We’ve moved!

This blog site has moved to a new server in order to expand and improve upon our efforts going forward. We hope you’ll join us there. Find us at www.mutineer.ca or www.mutineerband.com

Thank you and be well!

The Law of Attraction in Music – Progress Report #2

Can you work with the Law of Attraction in music? We’re finding out.

Since I last wrote, I have recorded new reference tracks for two of the Mutineer songs, one my kids like to call “Chicken on the Bone” and another called “High Road.” The results were mixed, but it has got me working with the digital recorder and Cubase a little bit more. Although, frustrated with working in Cubase, I admit I reverted back to my old ways of recording (with a Fostex MR-8mkII 8-track machine) just to be able to come up with something and feel some sense of forward progress. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to figure out how to make friends with that digital audio workstation and the integration of EZDrummer inside of it.

Ain’t Technology Fun?

Song-task-boardOne major headache I encountered was my computer automatically updating to Windows 10, which deactivated Cubase for a while. It took me a few days to get that solved with the help of the Steinberg support team but all is well now.

Finding a way to get the recorded guitar to sound anything like what my ears hear straight out of the amp also remains elusive. I’ve begun to truly appreciate how sound engineers are just as much artists as the musicians are. I’ve Googled some tips and tricks and have tried different mics and placements. It still sounds like bark. If you have any advice, I’ll be happy to hear from you. Please comment below.

Other Stuff & Inspiration

I have worked on and recorded and posted one of my acoustic songs on my official site and SoundCloud page. Granted, that’s not a Mutineer rock track, but going through the process helps me work up the guitar and vocal muscles as well as going through the act of recording and creating. I feel that the only way that you can get better at it is to do it.

I’ve been continuing to sing along, when I can, to some of the tracks in the car. However I did get interrupted to listening to my own songs because of Volbeat‘s new album release on June 3rd. That’s a pretty big occasion for celebration in our house! So Volbeat is back in pretty heavy rotation in all my available speakers for the moment. I’m trying to sing along, but need to learn the lyrics!

Gonna Fly Now? Getting Stronger …

My fitness is definitely improved. I’ve started doing boxing-style workouts, which is not to say that I have any interest in ever punching another human being in the face, because I don’t, but I do really like the aspect of pushing yourself and training hard for big event. I have found that skipping rope and getting some basic boxing lessons from a friend of mine at my gym has been enough to invigorate my workouts, really challenge me, and I actually have lost a few pounds in the last bit by refining my diet and mixing up my fitness routine just a little bit. Since my last update on Mutineer, that’s what I’m most proud of.

Rock-Creed-Quote

I am still spinning a lot of plates, perhaps too many. But I can still see the picture of a Mutineer concert like a movie in my mind. And my goal is still to have it activated, in one form or another, by spring of next year. I’ll never get there if I don’t chase it.

And, oh yeah, there is a new road trip on the schedule as my boys and I will be headed to Detroit to see Volbeat in August. Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie!

Can you work with the Law of Attraction in music? It sure feels like. Follow along and find out. Leave a comment – would love to hear from you.

Don’t Be a Victim

Point your finger in blame and remain forever chasing your tail.

Keep telling yourself it’ll change someday without doing anything about it. See what happens …

… or try taking ownership over your own experience. That’s what winners do.

05-14-16 - Fingers pointing accusations fuelling the fire

Doing the Work, or Rolling the Dice?

Through his wonderful character, Captain Blood, Raphael Sabatini said, “To gain alluring objects men are always ready to take chances, ready to believe what they hope.”

Yup. But … are they willing to be honest with themselves and then do the work?

05-14-16 - One more sucker

 

Songs in the Key of Mutiny: Decadence Dance

“Decadence Dance,” by Extreme. It’s is the song that changed my perception about the band who became and remain my favorite. It was also the initial inspiration for me wanting to try to write my own songs. Ironically, “Decadence” is very representative of how incredibly misunderstood the band Extreme is. And for a while, even I missed the point of this particular song, simply because of the way it sounds. I was missing the message.

