I’ve Got a Reputation to Keep Up Here

So, I was saving this video for a full-on ‘U2 as it pertains to church music’ (but with a much catchier and wittier title…I mean, obviously 😉 ), but as I have now seen it on about 17,000 different websites (yep), I figure if I don’t post it here soon, my reputation as a U2 fan might suffer a few points. And I cannot afford to suffer a loss of points in any amount on my U2 fan status, because I am trying to save said points up because whomever has the most U2 fan points by the time the next album is out, receives a hug from Edge. (Obviously I made that up, but now I just can’t seem to help myself from wondering if it’s true. Nope. It’s true. I’ve decided.) Hence, the rad:

Pretty stellar stuff there. Edge sounds resplendent, as always, and it was a good call to use U2’s original keyboard track for it, which I believe is actually Edge on the keys, too. (Could be Brian Eno, but I’d rather it be Edge. So, I’m going with Edge.) Props to Matt Bellamy for doing a great job with the vocals, and staying true to the original melody, but still using his own vocal strengths and not trying to be Bono. Anyone else notice though, that Dominic on the drums had a little bit of trouble keeping tempo in a couple places? Not as easy of a drumbeat as it sounds.

And, as long as we’ve opened this box (I promise, I won’t open it as much I want to…hehe), there is going to be a post pretty soon here recanting my original post on U2’s latest album. Most U2 albums grow on you…this one has actually done the opposite for me. Still some great tracks, but overall…well, some interesting posting that you’ve not yet heard from me is coming soon; on a couple different levels. In the meantime, here is a version of the somewhat unfortunate first single off of that album, that I wish they had come up with in the first place.

Now that sounds like a U2 song! Or at least a Passengers song. Cityscape-ish, innovative, great harmonic structure that makes the melody work way better…only version of the song now, as far as I’m concerned. Can’t do much about the lyrics, unfortunately. Good thing I’ve got like, 10 other U2 albums to keep me happy. They’re allowed to be human every once in a while, right? And we’ve got Viva La Vida to help carry us. Well, at least before Coldplay then gets too big to be cool anymore. Probably too late for most of us ‘hipsters’, huh. 😉


Absolute Drivel

Ever have those days where there feels like there’s something burning your insides out that you just gotta say, but you can’t get a coherent grasp on what it is? Ya, that’s today for me. It feels like the very world is going to hinge (it’s not) on what I’m going to say (nope), but I just can’t get it out. So, I figure I’ll just let words randomly come out of my mouth (yes, I’m one of those people whose lips move as they type…and while they play guitar…and not the lyrics, the notes), and hope that one of the streams of consciousness will be it.

  • Ever play a melody on stage, but then listen in horror as your fingers play something totally different than what is in your head?
  • I like to wear scarves because it makes me feel like a musician, but I live in Southern California.
  • There is a bit of a minority backlash currently going on against the delay pedal. I blame Henry Kaiser.
  • I think Google is taking over the world.
  • I was supposed to see U2 on June 6, and then Bono had to go and break his back. Man, that sucks for me.
  • Remember Ghoti Hook?
  • Playing with confidence can literally jump you up over 50% in skill level.
  • Guitar Center gives me actual literal bouts with depression.
  • Musicians should rule the world. (Whoa, that one slipped!)
  • Again, turn up and soften your pick attack. It’s the sound you’ve been hearing in your head.
  • Am I just fooling myself? Great question to ask regularly. ‘Cause we’re really good at it.
  • Do you think anyone, ever, has read the Bible without super-imposing it onto their preconceived worldview? I think it might be humanly impossible not to. Not that that’s a good thing, but I think it’d be better for us to be able to admit it so that we can work in the opposite direction, rather than pretending we have it all figured out and that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong.
  • And if you disagree with that, you’re wrong. 😉
  • I miss the parts of my life I’ve already lived.
  • I need to make more music, and talk about making music less. But the music I talk about making is usually far better than the music I actually make. Yep, I do talk about making some pretty good music.
  • That last one was totally ripped off. But it’s okay to rip things off if no one knows where they came from, right? Like in church, when every riff I do is some variation on U2’s ‘Love is Blindness.’ Ah, blast, just gave it away. Right when you had no idea I liked U2.
  • Although I am wearing a U2 shirt that makes me giddy every time I put it on, because Edge’s face happens to fall right over where my heart beats. For reals. The face part and the giddy part.
  • So…maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic, and emotionally fragile today, but I just ran across this song…and immediately I was in junior high again. Music is absolutely crazy that way. This song makes me inexplicably happy:

  • Oh, and because you just can’t go on living your life while this exists and you don’t know it yet:

  • Yep. That was it. That last video. That’s the life-changing thing that has been burning within my body. Quite obviously, really. I mean…I pretty much dare your life not to be changed by that.

