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The Bass Geek
31Dec/090

New Year’s Eve Podcast and Shows and Such

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 at 4pm this very day.

Also, just a last reminder that the Playboy Psychonauts will join the Born Again Floozies, the Leisure Kings, and King Krone's AM Gold at Radio Radio tonight to bring in the new year with quirky, offbeat style. Tickets were going quickly in presale, so if you're planning on buying at the door, ARRIVE EARLY. I think people around the neighborhood are catching on that such entertainment located within stumbling distance of home is an excellent option compared to braving the streets and the amateurs. So, again, arrive early if you're buying at the door.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to practicing my picking. I tried it on one song on a lark in rehearsal, and suddenly it captures the lounging spy vibe we were going for.

30Dec/096

Losing a little bit of the neighborhood . . .

Ostensibly, this blog is about all topics bass guitar, music technology, and the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis. In the past few days, I could have written about Apple buying Lala (too soon to tell how acquiring a streaming music service will affect iTunes, really, but it's intriguing), bassist Gene Simmons getting arrested for assault (he should have been arrested already for robbery, based on the prices for his signature bass guitar model), or some of the new clubs coming up in Fountain Square (La Revolucion and the White Rabbit Cabaret continue construction and look forward to a happy and busy 2010). But I've been mourning a dead dog, and the motivation just wasn't there.

So let me frame this instead as a loss from the neighborhood, because in the past year I think Marty defined how we interacted with a lot of the folks here. He was a common sight due to our frequent walks, either on the sidewalks or in nearby Garfield Park. He hung out many an evening on the porch at the Brass Ring Lounge, drinking their water and trying to meet everybody who sat down near him. My wife and I were always asked about "that bulldog" when we were out, because he stood out that much. Big and slobbery with a martini-shaped patch of fur on his back. Everybody we knew in the neighborhood got the chance to know him (and perhaps experience an unanticipated hump in the beginning, but he got better).

So, at least for us, there's a little bit less in the neighborhood right now, and we're going to miss him.

There will be some more information about the IMN podcast and New Year's Eve in Fountain Square. Tomorrow.

24Dec/091

The New IMN Podcast is Up, and Fountain Square Music This Weekend

It's too late to listen to the podcast on WFYI this week, but please feel free to download it or listen at the site.

As far as music in Fountain Square this weekend, it looks a little slim. Radio Radio is closed until New Year's Eve, and the Vollrath doesn't have anything on the schedule until December 30th. There will be some good acoustic music at Deano's Saturday night, after all of the holiday hoopla has cleared. And there was some lovely piano playing this evening at Santorini's, where it seemed like the entire neighborhood gathered for a wonderful Mediterranean buffet holiday dinner. It almost topped the Bass Geek's holiday tradition of finding an open pizza place and partaking of pie, but the latter has more "thrill of the hunt" charm. Such is life - it was delightful nonetheless.

23Dec/090

Bootsy Bass Porn

There's really no mystery to how signature models of basses work - bass manufacturer works with bassist to either tweak an existing model or build a new instrument, the company sells it, the bassist endorses it, and everybody hopefully walks away with a profit. Some basses become an iconic part of that bassist's image - Bootsy Collins may have played the bass line for "Sex Machine" on a Jazz bass, but seeing him with anything but a star-shaped Space Bass is tantamount to heresy. Which is why it's puzzling to me that both Traben and Warwick have signature Bootsy Collins models for basses that aren't easily identifiable as belonging to him (unless you count the stars sprinkled liberally over both) and haven't been established as his preferred instrument of choice. I realize the income has got to keep coming in, but this makes no sense.3

The bass whammy pedal finally sold, too, meaning that there's a little extra money for gear this year. I'm thinking of getting some noiseless pickups for the Jazz bass. Standard story - both pickups on equals no noise, but a little volume rolled off of either results in the 60-cycle hum expected for such activities. Fender makes some noiseless pickups that intrigue me, and there are some split-coil Nordstrands that sound nice, too. By the time I'm done with this Jazz bass, I'm thinking the wood may be the only original parts left . . .

18Dec/090

Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio hosts the reunion of the Spirtles this very evening. Jamming will ensue. Tomorrow, Bigger Than Elvis hosts a free Christmas party. Afterwards, the bar shuts down until New Year's Eve. Get it while you can.

The Vollrath presents Records and Kevin Mohl tonight. Endiana and Henderson wander in tomorrow, and the Dex Romweber Duo and the Empires round out the weekend on Sunday.

Big Car Gallery presents an evening of contemporary classical music tonight with the Outside Orchestra.

Is it Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater? Yes, it is. And the appropriately named Big Swing Band is playing. There's also live music at Deano's Vino and Maria's Pizza. Enjoy!

