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1/14/04 - The Reviews Are In!

2/17/04 - Valentine's Day
3/15/04 - Azrael Block CD of 2003
4/16/04 - A Little Knowledge Is Dangerous
5/16/04 - CD Giveaway On Progscapes
6/16/04 - LB75p Bass
7/26/04 - "Yo WTF?"
8/23/04 - Pitfalls and Potholes of outdoor running
9/17/04 - Metal Maniacs
10/20/04 - Halloween 'n stuff
11/15/04 - 20th Century Guitar
12/15/04 - The Move

1/14/04

<rant> How much colder can it possibly get here in NY? We're getting deep into the negative temperature zone and I'm freezing my ass off!! Thankfully it hasn't snowed that much yet. Hell only one blizzard so far. Man, if we ain't bitchin' about the heat we are bitchin' about the cold. Oh well. Oh look it's snowing...great. </rant>

 

The reviews are in!!
Three of them to be exact. Here are some excerpts:

"Azrael Block picks up where Wyrd left off and surpasses that last effort by leaps and bounds. The over all feel of Azrael Block is adventurous, in your face prog/fusion with interesting sound embellishments that create sonic diversity and tension. ... Ever the visionary, Rapaport once again delivers a beautifully twisted palette of sonic indifference that is connected via the triangular focus of Melody-Groove-Technique."

"Rapaport ups the ante with his brilliant technical presentation of jaw dropping musical abilities that drive Azrael Block to the next stratosphere. Once again Greg showcases his command of the guitar drawing inspiration from his influences while continuing to build on his own unique voice."

"From a production stand point the entire disc is chock full of great tone and massive delivery. A well-mixed presentation that achieves a nice balance between massive “wall-of-sound” guitar, spatial drum tracks and a nice overall feel..."

"All the compositions are written with uniqueness in mind. Rapaport is keen on keeping the listener on their toes with plenty of twists and turns..."

"Azrael Block drives forward with no stereotypical typecasting or shortcomings. Once again Rapaport boldly goes where no guitarists dare to dwell and delivers a true to life, no compromise, composed and executed slab of great music. This entire CD deserves serious recognition and critical acclaim. Greg continues to lead the way with his cutting edge compositional styling and brilliantly executed technical forays into uncharted musical territory. Anyone who enjoys real music, played by a real musician with virtuoso skill and vision will love Azrael Block… Now repeat after me, “I will buy this CD”… “I will buy this CD… “I will buy this CD… "
-Mike Sandomirsky, Guitar Mania

"...the aural factor of this cd is nothing short of pristine. he employs much more atmosphere and headspace through the course of this recording, and he ventures into the idiom of creating a listening experience with what is a solid effort both in terms of sound and composition."
- MJ Brady Proggnosis

"...another fine release from a guy who deserves wider recognition. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Intelligent music? Check. Intelligent player? Check. One last question: Why the hell, after self-releasing four albums, does Rapaport still not have the support of a label?"
- Mike Popke, Sea of Tranquility

 

I want to say thanks to Steve Passiouras over at Fret Net PBS 106.7 in Australia who recently put my new disk in rotation on his show. I also want to thank Don Cassidy over at "Delicious Agony" for also playing some tunes off "Azrael Block" on his show as well.

As far as "Wyrd" goes it looks like I picked up international distribution through Musea, which is very cool. The low- down on Musea: "Musea is a record label and distributor specialized in Progressive Music, Hard Rock, Jazz, Folk, Electronic Music, Metal, Avant Garde and Blues. Musea's catalogue includes 2000 titles including over 500 of its own productions. This catalogue is sent to 10.000 mail order customers and 200 wholesalers, distributors and shops in more than 50 countries." So I'm hoping to pick up a bit of exposure trom there as well.

 

As far as the band goes well, WE BE JAMMIN' this Friday so hey life is good.

 

Stuff I'm listening to:
Allan Holdsworth - "All Night Wrong"

Why is Allan Holdsworth so scary? Why is that? His phrasing, speed, chord voicings, everything, is at the uppermost level. He is truly a musician's musician. I guess I'm paying homage to him becauset he's probably one of the best guitar players in the world and many people know about him. He's played with Tony Williams, Bill Bruford, Jeff Berlin, Eddie Jobson and many other very notable musicians. He's quiet, reserved and humble to the 'nth degree. - Well on with the review.

This is a live disk recorded at "The Pit" (smallish venue) in Tokyo Japan. Now I'm not big on live albums but this one is really REALLY good. The production is top shelf. Though I do have a feeling that Holdsworth had a hand in mixing because he is mixed a little too far back for my taste. Other than that everything is crystal clear. Drummers will love this album because the drums sound awsome and are played by the incredible Chad Wackerman. He plays with such a great groove and yet can be very musical. Jimmy Johnson rounds out the trio in fine form. He does a good job of holding down the fort while Holdsworth and Wackerman run the show. This is a great album, one worth investing in if you want to check out some first class musicianship.

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2/17/04

(Rant disclaimer: the following rant is part satire, part truth but most of all one person's opinion which is worth absolutely nothing.) Read on...

<rant>Valentine's Day...help me out here. Why does the greetingcard industry have to manufacture all these pseudo holidays? (Obviously a rhetorical question, 'cause they want our money of course). Think about it. The industry follows a chain of commercialized religous holidays and between them are bridges of weak fabricated holidays. Observe: Xmas-->New Years-->Valentines Day-->St. Patrick's Day-->Easter-->Mother's Day-->Father's Day-->4th of July-->Grandparent's Day-->Halloween-->Thanksgiving-->Xmas. Let's talk about the weak ones. While I feel that Valentine's Day is a bit lame there is actually some legitmacy to it as far as history is concerned. Read about it here: http://wilstar.com/holidays/valentn.htm.
St. Patrick's Day? WEAK!! Even McDonald's joins in every year with the "Shamrock Shake". WTF? What does that have to do with driving snakes out of Ireland? Whatever.
Let's move on to Mother's Day. Anna M. Jarvis pretty much kicked things off by never marrying because she wanted to hang out with her mom. Hey that's cool, whatever floats your boat, but why does the population have to go out and drop a wad of cash because of her codepedency issues?
Father's Day. I'm a dad so Father's Day is pretty cool but I still kinda find it unnecessary to have people go out and ransack the 50% off tie bin at Macy's to pay homage to a guy named William Smart? Smart raised 6 kids on his own after his wife died in the 1800's. While I respect Mr. Smart and all the trials and tribulations he must have gone through you have to remember that you were allowed to put your kids to work and give 'em a crack in the ass with a switch back then too. Think about it. I bet his life was pretty good when his kids got a bit older. "Junior go git me another beer before I put a switch to yer butt!!"
Grandparents Day?...next.
Halloween. An exploited Pagan holiday...next.
We finally meander over to Thanksgiving. While a very valid holiday I'm kinda thinking it's a bit ironic. I mean first we break bread with the Native Americans then systematically kill most of them off, take their land, and deplete their food supply. Not to mention give them a bunch of diseases to thin out their population even more. Yeah, that's worthy of a card to good ol' Uncle Irv. Hey Hallmark...bite me.
And these weak ones are the more popular ones. Don't even get me started on Secretary's Day.
</satirical rant>

 

Ok lots to jabber about concerning "Azrael Block". First we'll start with a couple 'o nice reviews and some commentary from the music community. I was lucky to get reviewed on a great progressive music site called "Progressive Ears". And Dean Pierce said the following:

"This is my first exposure to the music of Greg Rapaport. The music is described as “progressive metal, dark fusion”, and that description itself sounds intriguing. Greg plays and or programs all of the instruments himself on this album, in addition to producing, recording, engineering. In other words he does it all here, and I must say I am more than impressed with the results.

The recording of this album is incredible, and if he wished he could probably do some producing and engineering in addition to his musical career. This album’s sound quality is better than many bands that I hear that are signed to labels! He says he has worked on Azrael Block for 2 years, and it has been time well spent. This album is a very well thought out, and very well executed work.

The title track of the album, is also the basis of the album’s cover art. According to the CD’s liner notes, “Azrael Block” is the name of a specific method of memory control, which he found the concept about in a book by Dean Koontz called “Strangers”. The liner notes inside the CD, really give the listener some good insight on what the songs are about and if you listen, with these thoughts in mind, the songs become more alive! In a sense he is what I would call in some cases a musical storyteller.

Wait a minute; this is supposed to be an instrumental album, right? Don’t stories usually involve words?

Well music is a form of language, and the instruments can be the voice. In “Skitzophraniac”, with his instruments you can hear all of the different personalities of the mentally disturbed character the song is about! Some dark humor is present in the song “Dinner And Dancing” which depicts a typical date for Hannibal Lector. Well let’s just say, his date becomes a main course. Give the song a listen, and read the comments and you will see what I mean here. “Flatline" is about someone’s last moments of life in the hospital, and “Uncle Knucklez” is a bumbling old schoolman with an attitude. Progressive music fans, love music that opens the mind and the way Rapaport brings these stories to life with his music is amazing! Just listen carefully, and you can envision the scenarios he is creating with his music!

To the music itself, the album certainly has a dark metallic edge in much of the guitar work. There are jazz fusion influences throughout the album as well, and he does a masterful job of stringing musical ideas together throughout the entire album. For example on "Difunckt", he laces jazz, progressive metal, and funk ideas together effortlessly and on “No Solace” (the album’s closer) progressive thrash is blended with ambient folk. To those who give this CD a listen, will find it’s a CD robust with ideas and atmosphere, not to mention some serious musicianship and shredding!

As I said in the beginning of this review, this is my first exposure to Greg’s work. After hearing this incredible album, it surely won’t be my last."
-Dean Pierce, Progressive Ears

 

Also I was lucky enough to be contacted by Jorge Miranda of the Guitar Lords website for a review and an interview.

