Been Lost Dreaming

*AUDRA* says:

On January 27th, 2017 we released our second Naked collection, Been Lost Dreaming. Naked for us means something completely different than it does for most people. Playing off the album art cover from our full length LP, Chaser Eight, we decided to call all our acoustic versions of songs Naked. See, the LP had a picture of a naked side boob on the cover. And when you combine that with people calling acoustic versions of songs the  "stripped down version,'' BOOM, you get Chaser Eight Naked. Our first Naked collection featured four songs from the LP. This Naked collection features three brand new songs.

We are especially excited to release this collection because not only are these songs brand new for our listeners, but we also recorded and produced the entire collection ourselves in our home studio. That's right. After working through the arrangement of the songs and nailing down the ideas, the talented Pat Walsh put on his engineer/producer hat and took to his DAW to bring you what you hear today. So these songs are emotional and have an emotional connection to us.

So we really hope you'll take a listen to the three songs by clicking this link: Been Lost Dreaming

And then you can buy them here: ChaserEight.com or iTunes

Been Lost Dreaming Album Art by Haley Warren

Been Lost Dreaming Album Art by Haley Warren

Inside The Ears of Bill

Billy says:

What I've been listening to-

Megadeth - Dystopia

The band released their 15th album this past January and is the first since 2004 and 2007 to not feature their longtime drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick. Interestingly enough, the two announced their departure last November and formed a new band altogether. Nonetheless, the album is a fiercely aggressive album with tons of riffs and some might say that it's a return to form by the band after their last album Super Collider. Boosted by killer tracks like Lying in State, The Threat Is Real and Fatal Illusion, the album hosts some atypical tracks you wouldn't normally associate with the band. Tracks like the sole instrumental track Conquer or Die! features plenty of acoustic guitars from new guitarist Kiko Loureiro then rips into a full-blown metal barrage. A very solid album by the band overall.

Dream Theater - The Astonishing

There's a lot of music to listen to with Dream Theater's 13th album The Astonishing; it may even be too much for one single play through all at once. With over a little two hours of material, the band's second concept album features a wide range of styles matched by masterful song writing by guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess with strong lead vocals by James LaBrie. Considering the storyline and the need for many different characters, LaBrie plowed through and delivered a great performance. Songs like Three Days, The Path That Divides and Moment of Betrayal are some of the standout tracks. It will definitely take a few more listens by me to get the full experience.

Trivium - Silence in the Snow

I'm not that big of a fan for screaming/harsh vocals so to hear that Trivium finally did an album without any harsh vocals certainly stirred my interest. Released in October 2015, this album is the band's seventh release. It seems like the band is trying to move away from their traditional niche sound and more towards a deliberate, "popular" sound that was usually devoid from their previous releases. The title track, Blind Leading the Blind and The Ghost That's Haunting You still have crunching riffs but at a more relaxed pace.

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

After five years from their last album, Iron Maiden released their 16th and first double album back in September. The original release date and subsequent tour were delayed so singer Bruce Dickinson can recuperate from a small battle of cancer but the band is currently on tour supporting the album. Not straying from the band's signature post-2000 sound, the album has plenty of songs that herald as "classic" Maiden including Speed of Light, the title track and The Red and the Black. The album's last track runs at slightly over 18 minutes and can be referred to as a cinematic powerhouse. Another standout track is Tears of a Clown, whom bassist Steve Harris wrote it about Robin Williams' depression and suicide in 2014. The album is great by Maiden's standards and I think it's amazing that Dickinson did his vocals before receiving his cancer treatment.

It's Alive! Leveraging Technology In Our Live Sound

Pat says:

Some rock artists shun technology.  For instance, the iconic Jack White has said “Technology is a big destroyer of emotion and truth” and he clearly has made decisions in his career that reflect that opinion.

I must confess that I disagree. Certainly it’s true that If technology is used as a crutch to prop up untalented artists then it can have a detrimental effect on art and culture. But that need not be the case. If technology is used to enhance already good music then it can be an asset. Currently our band is trying to add two technological elements to our live sound:

1)     We have been incorporating prerecorded tracks – synths, strings and backup vocals – into our live sound. These are things we have already written and played (or our collaborator Phil Mann has written and played) and are simply added to the mix as we play through the songs during a show. We just don’t have the resources to have additional personnel on stage and this is an inexpensive way to help fill out our sound. I use my laptop and a Presonus interface to send the tracks into the house speakers.

2)     We are going to start using a Roland TM-2 drum module machine to transform our drum kit from purely an acoustic drum kit into a “hybrid kit”. By hybrid I mean that the audience hears both the original playing of our drummer Kyle as well as electronic drum hits on top of his playing. Electronic triggers are placed on the snare and kick drum and when the drum is struck it triggers the module to send an additional electronic hit to the speakers. This helps boost the punch and volume of the drums. It can also help the drums complement each particular song more – a more electronic song can have an 808 kind of vibe or a very dark song can have distorted, aggressive sounds.

Why are we going to the trouble of doing this? Firstly, it creates a more exciting, more dynamic experience for the audience. It provides a fuller sound inexpensively and we aren’t required to add more personnel to do it. Secondly, I think competitive pressure pushes us into making these decisions. If audiences are going to see bigger rock bands (or pop or EDM artists for that matter) then they set the level of quality they experience as an expectation for future concerts that they go to. As a smaller band we can't allow the gap between us and larger bands to be extremely wide in terms of sound quality and sonic detail.

In the end what really matters is how good our music is and how well we perform it – the technology is just used to enhance the music. If  this gear all crashes on us in the middle of a set then we would keep playing the tunes as normal (and some, less perceptive people may not even notice :) ). I am always looking for new ways to incorporate technology so keep on the lookout for more!

Pictures of Gear:

1) Drum Trigger Module

2) Gear For Backup Tracks

For The Love Of Phil Collins

Kyle (the drummer) says:

Hello Crazy 8s!

Firstly, let me say, I’m proud and happy to be on board this wild ride that is the Chaser Eight train. These guys (and gal) are some great musicians, and even more so, great people to be around. I’m lucky to have found them and even luckier to now call them new friends.

So what should my first blog be about? I know; Phil Collins. Why Phil Collins you ask? Well, he answers many generic questions about my life as a musician and why I chose this path as a career. A perfect segue into my introduction to all our fans.

Who is your main musical influence: Phil.

Why did you get into drumming: Phil.

Why did you get into music: Phil.

Why did you decide to go to college for music: Phil.

