As I was looking up the facts of a particular band, I noticed this the web site also included references to other bands that were related to this search and it got me to thinking about how bands change and musicians tend to job-hop, so to speak. Maybe they get bored doing what they’re doing and need a new challenge. I don’t know. But sooner or later they pop up again in some other configuration.
Usually when I talk music with other people from all across the country and I mention that I’m from Wisconsin, they sometimes ask me about my home state. And in doing so I get the feeling that when they think of Wisconsin they immediately think of cheese and cows. Well, we’re more than that. We have a pretty good musical history of our own. All the big stars didn’t just come from L.A. or New York.
I’m sure by now most of you have heard the story of George Harrison’s court battle over his alleged plagiarism of the Chiffons’ 1960 song, “He’s So Fine.” For those of you who haven’t heard, it happened soon after George’s 1970 hit, “My Sweet Lord” climbed the charts as a million-selling number one hit. Seems George had the former song in the back of his mind when he wrote the latter. He was ordered to pay $587,000.00 over the copyright infringement case. In another ironic twist to this story, George’s manager, Allen Klein, bought Bright Tunes Publishing, which held the copyright on “He’s So Fine.” So Harrison ended up owning both songs.
I’ve been a working musician for more than thirty-five years and I’ve played to all kinds and sizes of crowds. If memory serves me correctly, my largest audience was probably in excess of 80,000 people while on the other end of the spectrum I’ve played to a few as two lone patrons who didn’t want to go home just yet. What can I say? It was an off night. My point is this; whether it’s two or two thousand people watching you perform, you give them the same show. Unless you’re playing for the door (something I learned early on not to do) it really doesn’t matter how many people came to see you strum your guitar, tickle the ivories on your keyboard, pound on your drums or sing your little heart out.
I’ve previously written about my own personal midi experiences telling you how they helped me in my newfound solo career and how they helped replace missing musicians. I’ve told you how they’ve helped me “flesh out” my overall sound so that I could do it all myself. Well, that’s the goal I was striving for and that’s where I ended up…doing it all myself. While that’s a good thing in most situations, there are down sides to depending too much on midi for your background music accompaniment.
In past columns I’ve told you about my own personal experiences using MIDI files as well as some of my experiences playing for the past 43 years. I’ve shared with the Cybermidi readers some playing and sequencing tips I’d picked up here and there. I’ve described various hardware and software that has helped me with my solo performing jobs. Well, what you’ve gotten so far from me was just from my point of view. Suppose you could pool the information from dozens of solo performers and reap the benefits at one site. Well now you can. Here’s how.
In my line of work, which is a solo MIDI artist, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and easier ways to do my job. In my columns and the column from Dave Gash, we explored the procedure of converting MIDI files to WAV or MP3 so that performers without a MIDI capable keyboard could do a solo job using only an MP3 player or perhaps a CD player. That way you could add background vocals–an option not available when using just MIDI files. The programs are pretty plentiful and often free (or shareware).
Back in 1966 B.C. (Before Computers) I started my own band while still in high school. It was a labor of love-my love for the music of the time and, as of 2001, I’ve stayed with it for 35 years and counting. I’m still out there playing on weekends but the music scene has changed drastically. My original band consisted of six friends with a common goal-to make some music, make some money, meet some girls and have some fun. And we accomplished all these things.