One Last Recording for the Year
November 28th, 2013

Man, 2013 has been a crazy ride!  I ended out last year feeling really really good about where my band was heading, and we kept things rocking for the first few months of the year.

Then in May, our drummer resigned (which was completely out-of-the-blue to me).  I was bummed out, but determined to keep going, even though those first few months were kind of rough.

And then, it was a Craigslist Miracle!  The only response I got to my series of ads ended up being a great fit, from a guy called Ace. That was in September.

Short story, even shorter, I am really psyched about how we are sounding and hope to bring the Bad Decisions to rawk out in front of you soon!  Ace is out of town until January, so until then, I’ll leave you with a recording we did on Monday the 25th, our cover of Sebadoh’s “Beauty of the Ride”.  Now with an extended instrumental intro!

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(download link)

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season folks. Catch you in 2014

Recording with the New Guy
October 25th, 2013

So after our last Grant and Green gig (lotsa Gs!) one of my Bad Decisions decided it was time for him to move on. This came as somewhat of a shock to me, as I thought he was having a good time, but far be it from me to hold someone back from having a good time. So, so long and be happy!

Naturally I was a little bummed out about this as I was pretty happy with the way things were sounding. I checked w. Bad Decision #1 (Steve) who said he was still having a good time and was up for keeping on. So we forged forth, looking for a new skins player.

I was concerned we might never find someone (the last time Steve and I looked for a drummer it took us 7 or 8 months), but happily enough a couple buddies emerged showing an interest in holding down the rhythm for us. I kept cruising personals anyway, and the first person to write me back seemed like there was a lot of potential.

Longish story short, that was a few months ago and I’m happy to announce that Ace Crow has joined the ranks of my Bad Decisions. We were real happy with Ace as a drummer and a chill guy, and looked forward to getting some tracks done with him.

So after a mere 5 practices, we went back to ole Faithful – mics hanging from the walls of our practice space, plugged into my trusty M-Audio Fast Track Pro, leading into my laptop. We knocked out 9 tunes in a couple hours, I set to mix them in REAPER (probably the best $60 bucks I ever spent), and voila! – here are the 4 recordings I thought turned out the best:

Ants

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German Girl

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Die in a Fire

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Sluttering/May 4th (Jawbreaker Cover)

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If you for some reason need hi quality wav files of these tunes and have $5 you can give me via paypal, please mosey on over to our bandcamp page, pony up the cash, and download in whatever format you’d like.

Or you can, you know, stream em from free here. I guess if yer real savvy you can probably figure out how to download the mp3s too, but the wav files are gonna cost you!

Now it’s time to book some gigs and bring this shit to who it’s intended for – the MASSES! (I don’t mean my friend Santos – not that kind of mass).

For gig inquiries, please hit me up at gigs@severebass.com and you best believe you’ll hear back from me quick!

A Post of Some Substance!
January 17th, 2013

I’m pretty sure that just about no one reads my blog anymore (and few did), so it’s really a way for me to keep track of certain things (which I guess it always has been). It’s funny, since I moved from blogspot to a real WordPress blog, my posts have gradually become less and less (partially b/c my options for posting have become so varied). I still think there’s value to keeping track of things, and this is certainly a time of much transition and excitement, so here are some of the substantive changes that have occurred in my life since we re-elected President Obama: (I have been involved in union negotiations for most of last year, and have been bargaining since September with a lawyer, and there are terms such as “substantive changes” that have been finding their way into my everyday life since)

1. I got a promotion! I’d rather not reveal my specific organization, but I have been working as a Program Assistant in an environmental non-profit since March of 2008. Over the years, I think I’ve gotten pretty damn good at my job, which involves explaining technology to people with various backgrounds. My particular organization has been in a lot of transition the last year and a half, and I’ve found myself taking on more responsibilities and working independently. Luckily, my new structure has given me a way to voice my concerns and frustrations, and also respects the work I do, so in mid-November I was given an in-line promotion to the position of Systems Analyst. This strikes me as somewhat amusing, since it is a pretty fancy/tech-sounding position for someone with a Bachelor’s in Music, but it’s not that far off from what I do. I mostly got this title b/c none of us could think of anything else (and am technically now part of the IT department), and I’m not complaining, just find it amusing. The promotion also came with a 10% raise, which is more than the 5% minimum our contract demands, so I’m pretty happy all around.

