Thursday, September 1, 2011

More new music!

Wow - it's amazing what happens when your computer crashes, and there are no distractions to keep you from your life's passion - LOL
The two-week period without a computer has resulted in some great progress on new music, and a lot of art to boot.
I was able to really tear into the lyrics on"The Commodore's Daughter" - a true-life story of love, adventure, and danger ... and pirates!
Thanks to the Fret Club Song Circle for their constructive feedback and suggestions. The way the lyrics stood, it was a retelling of events, but there was something missing: the story. At the suggestion of the Song Circle members, "what makes you want to root for the lead character (in the song)?" And that was what I felt was missing: there's a story, and it's fun and all, but why would anybody care?
Taking the suggestions of Andy, Terri Jo and Melissa, I delved into the song as if it were a movie script: Who are the characters? What are they like? What are their motivations? These things don't have to be spelled out literally in the lyrics, but they inform the lyrics and give the listener a reason to be interested.
I also moved forward with a couple other new songs, Missing You (But Not By Much) and Ritzville, working out lyrics and developing the music.
A new song also emerged, tentatively titled "The Time Has Come."
When my mom passed away, I knew that her death, and the long battle with illness, would be a fertile subject for song, but I didn't want to just 'write about it' - it was too personal to merely produce something hackneyed and trite. If I were to write a song about it, it would have to "say something" about what I was thinking and feeling as we all went through this experience.
I trusted my intuition, and let it sit in the back of my mind. I knew that eventually, it would emerge in song form - if I did not try to force it. And the words came to me. What makes it special to me is the perspective of the lyrics. A combination of all the feelings that were pulling in every direction. The experience gave me a different view on death, and that is what is coming through in the lyrics... I hope.
I am gently persuading this song to come forth on its own, as it is a very personal subject. I'll post more as it develops.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Stiffwater Years

This period of my musical history deserves its own section.
Stiffwater was not only a band - it had a life of its own, and at times it was a force to be reckoned with.
The band was a big part of my life during a crucial period of my development*, and had an effect in shaping who I was to become, as a musician and as a creative human being.
*[I'm not going to call it 'growing up.' that would be inaccurate to say the least. ]

The beginnings of Stiffwater-
Our first gig in 1973, as Sidewinder:

L-R: Matt Monfort, Ken "Herf" Herfert, Nelson West, and myself.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

mikeyzmusic through the years

In order to keep things from getting out of hand, I've broken it down by decade-
From the beginnings in the late 1960s through the present:

mikeyzmusic in the 1970s
The Stiffwater Years
mikeyzmusic in the 1980s
mikeyzmusic in the 1990s
mikeysmusic in the early 21st century
mikeyzmusic 2010 - present

mikeyzmusic 2010 - present

Current mikeyzmusic:

mikeyzmusic in the early 21st century

From 2000 through 2010:

mikeyzmusic 1990s

mikeyzmusic in the 90s:

mikeyzmusic 1980s

A tumultuous time from 1980 through 1989:

mikeyzmusic: 1970s

...a look at mikeyzmusic from its beginnings in ~1968 through the end of the 70s.




Touring begins at the early age of 13... 1973:

with Stiffwater

The blue satin jacket was inspired by the one Edgar Winter is wearing on the back of They Only Come Out At Night:

...only I just couldn't pull off wearing pink....
So our good friend Jo Noxon made me one in blue - my favorite color! She did an awesome job, right down to the satin decorations along the lapel and sleeves. I loved that jacket - almost as much as I love my Strat!

Too much history can be harmful...!

I'm having a blast going through some old photo albums my sister found, and scanning in photos of me playing music over the years.

In the words of Jerry Garcia: "What a long, strange trip it's been..."

I'll be cropping and cleaning up the photos, then I'll be posting them.
In order to keep things under control - and to keep the posts from being unbearably long, I'll be breaking it down by decade.

mikeyz songs


Thursday, April 28, 2011

New song ideas!

