September 5, 2010

Need I remind everybody that my band Conspiracy Theory has some pretty sweet videos up on YouTube that you should show all your friends?

So basically I'm asking you very very nicely to go to Conspiracy Theory's YouTube page and take a look at some of our videos.... we do some good work and I think people will like it, and we're pretty seriously in need of a wider, more appreciative audience. Also, we totally love feedback! So, please do go to our page and have a quick look around, and if you hear something that is pleasing to your ears, let us know, and more importantly, let your friends know. You are all fantastic fans! And here is the magic address....

Thanks again!

September 2, 2010

In other words, marching band tomorrow is gonna be freaking sweet!

The first week of school so far has been pretty successful. Let me just say that I am seriously psyched for our first football game tomorrow. We've been working very hard, and it is by no means perfect but there isn't a doubt in my mind that it is gonna be a great night. But the really cool thing is that we are working on the percussion feature and it has been going quite well, so I'm naturally quite excited for our first band show when we'll get to perform it. And the second half.... well I will just say that its jamming right along. So I will leave you with that and return to my statistics homework. Peace!

August 29, 2010

Working on the drum feature and pretending school isn't starting this week.

It has been true for most of the summer that I've not been accomplishing quite so much as one would hope to have accomplished by, say, the beginning of one's senior year of high school. By the time I had less than two weeks to go, I realized that I should probably plan on doing nothing all day but practice and work on AP English until the end of summer. Writing the second part of this drum feature has also become kind of important. Ahhh, yet another item for the "Finish before school starts" list. I tried to be all organized about it and plan to work on that crazy-loud-samba-party-mess that is our percussion feature a little every day. But as it turns out, the process of writing notes on a staff simply cannot be given a schedule tantamount to the process of writing notes on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Composition seems to be a much more complicated endeavor that occurs in short (or long) bursts of inspiration and thoughtfulness. It is at these random times of day in which I will listen to the clave pattern that will the basis of our samba groove and try to imagine what I might hear in a Brazilian drum circle (imagination is required here only because I've never actually been part of a Brazilian drum circle). If you just spend enough time processing the foundation of the song, that "dut, dut-du....dut-du", it can lead in all sorts of different directions. I can then take those different directions and string them all together, using lines, arrows, numbers, and circles, then eventually put it all into the Finale Allegro computer program that replays it note-for note with MIDI sounds. The hope is that this will result in what I call Habanero 2, the little hyperactive and fun-loving Brazilian cousin of my original drumline piece, Habanero. Yes, our theme this year is "Hot" and I felt the need- nay, the obligation to do something spicy. The outlook is l out looking well so far, and I hope it all lives up to expectation. Only time will tell! DUN DUN DUUUUUNN!!!!

August 26, 2010

Has another summer come and gone in a flash?

I'm afraid so. The real question is, why haven't I blogged all summer? Aren't I supposed to be lounging around for hours having absolutely no idea what to do with myself? Unfortunately (fortunately?) such was not the case for this kid during these few months of freedom and humidity. When I wasn't away at some camp up in New York City or Boston, I was down here working with the marching band or practicing by myself. I've also got some AP English summer reading that is unlikely to be getting done all by itself. Anyway, I feel kinda bad about being unable (and just a bit unwilling) to report on these exciting events as they happened, but I must redeem myself by giving a bit of a recap on my vacation madness before the school year starts. After all, you don't want to be following the story before you've read the prequels, right? Because I shouldn't have any shortage of things to talk about this coming year (though a potential shortage of time to talk, which I'll work around). And henceforth, I do swear unto all six of ye dedicated readers that my exploits involving all things that carry the suffix band shalt find themselves documented here on this very blog!

June 11, 2010

Is it the end of the year already?

Despite a great deal of confusion, reorganization, misinterpretation, and stressful situations, my junior year actually turned out to be pretty good. Since seventh grade, something has been forcing me to take whatever classes are the highest for each year. I never knew exactly why, but I've always somehow managed to get myself into Honors This or Accelerated That. In hindsight that was a good thing, as many of the classes do get more interesting in high school, and of course they are the ones all your friends take anyways. But this year was different. I was so proud of myself to be finally breaking free of the must-be-the-best-at-everything mentality. I seized the opportunity to pass up such outrageous course selections as AP U.S. History and AP Chemistry. And man, was it worth it. With that little bit of extra space, I was able to focus more my music, and relax a little at the end of the day (Don't get me wrong, I still had a couple classes here and there that required plenty of extra brain power). For my senior year, I am even going to pass over the science credit all together. Though I am very interested in Physics and would've loved to take AP, the calculus requirement and high difficulty level of the class put together would be too much for somebody who will be practicing for waaaaay to many college auditions next year. But I'm looking forward to AP European and AP English next year, and there's no doubt that I will have plenty of space in my schedule for band and orchestra.