    So, I’m gonna go ahead and hit publish on this without re-reading it. I like to live dangerously. Or well, at least salvage some sort of emasculated vicarious danger through my computer. And a couple site changes. One, there is now a ‘Worship’ section up top with some of my views on worship, as I get asked that a lot. Feel free to disagree. :) And there is a World Cup section added, because I am hopelessly wrecked right now by the thrill of that competition. Yes. I have a weakness for soccer. Add to that that the soundtrack for the coverage is all U2 songs, and my world is lost. And no, try as I might, I cannot reconcile ‘World Cup’ having anything to do with ‘guitar’ or ‘worship’. Except that Germany did beat England today, so that’s like a triumph for metal over indie. Yep. I’m trying waaaay too hard with that.


Guitar For Worship……dot com!

The move is over! We’re (and by ‘we’re’, I mean ‘I’m’…but ‘we’re’ sounds more professional for some reason) fully here at Guitar for Worship dot com. Huge thanks to my awesome wife who did in a week what probably would have taken me a year to do…in between listening to U2 and trying out new delay pedals.

There’s still some little things to fix, such as the fact that the pictures still link to the old site, which makes them load kind of slow. But for the most part, this is the new site. I’ll be able to give details on the full reason for the move within the next couple of weeks (without having to be so blasted cryptic all the time), but for now, I hope it makes all your dreams come true. And it just might. Uh…provided your dreams are about U2, and the blatant over-soaking of all our Edge-ripoff worship riffs in delay, as we stumble around just trying to do our best to reflect as much glory as we can up to a really amazing God.

But what move would be complete without a party? And this is a red carpet party. Complete with celebrities. Doing some private, unplugged sessions, just for the party. Ya, you guessed which ones.

Hey, U2…welcome to the party!

Well, hello Coldplay:

Whoa! And John Mayer?! Welcome, brother. Chips are over there. And I’ll take your guitar for ya.

And lastly, Jemaine and Bret…so stoked you guys could make it!

Guitar for Worship dot com. Same bat time. Different bat place. (Same jokes, obviously.)


Tone Tip #243

I thought my tone could probably be a little bit woodier and a little bit washier, so I bought these:

And I know, that looks like a picture I just pulled off the internet to use as a cheesey punchline. Except that it’s true. I did buy those, and I can’t look you straight in the eye and say that it wasn’t because of the wood-paneling and the indie wave.

I also plugged it in, watched it light up, and took a picture of it……before plugging my guitar into it. But seriously…how can that not sound good? Oh, and the tap tempo pedal has a little blue led that lights up every time you tap a tempo. 😀 Not trying to contain my joy even a little.


The Best Compliment I’ve Ever Gotten

Seeing as the last post seemed to be a giant (I’m making explosion gestures with my hands and mouth right now) on many different levels, I figured a new post was in order. So here ya go. Someone came up to me after an acoustic set and said I sounded like John Mayer………just…not as good.

I have no idea whether this is a compliment, or a really horrible insult. I suspect the horrible one. :)


