So, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Check out the playlist on SoundCloud:
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.
The AiXeLsyD stuff:
The Gasoline Dion stuff:
The Ernie and the Berts Stuff:
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!
Posted in Dad Stuff, Disbanded Bands, Free Music, Guitars, I Need Your Feedback, Inspiration, Life, Pittsburgh, Your Band, \m/
Tagged & Smiles, AiXeLsyD, AiXeLsyD13, Audacity, Bitch Pants Opera, Blog, Blogging, Cold, Cuts From the Crap, ǝʌıʇɔǝןןoɔǝɹ ǝʌıʇɔǝdsoɹʇǝɹ ǝʌıʇɔǝןɟǝɹ, D.I.Y., Dave Ugly's Girlfriend, Don't Fuck With Ernie, dreams, 🎸, ERiC AiXeLsyD, Ernie & the Berts, Ernie and the Berts, Fred Rogers, Gasoline Dion, gig, gigging, gigs, Google Drive, guitar, Hopeless & Heartless, Hopes, Hugs Taken By Force, I Don't Wanna Fuck You, Ikea, Learning Disabilities, Loading Noise, local, local band, local bands, local music, love, mp3gain, Music, Musician, Pennsylvania, Pgh, Pickle Farm, Pittsburgh, playlist, Political Song (With Deep Meaning), punk, punk rock, Reflective Retrospective Recollective, RRR, SendSpace, Shameless Plug, Shameless Plug (Reprise), sloppy pop punk rock, SoundCloud, Southwestern PA, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Stand Up, SWPA, Toybox, Two of a Kind, Useless Torment, W(aL)D, Wait, Who's Keeping Score?, WordPress, World (and Lunar) Domination, YouTube
OK, so it’s been a while since I’ve been productively making music & actively writing songs. Apparently the bug never goes away. I have been thinking about doing punk rock-ish kids songs for a while. (The Sablowskis beat me to it!)
Yeah, there is the AiXeLsyD reunion gig coming up… whenever that is, and it doesn’t seem like Ernie and the Berts was all that long ago.
I saw a contest online last week and it sparked me to get my ass quickly in gear. Music Go Round in Monroeville is holding a guitar giveaway, and I have been mentally drooling all over Eastwood Guitars online for quite some time. The Side Jack is pretty awesome!
It would be really cool if you could help me win this axe by clicking “like” on this post: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=698216686929723&permPage=1
It may help to follow or like the Music Go Round Monroeville, PA Facebook page too. It has to be on that post on their page, no “likes” here or on my link(s) to it on my Facebook profile count. Voting is only open this week, they pick a winner on the 27th!
As far as the song goes, I threw it together in under an hour with a downloaded app for the tablet, using crappy headphones, the built-in mic on the tablet, and my acoustic guitar down in the basement. I think it shows. But, I still think it’s a hooky tune with some potential. I may have to recruit a few of the usual suspects or even some unusual ones to help me complete the process.
Molly is absolutely terrified of the Chick-fil-A cow. My guess is that other kids are too. Seems like we can find a whole lot more to relate to with some feet-tapping tunes!
Posted in Consumer Advocacy, Contests, Dad Stuff, Fast Food Fail, Guitars, I Need Your Feedback, Life, mp3's, Pittsburgh, Stuff from the Internet, W(aL)D, Your Band, \m/
Tagged Acoustic, afraid, Baby, baritone, Chick-fil-A, Chick-fil-A-Go-Go, Chicken, child, children, children's music, contest, contests, Costume, Cow, Dad, demo, 🎶, Eastwood, Eastwood Guitars, Eastwood Guitars Side Jack, EAT MOR CHIKIN!, facebook, Giveaway, guitar, Guitar Giveaway, guitars, Help, hey, hey hey hey, hey now, humor, kids, mascot, Monroeville, Music, Music Go Round, Musician, now, now now now, PA, Parenting, Pennsylvania, Pgh, Pittsburgh, punk, punk rock, Punk Rock Dad, punk rock for kids, rock, scared, scary cow, Side Jack, terrified
Apparently the newest annoying word for some time away is Babymoon. It’s better than Daycation or Staycation, but still annoying. The word is annoying, but the actual time away isn’t. With the impending arrival getting closer and closer, many online pregnancy-related websites & email lists suggest taking a babymoon. This goes especially for first time parents, as a nice little last fling before all of your apparent freedoms disappear.
We decided a while ago that a nice little getaway to a cabin would be the way to go. We have been tent camping at Forest Ridge Cabins and Campgrounds before, but had never tried out the cabins. They always looked quite inviting. The campground itself is always clean, and the owners are quite hospitable. The prices are competitive with other places that we checked out online, and really quite affordable. Important for the babymoon aspect, it’s not that far away. Cabins are our thing now I guess… since we honeymooned in one in Gatlinburg, TN. It all just seemed to make sense.
