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I’m playing at a camp in northern Minnesota this week, and the environment/vibe of the gig is such that I’m using hot rods for everything. Two gigs today, two tomorrow, and 1 more on Wednesday. So… I bought two pairs of Hot Rods yesterday to be set for the week, and I was surprised to find that Sound Percussion offers a wholesale option on what looked like exactly the same product as the famous Pro Mark models. Actually, the SP rods have a black wrap on the dowels instead of the red, which seems hipper anyway.

Well, I’m 1 gig down and 4 to go, and two of the four sticks are already broken. Unreal. And they’re not breaking in the normal way (with the dowels chipping), but rather the glue at the base of the sticks is releasing and dowels are shooting out the top.  These things suck.  Don’t buy them.

The end.

– Some interesting accusations and theories flew around the internets this week regarding the Arcade Fire and their Grammy win being potentially rigged and foreknown, allegedly the reason they received a two-song slot at the close of the ceremony.  Blurt

– Reports have surfaced indicating the new direction for music consumption, as digital downloads expand in file size and quality.  CNN

– Rumors abound about a follow-up release to last week’s Radiohead 8-song release, King Of Limbs.  Sounds like a good idea to me. NME

– 90’s R&B trio Bell Biv DeVoe are apparently planning to release some new music this year, and stopped by Jimmy Fallon’s show this past Wednesday for a promo performance of their hit “Poison,” backed by the Roots.  They sucked, but the Roots were cool.  Watch it on Hulu

– British soul singer Adele is making waves with her latest album, 21, which spent last week atop the charts for the 4th week in a row.  Adele also just became the only living artist besides the Beatles to have two top-5 singles at the same time. Billboard

Hey all. I’m really amped to be doing another seminar like last year’s March gathering.  This year’s event will be similar to last year, but I’ve got some new topics to cover and ideas to share, and I also want to do some extended Q&A both at the front end and closing of the clinic.

So here are the details for this year…

What: Lecture, demo, discussion, and gear geek-out session
When: Saturday, March 19, 10am-noon
Where: New Hope Church (Twin Cities)
Why: To develop in the unique skill of playing drums (and music generally) in a modern church environment, and to further expand the growing community of MN “church” musicians
Who: Anyone and everyone is invited… drummers, other instrumentalists, worship leaders… students, parents… etc
Cost: $5 suggested donation (not a deal-breaker, but will help me pay for the coffee and donuts I’ll be providing)

Also, I’m super excited to have some brand new equipment from the companies I endorse, which I’ll have at the clinic for test-driving (that’s the “gear geek-out” part). This includes an all-mahogany RD kit, prototype snare and kick pedal cases from Mono, and hopefully some killer new Paiste models (yet to be confirmed).  The Mono guy has even given me a stick bag to raffle off, so you might leave with the hippest stick bag on the market compliments of my man Pat at Mono.

I’ll post some additional info in the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can check out the notes from last year’s event to get a feel for the discussions.  Please feel free to pass this invitation along to ANYONE you think might be interested.

The solo project I’m working on has just undergone cell division and has branched into two separate projects – one solo and the other an actual band with some of my favorite musicians. I can’t give any more details now, but I’m super pumped about it.

In the meantime, enjoy this video from Photek, a big source of inspiration for both of the above-mentioned projects…

I’ve only listened to Radiohead’s new record 4 or 5 times at this point, but here are my thoughts, most of which are neutral (meaning, they are neither negative nor positive comments, just observations)…

1. This record sounds a lot like Thom Yorke’s solo record The Eraser.
2. The word is that Thom has been doing most of the drumming in the studio for the past 4 albums, and I think his feel is recognizable… meaning, I’m pretty sure he’s the drummer on this recording.
3. Also similar to the previous few records are the super tight and dry drum sounds.
4. The first track reminds me of Rufus Wainwright singing over a Steve Reich composition.
5. As a rock band, Radiohead doesn’t necessarily feel the need to “rock.”
6. Track 3 is a SUPER deceptive groove (also similar to Eraser).  The snare notes ARE NOT the backbeats, but are rather the “& of 2” and “& of 4.”  This becomes clear once the groove drops out in the bridge and you’re left with just the vocal/guitars/perc.  The guitar line on the verses accents the upbeats, not the quarter notes.
7. Radiohead is always on the front lines of utilizing the possibilities that technology offers to the music world. Obviously an observation easily made from other records, but this one just reinforces it.