These Are the Thoughts I am Thinking about Music

Running out of titles. Or maybe cleverness. Probably a good thing when someone who thinks they’re clever starts to run out of what they perceive to be clever. Pretty clever, huh? Hmm. The word has last all meaning. From saying it too much, not from my inherent application of my own delusions of it attached to everything I do. Wow. Why do I even bother with intros?
  • When instruments were first invented to play melodies on, do you think all the singers called it cheating?
  • On Saturday nights, I leave my guitar rig overnight at my church, as we have both Saturday night and Sunday morning services. And on Saturday nights, as I’m sitting at my computer, I take my usual habitual glances of longing over at my rig. Except that it’s just an empty space in the room. Throw in some strings, and it’s like a scene from Legends of the Fall (or a really good commercial, at least). Is that sad? Or just very, very awesome?
  • Where would the world be without rock ‘n roll? And I’m a lot serious.
  • Indie bands: your music was cool in 2004 because it was subversive to the predominant musical styles. At what now seems like 19,635 bands calling themselves indie, you need to have a melody. The hobbit half-beards, vests, slippers, and xylophones can only take you so far. And by ‘so far’, I probably mean signed, famous, and in Michael Cera’s latest Juno rehash. So, carry on.
  • Green sounds better. Prove me wrong.
  • Is there seriously a silver Klon on ebay with bids at $600? haha What a sucker. Everyone knows only the golden horsey guy ones have the magic fairy dust.
  • Poor singers. We jack the chords (haha…wow, there’s a phrase you haven’t heard since 1997…for some reason, all I think of when I see that year is Con Air…hehe…Nicolas Cage…he’s not…how do you say it…good) and they have to take the fall.
  • I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I just got back from reading multiple threads on ‘worship’ over at Gear Page. Good times for all. Just don’t post in them! Very frightening.
  • On that note, I have an uncharacteristically quiet thought: does it seem to anyone else that Christians are mean?
  • Drive with your windows down, and crank whatever it is you’re listening to.
  • I don’t normally do this, but I ran across this post by one of the bassists I play with, and thought it was absolutely fantastic: Minimalism. (Ya, ya, of course I’d think that’s fantastic, I know.)
  • Try as I might, I cannot come up with one single thing that everyone agrees on. Just in life. And yet we do try really hard to find that one thing, don’t we. Especially on internet message boards.
  • I heard a song today, by which band I absolutely refuse to say but probably just said by absolutely refusing to say it, and I felt as if it were wrapping me up in a soft, warm, and almost questioningly masculine hug through the speakers.
  • For those of you wondering, ‘questioningly masculine’ means ‘Masculine…with some questions.’ Think…every worship leader you’ve ever known.
  • I like show tunes. I’m sorry.
  • That POG is cool, but think of all the other pedals it’s taking up the space of! I wonder if I can re-house it…make it smaller. I’ll call it, the POG2! Wait…
  • That last one was so dumb that I’m almost ashamed. Almost…
  • Never underestimate the sonic power of a shaker.
  • People are funny.
  • It’s not cool to like Fleet Foxes anymore, is it.
  • All music is at its core is essentially delay. Nope. Just accept it and move on.
  • And lastly, courtesy of Mr. Dickens, ‘The broader a man’s statements, the narrower his mind.’ Just think about that one for a second… And of course, I don’t fall into that category. 😉


The Greatest Invention in History

The word ‘post.’

It can be used for whatever you like, and always makes you sound not only intelligent, but indie-intelligent. Just put ‘post’ before any thing you like, and you automatically sound like a college-educated artist with a hobbit-half-beard, sitting in a non-chain coffee shop on the post-fashionable (see what I just did there?) side of London. Well, at least in your mind. The church has been doing it for years. ‘Ya, we’re a post-modern church.’ No one knows what it means, but it sounds fantastic! Seriously! You should try it.

‘What type of effect was that?’
‘Oh, just kind of a post-delay type sound.’

What does that mean? I don’t know. Sure sounds cool, though. And as a bonus, no one can really wrap their minds around what it means; yet it doesn’t quite sound like nonsense. So, not only do you sound cool, you also get this rad emperor’s-new-clothes effect……where no one wants to say that they have no idea what you’re talking about out of fear of not sounding as cool as you quite obviously are. Genius. Sure, it’s supposed to mean ‘after’ or ‘later.’ But does that stop us? Oh, absolutely not.

‘How would you describe your band’s sound?’
‘Eh, kind of like a post-grunge quasi-Eddie Vedder style.’

(‘Quasi’ is another awesome one.)

‘How’s the food here?’
‘It’s good. Like a post-euro lounge menu.’

‘Did you like that movie?’
‘It was alright. Little too post-noir for me.’

‘How should you keep your tone even at low volumes?’
‘Post-phase inverter master volume.’

(Wait, that one’s real.) ‘Post-true bypass.’ (There we go!)