The first record I ever heard as a young lad was Genesis’ We Can’t Dance album (Phil’s first band). It happened completely on accident when a CD fell off a shelf at my parents’ house and I asked them what it was. I was five years old at the time and had no idea what this compact disc thing was. My parents put the CD on the boombox and I sat there watching this disc spin around and around while hearing these intense, full, rich, complicated sounds coming from fingers and voices of the group Genesis. As the time went on I believe I got used to this sound and slowly craved it. When I was old enough to decide that I wanted to get my own cassette tape, I asked my parents for Genesis. From there on out, I was hooked with this sound of Progressive Rock and Genesis. I soon got deeper into the careers of the band members (Phil, Peter Gabriel, etc.) and there was no turning back.

I started watching concert footage of Genesis and fell in love with watching Phil behind the drums. The power and force that he effortlessly had when he sat down behind a drumkit was something that I didn’t hear or see anywhere else. I knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a musician and I wanted to figure out how. By age seven I had my first piano lesson and since then have learned most of the Genesis songbook. I got my first pair of drumsticks and began slamming away on pillows along with Phil on all the concert videos I owned. I never took a drum lesson in my life. I taught myself completely from watching Phil Collins. His mannerisms, his approach, his playing style. It’s something I’m very proud of. And the best part was, he’s a lefty just like me!

Elementary and High School came and went quickly, I played in jazz bands and orchestras throughout my years there, both good and horrendous. When it was time for college I didn’t want to do anything other than music. I ended up with a Bachelors Degree in Music and studied at Berklee College of Music and Western Connecticut State University. I majored in piano and organ and minored in classic guitar.

Fast forward to 2015. Chaser Eight reached out to me. I listened to a few of their tracks, could hear that there was something there. Something good. I knew I needed to explore this and give this a shot. Within a few days I was on the phone with Audra and we had a plan. I went down to an audition and hung with everyone and there seemed to be an instant chemistry between all of us both musically and emotionally. I’m happy to be on board with everyone and I look forward to meeting you all along the road!

CHEERS!

School Days: Billy Gives It A Grade, Again

Billy says:

Earlier this year, I rambled on about some musician books I've read so here's part two. I'm definitely open to more suggestions too.

Justice for All: The Truth about Metallica: Author Joel McIver wrote this comprehensive account of metal band Metallica. I liked how he covered the band members' history before they all joined Metallica and how he portrayed Metallica's up rise with how the music landscape was changing and evolving throughout the 80s and 90s. The book is incredibly detailed yet the book is structured where there's no direct dialogue between the band and the author; all of the facts are recounted through established interviews with other media outlets and secondhand accounts to people close to the band. Lastly, the author gives his own opinions on the band's albums. He hated Load/ReLoad and spends numerous chapters crushing those albums. Now, I'm all about opinions, but devoting that large of a portion of the book to that subject wasn't warranted.

Grade: C+

Watch You Bleed: The Sage of Guns N' Roses: The first 300+ pages of the book are devoted to the band's history from the early 80s to its demise around 1994. It's very detailed but the last 25 pages cover the band and its former members from after 1994 to around 2009. Granted GNR wasn't as prevalent during those years as it was from the 80s and early 90s, but dedicating those few pages to that large amount of years was kind of disheartening. Much like many other band biographies, there are no direct interviews with band members in this book. While the author had 13 people interviewed for the book for details, they asked to remain anonymous, thus the book doesn't have that direct appeal or personality.

Grade: C

Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction: This book is unique in a way where it solely focuses on the time before and during the band making their debut album Appetite for Destruction. There are tons of pictures and behind-the-scenes photos of the band during that time and it gives the book that personal feeling. Marc Canter, personal friend of the band during the early days, compiled the book together and framed the book by detailing all of the gigs and venues the band did leading up to making their debut album. Canter even listed all of the set lists the band did and you can clearly see when and where the band debut all of the songs that would eventually land on Appetite. Details like that made this book very interesting to read.

Grade: B+

An Oral/Visual History by The Red Hot Chili Peppers: The band collaborated with author Brendan Mullen by giving their own accounts of the band's 20+ year history. There were even interviews from past members of the band which provided that extra little detail to the topics. In addition, there are tons of photos throughout the book that give a different outlook that other books tend to be missing. The structure of the book is a little confusing since it just jumps around from subject to subject. The titles of each "chapter" are taken from a song by RHCP so it’s unclear on what's about to be presented. Nonetheless, the book is very informative and expressed new facts that I previously didn't know.

Grade: B

Let's See Who Passed My Test...

Billy says:

Some quick reviews of musician books I've read over the years. I'm always on the lookout for suggestions too!

Slash (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, and solo career): Very detailed orientated account of the guitarist's life and career. He talked about the formation of Guns N' Roses, his reasons on why GNR broke up, his various solo projects during and after GNR's demise, his marriage, his drug addictions and recovery and the formation of Velvet Revolver. I really enjoyed the immense detail behind his song writing and other tidbits, like what guitars he used for which songs. Other than some grammar errors, the book is highly recommended.

Grade: A-

Scar Tissue (Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers): The book talked about Kiedis' life starting from his birth all the way to around 2004. The book delves heavily into Kiedis' various battles of drug addiction and is very detailed about his thinking and opinions during those times. I did enjoy his explanations behind many of the lyrics for various RHCP songs but like his lyrics, his explanations and phrasing of words could be confusing. 

Grade: B

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (Dave Mustaine of Megadeth): As the first lead guitarist for Metallica to his entire career with Megadeth, Mustaine doesn't miss a beat with this book offering. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed because I felt it focused too much on his personal life and his new found outlook on religion. Being the front man of a massive metal band, I thought Mustaine would go into way more detail of his music career but he only offered a few details regarding each of the band's albums; so much for the subtitle of "Heavy Metal Memoir".

Grade: C

It's So Easy: and other Lies (Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses, Loaded, and Velvet Revolver): McKagan is one of the bassists that had a huge influence on my bass playing so this book was very high on my anticipation list. Fortunately, the book delivered and is highly recommended. He goes into heavy detail of the bands he's been in over the years, the background of his musical upbringings and his recovery from alcohol addiction. The last half of the book explained his new outlook of living a healthy lifestyle along with pursuing business ventures and martial arts. Articulate guy and the book content are very comprehensive.

Grade: A

I Am Ozzy (Ozzy Osbourne): It's a gigantic narrative of the singer's career and it does take a little while to get used to his rambling and "distinct" manner of speaking. But after that, his stories are hilarious, enlightening, interesting, weird, and bizarre. The book has its charm but the subject matter can twist and turn at a drop of a hat. 

