All the…Small Things

Just got that excruciatingly catchy song stuck in every one of your heads for the rest of the day. That song is proof that there is such a thing as ‘too catchy of a melody.’ And you’re welcome.

I have taken a week or so to ignore this blog and most all of technology. And contrary to popular belief, if you do not touch your iPhone, laptop, bigger iPhone that can’t call people, or iPod (did you know you can text from those things?!), and actually look out your window to see if it is raining rather than hit F12 to see if your dashboard widget tells you it’s raining, the universe does not implode. If you don’t post the thing that you’re doing on facebook, you can still do that thing! This is getting crazy, I know…but it’s actually true. With all the rain we’ve been getting here (and ‘all the rain’ in Southern California translates to ‘we got a little mist’ everywhere else in the US), the power has gone out a few times (I know, water falls from the sky and the entire Los Angeles infrastructure collapses), and the most amazing thing happened. With no tv and no computers, I found the craziest form of entertainment. It has this new-fangled technology where the battery never runs out, you never have to plug it in, and the backlight works off of the scientific principle of friction and natural heat. Yep. It’s called a book and a candle. Seriously, absolutely amazing technology. The power could be out for days and weeks; nay, even years; and you know what? The book would still work. And actually, this isn’t at all where I was going with this, but the talk of rain did remind me of a little Conan sketch from last year; and lo and behold, it’s on youtube! Mmm…technology. I mean, books are awesome.

hehehe For those of you who don’t live in Southern California, it’s actually really, really scary how close that video is to being true. There’s breaking news stories constantly, taglines like ‘December Deluge’ on every news show and newspaper who all think they’re the only ones to have come up with the phrase, and there’s mad runs on Costco for bulk items for people’s newly dug bomb shelters. It is quite awesome to watch. But anyway, with all that just sitting back and enjoying life, I’ve been quite happily absent from technology and hence this site, for a while. So I’d figure I’d wrap up all the…small things…that have been going on. (hehe Stuck in your head again.)

  • My Timeline finally came back from Strymon yesterday. I haven’t plugged it in yet. But I won’t say whether it’s sitting on a custom made Timeline stage with soft Ingrid Bergman lighting on it or not.
  • I fixed my Loop-Master. I plugged it in and it worked. Which means that either I mixed up the cables plugging in my two pedalboards a couple weeks ago, or that the Loop-Master re-soldered itself. I’m going with the ‘soldered itself’ one.
  • It is also amazing that rather than check connections, my first impulse is to pull apart my board and completely rewire it. It’s as if subconsciously, that’s what I really want to do. I’m blaming the fever.
  • ‘X’ is a Greek abbreviation for ‘Christ.’ The clerk cannot wish you a merry Christmas while they are on the clock because the company policy is to not get sued; but wish it to them and they can wish it to you back. Yes, consumerism is bad, but we Christians do push for family values the other 11 months of the year, so maybe we should back off a bit when the mall is full and realize that at any other time of the year, we’d be overjoyed to see a parent buying gifts for their kid instead of a check postmarked from their office building. I heard Taylor Swift’s voice singing that ‘Christ the Savior is born’ over the loudspeakers to thousands of people in the mall. Overall? I’d say Christmas is a win. You know when Christmas gets to be a loss? When the ones who are supposed to be celebrating the most instead get all bitter, and have that bitterness be the overarching emotion in their churches at the one time of year the rest of the world actually enters said churches. Are there things that can be improved upon about culture’s current celebration of Christmas? Of course. But not at the expense of love for our fellow man. Proverbs talks about love covering a multitude of sins. Which, incidentally, is what we’re celebrating with the birth of Jesus. I’m going to guess that Jesus would ask us to celebrate Him by showing love to those around us, rather than get bitter at a world that is never going to say ‘Merry Christmas’ if they can’t believe it because they don’t see it in those of us who are supposed to believe it.
  • Sorry, that got a little longer than I intended it to be.
  • My folks got me a Hartman Germanium Fuzz for Christmas. My parents are hereby awesome. Actually though, both my parents are guitarists, and my dad’s a Stones fan, so I think the thought of my board without a fuzz pedal may have been just as unacceptable to them as it is to me. ;)
  • My wife got me Toms shoes. Because she is awesome. So you can thank her that you won’t have to see my Little House on the Prairie shoes in every pedal demo anymore. I used to think Toms were too trendy. And then I realized that it’s a company that actually gets you to buy shoes for people that don’t have any. I think I’ll risk being trendy.
  • The family in the apartment above ours just turned on some movie with a really cool score. I’m having trouble concentrating. Watch, they’re probably just playing Halo. That stupid video game kills me to no end, because the score is just amazing! To a video game. Didn’t Hans Zimmer write it? Or maybe it’s just the commercial…I’ve never actually played Halo.
  • My wife also got me THX 1138. The good version. I am the luckiest guy on earth to have a wife that knows these things. Meaning the one on VHS, because the only one released on DVD is the ‘enhanced version’ where CGI monkeys that have nothing whatsoever to do with the story, attack Robert Duvall. Seriously, I think George Lucas has now succeeded in ruining almost every good thing he ever did originally. I’m just waiting for the enhanced version of American Graffiti where Richard Dreyfuss turns out to really be a zombie and all the street racing gets CGI’d into an alien pod race with the kid from Jingle All the Way.
  • Oh, and zombies are over. So are vampires. Please, somebody come up with something new. Did you know there’s a whole section at Barnes and Noble called ‘Paranormal Teen Romance’? Alright, alright…maybe I’m just bitter that I haven’t come up with anything to jump me on the bandwagon and make me rich yet. Guitar for Worship and Zombies. Nope, doesn’t work. But I’m close. Maybe I’ll just review a Vampire Weekend album and be done with it. ‘Say it.’ ‘Vampire.’ Okay, now I’m done.
  • I will be selling a DD20 on Gear Page within the next few days. I will still have two on my board. I have no defense.
  • I have almost made it to 2011 without having ever owned a Klon. By all practical tonehead accounts, I should be dead by now. Hey, if I can make it to 2012, it won’t matter anymore. Oh, and just for the record, after 2012 is over, I’m calling January 8, 2019 as the next end of the world. We’ll just say we can’t find the next calendar from some obscure ancient Eskimo tribe or something, and then write some books about it. I’m gonna sell T-shirts and everything. Remember, you heard it here first. Can I patent a date? Everybody panic.
  • Hey! A post where I didn’t mention U2! Ah, blast.
  • Pretty sure I’ve used that joke before. I’ve now graduated from just recycling Arrested Development gags to recycling my own. Apologies. Apologies, all around. ;)
  • Wow, what happened in this post? Incoherent pandemonium. Must be the rain.