‘What do you do for a living?’
‘It’s like a post-economy marketing portfolio.’

‘What type of tubes should I get?’
‘Look for some JJ’s. They have this killer post-vintage sound.’

‘What denomination is your church?’
‘You know. We’re part of that new post-non-denominational movement.’

‘What time is it?
‘Eh, around post-6:30.’

(That one actually works. Try it.)

‘How do you run your ministry?’
‘We try to use the post-John-Piper model.’

‘Did you leave your headlights on?’
‘No, I’ve got that post-Audi technology in my car.’

‘Did you drop your watch?’

(Oh ya.)

‘What do you believe?’
‘I’m part of that post-Judeo-Christian mindset.’

Greatest invention ever. Intellectual-cool, without any need of the ‘intellect’ that normally accompanies ‘intellectual.’ And I’m definitely using this from now on. Watch out for my new ‘Post Ooh-Wah Demo.’ :)


Musical Free Association

Which is pretty much my life anyway.

  • Try as I might, I just cannot get over listening to Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69.’ Not even the cheesey keyboard breaks with the reverby drum fills are stopping me right now. I think something is wrong.
  • Melody. When in doubt, melody.
  • Just got an Ooh Wah in. It’s hand-painted. I mean, it sounds really good. 😉
  • And the same day I get it, I find out Moog just came out with a new Murf that can be controlled via Midi. Hmmm…hand-painted, or wood-paneling? Really tough choice.
  • Of course the inevitable answer will be ‘both’, but I do like to pretend for a while that I’m actually going to make a choice and save money.
  • After years of searching, I finally found the perfect ‘high heels’ British rockstar shoes. (‘High heels’ is in parentheses because my wife made me promise not to refer to them in this way.) And they got stuck on like every single pedal on my board at least once. Is this going to stop me from wearing them? Nope. Not even a little.
  • Bought a bunch of wood yesterday to begin the great pedalboard remodel. I’m remodeling to distribute the weight better so that my arms don’t fall off. And yet it was still extremely hard to turn down the 48×48 piece of wood there. There’s a third Damage Control Timeline for sale on Gear Page right now that would fit nicely on a 48×48 pedalboard. Yikes, I’m still considering it.
  • Lady Gaga’s new song where she grunts her name in it, has actually dethroned R. Kelly’s ‘I Want to Make You Pregnant’ as the song that makes me wish humans couldn’t hear sound.
  • And then Luke Kelly restores my faith in sound. Even though he died before I was born. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade. But then I would have grown up in the dark ages. Meaning, before the invention of analog delay with tap tempo.
  • I am as of yet still unconvinced that American Idol is real.
  • I am a sucker for wood finish on anything. Even pedals and head cabinets. Hey, the tubes resonate more controllably and less microphonically in hand-carved, solid birch. That’s a fact. I wrote it on the internet.
  • Click track.
  • Bass players.
  • Can we just make a law to have James Horner score every film? And while we’re at it, let’s also make a law against R. Kelly. Just in general.
  • And lastly, when I hear this, I wonder why we even need the guitar. Passion, feeling, and melody…everything is just there to support that:
  • And apologies if that was a little too pedestrian for rockin’ guitarists. Or a little too Neil Young. 😉 But I adore it. And even though there was no tube in site on that song, I choose to believe that they recorded it using an old tube-driven, analog amplifier for the microphone. And that’s the truth because I want it to be. That’s how it works, right?


My Head is Dying

Ever have those weeks, where so much is going on, that you can no longer differentiate between the things you’ve done, and the things you’ve thought about doing? I’ll email someone and they’ll say ‘You just emailed me that.’ And then I’ll say ‘Really’ and then completely shut down for three hours while watching ‘Heat.’ Nothing like hearing Michael Brook playing over the landscape of LA, while Pacino kicks a television out of his car. Beautiful. The other way to deal with stress is to buy pedals. Done.

So, all that to say, please do not be offended during this time if I haven’t responded to your questions. Some days, between this blog, facebook, email, youtube, phone, Gear Page, and a little thing called real life, there are upwards of 40+ gear-related questions I need to respond to. (And a few saying, ‘I bought the $500 pedal you suggested and it would be impossible for you to have been more wrong. I hate you.’) And inevitably I miss some. So I’m really sorry if I’ve missed yours. I adore talking about gear, so just send it to me again, or post it here, or send me an email. I promise you that I love talking gear so much, that after a few conversations you’ll be the one not responding to me. :) I was hoping it’d never get to the point where I had to mention that, but it’s at the place now where I know I must be forgetting to respond to at least some of them, and I do apologize. Please be patient with me.

