Archive for the ‘guitar’ Category

Travelers of Tyme present: “DC Metro” a new single for $1

January 25, 2011
  • This single that is a tribute to the Washington D.C. metro supports the efforts of the Travelers to create a full-length and go boldly where no band has gone before. Available in most elite formats from $1→WhatYouChooseToGive! 

    Originally entered into the Washington Post Metro-Music contest. The B-side got 2nd place and attributed oddly to John Yaya! (fr0d.net/dcwin) Keeping the mystery alive in 2011!

    DOWNLOAD CONTAINS: Desktop backgrounds of cover art to adorn your computational device!

1.
2.
Picture it: a lonesome subterranean train platform. A balding man in a rumpled black suit stands, waiting, anxiously checking his watch, too often. He rocks on his heels. His train is late, so very late. And what is his final destination? Not one of us can answer that with any certainty, can we? So we might as well be patient. (Just don’t tell that to the Waiting Man. Our secret…) 

An empty train arrives – but it’s not the Waiting Man’s train. As the doors open, they unfold in slow motion as a beautiful brunette in a crisp pant suit emerges like a swan from a swirling gray mist. She seems not to walk but to hover, gliding across the platform, a gorgeous spectre existing beyond Tyme and space. With a wink and a slight smile to the Waiting Man, she mounts the escalator and is carried into an unknown fog above. What is her final destination? Who can say? Perhaps she has already arrived!

As for the Waiting Man, his train is still running late. And it always will be.

ALWAYS.

▲ ▲ ▲

The Travelers of Tyme present “Misty Businesswoman” b/w “Last Train to Limbo,” 2 songs constructed using sound samples of the Washington DC Metrorail. Whether you are waiting, in transit, or have already arrived at your destination, this music is specially designed to enhance your travel experience.

Thank you for spending six minutes and fifty-five seconds with us. We hope that you enjoy the rest of your Tyme in this Universe. It is a pleasant one.

Cordially,

Professor John Yaya and Doctor Klem
The Travelers of Tyme

Countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX – “GAMBLOR”

October 23, 2008

Welcome back to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog and apologies to regular readers for the late posting.

With a hugely successful filming under our belts this past Tuesday (perhaps I should say “below” our belts?), Detholz! is now armed to present you with perhaps our most daring Halloween presentation to date at this year’s “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween party @ Empty Bottle in Chicago, Friday 10/31!  Suffice it to say any aspirations we may have had of running for public office will be summarily dashed to the rocks. Special thanks to Steve Niketopoulos for riding the wheels of steel, running TV cameras and for some “juicy” editing on the fly!

This week’s Halloween cover comes to us by way of the complicated cranium of Detholz! bassist and percussionist extraordinaire, Benjamin Miranda:

GAMBLOR

The entire band was immediately on board with this arrangement.  In my estimation, it’s one of the most disturbing Detholz! covers in the repertoire.  There is some back story here: Ben performed this song as a child at a church talent show.  In a sense, this could be seen as a paen to lost innocence or a lament for a simpler time…

I reviewed the lyrics for this song this morning — this dark, portentious tale ends with a warning to us all, especially at this dangerous juncture in American history:

YOU GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM.

Muah-hahahaha!  See you next Wednesday!  If you want to hear more of Ben’s excellent music, visit him at www.tinytron.com

For those who are just tuning in, we’re running a promotion through the month of October.  See the rules for the Detholz! Blog Roll-Up below…

And remember, folks: buy tickets early and often: 10/31 @ www.emptybottle.com

We had to turn people away last year — don’t let that be you!

***

DETHOLZ! BLOG ROLL-UP  CHALLENGE!

To receive an advance copy of You: the Power of You, simply follow these steps:

1. Get a blog.  If you have one, skip this step.

Note: please, no MySpace, Facebook, or other social-networking site blogs for this promotion. These blogs aren’t indexed, and are therefore useless to Detholz! for promotion. From now on, only dedicated blogs on indexed blog sites like wordpress.com, blogspot.com and their ilk will be accepted. Sorry for any inconvenience!

2. Write a Detholz!-related blog.  Whether it’s about a show, a song, or how much you want to see Karl Doerfer (DH! guitarist) prance around in a Laura Bush costume, any and all is fair game as long as it’s Detholz!-related.

