Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm In the Band - Chad's Arsenal

In preparing for the upcoming studio sessions on drums with Silver Cypher, I decided to clean my guitars and see what sort of action they still possessed.  I will most likely be recording guitar tracks for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album much like I did with their third album Existential Realisms.  In doing so (cleaning my guitar collection) a wave of nostalgia hit me and I thought it might be rather interesting to include my guitar collection as a feature for I'm In the Band

Check it out . . .

So . . . what's in your arsenal?

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm A Clone!

So, I swear to science I'm a clone. People always say I look like so-and-so.

When I was in college, people would randomly inquire whether or not I went to such-and-such high school because I looked so familiar. I used to just think it was a comical coincidence, albeit slightly annoying, but I really began to take note of these strange mis-sightings when an individual started a confrontation with me at a party. I had never met this individual before, but he was absolutely positive that I was sleeping with his girlfriend. Even after I explained to him that I had no idea who he, or his girlfriend, even were -- or the fact that I hadn't slept with anyone in quite some time -- he still tried to accost me. It was only after a third-party (who knew us both) intervened that the individual finally conceded.

Since then, I've had a number of peculiar encounters:

At a concert, a girl came up to me and gave me hug, then backed away wide-eyed, stating, "Oh shit, you're not Alex!" Apparently, Alex was a good friend of hers who looked exactly like me.

On another occasion, while I was working at a bookstore, a young lady became rather smitten that I didn't say hello. She mistook me as an old friend she knew from high school. When I tried to explain to her that I was not her friend, she just sneered and said, "Whatever, Jack." Then, she walked away.

Once, while wandering the downtown district of Hamilton, Ohio, I was greeted by three different people, on two seperate occasions (roughly fifteen minutes apart), and was mistaken for familiar acquaintances. Oddly enough, according to both parities, their acquaintances had the same type of hair and even dressed similar.

These occurrences happen to me a lot. In fact, there's even been scenarios where people who are acquainted with me mistake other individuals for being me. And it seems that hardly a month will go by that someone won't say I look like so-and-so; recently it's begun to morph into celebrities.

A number of people say I look like Chad Kroeger (lead singer of Nickleback), and a few times people have suggested I look vaguely similar to Mikael Akerfeldt (best known as the lead singer for Opeth), and just yesterday, while purchasing bagels, someone said I looked like actor Paul Giamatti.

What do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm In the Band - Flamenco?

I attended band practice Saturday afternoon with Silver Cypher, and after an exhaustive session learning Jon Krech's monumental masterpiece -- a fast, thrashy/black-metal-esque song clocking in at around twenty-five minutes -- I decided to give my limbs a rest and began messing around on the bass -- Mike Lawson (the bassist) was unable to attend, but his bass was at least present. Whenever Mike doesn't make it to band practice, I always relish with much delight playing his bass. Ah, who am I kidding, I play his bass even when he is there. It's so choice . . .

Anyway, doing what I do best on the bass, Jon Krech offered up the idea of utilizing my bass lines to write a song for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album. I don't know if any such song will truly happen; nevertheless, I was merely happy playing Mike's sweet bass!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bar Bands Rock - n/a

HYPOTHETICAL -- you're a musician, and you're first band (a basement band trite and true) has just broken-up, what do you do?

ANSWER -- join another basement band! Duh!

But when that basement band breaks-up, what do you do then? Join another basement band! Gah! How easy is that! And when that basement band breaks-up (or you're simply compelled to walk-out because the singer is a psychotic ex-police-officer and thought it would be funny to aim a loaded pistol at the bassist . . . hahaha, so funny [note the sarcasm]), well what do you do then?

Therein lies the next musical chapter in my life: n/a. My first official bar band. And just what is a bar band? Well, it's a band that performs at bars. And there are two types of bar bands -- bands that play covers (performing songs written by other bands) and bands that play originals (performing songs written by them).

n/a was the brain-child of an individual known as Kaine, a singer/song-writer/artist who I had met many years prior and even had a brief musical-stint with in a prior basement band. But after I had graduated college, Kaine approached me with the idea of starting up a gothic-rock band with a few other musicians he knew.

"I have a guitarist and bassist," he said, "and we could use another guitarist."

"What about a drummer?" I inquired.

"Well, I'm working on that," he said, "but I imagine we can find one."

"Well, I'm a drummer," I said.

"You are?"

