Archive for November, 2011

Wale and Miguel play “Lotus Flower Bomb” on JKL

Did you catch our man Wale on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night ? If not, they have it uploaded onto their youtube page. Scope it!


What we are listening to: Tribes- Sent to Earth

Such goodness. Turn it up and enjoy!


Punchline release teaser video for new song!

Pittsburgh based band Punchline just released a new youtube video teaser for a track called “Universe” , off of their as yet untitled new album. From what we can here , it’s awesome! Check it!

Alkaline Trio’s Dan Adriano Talks Slapstick Reunion

Alkaline Trio bass player and all around awesome guy Dan Adriano recently played a show with his old legendary Ska-Punk band, Slapstick. Slapstick are famous for their blend of ska and punk back in the day as well as their members going on to form Tuesday, Alkaline Trio, The Falcon and the amazing The Lawerence Arms.

Slapstick recently reunited to play the Asian Man Records 15 year anniversary party and may be doing some more shows:


Dan told : “I think it will happen again, I mean we talked about it. If I’m not mistaken, we actually had an opportunity to play in Chicago this fall, but I am going to be in Europe with this Revival (Tour) deal. Unfortunately, we could not do that, but [another reunion] is not off the table. We all had a lot of fun and it is definitely not out of the question. I would like to make it happen again at some point.”

Lil Wayne Screams On Some Fan’s Ass Like Their Dad

Two fans found Lil’ Wayne’s house in Miami the other night. He wasn’t too happy and threatens to beat them. They drive away giddy. Check it:

Futureproof Announce New Single!

Supercute funtime x-factor UK pop band Futureproof have announced that their new single will be “How Long Can You Go”. Their label, Lab Records, says an official video is in the works. Until then, watch their video for “One More Chance” right here:

Super Cute Indie Rock Couple Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard To Divorce

Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard are divorcing! After two years of being married the couple announced their split to Us Weekly.

Zooey is famous for her movie roles (Elf, 500 Days of Summer and my fav. Almost Famous!) as well as her new show New Girl and her awesome band, She & Him. She also is the sister of Emily Deschanel (you know…Bones).

Ben Gibbard is in Death Cab for Cutie and occasionally The Postal Service.

Via Huffington Post:

Deschanel opened up to iVillage in July about her marriage to the rocker, who is often away on tour.

“You still have to make a commitment and think about that commitment every day,” she said, adding that being married isn’t too different than just being in a relationship. “It’s not like you get married and then all the work is done for you. You get married and you’re still in a relationship and you’re still doing your best to make it the best relationship you can.”

Gibbard, on the other hand, once made a bold statement about relationships.

“I would rather make great records than make great relationships,” he wrote in an article for Paste magazine in 2008.

He later clarified his statement in May, telling Spinner he was in a bad place in his life back then.

“Romantic relationships had come and gone, friendships have grown and withered, but this band was constant,” he said.


Waka Flocka’s Friend Killed By Game’s Associates Over Twitter Beef?


Two days ago, Jomo Adoula Zambia, Waka Flocka Flame friend and Bricksquad member, was murdered in Inglewood, CA. The Bricksquad member had been beefing on Twitter for the past few months after he claimed he had knocked out rap star Game.


“Over the past few weeks, Jomo was once again involved in a Twitter beef involving his homeboy Ice Burgandy and Inglewood rapper Boskoe. The situation took a turn for the worse when CTE affiliated rapper 2Eleven filmed a brutal attack on Boskoe by Jomo on the streets of Inglewood which resulted in Boskoe receiving a broken arm and a bloody face. The footage of the attack was viewed by thousands on the Internet and even got a video response from the victim in which he acknowledged the attack.

According to an Inglewood police report, Jomo was shot Wednesday afternoon and was trying to drive himself to a hospital when he ran a red light and slammed in to a police car on Florence and Eucalyptus avenues. The officer had to be rescued by the jaws of life and was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. Jomo however, died of gunshot wounds to his torso and arm.

There are no suspects at this time but many on Twitter and Facebook believe that this was connected to the beefs that started on internet social networks.”

New For Nov! Musings with Sammy Stein Vol 4!