So anyway, here’s the end result of my head dying this week. Well, and of watching Heat with my laptop open buying pedals.

  • It’s about fullness. 98% of people hear the sound, not your guitar.
  • Got a PS3 in. (The pedal, not the video game unit deal. I am the worst video game player ever. I’ve never made it past the 2nd screen of the original Mario Brothers. Jumping is hard.) Unfortunately, it does everything I don’t need quite well. And the one thing I do need…not so much. However, a full demo is on the way.
  • I’m running all pads from a laptop now…into an eq…into a volume pedal, and then an amp. And I am looking for a Murf and another delay for them too. I do not understand why my way of dealing with stress is to complicate things. And anyone want to buy a Fostex MR8 recorder with pads already recorded on it?
  • Play a chord every once in a while. Ya, I know they’re boring, but it’s amazing how good those things sound.
  • George Clooney looks way better than me. And he’s 46. I hate him.
  • I’m learning more and more that music, and especially worship music, is about communicating…not ‘to’, but ‘with’ your audience.
  • Finally saw ‘It Might Get Loud.’ Absolutely lovely. Page is fantastic, I have a ton of respect for White, but Edge just comes from some other place altogether. In the best way possible. And if you disagree, then you’re wrong. 😉
  • My wife and I are starting week 2 of gluten-free, source, veganism. I would love to put 18-year-old-Tourniquet-listening-Jack-in-the-Box-ultimate-bacon-cheeseburger-loving-real-guitarists-play-bar-chords-Steve-Vai-hair-I-have-it-all-figured-out Karl into a cage match with 25-year-old-U2-adoring-source-eating-capo-using-balding-but-maybe-I-can-look-like-Jason-Statham-I’ve-failed-too-much-to-even-consider-thinking-I’ve-got-it-figured-out Karl, and see who would win. Probably the metalhead one. And this actually took place in my mind. Carl Weathers was the referee for some reason. ‘Ding, ding.’ Name that movie. Wow.
  • Bought a John Fromel pedal on looks alone. And I am not ashamed to admit that. Those things are gorgeous.
  • There’s this older gentleman at my church. Every time I talk with him, I’m blown away by the simple, concise wisdom. Very, very cool.
  • It’s probably time to change the tubes in my Timeline’s. Mmmm……tubes.
  • It’s incredible how much tone you can get when you stop listening for how your tone sounds, and start listening to how your hands and gear are interacting, and start feeling tone. A hot-glowing tube amp doesn’t hurt, either.
  • I think sometimes we get a result in our minds of how God moving will look, and then we pursue that result when He’s actually moving somewhere completely different.
  • Shocked my lips on the mic yesterday. I eventually fixed the ground problem, but you know…that pain stays in your mind! I backed off from the mic a ton, and didn’t really realize until then how much I devour that thing when I sing. So if any of you ever want to come to my church to guest lead, just be careful of which mic you’re singing into. We don’t want to kiss.
  • Buy more delay.
  • Music and tone and sound and melody just put thoughts and pictures into my mind that I can’t explain and wish I could. I love them so much. And ‘Heat.’
  • Recording technologies are getting out of hand. I should buy stock in compression. I think we could all do with a good dose of some old Beatles recordings, and remember how it sounds to get a great source sound, and to not let the recording get in the way of that.
  • School of Seven Bells. Do it.
  • I bought a pedal I’ve already had. I’ve done this like, 17 times. What is wrong with me? Or, what is very, very right with me. Gear is the best. Tone is better. And delay trumps them all. This makes sense to me.