3. Put the following text somewhere in your post:

Jukebox of the Dead IX
“Detholz! FLEX!”
w/special guests Aleks and the Drummer & Hood Internet
Friday, October 31, 2008
Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
Buy tickets at http://www.emptybottle.com

3. Post a link to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog in your blog roll.

4. Send the link to misterb at detholz dot com.

If you carefully follow these steps to the letter, here’s what you get:

1. An advance copy of “You: the Power of You” in its entirety

2. One other downloadable Detholz! record of your choosing

3. A link to your blog posted on the Detholz! blogroll

4. The satisfaction that only BLOG can provide

Jukebox of the Dead IX Countdown – “Rick Rollin'”

October 15, 2008

Welcome (back?) to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

ANNOUNCEMENT: A special shoot has been arranged by the Maestro of the infamous Maplewood House at CAN-TV in Chicago THIS TUESDAY NIGHT, OCT. 21.

THIS IS AN OPEN INVITATION and your chance to join Detholz! onstage this Halloween night via satellite! Technology is amazing! Details below:

Tuesday October 21st, 7pm to 8pm preshow, 8pm to 11pm filming
CAN TV is at 322 S Green Street, Chicago, IL

Come in a sleazy exercise costume and party with the band! Spandex, gold chains, sunglasses, sweatbands and uncomfortably “tite” apparel is encouraged.  Remember to stretch thoroughly beforehand.

If you plan on coming, won’t you RSVP to misterb at detholz dot com ? We need to make sure we will not exceed the size of the studio– first RSVP, first serve!  Prepare to flex and be flexed!

***

This week, our countdown to the Detholz! Ninth Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween show, themed “Detholz! FLEX,” continues with a Halloween cover to really pump you. And pump you again:

RICK ROLLIN’

This track had a different title originally until I was enlightened by our bass player, Ben Miranda, about the mysterious internet phenomenon of “rick-rolling.” So, consider yourself “rick-rolled.”

To those of you just tuning in, every year for the past nine years, Detholz! curates a showcase/Halloween party entitled “Jukebox of the Dead,” where they disassemble and reconstruct songs you would likely hear while waiting to receive a root canal.

Also, we had two DH! Vikings take up the chalice of the Detholz! Blog Roll-Up this week (see rules below), longtime fans Wizzbizz & Meezus:

WIZZBIZZ MYSPACE DETHOLZ BLOG

MEEZUS DETHOLZ BLOG

Note: if you are using your MySpace blogs, please make them viewable to the general public! We prefer if you have a blog separate from MySpace for the Roll-Up Challenge. In these cases we will make exceptions, but please, folks, no more MySpace blogs.

Thanks to all of you immortals who have participated thus far — your advance copies of Jukebox of the Dead II : You : The Power of You are being mixed as we speak! A special place awaits you in VORTECS Corp. Valhalla. For those of you who are still languishing in the dark, see rules below.

Tune in next week for the next Halloween cover tune in the countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX!

Remember: buy tickets early and often: 10/31 @ www.emptybottle.com

***

DETHOLZ! BLOG ROLL-UP  CHALLENGE!

To receive an advance copy of You: the Power of You, simply follow these steps:

1. Get a blog.  If you have one, skip this step.

Note: please, no MySpace, Facebook, or other social-networking site blogs for this promotion. These blogs aren’t indexed, and are therefore useless to Detholz! for promotion. From now on, only dedicated blogs on indexed blog sites like wordpress.com, blogspot.com and their ilk will be accepted. Sorry for any inconvenience!

2. Write a Detholz!-related blog.  Whether it’s about a show, a song, or how much you want to see Karl Doerfer (DH! guitarist) prance around in a Laura Bush costume, any and all is fair game as long as it’s Detholz!-related.

3. Put the following text somewhere in your post:

Jukebox of the Dead IX
“Detholz! FLEX!”
w/special guests Aleks and the Drummer & Hood Internet
Friday, October 31, 2008
Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
Buy tickets at http://www.emptybottle.com

3. Post a link to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog in your blog roll.

4. Send the link to misterb at detholz dot com.

If you carefully follow these steps to the letter, here’s what you get:

1. An advance copy of “You: the Power of You” in its entirety

2. One other downloadable Detholz! record of your choosing

3. A link to your blog posted on the Detholz! blogroll

4. The satisfaction that only BLOG can provide

Detholz! demo – “Water on the Brain”

July 1, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XXIX!

Abject apologies for a protracted absence!

With 3 jobs, 2 bands and a wedding to plan, the number of plates I’m spinning this summer I dare not tell.