June 5, 2010

MASH Marching Band brings the heat..... And Meadville drumline supplies the spice.

You may know that I've asked my band director if I could write the drum feature for next year's show as my senior project. She graciously accepted the offer. As of now I have a good section of it done and revised, even played it for the drum section. But of course I must endeavor a bit further than that. Following the regular corps-style section of drumming, there will be a break into an entirely different funky Latin section. Or shall we say, Spicy (the theme for next year is "Hot"). The problem is that I'm a white guy living out in the country where there is a hoedown for every 10-gallon hat and a metal mosh for every pair of skinny jeans. But Latin? It's a dead language to everyone else, and here it might as well be a style of music that never even lived in the first place. A tad frustrating, but I am determined to watch videos on YouTube and practice what Salsas and Mambos I can on the drumset until something comes into my head that will get the Friday night football crowd onto its feet. 'Cause we're pretty sure the football team wont be doin' it..... OH SNAP!!

May 29, 2010

11th grade- A year in famous last words.

"This year is gonna be a really productive year." "Let's just get marching band season over with, then I can really get working." "Better be prepared for the IUP honors band audition, we wouldn't want to mess that up, would we?" "Ah heck, looks like we messed that up after all. But district jazz is coming up soon, so we have a chance to redeem ourselves." "When I'm done with all these district music festivals, I will have plenty more time." "Oh, but now I have to practice for regions, so as soon as I'm done with that I'm good to go." "Hmmmm, now I have a bit more time, but the All-State festival is coming up, so I probably should be getting ready for that." "Woo hoo all the festivals are over! Victory is sweet! Now I can practice whatever the heck I want!" "Before I get too much into this practicing whatever I want thing, I gotta remember that the middle school and high school spring concerts are coming up. For once I may get stuck playing music with regular people." Mrs. Manning: "Hey, wanna play the Tube on this song?" Me: "Sure, but I really don't know much about the tuba, so I'd better spend as much time practicing as I can!" "Now, I just have to go to a whole bunch of combined rehearsal before the spring concert, then I'm home free!" "That went well, but don't forget the memorial day parade." Mrs. Manning: "Want to play tuba in the brass ensemble?" Me:"I'm a little better now, why not?"
I will never cut myself a break, will I?

May 9, 2010

Zune is the bomb!

Now folks, if you've ever read anything that I've written you probably know that I'm a big fan of Microsoft and Zune. Well now I'm an even bigger fan, because for my seventeenth birthday (!?!?!?!?!?) I upgraded to the Zune HD, a 16 GB, wireless-enabled, super-thin, super-awesome portable mp3 device created by Bill Gates and company in Redmond, Washington. I must admit that I'm not a big fan of the new touchscreen trend that seems to be sweeping today's gadgets. I went to great lengths to avoid it in my new phone, and Dear Apple iPad: Please cease and desist, neither print media nor computers with buttons deserve to die by the tip of your extra-shiny tech-sword. But I digress. The Zune HD has most of the traits of a heavy duty competitor to apple's iPad mini (read: iPod Touch), but with the benefit of using the ever-improving Zune software instead of Apple's convoluted and low-resolution iTunes system. Surprisingly, I dig the touchscreen and the applications that take advantage of it. There are many different ways to organize and search your music collection, and so far I haven't pressed anything by accident. I've even downloaded a few songs and a music video in honor of the occasion. Hopefully some of my smarter acquaintances are down with Zune, because I am looking forward to sharing songs and info with them via the Zune Social system. As more exciting things, or any kinds of things happen, I will find some time to write some stuff. Any ideas/suggestions/rants/miscellaneous time wasters? Hit me up! .... Peace!

May 2, 2010

The Bongo and Steel Drum Band is here to ruin your walk in the park.

