All posts by rockula

My name is Rockula and I am a multi media artist and multi-instrumentalist musician. on this site, you will find all of the different things that I am doing lately. Blogs, Vlogs, Reviews, and Music, Videos. Check out my in-depth analysis of The Walking Dead or Learn about the greatest creative person of the 20th Century with "The Zappaphile". Take a trip down memory lane with "My Old VHS" or understand what it's like "From The Drummer's Perspective" For all things Rockula, it's Rockulaproductions

The Ramone- Bass Fail

After finishing the audio/visual bass tracks and trying to sync them up to the drum parts, I have realized that they aren’t fitting together
I know what the problem is and how to fix it but that means I am going to have to redo all the bass parts again
I could “fix it in post” but it would take as much time if not more than just starting over
My original plan for bass parts was to shoot videos first but not to record the audio
I would go back and overdub the bass parts because I didn’t want the added pressure of getting the recordings right whilst on camera
There were lots of clunker notes and I just thought this would make things faster and less stressful
The cardinal mistake was that I used my laptop to record the audio for the drums but used my Boss digital 8 track for the bass audio
That’s probably one of the first things they teach you in recording school but I was so deep in the process that I just wanted to get the bass tracks finished

I am super wound up and anxious about this because of all the work I have to scrap but I can remember not being really happy with the first round of bass recordings anyways
I am unsure how long it will take to redo all of the bass tracks and it is definitely going to set me back on my ability to start doing the full Live Ramones Karaoke next year

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The Ramone- Ableton = Advancement

Thanks to my great friend Meatpie, I now have Ableton Live
For those of you who do not know that that is, just know that it is software that is going to enable me to put on a more professional performance because I can send my tracks individually instead of mixed together
My current video setup has all drums on one mono channel with bass guitar and backing vocals on another
Instead of handing the sound engineer the batter already mixed, you can hand them the individual ingredients
The sound person can now alter the recipe to fit their own room

At this moment, I have 50 drum parts and 45 bass parts ready to automate
The next step is keying out green screen and syncing the drums and bass videos together
I am not really happy with the quality and even-ness of lighting and I anticipate a lot of minuscule adjustments in my immediate future
But that’s OK because work like this is not a drag at all when I know it is going to pay off
The final step will be to add lyrics to the videos and I will be ready to host Live Ramones Karaoke

In other news, I have re-doubled my efforts to book more live gigs and am looking to travel pretty much anywhere I can
Local gigs are starting trickle in and i have started to organize my national touring contacts
I have even contacted international tribute festivals and booking agents for places like Europe and Japan
However, the thing that really has been getting my attention is the number of people from South America who have been friending and liking The Ramone on Facebook
South America has the most rabid Ramones fans on the planet and I am sure I would go over well there but it seems like that would be the most challenging place to go

The next thing I want to do is start a Patreon campaign to help finance these new adventures
I plan to record 50 more Live Karaoke songs and want to raise enough money to do it right next time with higher quality production
See you out there soon!

A The Ramone Gig Recap- 3 Links 6-10-17

I have worked at the various mechanics of this performance for quite a while, so I didn’t have a lot of anxiety over execution
This seemed like a good opportunity for me to start working at separating the The Ramone live performance form Live karaoke
I want the stage performance to become a review of the cultural impact of The Ramones
The word “Review” having two different connotations

The traditional definition for review is “A type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance, and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th century popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence of its own during its golden years from 1916 to 1932.”

In my case, “music” is Ramones and the “sketches” are the snippets of video that I use in the transitions of the set (I’m still figuring out the dance part)
There is also a modern connotation of the word in that I see it as a review of The Ramones akin to what you would see on Youtube, hear on a podcast or read in a book
This is an attempt to approach the subject less from a traditional tribute band platform and steer it towards a One Man Show
just jack

This was the first performance where I employed the video as transition-intro to certain songs, plus the opening montage
I only had 30 minutes so I just rifled through the set
One of the things I learned recently was to give the audience a little time to applaud
I decided that the video segments were ample time for the audience to clap

The setup was quick but I got constructive criticism from the sound man (sorry, I forget everyone’s names when I am in setup-anxiety mode)who told me my tracks
coming out of the Roland P-10 Visual Sampler were too low and I should bring up the volume
That point was re-affirmed by my friend Carson who said that there was a hum during the quiet-er parts
I explained the volume deficiency and how it was probably because he had to work to get a decent gain level