Volume 4:

Taking a (Slim) Chance

Taking a (Slim) Chance

Ronnie Lane was best known as a member of The Small Faces from 1965-9 and The Faces
from 1970-1975. With rod Stewart on lead vocals, The Faces achieved chart success but Rod
developed a solo career and in 1973 Ronnie Lane left, disillusioned with the world of ‘pop’
music and formed his own band. The band released an album called ‘Anymore For Anymore’
in 1973. their second album was titled Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance and Ronnie, perhaps
somewhat ironically, decided to call the band Slim Chance. Though it never achieved real
chart success it did allow an insight into the eclectic and diverse musical style of Ronnie,
which, while he was with The Faces, was suppressed.

Luckily for Ronnie, he teamed up with musicians who shared his passion for musical
boundary pushing and Slim Chance, in its first incarnation, embraced, from time to time,
an array of musical talents including bassists Chrissy White and Steve Bingham, sax player
Jimmy Jewel, Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle (who went on to form Gallagher and
Lyle), violinist Ken Slaven as well as later members of the band including Steve Simpson,
Ruan O’Lochlainn, Charlie Hart, Brian Belshaw and Glen le Fleur. The band released a
single ‘How Come’ which reached number 11 in the charts, followed by a second, ‘The
Poacher’ and the album ‘Anymore for Anymore’ mentioned above. While these have become
serious collectors’ items, Slim Chance in its original format went their separate ways for a
while before being reincarnated in a second line-up which included the originals of Simpson,
O’Lochlainn, Bingham, Hart, and Belshaw with ALun Davies on guitar and Colin Davey on
drums, They became the solid crew to Ronnie’s captaincy and proved a longer lasting item.

Slim Chance and Ronnie Lane played live gigs and released several albums. On ‘Ronnie
Lane’s Slim Chance’, most of the songs were written by Ronnie with band members Ruan
O’Lochlainn, Steve Simpson and Ronnie’s wife, Kate Lambert. There is an eclectic mix of
rock, bluesey folk and rhythm and blues. In the music, Ronnie showed a varied repertoire,
drawing from many different musical origins, putting together a range of musical styles and
creating strong original music as well as including a few cover versions of songs like ‘Blue
Monday’ (Fats Domino) and ‘You Never Can Tell’ (Chuck Berry). Ronnie and Slim chance
had a stalwart and diverse following.

When Ronnie died, of MS, in 1997, that could have been that. Fond memories would endure
but, to all intents and purposes, the music of Ronnie Lane was over. Ronnie, far from
becoming another failed solo artist emerging from the bands of the 70s, had given us a taste
of his huge musical range and talents but now he was gone.

Yet not so fast! Ronnie had left behind a musical legacy which was hard to follow. There
was, for the band, a strong sense of things still undone, music still to play. Ronnie would
not be forgotten that easily and they would ensure his music lived on. All of them were
accomplished musicians in their own right, and had been involved in other projects but they
still had their musical spiritual base in Slim Chance and Ronnie’s music. And now, happily
and to great acclaim, Slim Chance have come back together again.

‘Reformed but Unrepentant’ is their motto and they have made a triumphant return to the live
stage and the studio.

The current line up includes original musicians Steve Simpson, a singer and multi-talented
musician who has worked with Ry Cooder, Joe Brown, and (ahem) Billy Jo Spears; Charlie
Hart – a violinist, bassist and multi- instrumentalist (you’ll see what I mean later on) who has
worked with The People Band, the legendary Terry Day, The Kilburns with Ian Dury and
has also composed for film and TV; Steve Bingham who has worked with Geno Washington
and The Foundations; Alun Davies –who worked with Yusaf Isalam (Cat Stevens) for many
years (and still does) and has also worked with Spencer Davis and Marianne Faithful; Collin
Davey , the rhythm and blues drummer, last seen playing at a London blues fest with the likes
of PP Arnold.

Currently ‘guesting’ long term for the band is Geraint Watkins who has played with Van
Morrison, Paul Macartney, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, Dr Feelgood and John Martyn.
He is also known, somewhat infamously, for his pub rock band, The Balham Alligators.

Between them, the Slim Chance line up has an enviable musical history and influence which
spans decade and genres.