"Greg Rapaport, es un guitarrista de 7 cuerdas, cuyo enfoque musical esta orientado a la combinacion del metal progresivo y el Jazz-Fusion con toque unico que os distingue de entre muchos guitarristas actualmente en los mismos generos. Greg ha destacado no solo por haber crecido como un joven compositor destacado que lo ha ayudado a competir con muchos escritores y solistas, sino tambien por su enorme capacidad para combinar cada una de sus cualidades para crear increibles atmosferas fuera de lo comun en cada uno de sus temas y en sus trabajos. En un principio al escucharlo a cualquiera le viene a la mente gente como Michael Harris, Cyril Achard y Dave Martone, pero al ponerle mas atencion y al ir profundizando el oido al parche, uno tiene que exclamar: Donde rayos se habia metido este sujeto???!"

Sus influencias principales incluyen a Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Greg Howe y Jimmy Page; pero tambien lo han sido sus trabajos con bandas de su area. El mismo ha comentado que enseñar a otros musicos y guitarristas en la mitad del tiempo que puede hacerla de instructor lo ha ayudado musicalmente a proveerse con muchos y nuevos parametros y perspectivas musicales diferentes. Todo lo anterior puede evidenciarse por medio de sus mas recientes trabajos: "Wyrd" y "Azrael Block", que para empezar como mencione anteriormente, ha sido totalmente grabados por el mismo, asi como el arte del disco el diseño, la produccion y programacion, y eso no es todo, es un hombre orquesta!, ya que se encarga de todos los arreglos, en cuanto a la bateria, el bajo, los teclados y los demas toques atmosfericos que pueden escucharse en cada uno de ellos, siendo le trabajo de "Azrael Block" el mas fino hasta la fecha y el mas oscuro, que soberbio sobre todo para todos los fans de la musica progresiva, que incluso alabaran el estupendo trabajo de arte en cuanto a la portada y contraportada del disco en si, ya que es intrigante y tenebroso a la vez.

En Azrael Block Greg, profundiza mas sus trabajos anteriores pero mejorandolos a un nivel sin limite, ya que explora mas temas convulsionados y ortodoxos fusionadolos a miles de ideas musicales. En este disco puedo facilmente decir que es un trabajo multi-intrumental consistentemente "inconsistente" en la metodologia que ha creado lo que bien parece ser un gran reto que supero bastante bien y con benefios inigualables; tecnica, sentimiento y composiciones que llegan en momentos heavy y de repente un slow down excelente forman un triangulo donde el comun denominador es un sentimiento indescriptible. Este su cuarto disco aun como independiente deja una pregunta al aire.. porque aun no lo ha firmado una casa disquera?

Si desean conocer algo fuera de lo comun esperando un amplia gama de calidad en composiciones y arreglos con nuevas direcciones en la musica progresiva separandose de los demas; Greg es un excelente recomendacion con los ojos cerrados!!."
-Jorge Miranda, Guitar Lords.

 

Another great writer by the name of Volkmar Mantei was interested in reviewing my disk and also having me do an interview. He writes for the Progressive-Newsletter, arf-society as well as his own site, Ragazzi Music.

"Azrael Block" ist eine der Produktionen, bei der man sich fragt, warum keine Plattenfirma zugegriffen hat. Oder wollte Greg das Album selbst produzieren (wie er es bereits dreimal vorher getan hat), um sich völlige Unabhängigkeit zu bewahren? Wie dem auch sei, diese Produktion ist ein Hammer! "Azrael Block" besteht aus 12 instrumentalen Songs, die stilistisch zwischen Power Metal und Jazz Fusion mäandern, wobei Greg stets Progressive Rock im Hinterkopf hat und nur einmal (Dinner And Dancing) eine Popmelodie spielt.

Greg spielt sechs- und siebensaitige Gitarren, Bass, Keyboards und bedient den Rhythmuscomputer. Zwar hört man stets, dass der Computer die Rhythmen gibt, aber die Programmierung ist derart komplex und anspruchsvoll, dass dieser an sich negative Fakt viel eher positiv auffällt. Als Einflüsse listet Greg Rapaport Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola und Jimmy Page auf. "Azrael Block" ist über 75 Minuten lang, eine umfangreiche Arbeit, die trotz einiger weniger Längen sehr gelungen ist. Nicht über die ganze Dauer kann das komplexe Werk stete Aufmerksamkeit erregen, obwohl der Wechsel harter und leiserer Songs sich die Waage hält. Die vielschichtigen Arrangements gerade der leiseren Songs haben schon mal kleine Hänger, die nicht wirklich negativ auffallen, aber die Energie abflauen lassen. Das macht Greg immer wieder wett, als sei es ihm selbst aufgefallen. Auch sind einige, wieder leisere Töne, etwas süß und lieblich, was aber nicht negativ bewertet werden kann, sonst bekomme ich wieder Schelte von Markus Klein. "Azrael Block" ist das 4. Solo-Werk des Multiinstrumentalisten Rapaport und seine 5. Produktion. Vor allem werden die Rocker unter den Prog Heads das Album lieben, aber auch die Jazz(rock-)puristen bekommen ihr ganz gelungenes Teil ab. Das inspirierte Album kann ich nur empfehlen!
-Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi Music

 

I also managed to pick up some new airplay thanks to Chan Weinmeister of "Progged Radio". Bob Mills from "aTTeNTioN sPaN raDiO" also was kind enough to give me a shout requesting a disk for airplay. Also I contacted "Progressive Soundscapes" and they were into receiving a copy as well. Joe Kelley was also kind enough to give me some airtime so you'll be able to hear Azrael Block over on "The Upper Room With Joe Kelley" as well. Whew! I think that's it...oh wait.

 

Wyrd made a nice resurgence with a killer review written by Stephanie Sollow over at "Progressive World". Read on...

Okay, so when you first play Wyrd, you think that Greg Rapaport is giving you another instrumental shred fest that is all bluster and energy and no substance. But then you begin to realize something as you really listen -- this isn't anything like that at all. Oh, yes, Rapaports shreds – you better believe it, baby! But he mixes in jazz and funk to create just the sort of eclectic blend that I find I'm coming to love more and more. And I know you will, too.

Rapaport comes charging out the gate aflame, kicking things off with the thrilling "11th Portal." And he doesn't just do it on the guitar – yes, listen to those fat bass groves on "Bugjuice" coming at you with a funky cool sexy riff. And it's Rapaport on programmed drums, too, that hardly seem they could be. Yes, when you get nitpicky, you hear a little bit that they are. But it doesn't spoil the music one iota. There is a sense of depth and interplay that one imagines must be hard when you can't feed off anything but your own energy. And yet, here is proof that it can be done. And done with warmth – the arrangements have a nice amber glow about them, which suggest to me that Rapaport plays more for feel than for technique – though both are there to be sure. Wyrd is neither too crunchy nor too over-the-top, though it goes with the territory that a guitarist that is showing his chops is going to be a little showy.

I'm smacking myself silly that I let this CD sit unheard for so long (it's been about 18 months) … there's just one tasty morsel after another. Just listen to Rapaport burn it up on "Diminished Returns," for example. Of course, by then you're already sold because that's track 6. And if you're in for some white-hot tangoing, then just listen to "Powderburn" or the funky, danceable, spicy "Slik." And metal heads will love "Darkmatter," which goes from dark, heavy chugging bass and drums with some sweet soloing to something a little more atmospheric with eerie whispered vocals to somewhere in between and back.

On the heavier, more metallic pieces, Rapaport sounds like hyper-souped-up 80s-period Rush – specifically something like "YYZ" only much hotter. But also there are some Lifeson like elements when Rapaport throttles back to play with a little more subtlety (as on "11th Portal"). Though I should point out that Lifeson is not named among Rapaports influences – Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Greg Howe, and Jimmy Page are.

Oh hell, let's not beat around the bush. This is great stuff. Head on over to Greg's website and buy this! NOW! Don't be like me and sit on it. But, for those who aren't convinced, you can hear clips of this album at his site, too. But you'll end listening to them just to tide you over while you wait for the post office to deliver your package containing the real thing.

PS – Rapaport did all the artwork, too.

Rating: 5/5
-Stephanie Sollow, Progressive World

 

So needless to say I was psyched to read all this nice feedback on my work and I really appreciate all the time the reviewers put in to writing it. Also all the radio play is a really great bonus as well. Well that's it for now.

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3/15/04

I have been noticing a bit of a trend in my opening moronalogues. It seems that I have been a bit negative so I think this time around I should have a brighter outlook on things. Impossible you say? Well, you may be right, but we'll give it a shot anyhoo. So here we go...ahem...hmmm... uhhhh... well... hey there it's sunny outside today and ummmmmm, hmmmmmmm and it's not raining. Kinda warm today...oh look a bird! ahhhh forget it, everything sux!

 

Yep, hard to believe but Azrael Block was voted CD of 2003 by The Guitarists.com!