I get it now and love it even more.

Back in 1991, Extreme had a massive hit with a song called “More Than Words.” A mixed blessing at best, the band is still – and will probably forever be – associated with that song. I’ve learned to like it and
appreciate the craftsmanship of that brilliant little tune, but at the time, I disliked it strongly. I viewed Extreme as those two long-haired guys sitting on stools singing a love song in the black and white video. And that was the end of that.

2015-01-30 22.09.13

“Francis …. Francis, be careful …”

But I will forever remember riding in a car with a friend and his father to baseball team practice. I was sitting in the back seat, and my friend put a cassette tape into the stereo. Suddenly, this wailing guitar riff thundered through the speakers. I remember it as being one of the more exciting things I’d heard. I asked what that could possibly be and my friend answered, Extreme.

I asked, you mean those guys that sing that “More Than Words” song? He said yes. I was dumbfounded. And as it turned out, many people who bought the entire album, “Pornograffitti,” were just as shocked when they expected more music like “More Than Words” and instead found a lot more tracks like “Decadence Dance,” “L’il Jack Horny,” “When I’m President,” and “Get the Funk Out.”

That moment caused me to investigate Extreme further and go and buy that record, which eventually led to seeing them perform live at a festival the next year. Next came the release of their epic and critically-acclaimed masterpiece, “III Sides to Every Story.” By then, my love affair with this band and my desire to want to write my own music was in full swing.  But in truth, it all traces back to this song, “Decadence Dance.”

The "More Than Words" guys at full throttle.

The “More Than Words” guys at full throttle.

The lyrics and tone of this song reflect largely what Mutineer is all about. To me, it’s about the madness of people wanting and needing to have and do more, comparing themselves to others and what they do and have, and never finding any sense of peace and contentment. Or, once you’re in that pursuit, or what Extreme calls the “Decadence Dance,” there is no end to it. You’re trapped. And you’re not being true to who you really are.

They reference more common phrases like “rat races” and “keeping up with the Joneses,” but the line that always really stuck out to me was where they say, “Till the soles of your feet harden up like your heart did.” Imagine, the idea of chasing after what you think you want, and having that harden your heart rather than soften it. Isn’t that the complete opposite of the point of the whole exercise?

I view this song is saying, basically, everyone is in a trance. They are following for the sake of
following and they are not being true to themselves and they may never even realize it. I’ve always thought it was a brilliant song that was unfortunately, horribly misrepresented by an embarrassing, 80’s-style hair-metal-type music video. But if you ever see these guys perform the song live, it is difficult not to appreciate their musicianship and the sincerity with which they perform and write.

20140719_215248

Here’s an example in the video below, taken by a fan in Argentina in 2015. Even if you don’t watch the whole thing, I suggest zipping to about the 2-minute mark so that you can get to about where the song starts. The next minute or so of this video makes me giddy, and has me suspecting I must be part Argentinian given the way these people react. A few things I love about it:

At 2:47, when lead singer Gary Cherone shouts “Let’s go,” you can feel the emotional mayhem kick in. Gary, 53 years old at the time of the video, seems kinetically linked to his songs. Nuno Bettencourt is similar with his guitar. It’s as if it’s an extension of his body. and the two of them never stopsmoving. Some rock fans don’t like how Gary moves around stage, but I’ve just always thought this was how a rock band was supposed to be. I still haven’t seen another that makes their music feel so alive.

At 3:06, Gary and Nuno look over at each other nodding. They know they’re in for an energetic evening. These fans are clearly not among those who only know the band from “More Than Words.”

This song absolutely has to be a part of the Mutineer concert. I have listened to this song at top volume thousands and thousands of time and I never get tired of it. I’m not asking you to like the song, but rather to consider how fundamentally important and inspirational it is to me, and how it so totally reflects the spirit of this project.

