Dave, weren’t you supposed to…

Yes. Yes I was supposed to do a lot of things. Like keep my site more up to date than this for starters. Oh, and run a marathon a couple months ago. My goal of running a marathon had to get postponed until 2015 for medical reasons. My lack of site updates… well I have no good excuse. That’s just plain laziness.

However in an attempt to not appear to be a total looser, here are some things that  I have accomplished in the past 4 months (in no particular order)

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My Guitar Tone Evolution – From Solid State to Tube and Back Again

Tubes or TransistorsI set out today to post a quick spot about my unconventional guitar amplification rig and how each time I’m setting up for a gig I get strange and incredulous looks. Then later when I’m done playing or on a break I get compliments on my tone and questions about how I get such a full sound out of something that small. Well in my attempt to convey how I got to that point, I wound up writing a short novel on the evolution of my guitar tone and the various pieces of equipment I used to get there. For the short story I meant to tell, skip to the end. For the more quizzical and/or bored readers, please do continue to read on. It was kinda cool to remember all the gear I’ve used and to revisit my uneducated beginnings as a guitar novice.

When it comes to guitars and tone, I’m a tinkerer and a tweaker. I go through phases. Way back in the beginning I thought my tone should come from a pedal, and an amplifier was just a way to get loud. As it turns out, I was wrong, but it took me a long time to see why.
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The Year So Far

I could sum it all up in one word. Cold. But that’s not very interesting, so I’ll think of a few other words to add to it.

The year started off with a bang! Well more accurately, last year ended with a bang. Fortunately, (after a 2nd trip to the body shop) the damage has been repaired and my truck has been restored to it’s former glory. I had my truck repaired at Riverdale Body Shop in Schererville. According to their website, their repair process involves disassembling the affected area and determining if there is any “hidden damage.” Well, they didn’t do that. When I picked it up the first time, I got about 100 yards down route 41 before I noticed that the alignment was still off. Hmmm…. the impact tore out the fender liner and obviously hit the front wheel. Why on earth would they have thought to check the alignment? I called them right away, but was told that they’d have to call me back to schedule the alignment. I was disappointed to say the least that they would have missed something so obvious. At least the cosmetic work was done well.

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David’s ISSMA Solo 2014

My son competed in the ISSMA solo and ensemble contest again this year. Some jackass was supposed to video the whole thing, but realized about 30 seconds in that he had instead taken a still photograph.

Its a good thing that I was — I mean that the jackass was recording the audio with another device. So without further ado, here’s David’s solo for this year. He did an excellent job, and walked away with a gold medal! Good job, kid!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

It’s another one of those multi-subject, catch-up posts because I’ve been lax about updating the site. So in no particular order:

Something New

Here's the Avatar at the bottom of my stack

Here’s the Avatar at the bottom of my stack

I picked up an Avatar 4×12 speaker cabinet for my guitar rig last week. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one of these for a while now. They’re pretty highly regarded in the guitarist community. They’re well built, and loaded with the right speakers they have some killer tone! I frequently keep an eye on the used inventory of my local Guitar Center. I saw this one pop up and had to have a look at it. I grabbed an amp head and a couple other speaker cabinets and just had a field day swapping between cabinets to compare the sounds of each. This thing sounded better than any other cabinet by far. And to top it off, it looks like it’s brand new! Not even a dent in the tolex! So after a little price negotiating, I walked out of there with my new speaker cabinet for a fraction of what it would have cost to purchase it new.

Joe Orange Belt TestAnd just this past Friday, my son Joe tested for and advanced to Purple Belt in Tae Kwon Do! During the test, you have to break a board while demonstrating proper technique for a particular kick or punch. Last time Joe advanced, that part of the test gave him the most trouble. He was a little nervous about it. Despite his apprehension, he was able to break the board on his first attempt. Go Joe!
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Dave Mustaine is Just a Regular Guy… Unless He’s Entertaining You

250px-That_metal_show_logoOn VH1 Classic, there’s a show you may have heard of called That Metal Show. It’s lots of interviews with hard rock and heavy metal artists, and it gives a really cool behind-the-scenes look at the music industry in general. They do a great job of showing the business aspect of the entertainment industry and how hard these guys work to create and entertain.