Grade: B

Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater: The book is a very large and thorough account of Dream Theater's 25+ year lifespan starting from its humble beginnings of three guys from Berklee's College of Music. Its layout is told through mostly quotes from the band members extracted from interviews and statements so it's not a firsthand experience. I really enjoyed the chronicles of the band's career and the book presented many previously unknown facts about the band to me. The only detraction is the author inserts his own personal opinions on other bands and Dream Theater's catalog and his perspective is a little ridiculous.

Grade: A-

My Life with Deth (David Ellefson of Megadeth): When you think of Megadeth, one could think of just front man Dave Mustaine but there has been another person in the band since the beginning and that's bassist Ellefson. I liked the book because he doesn't mention Mustaine a lot and instead talks about the band from his own point of view. He delves into his lows of addiction but also highs of his success, staying sober and finding religion. Like Mustaine's book, he does talk a lot about religion and I respect that but sometimes that subject is not for everyone. Still, it's very recommended.

Grade: B

Simply The Best...Better Than All The Rest

Aaron says:

One thing I've learned in my days on this Earth is that you should never take what you think you know for granted. We all have our talents and aptitudes, but thinking you don’t have to exercise them can leave you short of your full potential. For instance, I've been playing guitar for quite some time, and although I don’t consider myself any sort of virtuoso, I can hold a tune, write a riff, and throw lead down when the time comes. I've been playing with Chaser Eight now for over a year now and have been willingly challenged by the caliber of its creators. Throughout that time, I learned all the songs that I need to know in order to play with the band. Pat and *AUDRA* are great. They write the complete songs then bring them to the rest of the band with all the parts lined up. They also allow some creative input on the individual parts, but for the most part they already have it worked out. We typically practice as a group at least twice a week and a few of us get together for some other smaller creative sessions. It's great to be surrounded by talented and creative musicians. There are certain challenges and standards that need to be considered, but all in all its a rewarding experience. 

Now, getting back to the what you think you know part. I know our songs, I know my parts and we practice all the relative material pretty much every week. We all have our moments and have bad days, but when you want to be at your highest potential, you need to make those bad days good and those wavering moments sparse. Sure, I practice on my own, but when it's go time and I don’t feel I played my best or I didn't live up to my highest potential, I need to practice more. I want to be the best I can be and a little more than that even. I know not to take any of my skill for granted, but it happens. Then there are the moments that remind me and that's when I buckle down and forge on. 

Now that's just one example of not taking things for granted, but it also should encompass all that we do. Another for instance, my day job. For all that don’t know, I am a professional commercial truck driver (yeah the big rigs). I've been doing that for many years as well. Now not to make any of the two topics seem more important than the other, but if I take my driving skills for granted then "Oops, sorry, you're dead." 80,000 lbs of death can happen in an instance. Like I said before, taking these skill for granted can leave you short of your full potential. And I'm sure most of you don’t want me running you down. So in that regard I'm always alert and ready to realize and use the skills I've attained to be the best at what I can do. There are little reminders all over our lives that can realign us to remember that we can always do better. We can and should, always be thankful and aware of our potential. And try our best to live it to the highest levels. So live it up. Keep on trying to find that higher ground. And no matter how good you think you are at something and how much you know. Please don’t take it for granted. We can always get better.

Unicorn Chaser (Eight)

*AUDRA* says:

Catching a unicorn. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Well unless you know exactly what I mean or what I am feeling you don’t know that it is the most plaguing feeling on the planet. It’s like a curse to those who know it. What is a unicorn? It’s going after a dream that is so huge that only a small percentage of people actually make it to the big time. Musicians, writers, actors, professional athletes; the list of the elite can go on, but that’s the very point, it’s an elite list. You have to be elite in some way, shape, or form to make it. And when you do, you are forever a part of the elite. You know something people that didn’t make it don’t know. You have tasted the forbidden fruit. You have caught your unicorn.

Often times wish I were normal. And I don’t mean normal in a negative way. I mean it in the way that I wish I had an obtainable and realistic goal. I wish it was my life’s ambition to be a teacher. Teachers are a tremendously important part of life. They are knowledge bearers that feed our youth to become the next knowledge bearers or healers. It’s amazing. And if you study hard enough and read the right books and pass all the tests, your dreams of becoming a teacher will come true. Your dreams of becoming a doctor will come true. Your dream of becoming a (fill in the blank) will come true. Unfortunately, that is not true for the unicorn chasers. It doesn’t matter how much we study or learn. Without talent, luck, and opportunity we could be left chasing forever. And it’s a chase that kills us.

For me, there is no backup plan. There is no “what happens if this doesn’t work out?” This is my dream. My life. My body and my soul yearn for this. How can you give up something that lives inside of you everyday? Unless you’re in the business of unicorn chasing, do you really even understand this life? Do you understand what it feels like to want something so much, but never quite having it in your reach? And it’s completely out of your control. Sure, you can practice and be the best you possibly can, but what if that’s not good enough? Or what if you were born with the wrong stroke of luck? I ask again, do you understand my life?

Listen, I’m happy for people that can be happy and fulfilled being married and parents and successful in their jobs. I’m even happy for the people that don’t want any of that and just want to live their lives. It’s just not me. It’s not a unicorn chaser. I want to be a wife and mother, but there is nothing I want more than to stand on a stage for the rest of my life and have people hear my music and sing my lyrics. Being a wife and mother or successful at my job is not what drives me. It’s not what lives inside of me. I die inside every time I have to sit at a desk or learn a new job. Not because I don’t enjoy it. I’m actually very good at finances and have had many fortunate positions over the years. I was even making fantastic money at one point. And it was great, but at the end of the day I felt like a sellout. I felt like someone who had sold my soul for the comfort of a good job with good money and good benefits. I wasn’t me. The unicorn chaser had turned into the chaser of an animal I could actually catch.

I’m happy to say I’ve found my way and I’m back to chasing my unicorn. It didn’t take much for me to get back on track. Honestly, when you feel a calling with such great passion as I do, it’s a constant voice screaming in your head not easily ignored. And after all these years of chasing my unicorn I have learn two things: Unicorn chasers are the most hopelessly romantic people on the planet. We have the ability to dream beyond reality and envision a life that may be out of our grasp. And even though it may be out of our grasp we never stop chasing it.  And that I am a successful and famous musician already because I will never give up on this dream. So many try and fail and the difference between them and me is that 10th time they fell, they stayed down. I will always get up the 11th time. Always. Until I no longer fall a 10th time. Until I am my dream and I’ve caught my unicorn.

The Film Distribution Conundrum

Pat says:

This fall movie season has a few interesting music biopics opening up. The first, called Jimi: All is by My Side stars André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Outkast) as Jimi Hendrix and it focuses exclusively on Hendrix’s year of reinvention in the 1967 London music scene. Another, Love & Mercy, about the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, stars both John Cusack (old, fat Brian) and Paul Dano (young Brian) as the enigmatic musician and only touches on a few years of his life.