Yesterday, I was supposed to play at a benefit concert in the park in the afternoon after a morning already occupied by taking the SAT (again). I'd have to say that the Scholastic Aptitude Test went rather well, which one could only hope so after taking it twice, but that is beside the point. The real events were supposed to start during early afternoon. Our band's plans for the day had already been scaled down due to an absent rhythm guitarist and a bassist whose bass playing was excellent, but was unable to sing because of sickness. Then, the only other voice in the group had to take a rain check, claiming illness and allergies. At this point, we had to call it quits and cancel the gig. It was clear that hanging around in the park and watching the other bands play would have to be a sufficient compromise.
At loose ends, I decided to go hang out with some friends who were, amusingly enough, working to raise money and awareness for a different charity just across the street from diamond park. A great many cool kids are in their church's youth group. Somehow, one of them materialized later that night with a rather wonderful steel drum that he claims to play in his school's steel drum band (I still don't believe it). The other thing that made me quite happy was that for some reason somebody produced a very entertaining basket of miscellaneous percussion instruments. Now I must admit that a "drum circle" with a bunch of Unitarians who rarely go south of the border and know little about grooving tends not to be extremely successful (sorry guys, you know I still love you). But steel drum jamming, on the other hand, is a unique experience. Playing some out-of-tune bongos to a funky beat with some sweet steel drum (and intermittent cowbell) late at night while no doubt annoying any passerby is an opportunity every aspiring musician should have. Too bad they are quite expensive, otherwise a steel drum would be an excellent addition to my basement equipment and musical repertoire. Anyways, that's how I spent my Saturday, which was, I must admit, more than I do on an average Saturday. Let's keep on jamming!

April 28, 2010

My Sweet Senior project is Finally Getting on (kind of) a Roll

So here is my first real attempt at composition..... Our marching band director has let me compose the drum feature for next year's band show. This is going to be very exciting and quite difficult. She insists that I mustn't make it to difficult for this young percussion section. I agree, so I am working on using space together with notes, and stick to simple rhythms. Not entirely sure how this is working so far. The plan is to have a very rudimental and structured first part of the piece with heavy accents and straight, driving rhythms, resembling something a drum corp may do. The second half should be a complete contrast when the music transitions into a funky, syncopated latin jam! This part is gonna be sweet. But I'm still on the first part, seeing as that is going to be quite a bit harder to..... well... not make to hard.

April 25, 2010


Hey dedicated readers!!!! I know I've been pretty busy as of late and unable to randomly blab and rant on this funny little blog. But now that I'm done with All-State orchestra and am free to do whatever I want for now, it is high time to get this blogging experience rollin' again in a whole new way. Two things.

1) I will soon be putting videos on YouTube on behalf of myself and my band, pertaining to our music, my music, and the events surrounding these events. I'll admit that past attempts at this have come up short, but now I am fully capable of making this work due to a recent acquisition of a camera that makes videography significantly quicker and more convenient.

2) One of the things that makes this blog so tricky is my lack of a unifying theme to write things about. The problem with this is that it's even trickier to think of a good unifying theme of things to write about. So my new semi-official and easily adjustable basis for writing will be as follows.

Living with big plans in a small town can have its negatives and positives. Regardless, I can't deny the fair amount of exciting things that I've been able to get into with the help of a few great friends, teachers, and parents. I couldn't possibly find time to describe all these things in detail, and I'm not entirely sure anybody would enjoy it even if I did. So instead this blog represents a stream of consciousness regarding rockstar fantasies, music communities, practice regiments, indie bands, (numerous) unusual characters, a little bit of luck, and a kid with a weird name in a place that nobody has ever heard of. In other words, Sutter Speak.

September 27, 2009

Lets talk about U2 for a sec....

I just need to take a moment here to discuss the awesomeness that is currently traveling around the world in the form of U2's 360 tour. In so many ways, one cannot even describe what goes down at a U2 concert, and I cannot possibly do it justice in the little time that I have. In a nutshell, we were somehow allowed to get inside the circle around the stage that all the band members run around on, and couldn't believe that we were actually there. They had set up a gigantic space station sort of thing with a 360 degree screen hanging from the top and lights all down the middle, attached to each of the four spiderlike legs and all over the stadium. It was an amazing thing to watch, as the larger-than-life musicians appeared on stage through mist and beams of light, uniting the 60,000 people in Rogers Centre with their universally recognized music. They played for over two hours, playing all kinds of tunes from their early days to the recent release "No Line on the Horizon". There is not much more to say about this, other than nothing else compares to the U2 experience. It is a concert that sticks with you for a very long time, and leaves giant crowds of very happy people in its wake.

September 16, 2009

This is causing some problems

This is causing some problems as you may have seen, but hopefully my new mobile blog approach will prove more effective.
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