sticking-that-landing

A New Kind of Flying

Once more for the record, I’m an adrenaline addict. No talking my way around that, either – it’s a fact. I jumped out of planes for years, my most brutal injuries have been willingly self-inflicted, and the feeling of calm and peace after huge adrenaline surges is one of my most favoritest feelings in the world. Ever. I love flying through the air more than standing on the ground.  Despite the risks.

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New Crazymakers Single – “Still Keep Coming Back”

Y’all.  We’ve got a brand new single/video for ya today! “Still Keep Coming Back” was one of the first songs we worked up for the Crazymakers recording sessions last year, and it’s still one of my favorites to play.  The video shoot for this one was a hoot – we spent all day in a
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New Crazymakers Live Track - Just Can't Get Enough

New Crazymakers Live Track – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Fresh music today – a live video take of a previously unreleased track, “Just Can’t Get Enough”.  Cause sometimes you just can’t.

The song was recorded a few months back at the Ojai Underground Exchange. My bass tone is my beloved Fender Jazz 5 with a little Darkglass B7K Ultra fuzz/distortion inserted firmly into an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500. Tight, low, and a little bit crunchy, I was dialin’ for something like dub/reggae after a hot-box session. 🙂

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unchained-melody

New Crazymakers Single – “Unchained Melody”

Aw, yeah.  A beautiful re-imagining of an old classic you might remember. Iggy sings her heart dry on this one, and it’s a contender for my favorite of the 18 tracks I worked on in the studio with the lovely Crazymakers last year.

That said – to give major props where props are due – the bass tracks on this cut are, I believe, from the original demo and come from the amazingly talented instrumentalist/producer/etc David Franz (and fit beautifully alongside his wonderfully understated drum tracks).  I’ll be pleased to play it for ya live, natch.

Enjoy and spread the joy, my lovelies…

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Don Broco - Technology

Don Broco: Next-Gen Rock

I don’t usually pimp my listening habits here, but this is a special case.  About a year ago, I was pointed at a Bedford, UK band named Don Broco by two industry friends, independently – and that’s usually a big flare in the sky for me that something’s building up.  And holy shit, were they on it early.  Over recent years, rock music in particular has suffered from a severe drought in originality, and I’ve found myself shifting over to listening to more hip-hop, soul, funk, and electronic music in all it’s varieties.  But this band – holy shit.  They’ve found a way to pull much of these diverse genres into one cohesive, unique, individual sound. Their music has a bit of it all- heavy detuned riffs, ethereal electronic pads, a variety of vocal styles, slamming grooves, great lyrics, just a stellar package all around. I haven’t been able to put down their earlier stuff for a while… […]

Iggy T and the Crazymakers: All Caught Up

New Crazymakers Single – “All Caught Up”

Although the EP has been out for a few months now to great reviews, the Crazymakers just released the first official single/music video from our upcoming full-length album  – the first of three videos shot over the holiday season.  I really dig this song’s groove and feel, and Iggy’s lyrics and vocals really seal the deal for me.  Click thru for the video – hope you enjoy watching and listening to it as much as we did making it. If you dig it, we’d be truly honored if you share amongst your friends and family – help us spread the love!

You can also get more info and download the entire EP from our website at iggytandthecrazymakers.com, of course. Keep posted for gig updates and new tracks/videos – much to come in the next few months, for sure.

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Musicians and Road Warriors

Musicians and Road Warriors

It’s easy to fall victim to the stereotypes of the working musician – for both the musician and fan alike. A life of public adulation, excess, and grandiosity (is that a word?). The exquisitely tortured artistes extracting beauty from life’s poignant moments all gypsified and moving nomadically from town to town. But the reality of a career in the creative segment is more blunt, and there’s entire curriculums of required knowledge they didn’t teach me in music school. The kind you have to skin your knees and bloody your nose to learn. The dirty secret of the game is that it’s not good enough to be a talented musician or artist- you gotta be a warrior in both practice and spirit if you wanna live the life longer than a year or two.