The Guitarists.com
GREG RAPAPORT ~ AZRAEL BLOCK ~ CD of 2003

AZRAEL BLOCK is the newest CD by Greg Rapaport, a well rounded, if not all encompassing musician. He played all the instruments, composed these intricate and at times complicated songs, programmed the drums and did all the studio work where he showed surprising skills. He even did the incredible artwork for the CD. After hearing AZRAEL BLOCK I was amazed that one mind had conceived, executed and created such a stunning piece of work. Something this great is usually the work of a team. Greg is obviously seasoned in all areas of the trade, a true consummate professional. This is the kind of do it yourself greatness that the Record Industry fears with it's cold heart. Right On Greg!! Power To The Musician!! Sorry man, I got a little carried away.
I reviewed Greg's last CD "WYRD" so I'm no stranger to Greg's music. But I had forgotten how deeply his music could cut, or how quickly it could heal. Much of the music here has a Jeckell and Hyde quality that I just love. One minute he's Dr Jeckell, the articulate, calculated creator of visions. Then in a heartbeat he's Mr Hyde, insane, powerful and dangerous. Greg just loves to lull you into a false sense of security, and then without warning slam you head first into a wall of Metal. This keeps you looking over your shoulder every time a song takes a calm turn. You just know he's waiting around the next corner with an axe.
AZRAEL BLOCK is a very groove oriented CD partially do to Greg's certifiably mad bass playing. I do find myself switching off between listening to the guitar and the bass. Just check out the slappin' on "Interlude-B" or the highly funk induced "Difunckt". This CD would undeniably appeal to Bass guitar fans as well. There are a some ferocious funky parts that would make Bootsy Collins take notice!
But, back to the CD...A line from John Kay (Steppenwolf) best describes this CD, "It's Evil, Wicked, Mean and Nasty". AZRAEL BLOCK is exciting, forceful and full of heavy moods and dark colors with moments of beauty and light. But even in some of the most beautiful moments there is still this uneasy vibe. Not a feeling of doom, just uncertainty, the kind that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But this isn't entirely a metal CD, although it is HEAVY.....I have to say that I love the relentless attacks that come out of nowhere in Greg's music. He is among the masters of shred, and his attacks will leave you bruised. But when he slows it down and put away the flash, his music reaches a whole new level, becoming spiritual, even transcendental. Expressing a beauty that no eye has seen, but thanks to Greg, the mind has. He reaches this point in both "Interlude-A" and "Flatline". Where we get to see Greg at his most creative and imaginative. He paints a highly detailed background. Right down to almost ambient sounds. The production of the entire CD is nothing short of exceptional. I've heard CD's that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to record that aren't even in the same league as AZRAEL BLOCK.
Whoooaa! Rockers and Shred lovers, this stuff will beat you up and leave you for dead. Any calm moments are usually followed by an all out assault. Greg is a conquerer that shows no mercy, and knows no mercy. I don't make comparisons, (Vai with a bad attitude meets Satriani with too much caffeine meets Petrucci) so I will say that Greg is among the masters when it comes to Rock, Metal and Shred. But when it come to shear merciless aggression/force/power/attack/ Greg has no equal. And his understanding, and powerful use of dynamics make these attacks that much more damaging. Trust me, when you're drifting off into space during one of the softer moments, and you forget where you are. Then suddenly Greg rips off your head with some deadly Metal riff/solo you'll get it.

"A Highly Technical Guitarist Who Sets New Boundaries For
Progressive Metal. This Is The Standard By Which All Other
Metal Guitarists Should Judge Themselves".

THE TRACKS

The CD opens with "Azrael Block" - Right from the beginning this song throws you head first into the darkness. Opening with a wicked shout sound bite that get placed again in strategic points to enhance the already ominous vibe. Then all of a sudden there's a moment of sanctuary, the music is calm and soothing, your heart rate slows bringing you a sense of security. But the attack is back on!

TRACK #2 "Sever" - A beautifully/aggressive song that seems more aggressively/beautiful at times. An aural attack that's rooted in Rock, with a Metal edge. Some highly emotional/soulful playing here. Even though this is a very pretty song, that ominous vibe from track one seems to carry over to this song, creating a pleasant but uneasy feeling.......

TRACK #3 "Tech Support" - Opens with a sound bite of a phone ringing over and over. Funny that's the exact sound I hear whenever I call Tech Support. But that's a story for another time. A very funky Jazz song with plenty of no bull sh#t Metal attitude. Damn this song is downright wicked with it's danceable Funk and nasty Metal. This song will have you shakin' your ass and thrashin' your head at the same time. Greg's attack and sound of the solos on this one is really dirty. I turned this one way up when I first heard it!

TRACK #4 "Interlude-A" - Greg paints an aural landscape on this track, and I would call it a masterpiece. Slowing it way down creating a tranquil state with not only the notes, but the space between the notes. This guy seems to be able to control both space and time. On this track I loved the weightless drifting feel of the solos. Each note with a voice of it's own. This is where we see Greg go from destroyer to creator, madman to genius! Oh! Man! Beautiful..........

TRACK #5 "Skitzophraniac" - I love this track, alright I love the whole CD. But this is the way I like it. There's always a new twist that you just don't see coming. And anyone who has actually read my reviews knows how much I like being blind sided musically.

TRACK #6 "Uncle Knucklez" - An infectious groovathon that turns like a mad dog and bites you in the ass, shifting between smooth smokin' Jazz and smolderin' Metal. This track is tighter than a pair of Britney you know who's hiphuggers. The odd time changes make this danceable track contrast the bodies natural timing. So if you try bopping your head to this one, you better be ready for a neck brace.....

TRACK #7 "Flatline" - Whoa..this is what I'm talking about. This song shows Greg at his softest, and some of his hardest. A beautiful, spiritually moving song with a couple of surprise attacks where the "beautiful" turns brutal, and the "moving" means run! At a full 9:47 this track still wasn't long enough for me. Greg ends the song with a sound bite of the heart monitor flatline____. To remind you that it's a beautiful song, but it's an odd beauty.

TRACK #8 "Interlude-B" - Greg is clearly an amazing Jazz player, so I was indeed pleased to see him include a real Jazz number. In Greg's own inimitable style he challenges the boundaries, but he keeps it Jazz, smokin' and sweet. Mercy me...that's a deep groove! The good time feel and the funky danceability draw you immediately under it power. (a side note* It's also a very cool song to play air guitar to. For real fun try the bass line.) A radio friendly song that instantly feels comfortable..

TRACK #9 "Deceiving The Industry" - This song shifts back and forth between a wall of industrial metal and a very pleasant Rock groove. The outro solo on this one is breath taking. I think I heard a little classical influence too.

TRACK #10 "Difunckt" - Remember how on the track "Interlude-B" above I said how much I like Greg's Jazz playing. And how on that track he stayed within the boundaries. OK, this is another great Jazz song, but forget the boundaries, there are none. Greg plays this Jazz song with a real Metal influence and piercing solos. This one begs to be turned up to "11".

TRACK #11 "Dinner And Dancing" - I don't know about dinner, but he's got the dancing part right. A white hot funkified and obviously danceable song. I can picture BB Kings Horns behind this, with BB and Greg trading off. It's got that kinda funky blues feel that makes you want to shake something..It's in you and it's gotta come out.

TRACK #12 "No Solace" - Maaan! This one comes at you like an angry pitbull out for vengeance. No Solace indeed, this track leaves you nowhere to hide. I was hoping for one no holds barred all out attack song. This is exactly what I was hoping for, Greg unleashed with an attitude and six strings to back it up. Greg does give you time to rest. It's only after 5 minutes of relentless assault though. For the next 3 minutes Greg takes you on a smooth ride through a dark intricately woven background, making you feel safe but unsure. But as the title might suggest, you're not safe. And in a split second move, Greg comes in for the kill. I didn't even see it coming!
-John Hokanson, The Guitarists.com

 

Another cool development is that I am now supplementing my income by teaching both guitar and bass over at U Music which is owned and operated by Lou Ubriaco. It's located in Buchanan NY (just south of Peekskill). If you live in upper Westchester/lower Putnam county area feel free to give us a buzz (914) 736-7777, or stop in and check out the shop. The digs are nice and we are really gearing up to provide a lot of cool services (demo recording, workshops, production classes, voice and piano instruction etc) The address is 3115 Albany Post Rd. Buchanan NY. If you decide to drop by it be best to call first.

 

Nothing really new on the band front, we just pluggin' along trying to stay out of trouble while still making an excessive amount of noise. Jeff did hook us up with a nice session gig though which will be cool. A little extra cash never hurt anyone.

 

Stuff I'm listening to:
Hypothetical By Threshold

This is my first purchase of this band and I'm pretty impressed. The guitar production is very nice, reminiscent of earlier DT. The drums sound decent as well, articulate and well rounded. The bass is audible but could be pushed up a wee bit. Keyboards are nice too, cool patches that are thoughtfully used. The lead sound is very listenable and doesn't grate on my nerves. The vocals are produced very well also utilizing nice harmonies and effects. Well onto the songs:

Light and Space:
If there was going to be a single this one would be it. Very hooky, well crafted tune. Has some progressive elements but doesn't really push the envelope. In other words "radio friendly". Excellent Tune.

Turn On Tune In:
Riffage is tasty. The verse has a cool effect on the guitar which really sets off the tune. There is also a bridge where things get a little more aggressive. (Aggressive=cool :-). Excellent tune.

The Ravages of Time:
Cool ambient beginning. This tune takes on a thrashier note, almost Nevermore-like. The breakdown is nice as well. He puts a phaser-like affect on the vocal which is very unique and I think it really gives the tune a shot in the arm. The instrumental section is well put together and the soloing is melodic and memorable. Excellent Tune

The Sheltering Sky:
This tune has a Pink Floyd/REO Speedwagon vibe to it. While I am fan of Floyd, REO ain't really my cup 'o tea. The song has a semi arena/ballad style to it. Not bad but not my fav. Fair Tune.

Oceanbound:
You can guess how this tune starts so I don't have to get into that. This song is kinda to poppy for me. It has a bit of a Rush vibe to it, Signals era. They use that cool phaser affect on the vocals again but it doesn't really give it the boost it did in The Ravages of Time. The breakdown is ok definitley not as cool as some of the others. Good Tune.

Long Way Home:
This tune is rockin'! Straight ahead metal with a bit of thrash thrown in on the verses. The choruses are a bit poppier with a Styx vibe to it. The instrumental section has some nice piano action on it. Good Tune.

Keep My Head:
Ballad, 'nuff said.

Narcissus:
This is what I think is the epic tune as it clocks in at over 11:00 minutes. While the riffing is nice I just wish it was a little more out there. It seems fairly generic. The breakdown is cool though. Reminds me of Queen a bit. Very nice vocal harmonies and harmonized lead lines. After this section it heads into a contrasting oddmeter semi-dissonant section with an acrobatic wah solo dueling with a key solo. Overall a good listen. Lots of nice ideas and the parts were sewn together really well. Excellent Tune.

So to sum up one bonehead's opinion...this disk is a good find. The production is happening and it seems like everyone plays for the good of the band. If you are into 80's sounding progmetal a la early DT with a dose of Queen, REO, and Rush this disk is for you.