What intrigues me most about these two films is that neither follows the typical cradle-to-grave format of other musical biopics. Films like Walk The Line that try to encapsulate an artist’s entire personal life and career into two hours are seldom interesting to me. Steven Hyden of Grantland hit on why this is the case in a review of the James Brown biopic Get On Up earlier this year:

"Biopics are obligated to dramatize the “real” person behind the legend, but the real person is both unknowable and irrelevant. The idea of the person is what matters; it’s what justifies the biopic treatment in the first place."

I think he is right. Trying to dramatize a lot of biographical details of famous peoples’ lives often turns into just a bunch of silly window dressing with little importance for why we care about the artist. Why look there is Johnny Cash talking to Elvis! And there he is with Waylon Jennings! Is he smoking weed!? None of it ever helps to get a deeper understanding of the artist’s work or what that work meant to our culture.

Anyway, with my enthusiasm for seeing these films being so strong I was disappointed to find that I had basically no (legal) options to see them. There is not a theatre playing Jimi: All is by My Side within a 2 hour drive of where I live and I couldn’t even find any screening information for Love & Mercy within a 500 mile radius of where I live, despite the movie already being released. And I don’t exactly consider Southern Connecticut to be some remote part of the country.

All of this got me thinking about how much better music distribution is for the consumer – at least for small and medium sized releases. When we release our album next year it will be available for our fans to obtain on any number of platforms all at once. The idea that smaller movies like the two I’ve mentioned are not immediately available for me to experience doesn’t make any sense. I have to wait several months for these films to be released on DVD or be available on a streaming service like Google Play, yet these movies are being discussed, reviewed and promoted now. I will have completely forgotten about them in many months’ time. It would be like us promoting our album and then when people ask where and when they can hear it we respond with, “I don’t know. Many months from now perhaps?”

I can understand how a film like The Avengers would follow the old fashioned model of having a theater release followed by a long gap before online distribution. Those kind of movies actually make a lot of money in the theaters. But most movies don’t. And of course those films have to actually be in theaters for one to see them. As I said, I actually want to go to the theater and see these movies but I simply couldn't. Obviously these issues involve a lot of complicated economics (of which I am no expert) but I think it is only a matter of time before all of this changes. Both the artists and the consumers are being hurt by an out of date distribution model.

Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong

Billy says:

Here's a quick list of six bassists that influenced me over the years.

Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver)

McKagan is most known for his tenure with Guns N' Roses from 1985 to 1997. His bass abilities featured on the band's debut album, Appetite for Destruction, was a major influence in my bass playing. One of the reasons is due to how the album was mixed because the bass is very audible and is the central backbone on all the songs. 

But a big resonance of his influence is McKagan's usage of thirds/fifths/octaves for bass fills; a song like Sweet Child O' Mine showcases his classic bass playing. A song like that, besides the very cool bass intro and being a guitar-centric song, is a good tune to learn basics from. Also a song like Rocket Queen displays McKagan's groove with drummer Steven Adler, which is partly based on older R&B songs that the two would listen too throughout the 1980's.

Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave)

One of the major reasons why I love Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave is the excellent rhythm section by bassist Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, in which Commerford is central to that emulsion. Such songs like Bombtrack and Wake Up from Rage's self-titled album are a testament to that fact. A lot of easy bass basics can be learned from that particular album and the difficulty can range from easy to somewhat difficult. More complex rhythm movements are featured on Bombtrack or Freedom while more traditional and easier basics are featured on Bullet in the Head and Know Your Enemy (all featured on their self-titled album). 

Commerford's slapping abilities were showcased in the song Take the Power Back and somewhat in Know Your Enemy but after the band's self-titled album, Commerford stopped slapping because he didn't want the band to (in his own words), "sound like another Chili Peppers clone band." In addition, Commerford is known for manufacturing his own effects pedals, such as the verses in Calm Like a Bomb (which has a cool bass intro) and Township Rebellion.

Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Flea is synonymous with bass playing and he's very famous for his slap abilities. I only slap on very limited instances with Chaser Eight and the Chili Peppers' album Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the album that had the strongest resonance with me. On that album, Flea totally changed his bass playing approach and focused on "less is more". 

While he still slapped, it was only in limited moments on certain songs and he focused more on rhythm, tone, emotion and feeling. From that particular album, songs like Mellowship Slinky, Apache Rose Peacock and If You Have to Ask showcase Flea's stripped down playing yet still maintaining a hard line groove and feeling. Other songs like Emit Remmus (Californication) and Animal Bar (Stadium Arcadium) are other good and notable bass lines.

Various 1990's era punk-rock bands including Mike Dirnt (Green Day), Greg K. (The Offspring) and Mark Hoppus (blink 182)

As I began playing bass through the late 1990's, it's very natural to play to songs by bands you were listening too at the time. For me, it was punk-rock and I thought learning songs via that genre was essential because songs were structured easier plus you can learn the basics very quickly. Dirnt's bass playing has evolved over the years with Green Day and it was after their 2000 album Warning where his style changed to a more stripped-down rhythm. The first song I learned on bass was by The Offspring (All I Want from their 1997 album Ixnay on the Hombre). Including blink 182 and The Offspring, the two bands' styles through the 1990's were very easy to pick up on bass and to learn the fundamentals.

Are You There Guitar? It’s Me, Aaron

Aaron says:

I’m always searching for things to inspire me. Whether it be a new way of thinking or a new way to do something, I’m constantly searching. In this recent case though, I found a new inspiration in an old guitar I have been separated from for years. And I literally mean years. I think it has been about seven or so by my count. It’s a simple guitar, an old Alvarez acoustic. I bought it brand new for only a few hundred bucks or so, but it was one of the best guitars I’ve owned in my years as a musician. Now, I've been playing guitar since I was 12 and I’m…well I’m not going get into that, but it’s been a while. Anyways, this was a guitar that traveled with me from solo jams on the couch to weekend excursions in the Berkshires, but one of the more frequent places to play was my buddy Lucky’s house. Yup! That’s right his name is Lucky and it’s not even a nickname! It’s Lucky!

So, after countless jams over a few beers at his house or after beers at the bar with the numerous different characters/musicians that would find themselves there, we had a great idea to leave my old friend at his place. The deal was I would take his mandolin in trade for the while my Alvarez would have a new home. At that time, I’m sure I had more than one guitar and I knew a mandolin would be a cool instrument to learn. Mandolins are tuned in fifths, the same tuning as violins, and I thought that we be interesting to know how to play. Good trade, right? Wrong. It did not work out to be as great as I thought and I was down one favorite guitar. As time went on, the jam sessions faded as did the appeal of playing the mandolin. I didn't see Lucky as much and the mandolin didn't see the light of day out of its coffin like case and into my hands. And as life tends to happen, circumstances change forcing us to move on, figuratively and literally. What I’m trying to say is Lucky and I lost touch for years shortly after that and I was left only to think back fondly about my old friend.