This week, a song I had hoped to clutch closely to my teat until the record release. Realizing my ineptitude for time management, and hearing the requests of fans for the demo after shows, I give you:

WATER ON THE BRAIN

This is one of the early tracks that was voted onto the new record by the band, and has been in rotation over a few US tours. Generally, the response has been really good, especially at a certain club in Pittsburgh, where this number raised the roof and brought it down again.

Unfortunately, given my ridiculous time constraints, I’m going to have to leave you to interpret this one on your own. Suffice it to say it centers on our capacities to be Beasts. Human Animals.

The only clue I’ll give you: a musical reference to the song “Cast Out Devils,” the title track of our last record (which can be found in a previous post!) This is a similar song of grief. Not death in this case, but loss of friendship.

Also, I hereby dedicate this number to one of my favorite Biblical characters, the widely misunderstood King Nebuchadnezzar.

I promise to be more diligent about posting weekly! Trust me, I’ll be back once this wedding has blown over, oh yes…

Tune in next week for a painfully embarrassing episode!

LYRICS

Upstairs what’s happening
Upstairs at night
A boiling and a bubbling
Stir it left to right

A hot, sticky package
In the back of your mouth
Inside is a message
Rip it out
Figure it out

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

Stand upon a balcony
High above the ground
Growing claws like an animal
Making animal sounds

My neck is wide open
I lay down in the mud
Sink your teeth into me
While I pump the blood

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

“Cabbages, knickers”–
My enemy–
“It hasn’t got a beak!”
A kingdom of bellies hangs off of me
and drags along the street

Ah, my brother!

I will never bleed again
You will never speak my name
There are devils in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

My throat is coming out
You’re tearing it away
We’re crawling on all fours
Kings of all that we survey

Detholz! demo – “Yearning for Zion”

June 5, 2008

DETHOLZ!
BABY TEETH
DANNY BLACK
RAFTER

@ LENA YOHEY FEST ’08!
THIS SATURDAY @ HIDEOUT
www.hideoutchicago.com

Join Detholz!, Baby Teeth, our pal, Danny Black and the Maplewood family to send Lena Yohey, former Detholz! bookie and sweetheart extraordinaire, to Nepal this Fall to work with orphans! This will be a family night you won’t want to miss — a great cause replete with bake sale and MAX POWER!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXVIII!

Apologies for the late posting this week — this one is hot off the press. Literally finished it five minutes ago:

YEARNING FOR ZION

1. SONG CONCEPT

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably read in the news about the “Yearning for Zion” ranch outside of El Dorado, Texas where Child Welfare Services, in conjunction with local law enforcement, acted on a judicial order to remove 462 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound on suspicions that they were being sexually abused.

Of course, now it’s turned into a war between State Officials and leaders of the FLDS, with the children caught in the middle. As a result of the massive raid, these kids were held in state custody until an appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to detain them. Child Protective Services has appealed that decision.

This song is not about the YFZ debacle per se, but I used it as a jumping-off point.

I have known a few people that have come from fairly extreme religious backgrounds, such that the religion itself becomes an invisible predator of sorts. In the case of these poor kids — and God knows what they’re experiencing on this ranch — it’s possible that they’re being subjected to literal white slavery imparted by the particularly legalistic denomination into which they were born.

In my own experience wrestling with faith, I’ve never had to deal with that kind of extreme behavior, but I understand a little bit of what’s it like to feel smothered as a kid by lofty religious ideals beyond my understanding.

I guess this song is a lament for these children and, by extension, for a collective inner child oppressed by family and by religion.

I call upon “Mother Texas” — a particularly bloody state throughout its history, especially now — to shriek on behalf of these innocents.

The “Giants” referenced are the so-called Nephilim of Genesis 6:

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

According to the Genesis account, the Nephelim were “sons of God” (Old Testament-ese for “angels”) who desired human women and took them for their own — “whomever they chose.” Sounds like the women didn’t have much say in the matter — the angels simply saw what they wanted and took it.

An appropriate image in this case, I think.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This song happened almost completely by accident.

To start I was just screwing around on my bass to a click and voila! The song was started.

I ran across this fantastic tacky piano sound in Kontakt 3 that served my purposes swimmingly. I love dulcimer-esque piano sounds– they always remind me of the soundtrack to the movie, “Kafka,” one of my favorite sci-fi films as a high school kid.

This was one was a little different in that the melody came before the harmonic changes. I suppose that’s the “correct” way to do things, but for me it usually happens the other way around.