2. I am moving! Over three years ago, I went on an internet date (via OK Cupid). This is not that interesting on its own as I estimate I’ve been on over 2 dozen internet (first) dates, and several subsequent ones. What is interesting is I am still dating this girl and she is great, and she likes me back (Of those three things, I only hit two out of three before, and those all ended within a couple weeks or a couple months). Co-habitation has never been anything I’ve sought strictly b/c it’s what people do, but after a year or two I started to think that maybe this might work out with this particular individual. Sometime in April or May, we decided to start looking together, so we looked. And looked. And looked. Sometimes we even applied for the place, but we wouldn’t get it, so we would keep looking. In 7 months I figure we saw 30 places and probably applied for a third of them (For the record, our price range was under 2000 p/m for a one bedroom, but we were hoping to spend more like 1600, which is below market in SF, but the places do exist). It was not until 12/12/12 (which was exactly three years after our first date), that we finally got the news we’d been accepted for a place we applied for! So we’ve been moving in the last couple weeks and I can’t wait. Our new place is actually a 2 Bedroom, and we are turning the 2nd bedroom into a music room since it does not share walls with any of the neighbors. Maybe you’ll get pictures. So this is great news b/c a)I found someone awesome to live with, b)I found someplace awesome to live, and c)We don’t have to keep looking for a place! Win-win-win. Except for….

3. I am going to really miss my house and neighborhood. It’s true. I love my set up for so many reasons. First of all, it is cheap (if you want to know how cheap, my current GIANT 4-bedroom is going for a small fraction more than the new place I’m moving into, so my rent will basically double). Second off, I probably have the best backyard in San Francisco. I’ll be the first to admit that I really only took advantage of that for a single summer, but still, my backyard is awesome, and there are a bunch of things I’ve planted back there I will be leaving behind (like wormwood, aloe, oregano, and some flowers I don’t remember the name of). Third off, I live in this really cool neighborhood just barely on the outskirts of the Mission, just on the bottom of Bernal Hill (which apparently used to be a really bad neighborhood but is now upper-middle class lesbians and their children/dogs) with tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and people watching. I’m a relatively nostalgic guy, and the last couple weeks I’ve been noticing how much I’m going to miss all the little idiosyncracies of my current neighborhood. Also, we are moving two blocks down from where my girlfriend lives, which is good and bad. It’s good because I already know the new hood, but it’s bad b/c She Won and I like winning. But I’m dealing with it cuz the new place (and my girlfriend) rock. To be fair, I do like the new hood too, but I’m giving up a lot of awesome fun dive bars, a wonderful intersection of several different bus/subway lines, and the best damn mexican food in SF. The trade-off will be an Irish Bakery, lots of Asian stores/restaurants, and some really funky russian delis. So it’ll be good. But I will miss the hell out of my burrito choices. There is also no backyard, so I’m trading the best backyard in SF for an alleyway that I can keep my bike in if I want.

4. I am playing a lot of music and doing it on my terms! The last part about it being on my own terms is good and bad. It’s good cuz the music I’m making is all something I am really invested in. The two groups taking up my time are my own project, Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions, and an improv-based drum/bass/etc group called The Impassable Chasm (with the drummer of Wee the Band, which is definitely, definitely, no more). This is bad, because it means if I want gigs or practices or progress, it’s my responsibility to make it happen. Luckily, this hasn’t been TOO much work, and is usually a lot of fun. Despite having 3 gigs cancelled since November (The Bad Decisions canceled two because of conflicts and a venue canceled on the Bad Decisions b/c they’d rather have a lame DJ on a Sunday night), it looks like I have a Bad Decisions gig on 1/18 in San Jose, and a The Impassable Chasm gig on 1/30 in Oakland. So that’s fun and exciting.

So there’s a bunch of stuff changing for me. I’m hoping when the dust clears, life will be awesome and I’ll be able to re-focus some of my time and energy on new projects, or getting better at current ones. Frankly, having a girlfriend on the other side of the city does not always lead to productivity (and I tend to want to mellow more when I am home and on my own that way). So prospects seems good, despite leaving awesome mexican food, not having a backyard, and working a lot harder at the day job. That being said, I did put together a little slideshow of my time on Mission St, which is not as comprehensive as I would have liked it to be (and mostly focuses on the backyard), but I’m pretty sure it’s at least in chronological order. So I’ll leave you with that.



