Archive for October, 2009

My David Bowie Cover Featured on Coverville

Friday, October 30th, 2009

moonage-daydreamMy father is an avid early music listener and since I was a kid has been involved in chamber music groups as a recorder player. When I was in fourth grade, before I became obsessed with KISS and guitars, I took recorder lessons for a few months from his teacher.

As I am writing this, I am remembering the first time I ever heard Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” when my mom pointed out the recorder melodies. She used to call it “the recorder song.” I can’t help but think that the unique quality of that instrument featured so prominently in the song had something to do with its success.

I never picked up the instrument after that, but around this time last year, my friend BC and a Myspace friend from Northern CA, each separately requested that I record a version of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” I wasn’t sure what to use for the first solo, but decided to dig out my old recorder to see if I could pull it off.

The recording turned out to be a hybrid of all the different musical periods of my life because I used recorder as well as bass, steel string, classical and electric guitars.

Today I noticed that Coverville’s Brian Ibbott played it on a special David Bowie Halloween episode of his podcast, along with some amazing other versions of Bowie songs by Simple Minds, Superchunk, Jasper Steverlinck, White Buffalo, Midge Ure, Mates of State, Pitch Black Dream, Kevin Kane and Icehouse.

Hearing all these covers together made me realize all over again just how incredible a songwriter David Bowie is.

You can check out the episode at the Coverville site, or on iTunes. Special thanks to Brian for featuring me. I’ve raved about Coverville here before. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should.

October Cover Commission Winner: “Bang a Gong (Get it On)”

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Of the 8 songs listed on the Cover Me blog for October (I was this month’s featured artist and people voted on which song I should cover), almost 50% of the voters picked T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong” and Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me ‘Round”.  It’s interesting how certain songs register with people. My one pick was The Cars’ “Candy-O”. (which scored only 7% of the vote). The rest of the song choices came from friends and Ray, who runs the site.

 

 

Of the two, I was glad that T. Rex won, largely because Trisha (Bull Lee singer), and I had already done an acoustic version of the DOA track a few years ago at my company Xmas party talent contest (we were trying to win money to help fund the duplication of our self-titled CD). We lost to a lady who sang karaoke versions of show tunes with her daughter, but Trisha did steal the show. She snapped one of the judges’ party hats on his bald head in the middle of the song (which must have smacked a little) and, humiliated in front of his staff, he admittedly took off points for it. We lost by one point but it was a lot of fun watching Trisha do a full-on rock n’ roll performance at such a corporate event.

Check out my recording of the winning song here.

Thanks to Ray for featuring me, and thank you to all who voted and sent me song ideas. It was fun.

The Bull Pit #29 The Halloween Podcast

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

halloween

Featuring music by Alice Cooper, 900 Pound Gorilla, Rancid, Bull Lee, Ghouls Night Out, Calabrese, Goldblade featuring Polly Styrene and The Quintessentials.

Go to Podbean or iTunes to stream, download or subscribe. Skull artwork by Mike Dyson, Guerrilla808 Studios (guerrilla808@gmail.com). Paul Stanley intro by Donny from 900 Pound Gorilla.

Incidental music featured on this episode is from films directed by BC Furtney. Go HERE to view the trailer for BC’s upcoming New Terminal Hotel.

Music provided, in part, by MusicAlley from MEVIO.

John Dissed – 2nd EP – Now on iTunes

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

2NDEP

Recorded in March of 2008, this is the second of five EPs I put out last year. It’s probably the darkest one, and the song “Tables Turn” will be featured in BC Furtney’s New Terminal Hotel.

The physical product is available on CD Baby, or you can download the songs on iTunes here.

One Step Beyond Radio

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

one_step_beyond-1I received a message on Twitter a couple weeks ago from Jeremiah, who does a show called One Step Beyond Radio on Saturday nights at 9PM EST. He had heard my audio comments on the Rock and Roll Geek Show and asked for some Bull Lee tracks (I was an asshole and forgot to listen, but we got some emails from people who heard us so I know he played us).

Tonight he surprised me with my song “Sugar” and right now, he’s playing my Johnny Thunders cover “Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory”. It’s kinda surreal, I wasn’t sure he was going to play me, I forgot until about 15 minutes ago.

Be sure to go http://www.globeradio.org/index.php and check it out on Saturday nights. It’s an awesome show.

Thanks to Jeremiah for playing us!

The Bull Pit #28 Grave for the Fireflies

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

graveforthefirefliesI named this week’s show after a band I forgot to announce, I played their song “Eyeliner”. Get Grave for the Fireflies Bitten CD here.

Other music featured on the show by The Urgencies, Guitarshop Asshole, Detachments, Face to Face, Pennywise and Girls Against Boys.

Just noticed this:

Grave For The Fireflies is now VULTURES UNITED. Check us out at www.myspace.com/VulturesUnited

Go to Podbean or iTunes to stream, download or subscribe. Skull artwork by Mike Dyson, Guerrilla808 Studios (guerrilla808@gmail.com).