However, in sake of not making a long story longer, we ended up finding one another again over the last year! We would always make plans to trade back our long lost instruments, but somehow still I was still down one favorite guitar. Then, this past Tuesday, that all changed. We finally met up and made the trade: I got my Alvarez back (Woohoo!). And this takes me full circle to the whole point of this post. I love playing guitar and, more often than not, I find a good, well-crafted instrument that feels good and sounds good inspires me to play more! I’m talking about getting lost in the moment as time is only relative to the tempo of the beat and the strums. I mean sitting down for an hour just strumming and picking away to whatever flows out of my fingers. So now that I've just restrung my long lost love, I plan to be inspired daily and just get lost in the time with my old friend. This is something so simple that inspires me. I hope you can find something simple to inspire you. And if you can’t, you may want to try and find a new paradigm, then search again.

So, search on my friends! Be inspired!

A (Much Overdue) Rant: In the Key of Rock

*AUDRA* says:

"Does nobody like rock n roll now? Well I don’t really think so."

Above is a quote from one of our newest songs. At first glance, when I was told to sing it, I thought, "How untrue is this?! People love rock music!"

Well over the course of my (extremely awesome and fast-moving) career with Chaser Eight I've learned a couple truths about the music scene. Allow me to enumerate:

1. Rock is dead. I didn't want to believe it, but it is. True rock that is and especially if you're a woman. The days of Janis Joplin, No Doubt, Garbage, Hole, etc., are over. And that's much to my dismay and sadness. Mostly because girl rockers rule. Seriously.

2. Covering other artists songs makes you way more popular than playing original tunes. This goes for making YouTube videos and performing in a live cover band. I honestly had no idea this had become a career path.

3. If you're a hot guy lead singer you have a better shot of making fans than a hot girl lead singer. Unless you are in the cover band and wear midriff bearing clothes on stage.

Sidebar: Sorry, I'm not dressing up half naked to parade around stage with a wireless mic and dance like I'm earning dollars. I play a white Gibson SG through a Orange Dual Terror and a Roman Custom Cab. And when I'm not playing my microphone game is that of Freddie Mercury: a commanding staff yielding rock power.

4. Pop music has taken over. People would much rather see the hot guy lead singer and/or midriff bearing woman sing upbeat, sappy love songs than hearing the cry of an electric guitar. Pop AND new wave hip indie music. There are a lot of those "indie" bands these days and, yes, it pisses me off. You're so contradictory, clever, ironic, and hip. Get an amp that goes above 1 and rock your ass off for a change. Oh and eat something.

5. If you say you support us, than come out and support us. Live gigs are only as successful as the fans that walk through the door. Get off the couch and listen to good music.

So, put down your iPhone and step away from the crappy pop tunes and support rock music again! There was a revolution in the 60s and 70s. Music was being created that you could hear and feel. Can we get back to that? Or at least get back to the point where people support that?

Note: I'm not hating on the hot guy lead singer or midriff bearing woman and the poppy cover songs they perform. Nor am I hating on the new wave hip indie band. There is room for all of us and everyone has their own path to follow. Just because I think it's soulless work doesn't mean that people don't enjoy it. Actually, it's quite the contrary. I know people love it. Do you. We'll do us. And maybe our paths will cross.

Another note: There several acts in this area that I respect and appreciate for their talent and dedication to their craft. I'll name a few: Seth Adam, Chris Grillo, The Smyrk, When Particles Collide, Atrina (Andre Roman),Goodnight Blue Moon (Nick D'Errico), Echo & Drake, Broadcast Hearts, Moving Brooklyn, Porcelain Clocks, Deception Fades, Danny Henry, and Kevin Reed (I see those videos you're posting on Facebook. Fantastic. Keep it up, kid. Help bring rock back).

So, now, I ask, "Does nobody like rock n roll now?"

End rant. 

Party Like a Rock Star

Pat says:

Tonight, HBO will air the Induction Ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2014 Class. This year's inductees includes Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, KISS, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens. Though they are all deserving in their own ways, it is Nirvana that is really the significant choice here. The grunge trio is the first quintessential 90's band to get into the Hall and their honoring raises a very interesting and obvious question: what other contemporary rock bands have any kind of chance of getting in?

Sure their are some guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famers like Pearl Jam, but for the most part after Nirvana's demise, multi-platinum, arena rock groups became an endangered species. From the late nineties right up until now, The charts have been dominated by rappers and pop stars. It's artists like Eminem and Beyonce that have moved 1 million units in a week and sold out Yankee Stadium, not The Killers or Kings of Leon. So what is the Hall going to do? Will it embrace these kinds of pop and rap artists and induct them in? I suspect that ultimately they will have to. Really there is no other choice.

Let's first look at the kind of artists that the Hall's Committee selects. Though some critical darlings (Elvis Costello) and early influences (Robert Johnson) get selected, for the most part the Hall selects big-time acts that have made the industry a lot of money. Critical success matters a little (it took KISS a long time to get in) but not nearly as much as financial success and popularity (KISS still ultimately got in).

Additionally, the relevant contemporary artists that sound the most like traditional rock bands are indie groups like Wilco, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and some others. And let's face it. None of them are ever getting in (even more popular indie groups from past decades like Sonic Youth and Pavement haven't even gotten in yet). They just simply aren't popular enough and just exist in today's fragmented music landscape as niche artists. Popularity is what gets the most fans to tune into the induction ceremony and then to visit the museum later on. Tupac, Beyonce, Eminem, Kanye West, Jay-Z,  and Taylor Swift are the kinds of artists that have been consistently popular. These are the rock stars of the last 15 years.

This will be contentious no doubt. Many purists will decry that these artists are not rock musicians! Rock music has to have guitars and snare drums to be authentic! But "rock" is really just another way of saying, "popular music that young people listen to." Rock n' roll initially referred to a type of music from the 1950s that bears only a passing resemblance to most of what we have come to consider part of the genre. How much do The Police and Metallica (both inductees) really have in common with Fats Domino (also an inductee)? I certainly hope that guitar rock comes back, but lets face it: this type of music wasn't the dominant force over the past 15 plus years and there are very few guitar/bass/drum bands during this time that will meet the Hall of Fame's traditional criteria for admittance.