We booked the date a while ago, assuming that since it was spring we’d have a nice warm weekend. It was a nice weekend, but there was about 5 inches of snow on the ground, and the temperature never got much above freezing.
We stayed in the Allegheny cabin, and it was warm & cozy inside. We brought along some DVD‘s, cooked some s’mores (with peanut butter cups) around the campfire, and just had a nice relaxing weekend. The kitchen was stocked with all kinds of cookware and utensils, we made a nice steak dinner on Saturday. I also made a friend in Oliver, one of the campground cats. He strolled up as I was waiting for the last log to burn out on the campfire, then followed me up on the porch to hang out a but on top of the hot tub cover. He liked to look in the window at us, then look away when he saw that we were looking at him.
I think we’ve decided that Forest Ridge is “our place” as far as camping when we’re not going camping at Living Waters.
Check out Forest Ridge on Facebook, Twitter, & Yelp, and check out some of our photos…
Oliver, standing guard.
Best use of a phonebook since the late 90’s.
Oliver the cat!
Time for a picnic?
Soon, he will take over the world…
Nice n’ clean!
Posted in Life, Road Trips
Tagged 36, 66%, 899, Allegheny, Allegheny National Forest, Baby, Babymoon, Cabin, Cabins, Camground, campfire, Campgrounds, cat, Cold, Cook Forest, Day-tripper, Daycation, DVD, facebook, Forest, Forest Ridge, Forest Ridge Cabins & Campgrounds, Forest Ridge Cabins and Campgrounds, Forest Ridge Campgrounds & Cabins, Forest Ridge Campgrounds and Cabins, Gatlinburg, honeymoon, honeymooned, ice, Living Waters, Lodging, Mairenville, National Forest, Oliver, Outdoors, PA, Pennsylvania, Pregnancy, Recreation, Ridge, s'mores, snow, Snowman, Spring, Staycation, Tennessee, TN, twitter, United States, Yelp
Chick-fil-A wrote back to me, and sadly I predicted that they’d give me the “no unsolicited ideas” speech which is equivalent to the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. Shenanigans, I tell you.
From: Chick-fil-A CARES <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
Dear Valued Customer:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. You are very important to us, and we appreciate your suggestion regarding the cup holders. We hope the following information will be helpful.
Chick-fil-A is fortunate to have many loyal customers. Many of these fans take the time and effort to inquire about sharing their own ideas about ways they wish to see us improve – whether it is adding a specific new product, service or feature. We are grateful for our customers’ intent, and this motivates us to work even harder to keep improving.
Unfortunately, it is our corporate policy not to accept or consider any unsolicited creative ideas. This is a difficult decision because we realize that by following this policy, Chick-fil-A may miss out on some great ideas from our customers. We would rather miss out on some of these ideas than to risk any potential future misunderstanding should Chick-fil-A develop or already have developed a product, service, or feature that may seem similar to a customer’s idea.
We hope you will understand the reasons for our policy. You can view our Unsolicited Ideas Policy at www.chick-fil-a.com/Legal (under Submissions) for more information on this issue. Beyond this policy, we gladly welcome customers’ feedback about their restaurant experiences.
We appreciate your family’s loyalty, and we look forward to serving you all at Chick-fil-A for many years to come. Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com
P.S. Please retain your ticket number. This will help us locate your information should you need us again.
So, of course I wrote back…
Date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: Chick-fil-A Response
To: Chick-fil-A CARES <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Any idea how I can get my idea solicited? I’m honestly not interested in monetary compensation, I just don’t want to spill my drinks. Has anyone run this by Mr. Cathy? He’s responded to my emails before, and I understand that he’s a shrewd business man as well as a great family man. I’m sure he wouldn’t want drinks spilling on anyone… and that he’d like to pick up a free idea.
Thanks once again for your time & help!
Wonder if I’ll get a reply? I just want a good cup holder.
Posted in Consumer Advocacy, Fast Food Fail, Food, Funny Stuff, I Need Your Feedback, Ideas, Inspiration, Letters, Life, Pittsburgh, Rants in my pants, W(aL)D
Tagged 8002084683, box, Breakfast, business, cardboard, Cheala, Chick-fil-A, Chick-fil-A at South Hills, Chick-fil-A Cares, Chick-fil-A South Hills, Chick-n-Minis™, Chicken Minis, email@example.com, container, crazy, Cup Holder, Dip & Squeeze, Drink, Drink Carrier, Drink Holder, drinks, EAT MOR CHIKIN!, Email, engineering, example, feet, field test, floor, floor mat, floor mats, Fruit Punch, Heinz, Heinz Ketchup, Heinz® Dip & Squeeze®, Hi-C, iced tea, idea, innovation, Ketchup, Letter, lid, manufacturer, PA, Pennsylvania, photo, photographs, Photos, physics, Pittsburgh, pocket knife, Religion and Spirituality, Response, Restaurant, South Hills, spill, spilling, sweet tea, table, Tea, test, trial, Truck, Wife
I plan to send this to Chick-fil-A, and we’ll see where it goes. I just realized, I’ve written about Chick-fil-A several times here before.