Holy shit it’s 2013!

Recordings from our last practice of 2012
December 22nd, 2012

I think me and my Bad Decisions have had a pretty awesome year altogether. We played some shows, fine-tuned a bunch of songs, had a lot of laughs together, and are gearing up for a killer 2013. Our last practice for 2012 was Tuesday the 18th and I brought my laptop along for old times sake. Thanks to some donated mics, they came out pretty good! It’s been a while since we did this, so we actually had a bunch of new (or improved) stuff that you may not have heard.

Let’s fix that shall we? For your listening pleasure I’ve posted some of our newer compositions or covers. They include:

    Our show opener “In Front of You”

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  • “Die In a Fire”, which is written for and dedicated to my friend Danny

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  • our cover of Frank Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” which I am really excited about

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  • “Everybody Lies”, my version of a power ballad

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  • “Sluttering (May 4th)”, our re-working of a Jawbreaker song (and the first song I ever arranged for solo bass)

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  • “The Misfits Medley” where we smoosh together Braineaters, Angelfuck, and One Last Caress by the inimitable Misfits

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  • and “Fuck You Santos!”, our immensely popular song about my asshole neighbor who made my life miserable for months and who I eventually got kicked out of my house

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We have more tunes, but this is the stuff I think came out the best from that recording or is the newest and yet to be shared. I hope you enjoy, and be on the lookout for stickers, fliers, and some seriously Bad Decisions coming your way in 2013!

New stickers by Kristen Kong!

New stickers by Kristen Kong!

Gigs for the end of the Year!
October 9th, 2012

Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions are coming to a dive bar near you (if you live in the SF area) for FREE at the end of the year! I am pysched that we have lined up three shows to end 2012 on!

First up, we are playing w. our friends Resistant Me (featuring Steve Bealey on guitar) from the South Bay, and Pharoahs (A hodgepodge of friends/previous bandmates) next week at the illustrious Grant and Green! (Conveniently located at Grant & Green in SF’s North Beach). Things kick off at 9 pm, we will be 2nd of three killer bands. Come get drunk w. us!

We will RAWK

I am not a Graphic Designer

After that we are coming back to San Jose’s best dive bar, Johnny V’s for a Thursday night show on December 6th. Details are forthcoming, but I would get there at 830 and wait anxiously!

And to end the year, an afternoon outside happy hour show at Thee Parkside in San Francisco’s Dogpatch. We take the stage at 4 pm! There are drink specials all day, and we will be followed by Sean O ‘ Brien and his Dirty Hands at 5, then Communist Kayte will finish things off at 6 pm. This is in place of the October 13th show we unfortunately had to reschedule.

Come grab a beer, mosh with your friends, and sing along to “Fuck You Santos”! You know you wanna..

Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions LIVE AT KIMOS! (11/13)
November 4th, 2011

Hellz yeah, my kickass band has a show! Kimos Penthouse, in SF’s Tenderloin (1351 Polk St, map here), on Sunday, November 13th. 11 and 13 are two of my most favorite numbers, so you know this will be good!

It gets better too! Opening up for us is The Hereafter, featuring the SB&TBD official mascot, Matt on Drums! After them, it’s the first ever show by The Bettas, featuring Matt (this time on guitar) and the one and only Steve Bealey (one of the best Bad Decisions I ever made) on guitar and vocals. This just gets you set up for the Severe Bass set, which we’ve been working on for a while (and I mean, A WHILE. It’s been about a year since we rawked Irelands 32).

After that is Standing Shadows from LA, bringing a little electro dance punk into the mix, and closing out the night is The Crazies Will Destroy You. Have you ever seen so many awesomely named bands on a single bill? At Kimo’s? No, you haven’t. So you should show up.

The Hereafter kicks things off at 8 pm, and we will keep the night moving along as best we can. It’s going to be one of those things where if you miss it, you’ll hate yourself forever. That seems unnecessary. Why not just come out and have a good time w. me and my friends?

Shit will be real. I guarantee.

All Around Me….
May 2nd, 2011

Read it in...

Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions took another stab at live recording last weekend and I think it came out much better then the last one (and I was relatively happy with the last one). Since the vocals were the trickiest part last time around, I decided to keep the mic levels really quiet (and didn’t really sing anyway) so I could go back and fix them up without too much trouble. The band has also benefited immensely from the last few weeks of recording, so all in all I’m hoping I can at least get a couple demo-quality tunes together.