Splendid.
Karl.

A Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas!

I’m going to be away from here for a couple more days, but I just thought I’d post this in the spirit of this time of year, and in the spirit of what the rest of our year should also probably look like.

I’ve been reading Dicken’s Christmas Carol, and every year it really rocks me. And if you’ve never read it, I’d encourage you to do so. Not watch one of the 18 different versions of it (And if you’re just not a reader, may I suggest the Patrick Stewart version…very close to the book and very well-directed and well-acted; you do, however, have to look over the most unfortunate special effects in cinema ever. As in, Ever), but actually read it. Dickens’ portrayal of love is the most haunting picture of it I have ever read.

“Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.”

It always wrecks me that the picture here is that hell for the damned is nothing more than having lost the power to show love and charity to their fellow man; the very thing that so many times I choose not to exercise the power to do.

So I’ve been trying to do that this year; and it’s kept me a bit absent from this blog, and probably will for a few more days. But the only way I know to truly love and celebrate Jesus’ birth, is to love Him. And we love Him by taking our time and everything we are to truly and honestly love those around us…our families, those in dire need, and the waitress who has to work the graveyard shift at Denny’s on Christmas Eve.

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

–Matthew 25:40

Merry Christmas. I hope it finds you all well!

Splendid.
Karl.

Awesome

Came down with a fever, broke a string, gave the band wrong chords on the sheet music (for which I absolutely loathe myself…that’s a huge deal for me because I get so bitter when it’s the other way around…hehe) and had one of my Loop-Master’s go out. All in all, a good day. If everything went right all the time, we’d have nothing to keep us humble, and nothing for which to strive and practice. And I am currently practicing by surfing Gear Page for a new fuzz pedal. Wait…

Splendid.
Karl.

The Tone Journey & The Less Cool Pedalboard

I was trying to wait until the Timeline was finished being repaired, the Prairiewood had a new neck, and I bought another Hartman. I guess until my new ‘less expensive pedalboard’ was finished. But I’ve had so many requests to show my current board, that I’m just gonna go ahead and risk the self-imposed wrath of showing a fuzzless pedalboard.

