie and the Pussycats movie some time.

I’d love to know what you think, or to read/see/hear your own memories about these bands or in any bands or projects in which you have participated.   Did I miss a song or two that you may have remembered or liked?  Comments (or likes or whatever is deemed social-media-appropriate) on the songs on SoundCloud or YouTube would be awesome and greatly appreciated, too.

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Check out the playlist on SoundCloud:

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Check out the playlist on YouTube:

Can you Dig it?

I think you should be able to download a zip of the collection on Google Drive or SendSpace if you’re so inclined.  If you can’t get it there, let me know and I can email it to you.

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The AiXeLsyD stuff:

The Gasoline Dion stuff:

The Ernie and the Berts Stuff:

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Check out some related posts:

NOTE:  Edited to correct links to YouTube videos, made new ones for some slideshows that were too short.  Also, check the comments!

Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire


Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire

Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire

I have seen Galactic Empire blowing up lately, and I love it… but it makes me wonder what happened to Anchorhead, who was doing it first.  (Yes, I know scores of metal versions of Star Wars songs are all over the Innerwebs, but these guys are the best.)

Here’s some side-by-side comparisons…

Anchorhead:

…and check out this incredible entire live show!  Apparently all these cats ever left was one EP & a handful of performances.  Their guitars have so many strings, it takes 12 parsecs for any non-force user to make their way across the fretboard.

I did download all I could form MySpace, but all I could get of some of the stuff was some snippets of songs.  Their interpretations are proggy, masterful, eerie, and dark.  I would love to get my hands on the EP.

Galactic Empire:

Obviously, these scruffy-looking Nerf Herders rock too.  The costumes and video production are all-out.  The metal seems happier if that’s even a thing.  They used kickstarter to fund their eventual takeover of the galaxy.  Galactic credits go far with the Empire.  I’m anxious for their full-length album, too.

It looks like of the two, these guys are the only ones currently in existence.

Vote for Your Favorite:

I would love to see a fan mix of the movies using either of these guys to score the entire thing.  I don’t think Disney would go for it, unless like Darth Lucas they realize they can make more money by selling the movies again to the same people that already own all possible formats & variations.

Bonus:  Check out Sarlacc!

Star Wars Songs – Post your favorites in the comments! #MayThe4thBeWithYou!


Songs about Star Wars are almost as cool as the songs in Star Wars! Post your favorites in the comments!

 

Discovering New Music?


Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: Best Ways To Discover New Music

Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: Best Ways To Discover New Music

I was recently asked to put together some thoughts on discovering new music for an article on CBS Local Pittsburgh.  The article is now up!

Please take the time to check out the article by local blogger Jennifer Stockdale and share your thoughts here (or on the Facebook link) on how you discover new music:

Comments aren’t available on the CBS Local article for some reason, but please share your ways of discovering new music here, or share a link to the main article on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or whatever to start your own discussion amongst your friends and peers.

Most importantly, the take-away is that I may now be considered an expert for all of your musical discovery needs.

So… “CNET | Poll: Should music be free?”


Not that it’s never been brought up before… but, the debate rages on.  I find it interesting that it’s a CNET poll, and that there are people quite passionate on both sides of the issue.  Check out this poll:

Poll: Should music be free? | Paying for music is now a voluntary act, so why would anyone ever buy a CD, LP, or download?

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with...

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with a musical note on the right hand side is the free music symbol, signifying a lack of copyright restrictions on music. It may be used in the abstract, or applied to a sound recording or musical composition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not exactly sure where I fall.  Obviously, as a musician… I see value in the songs & the entertainment.  It’s great when I have a product to sell.  It’s awesome that people would want to pay to purchase noise that I make.  To me it’s more of a lifestyle/hobby though.  I don’t mind playing just to make gas money, or selling music barely above cost… or even posting it for free.  I dig that people enjoy it.  But, and this is a big but…  If it was my sole means of income, I sure would not be happy giving much away for free.  Although, radio and now online streaming are the way to get heard, and… that’s free.  You almost need that to advertise yourself, unless you gig non-stop like Metallica in their early days.

Are people like me who don’t mind giving away music devaluing music for everyone?  I certainly like free stuff.  I also buy CD’s & merchandise from local & smaller touring acts like a madman.  I realize I’m not normal in that practice.  I see the value in others’ art.  It’s important to me to reward their efforts.

The again, I’m a huge fan of freeware, shareware, and open source stuff when it comes to software.  What’s the difference?

What’s the new model?  Albums are free, shows and T-shirts make you money?  Every band releases a documentary & a bunch of live DVD’s?  Government sticks its’ nose into streaming and it becomes an ad-heavy payola nightmare?

I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comments.