I used a more nasal bass tone on this track than I usually do. Also, I mixed every track down to mono and basically trashed the hell of them to dirty things up (except for the tack piano sound). After finishing a few songs, I’m getting better at doing this in Nuendo. Originally, I missed Logic — it seemed much easier for me to thrash the beejeezus out of my tracks. As I’m discovering, Nuendo has similar — and much better — functionality on the PC.

The last section of the song seemed necessary given the song’s subject matter — couldn’t really end on a high note, could it? I was definitely pulling from the bridge to “Psychotherapy” (from “Cast Out Devils, DH! 2nd record) when conceiving this part. Sometimes cut/paste between song sections works well, and this song screamed for it, in my opinion.

Tune in next week for another episode of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

Side note: I start a new job next week, so the update day will likely change. I’ll keep you posted.

3. LYRICS

YEARNING FOR ZION

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Lead an innocent child
To the Mystery Mountain

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Remember Abraham’s son
On the Holy Mountain?

Everything’s going be all right
Sacrifice is forever
Everything is locked up tight
You will be here forever

Listen to the words of Light
From the Books that I read you
Listen to the cries at night
Feel the gaze of the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on me now
Evil Hands will force and feel me
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect her from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother on the River of Blood
Oh, Mother of Ten Thousand Suns
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Giants, Giants
In the mouths of Giants
Whiff of innocent blood
From the veins of the children

Giants, Giants
In the arms of giants
Between heaven and hell
Neither angel nor devil

Everything’s going to be all right
Sacrifice is not forever
Everything is locked up tight
But you will not live here forever

Listen to the songs of Light
From the lips of the children
Listen in the Texas night
Far away from the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on you now
Evil Hands will force and feel you
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect you from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Detholz! demo – “Piggly Man”

November 28, 2007

THIS FRIDAY, 11/30
DETHOLZ! play their last show of 2007
@ Hideout
1354 W Wabansia
Chicago, IL, USA
w/THE CASSETTES & BRILLIANT PEBBLES
www.hideoutchicago.com

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVII!

This Friday marks Detholz!’s last show of 2007 – the conclusion of our 11th year together as a band. This is a bill we are anticipating greatly, with two other bands breaking ground of their own with respect to music and performance. Forget Detholz! — we’ve been around 4 eva’!– instead come experience the nightmare club ritual of BRILLIANT PEBBLES and the hurdy-gurdy magic of THE CASSETTES!

To mark this event, we’re giving one away today that I thought I’d keep under wraps until “Death to the Traitor” (Detholz! forthcoming record) is released next year. In many ways, this is my favorite track developed for “Death to the Traitor” thus far, and wraps the blood, animal and betrayal imagery in human (feral?) flesh:

PIGGLY MAN

1. SONG CONCEPT

This song is near and dear to my heart as it’s about a former co-worker of mine who was debilitated by a number of massive strokes earlier this year. The effects on his brain– esp. on his centers of speech– were devastating, and his situation is nothing if not tragic for him and his family.

Here’s the rub: the man

a. is a pathological liar,

b. has a speaking voice that closely resembles that of Mickey Mouse,

c. is morbidly obese and has no compunction about loudly breaking wind in the workplace (at one point, I had to look over at him and yell, “Hey– were you raised in @#$%in’ barn?”),

d. is consumed with greed– down to falsifying company records in order to qualify for sales prizes– and ruined countless potential sales for his colleagues by meddling with customers in order to qualify for pieces of commission,

e. earned the nickname “Bologna Loaf” among his peers, and

f. is generally one of the most unpleasant people it’s been my misfortune to meet.

Get the picture? He is Homer Simpson come to life and moving among us.

Which is why, of course, he deserved a song. On one hand, he almost TRIES to make himself hateful to others. On the other hand, his humanity is so painfully transparent– especially in light of his staggering health problems. Many of us at my company developed a strange affection for this man, which I found to be a curious phenomenon. His unpleasantness was SO over the top that, well… you couldn’t help but like the guy.

On that note, a strange episode occurred one morning as I arrived for work, took my place at my desk and started setting up for the day. My desk was across the room from the Loafer’s, but he couldn’t hear very well so he didn’t hear me come in. On this particular morning, I sat and watched him for awhile. He would scratch nonsensical, pseudo-motivational catchphrases to himself on a large, yellow pad, which he was doing that morning. Suddenly, he stopped, straightened up in his chair and began loudly cawing like a crow. He punctuated each “caw!” by banging his meaty palm on his desk:

“CAW! CAW! CAW!”

