So last night, I performed my first solo gig. Some thought I was on fire, others (including myself) might’ve thought I crashed and burned, but overall, I was glad I got behind the wheel. Small deal for some, big deal for me. Here’s my rundown of last night.
Before I got to the gig, I decided to do away with playing acoustic and instead just play along to a fake band on CD. I rendered “stage versions” of the two songs I planned to perform: Rush and Running With Roses. I took the original tracks and just cut the volume of the guitar/main vocals by 40% and kept the harmonies. Tuned my guitar to the instrumental, practiced along with it about 5 times and it sounded great. The 3 hours later at the venue, it’s 5 minutes to showtime and all hell breaks loose. Some performers were no shows, so I was asked to play two more songs.
The last guy just finished singing and rapping. Then the host brings this short, baby-faced Asian kid to the stage, armed with a guitar plugged in to his iPhone (using an app that turns it into a amp) and an iPad with lyrics. Might I mention, I’m about 3 beers and a couple of stoges in …just to calm my nerves on an empty stomach. This would be my first time singing to a crowd. Ever. I figure I’d start off with a disclaimer, something like, “I know this is hip-hop night, but I was asked to bring something different tonight.” That got some cheers. Then I nod to the DJ to kick off the first song.
1) “Insomnia In Song”
This was one of the songs that was added last minute …and I played it first. I figure I’d start off with a slow jam to keep with the vibe. Probably not the best way to start off, due to lack of rehearsal and prep time. Since I didnt have a “stage version” of the song ready, I just played along to the original version from the CD. Kinda wack. The guitar was out of tune with the song, I missed some chords, forgot some lyrics, dropped my pick… It was a real shitshow. But whatever, the show must go on, right? I promised the crowd that the next one wouldn’t suck.
2) “Running With Roses”
Okay, this is it. I rehearsed this one. Again and again. Song starts. For the most part, all goes well. The guitar tuning was a little better than last song, I didn’t drop the pick, missed a few unnoticed chords and the lyrics were on point, save for some minor pitchy-ness.
Even though they wanted me to do 4 songs, they wanted to split up my act into two. I was ready to walk off stage, but then I hear the opening cymbals of Rush. I look at the DJ confused, and he tells me to keep going. I start the song… then half way through the chorus, the DJ cuts the track to a slow spin-out. I thought he was either remixing it or telling me I suck. I see the host and the DJ give me the “kill it” hand motion. Apparently I exceeded my 6 minute spot. I say thanks to the crowd and I walk off stage. I guess 2.5 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Overall… I crashed and burned. But I enjoyed myself doing it, in an afterschool-special-learned-my-lesson kind of way. I contemplated if I should continue with the second set (Rush and Payday). I was already a little embarrassed and felt out of my league… but I hate running away from challenges. Ultimately, I asked to scrap my second spot on stage, since I would’ve had to wait another 45 mins… and I was already starving. I thanked the host, packed up and my friends and I went to eat at the Filipino bar up the block… where they had another Open Mic. It was a smaller, laid back atmosphere, so I figured I would jump on the mic with the acoustic guitar they provided and repeat my setlist to redeem myself. It felt good… and I had some Bistek and a Red Horse too.
Videos coming soon.
Through the magic of Facebook, an old highschool classmate offered me a spot on a monthly Open Mic that goes on in East Village.
It’s at Karma lounge on 1st Ave and 4th St. I’ll be performing 2 or 3 of my rock songs (either backed by a bass/drum instrumental or just acoustic).
-Running With Roses
It’s mainly a hip-hop open mic, but they feature poets and guitarists as well. It’s also my first performance. Ever. Wish me broken legs.
karmanyc.com Tonight @7pm.
I’m currently developing my next full length album, titled “Destiny”.
Here’s the album cover. I like to start backwards with the artwork developed first. Having a visual to work towards keeps me more productive. Aiming for late spring 2011.
Story-wise, it continues from “King Friday” and will serve as a bookend to 2008’s “face:the.music” like the third chapter in a trilogy.
Production and composition-wise, I’ll of course have to push my limits further. More lead guitar, more range in vocals and harmonies, more groovy bass lines… And style-wise, although I do want to go back to more pop-punk styles to reflect “face:the.music”, I plan to incorporate some 60’s garage and funk as well as some epic-sounding prog rock.
I’m hoping to create a more dynamic masterpiece this time around. Not to say it’s going to be a darker album overall, but some songs will get pretty deep while others will maintain that pop-punk edge. I’m hoping everything I’ve learned along the way, musically, thematically, lyrically and at the production level, will converge in this new project.
And the reason I’m doing this so soon after the release of King Friday is a little bit of a personal experiment of my own. I don’t really like to discuss song meanings and get all artsy-fartsy on this blog, but I’ll say this much; I guess it’s no secret that the past couple of albums are a loose interpretation of my past few of years. For all writers, it’s always “write what you know”. This time I want to have a little bit of “write what will be” and see if we have the power to write our own… destiny. Ooooohh!!!
In the meantime, help me with some funding and buy King Friday from iTunes 🙂
Along side my “Fast Food” recording experiment, I’ve decided to keep the creative juices flowing and start putting together songs for the 3rd official Richy923 record.
Here’s a new song “At The Bridge”, which might appear on the album…
FYI: Saturday afternoon, King Friday returned to iTunes… Everything sounds as it should. Support a starving artist please at $9.90 🙂 Buy: King Friday
Speaking of starving, I have a new project in the works:
Richy923 Presents: Fast Food
1) Unrequited Love
2) Dream Girl
3) Glory Days
4) Faded Fortune From A Cookie
5) The Day We Cried
Five new renditions of classic songs from my high school years recorded entirely on an iPad and an iPhone.
I’ll be cutting the record using:
Multitrack DAW (app):
Also, I’ll be using the iPad Camera Connection Kit that adds a USB port that I can plug my M-Audio Interface into:
Let’s see how this goes! It’ll be a free download at the end of the month.
In honor of the numerical alignment of “923” that graces calendars once a year, I present to you the new album King Friday, streaming in its entirety for FREE on SoundCloud:
10 tracks, 9 songs. Story complete.
A bonus track or two coming soon when the album hits iTunes in a few weeks, to justify it’s $10 price tag.
A few production notes:
A song I wrote titled “101 Days” was supposed to introduce the album, but it was scrapped during the recording process… I realized the lyrics and the theme were a little juvenile and didn’t fit the album too much without compromising it’s point-of-view for late “20-somethings” crowd. It was a “Mom and Dad, I’m moving out” kind of a song and threw it off balance compared to the rest of the songs, in my opinion. Perhaps it’ll be a bonus track in the future.
Last night, I recorded the finale, “Payday”. A perfect ending, reflecting the whole album both musically and lyrically. I give a credit to John.M.Thirteen of The Backpackers, who suggested that I drop the drums during the verses of the song, to give spotlight to the lyrics. Thanks dude.
Also thanks to my parents for lending their voicemail as an intro to the album.
So, I spent a majority of the night doing some final tweaks to songs that needed it. Everything is to perfection.
Now what? Additional photoshoots and work on the album artwork with graphic designer RozLilia Friend of The Branding Iron, LLC… and live performances 🙂
Thanks for listening!
Check out TWO brand new songs:
From my upcoming album King Friday, the new song “Broke-Ass” (featuring E.dot Fresco of The BackPackers)
And fellow musicians The BackPackers bangin’ new track “Cameras”:
Click HERE to download “Cameras”
Also check out soundcloud.com/richy923 for my previously released songs!