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.

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  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!

Let’s start some #AxlRumors:


So, Axl is everywhere in the rock media world again and 15 year old me reads every stupid article like those it’s those goofy gossip columns in Rip or Metal Edge that used to be one sentence stories with bold rock star names jammed into one long nonsensical paragraph.  I’m actually excited to maybe try & see whatever version of Guns N’ Roses eventually ends up in Pittsburgh (if it makes it that long).

#AxlRumors

#AxlRumors

I even made a parody news article with my last post that fell super flat with no reads or comments.  Oh well, my bad.

I know I broke the one rule of blogging by never having regular steady content any more, but work with me here.  I want some interaction.  Maybe no one cares.  I guess we’ll see.

Let’s start some Axl Rose rumors.  Use the hashtag #AxlRumors on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or newer cooler social media platforms that I am wholly unaware of but still use hashtags.

You can post the url to your rumor(s) here in the comments, and we’ll see if it gets beyond this little corner of the internet, and if anyone finds their way back here.

Kapish?

I’ll start:

Now you.

⚠ Go! ⚠

(Don’t forget the #AxlRumors hashtag!)

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.

I’ll eventually get back to blogging. Really.


I’ll eventually get back to blogging.  Really.

This has been going on:

But, I want to talk about this…

…and another sort-of fuel-related possible scam that I was involved in earlier this week.

Having fun embedding posts from FB & Twitter, too:

So, I need help with my résumé.


I rarely ever blog about or post on social media about work.  My work life is work, and my personal life is personal.  I’ve never felt the need to discuss, vent about, or provide detail about my job.  I’m going to go ahead and break with that for this post.

Unfortunately, the time has come where I need to update my resume.  About a year and a half ago, the company that I was working for was sold, shut down, & liquidated.  A core group of people decided to try to move on & start a company in the same industry, and I was invited to be a part of it.  I was honored to be asked to participate, and glad to be gainfully employed.  Sadly, things didn’t pan out as planned, and the company is also in the process of shutting down.  Basically, I’m no worse off than I was a year ago.

At that time, I had an updated resume, and went on my first job interview in a long time.  I was offered employment elsewhere.  It may have worked, but the pay wasn’t where it needed to be for me to comfortably continue to pay rent and put food on the table.  I went with the group I knew & salary I needed.  I have no regrets, I’m just illustrating that I don’t have much job interview experience, but it has mostly all been positive.

Basically, I’ve been at the same job for 10 or so years.  In 2002, I started at an a/v integration company as the shipping guy.  That company was purchased in 2005 and I was hired by the new company, which closed in 2011.  Then on to the newest one where I was doing all slight variations of the same thing.  I liked my work, it was a nice mix of desk/paperwork & physical warehouse work sometimes, it was always different & challenging.  I have learned many rules, processes, & things about the equipment over the years.  I was able to adapt to many changes, and survived them all (up until now).

I need help with my resume.  I think I first updated this format in 2005, when it looked like I may have needed to search for other employment.  (Luckily, I was able to work temporarily for the new company, proved my merit, and was hired full time.)  In 2012 this format may be stale.  I’m not big on titles.  I call myself a “shipping guy” but I do much more than that.  I have more skills than a simple shipping guy needs.  I hate phrases like “team player”.  I am, but it sounds goofy.  Who reads that & doesn’t roll their eyes?  I’m generally not boastful (other than in jest), but this is one time when you need to be.  There’s a lot riding on a resume.  It gets your foot in the door.

I’m confident in my writing (thanks to this blog), but thrown into a resume it looks braggadocios, fragmented, & boring.  I love bullet points, but breaking things down into them, I feel like I lose cohesion.

I need this to grab someone’s attention, highlight what I can do & what I can offer, and get me a job.

Eric AiXeLsyD with the Batmobile

I have a lot of skills in my utility belt.

What do I want to do?  I’m certainly qualified for shipping, warehousing, and inventory jobs… entry level or supervisory.  Sadly, entry level pay may no longer be acceptable.  I could certainly do something else though.  I’m a quick learner.  I’d love to get paid for this writing / blogging / insanity thing (I mean… show/album/food reviews, photos, humor, goofy letters? I can do a bunch of stuff there).  Unfortunately I don’t have a degree.  Can you get one in shipping?  Certainly 10 years experience in shipping I would have learned anything that I could in 2 or 4 years of school?  I do have some training in graphic design & commercial art, I have experience in drafting (by hand even… does anyone remember that?), some talents that have yet to get me paid like drawing mazes and photography, and I recently completed classes in Microsoft Project… so I could even fill a “Jr. Project Manager” type role where I can learn as I go.  I’m certainly adept with computers, know old school (& also useless) html coding, and can pick things up rather quickly with any kind of program.  I can promote things like my band, the blog, and Food Allergies like mad online.  I think I’d be a good PR person, I just lack formal training or experience.  Maybe it’s time for something different.

So, I need help with my resume.  What works, what doesn’t?  1 page?  2 pages?  If  so, how do I fit it all on one or to pages (I think it kicks into an atrocious 3 now)?  What do I need to express?  Do I need a cheesy cover letter?  Do letters of recommendation help?  References right on the resume, or “provided by request”?  3 Personal/3 professional?  3 total?  Cover letter?  No cover letter?  Cover paragraph?

I’m laying it all out here and asking for your help.  Take a look at this resume and tell me what you think?

Please help me with my resume!

Click to check it out at Google Docs

Please excuse the format, it needs a new look… something anyway, and Google Docs may have messed with it a bit.  Other than that though… I ask you to be honest, brutal, constructive, and hopefully helpful.

Also… know anyone that’s hiring?  Are you hiring?  Point me in the right direction here.  I’m confident in my in-person interviews, and with anyone that already knows me or has worked with me.

Thanks in advance for your help.  I need to start hitting up InDeed, PA Career Link, etc. with my resume.  I know I have a lot of friends, family & readers that can help me out here.  It would be crazy to not use all of the resources at my disposal, right?

Very Specific Taste?


So, I blog occasionally about the search terms that land people here… but this is a special kind of awesome:

Search Terms

porn yinz maze

This person searched & clicked twice… or two kindred spirits out there really need to meet.

Spock ''Fascinating.''

Seriously.

What does one get when you search “porn yinz maze“?  Apparently something here at this blog.  I get the maze, I get the yinz, …but porn?  Maybe I need to draw a maze with boobies and put the word Yinz in it to satisfy this potential reader.

If you’re out there & you’ve managed to find your way back… what exactly were you looking for?  A maze of Pittsburgh?  A maze of porn?  Did your iPhone auto-correct “maize” to “maze” and “corn” to “porn”?

Fascinating.

HOW TO WRITE GOOD


As a blogger, I guess I should heed some of these rules?  I found this where Ramy dropped it.

How to Write Good

How to Write Good

This reminds me of one of the best movies ever.