guitar, lizardfish, Uncategorized

Band Practice Recap

Last night was the first band practice since the July 1st show. We didn’t plan on taking a whole month off, it just sort of happened. We planned on learning a bunch of new songs. One went okay. The others were weaker than usual. We also tried learning something at the practice. Not sure how that worked out. I can say that one of the new songs is a Beatles song, so hopefully my beloved wife will be happier out our next show. (love you sweetie!)

None of that is out of the ordinary. One other thing was. It was weird. Very weird. I brought my Strat. Every now and then I feel the need to bring it to practice to sort of justify the fact that I payed money for it. You know, see wallet? I’m using it with the band. It wasn’t a waste of money. The weird thing was how it felt. It felt… good. It almost felt natural. I’ve always said, since the day I bought the thing, that it is so different than the two Gibsons that it never really felt right to me. Last night though… it felt good. The action is still a little high, and the bridge is much harder to mute with the palm of my hand, but otherwise. It felt good playing it. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but playing a Fender Stratocaster felt good.

What’s wrong with me?

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lizardfish, music, Uncategorized

Show Recap – Sort Of

My fist gig with Lizardfish was two nights ago.  How did it go?

Well, I’m typing this right now so that must mean I survived.  That’s a good thing, right?  Right?

I punched out of work at 5:30 and had the car loaded up by 6:00.  When I got t Mike’s I loaded my amp, board, and gig bag into the car, and helped him load some things too.  Greg was there and he helped us both.  Kevin had already picked up his drums earlier in the day.  Mike’s cellar looked a little strange without our tons of stuff everywhere.  

We were planning on getting to the bar around 7:30 or so.  Being 4th of July weekend I included traffic into my schedule, but ended up going back roads from Mike’s house and was super early.  I actually watched some Netflix in the car to kill time.

The bar itself is on the second floor, so lots of carrying heavy stuff up stairs.  Let’s just say the big fat, totally out of shape guy was feeling it.  I was covered in sweat and we hadn’t even set up yet.  Oh yeah, and it was HOT in there.  We set up all of our equipment okay.  I thought there would be someone there who knew their way around the house PA.  There wasn’t.  Greg figured it out, but some of their gear… I’m not saying it looked like a fire hazard, but I think they’ve probably been lucky.  The audio stuff was ok though and we got a sort of decent mix.  We had to tweak it as the night went on.

The crowd was much bigger than I expected, which was a very happy surprise.  When the first set started I think we were pretty tense as a group.  There were some mistakes.  I screwed up on Greg’s mother’s favorite song.  I bet she hates me now.  Sorry.  I also kicked off the Eddie Money song in the wrong key.  Effin’ train wreck there, Robbie.  Still, everyone said we sounded good.  I thought we were okay, but we could have been better.

The second set though.  I’m not sure what happened, but we were confident, we played tight as a unit.  I was relaxed and played as well as I’ve played in a long time.  Every song went over better than we had hoped.  It was a really good set, and it was fun.  I was feeling pretty proud of us when the set came to an end.

The third set is where we hide the clunky songs as most of the crowd is either nicely drunk by then, or has already left.  Still, the good vibes continued.  We actually played a request.  As we got near the end though, I think we were starting to run out of gas.  The adrenaline was running low.  I had managed two and a half sets without any pain in my hands at all, but with four songs left, or so, it started creeping in.  When it was over I was feeling a little relieved.  I don’t know that I had another song in me.

As for all my new gear, it held up well.  My amp was on the floor right behind me and I couldn’t hear it very well.  I learned that a few of the new pedals are a little more sensitive in the knobs department than I expected, and I was moving the volume controls around a little as I was stepping on the switches.  I need to watch that in the future as it messed a couple of things up.

I think the people who saw us who had also seen the band play with their original guitar player were pleased enough that they won’t turn on us (at least they seemed that way outwardly, who knows what they were really thinking), and I know for a fact that we won over some new fans too.  We played a good show, we had a lot of fun, we helped a few people enjoy their Friday night.  All in all I’m very pleased, and looking forward to the next show in October.