Some traditional rock acts like The White Stripes, No Doubt, and Radiohead will still get in, but for the most part the Rappers held sway over this era. As Jay-Z reminds us "that bloke from Oasis said I couldn't play guitar, Somebody shoulda told him I'm a fuckin rock star." When the time comes, I don't think the Hall of Fame Committee will need too much reminding.

 

 

Tis The Season To Be Golfing...Fa La La La La

Pete says:

Ok boys and girls. Tis the season! No, not that one, golf season! You got it: I’m a golfer too. Once it’s warm enough I’m out there hitting the links.

I remember when I was young sneaking out on the golf course that was behind my parents’ house with my friends. We would walk through a patch of woods with a couple of old clubs my friend had and start hacking up the place. Of course, within moments upon stepping foot on there, we were thrown off, but that was all part of the adventure.

I’ve always enjoyed playing and over the years I started to take it more and more seriously. Then about eight to ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to make some real improvements in my game, so I bought a package deal of lessons at a local course. Whoa! What a difference! The changes to my original techniques were so huge and it was almost like starting all over again, but it ended up being the best thing I ever did for my game.

Now, every year I so look forward to my weekends off without gigs. I mean, I look forward to my weekends with Chaser Eight gigs even more, but I love my golf weekends too. Just as much as I love sitting down to the kit with my bandmates, I love getting out to the course with some friends and enjoying the beautiful scenery the course and nature has to offer. There is nothing more relaxing than the warm breeze, fresh air, and serene peace and quiet. Oh, except when you’re playing so bad you’re ready to throw your clubs in the pond!

Every once in a while I’ll even enter into a tournament. A little friendly competition is always fun, but I’m mostly in competition with myself to push to improve my game. So I guess I bring much of the same attitude, drive, and determination to the course as I do behind the kit. Although, occasionally, I go a little too crazy on the course, but like the bumper sticker says: My worse day at the golf course is better than my best day a work!

FORE!

A Song a Day Will Keep the Therapist Away

Billy says:

For the past seven months, I've been steadily improving my life, both mind and body. A large part of the change was thanks due to the band and their overwhelming and excellent support. In addition, I use music for support; these are three songs which have proved to be very encouraging and supportive.

Dream Theater - The Answer Lies Within

My first pick is taken from Dream Theater's eighth album Octavarium. The song's title "The Answer Lies Within" is pretty self-explanatory on what the song is about: wanting to change yourself begins within and if your mindset isn't ready for change, then you're not ready. Written by founder/guitarist/chief lyricist John Petrucci, the second verse is very powerful and clearly spells out the song's message.

"Life is short, so learn from your mistakes

And stand behind, the choices that you made

Face each day with both eyes open wide

And try to give, don't keep it all inside"

The song itself is very melodic and written as a potential single. Flourished by lush orchestra, the song rings true as my main pick because the message is 100% what I strived to change myself. The chorus reflects this as well:

"Don't let the day go by

Don't let it end

Don't let a day go by, in doubt,

The answer lies within"

Bad Religion - Changing Tide

As the last song on Bad Religion's 16th album True North, "Changing Tide" is a great send-off track and grand finale. Written by lead vocalist and founder Greg Graffin, the song talks about how someone can get stuck in the drudgery of everyday life and eventually commits to a lifetime of the same stagnant routine. Instead, you should recognize one's need to change. It's one idea to just wait for that day to come when change occurs and it's another thing to act and actually change oneself.

"Every day's the same routine of endless chores and boring details.

And you know you're waiting for the perfect condition for your ship to set sail.

But of course, the climate's always changing.

Clinging to the past has got you straining.

Comes the recognition now you're on a mission that is born to fail,

Leave it!"

Graffin's lyrics throughout the band's catalog usually reflect social issues and the idea for positive change in your life. In this song, "Clinging to the past has got you straining," is a strong statement on how one can just always yearn to what has happened in the past without committing to a new endeavor.

Iron Maiden - Wildest Dreams

Featured as the lead single from Iron Maiden's 13th album, "Wildest Dreams" describes the idea of not letting your past troubles drag you down and to pursue your goals (or so called) dreams. Written by founder/bassist Steve Harris and longtime guitarist Adrian Smith, the opening lyrics, "I'm gonna to organize some changes in my life, I'm gonna exorcise the demons of my past, I'm gonna take the car and hit the open road, I'm feeling ready to just open up and go" talks about how one should always strive to do what they want and not be hindered throughout their lives.

The upbeat tempo, distinct guitar solo by Smith and catchy chorus reflects the positive message and attitude exhibited by the lyrics. Guitarist Smith rejoined Iron Maiden in 2001 after close to ten years away from the band and songs like this portray his newfound vision and excitement that he previously shown when he was with the band during its 1980's run.

"When I'm feeling down and low

I vow I'll never be the same again

I just remember what I am

And visualize just what I'm gonna be"

The Band Also Known As a Rocket Ship

Aaron says:

It’s been almost a year since I joined this rocket ship known as Chaser Eight. I refer to it as such not just because of the speed in which it’s gaining momentum, but also in the context of the extreme heat and passion that burns deep within all the components involved. I have been a guitarist since the age of 12 and throughout the years I played around on the keys a bit too. Even though I've played the keys here and there, it was never with any of the intensity required to be up to par with the likes of the members of Chaser Eight. It has been a sobering and challenging endeavor to make those black and white keys match up to the rocking style Pat and *AUDRA* bring to the stand.

As a musician, with my main instrument of choice being guitar, playing the keys is a whole different animal. Yes, they both have the same notes possible, and yes, the format of the piano is more uniform. All that aside, one must take in consideration the methods and the patters to each animal. For those of you who are not musically inclined I’ll give a simple example: Scales on a guitar basically have the same pattern in a given key signature i.e. A minor. If you want to play in B minor, just move up two frets and play the same pattern, boom. You want to play C minor? Move up one fret from B minor. D minor? Two from there and so on and so forth. But for piano it's not that easy. For every different key signature you play in there is a different combination of black and white keys needed to make it fit. It’s not just black and white, but alas, I will prevail!

I do like the opportunity and the challenge entrusted to me by my band mates and I look forward to expanding my skills to compliment the rock tones created by the five of us. I am, at the core, a guitarist and get many chances to play on stage. However, as time rolls on, my core will assimilate keys into the whole of being a rock musician with the awesomeness known as Chaser Eight. If you have heard us, that's great; you have an idea what we’re about. If you have seen us, you know what we’re about and how we rock. And if you haven’t done either of the two, well shame on you! This rocket ship is not slowing down for anyone. So climb aboard and take a ride up to the stars with us. Full speed ahead! Hope to see you there.

 

I'm King of the World. Or Queen. No, KING!

