Monthly Archives: January 2014

IT!!

You’ve Got IT!

 

You’ve always known that You had IT! 

 

In fact, many people have told you You So!

 

They recognize IT immediately and just as immediately are able to tell when others don’t.

 

You know IT when You see IT!

 

IT comes naturally. You don’t have to tug, shove, push or pull at IT! 

 

Some Realize IT! Others Fantasize about IT! Still More Wish They Had IT!

 

But YOU HAVE IT!!

 

IT has been abused, mishandled, repressed, ignored, cussed out, laughed at, ridiculed, insulted, manipulated, underestimated and vilified. A few even put IT to death…

 

However, IT has Never Once experienced a single regret by those who’ve Maintained IT, Refined IT, Practiced IT, Polished IT and Shared IT with others for a cause larger than their own life.

 

IT Comes with Responsibility. IT provides Privileges. IT establishes Dynasties. IT leaves Legacies.

 

IT is meant to Add & Multiply. Never to Divide & Subtract.

 

You Were Chosen to Possess & Protect IT!

 

Now What Are You Going to Do With IT!? 

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27 Minutes…

Last Saturday Morning at about 11:20, I experienced a most Unusual Blessing as I met and spoke with for the very first time, Jan, a terminally ill cancer patient at the Hospice House here in our community. Although I am  great friends with her Brother-in-Law, Danny, a recording engineer, I had not met her.

My reason for visiting was one of our pastors scheduled to visit and also Jan’s close friend, had to be out of town. I’ve experienced previous circumstances, but was unprepared for the atmosphere I approached as I unexpectedly entered her room.

Visibly frail and in obvious pain, Jan greeted me with the warmest, brightest smile. She asked her husband Steve to adjust the two pillows behind her back so she could sit up and talk with me. Her parents were in the room, both in their 90’s, Ed & Helen. You could see their tears as they introduced themselves, smiling and hugging. Steve shared memories of how they’d met and how God had blessed their union and how grateful they were for the time they’ve enjoyed each other. Jan grinningly chimed in, filling in blanks and making sure he told certain antedotes correctly, Mom & Dad laughing along. Jan kept making eye contact with me, keeping me engaged. When she would wince a bit, Steve would tenderly rub her feet. The Peace, Joy and Love was so vibrant and evident between them, you could feel it between your fingers.

When Danny & Jan’s Sister Nancy arrived, I stepped out to have a brief word with them.

Upon our return, the rest of Jan’s family was gathering into the room. I introduced myself and simultanously prepared a respectful departure to give them appropriate privacy. Jan had settled back into her bed, eyes closed. I expressed that I would see everyone the next morning, but it was not to be. Jan passed into the arms of Jesus later that evening.

I’ve repeatedly asked myself: Do I have the capacity to express such transparent warmth, graciousness and my brightest smile to a perfect stranger who would come to me in my torment, in the final hours of my life? Could I share with them so openly the landmark moments of my life and encourage them so openly?

Janice Carol (Ocarz) Thompson was able to thoroughly challenge me within the span of just 27 minutes, of how a life so obviously well lived can transcend even the throes of death, when your heart, character, integrity and faith and family are firmly intact.

I’ve got a lot to learn and I am very thankful for the lesson.

Steve, Ed, Helen, Joe, Diane, Tara, Mike, Nancy, Dan, Maryellen & Fred, thank you for the opportunity to meet experience such a wonderful spirit.

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TOYS

I am sure you have observed many a musician who always has the best, newest, latest…

Drummers with 14 different snares, Guitarists with 30 axes, Keyboardists with a basement full of vintage gear from the 60’s & 70’s, but neither have been on the road or has released a record in three years or have made any plans to do so in 2014. These are the very ones who complain about the state of the music industry, the lack of good paying gigs and how the producer (from three years ago) didn’t return their one phone call. But they continue to spend.

EntreMusicians have learned that every dime counts. Especially when it comes to gear. I remember going to the studio of a very well known smooth jazz artist and immediately felt as if I was a museum. I swear I saw a Commodore computer, two first generation midi boards and an aging 16 Channel Mackie. I had (then) prided myself in downloading all of the latest software with up to the minute upgrades into my superfast computer in a rack full of everything necessary for the Grammy.

He was High Atop the Jazz Charts. I was not. I was there for his Help.

I learned an enormous lesson. I got off the Merry-Go-Round.

It’s cool to have great gear. We’re all into wanting to sound our best. But we don’t need to continually shower ourselves with every plaything manufacturers tell us will make us sound like Clapton.They won’t.

