Feeling like an MC Scat Cat

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Greetings and Salutations! 

Hope all of my faithful readers are enjoying the beginning of the new year! Winter to me is always a tough one for me because I HATE the cold, the grandparents run down to FL and it seems like the first few months of the year I end up holing myself in the house depressed dreading the outside. Hasn't helped either that up here in New England some days reach 50 degrees, then there was a few weeks where it was NEGATIVE 10!

It's scary when after a few months you look at temp in the car and think to yourself "oh wow, it's 20 degrees...nice!" I swear I'd rather be in some desert in the Southwest. 

So figured since I had some downtime I'd update everyone on the happenings so far since 2018 started. All of it...

So if you read the last entry and seen all of my Social Media posts, my new album "Elephants Bury Their Dead" was FINALLY released at the end of December on all streaming platforms! 

As I mentioned, this album just like HEAL was a very personal one and it took forever to get it together, so I was happy I was finally able to get it out.

I decided at the end of the year to take it upon myself to mix/master it myself, take what I had and just release it the way it was and so far the response I've seen has been great! 

I have been using this site Landr to take the songs, do quick masters of them and through the same site I can create the album, hit a button and off it goes to a ton of streaming sites!

I tested it with the debut single "Resurrection" and not only did the master come out great, it was up and on all sites within a matter of days so it was very easy to do. 

Since I'm always curious of numbers, It's also great that I can check in like I used to do with Bandcamp and see how it's doing whenever I want. I was pleased to see that after only 30 days I've seen over 140 streams and a few downloads/purchases! Not to mention I'm seeing streams from all over the world like Australia, Mexico, Canada and yes even Latvia. It baffles me how that happens but it's also cool to see. 

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So after a rough 2017, the fact that I was able to put the album out, take control of my own music and how it's released/distributed was a big deal for me personally. Not only was I able to learn and figure out how to do myself, just like the songs on the album I felt I was finally able to bury those doubts/insecurities once and for all and just say "fuck it" and just put it out, warts and all. I’m proud of it no matter how it does. 

Does the album sound as polished and big as HEAL? Is everything mixed and tuned perfectly with every note in pitch? Was I using expensive mics in a big studio recording singing through a $20k microphone or recording live drums while hemorrhaging money by the hour? Nope and you know what? Doesn't matter the SONGS and the PASSION are there and that's all that matters to me in end. 

To me it sounds great the way it is and let's be 100% honest, people these days are rarely paying for music anymore so you know what? You get what you pay for...ha! 

However, as great as all of this was and as nice as it was to put this album to bed, I still had the task the beginning of this year of finding yet ANOTHER replacement in the band in the form of a new drummer for these gigs we have coming up. 

I had to start trolling through Bandmix.com again, paying for the site and e-mailing as many people as I could to see if I could find some new drummers to audition.

Trying to find new people for your band is always a painful and daunting task for me personally.

Like I have said in the past, I call it "Tindering for bandmates" because you are basically e-mailing all of these people you have no idea who they are, sometimes just blanketing the area asking people "would you like to play music with me?"

Most of the time if you do get a reply from someone, either they have no video/audio of their playing (sometimes even "catfishing" you with bad videos and no real pic of themselves), come off with an ego like "how much do the gigs pay? I'm only a hired gun so I need money" , just plain suck or never respond at all. 

To be honest, when I'm looking for musicians to play with whether it's my own music or whatever project, you don't have to be a virtuoso on your instrument you just need to have the right attitude, style and just try to be somewhat professional.

I can sacrifice (most of the time) someone who is a little sloppy in the playing as long as they are willing to work on it, be positive and you get along with everyone else in the band. I've said to bandmates time and time again "I don't give a fuck you can jump around and be an ass as much as you want I encourage it, but please just try to play the right notes" 

 The man is not the best singer in the world, but let's see anyone pull of this outfit and jump! 

The man is not the best singer in the world, but let's see anyone pull of this outfit and jump! 

Here's a lesson from your Uncle Gregry...

If someone contacts you asking if you would like to jam and/or audition for their band and you respond showing interest willing to give it a shot? When you walk into the rehearsal space with other people that are sometimes paying money to practice there, know your stuff as best you can. Nobody is gonna kill it right off the bat, there's always some "feeling it out" moments at first but at least have an idea on how the song goes. 

I cannot tell you how many times I've sent people maybe 4-5 recordings of songs with all of the chords written down ahead of time, then send it to them weeks in advance saying "see what you can do with these and let me know if you have any questions" and not hear a peep back.

Then when the time comes the person walks in, they look at you dumbfounded like "how's this go?" Sometimes they won't even have a chord, pick or even a "cheat sheet" with the notes I typed and sent. To me, that is totally unprofessional and honestly, pretty downright disrespectful to myself and other bandmates who are there. 

I'm not sitting here saying I'm the best bass player, singer or even musician in general NOT AT ALL. Very rarely I have the time to sit with my instrument these days, learn songs and perfect my craft as much as I would like to.  

And sure sometimes life gets in the way and you can go into something a little unprepared. However, the thing I take pride in especially when I started playing covers again with my dear friends in Split Decision is I try to at least listen to the songs as much I can, have an idea of how the song goes and most important listen and take comments/critique from my band mates. 

It took me awhile and time away from playing with these gifted and good people to finally realize that even though I've been playing music since I was 14, I don't know everything. I can always learn and be respectful.

Don't use practice time as an excuse to tie one on drinking beers like an animal. Go to practice, check your ego at the door, be prepared, stand in your spot, play the material you are given the best that you can and LISTEN.

If someone says "hey, I think it goes like this" or "I think that's supposed to be a C" just try it and STFU. 99% of the time they are right because they did their homework better than you did.

By the time the gig comes around, I take immense pride that I am up there, playing and singing my ass off with no laptops, cheat sheets, nothing. 

That can go with learning covers, as well as original material. Hell I'll be the first one to tell you learning covers sometimes for me might as well be originals because The Splits play a VAST majority of different styles of music from standard classic rock to top 40 and I do not listen to the radio these days at all. It's made me a better musician and being around these guys in both bands has made me a better person. 

However....I digress *gets off soapbox*

Even though Split Decision has been firing on all cylinders, playing lots of great shows and having a great time doing it, It had been months since my own band stepped in a room with each other and here I was, swiping left and right for drummers.

I did manage to get a few responses and I decided "OK, let's try to get some of these people down to rehearse. Once a week we will pick a new person to come down until we find one we all like" so I reached out to the responders to see who could come down and when. 

One guy sent me some videos, audio of him playing, he sounded good and was responsive, so I picked him first.  I sent the tracks a few weeks ahead of time, I gave him the address, booked the date HE agreed on and left it as "great, we will see you then!" I had confidence and hoped for the best. I found Benny and Helene and Vic on there, so maybe this will work too. 

So many times in this band we've been on a roll for months, playing great gigs, getting momentum and then BLAM! brick wall and we are out for months. But I said to myself “2018 baby, new album, new members time to get serious again!” I alerted the other band mates and we were all excited to see each other again. 

But then.....nothing 

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I sent the guy confirmation via e-mail and  text a few times before practice day saying "hey, just making sure you got this and you are still coming on the 10th" but ZERO response.

No "hey I changed my mind:" or "hey sorry something came up" At this point I would of settled for "hey, go fuck yourself!" but radio silence.

I was finally getting ready to get the ball rolling with the band again, get some fresh blood in there, I had some gigs already getting booked and I thought "I'm fucking back to square one...AGAIN" 

Needless to say I was a little upset. I got in the car, left work to go to the rehearsal space, spend the money I took out that I really didn't have to spare so we can dick around in a room looking at an empty drum set.

Then all of a sudden, I just snapped... 

I thought to myself as I got closer to my destination “fuck this! Fuck the band, fuck my music nobody gives a fuck why should I?”

I was done, I couldn’t take it anymore. I proceeded to find a local watering hole, take that money I withdrew for practice and spend it on booze. ALL of it I drank my sorrows away just as I’ve done a hundred times before. 

I would text the guys who showed up at rehearsal that night apologizing telling them I was “tied up and just couldn’t make it” but I could of. Shit I was there early but Instead I decided to abandon the members of my own band who have learned these songs and have had my back for the past few years to just give up and drink it all away for the night feeling sorry for myself. 

The past year for me although there were some highlights, for the most part it was not an easy one. The guy who put all that work into losing 70 lbs, doing yoga, drinking kale instead of Miller Lite a few times a week then seeking therapy and taking medication the following year slowly began to dissapear. 

230lbs became 245lbs. Yoga went away, I cancelled therapy, salads became covered with garbage and the drinking crept back into my life more than ever little by little.

The guy who swore off beer at rehearsals and gigs turned into  “eh I can have one or two”  The next thing you know, you are leaving early from work not to beat the traffic but to make sure you have a few at the bar before you get to practice. 

I hated myself and what I have become again. A new year begun and old habits and behaviors crept right back in last year and carried over into the first month of 2018.  I felt like a fucking fraud. 

After that “meltdown” of sorts though, It was a wake up call for me to stop this nonsense and get back on track. 

I started seeing a new therapist who has been great so far. He deals specially with the three things I was looking to shed. Anxiety, depression and addiction.

He doesn’t sit there like some I’ve seen before where they just nod and say “well what do you think you should do?” To which my response was always “well what the fuck am I paying you for? Help a brother out!”

He listens, gives advice and seems genuinely interested in my life and what I am trying to achieve. He will sit on the couch directly across from me and speaks to me directly. If anyone close to me knows, he's kind of a mix between my old landlord Bill and my father, two people I looked up to and it works for me. 

Another good thing that happened was we were able to recruit my pal Gary who plays in Split Decision with me to play drums for us on this upcoming gig! We've already had 2 rehearsals with him and like I knew from playing with him in the Splits he has been killing it! We've already begged him to stay on and join permanently, so we shall see. Fingers crossed....

i didn’t write this for sympathy, praise or anything. I just needed to... 

hope to see you at these upcoming shows in a better frame of mind. 

onward and upward

g2

 

 

Gregry GilroyComment