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becoming a single dad

Becoming a Single Dad

For the first 8 years of my son’s life, I was the breadwinner. The provider. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a dedicated and loving father, but we’d always split the duties of Devin’s parenthood right down the middle with virtually no overlap. My wife was a full-time mother, maintained the home base, and took care of our household and family matters, I hunted and gathered to fill the coffers, pay the bills, and put a roof over our head and food on the tables. For quite a while we were both happy with this split of duties and responsibilities. It’s what we’d thought we both wanted. But it wasn’t- and took a heavy toll on our relationship over time.

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The Thomas Fires in Ventura - sky view on Tuesday

The Thomas Fires

We’d had spotty electricity all day due to an automobile accident up the street taking out a power line, so when the lights started flickering back on and off Monday evening my son and I figured maintenance was still in progress. The sound of helicopters in the distance were a bit non-standard, but we still tucked in and went to sleep anyway – not knowing that the Thomas fires now ravaging the area were the new reason for the outages. It wasn’t until the sun peeked up and shone a blood-red glow into my bedroom that I realized things had gone seriously sideways while we slumbered.

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6 tips to boost your productivity

6 Habits Guaranteed to Boost Your Productivity

I was a really disorganized kid. My room looked like a war zone, my internal clock was always about 30 minutes late, and my life was a series of minor emergencies strung together by random chance. I spent so much time trying to keep up with my day-to-day responsibilities that my bigger life goals seemed completely out of reach.

By the time I hit my twenties, the frustration of always feeling behind and overworked reached a breaking point, so I started searching for a solution. What I found were countless productivity philosophies and tools that promised to organize my life.

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Use 3rd Party Drum Plugins with the Ableton Push Controller

Using 3rd Party Drum Plugins with Ableton Push

The Ableton Push is a super-flexible songwriting tool and its Drum sequencer view is particularly helpful for building out beats quickly. But when you add a third-party drum plug-in to a MIDI track, Push only gives you its general melodic keyboard interface, not the super-handy Push drum pad and sequencing interface. If you want to use a third-party drum module like NI’s Battery or Toontrack’s Superior Drummer with Push’s drum-programming interface, you’ll need to follow a few simple, but often-overlooked steps.

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Jesse climbing

Remembering Jesse

Today would have been my nephew Jesse’s birthday.  We lost him due to still-undetermined medical reasons in his sleep, late last year.  The unexplained cause of his death makes it all the more unsettling, unresolved.  I’ve had to process a lot of loss over the last few years but Jesse’s death may have been the final straw, bringing me lower than I’ve been in decades.  I write to heal, and this is no exception. However, I’m writing this a few days earlier and scheduling it, as my hopes are to be somewhere along the coast with Devin at sunset to wish Jesse a happy birthday by the ocean he loved so much.

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taking a drum break

Musical cross-training

If there’s one title that should be on my gravestone, it’s ‘bassist’.  I know this, it’s the foundation of who I am.  But I’ve got to admit a dirty secret – being relegated to 4 (or more commonly, 5) strings isn’t enough to quell my need to learn.  Musical cross-training is my new jam.  And I’m not sure I can stop.

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Equinox

I woke up suddenly around 3:30am this morning.  It wasn’t just a minor stirring amidst the sheets, a quick mid-sleep water break or dazed round-trip to the bathroom.  My eyes came fully open and my head was clear, although my thoughts were anything but.  I’d gone to bed early after my Sunday rehearsal and a quick dinner. However, despite pleasant company throughout I felt unsettled and withdrawn the whole evening, and not in a particularly social mood.  Some words I’d spoken still hung in my ears:

“I feel like a stone in the eye of a tornado.  Like I’m barely holding onto balance while everything around me goes crazy. And I mean batshit crazy.”

At that moment, I hadn’t made any connections between that phrase to any other particular event or circumstance. There’s been an awful lot on my mind over the last couple years, and I know at times things have seemed a little scattered. It’s been sometimes hard to put a finger on exactly which brush fires are causing me the most heat, generally speaking. But when I looked at the calendar again things started to come more into focus.

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5 business skills beyond the degree

5 Business Skills You Need – Beyond the Degree

Is a traditional college degree enough to compete in today’s workforce? A recent Today.com article suggests that potential employers aren’t just looking for targeted skills. They want a broad set of skills that reach beyond your job-specific role into business, analytical, and interpersonal areas. Being an expert in your particular field of knowledge is critical—but here are 5 complementary skills that potential employers also consider valuable.