I have an idea for you. I realize that as a giant corporation you probably don’t accept unsolicited ideas, but please don’t let that stop you from considering this idea. I don’t expect monetary payment, maybe just free Chick-fil-A for life? (Maybe a limit to once a week?) Well, I guess I should present my idea before we start talking payment or barter.
This past Saturday I went to the Chick-fil-A in South Hills to grab some of those ridiculously delicious Chick-n-Minis™ for breakfast. I went into the store to order take-out so I could grab some mayo packets, ketchup, straws, & napkins at the little condiment station. I got two drinks because I was taking breakfast home to share with the wife. I opted for your highly addictive sweet tea, and the wife had a Hi-C Fruit Punch. The always courteous employees offered me a drink carrier, and I accepted. I thought it would make life easier on the ride home. I saw wrong.
I set the drink carrier on the floor of the passenger’s side of my truck. As I backed out of the space, it fell over on to the long side. Your drink lids are thankfully quite tight, but sadly not entirely waterproof. I leaned over and placed the carrier & drinks upright again, this time turning the drink holder 90 degrees the other way thinking I had outsmarted the laws of physics and that it would stay put. I could not have been more mistaken. As I turned up a hill to go out the back of the parking lot, it fell again. I believe I uttered something using vocabulary that you may not approve. At the stop sign, I had to pick up the cups and give up by putting them in the truck’s drink holders.
As I drove home trying not to think about the drops of Hi-C & iced tea soaking into my floor mats, I wondered if there was a better way. I certainly like your drink carriers much better than the egg-crate 4 space things that just let cups lean over all willy-nilly. I came to think that your drink carriers just need feet. I thought the feet may take some extra cardboard, and wondered i something could be done with the existing design.
At home, my thoughts were fueled by poultry protein. I pulled out my pocket knife and started cutting as my wife looked at me like I was a crazy person (as she does quite often). I explained what I was doing and why and she actually also thought it was a good idea.
You already have some nice sturdy cardboard. Two well-placed quarter-circle cuts & maybe even a fold mark in the middle of the carrier would create some nice sturdy feet or “wings” or your drink carrier box without the need for a complete redesign or any additional material. I tested it by trying to rock the mostly empty drinks back & forth on the kitchen table. We had no spills. I am willing to try some field tests if you’d like to move forward with this idea. My truck’s floor mats can handle it. Perhaps I can even use water instead of red & brown sugary liquids.
I’m sure we could talk to your box people & find out if this is doable for a reasonable price. I think it will be as important & innovative as the new Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® packets! I have some photos attached that I’m sure you will agree are quite illustrative of my design ideas. Sadly, my pocket knife is a cheap dull one, so the cut looks more like a rip. I believe you’ll see my intent though.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and am excited at the opportunity that lays before us. It would be my pleasure to help make this dream a reality!
Eat Mor Chikin!
And the attached photos:
Chick-fil-A – Modified Drink Holder (3)
Chick-fil-A – Modified Drink Holder (2)
Chick-fil-A – Modified Drink Holder (1)
So, there we have it. I mean, most of my letters are plain goofy, and this has a goofy tone, but really… don’t you think this would work? Now, we wait for a response.
Posted in Consumer Advocacy, Fast Food Fail, Food, Funny Stuff, Geek, Goofy News, I Need Your Feedback, Ideas, Inspiration, Letters, Life, Pittsburgh, Technology
Tagged box, Breakfast, business, cardboard, Chick-fil-A, Chick-fil-A at South Hills, Chick-fil-A South Hills, Chick-n-Minis™, Chicken Minis, container, crazy, Cup Holder, Dip & Squeeze, Drink, Drink Carrier, Drink Holder, drinks, EAT MOR CHIKIN!, engineering, example, feet, field test, floor, floor mat, floor mats, Fruit Punch, Heinz, Heinz Ketchup, Heinz® Dip & Squeeze®, Hi-C, iced tea, idea, innovation, Ketchup, lid, manufacturer, PA, Pennsylvania, photo, photographs, Photos, physics, Pittsburgh, pocket knife, Religion and Spirituality, Restaurant, South Hills, spill, sweet tea, table, Tea, test, trial, Truck, Wife