I jumped in my seat. To this day, I have no idea what prompted him to do this. It will, I fear, remain a mystery.

Now that he can’t work, he calls in sometimes, just to say “hi” (at least, I think that’s what he saying– after his strokes, he’s very difficult to understand). Many of my current co-workers will not answer the phone when they see his number flashing on the caller ID. “I don’t want to talk to him,” one man said, almost visibly shuddering. I also find this to be a curious phenomenon.

The Loaf was man who betrayed himself at every turn: by his selfishness and greed, etc. Ultimately, though, he was betrayed by something beyond any of our control: his own mortality. People don’t want to talk to him– not because he’s a jerk (which he is), but because he serves as a reminder of human frailty. He is a walking warning sign that reads: “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.”

After he left, I took his staff picture home. It now adorns my wall, in a frame, above my home studio space. I take a weird sort of comfort in the baldness of the Loaf’s humanity– both in his consuming greed and his failing health. He’s no different than you or I, really.  He just isn’t as skilled at glossing over his baser nature. Subsequently, this song is not meant AT ALL as a slight– it was written out of love for the man.

I hope that comes through.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This was one in a series of home demos for “Death to the Traitor” where I left the guitars out altogether. This was at Karl’s (Detholz! guitarist) suggestion: that I not limit myself to the “band” instruments in recording demos. He thought it would be interesting to reassign parts to regular “band” instruments in rehearsal. As it turned out– at least with this song– he was right.

As with most of the newer material, the song’s axis revolves around the repeated organ figure — intervallically, a tritone to major third, back to a tritone, then to a perfect fifth. In that musical “cell,” there is plenty of tension and release, except the tonal center remains very strong. I found it to be a challenging “drone” to write around. As it turned out, this figure was also adaptable to some interesting harmonic motion in the chorus.

You’ll notice the “Traitor motive” (see previous post, “Death to the Traitor”) hinted at in the second half of the chorus– in the flutes! The flute is my least favorite orchestral instrument, which is why I felt compelled to use it here, of course. It’s a principle an old art professor taught me in school: if you hate a piece of art, immerse yourself in it. Find out if you’re harboring irrational prejudices; see if there’s anything you can use creatively. At the time, he forced me to sit in front of an Agnes Martin painting for 3 hours, then write an essay on what I got out of the experience. Generally, I can’t stand Agnes Martin’s work– it’s that annoying brand of minimalism that seems completely theory-driven, with little to no substance to the actual pieces. Still, after sitting in front of that blank, cloudy canvas for 3 hours, I managed to extract some things out of the work.

Same idea here. Flute is not my favorite, but it provides an interesting texture in this context (if I do say so myself). I liked it so much, in fact, that it shows up on other new songs as well!

The centerpiece of the song is the “piggly” bridge, of course, with samples of real pigs. This section was expanded in rehearsal, and now sounds much different live than on the demo. Jonny added a brilliant, layered line which is built upon additively by Karl and I on the guitars. Very spooky, even “Castlevania”-esque!

Also, as with many of the newer songs, the bass line is largely the same throughout the song. It is an exceptional challenge to write a song with contrasting sections while the bass line remains the same–at least I think so. More often than not, I fail using this approach. In the case of “Piggly Man,” however, I was pleased with the result.

Comments/questions/criticisms welcome! Hope to see you all on Friday before the long, dark night of the soul for Detholz!…

3 . LYRICS

Rosy cheeks and
Tight buttons
Packing the pounds

Chew slowly
Chew slowly
A Midwestern mound

High in a cloudy brain
A lumpy mountain range
Makes all the speaking strangely…?

I’m waiting again
For you, my lonely friend
Open your mouth
Pick it on up
Chew it on up
A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Quiet morning
Can’t hear it
Write on a pad

Scratch yourself some
Motivation
Like Carnegie said

But when the pressure builds
Forget to take your pills
Hot when the coffee spills, you…?

Now I’m watching again
The birds are not your friends
Open your mouth
Caw like a crow
Caw like a crow
Death is a bird
When a pig is a man

The piano
Is confusing
Head on the keys

Little mermaids
Swimming through you
Sing “Under the Sea”

Now you are seeing spots
Now on a mountaintop
Now you are jumping off, don’t you…?