*AUDRA* says:

"Your dressing room is this way."

That’s what our escort backstage said. My response, “exsqueeze me, a baking powder?” (borrowed from Wayne’s World) probably wasn’t the best, but it was all I had. Here we were, being escorted backstage to our dressing room. OUR DRESSING ROOM! Not just a little closet, mind you, but a real, freakin’ huge dressing room. With a full bar, buffet, and someone completely at our disposal to procure a hair dryer (required!).

We were competing in a regional contest at Mohegan Sun, this night one of two acts in an eight-week weekly competition. I fully expected to unload our gear, get on stage, and get off. Boy, was I wrong. 

First was the dressing room. Next, the sound check. What a professional, courteous, knowledgeable set of people! We’re used to 30-second sound checks. Nope, not tonight. 40 minutes. We’ve never sounded so good. The sound guys, who, at this point, had been at work for many hours setting up the stage, repeatedly commented how great we sounded and that they were looking forward to the set. What a great way to begin the night. The coup de grace was that we were going to go on last. Headliners!

Suitably excited, the wait set in. It’s 4:40pm. We go on at 9:30pm. What do we do? Gamble! 

Just kidding. Our manager, the band, and I ate a nice, leisurely, ((expensive)) dinner (during which we booked a gig for January), and just had a lot of laughs and smiles, including discussing how cool it would be to win at Roulette on number 8. (Our manager, who got married on 8/8/2008, who coincidentally manages Chaser Eight – DID win $700 on a $20 bet on number 8 on the very first (and only) spin of the wheel - which made for a great beginning night, too). 

And then the music started. We went on last, and played to a full house. We completely crushed the set. In fact, I ripped my finger open during the finale, and have the bloodied guitar to prove it (picture here). Afterwards, the crew, emcee, and even the bartender across the theater came up to us saying how well we did. What a tremendous feeling.

I won’t know for a while if we “won” the contest, but I do know that even a few days later, I’m still on Cloud 9 (or Cloud 8 for Chaser Eight). It’s going to stink going back to small venues, but knowing that we completely rocked that arena is such an amazing feeling that makes it all worth it. Knowing I can get back there and that I was good enough to be there in the first place, is what will motivate me until the next time. And the next.

Oftentimes, we don’t take the time to enjoy what we have. We make excuses for why we’re not happy, or for why we just got in a fight, or settle for something less than what we want. Heck, even I was thinking about our next gig not even an hour after we got off this awesome stage after an awesome set! That’s how I’m wired. But, and it’s a huge BUT, I’m taking the time now to enjoy and revel in the experience. It makes it all worth it.

 

Go Insane - 5 Tips For Maintaining Your Sanity (As Seen on hypebot.com)

(This blog was previously posted on hypebot.com. The largest music information website in the world. http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/12/5-tips-for-maintaining-your-sanity-while-building-your-music-career.html)

*AUDRA* says:

I was born with a song to sing. I want thousands of people singing my lyrics back to me.

It’s tough. It really is. As much as I want to be a full-time musician, I have bills to pay. And while our music (gigs, merch, album sales) have climbed substantially the last six months (http://chasereight.com/our-merchandise/), it’s not enough to have me quit. That¹s coming though. How do I know?

First, some background. I’m the lead singer, songwriter, and assistant manager of my band. I’ve played in several incarnations, but this one is THE ONE. I’ve kept us together writing songs, creating arrangements, booking gigs, doing social media, promotions, and playing, all while working. I love it, but it¹s hard work.

Here are my tips as to how I’ve managed, and think these will help you too. I will also tell you why we’re going to achieve our lofty goals.

  1. Have a Strategy, and Keep to It: It’s the most important tip that our manager told me. Paramount to not only my sanity but our increased success has been to sit down, map out our goals and plans, AND EXECUTE. We review it periodically, yet we remain unwavering in our commitment. It’s been very difficult for me to “let go” and want everything to happen immediately, but having this road map and our journey mapped out makes it easier to know that daily mountains and hurdles become anthills. 
  2. RIP: Respond, Interact, and Prioritize: Social media is a huge part of our marketing plan. I’ve turned off all of my iPhone notifications for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook so I’m not barraged with interruptions from social media and notifications. The key for our responses and our campaigns has been to plan them in advance and schedule posts, pictures, and events, but also to interact on sporadic intervals with our fans. I make it a point to respond to every inquiry, post, and request. It might not be immediate, but it does happen. I do have other things to do! That’s a huge change from my past, where I had a slight-OCD complex and had to respond to everything immediately. My life has been better because I now wait. You should, too. 
  3. Read. Refine. Repeat: I hate to read (not really, but I’m busy). I do, however, love to learn. Can’t have one without the other. So I read all the time. Blogs, posts, articles. Most of them are not worth the time, but I try to take something positive out of every one – it’s a great opportunity to learn something new and you don’t know what will happen until you’re done! There are many sources I trust, and many I just laugh at, but there’s always that chance. Read, and be open to new things. We wouldn’t be where we are if I wasn’t open to improvement and change. 
  4. Communicate: I can’t tell you the hundreds of text messages and emails my manager and I share with each other every single week (helps to have an unlimited cell plan, ha!). As much as I hate having emails in my inbox (they mean I have something to do!) I love every one. It means someone cares about me as much (if not more so) than I do. Get someone in your life and your musical journey that you trust. And talk! Share everything. Two minds are more powerful than one. Admittedly, letting go was the hardest thing I’ve done. But in letting go, I gained so much more. You will, too.
  5. (Bonus Tip) Be Gracious. Be Open. Love Others and Yourself. Hamlet. Polonius. “To thy own self, be true.” Share. Bring smaller acts onto your gigs as openers. You have to give it to receive it. Like other bands on Facebook. Tweet support to bands you met on your show card. And by all means, without fail, and without canceling, spend time on yourself. Take time to write. To practice (my band practices every Tuesday, and a day or two before every show) and I take time to practice and write every week. It’s on the schedule, and I stick to it. It’s great for my sanity. And every little bit we give to others comes back in spades to us. Quite honestly, we’ve met phenomenal people and have gotten tremendous success buy just being kind to others. Doesn’t cost anything to tweet or share, and the value received is phenomenal.

We’ve played for thousands of fans at some of the largest arenas in the area, and continue to strive higher by doing everything I just mentioned.

A Tap Dance

*AUDRA* says:

This is my correspondence with an interviewer . I thought it was insightful on both sides and worth sharing. I don't tend to agree with everything this person says, but have a look for yourself: 

XXX,

Just a quick note to say thank you for taking the time for the interview yesterday afternoon. I truly appreciate our conversation and am pleased with how it came out. Providing the indie music scene with your coverage and attention to artists like us is a great service, and we've already gotten some good traction out of the interview. Thank you!