Got three new song ideas down on my portable recorder this evening.
I must be going through a musical growth spurt or something.
Each one of the ideas is completely different:
The first one is a jazz-type tune, slightly reminiscent of the likes of Tom Waits;
The second one is a haunting, eerie song, that was inspired, ironically by a guy playing blues harmonica... the lyric theme got stuck in my head, and then twisted around and came out as something else completely. It was originally in double-drop tuning, but I'm experimenting with a different rendition in standard tuning;
The third came from a live video of Rory Gallagher playing "She Moved Thro' the Fair/Out on the Western Plain" that I was goofing around learning a few months back. I started messing around with the double-drop tuning. Then I started riffing on this wild riff, and it just took off in a different direction.
The drop D and double-drop tunings really seem to bring something out in me musically. I find myself getting inspired by the big sound of the guitar in the alternate tunings.
There also seems to be a recurring pattern for me - I'll hear a melody or a snippet of a song, and I'll sit down and start riffing on it, and then it takes off in a different direction and turns into something totally different.
Hm... I wonder if Beethoven ever did that? LOL

Fret Club Song Circle

Andy Ard invited me to join his Song Circle last week. It was a real shot in the arm for me musically.
It was a really enjoyable evening. Andy, Andy II, Terri Jo, JJ, and myself attended. We just went around the circle, and each of us would pull out a song or an idea. Sometimes everyone would play along, sometimes we'd just listen.
There was some really good music. Everyone has a distinctive and unique style and musical 'voice,' and each songwriter had some really good, strong material.
I have several song ideas that have been percolating for the last few months. It gave me a chance to dust them off and take 'em out for a spin. I realized that I had been sitting on some good song ideas, and it was high time I did something with them.
It inspired me to come home and start developing some of the ideas.
I'm looking forward to the next song circle!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feel-good time!!!

It's really amazing...
No matter how exhausted I may be after work, no matter how tired, or cranky, or whiney...
An evening of playing great music with good friends and bandmates just makes everything feel fine. There is nothing quite like that feeling when a song is going along and everything meshes together just right.... it's a great, happy, fulfilled feeling.
I gotta say, I am really enjoying this period of the band's life, this format - just the three of us - playing great songs, harmonizing, locking in together, it's amazing.
The music is sounding good - but best of all, it feels great!
We're writing new songs, and adding things to old songs... it's fun!!!
I call it "Feel-good time!"

Everything is going to be alright now...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blast from the past - vintage pics of Mikey playing music

Here's the breakdown:
With my very first guitar, a Harmony "Stella" - circa 1968:

Playing at church with my first electric, a Sears Silvertone - circa 1970:

With my trusty Gibson ES-175 - circa 1971/72:

Playing my Strat, with Stiffwater - circa 1975:

Playing my Ibanez Paul Gilbert PGM300 with Coventry - circa 2003:

Mikeyz Guitarz: a gallery of the many instruments I have owned (and still own) over the years.

My guitars, in roughly chronological order:

*indicates a guitar that I still own...
Here's the breakdown:
Harmony Stella, purchased in 1968:

Sears Silvertone electric, purchased in 1970:

My Gibson ES-175*, originally purchased in 1969:

Harmony "Buck Owens American"* (new 1971):

Yamaha "Flying Samurai" - a reissue*, a near-exact replica of the guitar I originally purchased in 1973 - and the original:

Fender Stratocaster* (new 1975):

Gibson "V2" Flying V (new 1980):

Ibanez Paul Gilbert signature PGM300 (new 1996):

Fender Acoustic "Samantha"* (new 2009):

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funny old world, innit?

I just realized something interesting...
One of the things that I am really good at is deciphering and arranging vocal harmonies - creating distinct individual vocal parts and melodies.
However, the other thing that I have found that another thing that I seem to be really good at is having the other guys sing the part that they fall into, and I find a part that fits in on top of it all. I guess I can just hear it.
Given a choice, my first inclination would go with arranging vocal parts. However, I am learning more and more that I really like finding a part that fits in, fills the gaps like mortar. Or glue. Or another thing that fits in between other things. In addition, if the other guys are singing the parts that they 'fall into,' then everybody is playing to their strengths; i.e., everyone is singing what comes naturally to them, and nobody is out of their element trying to sing a forced vocal part.
I am lucky that I am in a band of musicians who can sing what comes naturally to them, and it works.
Interesting how things work out.