The reasons for the reform? It seems like Slim Chance just enjoy playing together and trying
new ways with material. The y firmly believe the songs of Ronnie Lane (with the Slim
Chance twists) deserve to be brought to more people and, judging by the success so far, they
are right. At the 100 club last year, they went through a prodigious set including ‘Ooh La
La’, ‘Annie’ and ‘The Poacher’ which went down a storm. ‘Anniversary’ has a strong bass
rhythm as its footnote and this carries the song, giving it a strength belying the lightness of
the chords above whilst ‘Flags and Banners’ has a definite country feel to it, with twin vocals
and harmonious background chords. ‘Flags and Banners’ has a more pithy feel and is without
the full chords, which all adds up to a very different feel for each song, yet somehow they
link together because the band now has their own identity, albeit playing Ronnie’s music.
Slim Chance like what they play and intend to share it with a wider audience.

Charlie Hart says, ‘‘We’re really into celebrating Ronnie’s life and music, particularly the
songs which he wrote after he left The Faces, songs which were brilliant but little known.
Though we do play some of The Faces stuff too and enjoy it. We did a big memorial for
Ronnie in 2004 in the Albert Hall with the likes of Paul Weller, Pete Townsend, Ronnie
Wood and others and in a way we are picking up the thread from there.’’

The band released a two track single ‘One For The Road’/’ Flags and Banners’ on Sept 19th
and are going to the north of the UK in October on tour. They plan to release an album length
CD early 2012 and tour Europe.

In the future the band intend to invite more guests and play more live gigs. Let’s hope they do
– one more thing. If you go and see Slim Chance (and you should), keep an open mind and
don’t think you have wondered into some nether world – it really is happening! Sometimes,

you look and Charlie is playing bass with Steve on guitar and singing. Then, look away and
back and Steve has a fiddle whilst Charlie has an accordion or piano, or violin (the same
electric blue one passed between the two). These are not mere ‘players’, they are musicians
and, like all the best bands, when they play together a vibe is in the air. Music is not played, it
is teased, tweaked and loved, making no two gigs ever the same.

Take a (slim) chance on this band – you won’t regret it. Ronnie (Plonk) would love it.

NEW FOR NOV! Case Studies in DIY Recording #3!

Case Studies in DIY Recording
By Jason Lustig


Wow, number 3 already, thanks for reading! A quick recap on my philosophy:

It’s not the gear that matters, it’s you and the band that matter. You need a great song, engaged musicians, a good ear and a willingness to do whatever it takes with whatever gear you’ve got. No amount of expensive gear will make your project a hit. High quality gear is icing on the cake, but it’s the cake that fills you up (although icing is awesome). So take the gear when you can get it, but never blame it for the failure of a project. That’s just lazy and delusional.

With that in mind, and as a framework for my columns, here’s our third case study in DIY recording:

“Made in China, Rewired in the USA”

So as I’ve said for two and a half columns now, it’s not the gear that matters. But you do need some gear, right? You can’t record with thin air; I get that. So I want to talk about a recent experience I had with trying to get the most out of a limited gear budget. I understand that if I’m going to keep advocate for a low cost, high quality approach to recording, I had better throw some gear tips at you in addition to technique tips, right? Right!

One of my favorite hobbies is buying pieces of junk guitars and stripping them down to the wood and replacing all the hardware and electronics with items of my choice and ending up with a guitar that sounds vintage and expensive for only a few hundred dollars. For instance, the guitar that’s been used on more of my client’s records than any other cost me $35 to which I then added less than $200 in parts. I would put this up against any Les Paul, ANY, without a second thought.

That being said, I now own many guitars that play great, sound great, and didn’t break the bank. But what I’ve always wanted was a beautiful looking bass (come on, don’t kid yourself, looks do matter, especially with electric guitars) with a really thick, but balanced, sound. The best bass I’d heard/played for this particular sound was borrowed from the bass player from the band Screw Tractor. It was a Fender P-Bass with some sort of passive (I think) humbucker in the bridge position. I wanted this sound for cheap.

After years of struggling to find this sound with all sorts of pickups and basses, I went on ebay and found a Chinese knockoff Music-Man (TM) bass humbucker for about $15. For that price it was worth trying. I had a cream-colored jazz bass with a red tortoiseshell pickguard (totally beautiful look) that I had been using with a guitar humbucker (not bad, but didn’t pick up the thinnest string well due to being the wrong size). This would be the perfect match!