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4/16/04

Well another year another another tax day passed. This year I didn't procrastinate so I already got my money back. And of course it has been pissed away on useless things like bills. Oh well.

I've been thinking about focusing one of my moronalogues on the war in Iraq but that could be a bit perilous. You know what they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And in that respect I can be pretty deadly :-). Since I don't have cable, or TV for that matter, I'm not really privy to all the latest and greatest happenings over in the middle east. (though I do try to surf MSNBC once a day). Since I am relatively coherent and somewhat educated I will impart my opinion though...lucky you.

I generally think we started off with good intentions. I mean there was a lunatic over there killing his own people. And his sons...well they don't need any clarification. I did a little jig when I found out they bit it. Why we waited for so long before we went in there, I'll never know. As far as an alternate agenda, oil, that could very well be true but it seems like everyone in a position of power has an alternate agenda. Again, I'm not really sure of all the circumstances. All I know is this, a few years ago a bunch of planes decided to fly into some buildings and kill A LOT of people. That made me mad. That made the whole country mad. At that point I think as a country we were united in a way like I had never seen. We looked at eachother in a new light and our petty differences were set aside...for awhile. Once the higher ups decided that Iraq was a part of all this and that Saddam was running the show over there that provided a pretty good excuse for us to go on over and raise hell.

Flash to the present. Since the "heavy fighting" has been over we've seen many many more casualties. More troops are being sent in to help fortify the existing ones. Civilians and soldiers alike are now being taken hostage. And while some are being released, I think there are some that aren't. I mean four civilians burned alive and their bodies mutilated for kicks? Something is wrong. I think as a country we will never know REALLY what the hell is going on over there and why we're there. To be honest with you I have a hard time trusting any politician. There is always a skeleton dangling or an agenda being pushed. The question is that is there any agenda worth the bloodshed that is going on over there? It might be time to come up with a new strategy. Thankfully I'm not the one to have to come up with that new strategy. (This has been one man's uninformed opinion) :-)

 

I was lucky enough to be contacted by the webmaster of "Quintessence" and he was kind enough to post some nice comments about "Azrael Block" (below). Thanks Wayne!!

Greg Rapaport (U.S.)- "Azrael Block" (2003 self)
Greg has been on the website near the beginning when I started it with his last release "Wyrd". I can't really say much before then as he has two other solo releases in the late 90's as far as comparing anything but I will tell you "Azrael Block" is a genuine masterpiece. Greg is another one of those 7-stringers and doesn't have that Martone/Kopyto sound going on which definately gives him more identity (even though you can tell Martone and Kopyto apart) and this new 12-track spin is everything it was mentioned to be; complex, darker, progressive and intricate as far as the compositions. Greg does all the music himself as well as has his own studio; quite a brain on the guy!

"Azrael Block" is probably one of the most diverse recordings I've heard since Martone as far as utilizing tons of genres within a vortex of the Prog-Metal/Jazz/Fusion element. At times it can be melancholic, exotic and hit present-day/Post Modern idealogy with melody, bridges, mind-boggling time sigs and alot of "against-the-grain" ideas that all work. It's a bizarre twist of Holdsworth, Montrose, Page and Blackmore in a sense but no main guy really stands out. The recipe Greg had in mind is nothing you'l find in the latest Emeril book and it's as authentic as it gets. Not your typical guitar release in the least!
-Wayne Klinger, Quintessence

 

Believe it or not I have been making some steady progress on my next project. I have three tunes down as far as rhythm tracks. I'm going to rerecord the bass tracks as I'm going to be doing a major bass upgrade in the near future. The overall concept of the disk is still forming in my head so things may shift around a bit.

 

I also got added to a very cool radio station, Bad Attitude Radio, they are nothing but commercial free metal 24 hours, 7 days a week. They play stuff by, Control Denied, G&R, Queensryche, Vehemence, Pantera etc. I highly advise checkin' 'em out if you are into listening to metal and nothing but metal.

 

I have picked up some more students over at U Music which is great. I think within a few months time that place is really going to undergo some very cool changes. We already have Tommy Bitando teaching piano there which is awesome. He is probably one of the best key players in the area and he is a fantastic instructor as well. I've also been working on the U Music website and while progress has been a bit slow it has been steady. Essentially we are now focusing on the content as the layout is pretty much finished.

 

The band on the other hand has turned into more of a jam situation which has been really helpful to me as a bass player. Playing with Dale and Jeff has really brought my bass skills up a notch and I think they are enjoying the true low end of a bass instead of 7 string. Hey instead of humping around all my geetar gear (rack, cabinet etc) all I need to do is grab my bass and plug it into the PA. Very nice.

 

Stuff I'm listening to:
CAB 4 by CAB

This is my third Cab disk and I'm thinkin' it might be the best yet. The core of Cab is: Bunny Brunel (bass), Tony MacAlpine (guitar), Dennis Chambers (drums) and Brian Auger (hammond). Patrice Rushen plays piano and additional keys as well.

So far they have maintained their sound through the last couple of releases (they went from Cab 2 to Cab 4 skipping Cab 3 for reasons of comic relief). I'm not gonna take this one track by track, I'm going to go with the "as a whole" approach.

First the sound/performance: Bunny Brunel's sound is virtually unchanged. He has that semi-processed wet sound. (Think Jeff Berlin). When he slaps his sound has a bit more bite to it which is appropriate. Now in my opinion it would be cool if he could just get a bit more grit in his tone. (ala Jaco). I think he would sound a little more aggressive and I think it would compliment his playing style as well. His lines are amazing. He is such a wonderfully melodic player. His solos are meaningful and I feel that he is one of the few soloists who can stand on the same plateau as Jeff Berlin. As far as his slap stylings they are adequate and securely in the pocket. You won't be hearing any Victor Wooten acrobatics here but you will hear a very solid multidimensional player. Mr. MacAlpine (who recently split from Planet X BTW) holds his own and adds his spice very nicely. He introduces some nice comping and of course his fusion shredder lines are very much up to the task. He does repeat his ideas a bit so on occasion his soloing can get a bit monotonous. HIs tone is his own. While I'm not in love with it but I think it facilitates his killer legato playing and helps him cut through the fray. Brian Auger has been around for quite a while and since his introduction to CAB (CAB 2) he has brought nothing but good things and has really added another dimension to this project. What I especially enjoy are the furious unison lines with MacAlpine. They just light up the tune and really add a cool contrast to the generally laid back vibe of the tunes. His comping skills are great and he adds a cool percussive element that drives the music along. I have a lot of respect for someone who can play the B-3, that thing is a monster and there is a lot more to it then meets the eye. Patrice Rushen guests on this disk mainly playing piano. I don't really know all that much about her but from what I heard on this disk I can tell you one thing. She is awsome! She has a really playful technique and she stakes out her sonic turf quite well. Her improv is serendipitous but she always lands on her feet. She also adds a very "jazzy" element to the overall sound. I hope to hear her on CAB 5! Last but not least there is Dennis Chambers. Hey what can you say about Chambers. He's got a cool greasy technique. His fills are great, his solos are musical and fun to listen to. He is so deep in the pocket you'd have to bring a miners hat to find him! He is exceptional in pretty much every way. His sound is decent (not quite as good as on his album "Outbreak") but what do you expect this is a band effort not a solo album.

Now the tunes: Overall I find most of the tunes enjoyable to listen to. Some of them tend to be a bit redundant at times and a little soft. I think Patrice Rushen really added some life to the compositions and thus brought everything up a notch. The band interaction is almost telepathic with respect to those lightening quick unison runs. It's pretty amazing how they can go from 0 to 200mph then back to a comfortable 55mph in a matter of a few seconds. This has almost become a trademark of theirs. There is a killer sense of groove due to the great interplay between Chambers and Brunel. The heroes of this disk? Well that's a tough one. I'm kinda thinking Patrice Rushen and Bunny Brunel. Their performances seem the most memorable. Or maybe I'll just have to go back and listen to it again :-)

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5/16/04

<rant#1>So whaddyathink? Spring lasted what...like a week? It was cold then it was HOT! I don't get it. I remember when I was a kid we actually had seasons. It was great. Now it seems like we only have winter and summer with a very abbreviated spring and fall. Bah, whatever. Where are my shorts.

<rant#2>So how about this prison scandal? Holy shit! Talk about fucking up. And what's with that girl who's in all the pics pointing at the prisoners' junk? What the hell are her issues? I don't get it man, I just don't.

<rant#3>You ever notice how you get older time goes by quicker. I remember when I was like 15. I couldn't wait til I turned 16 so I could drive. I think 15 lasted like 3 years. Now that I'm in my 30's it seems like I turn around and another year is gone. I think it really got bad when my kid was born. It just seems like yesterday he was crawling around and drooling on the floor. Now he's going to start kindergarten this fall. (I'm glad he stopped the drooling thing.)

<rant#4>where's my bass??!!! I ordered it a month ago and it is supposed to be here tomorrow but it's not here yet!

<rant#5>what's with all the complainers? It's like everywhere I look everybody is bitching about someth...wait.

So are you up for a language lesson? How about Ukranian? Well thankfully Froster let me know that he liked "Azrael Block" and gave me a 5 out of 5 rating. So if you're bilingual have a look here.

 

*cue newsradio music and announcer's voice*
This just in...
Low on funds? Well we have a solution for you!

"Win Greg Rapaport's latest CD - Azrael Block"

That's right folks! Progressive Soundscapes Radio, Splinterhead Productions and Greg Rapaport invite you to enter a drawing for a chance to win one of four (4) copies of 'Azrael Block'.

To enter, simply send an e-mail to AzraelBlock@Yahoo.com The subject heading should read 'Greg Rapaport CD Giveaway'. The body of the email must contain only your name and email address. All entries must be received by 12:00 Noon EST on Monday, June 7th 2004.