Even though we had played music together for a brief period of time, I don't think I ever mentioned to Kaine that I was indeed a drummer, and had been one for years, nor did he know that I had my own drum-kit. And so, the pieces fit perfectly. A band had formed. And in just a few months we had a couple of songs that were perfect for a demo recording. Yet, unlike our previous attempts in music, we weren't content with the mere status of being a basement band. We wanted more. And so, with a little luck, Kaine was able to set up a few shows for us at some local bars.

I was rather ignorant of the whole bar ordeal. Little did I know that there was no money involved; I mean, we got paid from time to time, but only a small percentage of what was made at the door, and being a small local band with almost no fans, there wasn't a lot of money pouring in. On average, a good night for us was when all of our friends showed up -- truth be told, we had quite the group of friends (long live The Den [that's an insider-thing]) -- but that only added up to enough cash to support our love for whiskey, which we indulged in quite frequently before and after our set.

(On a side note, I will never ever play a set drunk ever again. Only once did I ever perform while intoxicated, and being a rather versatile/active drummer, the end result was nauseating . . . figuratively speaking).

But oh, did we think we were aces! We thought our band was going to be the next big hit. We were original, unique and very talented, and our friends loved us! Unfortunately, no one else did -- for the most part, anyone who was not acquainted with us didn't really seem to take an interest in what were doing. Often times, we recieved a lot of negative criticism. However, I don't think it was because of the music; instead, I'm fairly certain it was the locale and its societal-disinterest for musical pursuits. There has never been a real musical presence in Cincinnati, save for some scream-core and/or punk bands, and most of the bars in the area were so low-key that even the popular bands in the area found difficulty drawing decent crowds. I do believe our biggest show consisted of nothing more than maybe thirty people in the crowd.

But it didn't matter. Like I said, we were aces! The music was so fresh and unique that I had a lot of faith in n/a. I was confident that with the right steps, we would reach higher grounds.

Unfortunately, we began to spiral into the obliterating status of being a basement band, which ultimately led to the dissolvement of n/a.

Shame. I really loved n/a. Still do. To this day, n/a is still one of my all time favorite musical projects. I frequently listen to the demo and live-cuts with as much passion and interest in the music as I had when actually performing with n/a.

Check it out . . .

R.I.P. n/a.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm In the Band - Messing Around On Bass Guitar

I love the bass guitar . . . I really do; although, it's not an instrument I usually pick-up.
I first learned the bass (for what it truly is) when I was in high school, performing for the jazz ensemble.  Yet, for the most part, the bass was merely a passing interest of mine when it came to "rock bands" and what not.  It was based on my assumption, that on average the bass is merely an accompaniment instrument, adding a sense of rhythm alongside with the drums.  Perhaps, that's why my fascination with it didn't flourish until my focus on drums became more rigid in my mid-twenties. 

Indeed, only within the past few years has my skill on the bass really begun to take shape.  I discovered that the bass was definitely one of the more interesting instruments associated with rock-esque music . . . or rather, has the potential to be.  Most bassists I encounter don't go beyond the typical root-note basics, and that's a shame.  There's just so much this instrument is capable of.  And if I wasn't so focused on drumming, I would definitely invest a lot more time and energy (and money) into the bass.

Check it out . . . 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm In the Band - Drum Maintenance

Here's a little video I made pertaining to maintaining my drums.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm In the Band - Chad Guitar #3

Yesterday, I was messing around with my song/riff after having showed it to the other members of Silver Cypher. I was rather pleased that they liked it, but it's still in its early stages of creation, and therefore incomplete (especially in my eyes).

Writing a song on guitar can be quite challenging. Most people aren't really aware (assuming, of course, most people don't play guitar . . . or music in general) of just how much thought and re-thought goes into writing a song. It's not as if number-one-hits result from the very first try; rather, most musicians are like writers, in that they undergo drafting/editing stages with their work. Sometimes, you get lucky, and things just sound so perfect together that there's really no need to fine-tune any of it; other times, however, you'll give yourself a massive headache just trying to figure which note actually sounds better - C or C-sharp. And sometimes, such intense focus on musical details lead to nothing more than a messy conglomeration. I think a number of the riffs I write are rather good (some exceptionally so), but the task of structuring certain riffs together, and in the process creating new riffs when-and-where need be, has definitely proved to be a struggle.

Jon Krech, guitarist, bassist and singer for Silver Cypher, is definitely a master at structuring riffs and writing songs. He does it so effortlessly that it's truly a thing of envy. Nevertheless, I do have my moments in musical creation and am more than eager (as well as excited) to share them.

For the past week, I've been creating a song with the combination of a few riffs I've had in my musical catalogue for years as well as a few new riffs I've been exploring. I'm pleased with the result thus far . . . and I hope Silver Cypher is too.