The pickup arrived and looked exactly like it should, four leads on the pickup, soldered together in pairs. I routed the body of the bass to fit the pickup, soldered it to the volume control (bypassing the tone as I usually do in my instruments – less junk to pick up RF in the signal path), and fired the bad boy up through a little practice amp.

Well, it played… but not well. When I switched over to using the single coil jazz pickup, the jazz pickup was considerably louder and had a bigger sound. This was exactly the opposite of what should have happened. I then proceeded to try re-soldering, different wire, replacing all the connections in the entire instrument, new jacks, anything I could think of. But to no avail. After about two hours, frustrated, I decided to put it down for the night.

The next day I took it out, hooked it up to a direct box, into my console, and put it up on the mains. I instantly knew what was wrong. I couldn’t quite tell through an amp, but there is no mistaking this sound through speakers. The pickup was out of phase with itself.

Humbuckers are essentially two single coil pickups, but wired such that when they are combined they cancel RF that has been induced while boosting the overall output level. This is the same in a balanced (three conductor) cable, when the negative is inverted and added to the positive lead, the RF cancels itself out, while the signal is doubled.

Here it was clear that one half of the humbucker was out of phase with the other half, meaning that it was not properly inverted when it was added to the other pickup. If a signal is added to a reverse phase signal that is otherwise identical, they will completely cancel each other out. But because there is a physical space difference (as well as subtle differences in the way the wires get wrapped) between the two halves of the humbucker pickup, their respective signals are not exactly the same and opposite. These subtle differences contribute to the more robust sound when it is working properly. But when the phase is off between the two halves of a humbucker, it just leaves whatever is different between the two halves’ sounds to pass through.

This is what I was hearing. No low end (low frequencies are longer waves and so more easily cancel each other out even if the spacing, or timing, of received sound is slightly off) and very indistinct mid and high frequencies (indicative of comb-filtering) resulting from two out of phase signals being added without the reverse phase side being inverted properly prior to being combined. Through a small practice amp, with a limited frequency range and its own internal distortion characteristics, this was all masked. But through a DI on studio monitors, this change in frequency response was very plain to hear.

The solution, then, was both obvious and simple to enact. A humbucker, as mentioned earlier, has four leads (two from each half) that are soldered together to make the two leads necessary for connection into the signal path. All this sound meant was that the leads from one pickup had to be reversed so that the two halves would be in phase for the bass signal and cancel the RF. So that’s what I did, and viola`, it sounded awesome! Although the pickup came from the factory with the same color leads, soldered the same way, as a Music-Man pickup, it clearly sounded wrong. When I recombined the leads with one side reversed, it sounded like it should.

Suddenly it was louder than the single coil jazz pickup, had a tighter bottom, crunchier mid-range characteristics, and an available, but not strident top end. It was everything and more that I could hope for from a $15 pickup on a used jazz bass I bought for $100.

Now, I’m sure that there is still some magical $300 pickup out there for some great $2,000 bass made from the perfect hardwood, but I get 95% of that for $115. Of course, I still can’t play bass very well, so if you refer to my basic premise on recording, you’ll note that I have much bigger fish to fry. However, at least I have an awesome sounding bass for my clients (some of whom can definitely play and take advantage of it) and had a couple hours of soldering and detective fun (I acknowledge that I’m weird).

So use your ears, trust your ears. Making music is about creating and communicating emotion through the ears. As soon as I was able to listen to what was going on through a full-fidelity system that I was familiar with, I was able to make an informed judgment and fight for the results I knew were possible. Yes, I did this with pickup wiring, but it holds just as true for putting up a mic on a drum kit, or a singer, or mixing an instrument within a track, or mixing a whole track. You need to find a way to make informed judgments and then fight until you get what you want to hear. Don’t give up, don’t say you don’t have the right gear or don’t know how to get that sound. Keep fighting. Because if you can imagine how something SHOULD sound, then you have an obligation to keep working until it DOES sound that way (or better)!

That’s the story. Use your ears and you can find great sounding, inexpensive, tools out there to help you make great music. Money isn’t everything, but your ears are. Use them wisely and you can get really useful gear for cheap.

Hope that helps a little. Check in next time for some more case studies in DIY recording.

© 2011 Jason Lustig