One thing you did mention in our talk was that you hear again and again that groups have the desire to make it, but actually do not. For the ones that do "make it", what have you seen that sets them apart from the rest? Obviously it's quality music, of course, but what other attributes do you think help to garner success versus wallowing gig to gig? 

I like to ask this question to get different perspectives. I hope that your offer to help me out could include the above conversation. :)

Many thanks in advance, and again, I truly appreciate your time and our conversation. I look forward to speaking to you again in a couple months when we launch the new EP.

Best,

*AUDRA* from Chaser Eight

____________________________________________________________________

From: XXX
To: *AUDRA* from Chaser Eight
Subject: Re: Thank you!

Thank you for being on the show Audra! We had a great time speaking with you. I am always interested in bands and performers perspectives on their career progression.

I like to ask the question about where bands see themselves in 2/3 years or "down the road" to get a feel for how sincere they are and if they understand the commitment it takes to succeed. The difference to me is being able to understand that it is more than a career choice. It is a lifestyle choice. You have to be on the road in markets where nobody will know you for the most part. You have to understand that is necessary in order to network with others doing the same thing. By building and utilizing these relationships on the road is where doors will begin to open. Believe me there are 10's of thousands of talented bands everywhere. Most never leave their comfort zone and eventually implode from life in general...work, marriage, babies etc. It doesn't mean you cannot fall in love and have a real life it’s just that those people in your life need to understand your choices....being on the road etc. They and you have to be strong enough to handle time apart.

One of the biggest challenges, of course, is money. That is why cultivating relationships elsewhere is so important. You need places to stay, food etc. to keep costs down. You need to have merch to sell in order to have gas money for the next gig. Venues will not begin paying you a decent amount until you build a following in their area. That takes time and work...not just partying with people. (Another roadblock to success).

You also have to ask yourself ...what is your definition of success? Is it fortune and fame or an established career within the industry where you make a nice living? In either case it takes full commitment to the lifestyle and a consistent approach to your craft every single day. You are a professional artist first.

I hope this helps Audra. I am always available to answer your questions or give you insight. If I am able to introduce you with others that might be good for you to work with I will do so....other bands, promoters, etc. Just keep me in the loop on what you are doing and we can take it from there. Contact me anytime you wish. Ask me anything you wish.

Peace, XXX

____________________________________________________________________

Hey XXX, thank you for your reply. Right now, we definitely want to build a huge following locally; drill a niche an inch wide and a mile deep and fill it with people versus broadcasting to anyone everywhere and having a very thin following. Not that I don't agree with your views, I just think the game is a bit different now with the ever-expansive use of the internet to market music. I think you can stay in your comfort zone more now if you are making great music and have a great web marketing plan that can reach millions of potential fans. Or if you are making music that is good enough to license (as a mentioned yesterday we already have a few deals). This way you can make some money off those avenues or gain traction in your own area through doing local shows then you can do a tour. I would never want to be like some of the bands we see out on "tour" now; playing everywhere to no one and just to say you did it. I would rather dominate my market then go on tour opening for bigger acts. Make a new for ourselves and leverage it. Otherwise, it can just be a terrible waste of money.

Every single member is fully invested in the Chaser Eight lifestyle and everything that entails. Even our manger (our 6th member). Unfortunately, we all have day jobs to pay the bills right now, but we drop everything for a commitment to the band. Also, the day jobs do help as it allows us to fatten up our band fund with the weekly dues. This way new merch, music videos, studio time, and whatever else can all be afforded. But one of the main band mottos is: Always show up. And we live by that.

Success would have to be both for me. It would be the fame and fortune and an established career within the industry making a nice living.

I always tell people that I didn't choose music, it chose me. So for me and for the band is this lifestyle choice AND a career choice. I believe it has to be both. In this age of DIY musicians if you don't treat your band like a business and make the best and informed business decisions, you'll also fail at achieving your goal. The goal being "making it."

Thank you again and we will definitely keep you in the loop and appreciate your help and advice!

*AUDRA*

What Rhymes With Hug Me and is the Song of the Summer?

Pat says:

It seems that for the past few years there has been a bigger and bigger deal made about what the song of the summer is. Normally, I can't claim to be tuned into pop music enough to add very much to the conversation, but this year I can! That's because very important people have decided that the song of this summer comes down to just two candidates: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk and "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. Thankfully, I actually know them both. Let's take a look at each of them.

"Get Lucky": As someone who was a fan of Daft Punk before they got huge with this song, I can say that I am inclined to choose them over the syrupy pop of Robin Thicke. They helped to usher in the entire Electronic Dance Music (EDM) movement with both their sound and their legendary stage shows. After a long absence everyone was eagerly anticipating what the EDM godfathers were going to do with this latest offering. The duo decided to throw everyone a curve ball, releasing an album that completely eschews the aggressive sounds of current electronic artists like Skrillex, instead opting to create a disco pop album with a slew of guests. Random Access Memories is a solid, if surprising release. But even more surprising is that a couple of obscure French guys in their 40s have been able to ride this single to the top of the charts. I must admit that when I first heard the album, I never imagined that "Get Lucky" would have become such an incredible sensation. Great for Daft Punk! About time they got their due. I just wish I liked the song a little more. Don't get me wrong, legendary rhythm guitarist Nile Rodgers adds some solid disco infused guitar lines, and guest vocalist Pharrell Williams is perfectly serviceable. The main problem is that the song is just too long. Even the slimmed down radio version takes a long time to get to the duo's patented vocoder embellishments. The hook isn't catchy enough to sustain endless repetitions and even the magic of Rodgers guitar work starts to drag after a few minutes. Hopefully the success of Random Access Memories will drive people to hear some of Daft Punk's older work, but I can't say that this is the winner.

"Blurred Lines": A white male R&B vocalist. A famous guest rapper. A big time producer. I could be dishing out clues for Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie", released earlier this year. That tune, with its overly serious music video and exceptionally lazy verse from Jay-Z didn't quite work the way JT probably hoped it would. "Blurred Lines" doesn't make any of those missteps. Robin Thicke is well aware of some of the silliness inherit to a song like this, practically laughing as he says the line "What rhymes with hug me?" T.I. is way better than Jay-Z, keep his verse succinct and rhythmically interesting. The hooks are great, and the production details by Pharrell Williams (it has been a good summer for him) are spot on. Also a few more points are awarded to Robin because when Daft Punk recently cancelled their performance on the Colbert Report without notice, he stepped up to the plate and performed.

That's my two cents on this topic.

Until next summer...