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The first and perhaps only Bill Mike show of 2009 will be tomorrow night at Tiff’s in St Paul. The evening will be hosted by a cool band called Charn as they release their debut recording, These Sins Of Mine.  My friend Phil Hicks, who plays bass in the Jeremy Sanoski Band, is the bassist for Charn.  They rule.  Also in the evening’s lineup is the reincarnation of the Minneapolis indie-pop band Cowboy Curtis, now called Wishbook.

It’ll be a great night of music.  Make it happen.

PS. Morrissey plays bass in both Bill Mike and Wishbook, and he’s in town from NYC this week because of the release of his debut record as a bandleader/composer, The Morning World.  He was featured on the first hour of 89.3’s The Local Show last week, which you can listen to here.

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I’ve been at Matt Patrick’s new studio all afternoon today. He owned/operated Two Pillars and recently changed locations, now working out of a super cool space he calls “The Library.” It’s a great vibe and a really easy set-up. We did a hip-hop single today, but I’ll be in here doing a full-length folk/americana record in a few months. I’m really looking forward to spending an entire week in this place.

Also, I just got some additional toms for the Bill Mike kit. Check out this video for a little tour of the studio and a look at the new amber acrylic toms…

A few things…

1) I put some new tracks on my Myspace player the other day, including the title track from the forthcoming and now complete Look Alive record.  As I’ve mentioned before, this record has been in the works for FIVE YEARS, and it’s finally done.  Don’t ask me what’s going to happen with it.  The fact that the completed record exists at all is enough for me right now.  I imagine we’ll do a release show for it sometime soon.  There are a few additional tracks from the record on the official Look Alive page.

2) There’s another Bill Mike show tonight. We’re playing at the Cabooze, opening for Greg Ginn (guitarist from Black Flag). Like last week’s gig, the explosive Mark L. Johnson will be rocking with us because Chris is still out with Ben Kweller.  Speaking of Chris…

3) Do you want to get smarter? Go listen to some Chris Morrissey Quartet tracks, soon to be released on a record under his own name. He’s got some heavy-hitter jazz labels in New York lined up to release the project, and for good reason. I was listening to it again last night, and it just completely rules.

I’m playing a couple cool gigs next week that I want to make sure everybody knows about…

1) 18+ Bill Mike Band show on Thursday (3/26) at The Whole in Coffman Student Union. This is the first local BMB show since the Truce release last November, and this show is FREE.

2) Friday (3/27) is the release show for Elizabeth Hunnicutt’s new record, On The Way. The show will be at Church Of The Open Door in Maple Grove. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 the night of. You can hear some of the tracks from this record on Liz’s myspace page and on her new website.

img_5195I’ve got a great RD acrylic kit that I use specifically for the Bill Mike Band (you can see footage of this kit in the RD video lessons). The dimensions are pretty extreme, but I like that.  I actually just ordered some additional toms to go with the kit (15″ rack and 18″ floor) so I can use it for studio stuff beyond just BMB music.

Anyway, last week I found a great article on acrylic drums.  It’s a good read for anyone who’s interested in the history of drum building and why certain shells sound the way they do.

Super deep kick drums are popular these days, and for good reason. They look super cool.  And, the cool-looking, huge kick drum must sound good too, right? Well, no.  Extra deep kicks actually don’t sound good at all.

It makes a lot of sense, although the situation is the opposite of what you might first think. The resonant head is on the drum to do one job: resonate. And, the closer you put that head to the attack head, the more it will do it’s job to resonate sympathetically with your hits. Therefore, a deep kick drum, although appearing huge, actually sounds quite thin… because of the simple logic that the deep kick puts your res head further away from the attack head, and so it resonates less. Ironically then, the thin kick ends up sounding huge, and the deep kick sounds thin. This makes sense with the course of drum-making history, as early kick drums began with 10″-12″ depths, and have only exceeded 18″ in depth over the last decade. It turns out that the highly sought-after vintage kicks that everybody wants in the studio are ALWAYS 14″ depth, maximum.

This was all just logical theory to me before last week, though. For the Sanoski sessions, I brought the Bill Mike kick drum (14×24) and a different acrylic kick that I was borrowing (20×20). We tried the 20×20 first, and then the 14×24… and it was no contest. Now, of course the winning kick was bigger in diameter, which is the biggest factor… so I suppose one could say that it wasn’t a fair shoot-out. But still, I’ve heard great sounding 20-diameter bass drums before, and for the record, the 20×20 didn’t just lose in the comparison, it really didn’t sound good in the studio AT ALL.

I think a case can be made, however, for the deep kick drum in a live setting. There are plenty of ways to make ANY kick drum sound great in a live performance, and the deep kicks do look REALLY cool… so there you go.

SUMMARY: Super deep kick drums don’t sound nearly as great as they look.

3033884674_9b0c9c2be7For those of you who didn’t make it out to the Cedar for the Bill Mike record release a few weeks ago, here’s a cool feature that the Pioneer press did on the show. There’s interview footage, and some clips from the performance, although the audio quality sounds like the guy recorded the show with his cell phone while it was still in his pocket.

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A super huge thanks to everyone who came to the Bill Mike show last Friday. We had a great time. There’s a cool review of the show here, and a photo album here. I’ve also been told that the new record is now up on itunes, as well as our first record, if you’ve never heard that.

bmb2Ok, I promise this is the last time I’ll mention it.

The new Bill Mike Band record, TRUCE, is out today. We will be playing a release show tonight at the Cedar Cultural Center, and we will have all the amps on 11. More details here. See below for some reviews of the record, if you’re into that kind of thing.

City Pages, Vita.MN, Perfect Porridge, Rift Magazine

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I just put the opening track from TRUCE (the new Bill Mike record) up on my myspace page. Go check it out, and make plans to be at the Cedar Cultural Center this Friday for the TRUCE release show.

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