Dave Mustaine from Megadeth was a guest on the show this week. I really like Dave, and he’s always come off as a pretty “regular guy” in his interviews. However, I do take issue with some comments he made in this past interview.
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I almost missed my own gig!

2013-02-15 Croation Center GigThanks to everyone who came out to see my band 6ix 5ive 9ine on Saturday! I think it was one of our best sounding shows yet (excluding my vocals on Rooster), but it almost got cancelled before it even got started. Lets rewind back to Friday. We set up at the venue Friday night and ran through a few tunes. Given the layout and size of the room, I decided we were going to use Bill’s new drum mics and run the drums, bass, guitar and vocals all through the PA system. This was my first time gigging out with the new JBL speakers and stands, so I wanted to hear what the balance sounded like.
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Long Overdue Update

Ironic, isn’t it? The more things happen and the more things I should be posting on here, the less time I have to do it. So what’s happened since the ringing in of the new year? I’m sure I’ll forget something but here goes anyway:
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Lots of Rockin’

Screamin' at Miso'sLast weekend was pretty busy for me. Not because of the holiday stuff. If Jenn would let me, I’d probably just pretend Christmas didn’t exist. No, last weekend was busy because I played a gig on Friday the 21st with my band Six Five Nine. Then on Saturday, Six Five Nine had another gig opening for a local band named Gone Shootin’. Oh, and did I mention that I also play in Gone Shootin’? And on top of playing guitar, I also provide the PA system, so a simple 4 hour gig is actually 8 hours of loading equipment, transporting equipment, unloading equipment, setting up equipment, playing for 4 hours, tearing down equipment, loading equipment, transporting equipment, and finally unloading equipment at home. If I didn’t love playing so much, the extraneous work wouldn’t be worth what we get paid for it.

But I do love playing!

Here’s a video of us playing on the 21st. This is our first time playing out as a band as well as Jessica and Bill’s first time playing out period.

More videos are available on our band’s website.

The New Band Has a Name

I’ve been working on a second musical project over the past few weeks out in my old stomping grounds of Dyer, IN. In addition to Tim, Bill and myself, we have added Jessica to the lineup to form one badass, rockin’ quartet. Of course, with a new lineup and a new sound must come a new name. Bill, Tim and I previously practiced under the name “8 Ball Chaos,” but never really went anywhere with it. We decided a new name was in order. After about 120 different suggestions by different members of the band, we have finally settled on a name.

Six Five Nine

Click the link above and check out the new site (under construction at the time of this writing, mind you) to find out the origin of the name. I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the frequent visits from local law enforcement¬†personnel.

What a Difference a Vocalist Makes!

So Tim and Bill and I have been jamming together for thousands of years. We play about half of every song because we get lost or one of us (usually me) doesn’t know the rest of the song, or we get bored because songs that are meant to have vocals sound pretty repetitive without vocals.

Now I’ve known for years that my wife’s friend Jessica has a magnificent voice. She sang at our wedding, as a matter of fact. I’ve been saying for years that I need to get her to come out and sing with us. It was one of those, “we should do this sometime” kinda things that just never seemed to happen. Well, this past Friday I changed that. I called Jess up and invited her to come out and jam with us.

Then, something magical happened! We actually played a song all the way through to the end! It was amazing! Not to mention that her voice just sounds awesome! I’ve always loved the sound of a powerful female vocalist with a hard rock / heavy metal band behind her. Despite her being nervous as hell, she did great and things just started to click.

So without further ado, here’s a taste of awesomeness.

Over the Hills and Far Away

Crazy Train

You Ought to Know

Telecaster Modified

So I finally bought a Telecaster a little while back. They’re cool and all, but what I wanted wasn’t a stock Tele. What I wanted was a hybrid monster that looked like a Tele, but sounded like a monster all it’s own. Unfortunately, on a high gain amplifier, the stock Tele sounds noisy and terrible. It sounds super sweet and clean on a low gain setting, but that’s not where I spend most of my time.

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