Oh my goodness, I love Fred Armisen so much for doing this…

HT: Stephen Chopek

The king Of Limbs, the new Radiohead record, was to be released tomorrow per an announcement on the band’s website earlier this week, but is apparently already available for download today.  The band notified fans of the day-early download option in a cryptic tweet in Japanese.  In other news, I just canceled all my plans for the night and will be sitting alone in a dark room listening to it.

– Taylor Swift and Adam Young (Owl City) are now dating, and the story on how they hooked up is kinda cool. Wonderwall

– Eminem recently granted an interview to a 14-year-old high school student in Detroit who had a shot in the dark idea to feature him in a school project.  MTVnews

– Reality TV star Paris Hilton is releasing a new album this year, a follow-up to her 2006 debut.  I had no idea Hilton was a musician in any way, let alone set to release her SECOND album.  Huh.  Billboard

– Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters also have a new record landing this year, and the project features Grohl reuniting with Nirvana staples Butch Vig and Krist Novoselic.  MTVnews

– Aretha Franklin has announced her return to live performances, beginning this May.  The 68-year-old “Queen of Soul” had been suffering from an undisclosed illness and canceled all performances for the past 6 months.  Uncut

– The Smashing Pumpkins hired a new bassist last year, and the veteran female rocker just recently revealed to them that she is one of the two young girls pictured on the band’s 1993 album Siamese Dream.  She confessed to Corgan that she didn’t tell the band this when she initially joined out of fear that such a bizarre past connection might prevent her from getting the job.  NME

– Here’s this year’s complete list of Grammy winners for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing, but not enough to google it yourself.

– Editorial:  Last March I did an open-invite clinic on playing drums/music in a church environment.  I’ve decided to make that an annual thing, and this year’s seminar will be on March 19th, so mark your calendars.  More details on that soon.

My man Dan Hembree recently commented on my Instrumental Pursuit post, and left a link to this fantastic TED presentation on the neurological activity behind highly creative expressions like musical improvisation.  This video is definitely worth the 16 minutes…

I love the way this research reinforces the “music as a language” concept, as well as the need to engage your expressive capacities while improvising.

Hey all. Lots going on in my life right now with gigging and what not. So in the stead of a lengthy rant of music philosophy, here’s a link to a free 2-track EP by Minneapolis singer-songwriter Brynne Andre.

This EP was recorded and produced by my friend Matt Patrick, who hired me to play drums. Brynne had the idea to release these songs for V-day only recently, so we tracked the tunes in a short session last Thursday, and Matt mixed them over the weekend.  People, that is the FASTEST turnaround for a studio project that I have ever heard of.  Good work, Matt.

So check out the tunes and happy Valentine’s Day.

PS. For the gear nerds, I used a new Mahogany RD kit I got last week which sounds incredible: 9×13 rack, 16×16 floor, 14×24 kick… reinforcement hoops, inner coating… the vintage works.  The snare on the first track is my old Black Beauty, and on the 2nd track it’s my new 8×15 Glo Kit snare tuned way down.  Cymbals are all Paiste Traditional: 16″ crash/hats, 20″ thin ride (left crash), 22″ medium light ride, 22″ light ride (right crash).

– The famed NYC experimental rock band Yo La Tengo is currently touring with a huge Price Is Right wheel onstage, filled with various potential activities for their shows.  Each evening an audience member spins the wheel and the band does whatever it lands on.  So far everybody thought the “act out an entire Seinfeld episode” option was a joke, but apparently not…  Pitchfork

– State Farm commercials?  Um, so… yeah.  Weezer has officially sold out.  Youtube

– Prince owes some Dublin promoters a whole bunch of money, and he’s not paying.  A canceled gig in Ireland last year left Prince getting sued by the MCD entertainment company, but opting to settle out of court.  Now he’s getting sued again for not following through on the settlement, with the price tag currently at 2.2 million Euro and rising.  NME

– My daughter Betty (and 5-yr-olds across the nation) will be happy to hear that Miley Cyrus is hosting SNL March 5.  I’m trying to think of who else will be happy about that…  Billboard

– Activision has discontinued the once-popular music video game Guitar Hero, which I think indicates the decline overall in music gaming, and I for one don’t see that as a bad thing.  COS

– Miles Davis fans will be happy to hear of yet another previously unreleased live recording, documenting Miles’ Bitches Brew era band and their epic performance at the Isle of Wight Festival.  AllAboutJazz

– Editorial: Risen Drums is now building their own wood and metal shells, opening up tons of options previously unavailable when they ordered shells from Keller.  I did a session yesterday with some of the new stuff: a beautiful and classic sounding mahogany 3-pc kit and a completely aluminum snare with dbl 45 bearing edges.  These drums are totally killer and ONLY available through RD.  Look for a video next week…

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