This Week in Tone

Been living life outside the internet for a bit. It does exist, which is really crazy. However, that also means that the tonal and not-so-tonal thoughts and ideas constantly spinning around in my head, have not been spewed for a while. Life is music, and music needs to be shared. Especially the tone part. Mmm…tone.
  • Been thinking about effecting a reverb’d octave sound post-amp, with a mic into some ambient pedals and then into another amp. Oh ya, with a fuzz. That wouldn’t be overkill at all.
  • Has Coldplay called yet? I really want to run three amps again. But I can’t do that until they call, as they would provide the funding, as well as the authority to not have the sound tech and worship leader look at me like I am the primadonna that I probably am.
  • I would like a new pedal. Doesn’t matter what. Just new, and unfortunately, I’m really liking my guitars and amps right now. But a new amp could be cool, too. And a guitar. Mmmmm.
  • Let your female vocalists lead. They are usually incredibly talented.
  • Some weeks direct boxes need to be on ground, and some weeks they need to be on lift. What the difference between weeks is, I have no idea. I just know those are the magic buzz-killing switches.
  • I think we are the only church in the US not doing Transiberian Orchestra this Christmas Eve. Nothing wrong with Transiberian Orchestra…except for maybe some amp modeling. 😉 Just stating a fact. hehe
  • Taylor’s have the best pickup systems on their current models that I have yet heard. Just mic’ing the guitar…no adding. I’ve yet to find that anywhere else. Even high end stuff like Collings. With enormous thanks to Sal Hamby, for letting me borrow his 710. It is a beautiful axe, my friend. Can you call acoustics axes?
  • I need a new pedal that no one else has. The Hartman was that for awhile, but then everyone bought one. Stupid everyone.
  • Mmmm…fuzz. Pedals, not just fuzz in general.
  • I really like Christmas music. My wife says almost in a frightening way. But I live my life by believing that ‘frightening’ and ‘awesome’ are perpetually interchangeable.
  • The Catalinbread WIIO controversy has been fun. Stupid people, buying and selling gear. Unthinkable! 😉
  • Definitely talked with Neal McDonough at The Grove in LA this week. He was wearing the coolest 1700’s vest and indie slacks I have ever seen. And I wanted them. For those of you who don’t know, he’s this guy:

See that bleach blonde hair towards the center right background of the photo? Yep, that’s him. I would never survive as a paparazzi. But see, then whenever we actually go up and meet these people, they’re so nice that it just feels lame to ask for a photo with them. He even shook our hands and asked for our names. Really cool guy. I told him that I too, was famous, and had upwards of 25 people subscribed to my youtube demos. He didn’t seem to care. No, that didn’t happen. But if it did, he wouldn’t have. Oh ya. And the guy on the left is not famous, even though he’s the only one I actually succeeded in getting a clear photo of.)

Okay, here’s what he’s from:

The guy flying with Tom Cruise there. He’s also acted with Al Pacino in 88 Minutes, which makes him insta-cool. And Cruel Doubt, Band of Brothers…oh, and those of you ’90’s children like me might remember him as Wit Bass, the crazy pitcher on Angels in the Outfield. Oh ya. So, what does any of this have to do with music? If I was wearing what Neal McDonough was wearing when we met him, I would have killer tone.

  • Heard pirates singing an Irish folk tune in four part harmony. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Change your strings. No seriously.
  • So nice to have bassists who hit the chord inversions when you forget to.
  • Just found out The Editors have a new album. Best ever. And their singer looks like he’s fighting with his own face when he performs, which is an added bonus.
  • I hugged my Matchless. That one’s true.
  • Pickup height is the hugest difference ever.
  • Taylor Swift’s ‘Silent Night’? Whoa. Talk about worshipful. Those are some killer lyrics, that I’d not noticed in years during the traditional version. Plus, they add the ‘With or Without You’ chords at the end, which is never a bad thing. (Hopefully not, because that progression is in about 83% of songs in history…even Pachelbel in the 1600’s. But U2 still invented it. Some would say that doesn’t make sense. And they would be correct. U2 defies logic.) And I’m choosing to believe that liking Taylor Swift is not akin to rocking, ‘So I put my hands up, they’re playing my song…moving my hips like ya ya ya…’ Oh. Disturbing. Billy Ray, what are you thinking? And yes…now my google search bar has ‘Miley Cyrus lyrics’ in the history. Blast. But Taylor Swift is okay, right? Right? Hope so. ‘Cause now this is happening:
  • Just ignore the static glam shot. But the song…whoa. Gets me every time. And tone is wonderful. Sure, of the steel guitar in the song; but also, just in general.