Without further adieu, here is my latest creation:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm In the Band - Introduction (plus the musical creation)

So, here it is . . . the first, of what will soon be many, videos featuring yours truly living the life as a musican.  I'm aiming to cover every aspect (both great and mundane) of musicianship.  There's so much involved in the world of music (and how we as musicians navigate through it) that I figured documenting it would be a great way to share with you the ins-and-outs of being in a band.  (Plus, this is an awesome chance for shameless self-promotion, right?!)  So, let's jump start it with a little feature concerning the musical creation, shall we?

As some of you may know, I'm currently the drummer for the band Silver Cypher and our upcoming album Existential Realisms will be out very soon; in the meantime, however, we're getting ready to head back into the studio September/October to begin recording material for the upcoming fourth album (as yet, untitled) and though that's relatively soon, we're still on that journey through musical exploration.  As such, the fact that I also play guitar and bass (though my true focus is on percussion [that's drumming, in layman's terms]) is a great addition for the band's musical exploration.  With our last album, Existential Realisms, I actually wrote a few songs/riffs for the guitar as well as played a number of guitar-tracks on the album.  In fact, the song titled The Greater Evil features me on drums, guitar and bass!  So, with an upcoming fourth album on the horizon, I've been tossing out a number of ideas. Recently I've been sharing a new idea with them, which they seem to like.

So, without rambling any further, I'd like to showcase the process I go through with musical creation.  This is a song, as of yet untitled, which will be making an appearance on the upcoming fourth album.  All I have to say is "Yay!"


New Videos . . .

Lately, I've been attempting to make as many videos as possible to showcase the life as a musician.  My attempt is to keep a vlog about the various affaris and trivial ordeals within said life.  There's just so much that goes into musicianship that I figured it would be a great idea (for self-promotion . . .) to share it.

But first, I'd like to share an updated video featuring the song Relax (with yours truly drumming in the studio) off of the upcoming album Existential Realisms from the band Silver Cypher:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Basement Bands Rock - Mind Trixx

If you're a musician then you know what I'm talking about.  A basement band is one of those bands that doesn't really go any further than the garage . . . because, you know, you at least want someone to hear your music, even if it is just the mailman and the neighbors.

When I was in high school, I convinced a few friends of mine to form a band with me.  We called ourselves Mind Trixx.  Why that name, I have no idea.  But it was cool.  And we thought we were cool.  We would hang out in my parent's basement for hours, smoking cigarettes, playing video games, watching cult movies, sneaking off to indulge in the occasional joint, and of course rocking out until the sun came up the following morning. Eventually, we had enough songs that we thought were good enough to record.  So, we packed up our gear and headed all the way down the street to another basement -- though, this basement was in the home of a family-friend who happened to have some recording equipment.  And over one glorious weekend, we rocked out the best we could.

The result, a really hideous basement recording, but it was all in good fun.

Man, we thought we were aces!  We really thought we were going to have it made!  We were young, cool and awesome at video games!  Oh, and the music was pretty good too . . . or at least, we thought so.

The band obviously broke-up -- most bands do, whether basement, local or national -- but one thing you (as a musician) can never do is quit. I never quit playing music.  In fact, neither did the bassist of Mind Trixx, Mike Lawson.  Together, him and I stuck through thick and thin and went on to form other bands.  Today, we both play for the band Silver Cypher . . . and with a little luck and wisdom, we actually managed to get out of the basement; thouh he still plays video games, I still smoke cigarettes, and we still sneak off to indulge in the occasional joint -- just kidding (but not really).

Nevertheless, whenever waves of nostalgia wash over me I reach for that Mind Trixx record. It's quite comical, honestly, but still awesome!  I mean, come on, we were high school kids . . .

Check it out:

I'm the one on the fence . . .

To quote The Coneheads, "Ah, memories! We will enjoy them!"

Monday, August 1, 2011


Silver Cypher (the band I drum for) is getting ready to release their third album Existential Realisms very soon.  I hope to have a sneak-peek created very shorty, but there are a few videos (which can be found here on the page:Noise) floating around the internet.

In the meantime, the band is currently set for another studio session, recording material for the upcoming fourth-album.  That's approaching fairly quickly, and we're still creating new material everyday . . .

Though I am a drummer by trade, I do play guitar and bass from time to time (in fact, I even play a few guitar tracks on Existential Realisms); and occasionally, the guys in the band ask me to write a few riffs now and then.  Today, I took the day off (relaxing from the previous night, as Silver Cypher played a show in Chillicothe, Ohio) and I came up with this lil'-diddy . . .