You’re seated again
On sacks of pickled skin
Open your mouth
Shove it on in
Shove it on in

A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Jukebox of the Dead VIII Recap – “Prelude” & “You: the Power of You”

November 7, 2007

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XV!

Thanks to all who made it to the Detholz! 8th Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween shows last week. It was, by far, the best year yet. In Chicago, especial propers to Zen Master Lord of the Yum-Yum and the amazing Mucca Pazza marching band, which may be the New Greatest Show on Earth!

To finally cap off Detholz! Halloween proceedings– and for those who could not attend– we proudly present 2 tracks this week to give you the gist:

Jukebox of the Dead VIII Prelude

You: the Power of You

To get the full effect, these tracks should be listened to in sequence.

The Prelude was used under video of the disembodied head of Mister M (James “Jamesie” Mitchell), saying things like “YOU are the Chariot! Arise, YOU! Celebrate, YOU! YOU are the lighting! YOU are the one who can turn IF into BECAUSE!” etc. Given the chaos of the evening, it was tough to hear in the club.

A few musical asides about the Prelude:

1. It is in the dominant key of “You: the Power of You” (“U:PU” for short) — an old “Circle of 5th’s” trick to prepare you for the payoff at the beginning of “U:PU.”

2. It incorporates strains from both “U:PU” and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the pretension of which I found endlessly amusing– esp. coupled with the video of Jamesie.

“U:PU” is a mashup of three components:

1. Olivia Newton-John’s / ELO’s “Xanadu” (I took a few liberties with the harmony to “Holzify”it.)

2. Jane Fonda’s step aerobics soundtrack

3. Rush’s “Xanadu”

A challenging set of components to combine, but interspersed with some campy double-talk and guitar lixx ala “Miami Vice,” I think it works. A definitive junket into Meta-Music Land… but hey, it’s Halloween!

Tune in next week where we’ll return to “The Way It Was,” or– to quote the great U.S. President, Warren Harding– “Back to Normalcy!” [sic]

Jukebox of the Dead Countdown II – “Invisible Touch” + 2 “Secret” Tracks

October 18, 2007

Greetings and welcome back to another Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XII!

Forgive the late posting today and my absence last week. I was gallivanting around Prague getting myself engaged, and interestingly, was gouged by a ridiculous cover song on the night I proposed to my fiancee.

To set a romantic tone, I booked us a reservation at a restaurant housed in a 12th Century wine cellar. What better environ in which to gaze longingly into one’s significant other’s eyes through soft candlelight, eating delicately prepared dishes full of rapturous delights… right?

Wrong.

Picture with me: a 12th Century wine cellar bedecked in plaster-of-Paris Doric columns & distressingly Boschian faux murals, all illuminated with gaudy casino spotlights. Got it? Ridiculous enough, right?

Now imagine a soft disco/easy listening rendition of “Ode to Joy” blaring over a loudspeaker into this environment. “Ridiculous” transmogrifies into “sublime!” Somewhere, a demigod or demon was laughing at me and having his sweet, sweet revenge.

THAT’S the power of inappropriately placed cover tunes, ladies and gentlemen.

By popular demand, to invigorate/eviscerate YOUR romantic dinners, we proudly present the Detholz! interpretation of Genesis’ “Invisible Touch.”

AND– since I was truant last week doesn’t mean I’m inattentive to your comments– I am including 2 unreleased Jukebox of the Dead tracks from a short-lived “Detholz!-Do-Don-Henley Manhattan Project.” Both tracks were voted down by the band, for obvious reasons:

All She Wants to Do is Dance” and Don Henley’s lyrical masterpiece, “Sunset Grille.”

We tried, folks, but the Don is simply beyond repair.

See you next Wednesday for the second-to-last installment of the countdown to Halloween and Jukebox of the Dead VIII!

I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not…

Jim Cooper demo – “Children of the Night”

September 20, 2007

Note: Detholz! will perform at 8 pm this Sunday, Sept. 23rd, at an all-ages FREE show at the Art Institute of Chicago. More info here: http://lemondrop.freeradiosaic.org

Welcome to Episode IX of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog! I apologize this comes a day late– believe me, this is an “excused tardy.” You would not believe the week I’ve had.

A change of pace today, ladies and germs, in our most recent installment: “Children of the Night,” a kinder, gentler, somewhat autumnal number.

This is not intended for any band, nor did I write it for anyone else in mind (other than the person the song’s about). It’s not meant to be played live, no flashing lights, no bells and whistles– just a plain old song.

I. SONG CONCEPT

So this is a love song. Will wonders never cease?

