Man......what happened to young guitar players who give a crap???

I Transcribed the Alex Lifeson intro from Farewell to Kings. I’ll be posting a video of myself playing it very soon.

Note: If you don’t know, Alex Lifeson is the guitar player from Rush.

Of course most people would agree that this intro is beautiful and is an example of wonderful guitar playing. Hell….I could play it for my mom and she’d probably say she likes it and that this player is really good.

As I learned the parts I came to wonder how old he was when he recorded this. Turns out he was 23 maybe 24 years old. And I’m sitting there going……wtf? Nowadays there’s no guitar player in their early 20s who will churn out something like this. Older players????…..yes for sure.

But young players actually giving a crap about good guitar playing? A rarity nowadays. Keep in mind that Farewell to Kings was Rush’s 5th album too.

The Artform of guitar with Joe Bonamassa

I love Joe Bonamassa for many reasons. Man…..he’s not afraid to give his opinion regardless of whether you agree or not.

Last week he wrote an article called, “When did the Electric Guitar become such a pariah?”.

He gave a brief history of the electric guitar and how it evolved since 1939.

But then talks about today where electric guitar is marginalized by live sound engineers & stage managers who insist there is little to no stage volume at all.

He believes the growth of use of In Ear Monitors has caused this and that the artists should contribute to the “greater good” of reducing stage volume.

Long story short, Joe believe there needs to be some volume when it comes to electric guitar. That is part of the artform. The guitar sounds we love come from amps being pushed and doing some of that heavy lifting.

But the guitar player needs to play to the gig, volume and amp appropriate. For example no sense in bringing 6 roaring amps to a small room of just 50 people. Joe states that guitar players shouldn’t change what they do in order to fulfill someone’s engineering and audio fantasy.

His article has been interpreted many different ways. But I will say I agree with him in that somehow the electric guitar has become this quiet accompaniment instrument much like a tambourine. Or its used as a sound fx generator.

And the amplifier is part of the instrument. Its not separate, but an important part. In other words just like a good player has to know where to put their fingers, how to play chords, rhythm, solos, etc……they must also know how to use their amps.

Lastly I’ll give you an example….I saw Carl Verheyen at the Baked Potato. Its a very tiny room, and my fiancee and I sat in the very front. Carl has four amplifiers on stage with 3 speaker cabinets. Man I’m sitting about 15 to 20 feet from his rig. My ears should be pummeled. Yet……my ears didn’t get fatigued. Yes it was loud, but not that loud. And oohhhhhh man was it dynamic. Holy Moly….from nearly whisper soft playing to full on Rock!

Good players know how to use their amps to great effect. Its part of the artform.

Link to Joe’s article here:

https://guitar.com/features/opinion-analysis/joe-bonamassa-playing-loud/

play to the room.....because those musicians are hurting our ears!

Hey I hope your days is going well. Have you ever seen a live band where it was just toooo fucking loud. Yeah I like my Rock music loud, but is there such a thing as too loud? Well….I at least think so.

There was this one time where I went to a local club here called The Mint. The band had 1 guitar player and 1 bass player, and 1 drummer. This drummer used to play drums for Porno for Pyros. All heavy rock, no singing. Cool I’m down with that. In fact the music wasn’t really that bad….they had a good groove going on.

And yet after about 10-15 minutes I’d had enough. They were way louder than the previous band who was already loud. Now wait….I like my music loud. But what was going on that I just had to shrug my shoulders and leave.

I hung outside for a bit and started talking to some dude who also didn’t want to be inside. He told me that the problem with the band is that the drummer, who is probably used to playing in big arenas and stadiums, is still playing like he is in a stadium. He is beating the crap out of the drums and doesn’t seem to realize he is in a smaller venue.

Ohhhhhhhh…..it made sense. He is blasting away and therefore the guitar players are pushing the volume of their full stacks up higher and higher. It was so loud that it was just fatiguing and kinda dull.

So sometimes bands/musicians really need to play to the room. If its a tiny little club, there’s no need to bash hard on the drums because it just won’t sound right in a tiny room. Same with guitars……if you have a full stack and crank it up in a small place….it just doesn’t translate as well. Crank it up in a stadium and things translate much better.

