Tag Archives: One Man Tribute Band

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


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!

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

The Ramone 1 Year Anniversary @ Rockers v.s. Mods (and beyond)

What started out as an off-hand idea to spice up my busking activities has evolved into a successfully executed concept
I’m not sure the exact date when I first formed the idea but my initial post was in August of 2015
I don’t consider it official until April 1st 2016 when I played my first gig at The Underpass
Since than I have played a handful of gigs and tweaked the concept
My first shows were the entire 1st album but I would soon generate a new set of songs with better video and audio quality
My current set works fine but I need to expand my library
The second reason I want to create new backing videos is that I learned more about lighting and the relation to Green Screen

One of my biggest obstacles was not having a car
This severely limited my ability to get out and hustle gigs
I new I had friends and family that would let me use their vehicle to do a gig (and have) but getting a gig is not something you can do from your desk
That car situation has been rectified

The money I made to pay for the car came from playing drums in a Ramones Tribute band called Sedated
It has been fun getting paid to play Ramones drums and the gigs keep coming
As of this posting, I played several out of town gigs in the past month and will be playing San Antonio on Saturday
My Ramones chops have improved greatly and I had to alter my playing style dramatically in order to play the parts correctly
All the props to the guys from Sedated

The future?
There’s the new setlist that I am cooking up that will eventually become a full Karaoke library and then there’s the plans to travel nationally as well as abroad
The size and portability of this performance will make it perfect for non-club events like conventions and  private events
I am quite positive about the ability of The RAMONE to become a working concept that will get me out and about
Come see me at Rockers V.s. Mods bike rally
Dubliner, Dallas Tx Sunday April 2nd at 2pm
RockvMod Flyer 1

The Ramone phase 2- Lessons applied & a new setlist

I have had time to focus on a few other projects while I digested the information I learned from my first gig as The Ramone and now that I am back at it, I am going to start from scratch
First of all, I was able to figure out my problems with the video sampler. It turns out that there are more than one kind of .wmv and I converted the files into the wrong format
Big sigh of relief that my very expensive video sampler isn’t on the fritz

I am pursuing more gigs and still have the original set to perform while I manufacture a new one
Meatpie and I were talking about the show and I told him about my new set list selections
He said that he was glad to hear that because he only recognized a few songs from my set
The first set is more of a conceptual performance because it is the first album all the way through
This is going to be a greatest hits type of set list with the most recognizable songs in the catalog
I do want to keep the set very heavy towards the classics and there’s another twist
The matter of tempo
There is a point in the development of The Ramones where Marky was replaced by Richie
There was a great deal of pressure for the Ramones to keep up with heavy metal and thrash,
so they took advantage of Richie’s ability to play faster
It is like fast moving zombies
They were necessary to keep the concept fresh
plus, they could cram more songs into the set

The final decade of the Ramones has to be my least favorite simply because they were just too damn fast
The the songs that appeal to the average fan who didn’t spend 30 years of obsession don’t play in their heads like they sound on Loco Live
They sound like the songs on commercials and radio and in the film Rock n Roll High School in the original tempo
And here’s the secret word
So far, I have set my ceiling at 190 bpm

I don’t see the audience of The Ramone being all that concerned about some obscure song on one of the albums where only one song made the set list
This is going to be a more crowd friendly performance aimed at keeping people engaged and participating
I don’t want a crowd slamdancing and screaming
I want a crowd dancing and singing
The secret to this project being successful is a feeling of inclusiveness instead on intensity

The new set list is mostly centered around the Greatest Hits album with songs grouped together by beats per minute
I still intend to record each song separately for now and using the P10 visual sampler live
I intend to look for a new platform that will let me isolate more tracks than a stereo output allows

Speaking of Beats Per Minute, I am changing my recording techniques
Before, I was unsure of my ability to concentrate enough to play the drum parts bare, so I recorded everything along to the original tracks
This made the parts a little loose and hard to synch in some areas because I was playing each instrument at slightly different tempos form each other
I have had several days of rehearsal of the new set list and I have been pretty successful at playing the songs from memory with only a click track
Very soon, I will be able to shoot video and record audio with the new lessons I learned about everything from lighting to planning to playing

I even have a couple of non-musical ideas to perhaps include that will take advantage of the one man concept