And therefore, it is definitely one of the Songs in the Key of Mutiny.
Decadence Dance
Lyrics (by Gary Cherone)

Trying so hard to keep up with the Joneses
Running a rat racing won by our noses
Always put one foot in front of the other
And dance to the beat of the decadent drummer

Just buy a brand new pair of Fred Astaire shoes
Climbing to the top, never gonna stop
It’s the same old song and one two three and dec-a-dance

Dance, dance
Dance, dance
Dancing to the decadence dance
Everybody deca-dancing
Dancing to the decadence
Dancing to the decadence dance

It’s hard to stop once the music gets started
‘Til the soles of your feet harden up like your heart did
Stepping in line with the sign of the timer
Seduced by the tune of the decadent dancer

Just buy a brand new pair of Fred Astaire shoes
Climbing to the top, never gonna stop
It’s the same old song and one two three and dec-a-dance

CHORUS

High Road Less Traveled

Somewhere along the line, we realize it’s in our power to choose who we want to be and what we wish to stand for. It’s sad, then, that the high road of integrity often seems less traveled. But that’s changing, one by one …

 

05-26-16 - Lesser Traveled Road

Inspired By … Book of Shadows (Zakk Wylde)

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can strike at any time and in ways you might never have imagined. The wonderful thing about any kind of art, to me, is its ability to connect with and deeply move you.

Zakk Wylde did that to me. With an acoustic guitar.

When I first got tickets to see Zakk Wylde perform solo around, I think, 1996, I was expecting to show up at Toronto’s “Opera House” and be regaled with the thunderous sounds of his Pride and Glory CD (what an album that one is by the way. Holy cow). Instead, he took the stage with only an acoustic guitar, a keyboard for a few songs, and his sidekick, Nick Canatese.

It was brilliant.

Sometime later, Zakk brought that same tour to a little bar in the town where I live. I arrived early and made sure to be right against the stage, at the front, to watch Zakk do what he does with a guitar. The soul and passion that poured out of him at those shows was unlike anything else I’d seen before or since.

Here’s one of the songs from that era:

You may know Zakk Wylde best for the sonic body slams he delivers with his brothers in Black Label Society. Or perhaps you’re more familiar with him as Ozzy’s sidekick for a time. But if you haven’t yet taken time out to enjoy his “Book of Shadows” album, put it on your list. In fact, he now has released “Book of Shadows II” and is about to tour to support it.

I wouldn’t miss it.

Quick Fix?

Looking for a permanent solution from a quick fix?

It doesn’t work that way …

 

05-14-16 - If it looks like it is

Does the Law of Attraction Really Work? (Mutineer Progress Report #1)

For over a decade, I’ve dreamed of recording and performing a collection of my own rock songs. I call the band/project “Mutineer.” In January of this year, I finally put my cards on the table, announcing my intention to complete this project publicly. Why? To keep myself accountable. Also, I wanted to share with anyone else who has a personal or professional goal that while things might not happen overnight, things can happen if you set a goal, come up with a plan to achieve it and then take action. In that sense, I view Mutineer as a bit of an experiment in the power of the Law of Attraction, and putting to work the recipe I try to share with others: Hope, Creativity, Accountability and Positive Action will eventually get you where you wish to be.

I set a target date of April 29, 2017 to launch or complete “Mutineer.” All the reasons why that date is important are listed in this article. That date is now less than a year away. So, how’s the progress so far?

Here’s a quick recap of some of the obstacles I noted as being between me and my goal:

Ability as a guitarist
Ability as a singer
My guitar (I bought for $150 at pawn shop)
No bandmates (yet)
NO rehearsal space
Physical conditioning for performing for a couple of hours
Vocal conditioning for performing for a couple of hours
Money
Time. I’m a single dad with a busy career whose top priority is his kids. My time with them is off-limits to much else. What sense does it make to take this on?

Here’s how I would assess the progress so far:

I’m behind where I expected to be, but am amazed at the people and situations I have attracted into my life that have voiced their support of this project and may be able to help.

I felt that I’d have re-demoed all the Mutineer songs by now so that I could share them with potential players and contributors. That still has not happened. In fact, after reaching near burnout around Easter (end of March), I’ve hardly picked up my guitar, and I went near three weeks without it as it sat in the shop waiting to have a small electrical issue repaired. It’s back now, but I still need to pick it up.