I’m turning over a new leaf! Sort of. The lyrics are written from the perspective of a vampire to his beloved.

I’ve been going through a real vampire kick recently. My recent obsession started with a breeze-thru of the painfully campy “Salem’s Lot,” continued with a flying leap into the depths of the Hammer Horror film catalogue (Dracula AD 1972 is a must-see!), and is presently manifesting itself as an addiction to a (gulp) vampire game. I know, I know. To quote Babyboomerangutang from “The Tick”: “It’s okay to play with dolls!” Right?

I heard a screenwriter on the radio recently suggest that the horror genre generally appeals to a younger demographic. I have found the opposite to be true. The older I get, the more I am drawn to films and books stacked in the “horror” racks at Blockbuster/Barnes and Noble. Perhaps this reflects my weak grasp of maturity and/or problems with functional adulthood– of those things there’s little doubt– but I’d also like to think it’s reflective of some semblance of imagination. A good scare is a healthy thing now and then, right?

Feh, enough disclaimers. On with the show:

A vampire is a damned creature– a child of the biblical Cain, cursed to walk the earth for eternity, feeding on the blood of others to survive. I tied in this idea with the concept of the Fall — not the current season, but the “Fall of Man” in Genesis 3. According to Christian theology, we inhabit “bodies of Death,” marred by the Fall of Creation in Genesis 3, cursed by God along with Adam and Eve. Though we still have fellowship with one another, we were separated from God in the Garden of Eden and remain so. Ultimately, our bodies– along with all Creation– will be redeemed by Christ. Redemption is a central tenet of Christian theology, and subsequently of American culture.

I liked the image of the vampire walking in the darkness with his beloved, living an “unlife” together marked with the all of the trappings of their shared Curse– but the Curse has no real power over them. They will eventually be redeemed. They are, therefore, simultaneously children of the moon, children of sleep and– because of their coming redemption– children of God.

Well, it made sense to me at the time.

II. MUSICAL CONCEPTS

Obviously this is a very different kind of song than others I’ve posted– an honest-to-goodness foray out of my comfort zone.

I purposely limited the vocals to one or two takes, leaving all of the warbles and warts intact. I think this lends an element of intimacy/sincerity to the vocal delivery, and helps create the “rickety” atmosphere I was aiming for here.

The first element of the song was the guitar part, which was sloppily played through a crappy reverb. The chorus melody is introduced is introduced immediately, and provided the foundation for the entire song’s arrangement. In the verses, the guitar part is static, sitting on a G. The organ moves the harmony along, moving around the tonal center, sometimes outside of it. The harmonic changes were put in place before the vocal melody, which is an old Detholz! trick. I hadn’t written a song this way in a long time, and it felt good to be back in the old, threadbare cap’m’s chair.

I wrestled with whether or not to bother with percussion, since this is such a subdued track. After laying down a bass line, though, it sort of screamed for one. I borrowed a few tricks from one of Bobby Conn’s drummers, Josh from Chicago band, Mahjongg, and definitely had him in mind when constructing the part. Quick, precise and jittery.

The piece de resistance for me is the backward guitar solo– not an especially original trick, but in this context it injects a pinch of creepiness, which is a must for this song.

When left to my own devices, as a “solo songwriter” that is, I usually churn out material like this. “Haunted Soft Rock?” “Eerie Relax Rock?” “Uneasy Listening?” I don’t know what to call it. I’m not even sure if I can name specific influences.

Maybe you can discern a few? Let me know.

Thanks, as always, for tuning in! See you next week. And I promise to be prompt.

III. LYRICS

CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT

When the town’s asleep
We’ve a vow to keep
Since the world began

Since the world began
Adam walks with Eve
And Cain walks with all of his
Inside their shadow’d bones
Alone and not alone

Is it dark enough
Under the moon above?
We are her children, love.

There is a light of love
Inside the Eye above
We are His children, love.

He has promised you
An eternal youth
Since the world began

Since the world began
I have walked with thee
And you walked with me
Through our darker dreams
Alone and not alone

Awake at night
You shake with terror

Let us fall asleep together

We are her children, love.
We are His children, love.

Detholz! B-Side – “Millionairess”

September 12, 2007

Welcome to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode VIII! Once again, sorry for the late posting today. Better late than never.