I mean…..imagine a bass player up on stage pointing to someone in the audience who is really far away as if they are playing a large arena…..yet there is only a crowd of 20 people in a tiny club. Yeah I’ve seen that and doesn’t translate well.

This doesn’t mean Rock music should be soft….it means the band needs to play to the room. If you can’t figure out why a band just doesn’t sound good even though they are playing loud rock….its because they don’t understand they need to play and perform to the room.

Freeze Dried Entertainment...

That’s what Zappa called the modern music industry at that time. The pre-packaged, rigid formatted & marketed entertainment.

Funny how not much has changed in the 30 years since Zappa made a comment like that.

And yet despite offering what the music industry didn’t care for, he grossed over 1 million dollars in mail orders. Even back then, there were still people who wanted real music, real talent, real creativity.

Although it seems the masses of people prefer freeze dried entertainment, there is still a large group of us who want music the way its always been. Original, real, risky & unique.

It is my firm belief that if today’s popular music keeps going on with rigid, unoriginal & freeze dried formats, its only a matter of time before lines of computer code will do the work. Yup…..that’s a lot of people in the production line who will be out of work.

Best to be more human, take the risk,.

If you’re reading this, then you already know. Best to avoid Freeze-Dried entertainment. Its bad for your health.

Not into Pop or Hip-Hop....you're irrelevant.

Well as far as today’s modern music industry is concerned….yes, what I do as Saint Luminus is irrelevant.

This also means if you like music which is NOT Pop or Hip Hop, the modern music business also considers you irrelevant. They don’t feel your music tastes matter, and are more than happy to ignore you for the “cool kids.”

This means new music in genres you like will only get on your radar through social media, e-mail, and word of mouth.

But this works both ways…..as far we who like music other than Pop/Hip-Hop are concerned, the modern music industry is irrelevant. We don’t care and don’t need them to find the music we like. We get to choose who we listen to, when and where we listen. The music business can no longer dictate what we should be listening to.

Give them the finger, and tell them to shove it up their ass. People like us choose to listen to something which they don’t offer.

Can Artificial Intelligence become "Artistic"?

The first time I ever heard music created by Artificial Intelligence (AI), it wasn’t that good. Its definitely not something you would pick up and joyfully listen to. But you could hear it trying to be musical. In that case its influence was the Beatles amongst other recordings.

Yet I couldn’t help but feel that this is sort of technology is only going to improve.

Enter Relentless Doppelganger, a 24/7 Youtube Live stream churning out original death metal music generated completely by algorithms. In fact the team behind this has used the technology to generate 10 albums. Its all the work of music technologists CJ Carr and Zack Zukowski.

In their scientific paper they state, “Creating music can be as simple as specifying a set of music influences on which a model trains.”

In the case of this Youtube Stream I just mentioned, the model trained on real musical samples from a Canadian Death Metal band named Archspire. The music samples are fed through the neural network so it can try and create realistic imitations. The more data it gets, the more like its source material it becomes.

Now after a lot of testing, it just so happens that they have some success with Death Metal here. Other music genres fell apart.

From the Youtube description it says, “Read more about our research into eliminating humans from Metal.” Ha! I have a feeling they are only half joking.

So here is the deal, I think this is barely even the beginning. As more and more bands and artists try to imitate other artists and create more music commodities rather than take a risk and make original art, eventually lines of computer code will generate the music. Why would a label spend money on an artist or band when computer code can generate tons and tons of songs ad infinitum, therefore generating tons of revenue. I mean its all about streaming numbers nowadays with the music business.

Further, as long as people who listen to music don’t care about the quality of the music nor want something different, expressive and more human than ever before, I think AI generated music will become the norm. In fact I do see AI generated music becoming pop hits.

I also believe there is plenty of room for music made by real people, but musicians and artists need to stop copying formulas dictated by fads & trends. And the producers and engineers of music need to be more adventurous in how they put together recordings. AI will churn it out much faster and in greater quantity. And people who love music need to demand more from bands, artists, and music producers. They need to demand something new, different, exciting, and much more human like it used to be.

This means I need to take more risks in the music making, and continue to challenge new ground, and continue to be me. Faults and all. Because no computer code can become me. Look, if I just write songs which sound a lot like (Insert name of band/guitar player), its only a matter of time before AI does it.