So for those of you late to the party (I’m going to start referring to my blog as ‘the party on the internet’…I just decided), I’m on an all new board with cheaper pedals because of damage sustained to my guitar and amp a couple months ago. And as tone comes at least 90% from the guitar and amp, pedals were sold in order to fix said guitar and amp. Pedals also sustained damage in the storm, and so even more were sold in order to buy road-cases. (Yes, I gigged for seven years without road-cases. I like to live on the Edge. And no, I did not mistakenly hit capslock.) It’s been a fun journey, and a surprising one. Not to mention that the first week I had the new road-cases, it poured rain on the way to a gig while they were in the back of my truck. Worth every penny.

The New, Incomplete, and Uncool Board

The stain on the carpet is where the corner of my last pedalboard used to lay; may it rest in peace. The top left where the Midi Mouse is, is where the Timeline is going to go once it is repaired. The right side has the volume pedal for my pad rig, the click track for my home church, and the tuner for my acoustic. Eventually, those will probably go to a separate board so that I can fill that space up with fuzz. I miss fuzz. More than anything I can remember, and very possibly more than any person ever should.

It’s two pieces so it can fit in roadcases. The Pedaltrain Jr:

And the Pedaltrain Pro:

The Signal Chain

Godin Strat (while the Prairiewood gets put back together)

–This has been a huge surprise. Really, really good sounding guitar for incredibly cheap; so glad I tried these out at NAMM last year because when the Prairiewood went down, I knew exactly what to look for, for a cheap guitar that sounded good. And when the Prairiewood gets back, I’m actually going to keep this as my backup/single soil guitar. However, it is not the Prairiewood. Very good tone. But not the fullness, harmonic richness, and ability to cut through a mix like the Robert Dixon guitar. And for what it’s worth, Mr. Dixon has been great through this whole process. I’m hoping to have the guitar back soon, but he did warn me that it’d be a few months if I opted to have him do the work instead of a local luthier of his suggestion. But I felt much more comfortable with him doing the work. Looking forward to that day. But for now, the Godin has done a more than adequate job.

Fryette Valvulator

–Once you’ve heard your pedalboard with one of these, they do not get sold.

Loop-Master 6-loop true bypass strip

–This is a leftover from my previous board, as well. These are so convenient to not having your rig ever go all the way down. If a cable or a pedal goes out, you can troubleshoot on the fly by switching pedals and cables in and out of the signal path. Tonewise it keeps things purer, too. However, I did ask Dan over at This1smyne to build me a single relay bypass looper so that I can try out the silent switches and see how it affects tone. If it’s good, I might be switching all my true bypass strips to relay bypass strips.

Peterson Strobostomp (in tuner out)

–I actually sold mine, and this is my wife’s which she is graciously letting me use. Such a great tuner. And they can now be had for really cheap because of all the new tuners that are coming out in droves.

Ibanez TS7 (in Loop 2)

–My poor man’s fuzz right now. That surprisingly gives an incredibly harmonic, and wonderfully compressed lead/fuzz tone. This was actually on my board right as it went down, and will probably stay with me forever. On the hot mode, this is a total sleeper pedal. I do miss my Hartman fuzz, though.

Fulltone Fatboost v1 (in Loop 4)

–This is my overdrive pedal. Pushing the Matchless into its own drive. And, incredibly, I am loving this. I was wanting to try it out live since it did so well in my shootout this year; and it is surprisingly, quite good. As much as I love the Tim, the Tim is actually not on my short list of pedals I have to buy back as soon as possible.

Fulltone Fatboost v1 (in Loop 5)

–Another stage of boosting the Matchless into overdrive. Replaces the ‘boost’ side of my Tim.

This1smyne Super Duper clone (in Loop 6)

–Whoa. Got this for crazy cheap, and it is a brilliantly transparent overdrive. Lets your amp shine. My third and fourth stages of driving the HC30. Yes, it is a clone. It was cheap and I am a terrible person. I’m actually in talks with a couple people right now about buying a real ZVex Super Duper because I feel very, very guilty. And that guilt sounds really good on the board. ;)

Loop-Master 9-loop true bypass strip

–Leftover from my previous board as well.

Arion SPH-1 (in Loop 1)

–Whoa. So…everything Arion made in the ’80′s was awesome. No desire to get another phaser right now. Does not sound as good as the Moog. Sounds as good as just about every other phaser I’ve played, including the Subdecay which it replaced.

Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo (in Loop 2)

–Best tremolo ever for $15. Not the best tremolo ever. Too harsh and too subtle at the same time. But gets the job done for now. Looking forward to getting my Dr. Scientist back or maybe giving the Swamp Thang another try.

George Dennis active volume pedal (in Loop 4)

–From the previous board. Killer volume pedal, little to no tone suck, and they don’t cost much at all.

(2) Boss DD20′s (in Loop 6)

–These replace one of my Timeline’s. They are the only other multi-setting delay (meaning 3 or more presets) that keeps your dry signal analog and untouched. There are two of them because I got spoiled with the Timeline’s 128 presets, and I need the two DD20′s so I can have 10 presets (if you use the manual mode as well). I’ve always liked the DD20; I’ve owned the Timefactor, Nova, EH Hazarai…and the DD20 sounds better to my humble ears. It does not have the beautifully fading repeats of the Timeline (due to its smear control), but it does have a bpm readout; which the Timeline sorely lacks. The little gold box in the corner sends tap tempo to each DD20, with the switch in the middle sending the tempo to both units at the same time. I will probably keep these until the release of the ‘Timeline 2′, or whatever it’s going to be called…provided it has a bpm readout.

Damage Control Timeline with Midi Mouse ( in Loop 8 )

–Well, when it comes in from the shop. Because I’ve been so stoked on the DD20′s, I’ll probably be still using them for main delay sounds. But they cannot get the wonderful decay of the Timeline; so the Timeline will be at the end of the chain for that great smeared multitap setting it has that I like to hide in the background. The DD20′s also have the annoying feature that to dub on the looper mode, you have to hold the on/off switch down. Just dumb. So the Timeline will also be used for its looper. And for it’s nice reverse setting can be padded after your chain. And, as it sounds fantastic, probably more things too. hehe With just these few settings, I should be fine with just the Midi Mouse to control it. For what it’s worth, I did try the Digitech Jamman Delay/Looper as it has 3 delay presets and a very powerful looper; I thought it might be an inexpensive replacement for the Timeline. I returned it the next day. One of the worst-sounding delays I have ever heard. Good looper, though. haha But I need one pedal to do both to save space and money. Ya, do not buy the Jamman Delay/Looper. Just get the looper.

Arion SAD-1 (in Loop 9)

–Just can’t replace what this pedal does at the end of swells. Plus, in its current condition, no one would ever buy this. hehe

Barge Concepts parallel looper with Behringer RV600 in the loop

–Long story short, in all the buying and selling, I got confused, and ended up with two parallel loopers. I put both for sale, and the This1smyne sold first. So I kept the Barge Concepts. The RV600 is great for the price. The only bad thing is that the tracking does get a little sketchy with good bass response flowing through it. So, I’m looking to replace it with the Verbzilla; or maybe even give the Blue Sky a second chance.

Matchless HC30

–I thought about selling this because it would provide enough money for a new acoustic and a bunch of pedals. But…it is quite simply the best thing ever. And you don’t sell the best thing ever. You just don’t.

Here’s the rig as of right now:

It’s out-of-focus because I’m artsy. I’ve still got the Furman Power Factor Pro, but in the rack. Each board has a VL PP2+. I’m keeping the Blues Junior to run my pads through, as well as my backup amp and my ‘small-club-you-can’t-bring-that-2×12-in-here’ amp, as it does sound quite good. I wills till always suggest the Blues Junior as the inexpensive amp that sounds better than things twice its price. I just changed the speaker to a Weber and the tubes to JJ’s, and it really does sing. Unfortunately, the singing paled when I a/b’d it with the Matchless. Which was a bummer, as that would’ve saved me money. But not pale enough for me not to recognize that this amp can hold its own as a backup/small gig amp. And it’s green, which is like a bonus round.

To be quite honest, I must say that I am relieved to hear firsthand that it sounds like I was right all those years saying that amps and guitars shape your tone so much more than pedals. Keep the pedals out of the way until it’s their turn to produce a texture, and then get them out of the way again signal-wise. With the Matchless, I’m pretty happy with this inexpensive board. Here’s the first actual song recorded with it. And with a mic and a laptop for the first one:

And then for this one, it’s the camera mic. And this is a literal on-the-spot improvisation, in which I do manage to use every pedal at least once. If I were to turn this into an actual piece, I’d probably go a little less on the noise-making section, but it gets the idea across, and it’s fun to just let things happen in the moment:

I’ve been very pleased with the tones; which is crazy for a cheaper board like that. I do miss the Memory Lane…nothing sounds like that pedal. And I desperately need fuzz. I’m also not crazy about hooking two pedalboards together, and I liked having the power conditioner actually on my pedalboard. So now that I’m happy with some of the cheaper stuff and might not save each month to buy absolutely everything back, I might go back to my old board (which I did not sell) and buy a custom road-case for it. Not quite sure yet. But overall…it just sounds disingenuous to say you’re glad your guitar’s neck broke off. So I’m not. But there’s always something to be learned, experienced, and made into a really good time and hopefully some heartfelt music in this journey of tone. And I miss fuzz…I may have mentioned this, but I figure just in case. :)

Splendid.
Karl.