A random drawing of qualified entries will be held Tuesday June 8th, 2004 on the air at Progressive Soundscapes Radio during the show 'Flight To Reality' (between the hours of 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM EST), where the music of Greg Rapaport will be featured. Four (4) winning entries will be announced and they will be notified by e-mail. (click here for the rules 'n stuff)
...now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The new album is progressing. I've been working on the drums for the fifth song. The tunes in general are sounding very tight and...well...pretty darn good! In my humble opinion ;-). Ya got yer progmetal mixed with yer funk slammed against some fusion. Yep pretty much my MO (as in modus operandi). But the seasoning this time around will be a extra spicy.

 

What I'm Playing:
Hitman Contracts - lo interactive/eidos
-Well well well. What's this? A game review? WTF?

-The game is reeeaaaaasonably cool. To be honest I dig Hitman2 a bit more for its playability and story but for what the 3rd installment lacks in playabiltiy it makes up for in atmosphere. Before I get to far let me give you the premise of the franchise. Essentially you play a hitman who relies more on intelligence and stealth instead of sheer firepower and brutality. While being constantly torn by your purpose in life and the demons that haunt you, you receive jobs/contracts that you must accomplish with a minimal amount of collateral damage. The less damage/unnecessary kills, the higher the rating you get which unlocks some goddam cool weapons. I like goddam cool weapons!! Anyway. Hitman 3 doesn't really have a contiguous story. In the beginning of the game, the first cutscene, our hero is dying due to a gunshot wound. He struggles into his hotel room and then collapses. He is constantly in and out of consciousness so while incoherent he experiences flash backs which are the missions that you play. This game is rated M for everything under the sun. There be some STRONG sexual content so if that kinda stuff bugs you I'd stay away. If it doesn't bug you then you'll definitley find it amusing. I did. But I'm sick. The atmosphere: basically everything is kinda dark and murky with a green tinge. You have a lot of body parts of animals around (especially in the "Meat King" mission). It's like they are trying to shock you. Well after a few visits to Rotten.com not too much shocks me anymore. A bunch of missions take place in Rotterdam where prostitution and overall nekkidness runs rampant so feel free to hang out at the strip bars for awhile. The hitman is definitley slumming it this time around and I think he's secretly liking it. Any way the game is fun. You get to swap clothes with the bad guy you just offed so you can discreetly accomplish your mission. You get to poison peoples dinners and beverages and then serve it to them. You get to practice your obligatory head shots. All in the name of fun fun FUN!!

Stuff I'm Listening To:
ABQ - Gerald Gradwohl (Gary Willis, Kirk Covington, Bob Berg)

-Austrian guitar player Gerald Gradwohl has the envious position of being able to make an album with the rhythm section of the great fusion power house Tribal Tech. He is a very lucky man. Plus he gets the benefit of the late Bob Berg's (rip) wonderful horn lines and fills. I mean did this guy just win the lottery or what. With this wall of talent behind him does he carry his own weight? Well. I think he does. His playing is very reminescent of Scott Henderson albeit not quite up there in overall technique and phrasing. He does have his own style though. He's a pretty aggressive player who enjoys pushing it to the limit and sacrificing pin point technique for emotional ferocity.The songs span the spectrum of very aggressive fusion/funk to spacey textural chording. Nice range. Plus they recorded their own arrangement of "Giant Steps" which is a lot of fun to listen to. While the production is not stellar it is indeed adequate for the recording. Berg's lines sound crisp and full and compliment the tunes perfectly. It was very cool to hear Kirk Covington again. I havn't really heard him since Tribal Tech's last release "Rocket Science". His drums sound in your face and very organic. I don't know if you've ever seen Kirk but he's a big dude and I do have sympathy for those drum heads. When he gets aggressive it sounds like he is opening up a very large can of whoopass on that kit. Mr. Willis is of course killer. I think his sound on this disk is a bit more up front and gritty then on his previous outings like "Uncle Moe's Space Ranch", and Dennis Chambers', "OutBreak". As far as Gradwohl's sound, it is full and rich. He employs some cool effects such as the autowah amongst others. And he definitley pulls out a couple of cool tricks from his bag.

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6/16/04

So here we are, over half way through 2004 already. It's hard to put 6 months in perspective when it feels like it's been only 6 weeks. It would be nice for good ol' father time to kick back and put the brakes on for a bit so we all could catch up. Hrrummph.

I'm going to forgo this months moronalogue, lucky you. Instead I'm going to do a bit of a review on a new piece of gear I've acquired. *cues fanfare* presenting the Carvin LB75p bass.

Yes it came and man this thing is pretty gol dern awsome. As far as the finish goes I got it spec-ed out the same as my DC747c (blacked out fretboard, black quilted maple top with matching headstock and black hardware. As far as electronics I opted for two H22 humbucker pickups for maximum aggression with a coil tap for additional versatility. I also went for the P series option (piezo) as well. You can blend in the amount of piezo sound you want giving the sound a more sparkly character which is useful for slap. The active electronics is powered by 2 9volt batteries so this thing pushes out major signal. It's a neck through design so it has sustain for days even without a compressor. Overall the sound is punchy and articulate. It's well balanced and easy to play and since the tonewood is alder it doesn't weigh 5 tons.Yep, I think I made the right decision with this bad boy :-)

 

Lee Graham from Electric Basement was kind enough to post his take on Azrael Block. Thanks Lee! If you wanna see the real deal click and ye shall receive.

"Isolation breeds genius.

Not that Greg Rapaport is isolated, but Westchester County hardly compares to nearby New York City. And that's a blessing. Unfettered from industry pressure, Rapaport composes otherwordly metal for mind and spirit.

Azrael Block continues the path paved on Wyrd, Artifcts and Waiting For The Darker Skies. Each song tells a story, and each story encourages exploration. It's this musical and narrative approach that informs Azrael Block.

Taking its name from memory control, the title cut takes an instrumental journey through a brainwashing technique Rapaport discovered in a Dean Koontz novel. Rapaport's serpentine guitar slithers seductively, keeping pace with painstaking drum programming. Yet the percussion fits each groove, eschewing the sterile beats that neuter similar albums.

The sonic terrain covered on the title cut alone is astounding. From bombastic to atmospheric, the tune accelerates, slows down and seems to echo its titular inspiration.

For every track comes new sounds. Take "Tech Support," borrowing its name from the countless employees suffering clueless questions from an equally clueless public. Simpler in structure than the title track, the cut still covers must sonic ground.

"Flatline" succeeds with spare, clean tone and subtle cymbal support. Not unlike "Midnight" from Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien, the song touches the listener in ways that should - but don't - happen enough. Even its electric sections retain the emotion.

Legato smooth one minute, staccato the next, Rapaport drinks from the wells of Holdsworth and DiMeola, proving adept at both approaches. He also favors electronic effects and otherworldly nuance, as evidence by "Deceiving The Industry."

Alternately jazzy and aggressive, "Interlude - B" should enthrall fusion fiends. Deft bursts of clean guitar and tasty electric layerings sets this stuff above mere noodling. Rapaport approaches guitar not as an end to itself, but as a brush to paint his vision. More than noodling, his guitar playing is just one layer of a much bigger painting.

All in all, Azrael Block announces a brilliant new guitarist - for the fourth time (the fifth time, if one counts Rapaport's Nero band project). Now if only this stuff had better distribution."
By A. Lee Graham
Posted 5/13/04

I bookmarked Electric Basment 'cause I think the site is pretty damn cool. It covers the hardrock and metal scene nicely and they get some great interviews (Tate, Petrucci, Sarzo, Romeo etc). Very cool.

 

The new tunes:
progressing slowly but surely. I NEED MORE TIME!!! I think they should change it so there is at least 30 hours in a day.

 

The band...uhhh, hmmmmmm.

 

UMusic:
I'm slowly building my student base and the promotional wheels are turning. I layed out some ads that have been placed in some local music papers (More Sugar etc). We now have in house guitar repair/mods and amp repair/mods by John Scavelli and Steve Magnotti respectively. These guys are the real deal and they have many years of experience under their collective belts. We are lucky to have them aboard. Another cool development is we now have a killer drum teacher, Jason Brower. This guy is THE best drummer I've played with. Sails through odd times, polyrhythms and can cover pretty much any style of music. Plus he's a cood dude. Lastly the website is progressing nicely. I just have to get some pictures of the staff and wrap up some content and it should be good to go (have patience Chris :-).

 

Stuff I've Been Listening To:
Nothing 'cause I've been playing my bass :-).