I am using my own monitor coming out of a small mixer next to the video sampler because I have discovered an interesting thing about my hearing when onstage
I need different settings in my monitor over the course of a show and there simple wasn’t any time for me to keep asking the board for different EQ settings
My earbuds are still broken and I need to fix them as soon as I get the cash
Once they get fixed, I will be able to ditch the monitor and run everything through my in ears
The only thing I will need is my guitar through the monitor for feedback purposes
The majority of mistakes I made were as a result of me trying to adjust my monitors during a song
That’s when I fumble a chord or forget where I am
I need to train myself to fix those things at the end of a song and just work through it
The one and only monitor issue is the vocals and that is mostly because my voice is not in shape enough to project correctly at all the different pitches and dynamics
I currently have a headset mic running through a DOD Vocal processor but that is only for muting purposes (if I have to cough or there is a spike in feedback)
The only “effect” right now is the limiter to prevent feedback
That headset mic can be a little “whistle-y” and is not really designed for loud stage environment
I need to get someone with some knowledge to set an EQ for me
I also appreciate that the sound guy pointed out that I was a little too long getting my stuff off stage and I reflected that I was a little too disorganized in my breakdown
It’s mostly because of cables I need to tripe them together
They got all twisted around during setup and it took extra time for me to get everything untangled
My “send” cables from the guitar and mic are all triped together, I need to do the same with my other connectors

As far as the performance itself went, I had a good crowd during the beginning of the show which was half comprised of the friends of the bands and other customers
People seemed to enjoy the concept and it was fun to watch peoples’ faces as they realized what I was doing
I could even see people on the sidewalk stopping and watching what I was doing through the open bay door
They all seemed to be discussing what I was doing and pointing at the screen as they were watching, which is a great sign that the concept translated all the way out to the street
The crowd size ebbed and flowed but all in all I think it was a pretty good showing for the opening slot on a 4 band bill

I learned some new things to adjust and tested out some new concepts
Unfortunately, I got distracted when I set up the video camera
I turned it on but did not press record
This is frustrating because I have yet to get an entire performance that turned out well on video
There is only a small snippet of this show taken by Carson

My two future purposes are to finish the bass parts for the drum videos I recently made so that I can use the new setup live and offer a much deeper catalog for longer sets and Live Ramones Karaoke
The next thing is to book more gigs ASAP!

The Next Step in the The Ramone Evolution

My next show will be in a few days at 3 Links in Deep Ellum (I go on first!) and I plan to present a new stage show
Up until this point, I have pretty much played it straight and crammed as many songs as I could into my set
That worked when I was always going to play a quick set but I am planning for slots that are going to be 45 minutes to 3 hours so I need to learn how to inject some variety into the show
Not only that but I also need to use my video editing ideas to create a hybrid that is part Rock Band and part Musical Theater
I was trying to figure out the word that describes my concept and my friend Laura said “Revue” and that’s exactly what kind of show I want to build
There are plenty of strict interpretation tribute bands out there and I do realize that being solo is a novelty for sure but I want it to be intellectually different as well
One way to do that is to use archival footage of the band as transitions and intros to augment your performances and provide context
I have plundered all sorts of documentaries, interviews and have heavily sampled the film Rock N Roll High School and edited it into my set
In the nuts and bolts department, I figure the amount of time I will use up with video augmentation with be equivalent to one long song or two short ones, so I’m not sweating chewing up some of the clock with “non” songs

I will perform the first draft of this concept at 3 Links this Saturday
Hope to see you there and get there early because I go on first
The Ramone 3 Links 6 10 17 OMG

50 drum vids down 50 bass vids to go

Well, 53 drum tracks for Live Ramones Karaoke but……
WHEW! That sure was an effort
About half of this set list or more was recorded by memory with only a click track
After that, I decided it would take too long to memorize the rest of them so I decided it was easier to play along with recorded tracks
My biggest issue is that most of the live stuff is too fast or too slow for my tastes so I adjusted the tempo of each song to the nearest BPM block setting
I prefer even numbers and tend to go by tens
I rarely even use a bpm ending in “5”, much less any number other than “0”
That might turn out to be a liability later on down the line but I am sure it will show itself to me eventually if it is a problem
After all, I can make mistakes in this series of recordings because I fully intend to re-record in a more professional setting, once I gain enough repetition with this set list and the money to finance a pro studio
Right now, I feel that the bass parts are going to be more difficult than the drum parts, only because I rarely play the bass
Don’t be fooled, it takes a lot of stamina to play the bass
More tan the guitar in my opinion
Here’s a list of the songs have recorded for the new set
I intend to play as soon as possible with the new material but I also have the luxury of being able to put bass parts down in a more relaxed atmosphere
The bass may be more physically taxing but I am more likely to distracted or lose focus when recording drum tracks
Plus, the bass parts will go over the existing drum parts so there’s that as a guide as well
OK!
Let’s hope this goes quickly so that I can play the new material ASAP!
Here’s a list of the songs so far
Durango
Lobotomy
Psychotherapy
Blitzkreig Bop
Cretin Hop
Rockaway Beach
Sheena
Judy
Sedated
Beat On the Brat
KKK
RnR High School
Happy Family
Commando
Basement
Chainsaw
53rd & 3rd
Chinese Rocks
Boyfriend
RnR Radio
I Don’t Wanna Walk Around
Today Your Love/Tomorrow The World
Let’s Dance
Sniff Glue
Do You wanna Dance?
Gimmie Shock Treatment
Havana
Pinhead
Glad to See You Go
Oh Oh I Love Her So
Listen To My Heart
I Wanna Be Well
Something To Do
Surfin’ Bird
California Sun
Airwaves
Carbona Not Glue
Something To Believe In
I Want You Around
Something In My Drink
Bonzo
Mama’s Boy
Wonderful World
Too Tough To Die
Wart Hog
Suzi Is A Headbanger
I Believe In Miracles
Spiderman
Pet Sematary
Merry X Mas
I Wanna Live
Poison Heart