P.S. Indeed you may say that Death Metal is not real music, not really art. And that may be, but once something like AI generated music has been invented, it won’t be uninvented. It will improve, because the masses of people don’t care about the humans making the music as much as they care about consuming mass quantities of music at their fingertips. Will it matter much that its generated from computer code if it sounds like all of the rest anyway?

Still dreaming......but I'm still living in reality.

I still dream about being in space. What would it be like to live in Space? What would it be like to live far far from the Earth. So far that you can’t even see it anymore?

What would it be like to listen to music in space while viewing a nearby Galaxy up close? What would it be like to make music with this kind of view and this kind of life?

I’m just happy I still have dreams. Dreams which haven’t been crushed out of me by society. Our dreams are always there if we choose to let them out.

Why everyone....yes even you reading this.....should learn how to code.

I don’t code for a living. I started doing some simple coding in middle school and in college I discovered I was quite good at it. But I was horrified at the thought of doing it for a living. Hell no.

So after reading many online comments from people over the years, watching news media, and listening to news media, and listening to conversations with people……… there’s a problem.

Now you may think knowing even the basics of computer coding is not important for your life nor is it even important for your job. I’d say you’re wrong. You may not know it, but your whole life is surrounded by computer code……you just don’t know it.

Your car? Yeah its computer code controlling many of its functions unless you drive a very very very old car. Microwave? The computer or mobile device you are reading this on? Social media, e-mail….Yup….lines and lines of computer code.

The reason why you should know some coding is not so you can do coding for a living nor even a hobby, its so you can understand the world around you a bit better. And even more important to understand what’s bullshit and how things actually work. I find it quite exciting to know how things are working underneath….even if its just the basics.

Remember Y2K?? I shook my head during all of 1999 at how many people were driven into a panic and how news media continued to misinform people. Meanwhile those of us who were geeky enough to know some coding just sat there and said…..”This is impossible! This isn’t how computers and coding actually work.” NO I wasn’t worried about Y2K and just went about and enjoyed my New Year’s Eve.

Today? “Smart” people are busy looking at specs such as how fast is the processor in the latest tech gadget? Is it using the latest processor? What about the latest TVs? Yep…..they use processors and there is computer coding going on. But quality of the coding is what really matters…….the human aspect…….the coding skill level of the person writing the code. That’s what matters.

See….if you understood coding, you would be able to tell when a salesperson is feeding you bullshit when trying to sell you a product. You would at last have a basic understanding of how things work. You could also help yourself when you have problems and need tech support. Because at least you could talk intelligently to a support person. And also know whether that person on the phone knows what the Hell they are talking about.

If you have children…..they NEED to learn how to code. Even if they don’t do it for a living. Yeah……I think knowing how to code is just as important as learning how to read and write.

Dig in…..it will be worth it. Promise.

Get your act together, Lexicon, Eventide, Korg, Roland all did it better than you.

As I look at the good digital products of yesterday, I’m just completely stunned at the amount of options and tweaking available back then. I mean a digital delay with a Send and Return to allow you to insert another effect in the feedback loop. Geez…….that was the 80’s.

Only a couple of today’s products do that and nowadays people are looking at that like….whoa! That’s cool. HELLOOOOOOO! This is a 30+ year old idea.

Well known guitarist Scott Henderson uses an old Boss Se-70 half rack unit for his live rig. I decided to look it up. I was stunned to see all of the possibilities in that little old box. Things that 99% of today’s pedals can’t even come close to doing. Maybe the Axe-FX, which is not a pedal, can do it. Good on them.

Seriously…..if you are a music maker today and you are drooling over the latest and greatest products…..save yourself some money at look at yesterday’s products. They truly did it much better than today’s manufacturers.

20+ years later, the gear of the past still beats the computer models of today.

Yesterday I spent about 3 hours really digging into my Lexicon PCM 81. This is a multi effects box made in 1997. And check this out…..the main processor on board clocks in at 33MHz maximum. Who knows if Lexicon clocked it that high, but still…..a 33MHz processor. The processor in your phone is beefier and faster.

I was programming an effect for lead guitar and another for my clean guitar tones. As I dialed things in, the sounds just started to come alive. They were really good. At first it was comparable to any of today’s modern guitar gear or plugins. But then as I dug in harder and experimented…..that’s when I discovered not only the power behind this little box, but the sounds which were coming forth. As in…..whoah!…….no single pedal or plugin that I know of will give you this kind of sound.