We don’t need 12,000 drum and bass samples. One or two really good preamps and/or compressors will do the trick and chances are you’ll migrate to only using your favorite toys on most of your tunes, because they capture “your” sound.

An engineer friend once told me, “Before you upgrade your software, learn a new feature on your old version. That will keep you busy – and will keep the money in YOUR Pocket!”

Excellent Advice!

I was listening to Charlie Haden’sAmerican Dreams” with Michael Brecker on sax while writing this.

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OVERCOMING ENTREENEMIES

 

Two Enemies EntreMusicians face constantly are the same other businesses face: Time & Money.

That is, lack of both.

I’ve found that I’ve needed to be as creative in facing these two critical opponents as I am in writing and producing music. Here are a few tactics I’ve employed both On & Off The Road and In the Studio.

We’ll deal with The element of Time first.

EntreMusicians are NOT normal Musicians. We PLAN. We Rise EARLY, even if it means 4AM. We structure our Day and Calendar meticulously. Whether our “To Do” list is ever present on our iPads or strewn across several napkins, we’ve finished it the night before and are making sure pertinent calls will be made, emails sent and music is uploaded to the right people on time. We’ve structured our week to include all necessary rehearsals, personal practice times and routes to the gigs are mapped out two weeks in advance. Most of our work is completed before the rest of the nation has showered and brushed their teeth. EntreMusicians realize that because of our impulsive artistic tendencies, we need to work harder to ensure our business is harnessed and handled on the front end. Once these tasks are completed, spending an extra hour at a jam session or exploring a new groove will be more enjoyable and less pressured. In fact, you might have scheduled them! – Confession: I’m not that good yet, but know some Entre’s who ARE!

The Money$$.

Same Word. PLAN. Here’s another ugly four letter word: SAVE! Income from Gigs, Royalty Checks, Publishing and Advances are not belched out every Friday like you’d enjoy from a Day Job. Quarterly payments can kick your butt and waiting a year and a half to be payed for something you placed in that TV commercial can be daunting. EntreMusicians don’t spend our money before its in the bank and Credit Cards are Kryptonite!

We Don’t stop at every fast food restaurant on the road (although Chipotle is exempt from that statement!) We Brown Bag it when necessary and most of us have established relationships in various cities with kindhearted souls who house and feed us! Meaning No Smelly Motels!

Entre’s have learned that bartering with studio owners, if not done wisely is a sucker’s game. If we have rehearsed perfectly (time) and planned (saved $) we can walk out of our eight hour session, mixed tracks in hand, ready for upload.

Finally, EntreMusicians have long practiced keeping reserves. The Van breaks Down (all the way down!), Amps Die, Sound Men are NOT Omniscient and don’t own every cable needed for our synths to float through the mix. Drummers should have their own Kick & Snare Mic (SM57 Guys & Gals), even when we’re not bringing our own kit. We will need to have emergency funding to tide us over in any given situation and a band fund is mandatory!

More on Money in my Next Post!

I was jamming to Jeff Lorber’sGalaxy” as I wrote this.

PEACE & BLESSINGS

Overcoming EntreEnemies

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A Brand New Song!

Happy New Year!

Listening to the excellently experimental music of the late 60’s & 70’s has been the soundtrack to my last few weeks as I anticipated turning this new page in my life and career. There’s quite a bit to personally celebrate as the wee hours of 2014 have dawned, but I won’t get into those particulars right now.

What I found most intriguing as I sat between the paradox of introspection and optimism is how our musical predecessors went out of their way to be non-conformists in the writing, recording, production and overall presentation of their art. The careful approach each artist and band took to stand apart from their contemporaries both freed them and found them loyal followers, who, like myself would cherish their music for decades.

In the meantime, I was becoming aware of new “intellegent” music software whose loops all sounded extremely similar and which incorporated algorithms that made it possible for us to calculate a feel – or groove – from another song and copy & paste it onto your tune. An uber quantize effect which has sampled Top 10 hits of the past 50 years and is readily available via download to give your record the star power!

If this New Chapter of Our New Year should be about anything at all, it should be about Complete and Thorough Originality! EntreMusicians are the chosen ones to bring Truth to the center of the Universe again!

Forget Radio! Forget Format! Forget Formulas! Heck – Forget Genres, Create Your Own!

Be the New Sound You Want To Hear! Write Something NO One has ever heard of or make a noise no one could have conceived coming through their headphones!

Be The One who Leads Us, Transforms Us, Challenges us!

Make us rethink our instruments, this industry and what it means to be an artist.

Write the Brand New Song we WANT to sing over and over…not the one we’re forced to endure.

That’s so Last Year.

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