All music for this episode provided by MusicAlley from MEVIO.

Cover Me: October Cover Commission

Friday, October 16th, 2009

I am an avid podcast listener. I work in a cubicle next to the loudest most annoying human you can imagine. He burps, he hiccups, he clears his throat incessantly, he talks to himself and eats with his mouth open. I have to play music loud through headphones all day long, 9-6, Monday thru Friday, to keep myself from smashing my printer over his head.

He also bangs on his desk (which is connected to mine) like a hyperactive child. I am forced to type with my computer keyboard in my lap and my mouse on the computer tower (which is very low) so I don’t get interrupted by the constant banging. My chair is extremely low as a result. I look like a midget with giant noise-canceling headphones on. People always crack up when they come over to talk to me (I’m 6’2”, it looks fairly ridiculous, I’m sure).

But necessity is the mother of invention, right? After 8 hours of constant listening day after day, I grew tired of my iTunes library pretty quickly. Internet radio worked for a while, but then we were slapped with a “no streaming in the office” rule to conserve bandwidth.

That was when I discovered podcasts. Podcasting has been my saving grace in more ways than one.

One of the shows I subscribe to is Brian Ibbott’s Coverville. It’s a good one. As you may know about me, I play a lot of cover songs. I’ve always been a fan of artists who do as well. I tell my friends that the show is like crack cocaine if you like covers.

VoteOn October 6 (Episode #616), Brian played a version of Pulp’s “Bad Cover Version” by Jordon Galland. He mentioned that the song was recorded for a blog called Cover Me that does monthly Cover Commissions. I checked out the blog and thought maybe the guy who runs the site, Ray, would appreciate my cover songs (he asks for artist submissions). I emailed him the url and password to my Secret Covers page, and within 24 hours he had invited me to be October’s Featured Artist. That’s pretty cool, I’ve never been a featured anything before. 

So, how it works is that you go to the page and vote for your favorite of 8 songs (I chose the songs from a menu of ideas suggested by Ray and a few friends). I have no idea which song will win, but I have to record a version of the winning song by the end of the month.

You have a week to get out the vote so go for it!

Thanks, the best way I can show Ray my appreciation for the opportunity is to deliver him some votes.

Friday, 4:36am

Friday, October 16th, 2009

dull roarCan’t sleep. Read a bit of Henry Rollins A Dull Roar which documents the prep for Rollins Band’s 2006 As the World Burns Tour with the original band. I call it the original band, but it’s the Weight lineup, which to me is the best one. I saw them play at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on that tour. Here’s a review I found by someone who dug the show almost as much as I did. I rate that gig as the best I’ve ever been to, and I’ve seen a lot of them. A lot of Rollins Band shows too. I can’t put it into words so I won’t even try, but I was deeply moved and I really hope they do it again sometime.

Anyway, the breakup of that band was shrouded in mystery and it’s really cool to read what Henry has to say about it, about the rapport between them, their rehearsals, how they got back together. I’m not very far into the book but it’s inspiring me like nothing has in a while.

Had lunch with my friend Hector today and we’re talking about doing some acoustic shows… that made my day. Hopefully we’ll have something to announce soon. We’re going to start working on songs next week. Hector plays bass for The Frequency and I’ve interviewed him on my podcast. He is one of the very few musicians I know who I can call an artist. I feel lucky that he’d consider working with me.

Direct Orders from The KISS Army

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

kiss armyWithin minutes of posting my Sonic Boom review, I got two direct tweets from The KISS Army sent to my phone.

THEKISSARMY Not a very good review. Give it another listen, then get back to us later.

THEKISSARMY You got a copy at 1:15 PM Oct 13th (yesterday) and you reviewed it already? C’mon, man. That isn’t enough time to have an honest listen.

That was kinda surreal. It made me feel bad, actually. I know what it feels like to create something and have it torn apart by people who don’t really give it a shot. I actually didn’t think I panned the album, there are some great songs on it, but I guess some of my language was kinda harsh. If I change my mind after further listens I’ll modify my review, but I did listen to it about 10 times since I got the album… and I am comparing it to early KISS which is some of my favorite music on the planet.

BULL LEE Live @ MarcJoseph (photo set)

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I was perusing some Kate McGray BULL LEE photographs last night and found a group of photos I hadn’t paid much attention to in a folder called bl_marcjoseph.

I don’t remember when this was, maybe sometime in 2007, we were asked to play at the MarcJoseph store on Beverly. They had no sound system so we brought a mic and Trisha sang through a tiny Peavey practice amp that was given to me by my friend Shyam. The amp is no longer with us, incidentally, but it is forever immortalized in these photos.

We set up and rocked out for a handful of friends and stragglers. The store owners loved it. The highlight of the performance was when Trisha ran outside and screamed her lyrics at the traffic on the street. That must have been a bizarre thing to see from the point of view of people walking or driving by.

I uploaded the best of the set to Flickr here.