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7/26/04

A little late with the update here, sorry 'bout that. Been very busy with work 'n teachin' 'n stuff. This month's moronalogue shall be on... hmmmm...lessee, covered the war, covered how fast time passes now that I'm a decrepit old bastard in my 30's, what's left? I Got It!! How about these damn kids today. Now granted since I've been teaching I've become a bit more in tune to what the younger crowd is into. I'm pretty lucky in that most if not all of my students are good kids. What I want to talk about is those kids you see in the general population or the microcosm thereof that is, "the mall". So, you know...you go to the mall maybe to catch a movie or grab a bite or maybe pick up some s/pdif connectors from Radio Shack. Or you wanna see if Doom 3 is in the stores yet (not that my machine could run it). I also enjoy checking out the good 'ol CD store. There is still nothing like holding tangible music. Now, in our mall we have mall security. Frankly I'm glad they are there and I respect what they do but c'mon who are you kidding? If they ain't packin' heat then they might as well bend over like the rest of us. Anyways...the mall. In the mall you see groups or should I say packs of these kids. Ten or so hanging out shifting from location to location as to not get hassled by "the man" (mall security). I think some of these kids, especially the guys, have ultimatley become parodies of themselves. Every other word is "yo", "wuzzupwiddat ", "where my cellie", etc etc. <sarcasm> Oh yeah, these guys have my ultimate respect. They got their pants/shorts around their ankles, tight shirts, hats on askew, assorted piercings and tattoos. Thank God I don't have a daughter! So to resume...I wanted to take a break from work and go grab a bite. I had my tray of "ebola de jour" and one of these young "hipsters" bumped into me and knocked over my diet coke. Rule #1 dont fuck with my diet coke. So as he is turning around with all his regalia a jinglin' he proceeds to say, and I quote, "Yo! what the fuck!" Well, what he shoulda done was turn around, see what the deal was, then decide if that was the proper protocol to follow. I'm not what you would call GQ material. I kinda look like a six foot 190lb version of Charles Manson. So Mr. Congeniality then looks up and I just look at him, mind you I had diet Coke dripping off my tray. His friends are kinda giggling and waiting to see what Mr. Masculinity is going to do next. After regaining his composure and putting his "groove" back on he then says "yo, my bad". I calmly said, "yes, that is your bad. Now please go buy me a new diet Coke." At this point my precious diet Coke is running down my arm. (did I mention that I enjoy a diet Coke now and then?) So he goes and buys me a coke, a fucking COKE!! Not a diet Coke but a sugar filled concoction that has 5billion calories and puts sweaters on your teeth! It's obvious I'm dealing with a rocket scientist. So I said to him, "this is Coke, not diet Coke." He then says to me "What the fuck!". (Apparently this species has a very limited vocabulary.) So I raised my voice slightly and proceeded to tell him that this was diet Coke running down my arm and not regular Coke and for him to please go and purchase the right fucking beverage! So he goes back and does just that. And you know I watched him like a hawk. I definitley did not want any floaters in my drink. So that was my interspecie experience. I came out damp but relatively unscathed.
Hey let's chat about the girls for a moment. Just a couple of small items. What the fuck is up with their cell phones with all the lights on them. What the hell is that!! They're beeping and flashing, it looks like Vegas in the palm of your hand! And who the hell are these kids talking too. All their friends are with them! I highly doubt they are talking to their parents. Are they talking to a different pack somewhere in the food court? Are they in negotiation about who is going to commandeer the table closest to Burger King?

 

As far as the new stuff is going...well, it's going. Time has been tight so progress has been a bit slow. As of now I'm wrapping up drums for the sixth tune. I did manage to record a tune with my new bass from hell. It sounds...huge. This thing is like a wall of sound, I don't know if it's the pickups, the wood, the mojo or whatever all I know is that I like it. The tune was done in fingerstyle so I haven't recorded any slap as of yet. I also got to try out the Carvin Tone Navigator which I picked up a while back. This thing has got some great sounds. It's all analog, no digital anything. It's very warm, smooth and rich sounding. It cops the Mesa and Marshall thing very well. What it also does really well is it nails all those inbetween sounds. The Carvin sounds good with any amount of gain. From very slightly over driven to super saturated. This is where the Line 6 POD is not so happening. While the Line 6 was very good on high gain sounds it lacked a bit on moderatley overdriven sounds. Comparing the Line 6 to the Tone Navigator in context to the high gain settings they are really quite different. The Line 6 has a more modern tone while the Carvin has a retro vibe to it. I think they both sound good so it's purely subjective. As far as live applications the Carvin blows the POD out of the water. It's now part of my live rig and it sounds purdy damn good. I've pretty much retired my Rocktron Chameleon. The only thing I really wish it had was a built in compressor but you can't have everything.

 

It looks like I'll be getting a chance to play some originals at an upcoming UMusic guitar showcase. It's sheduled for 8/19/04 so it's coming up fast. I'm hoping I'll be prepared. There is going to be a bevy of ass kicking players including, Lou Ubriaco, Tom Bitando, Jason Brower, Brian Holt, Rob Derasmo, Joe Bottiglieri, Kenny Lyons, John Dwyer and a bunch more. It's going to be held a Fulgums in Montrose NY.

 

Stuff I've Been Listening To:
I have completely immersed myself in...are you ready?...James Brown!! I think he is a riot! I remember when I was in highschool and Eddie Murphy came out with "Delirious" and he did this whole James Brown schtick. I thought is was pretty funny but I really didn't listen to any of James Brown's stuff so the impact was lost on me. Well now I get it! He is so completely full of attitude and his band(s) are nothing short of awesome. I picked up two disks "70's Funk Classics", which is basically a compilation and "Hell". On "Hell" he does "I Can't Stand It ('76)" which is 9:00min of pure funk mayhem. He just emotes and says this stream of consciousness type stuff. Let's go over some of James' random expletives shall we? Mind you there is no rhyme or reason to why he says these things or if they have anything to do with the song. I guess that's why his stuff sounds so cool.
1. "Good Gawd!"
2. "Hit it 'n quit it!"
3. "Jump back 'n kiss myself"
4. "Cut out the lights and call the Lord!"
5. "Georgia funk"
6. "Scrap iron"
7. "Skin game"
8. "C'mon witchyour c'mon!"
9. "Wait a minute"
10 "Git it!"
Another cool thing about these recordings is that they are done live. You can hear him interacting with the band, calling them out and talking with them and inciting them to do some killer soloing. Mind you this isn't mind boggling technical stuff here this is gritty groove based funk. This shit makes you move!

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8/23/04

I've been a runner for a pretty long time. I run about 5 miles everyother day and I find my time on the road quite enjoyable. I get a chance to clear my head (my 3 braincells need the break). I also get a chance to think up some new riffs, which I usually forget by the time I get home. My route pretty much starts off with some backroads then circles around a lake and then I go through a small town which loops back to some backroads and back home. I've run in 0 degrees to 100 degrees and pretty much everything in between. Rain, snow, sleet blah blah blah. Personally I think running in shitty weather builds character and makes you appreciate the really nice days that come around every so often. With that said this moronalogue is going to be on the rants/pitfalls of being an outdoor runner.--
-when running past an entry to a road or driveway most drivers do not look to see if there are any pedestrians coming. They are just worried about sneaking out between the next two cars. So they look into oncoming traffic thinking that there is nothing coming in the opposite direction. Guess what? I'm coming in the opposite direction you fucking idiot so please look BOTH ways before turning!!
-when running on a twisting road all the drivers think they are running the Baja 1000. Slow the fuck down please. Jumping into the woods to avoid being hit by you Mario Andretti wannabees is hard the knees.
-you inevitably meet up with the group of people "walking" side by side takin up half a lane and you have to either play "red rover" or skirt into the middle of the road to avoid them. Single file please, hello!!
-ok, picture this. It's around 95 degrees at 150% humidity. You know you're going to have a tough time out there so ya gotta take it slow. So what happens? You end up following a garbage truck. Excellent. Or what's almost even worse is you follow a trail of liquified garbage that stinks so fucking bad you can taste it.
-or how about the old "getting chased by the dog" routine. Yep, it's happened to me. I used to run in the woods on an aquaduct trail. Part of the trail would go behind some houses and of course there was a German Sheppard the size of fucking Cujo that would patrol the trail behind its backyard. Well it's appearance was sporatic so I would get that fun adrenaline rush wondering if I was going to be doing any sprinting on my run. I then started carrying a stick with me, I figured I'd throw it for him to divert it's attention away from me. So I was running, there he was, I through the stick, he watched it land in the woods and then proceeded to chase me about an eighth of a mile. The next time I brought a bigger stick... and I didn't throw it this time.

So is it all worth it? You better believe it is. Why don't I run on a bike trail? Because I'll get hit by those lunatic bikers thinking they're riding the Tour De France. Why don't you run on a track? Because going in circles is something I try to avoid. All I ask is keep a watchful eye for runners and slow down.
</rant>

 

I got a couple of nice reviews on Azrael Block. One of them being from the Metal Observer which I posted below.

A lot of times, solo albums by guitarists normally end up sounding like extended scale exercises and arpeggio patterns with monotonous rhythm guitar riffs, pointless bass lines and simple drums. The record does more to show how fast the guitar player can play, instead of focusing on how well he/she can write songs.

 

Then there is Greg Rapaport, a 7 string guitar player from Cortland who’s written an album that contains songs actually worth listening to. For 75 minutes, the music on this album captivates you with all its moods, feelings, funk and groove.

Greg did everything on this CD, including the recording and the artwork and everything is done with very high quality. The cover art is gorgeous, all instruments are heard clearly and the drum machine sounds alive.

 

The best part about this release is that the songs are diverse and catchy and are actually structured as songs. Each song successfully portrays an image using melodies (“Flatline” is about someone drifting in and out of consciousness during his last moments in a hospital, “Deceiving The Industry” is a story about a mechanical being taking control of the planet, etc.) and it is all done successfully. I’m not going to break down each song for you, but each song has a distinct theme to it and it is kept and, more importantly, built upon as the song progresses. The bass has its own voice on this release, more often than not playing groovy lines that do nothing but enhance the feel of the music. You can tell Mr. Rapaport gave more weight for the overall mood of the song, instead of showing off his skills.

 

If you want to hear an interesting, catchy and diverse instrumental CD, this one is for you. 9/10

Another one was out of 20 Century Guitar Magazine. What?- you say. An actual paper magazine that you can buy on the magazine stand. That's right ladies 'n gents...read on.

A master of the seven string guitar, NY based Greg Rapaport released his fourth solo CD, Azrael Block, at the end of 2003. Acclaimed as his finest recording to date, Rapaport handles all the writing, arrangements, production and engineering in addtion to playing all the guitar, bass and keyboard parts. Rapaport cites both Allan Holdsworth and Yngwie Malmsteen amongst his influences and, blending in odd funk metal riffs and angular metal progressions, the guitarist blazes away on Azrael Block. Although much of this music has enough power to blow the walls down, Rapaport also knows the meaning of shading and light and on "Interlude-A", his playing is also reminiscent of Steve Howe. Rapaport's expertise on the chunky sounding seven string electiric makes it the perfect vehicle for his adventurous chord voicings, wide intervals and hellacious riffing. Rapaport's self designed CD artwork is quite unearthly and gives a good indication of the adventures within.

