Wednesday, October 29, 2008

To do list.

When I started this blog, I intended to write something every day to keep me focused on whatever I was actually doing to build this little business of being a musician. It's been a great exercise. I typically sit here and just think through my fingers, organize my thoughts, and then put them into action. If anyone reads it, that's an added bonus (Hi, Mom).

If I haven't had anything interesting to say recently it's because I have so MUCH interesting things to say, or at least things I think are interesting and frankly my dear don't give a damn if you do or not. Some of the articles/posts in the pipeline:

-Metadata! What's that? I'll tell you, and why I think it's important. Who am I kidding... I'll link to the Wikipedia page and then tell you why I think it's important for musicians.

-Gigs! No, not computer memory, but the things musicians do that supposedly makes them all their money while everyone downloads their music for free. Which brings me to our next topic...

-Free! Again, my thoughts about giving away music, but this time why the idea of rampant downloading frustrates the hell out of the people that actually invest their creative energy, time, and money into the music, aka artists. I'm one of them, yet I'm indifferent about the downloading and I'll tell you why.

-Music Entrepreneurship! I was asked what I thought about a Masters degree that would essentially prepare students to do more or less what I do. It's a really interesting concept. How do you make this successful? I don't know, but I'll write down my thoughts.

And a few still shaping up in my head. Many of these will be posted at the new website Dave Hahn and I started:

If you haven't checked it out, please do. There are a lot of posts there so far, and a forum for discussions amongst musicians. If you have a question, ask it in the forum. Dave, myself, or one of the other great musicians that are contributing to the site will try to answer it, or find someone that can.

Blogging is just my side gig, though. The real reason I haven't been writing much recently is because I've been BUSY. And it's great. I'm writing a lot of music, practicing a lot, and continually working on some recording or another. Outside of my trio, I've been playing two other gigs:

Collective Pursuit. An 8 piece modern jazz group playing music composed by all members, under the leadership of trumpeter KT Chauvot. Loaded with talent, the band has really started to come together after getting some gigs under our collective belt. This gig definitely keeps my reading, arranging, and jazz chops in shape. We recorded three songs for a demo, and have been recording some of the shows as well. Check the MySpace page every now and then for more music.

Lauren Zettler. I'm not really a huge fan of the term "singer/songwriter" because it's so vague, but it's a good place to start when talking about Lauren's music. She's a fantastic singer and her writing gets better with every song. It's folk/pop/rock/alt-country/grunge/alternative/klezmer/reggae at it's best. Hopefully that make you curious enough to go listen to some of her music. I've played several shows and have been recording with her, something that will be released in the next couple months. I practice the "less is more" approach to playing her music, which is something every instrumentalist needs to do. Whatever the song needs, I try to do. This sometimes means playing mandolin or even harmonica, and sometimes NOT playing (what?!?). Lucky for Lauren, I'm a fantastic dancer and bust out the Hammer whenever I have more than 8 bars of rest.

I'm also starting a band with my good friend Eric Clay, formerly of Team Tomato. Eric and I started our first band in junior high, sold it three years later for $64 million, and are doing this start up for the same reasons. Actually, that's not true, but how cool would that be? Anyway, we've been writing music and will hopefully record some of it in the next couple months. This is a straight up rock band--the kind my wife was embarrased to tell her mom about. Her end of that conversation went something like, "Oh yeah, Eric has moved up here. Yeah, he's living with his girlfriend. Him and Cam are uh, writing some music together, and uh, you know, playing guitar." Just say we're starting a band! Although, it does kind of sound like something you do in junior high. My band phase. There are a couple people still waiting for me to get out of that one.

All the while I'm also trying to find time to finish another album of cover songs with my friend and singer Matt Ketteman. Matt has recorded all his vocal tracks, and now it's up to me to make the music sound good. I find myself being such a perfectionist that I usually get fed up with my results after adding a few parts and moving onto another project. I can't pinpoint what the problem is exactly, but this would probably be easier if I wasn't trying to do it alone. Matt, take a vacation. Come hang out with me for a week so you can press record, stop, undo, record, stop, undo, etc.

As I'm working on this stuff, my cat will be taking my calls. She's more likely to answer if you call between 4:27 and 6:51 in the morning, when she's usually knocking things off my bookshelf. The rest of the time, she's catching up on her sleep or taking a lunch break.

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