Best Public Service Announcement Ever

It seems as if both Coldplay and The Killers were competing last week for the award (given out and invented by me, of course) for best Christmas song ever. And they both won, a lot. As Christmas is the greatest time of the year (besides NAMM), I give you…the winners of my imaginary but oh so real award:

(And sorry about the ads. The internet is now cable tv.)

And a live version…not The Killers playing behind him, but Brandon Flowers threw it in on his current solo tour, and the quality of whomever is on tour with him is fantastic:

Mmmm…Christmas. And in reality, it was a three-way tie for the best Christmas song ever, because of U2′s cover of ‘I Believe in Father Christmas.’ But as I’ve posted that video 2 years in a row, I am trying desperately to win the battle with myself not to post it again.

Merry Christmas. :)

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. I lose. And quite happily, too.

;)

Saturday Night Live & Worship Leading

I’m not sure how many of you caught the awkwardness a few weeks ago that was Arcade Fire on SNL. Now let me clarify; I really, really like Arcade Fire. In fact, I think their latest album might be the most lyrically holistic album since Achtung Baby, and a couple of the tracks off of it have even moved me to tears. Which isn’t too big of a deal…I routinely get moved to tears by that gorgeous and familiar snap of the guitar cable into the guitar’s input jack…but still; it’s not every day that an album will do that to you.

But live on SNL? Decent sound, but awkward, awkward, awkward. At least their frontman, Win Butler. (Awesome name, though.) Here’s the video:

And I started to think that having bands on SNL may actually be the one of the closest parallels to a worship band. Besides SNL having atrocious sound and the fact that unfortunately many churches are known for the same, in both situations, the band is asked to play to an audience that at best part is not there just to see them play, and at worst had no idea who they are and has no interest to see them, all in a venue not set up specifically for a concert. In both places, the majority of the folks in the seats are there for some other reason than to hear the music. On SNL, it’s to sit and relax and enjoy watching Scarlett Johansson host and Jay Pharaoh do Denzel Washington impressions. And then Arcade Fire gets up and asks an audience who may or may not have ever heard of them and who may or may not even remotely enjoy their music, to stand up and uninhibitedly engage with them. And in worship, we ask a congregation who may or may not have come just for the message and who may or may not just tolerate the music in order to be able to meet someone afterwards who will hug them or pray for them, to stand up and uninhibitedly engage with the Lord.

And that’s where it can start to feel real lonely, real fast. As evidenced painfully by the above song. Win is trying so hard to be a charismatic frontman, and win people over to the music; but he ends up just looking completely desperate, and I know that feeling well. I don’t usually grab the mic and jump onto the pews at church, but I sometimes will tend to say something awkward or not entirely theologically sound as I start to feel more and more naked as I look at blank stares coming back at me. Or I’ll push too hard trying to overcompensate for their lack of engagement. Or say something to try to force people into it. Which all comes off as desperate. And if there’s one thing that puts people off more than anything else, it’s desperation. It makes them feel awkward, and we hate feeling awkward.

(Can you blame people for wanting to see that over a band? Seriously, if you close your eyes, it’s Denzel Washington.)

The best part is how we usually try to push past the awkwardness. What do we do? We go buy Hillsong dvd’s and try to copy what they do. Forgetting completely that a worship concert dvd is (sorry) pretty much worthless when it comes to trying to help people in your congregation engage with God through music. Why is seemingly every person dancing and singing and lifting their hands on a Hillsong dvd? Well, one because it’s edited that way. They’re not going to show the guy who spent the whole night messing with his phone so he could get one pic to Twitter. But more importantly, because every person there came specifically to worship, and specifically to worship through music, and specifically to worship through music that Hillsong plays. What’s even more, to get into that concert, each one of those people paid money. So until your congregation pays money to get into church specifically to worship through music and not hear a message or connect relationally with people, and specifically wants to hear your songs, and until the media guy is sending you a private feed onto your lyric monitor on stage that is only showing the people that are really into it…the parallel is not that great between a Hillsong dvd and your worship service.