 

The guitar show went very well. I got there a bit later 'cause I had to teach so I missed the load in. Essentially my responsibility was the setting up the PA and running the sound for the show. The PA belonged to Lou's brother, Mike, who was gracious enough to lend it to us for the show. It consisted of a nice Mackie board, a 1000watt power amp and two Carvin speakers (2 15"s, 2 8"s and a driver). This system is sweet! We had Lou's bass and guitar rig, a guitar rig for the students and my rig which I used with one of Lou's cabinets. Jason set up his full kit and Tommy brought his Korg organ and a bunch of synth modules and a couple of controllers.
-first one up was Brian C. He played "Impressions" and "Hot 'lanta". He uses a Tele completely clean and his tone was great. His playing was excellent as well.
-next was Julian. he played "Freedom Jazz Dance" and did a Jam/Improv. He was solid and very much in the pocket. I was very psyched for him.
-3rd was Mike K. who did "Dance of Maya", and another Mahavischnu piece that I can't remember. This guy has come a long way in a short amount of time. He was soloing over some odd meter and had no problem keeping up with the guys.
-4th was Brian H. who did "YYZ" and "Trilogy". What can you say about Brian. The dude was fucking awesome. He's a fucking lunatic!
-5th was John D. He played Al DiMeola's "Mediterranean Sundance. He most definitley had the biggest balls. Getting up there with no drums or keys with just an acoustic doing an Al DiMeola tune? I would have left a hefty pile 'o shit on the stage. He did really well also. *hands John the biggest balls award*
-6th was Kenny. He did Yngwie's "Brothers" and "Evil Eye". Ken is fucking scary. He was absolutley nailing Yngwie. He was doing Yngwie better then Yngwie. The vibrato, feel, the whole 9 yards. They also went into Highway Star which was sick.
-7th, Rob D. who played two of his originals. Rob did really well also. His soloing was fucking on and his legato runs were solid. He's kinda like a cross between Scott Henderson and Stevie Ray Vaughn. His originals are killer as well!
-I was last and I did "Dimished Returns" and "Difunckt". Man, I was freakin' nervous. The first tune I had like no stage volume so I couldn't hear anything I was playing. Luckily Brian came up and said that I was pegged on the board and that I should turn up. So the second tune was much better, whew.
-Lou, Tommy and Jason capped off the show with some Jeff Beck, Edgar Winter and a Brubeck piece which was very cool.

Just a quick shout to everybody that came and withstood the mayhem. Also thanks to Fulgums for having us and also all the people who pitched in and helped out with the equipment, a very large thanks to you as well.


Stuff I've Been Listening To:

I'm still on my James Brown thing so I picked up an out of print compilation album called "A Brand New Thang". This is his then new band with Catfish Collins on drums and his 18 year old brother Bootsy on bass. This disk is killer, absolutely killer. The brothers Collins are great together as they should be. The grooves are insane!! I'm thinking that this line up is even outshining James himself. To bad this band only held together for a year before they split up.

Ink Compatible - Spastic Ink
Now this album is very interesting. Essentially it is based on the idea of computers and how big a part they are in our lives and also how much of a pain in the ass they are. Spastic Ink is made up of Ron Jarzombek (guitar) and Bobby Jarzombek (drums). Also Pete Perez from Riot handles most of the bass duties. It seems like these three make up the core of the band. They have a great list of guest musicians including:

Jens Hohansson - synth (Stratovarius etc)
Jason McMaster - vocals (Watchtower)
Bill Dawson - vocals
Ray Riendeau - bass
David Penna - drums
Michael Manring - bass
David Bagsby - synth
Daniel Gildenlow - vocal (Pain Of Salvation)
Doug Keyser - bass
Marty Friedman - guitar (Megadeth)
Jeff Eber - drums
Sean Malone - bass (Cynic)

-'n prolly a few others in there as well.
The songs themselves are quite technical and a lot of fun to listen to. You can tell that time was taken to put these tunes together just by the sheer amount of changes in style and feel. There is a lot of syncopation between the instruments which I really enjoy and adds to the rollercoaster affect of the songs themselves. You'll also hear a bunch of spoken word interjected which adds a humorous quality to the music, kinda Zappa-esque. I'd say the overall feel of the music is technical/prog metal mixed with a generous dose of fusion. McMaster handles the majority of the vocals. I have mixed feelings about the vocals and whether there should be any or not. McMaster does add an interesting element but his vocals are a little over processed for my taste and not nearly as interesting and dynamic as the music. Even Mr. Gildenlow may be a bit out of place here as well. It's kinda like mere humans trying to hang with musical bionic cyborgs. I think the magical element of this disk is the telepathic powers that exist between Ron and Bobby. The unison runs and syncopated patterns are amazing and just make your eyes bug out of your head and your jaw drop. I guess the only complaint I have is with the production. While the instrumentation is clear and articulate some of the sounds are not really happening (imho). The guitars sound kinda flat and one dimensional, almost have a direct kinda sound to them. The drums are in need of the Simon Phillips treatment. They have to be opened up a bit and I'd love to year more tone and space. These things are quite minor compared to the positive aspects of the album, a wishlist is all. If you feel that your brain can benefit from this onslaught of technical mayhem as mind did please go pick up this disk and support these guys. This album was 4 years in the making and was definitley worth the wait.

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10/20/04

Well here we are. Halloween fast approaching, leaves changing, Christmas decorations going up etc etc. So what do I decide to start to do ... why build a computer of course! This is probably one of the top 5 worst ideas I've thought of and will be the focus of this month's moronalogue.

Now, I am experienced with doing some basic modifications (new graphics board, soundcard, ram upgrade etc). But, I've never built a machine from the ground up. Let's take a look at the pros 'n cons shall we?

Pros- I get to pick out the parts that will best suit the purpose of the machine which will be recording and work stuff.) I will save a bunch of money. The experience will be beneficial as that I will be learning a lot and I'll be able to troubleshoot more effectively.

Cons - complete and utter aggravation.

I have been researching components for a few weeks now and have come to the conclusion that everything sucks and everything is good. Sound confusing? You better believe it. Technology is flying by so fast that many of the manufacturers don't put out a stable product before jumping on the next bandwagon.

Originally I was going to go for a 939 socket motherboard. Then as I continued to research this little project of mine I found that the selection sucked and also there were many compatiblity issues. Also when you populated all the DIMMS you suffered a big hit on FSB speed. So now I'm down to a 754 socket board.

Next up was the chipset. Is it going to be a VIA or nForce. First I heard VIA was good but then I heard that it may not be my best bet for music stuff. Okay. So then I went with nForce. Hmmmmmm now is it going to be nForce2 or nForce3. nForce3 is newer...might be problematic. nForce2has a North Bridge and a South Bridge so there could possibly be a latency issue (is your head spinning? mine is) I chose nForce3 'cause latency is audio's biggest nemesis. So basically we are now looking at a 754 socket board with a nForce3 chipset. Whew, now which brand? Back to the forums I go. Lessee, Shuttle sucks, MSI has leaky capacitors as does EPox. Gigabyte's bios is wacked out and ECS is crappy and so is Biostar. ASUS and Abit are decent but don't really have a great feature set. So what do I end up thinking is the best? Why DFI Lanparty Ultra nForce3 of course. What? you couldn't guess that on your own. *taking Tylenol*

The CPU is next. Obviously this is an AMD machine so I'm looking at AMD Athlon 64 3400+. Now do I want the Clawhammer or the Newcastle. Hmmmmmmmmm the Clawhammer maybe a bit better but since it's a notebook CPU DFI won't support it. Newcastle for me thank you.

Harddrives. Prolly gonna go with 3 of 'em. One of them an IDE and the other two will be SATA. Initially I had Western Digital picked out. The DFI board gave me the negatory as WD has had issues with DFI mobos before. So I went with Maxtor. Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 120GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive will be for OS and work. Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 80GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive will be for audio apps. And the Maxtor 250GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model 6B250S0 (with a sexy 16mb buffer) will be for sample sets and audio files.

I've always heard great things about Antec power supplies so I picked out a 550W "True" model. Now I'm starting to see some descension in the ranks as far as Antec goes. WTF???? So someone recommended an OCZ Powerstream 520W.

Prolly going to get Plextor optical drives. Also I'm looking to get the Radeon X800 pro video card. My wife bought me Doom III for my b'day and goddamit I want to play it!!

I'm finding that compatiblity is the biggest issue here. There is no way around it. Research is the best way to pull off a build like this. I've been copying and pasting all sorts of info and comparing notes/reviews/specs, I gotta tell you I'm fucking fried. Mind you I haven't even dropped a dime yet so much as commence the actual physical construction. Yes this one of the top 5 worst ideas I've ever had but hey sometimes you have to say WTF!!

 

The new disk is going swimmingly. I have 7 tunes worth of rhythm tracks pretty much in the can. I finally nailed that illusive bass riff that took me 2 months to get down. Can I have a hallelujah! Ok maybe not. Anyways we be progressing.

 

I've been lucky enough to still have some interest in Azrael Block. Hard to believe it's been just about a year since its release. Man time flies. Anyway I'd like to thank "Clayreon" from the "Prog-Nose" website who took the time to have a listen and write a great review!

"When I receive a promo from an unknown band or artist, I always try to listen to it for the first time in a completely objective way without any prejudices. And my first impression with this album was: wow, we’re dealing here with some very skilled musicians. But, to my astonishment, all of this was realised by one and the same man: guitar, bass, keyboards, drums programming, studio recording and even the artwork. And to top it all: the promo was accompanied by a press map of a quality which I hadn’t witnessed in years.

And what a power is coming out of this record. It surely isn’t easy to assimilate, because we’re dealing with a non common combination of fusion, funk, prog and metal.

In fact, I wonder if Greg is a guitar player or a bassist, because the funky and slappy bass is very impressive from time to time. Azrael Block is certainly a dark album with a lot of musical influences, the style is called instrumental ‘progressive metal – dark fusion’ and that will do for me. But above all it has become an original album and it’s hard to find any references.