2016-04-15 07.37.38

Back from the infirmary, the old “pawn shop special” is ready to go again.

Having made all my home demos to this point on a little Fostex Digital 8-track machine, I entered into this project expecting to use a Digital Audio Workstation (Cubase) along with a virtual drum program (EZ Drummer). I’ve found the learning curve for both of those things far more steep and frustrating than I expected. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the basics of it, and I’m no dummy when it comes to that stuff: I was trained in the broadcast industry and usually know my way around basic digital editing. But getting the right inputs and outputs assigned and the proper tracks assigned and dealing with latency and other computer-related stuff makes me long for a good old reel-to-reel machine. But I’ll figure it out.

Where I feel I’m ahead of the game is in the pool of potential players.

“Band”mates (potential contributors)

At the end of February, I reached out to the guy who, I wrote in January, would be my dream guitarist for this project. And as outlandish as my story sounded coming out of my mouth when I explained it to him, he replied, “That sounds like fun. Send me some of the stuff and I’ll see if I can help.” And then he went on a European tour with one of his other bands. I still haven’t sent him any “stuff.” I fear that what I have recorded already is not good enough to share with him. I need to get over that and I know it. We shall see if he’s meant to be involved or not.

Having said that, I’ve also met many people in the time since that have caused me to re-envision what this might look like and how it might work. When I explain the concept of Mutineer, creative people seem to want to be a part of it. And I would like for them to be involved, almost as if I was a collector of souls to try and harness that good energy and share it with anyone else who cared.

I’ve begun to wonder if, perhaps, April 29, 2017 should not be viewed as the end, but as the start. Maybe with a concert involving all kinds of players to introduce and kick-off the project and give people a taste of the songs, and then go and get them recorded and follow up with a proper release later on? That idea has some appeal, but we’ll see where it goes.

In March, I enjoyed a real thrill by joining my pals from the band 7T8 out of Cambridge, Ontario, on stage for a song at the “Rock For Dimes” event I MC’d for the third-straight year. I talked a little about Mutineer to those guys and, of course, they said they’d help however they could. Hmm.

2016-03-24 23.53.30

With Frank and Shane from 7T8 at Rock for Dimes

At that same event, I met a couple of other people with deep roots in music and lots of connections, knowledge, gear and experience. Again, when I mentioned Mutineer to them, their response was almost instant: “Let me know how I can help.” That’s pretty neat.

Ability as a guitarist / Ability as a singer

Prior to reaching near burnout in March, I had actually been playing both my acoustic and electric guitars more than usual. And I was getting better. And really, my only goal is to be good enough to be able to capture a demoed version of each song that will do the tune justice. I’d like to play some rhythm guitar to a few of the songs on the record and in the concert, but I really would like the bulk of it to be handled by someone who really knows what they’re doing. So in this area, I just need to get back to playing and practicing more often.

12672130_10154785128204199_5465926132080912788_o

Performing an acoustic “pre-show” at Rock for Dimes (photo by March of Dimes Canada).

My vocal ability, on the other hand, has improved. I sought out some instructional videos for proper warm-up, breathing and beginning vocal technique, and while it’s far from making me a stage-ready performer, I can tell that it’s helping. The trouble is, if I allow myself to get overworked, one of the first places I begin to feel it is in a strain in my throat. In both February and March, I lost a couple of weeks due to fighting off some sort of cold (even when I did “Rock for Dimes,” I was not feeling well). So I’ve reset my goals to make sustained health and balance the top thing. I can’t do much else if I’m not feeling well, but that has caused me to reign in some of my expectations.

However, I’ve put far more hours into singing in the last few months than I have in the last many years. And most of it has been in my car. Since I work in sales and marketing through the day, I drive in to the office and do vocal warm ups. Then when I head out to see clients, I will often do more vocal drills and then work up to singing along with certain songs as I go. I get some strange looks at stoplights, but I don’t care. I’m using the time I have as effectively as I feel I can without driving myself too hard.