This is because today’s music gear and plugin industry is interested in emulating the gear of the past rather than leaving an open platform for the user to tweak and create their own type of sound. Plus the way this Lexicon was designed is something truly different.

There is no pedal or plugin which has a diffusion parameter shared by delays as well as a Reverb. Note: if you are a big time nerd with effects, you know what I’m talking about in this sentence.

And the amount of control I had over the parameters is insane. Today’s pedals and plugins don’t give that kind of control over parameters in order to create wonderful and beautiful sounds.

After 3 hours, I had barely scratched the surface. And I was using 1 of 17 different algorithms.

So I was left thinking how a 20+ year old box offers more flexibility, more creative possibilities, gorgeous sounds, and sounds which currently can’t be produced by today’s modern gear. How is it that a 33MHz processor beats the crap out of today’s modern equipment with GHz processors?

My guess is that old gear is hard to understand, too much work, and doesn’t have USB and Thunderbolt connections nor a software interface for which you dial things in with your mouse. Today’s users want a billion options, with a billion more presets even if they are lower quality. They don’t want to create an unusual flange, they want different flavors of an average flange. Today’s manufacturers give ease of use, every option under the sun with the latest and greatest processors. The quality and innovation is less…..but hey……that’s what the market seems to want.

You may think you are hip and knowledgeable because you know the latest processors and speeds available. And if the product has the latest and fastest…..clearly it has to be good. Ask yourself a better question, how is the coding? How good is the programmer? You can have the fastest processor out there, if the coder stinks, the product stinks. I’ll take a brilliant artist of a coder using a 33MHz platform than an average coder just doing their job on the latest processor.

Lastly consider this…….this Lexicon box made in 1997 can be had for $500 to $700 dollars today. Will today’s latest product still have a high dollar value in 20 years or find a place in a trash bin. Time will tell.

Most on the internet have no clue what they’re doing

We now live in an era of abundant information. I mean ask yourself a question, type it in to Google and get answers. This is terrific and truly game changing I feel.

However I’m going to be real here. Most people commenting and giving advice out there have no idea what they’re doing. Yet talk with great assertiveness and confidence. As they saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know”

For example, the Roland SRV 3030 Reverb is an interesting product, but I’ve never actually used it. Most people commenting on message boards say it is lame, ugly sounding, boring, and sterile.  

Come to find out that most of these people simply scrolled through presets hoping to find magic. Magic which never pays off. Therefore the unit sucks. However one smart person asked a simple question, “ummm….are you sure you are using it correctly?”

What a great question. Does the product sound bad because you aren’t willing to spend the time to learn how to use it? For example, if you are using this Roland SRV 3030 Reverb on an Aux Send, did you check to see that the unit is set for 100% wet? Because if its not…..things won’t sound that great, you’ll have phasing issues.

If you don’t know that last paragraph is about, that’s cool. But the people working as engineers and producers in music ought to know better.

What about guitar pedals? Oh man. So obsessed with the sound of the pedal they’re not even listening to their own playing. If you’re guitar stinks, and your playing stinks, don’t expect the pedal to output something nice. Oh oh.... and one nice preset doesn’t apply everywhere. What sounds good on clean sparse chords won’t work on heavy strumming or distortion 

And yet………people who don’t know what they are doing post and post with the assurance that one particular product or service is band, and another is good.

So yes……lots of information to be shared today. Awesome. But realize most people truly don’t know what they’re doing.

Today's latest and greatest products still won't get you to sound like your favorite artist

And its simple…….you can’t beat the creativity and resourcefulness of artists who take their stuff seriously.

Thinking you can get a canned “preset” every time of your favorite player just won’t happen even with today’s “high tech” products.

Let’s take for example a product called the Axe FX III. Man people are touting this as a technological marvel. 1000s of different guitar sounds from different amp manufacturers, nearly unlimited routing of effects and outputs….etc etc etc. Essentially plug in our guitar, get the sound of some famous player or amp.

How about this simple scenario. David Gilmour’s recording of the Wall Pt. 2 solo. It was done with a Les Paul. The Les Paul was plugged straight into the Neve Console in the studio. It was gated and compressed. Which compressor? Who knows?.

David thought there wasn’t enough meat in the solo, so the engineers re-amped his solo and sent the recording into a Fender or Mesa Boogie amplifier and mic’ed that up and recorded that. Then the mix engineer mixed both the amp sound and his direct sound to taste.

The Les Paul had P-90 pickups which have a certain sound. Very few guitars out there use this pickup. The Axe FX can’t emulate those pickups nor can it turn a crappy as $99 electric guitar into a Les Paul with those pickups. Further, the Neve console which David plugged into already has its own sound. Plug into a different board, you’ll get a slightly different tone. The compressor? Compressors have different sounds. Some don’t color the tone much others do. And the coloration depends on the settings.

The sound of the guitar amp changes depending on the setting of the amp, the speaker cabinet used, the type of mic, its position, and the Neve board gives its own sound.

Don’t forget, these two different guitar sounds were then mixed to taste.

You think your fancy $2k + fancy guitar product is going to emulate that kind of creativity and work? Nah…..no way. You can get sounds that are reasonably similar, but these fancy guitar products aren’t making your Ibanez $99 special suddenly sound like a Les Paul with P-90s. Forget about the rest.

Btw, have I ever used and listened to a Neve console in a studio? Yes I have. Yup I used the knobs to carve out a tone. It was mind blowing because for the first time I heard what real professional products do rather than consumer products.

I experiment with crazy stuff all of the time to get unique and interesting sounds. There’s no preset for that, just gotta have the passion.

Note: This doesn’t mean I think the Axe FX is a bad product. But I’m realistic and know enough to know its not for me.

Are today's music engineers/producers literally Photoshopping music

Well known Youtube, Rick Beato, had a great Youtube Livestream called, “Perfect is the enemy of good”.

If you don’t know Rick, he is a producer/engineer who has worked with some pretty big artists in the music world.

Just the title of his video alone is something I agree with completely. What I didn’t expect was his rant on how today’s engineers and producers are putting out music. He ranted about how the guitar players in today’s heavy metal bands do like 50 takes just for a guitar part, and it sounds like it too.

In fact I haven’t heard anything in the world of Metal that I like. It all really sounds the same and the production just has a certain something about it I don’t like. Well Rick explained it exactly!

Today’s engineers and producers are making songs so incredibly perfect that there is no longer anything good nor human about it anymore. Its crazy. He likened it to pictures on Instagram. Where the influencer takes numerous shots again and again until they’ve taken the perfect shot, or the photographer has taken the perfect shot, and then they go in touch it up through Photoshop until its the perfect picture to be posted.

Music is doing the same thing. Take after take after take after take, and then jumping into their Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and lining it up with grid even more perfectly.

He called it Photoshopping music, and I think that’s an apt description. Everything is so perfectly edited and covered with technology that even guitars don’t sound like real guitars played by a person anymore. This isn’t good.

A marketing guru I follow also points out in the business and marketing world that focusing on absolute perfection is not art. Perfectly straight lines and smoothed edges is not creative nor artful.

Now you may say that not all of today’s music is that bad. Look I know there is some good new stuff out there, but what the majority of the engineers and producers are doing is taking the humanness out of it in order to churn out song after song after song. This is not good because if the music creation business won’t be artful and creative, then its something which can easily and eventually done with computer code.

Sad.

We need more imperfection and more humanness in our music. And I intend on continuing to deliver that.

Why its so hard to Youtube old music gear like rack units.

I’m a fan of old rack gear. Most people playing guitar buy all the new pedals, and yet I use my rack gear daily.  

On YouTube nearly every guitar tutorial & demo is using pedals or plugins. See, on YouTube it’s much easier to film plugins because you can do a simple screencast. The viewer gets to hear your sounds while watching you mouse around you on a fancy interface.  

Pedals? Easy. Stick a camera overhead and watch that person’s fingers tweak. All the buttons are in front easy to see for a video. 