One last note.  We didn’t get paid much, but what we got we split between us before we left.  What did I do with my share?  Did I spend it on new gear?  Nope.  Did I buy my beloved wife (who stayed for the whole show!  Thank you, sweety!) a nice meal?  Nope.  What did I do with that money?  I used it to open a new bank account!  Yeah!  Responsible rock and roll for the win!  

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guitar, lizardfish, music, Uncategorized

Pre-Gig Rituals

I haven’t played a paid gig since 2005. (I wonder if I could find our old website on archive.org and maybe get the exact date. hmmmm) I know there were things I used to make sure I did before I left the house to load in at the bar, but what were those things? 11 years seems like such a long time.

This morning before work I did the ceremonial trimming of the finger nails. Skipping that step has in the past resulted in me having to rip them off mid-set, which pretty much guarantees they’ll be way too low and hurt a lot.

I spent my lunch break performing the ceremonial changing of the strings. Both Gibsons are ready to go, although I only plan on playing one of them. The other is an emergency back up. During the string changing, one of the old strings tasted blood. A clipped end stabbed the side of a finger on my right hand and drew a little blood. Nothing that will be an issue tonight, unless I develop tetanus or something.

I have a little pile of stuff on the dining room table that I will throw into my backpack. Extra strings, extra cables, an extra fuzz pedal, an extra glass slide even though I have no intention of playing any slide tonight. You never know.

What else?

I skipped eating lunch in favor of strings, so I have to feed. I’m working from home, so maybe I’ll order a sub.

I have not yet had the ceremonial vomit. That wasn’t always a thing, but it has happened. Given the 11 year gap, it wouldn’t surprise me if I order a sub and then hurl it later tonight.

Too much information? Yeah.

Less than three hours left in the work day. Then it’s load out of Mike’s house, load into the bar, play three sets over 3+ hours or so, then load out of the bar, load into my house (maybe the garage?), and GO TO SLEEP YOU OLD MAN!

Murtaugh, indeed.

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guitar, lizardfish, Uncategorized

Amplifier Comparison

Song #1 here is through my ’65 Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. The rhythm guitar is through the bass big muff and the little solo is through the tone wicker big muff. The rhythm sounds okay, but the lead… doesn’t.

Song #2 is through my Marshall Valvestate VS265. Same pedal configuration. Everything is much toppier. Isn’t the norm for Fender vs Marshall the opposite? At least through the Marshall the wicker big muff sounds okay. I think I might have toned it down a little too.

So the moral of the story is maybe to not use two fuzz pedals and just crank the fuzz on one and use it all the time. Oh, and turn up the bass on my Marshall amp (if it’s not full up already).

Next practice is Sunday. No dicking with gear allowed as it’s the final run through before my first bar gig in 11 years. The goal is to just blow through everything we know in as short a time as possible.

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guitar, lizardfish, music, Uncategorized

What’s in the Bag?

Hey Robbie, what’s in that big bag?

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I’ll tell you in a second…

Last night’s band practice wasn’t very good, but it was okay.  We hadn’t played together in about a month and it showed.  I half expected that I would have forgotten how to play every song.  That wasn’t the case, but it didn’t mean I didn’t screw up left and right and get lost now and then.

I had a disconcerting technical issue.  I think I know what it was though.  After 2-3 songs my volume level dropped to almost nothing.  It was weird.  One minute I was roaring like a tornado of Big Muff Fuzz, and the next I was a whisper.  I thought it was my uni-vibe pedal as a light that usually doesn’t light was lit from the minute I plugged in.  I figured the battery was dead.  I bypassed it on the board but it didn’t solve the problem.  Screw this, thinks I.  I pulled my tuner off the board and bypassed everything else.  The signal path was guitar->wah->fuzz->tuner->amp.  The problem persisted.  So I bypassed everything and plugged straight into the amp.  It worked.  So I have it narrowed down to those three pedals.  I am acting under the assumption that the amazing Big Muff pedal has a dead battery.

So what’s in the bag then?  Speak of the devil, it’s my pedal board and all of my pedals from Mike the bass player’s house.  Now I can add all the new pedals to the board, replace all of the 9-volt batteries with the new DC Brick power supply, and rearrange the whole thing to get the most noisy fuzz boxy mess imaginable!  I’ll let you know when it’s up and running again.  There will be an I-am-so-cool-check-out-my-pedal-board picture, I’m sure of it.

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