17Dec/090

New IMN Podcast is Up, and Making Your New Year’s Eve Plans with the Playboy Psychonauts and More!

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, 4pm on Thursdays. We're recording multiple episodes next week to cover the holiday season, so be prepared to hear a lot about Christmas cheer and the New Year's Eve festivities.

And speaking of such festivities, the Playboy Psychonauts are honored to support the Born Again Floozies and the Leisure Kings at Radio Radio this New Year's Eve. According to Nuvo, we turn lounge music into "goofy psychedelic excursions." And that's possibly the best description I can think of, really. The Leisure Kings take two of the most talented performers Indianapolis has seen and pair them together to create fantastic flights of lounge-inspired madness, and the Born Again Floozies bring Vaudeville to the rock era in the most exquisite way possible. Add King Krone's AM Gold to the bill, and it's quite possibly the perfect show, if I do say so myself. Nothing against the other fine shows taking place that evening, but I just can't stand in the way of the facts. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets, and I'm encouraging you to purchase now. 'Cause that's what I do.

14Dec/090

Charlie Hunter Gets It

Two great quotes from Charlie Hunter on playing an extended-range instrument (in this case, the 8-string guitar, where he plays both basslines and the chordal and solo parts normally reserved for higher, tinny six-string instruments):

I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to do something different. I think I’d recommend it to bass players more than guitar players. Because bass players would do the right thing and guitar players would do the wrong thing with the instrument. Which is what I did in the beginning — the wrong thing, trying to make it sound all like a guitar and flashy and impress everybody.

Whereas bass players would do the right thing, which is what I’m doing now, which is taking care of business. Whatever is left over is the contribution that you’ll make to the rest of the sound. You grow out of the dumb guitar thing after awhile.

And a gallows-humor take on the job security of musicians:

My friend Bobby Previte said it best. Someone told him, “Oh, it must be awful for you musicians, everyone is getting fired.” And he said, “What do you mean? We come pre-fired.”

Read the entire article here - I'm going to keep taking care of business.

11Dec/090

Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio presents Land of Talk, Brando and Jascha tonight. Tomorrow, Indianapolis welcomes back Kink Ador and presents similar kind greetings to the Willowz and Deluka. Such nice Hoosiers we are.

The Vollrath gets rather heavy tonight with Shot Baker, Stand and Deliver, Bulletwolf, and Maravich. Tomorrow, they bring in Private Dancer, Burnt Ones, Perennials, and Vacation Club. Sunday rounds the whole schedule out with Jacob Jones, Stephen Sebastian, and Sam Lowry. Surely you kind find something you like in there.

The Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company brings in solo guitarist Terry Hayes this evening for what I will assume will be tasteful music, as it's being done by candlelight. Everything is tasteful with candlelight.

Otherwise, there's live music at Maria's Pizza tonight and at Deano's Vino all weekend. And Luna Music is celebrating their 15th anniversary at Big Car Gallery tonight with a performance by Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters, but it's sold out and you can't go. Nevertheless, congrats to Luna for doing so well for this long, and here's hoping for many more years.

10Dec/090

New IMN Podcast and Playboy Psychonauts Show!

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm.

Also, there's a Playboy Psychonauts gig at the Upper Room in Broad Ripple this very evening, starting around 10pm or so. It will be exceptionally cold, I understand. For that, we are providing new material and access to fine coffee drinks in exchange for currency. That last transaction will be handled by bartender extraordinaire Jeff Sample. We'll handle the musical transactions. Enjoy and stay warm.

Also, we have to work on scheduling gigs around Steelers games. Feh.

7Dec/090

Streaming Along

Between Apple buying LaLa and MOG making their $5-a-month debut last week, streaming music enjoyed a brighter spotlight in recent news reports. The question of whether iTunes will stream purchased music (kinda like Netflix over computers and Xboxes) is intriguing, except that you still have to be near a network connection to use it (and 3G doesn't necessarily count - still not ubiquitous enough and drains the batteries something fierce). Ultimately, though, I like the idea of the concept if it adheres to some basic tenets:

  1. Sound quality - streaming from high-quality audio files is the only way to go. Sure, if the network slows down and causes problems, it doesn't matter. But take every precaution on the service side to make it reliable and usable for all.
  2. Amazing and complete selecton - this means all tracks from available albums; if you bother to get one, get them all.
  3. Metadata - more than artist, track, and album; give me the liner notes. You're on the Internet, after all.

I want to see how the LaLa acquisition works for iTunes, but I get the feeling it's still some time away from being truly realized. Enough time to make some good decisions and get it done the right way, hopefully.

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