Typical Rack gear have a small screen and there will be some menu diving. Not only that, but the really good stuff has tons of parameters. My simple Lexicon MPX-1 reverb has 12 different parameters to adjust. It’s a lot to digest, and even harder to see on a small screen.  Let’s face it, in this day of immediate gratification from the internet, viewer don’t have the patience to watch someone go back and forth through 12 different parameters and menu diving. Its old so there is no Software interface I can install. Note: There is some software from a 3rd party, but I’d have to pony up big money………and I don’t even know how well it would work.

So even a simple Google Search of guitar effects will show tons of videos about the latest pedals and perhaps plugins.

Don’t let Google or Youtube (Which are the same company btw) fool you. There is some really great FX out there which are 20+ year old but don’t get any love. Unless it is brand new, has 2 or 3 knobs to turn & has the latest and greatest hardware specs and features, hardly anybody talks about it.

I may do videos showing I use some of my gear, but I gotta tell you it would be a lot of video work to do so because I’m not using a simple pedal nor using plugins. Its much more difficult to video rack gear and even harder if I’m using two piece of rack gear and mixing them together.

Waiting for trains which never come

Man…..the internet has seriously changed everything.

I’m sitting here reading posts from friends both musical and non-musical people. So many of them are just waiting for that special something to happen. For example they’re waiting to be popular, or waiting to play on the big stages. Or waiting for something to be delivered to them. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

It made me think of someone waiting for a train which isn’t coming. Meanwhile I’m working hard to get on a train which will lead me to where I want to go. The previous is much easier, the latter is a lot more work.

The internet changed it all. Its pointless to wait. You can pick yourself and just do. There’s no waiting for an authority to pick you.

And as some of you can tell, the music business isn’t going to deliver new music for you which you really dig. They aren’t going to deliver the next band/aritst with timeless music. Nope. You will have to go find that yourself, and so will I.

Yeah its more work, but no sense sitting and waiting for that train which will never show.

Am I the only one who looooves a lo-fi sound of old music?

Oh man……there is just really something amazing & emotional about the sound of old music. The bandwidth is narrow, it warbles, has no big bottom end….no crispness of high notes. It just has an old fashioned sound if you will. And yet…..it brings such an emotional experience to my ears to hear it.

And its not that I love old music, its the old production values which really work for me. This is why I’ve been loving the sound of old Tape Emulations. There are plugins as well as hardware products which make things sound like they are running on old tape machine or old vinyl. So even brand new modern music can still have this old fashioned lo-fi vibe.

Dammit I love it! It can bring me to my knees sometimes.

Here is an example from my latest EP. The song is called, Sudden Recollection. It is completely drenched in tape emulation goodness so you can really hear what I’m talking about. If you’re on Spotify, tap/click below:

https://open.spotify.com/track/2b9TJk4h7jInOuHvgbogKR?si=E9buSIXcTumjlbKCQGT4eg

Small victories still matter

Today I’m releasing a cover video of Yesterday from the Beatles. More importantly its a chord melody version so I’m not singing, but the guitar is playing both the vocal part and the chord changes at the same time.

This video is actually a celebration, a celebration of how things have changed for me as a guitar player. See, there was a time where I could not play this song due to an overuse hand/arm injury. I could barely get the intro to sound good. This was the easiest song to play out of all of the Beatles sheet music I had, and I just wasn’t able to play it nor make it sound that good. My injuries were just too great.

I put the book away in disappointment and disgust. I mean….I dedicated most of my adult life to the guitar, and I couldn’t even play a simple Beatles tune here.

Now as some of you may know, I found a guitar guru and relearned how to play guitar again from scratch. And things have gone quite well over the last few years. I’ve bee playing better than I ever have.

Lo and behold I saw the Beatles sheet music in my stash of music and I said, “Fuck it!” Let’s see if I can play this nowadays.

OMG! Blown away within minutes at how easy it was to play and to get this to sound pretty good. No not perfect, but it wasn’t painful to play, and the notes just rolled into one another in a very musical fashion. I almost literally cried.

I practiced my ass off and added some fun parts to the song. After I finished recording the video here, I felt it was a true celebration and accomplishment no matter how small. I mean……as far as most people who will watch the video, its just some guy playing Yesterday in a different manner adding his own unique touch to it.

But now you know, there is a lot more behind this story. Tap/Click on over to watch & listen. I hope your ears enjoy this journey.

YESTERDAY VIDEO —-> https://youtu.be/gVtA4H19LEo

The problem with open mindedness.....