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NAMM Show Floor (2014)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or NAMM – Day One

It’s the opening day of Winter NAMM 2017, the music gear event of the year for most musicians I know.  Vendors roll out their latest drool-worthy instruments and gear. And there’s a name for the affliction many musicians emerge from NAMM with – Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).

Umm… Gear Acquisition Syndrome?

Yep, it’s a thing. GAS’s key symptom is a relentless drive to grab your wallet and upgrade all your instruments, gear, and accessories to the shiny new hotness you’ve just played with.  When it comes to GAS afflictees, I’m pretty much a poster child – so it’s a good thing that I’m not attending in person this year.  Restraining my wallet hand is getting easier with age, but from early signs we may need medics at NAMM this year.  It’s gonna be a gear acquisition syndrome outbreak!

Here’s my first two candidates for ‘wallet magnet of the week’.

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Installing a Badass II bridge in your bass

Install a Badass or Omega bridge on your bass.

I’ve installed Badass high-mass bridges in every bass in my collection that will take them. Why? I love ’em to death for their beefy sustain and definition. That said, they often come without string slots cut. This doesn’t exactly make them a drop-in mod, they’ll need some handiwork to install. I avoid the pre-slotted bridges, as cutting them yourself allows you to get a perfect string spacing and fit for your particular bass. If you’ve got an unslotted Badass bridge (or one of the recently-available Omega bass bridges from Allparts, which from what I can tell are exact replicas of the Badasses, even constructed w/zinc), here’s a rundown of how to install them.

UPDATE: re-edited this in January 2017 to add pictures (finally!) from a new build. Also note- if you’ve got an Omega bridge, these steps should also work.

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Looping a loop on bass guitar

I recently experimented with an improvised bass loop using a T.C. Electronics Ditto looper pedal I’ve had sitting around for a while. Of course, it was tons of fun. I originally bought the pedal to run simple bass line loops at the front of my pedalboard. It’s helpful for fine-tuning tones and settings without having to play bass at the same time. However, so far I’ve only used it as a test simulator in the studio. I’d secretly been wanting to play around with it more creatively for a while. I wish I hadn’t waited, as live looping is a ton of fun!

Accordingly, I took the plunge and improvised a quick composition live on the spot.  One pass, under a camera’s eye, with the record light on for a bit of pressure.  Enjoy!

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Record Great Audio with your Smartphone

3 Simple Tricks to Record Great Audio with Your Phone

There’s an old saying: Nothing ruins a great video like lousy audio. And when using consumer cameras, you’re often stuck with a less-than-optimal microphone to begin with.  But if you have a reasonably modern smartphone, you have all you need to record great audio wherever you might be.  Here’s three simple tricks I rely on regularly to help you get the most out of your smartphone, and capture awesome sound on your next project.

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NAMM

An armchair, post-NAMM wishlist.

I always look forward to January, and my annual trip to the NAMM show in Anaheim to gawk at the cutting edge of music hardware (and software).  When I realized my schedule wouldn’t get me to NAMM this month I was bummed, but kept my ears and eyes peeled online. Despite no significant time on the show floor this year, there were a few announcements and developments at NAMM 2015 that still caught my attention. It should come as no surprise that I’m rather focused on effects & amps for guitar & bass. Here’s my video post-NAMM wishlist, with commentary.

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Personal productivity.

From DayRunners to Franklin Planners to Palm Pilots, Handspring Visors, Android and iOS phones and tablets and more, I’ve regularly pushed the boundaries of the tools I had on hand to make organizing my life as minimal and frictionless as possible.  However, the basics of personal productivity transcend technology- and are much more about routine and discipline.  Without discipline and consistency, any productivity strategy will fail.  Here’s the simple tactics I use to keep life on the rails – whether on paper or electrons – and how you can do the same for your own life.

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Pebble smartwatch

4 reasons to love the Pebble smartwatch

I was an early backer of the Pebble smartwatch – well before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon – and the recent update to both watch and app have only made my early adoption decision a more solid choice in hindsight. There’s four significant reasons as of this week why the Pebble continues to be the perfect smartwatch for me, regardless of what existing smartwatches – including the oft-rumored Apple iWatch – decide to cram into their products.

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Centered

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. If you stay in the center and embrace death with your whole heart, you will endure forever. – Lao Tzu