1st round of drum vids went well

After the pre-production stage and dealing with the minutia that had to be addressed, it was time for the rubber to meet the road
One of my biggest flaws is that I get disheartened when I run into a problem with set up
One of my biggest strengths is in execution, so I was happy to get past all of the different tweaks and mistakes in lighting and audio and start playing the drums
I knew that I would knock out the first block of “hits” because I chose the songs that I regularly play with both Sedated and The Ramone
The drum recording process consists of me playing the parts by memory to a click track
Out of 30 songs attempted, 25 were successfully executed
53rd, Basement, Blitzkreig Bop, Beat on the Brat, Chainsaw, Chinese Rocks, Commando, Cretin Hop, Durango, Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment, Glad to See You Go, We’re A Happy Family, Havana, I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You, Judy is a Punk, The KKK Took My Baby Away, Let’s Dance, Teenage Lobotomy,RnR Radio, RnR High School, Rockaway Beach, I Wanna Be Sedated, Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Today Your Love-Tomorrow The World

There are more songs that I believe can be played by memory
Others are going to need a guide track, which will consist of me playing the guitar and singing into a mic over a click track
I need to learn the songs on guitar anyways so that is an added benefit
Once the drum parts are done, it is off to bass parts

My goal at the moment is to compile enough material for a 60 to 90 minute gig and then to start filling the catalog for Live Ramones Karaoke
My ultimate goal is 100 songs for the Live Karaoke Catalog

In other news, my vehicle is 80% Interstate Travel – Road Ready
Time to start looking at out of town gigs
Busking went well last Friday night
Everything is progressing nicely

The 2nd Wave of The Ramone Drum Tracks

After the tedious, repetitive and laborious process of getting the lights just right for the green screen, I have finally been able to lay down drum tracks onto a multi-track
Gren Screen Session 2017 5
This will enhance the audio production end of my live show and give the Sound Engineer more control with more individual tracks
The lighting issues were causing the delays and I have had the multi-track for a few weeks now
Props to Meatpie and Alan for helping me with compression settings

I have chosen roughly 100 Ramones songs from the catalog leading up to Acid Eaters (since I have only listened to Adios Amigos once and don’t really care for it)
The first 30 have been recorded over the past 2 consecutive evenings
So far, I have relied on playing by memory and keeping time to a click
I can pat myself on the back for that one but keep in mind that I chose to record the material that is on both The Ramone and Sedated’s setlist
I have played and rehearsed these songs so many times that I can (& have) played them by memory
Mostly because I couldn’t hear my monitors
Gren Screen Session 2017 4
That means there are 70 more songs for me to tackle on the drums
I am supremely confident that I can pull pretty much any song off on the drums
The problem will be more in the adaptation of a certain song to the One Man Band framework
Plus, I can’t attempt to record EVERY song in the catalog (not immediately)
I consider about 100 Ramones songs to be a decent number for a Live Karaoke catalog

Upon writing this line, I suddenly realized that I have to learn about 60 new bass parts, which isn’t as big of a deal because I will only need to know them for recordings
The most daunting idea is that I am going to have to be able to play 100 different Ramones songs on the guitar

At least I won’t have to play them all, one after the other
I mean, I’ll get a break right?
Gren Screen Session 2017 2
My current live show is good enough for clubs but nowhere near the production quality I need to be taken seriously as a touring act
Both the regular set and Live Karaoke will provide me with a solid, marketable product that can easily be plugged into a variety of situations

My confidence is higher than ever that I will achieve the goal of using this concept to open the door for my other Multi-Tasking projects
The one on the front burner is Multiple Man, which is my “Art” project but the back burner has some ideas simmering that require people to perform on instruments beyond my own abilities
Gren Screen Session 2017 3
Now that I have a vehicle, I have the opportunity to manufacture these eccentric band projects that have been mere fantasies for a very long time
I have tons of friends that can play these parts for me
I just never had the money or influence to get them to join my band
Now, all I need to do is bring my green screen studio to them
They can go on tour with me and never have to leave their house

Think about your favorite Ramones song
I will probably be able to play it for you soon