Yeah I’m in music, and in the arts 99.999% of the people are progressive. We love exploring new things. We love being open minded..

Just one problem. The things which used to be delightfully wicked are now hum drum and dull. :)

No really. I loved Heavy Metal back in the day because the topics were so opposite of Pop music, the themes and arrangements were just wild, rebellious, and fresh. We all dug in hard with everything we had.

And it was awesome because you had people saying it was the work of the devil, oh and do you remember there were secret messages in the songs if you played them backwards. Ummm…..yeah.

Yet nowadays if a band/artist has an album cover of something evil or satanic, I’ll probably yawn. Heavy guitar with heavy screaming? Yeah I’ll probably still yawn.

Don’t even get me started with pop music and its forms of “rebellion”.

Many of us were open to the new, the different, the wicked. But those very same things are just kind of……well……lame nowadays. And most people in entertainment are just rehashing these ideas

Hahahaha, that’s what we get for being open minded. Shame on you! Now go close your mind. :)

Note: Yes that last line is sarcasm. Sad I even have to mention this. Have a sense of humor people.

Think they don't make music like they used to? They don't make the products like they used to

Yesterday there was so much hoopla in the guitar world about a new Reverb Pedal. Influencers received the pedal and had videos of themselves playing the pedal and today the retail distributors are showing their videos on the pedal.

The pedal is called the Slo Reverb from Walrus Audio. I had to read up on it because so many people were making such a big deal. I read about it and thought…….that’s it? Ummmmm, I can pretty much create a lot of those sounds with a 20 year old piece of rack gear.

So I set about creating the Slo Reverb’s Dark algorithm. Basically a Reverb with a -1 Octave pitch shifter fed into it.

Easily done on the MPX-1. (Remember this is a 20 year old product). There’s some differences in the reverb itself. Lexicon has a certain sound, and Walrus Audio has developed their own sound for a verb. Which is better is really up to each person.

Granted there are some things the Walrus can do that my Lexicon can’t such as modulation of the Reverb tail and selecting which waveform does the modulation. If that’s really important to you, then the MPX-1 won’t deliver.

But my Lexicon has way more Reverb parameters to mold and sculpt the Reverb’s texture. I also connected a footswitch which allows me to pitchshift up +1 Octave if I so choose. So I’m not limited to just one choice. And I added an Autopanner to give some movement to the Reverb Tail. Fine……the Slo Reverb has tail modulation, I have an Autopanner with a waveshaped LFO modulating the panning.

So does my Lexicon sound exactly like the Slo Reverb? NO it doesn’t. But can I create something quite similar with added features and more control over the sound? Yeah.

Oh…..and the Lexicon has 250 presets of many different sounds and textures. Not just Reverb.

Oh and a used MPX-1 can be had for much less than the Slo Reverb.

Let’s see….more power and options in sculpting sounds, more user flexibility, midi and footswitch & expression pedal control over parameters, plus even more effects on tap for different presets.

Look….if you listen to the Slo Reverb and you love THAT particular sound and a different shade of grey just won’t do, then you buy this Slo Reverb. Don’t get me wrong, its got a nice sound.

But man…….a 20 year old product which costs less has more power and more flexibility than a newly released pedal. I don’t know what to say about today’s music gear manufacturers. But for the most part they are building new stuff which can be made with decades old technology. Yeah some of them add a neat little twist which can’t be had by an old piece of rack gear like the MPX-1, but……20 years to add that twist???

It seems product designers did it much better back then and allowed the users to use their imagination in creating new and exciting sounds.

Note: I have nothing against Walrus Audio, they just happened to release a pedal with a bunch of hoopla from influencers and distributors, so I wanted to see what it was about.

And in the end, there's no such thing as wrong notes

Nope, the problem will always ultimately lie in the wrong mindset. The wrong headspace.

This came to mind todays as I was coming up with music in my head, and suddenly to throw out the convention of playing in a major key and played all of these chromatic notes for a bit. Whether it sounds good to another person or not didn’t really matter at that moment. It was just liberating to say, “Oh fuck it!” in that brief moment and throw in this stuff that’s always been there, but I wouldn’t normally play.

And that’s because I took a different if not rebellious mindset in the moment. Its a good reminder to do it more often, btw.