THE RAMONE’s First gig

I came up with the idea of THE RAMONE basically out of necessity and a lot of resentment towards other musicians as well as the music loving public
It started as a joke, saying to myself, “What’s the most arrogant thing I can do as a musician to tell people I am sick of waiting on everyone to catch up?”
It was a way to say “Fuck all of you musicians don’t want to be in my band or have me in your band, so I will just create one myself”
My outlook has changed considerably since then but the basic idea stuck in my head
The next step was to figure out the “easiest” way to start the ball rolling
Since I started playing guitar and bass by listening to The Ramones, then I would create my own tribute band by myself
It took me about 4 months to get to my first show and here is the story of the week leading up to and the day of the show

I had booked the show after finishing my initial experiments with the concept so that I would have a deadline to meet, forcing me to work more diligently on the concept
Everything went just fine and I had about a week left before the show
I was going to spend a few days visiting the folks in Florida and would be back  2 days before the gig
There was still editing work to do but I could finish that up in Fla. and come back with 2 days to fine tune the edits so that the were perfectly on the 1,2,3,4
The first roadblock was that I had brought my editing computer but had forgotten the power supply
It didn’t help that I used a lot of battery during various sit and wait moments
My step mother let me load some temporary editing software on her computer but it added extra editing time in order to eliminate the watermark that appeared on the first parts of each video
Besides, I would be back Wed. night and would have 2 clear days to fix things

Wed. day comes and our flight gets cancelled
The cheap-ass airline waited until the last second to announce the flight had been cancelled and the majority of people in the line found out before us
They had all booked the only flight out on Thursday
We managed to get a flight out on Friday at 1pm
This meant I was to arrive in Dallas at around 5pm
I was supposed to be on stage at 9pm

*As a side note, I had been in contact with the promoter and was told I could back out if things didn’t work out

Still, the videos were ready to go by Thursday night and I was confident I could load them onto my Video Sampler and have a couple of run through-s before I headed to the show
That was the plan as I got to the studio and had to deal with things that were not addressed while I was gone
People asking me for this and that was adding to my anxiety as I tried to get my shit together for the show
But that was nothing compared to the panic I experienced when I tried to load the somewhat finished videos onto my Video Sampler and nothing happened
I tired it several times on both computers and…….nothing

After wasting an entire hour, I decided to use Video/DJ as a backup and started rehearsing the set
That’s when I plugged in my guitar and heard a godawful noise that indicated my ground wire had come loose from the jack
I figured I would just have to step on the pedal in between songs to turn off the distortion and minimize the buzz

Luckily, the promoter had arranged to have me go on last instead of first
Everybody shifted down one spot and I was given extra time to prepare
I packed up and headed for the Underpass

There were things that did go right, like Dana Buck showing up with my T-Shirts and stickers
At least I got to set up merch as I watched the other bands
Then it was my turn to get on stage
The sound man was having a hard time getting my signals and setup took way too long
The 15 or so people who stuck around to see me had dwindled to 4 before I actually made it on stage
To make matters worse, my guitar had completely crapped out and it took too long to figure out to go with the backup guitar that Mario  loaned me

I started the set and it was rickety
I had planned to rifle through the set by pushing one button to per song on the sampler but ended spending precious seconds fading back and forth on the Virtual DJ program
Even then, I neglected to fade the video over and there were moments where the screen was just me standing there with my mouth open during half the song

If you look at the gig by the numbers, it was a fucking train wreck disaster
I was distracted the whole time which affected my playing
The presentation was completely ruined by having to operate a DJ mixer by hand while simultaneously playing the guitar and singing
Barely anyone stuck around to see it anyways

You’d think that I would have gone home and spent a few days hiding in my pitch black bedroom, nursing my wounded ego and shredded self confidence
However, that wasn’t the case
I decided to look at the gig as a whole instead of concentrating on all of the fragments
The people who did stay knew there were mistakes but were more interested in what I did right and enjoyed the show anyways
But the biggest, boldest mark in the “win” column was that I saw it through and finished it
I had been given the option to back out and cancel almost a week before the show
The same applied on Wed. when my flight got cancelled
The same applied the very day of the show
And yet I kept myself as calm as possible and pulled out an ugly win
But it still counts in the history books as a win
There is video footage and I will get to it, but it was painful to watch at the time and is going to take a lot of editing to make it palatable

This was just an initial experiment
The material I prepared for this show will be replaced with new material, produced from scratch and benefiting from all multitude of mistakes I made along the way
Look for a new show with all the popular hits that you know from The Ramones

Hope to see you out there soon
Buy a shirt while you’re at it