Time

This is, I feel, my largest challenge. Mutineer is but one thing I’m working on outside of being a single dad and working a very hectic full-time sales and marketing career. I also keep up weekly activity through my own business, Kevin Bulmer Enterprises, which includes what has turned into a bi-weekly Podcast (those are fun, but they take time). And as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, time with my kids is off-limits.

With my two best pals and top priority.

With my two best pals and top priority.

Since I am divorced and only have my boys with me about half the time, you’d think I’d have all kinds of extra hours to do whatever I want. But that’s not the case. On the weeknights when I don’t have my boys with me, I scramble to get done all the things I don’t want to be doing when they are with me: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, cutting the lawn, other errands and chores, extra work, going to the gym (see the next point), MC’ing events, additional work-related functions, and anything else that relates to either Mutineer or Kevin Bulmer Enterprises. It’s a lot. And this is probably the reason why most people don’t even bother to try: they don’t see how they’ll be able to fit it in. But if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. Oh, and I also look for whatever time I can to be with my sweetheart, Caroline, who has similar challenges to me on her side of things. So if she and I have the chance to be together, the other stuff waits.

Physical conditioning for performing for a couple of hours

I’ve made good progress here. I’ve long since ingrained the habit of visiting a gym three or four times a week. Now, the routine has begun to change. Though I’m not bodybuilder, I’ve always enjoyed doing some weight-resistance exercises to work off stress. But now, I’m doing far more aerobic exercises and a lot of stretching and yoga-type stuff. It’s making a difference. I’m far more flexible, I sleep better, my endurance is improving and I have fewer aches and pains.

As with other things I’ve mentioned, I sometimes get tripped up with my fitness by pushing too hard, getting sick and then having to pull back for a week or two. So I’m really trying to be mindful of that and keep more consistent to build slowly than try to do too much all at once.

In this area, I’m happy. I feel good, and feel better more consistently than I can remember as an adult. I can build off of that.

Money

In addition to my goal of having Mutineer activated as of April 29, 2017, I have what I feel is, for me, an aggressive income goal for 2016 and an aggressive target for me to hit at my work as well. If I can stay focused on achieving those goals (or even coming close), then the money for Mutineer will sort itself out. I’m really not concerned about it.

To help me along, I am taking a course that I invested in back in March. It is helping me to upgrade my knowledge and skills and to identify and overcome any limiting ideas and beliefs I may have about my ability or potential. And so far, I love it. However, what that takes is – you guessed it – time. I usually wake up between 6:00 and 6:30am and invest approximately 45 minutes every single day to working on and learning from that course. It’s become a habit. I’ve been doing it for 9 weeks now. So, usually, by the time 8:00 am rolls around, I’ve already done a lot of positive self-development work and have also, quite often, worked on podcast editing, social media posting, blogs or other contributions to my overall goals before I ever head off to work for the day.

Money, I can make. I’m more concerned that we get the lighting right when we finally do the Mutineer concert.

What’s next?

So … now what? Well, more of the same. But as the weeks and months pass, I think I’ll zero in on getting these songs put together and more of a definitive, actionable plan and start working it.

I want so badly to start sharing some of this music. But I want the music to be of at least a decent-enough quality that it represents itself well enough to be shared. I’ve been imagining that I’ll share the demo process with you and perhaps do some lyric videos to go with them. Perhaps it will be interesting for people to see how these things evolve over time? Or maybe I should just wait and only pull back the curtain when it’s ready. I don’t know. But I’ll figure it out.

I believe I could get this done pretty quickly if I were to zero in on it and make it my only priority. But I’m not willing to do that. Mutineer is an important piece to what I’m doing, but it’s just once piece.

So far, it’s serving its purpose very well.

An Impermanent Dance

We won’t be here forever. May as well make the most of your time, be true to yourself and not look back with regret.

If you feel something needs to change, now’s the time.

10-24-15 - Delicate string

%d bloggers like this: