Diss Rants

This is the news/ranting forum for Diss (a.k.a. Tom Kercheval), an independent musician. Check here for new music, updates on new music and just random rantings on a variety of subjects. Feel free to leave a comment or four. For Diss' main web site, go to www.dissmusic.com.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Latest Skinny

Hi, everyone.

First, thanks to those of you who took the time to respond to my very rough demo offerings. Generally, good feedback, and it's appreciated. To be honest, I am entirely stoked about the one that features drums and bass. I just love it. When you listen to something over and over again, that's a good sign. Tentative title for this one is "Let 'Em Burn," but the lyrics are still a big problem right now for me. I'm trying to force myself to write a bit differently this time out, musically AND lyrically, and it's been tough to get things rolling. But I have a good idea of what this song will be about now, so that's a huge part of the fight right there.

Another reason for the block is, I'm sure, a lot of other things happening at the moment. I just finished 3 straight weeks of 10-hour-a-day (for the most part) video editing for a huge project that I have to do every year for my "real" job. I really love to do video editing, and I'm getting much better at it, but it's a really time consuming and mentally draining thing, believe it or not. And it's something that's very limited to the power of your computer.

Now we get to the title of this here blog entry. My current computer is pretty formidable, but with all the video editing, audio production and...I admit it...game playing I do, it's time for me to upgrade. For the last 6 or 7 months, I've been biding my time, slowly researching the best new parts for a new setup, and I've finally got everything ordered. In fact, the motherboard and DVD drive arrived today. You see, I'm planning to build my first computer, and it's both exciting and horrifying at the same time. In no way am I a big "tech-head," although I do often become giddy when a new technology comes on the market.

But, it's incredibly cheaper to build your own system, and I've installed my own motherboard and processor before when my last computer malfunctioned, so I think I can do it. But, it's not going to be easy. Anyway, wish me luck. It will truly be a beast of a machine if I can get it assembled properly.

As for music, I haven't been TOTALLY idle since the last post. In fact, I've been pretty productive on one front - I've found a guitar tone that I absolutely love and will probably be using for 90 percent of the next project. You see, I've always had trouble coming up with great guitar sounds, especially with distorted guitars. I don't think I've ever been totally happy with anything I've come up with in the past, althought "Greenhorn" had some good moments.

Anyway, I don't even own and amp anymore. I do all my recording direct, and this is what I use for guitars. It's called a Line 6 Pod, and it's a fantastic piece of equipment. It's full of presets that will sound like all sorts of amp/microphone combinations from classic or new setups. Also, you can tweak all sorts of settings and come up with your own, which is pretty much what I've done.

My focus on this next project, as I've said before, will be to try to bash it out quickly and not get so caught up in obsessive perfectionism. I've often found that my demos have a certain raw and energetic quality that is sometimes lacking in the real polished versions, and I want to avoid that this time. So, I found a sound I love, and I'm sticking with it.

I do have other demos recorded, too, but I'm not ready to put them up yet. I will soon, however. One thing I've found recently is a disc I burned awhile back containing tons of VERY old demos from my first band, The Dissidents, and from me when I was just out of high school. It is absolutely horrible in many cases. The singing? Beyond belief bad. The songwriting? Okay, not THAT bad, but not great. The lyrics? TERRIBLE!! I don't know if I have the guts to put these up on the site, but I may. They're good for a laugh.

I've never considered myself much of a singer. In fact, when I first started the band, we had another singer, an Indian guy named "Arjun," or "Arj" for short. He lasted a few rehearsals with us, and that's about it. He was a cool guy, but, to be honest, his voice wasn't much better than mine and I didn't really like how he sang my lyrics. I figured, hey, I'm writing all this stuff, I might as well sing it. My voice has improved a LOT since those days, but boy, it sure was horrible then. Horri-freakin-riffic, actually.

Heard some good news recently concerning a long-time friend of mine named Jason Narducy. This guy has an AMAZING voice, and he's an incredibly talented songwriter, guitarist, you name it. In fact, he was in The Dissidents briefly "back in the day," and it was fun to be able to do some of the dual-guitar stuff live. Anyway, over the years, Jason has been in some really good bands, and one of them, Verbow, was produced by a guy named Bob Mould, who used to be in the punk band Husker Du.

It's so funny, because when Jason and I first met at college, we were both huge fans of Bob, and I remember Jason being jealous of the fact that I'd seen Bob Mould a few times. Well, over the years, Jason has actually developed a good friendship with Bob and is now going to be playing bass with him on his upcoming tour of the U.S. and Europe. It should be an absolutely fantastic performance, and I highly encourage anyone who can to go check it out. Bob does some seriously intense guitar-based rock. I've sort of fallen away from his output over the last few years, as I've found it to be a little too experimental and not my cup of tea, but it seems like now he's back with the hard-edged sound I love, and with Jason playing with him, it should be a lethal combination. Jason's a fantastic front man in his own right, and one thing Bob's always lacked live is a good set of background vocals. He should have no problem there this time out. It'll be exciting for me to see my friend up on stage with Mould, especially since I know that Jason was so incredibly influenced by him. I may be wrong, but I imagine for Jason it's probably like it would have been for me if I'd have been able to back up Stuart Adamson on a show or two.

Speaking of Stuart, I was really excited to see that his son, Callum, is now in a pretty serious band, called The Delta Blues. Don't like the name much, but the songs really aren't bad at all, from what I've heard. For such a young band, they show a lot of potential, and I hope for great things from them. I can even hear a little of Stuart coming through Callum's guitar playing on the tracks. One thing that does slightly disappoint me, though, is the band's mentioning of "whiskey" being one of their top influences. Considering how Stuart's life came to an end, and what brought that end about (serious alcohol abuse), I really would prefer to hear something else mentioned there. The whole "drinking to excess" aspect of rock culture (or rock legend) is so pathetic, if you ask me.

I've been lucky, in that I've never been a drinker in my life. For one thing, I've always hated the taste of beer. I've been drunk, I think, two times in my life. Both times it was sort of fun, but I always felt horrible afterwards, and I just figured, "what's the point of this?" I've seen what alcohol abuse can do to people. Stuart is one example, and there was another friend of mine who died in pretty much exactly the same circumstances two weeks after Stuart's passing, another great, talented person who was destroyed and deformed by that stuff. I know, I know, a lot of people drink socially and are fine with it, and that's fine by me. Honestly, I'm not trying to come across as "holier than thou" here. I mean, we all have our flaws, addictions, obsessions, some more dangerous than others. But I really wish the whole drugs and alcohol aspect of harder-edged music would be devalued and rejected by younger bands like this. Nothing good can possibly come from it.

BUT, all that said, I just wish Callum and his band the best, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what he does in the future. As I said, a LOT of potential there.

Well, that's it for now. It's about 100 degrees today. Thank goodness for air-conditioning, but, at the same time, I don't like spending the summer in an artificial climate, indoors all the time. Hopefully it'll cool down here a LITTLE.

Going to Redskins training camp tomorrow! I'm a HUUUUGGGEEEE Redskins fan, but that's for another blog. I love football season, and this is about my favorite time of year. Still some summer left, preseason games starting....nice.

Thanks again for caring, everyone, and hope to have some more music for you to check out very soon!

Until then, stay safe, happy and tuned...



Anonymous Rob said...

> "Let 'Em Burn,"

Hmmm, I wonder what reaction that will get from the reviewer who thought the Greenhorn cover had KKK references on it?

As for machines, I finally upgraded to a Dell XPS Gen 5. It's nice to have speed and power again.

August 07, 2005  
Blogger Diss said...

Ha, yeah, really. Maybe I should rethink that one....Nah.....:-)

August 11, 2005  

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