And then what is even better is when we recognize this, and rather than trying to then figure out what works to help people engage in our current non-concert setting, we instead try to change our current setting to a concert; completely forgetting that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person who (*gasp*) may actually come to church to serve and set up tables so that people can drink coffee while they talk and learn to love each other, and may not really even care for our style of worship music. I know, it’s almost unthinkable. (Sarcasm, friends.) But it happens. A lot. And then we see people not engaging, and we get desperate. And say something awkward. And speed up a song. And say something harsh about people not raising their hands. And inadvertently completely ruin all chance of anyone connecting with God during the music part of the service.

I remember being at a conference one time where Chris Tomlin was leading worship, and after a quite rousing worship song, said, ‘Hey guys, I just want you to know that it’s not like this at my home church. I don’t usually lead worship for 4,000 worship leaders who paid to come to a conference. It’s so awesome to look out and see everyone singing and worshiping.’ And it was so cool to hear that. It’s okay if your church doesn’t look like a Hillsong dvd. And someone needs to tell Arcade Fire’s singer that it’s okay if SNL doesn’t look like one of his usual sold-out concerts with a bunch of hipsters busting the seams on their sown-on corduroy’s. But rather, getting to a place where you can balance worshiping God on your own, with loving people enough to want to take them with you on that journey. What often happens is we either get too into having our own little worship experience that we forget to engage with the congregation, or we try so hard to engage with the congregation, that we forget to believe what we’re singing. And there is something intensely powerful about a frontman who believes the very core out of what he is singing. Or a guitar player who believes the living daylights out of every note he plays. And then looks out at the congregation with a look that says, ‘This is where I’m going, and it’s going to be good. Jump on.’ Without desperately railing into them to follow him. They have to know that where you’re going is so good that if worse comes to worse, you’ll go without them; but you’d much rather take them with you.

And as an example of this, here ya go. This is one of my all-time favorite videos, and I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. And it just feels right in this post. You may not like U2, and you may hate this song. And that’s totally cool. (No, it’s really not, but you know that.) But watch the complete commitment on Bono’s part. To what he’s singing. To doing something stupid like running around the outer stage. Watch how, whether you agree with him or not, he believes what he is singing. And watch the reaction of the crowd. There is something in his demeanor that says, ‘Let’s go.’

And what do we do? We (myself included) write every song trying to copy everything about ‘Where the Streets Have No Name.’ (‘I am Free’, ‘Not to Us’, ‘Time Has Come’, every Angels and Airwaves song ever, etc.) And we miss that part of what makes this song continue to connect with people after 23 years of playing it live, is the complete and total commitment and belief that it is performed with. And in huge part I’m sure due to the fact that the song is written about the suffering Bono witnessed firsthand in Africa while serving over there for six months, and then realizing how much more content those people were than most who have more.

Another song here with complete commitment from believed lyrics. A song coming from a background of seeing so many girls settle for less than the perfect Godly guy they thought they would end up with. (Very interesting lyrics when looked into.) But I’ve rarely seen a singer with more commitment than Brandon Flowers.

Of course those are all edited concerts that people paid to see. So don’t be discouraged when your church doesn’t look like that. But they’re not singing about the Savior of the universe, either. And we are. Something to think about when believing what we sing.

Get behind what you sing. Get behind what you play. And read the lyrics so you know what you’re getting behind. And then…commit to it. Believe the life out of each note you sing, and each note you play.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. And for what it’s worth, Arcade Fire’s frontlady, Régine Chassagne, seems to do a much better job of reading an audience. She realizes that folks in the SNL seats are probably not going to rock it to her song, so she changes her tactic and just performs her song, her way. She goes somewhere, even if no one else will. It’s hard to do sometimes, but you got to give her props. Not for the swirly pom-pom’s, but for rocking without desperation.

P.S.S. It may very well be mentioned that in a post on worship leading, I only gave examples of non-worship leaders leading non-worship songs. This is unfortunately because in my search for examples of committed bands and frontmen who believe who they are singing, the non-worship bands seemed to beat the worship ones. Of course, that’s all opinion-based and perhaps I just searched the wrong keywords on youtube and so on and so forth. And I have been known to be wrong…at least every once in a while. ;) But there ya go.