And the first one I finished is, fittingly, Ants. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first song I’ve ever written and it still holds a special place in my heart. It’s nothing special, sort of a take on thrash metal (a la Gwar), but it continues to be a lot of fun to play.

I’m still fine-tuning the edits, but all things considered, I think it’s pretty awesome, so I really hope you enjoy.

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I’m playing w. my software….
April 12th, 2011

So on March 6th my band (Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions) did a live recording in the practice space. It was pretty bare-bones – literally two random microphones hanging from the ceiling, plugged into my Fast Track Pro, recorded into REAPER (ie, pretty much the only way I know how to record right now). The performances were somewhat spotty, and the recording was less then awesome, but it was a good learning experience.

I’ve been playing a little bit more with the basic plugins that come with REAPER, and checking out some posts on how to mix your sound, and am slowly getting the hang of it. The biggest complaint from the recordings is that the vocals are pretty low (which ended up being b/c there was a pad on the PA channel for my leads, D’oh!), so I went back and re-did vox on one of the tunes with my brand new Shure Beta SM58. I haven’t quite figured out how to remove the vocals from the original track, but it sort of adds a nice background vocal effect (at least on this song). Or maybe I’ve just been listening to it enough that it sounds “sort of nice”.

Anyway, mixing all that together leaves me with a product I’m not entirely satisfied with, but it does give me hope for the future. Long live bare minimum recording elements (and how I wish I had all these tools 4 years ago, especially b/c they did exist then!)

So here’s a listen to my (excuse me, our) cover of Sebadoh’s “Beauty of the Ride”. All things considered, I’m quite happy with it. Plus, we’re going to do it again in a week, and we have really been practicing!

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Heavy Metal Tuesday!
March 8th, 2011

Maybe this’ll be a thing. Maybe it won’t. Regardless, here’s your first Heavy Metal Tuesday!

Today it’s going to be personal-like (as in, all about me). I recently found my sophomore high school picture that I had grabbed from a photo album when I visited my folks in my childhood home for the last time (I wrote an emo blog post about it that I won’t link to, hah!):

My first attempt at facial hair


Also, here’s a version of Ants from this Sunday’s Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions band practice!!!!. This was recorded at our practice space with two mics directly into my Fast Track Pro into REAPER. The quality isn’t great (the vocals are really quiet unfortunately), but it’s the first recording of this song being played with a band since the summer of 1999, and I think it’s halfway decent considering it’s just two cheap vocal mics hanging from the ceiling.

(BTW, streaming it usually lessens the quality quite considerably, right clicking to save and then playing it in the audio player of your choice will sound much better!)

Severe Bass Has Launched!
November 18th, 2010

Read it in...

After months of searching, I have a band! Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions rocked Ireland’s 32 last night (11/16). The show went pretty good for what I could tell! I try to gauge “effectiveness” on whether or not a)the folks watching are having fun, and b)the band is enjoyin themselves. Last night both criteria seemed to apply. In other words, I’m calling it a success. Note: This does not mean that the songs were played to their perfection, we all made some mistakes, but I expected that. Gotta get those first show jitters out!

It has been so long since I’ve fronted a band, I really didn’t know what to do at times. I tried to keep the band moving along and the patter to a minimum. During the songs I did my best to play the bass and sing as well as possible, and when I wasn’t singing felt the need to bang my head to show that I fucking mean it when I play. I have been playing solo for a while so I’m sort of used to what it feels like to stand in front of a microphone and sing. However, the second we finished our sound check I realized I had only played as a solo musician twice since moving to the area 3 years ago. One of those times was actually at Ireland’s 32 (March of 2008), and they even kicked me off early as a solo act. I was in the both the preceding and following band, so it just meant I drank two beers really quickly and then got back on stage. I play phenomenally when I am angry, which is the only good part of that experience.

Anyway, I am really appreciative of the folks that came out, as well as Chris Rodriguez for hooking us up w. the slot. It was really cool to get a taste of what it feels like to front a band with 10 more years of musickal experience, and to hear the songs in a live environment. I can’t honestly say it was the most fun I’ve ever had, but I think after a little more practice doing this will be more comfortable and relaxed.

Got to admit, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to be the frontperson/songwriter/bandleader. It’s hard work – luckily my band is pretty cool. And I’m not afraid of hard work 🙂

Pics to come!


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