Note: The same 3 or 4 people always comment… to the rest of you out there in TV Land, feel free to weigh in! I can see your stats all the way from here– I know you’re out there. Don’t be scared off by all of the music geeks. This is a forum that is open to all, and if there are questions/comments on any other aspect of the band or these songs, please feel free to throw your hat in the ring! No one here is a biter (at least as far as I know). And, because we’re on the Interweb, you can opt to remain blissfully anonymous!

On today’s episode, we’re going to have a little self-deprecating fun. The song, “Millionairess,” is an out-and-out reject, plagued with musical and lyrical problems from the start. It was unanimously voted down by other band members, and will forever reside in the Detholz! circular file.

So, your further criticisms are welcome! Below are mine. Let us sharpen our scalpels and begin…

I. SONG CONCEPT

This song is about someone I knew a long time ago who was first betrayed by her family and eventually by herself. Sorry to plead the 5th, but that’s really all I’m prepared to say in a public forum.

Lyrically, the song is a disaster. In addition to the queasy, gross-out imagery, the lyrics have a “Bee Gees” sheen to them, where the images and rhymes just… miss the mark. If I have any Achilles Heel when writing lyrics, it’s in over-reaching. I have a tendency, even in my day-to-day life, to try too hard to say something that’s actually pretty simple. Oh well. Perhaps it’s from a lifetime of listening to sermons on tape.

II. MUSICAL CONCEPT

OK, here’s where it gets juicy. This song began with the piano and drum groove, which I heisted directly from the Latin band Yerba Buena’s song, “Fever.” I wanted to go totally out of my element rhythmically in this song. I think the groove is fairly successful– especially since it wasn’t originally my idea! Things definitely went south from there.

This was an experiment doomed from the start. I had a very hard time crafting a convincing hook to this complex rhythm. Again, I’m no drummer! The result was the simple 4-note chorus (“I never killed anyone”), which doesn’t conjure a particularly pleasant image, nor is it set to a convincing melody. In retrospect, it might have worked better in the accompaniment, though with all of the other mistakes in this song’s arrangement, it hardly matters.

Earlier this year, I became addicted to the Miroslav Philharmonik orchestral plugin and decided to go nuts with a Steve Reich/John Adams-esque orchestral arrangement here, which lends the song a ponderous quality… like, “where the hell did this come from?” The “Traitor” motive (see previous posts) is all over the place, backwards, forwards, both in the orchestral instruments and the clavinet. If there’s anything that saves the song, it’s the Traitor motive, in my opinion, as it’s woven in pretty snugly.

The worst part is the painfully “Broadway” bridge. Augh! It makes me cringe every time I hear it. When the bridge hits, I imagine 20 clones of myself filing onstage from either side, enthusiastically waving top hats and canes, belting out the ridiculous background vocals. I included the pointilistic flute part in the bridge for continuity’s sake to link it to the previous verses, but it just doesn’t belong there.

Emergency! Send in the clowns!

Not to mention the leather and vomit imagery which, as ham-handed as it is, is made doubly ridiculous when given the Broadway treatment– though a musical that revolved around leather and vomit might be one I’d pay to see.

Feh. Apparently, I’m no Sondheim.

The final element that doesn’t work are all of the repeated “ones” and the persistent fifths in the piano. I played this song for a friend in the car, and it literally curled his spine. He immediately sat up straighter, began to fidget, and looked subliminally uncomfortable. While I would have enjoyed this result 10 years ago, it gave me no pleasure to see a friend physically recoil from one of my songs.

So, commenters, whip out your poison pens! Or perhaps you disagree and see some redeeming quality in this pretentious morass?

One thing is certain: my millions will elude me if I keep turning out caca like this.

III. LYRICS (gulp)

“I NEVER KILLED ANYONE”

One

Breathing in a perfume
Perfect head of hair
Alone within a pillar
A multimillionaire

Rightful heiress
Millionairess

And when your daddy tried to tell you something
Those were the words that you’d never forget
Now the bodies in the liquid are bumping you
Now he’ll never get to do it again
Do it again

“I NEVER KILLED ANYONE”

One

Hand upon the leather
Eyes roll back in peace
Skin begins to shimmer
See through to the seat

Throw up on your letter
Vomit from the fumes
That waft up to St. Peter
In his receiving room

And when your sister tried to tell you something
Those were the words that she shouldn’t have said
And now committees in the hallways are mumbling
“What should we have said? What should we have said?
What should we have said?”

“WE NEVER KILLED ANYONE”

One

Forgot to tell you
Got to tell you something:

WE NEVER KILLED ANYONE