For the scientists amongst you: Azrael Block is a method of memory control, based on brainwashing with drugs and hypnosis. And from the first track on, you’re really blown from your chair with an agressive metal intro immediately followed by some fusion, but with a progressive character, especially because of the many tempo and style changes. ‘Sever’ is rather rock oriented with a catchy start, but once again larded with the necessary power solos on guitar. ‘Tech Support’ is pure funky metal with excellent guitar solos.

Interlude-A brings the first break, ambient music in which Greg proves to be able to literally and figuratively, touch upon a tender string, just relax in your chair and enjoy. Skitzophraniac is a typical jazz-rock song, but again with a lot of different interesting pieces. Uncle Knucklez contains a catching funky groove again, with a beautiful interaction between jazz and metal. Flatline (describes the last moments in life) combines ambient pieces with some better shredding work, a track which lasts for 10 minutes, but which never gets boring.

And so it continues on this album, 75 minutes of music of outstanding technical quality, but with the necessary originality. Of course, you need to love some fusion and progmetal, to fully appreciate this disc. But Azrael Block is a CD that stands out in every way and all of this is supported by one man...amazing! With as main influences Al Dimeola, Allan Holdsworth and Jimmy Page, he can easily claim his place in the gallery of the great ones. Is there no record label around to discover this man?"
Rating 8,5/10

 

I usually do some sort of review down here but I really haven't been listening to anything new lately. Oh wait...

Dreamtheater - Live From Budokan

Now, I like DT. I do. I unfortunatley have liked them a bit less as their albums have progressed. To be honest with you I feel that Awake was their last tr00 DT album. Mind you that doesn't mean that I feel there haven't been some really great moments on their more recent albums. It's just that I kinda feel like they've lost a little bit of their identity. Now on to the DVD. This disk documents DT's recent Budokan show and I gotta tell ya it completely and utterly rawks! The production is absolutley outstanding ('cept for that little 5.1 prob which is being fixed). The cinematography is creative without getting to "out there" and screwing up the music side of things. The band looks like they had a great time during the show and the audience was fairly rabid as well.

Let's look at the song list:
1. As I am
2.This Dying Soul
3. Beyond This Life
4. Hollow Years
5. War Inside My Head
6. The Test That Stumped The All
7. Endless Sacrifice
8. Instrumedley
9. Trial Of Tears
10. New Millennium
11. Keyboard Solo
12. Only A Matter Of Time
13.Goodnight Kiss
14. Solitary Shell
15. Stream Of Consciousness
16. Disappear
17. Pull Me Under
18. In The Name Of God

Nice setlist eh? Highpoints for me include:
-As I Am - great opener
-Instrumedley - they strung a whole bunch of instrumental segments together from their tunes including some Liquid Tension stuff - very cool
-Pull Me Under - perennial fav
-I wish they played 6:00, Scarred, Lie 'n more stuff from Awake.

Performance:
First off most people can't handle LaBrie's vocals. I for the most part am in that club. But on this performance he really nailed his parts and kinda subdued the operatical antics that are associated with his style. (operatical antics? - whatever)

Portnoy - Mr. Portnoy is always fun to watch. The mighty camel was in good form and proceeded to hock many a loogey at unsuspecting band members.

Petrucci - there's a part on the bonus disk in which he describes his gear which was pretty interesting. His performance was very solid. This guy has to consolidate many a guitar track to just one on these tunes. I give him lots of credit for that feat in itself.

Myung - prolly the most underrated member. This guy is lethal on bass. And we were able to finally hear him. YES!

Rudess - he also had a segment on the bonus disk as well going through his rig. Rudess is a true technical wizard on keys. I couldn't even imagine the programming he has to do in order to pull together all the patches from past albums for just one keyboard. I don't think I have to go into his playing, everybody pretty much knows that he kicks ass.

Bonus Stuff:
Tour Documentary - nice inside view of the band workings and more private moments of the members getting ready for one of the biggest gigs in their career. Nice insight to their personalitles as well and the relationships between them.

John Petrucci Guitar World - see above

Jordan Rudess Keyboard World - see above

Mike Portnoy Drum Solo - the drum solo...ugh. I usually skip these but Mr. Portnoy took a different tack this time that included direct audience participation which made if VERY entertaining. Kudos to Mr. Portnoy for the creativity.

Dream Theater Chronicles - cool but not earth shattering. Basically a montage of footage 'n pics 'n stuff.

Instrumedley Multiangle Bonus - self explanatory

Overall a great disk and a great performance. Highly recommended!!

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11/15/04

Well,
it looks like fall has fell. The leaves are down and the first snow has already fallen. And it also looks like I'm moving. Yep. I'm moving. (Bringin' the family 'o course). Actually we'll prolly be moving at the end of this month or the beginning of December, probably both. Needless to say packing up everything has been a whole lot of fun *sarcasm*. The good thing is I threw a lot of stuff out. God I hate junk. The new place is cool. I'll have a bigger 'n better studio, hopefully. And the place is nicer overall. I'll still miss this place though. I put a lot of work into it and I kinda got attached to this hovel. Anyway...

So the computer components have been ordered. Man what fucking pain in the ass this was. I haven't even started putting it together yet and I'm aggravated already. But I enjoy being aggravated so I should be quite happy for the next few weeks. Here be the list 'o goodies:

Thermaltake Xaser V Damier Black Full-Tower Case, Model "V5000A"

Asus A8V-Deluxe Via K8T800Pro Athlon 64(FX) Skt939 DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail (Rev 2.00)

SAPPHIRE ATI Radeon X800 PRO Video Card, 256MB GDDR3, 256-Bit, DVI/VIVO, 8X AGP

OCZ PowerStream 520W Power Supply With Adjustable Power Rails With LED Indicators, SATA Connector

AMD Athlon 64 3500+, 512K, L2 Cache, Socket 939 Windows Compatible 64-bit Processor

OCZ Performance Series Dual Channel 184-Pin 2GB (1GBx2) DDR PC-3200

I/O Magic 1.44MB 3.5 Inch Internal Floppy Drive, Black Bezel, Model IFLP02,

Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 120GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model L01P120,

Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 80GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model L01M080,

Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 200GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model L01M200,

Viewsonic KU-202 USB Office Keyboard -RETAIL

ViewSonic G90FB 19" PerfectFlat CRT Monitor -RETAIL

Lite-On Black 52X32X52X16 Combo Drive, Model SOHC-5232K BLACK,
Plextor 12X DVD+/-RW Drive, Model PX-712A Black,

Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 -OEM

So I plan on being thoroughly frustrated as soon as this project commences. You're prolly like, " so why the hell are you doing it then?". Well I explained that in the last installment.

 

As far as the latest batch 'o sonic mayhem I currently have seven sets of rhythm tracks completed and I'm working out the drum tracks for the eighth tune. Progressing slowly but surely.

 

Recently I also had a cool write up in 20 Century Guitar.

A bit of an interview 'n stuff. Since I'm too lazy I figured I'd scan it.

Kinda cool to be able ot scare the general population with my ugly mug. :-)

 

I haven't been really listening to anything new and exciting lately. Hmmmmmmmm..I've been geeking out on Morrowind and Baldur's Gate when I have the chance but that's really about it. Man I'm boring.

On a different note I would like to talk briefly about a quote I read on the Scott Henderson forum regarding what happened between him and Chick Corea...check this out -

"We didn't get along well on the road and I was fired after two tours. On a personal level, I don't like organized religion and that certainly includes Scientology, so my lifestyle and beliefs were in direct conflict with Chick and his crew. I'd heard about some of the things he'd asked of previous musicians so I was expecting to have to deal with some Scientologyisms, but I was surprised when he told me not to have sex with girls in the audience after the gig because it degrades the music. I thought that anyone who would say something like that must be completely nuts, regardless of how well they play. I don't actually believe that Scientologists are crazy, just brainwashed in a creepy Ned Flanders kind of way. (this is gold!!)

On a working level we didn't get along either. At that time I was using a stereo rig and was used to standing in the middle of it to get my tone. When I soloed, Chick insisted that I walk out 20 feet to the front of the stage to strut for the audience, which I took to be a Vegas mentality. I told him that I couldn't hear myself up there and that I don't play as well when I'm not in control of my sound - he responded by saying "your perception of how you sound isn't as important as how the band looks to the audience." After that I just couldn't take his band concepts seriously anymore. I heard they were doing dance steps after I left the band....As many of Chick's fans know, he has a commercial side, no doubt another influence of Scientology, and during that time period I guess it was that side of him I was working for. After awhile I just refused to cooperate and was eventually fired. But regardless of how I feel about Chick as a Scientologist band leader, I still have great respect for him as an extremely talented musician. I'm glad our troubles weren't about music, because I know he liked my playing even if he didn't like my attitude. On a funny note, when I told Jean-Luc Ponty that I was going to take the gig with Chick, he laughed out loud and said "you??" and walked away. I didn't understand at the time what he thought was so funny - apparently he knew that I was a Scientologist's nightmare. Chick hired me a couple years later to play on a movie score he was doing and it was nice that there didn't seem to be any hard feelings or anything. I certainly don't have any - but I wouldn't allow myself to get into another situation where I can't be myself."

I think I have to side with Mr. Henderson here. Granted Chick Corea was paying him for his services, but when he's finished playing Henderson should be able to fuck who the hell he wants. As long as he's not messing around with the girl on stage then Chick shouldn't really have any say in the matter. Also I'm not really up on Scientology. In fact I'm not up on any organized religion at all. But I really don't like it when people push their agenda on me. Also having the band's appearance take precendence over the musician's ability to give their best performance is absolutely ludicrous. Especially in a jazz format. It's one thing if you're a punk band and you want to puncture your lungs with your headstock and kick your drummer in the nuts as part of your act. But it's another thing when people come to see you play very complex music that has to be done "right". Bad form on Chick's part. He is still talented as hell though.

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2/15/04

Well, I'm here. Moved in for the most part. We rented a truck and pretty much moved all the big stuff over in one day. And what a day that was. The new place is nice, definitley a bit of an upgrade. It's right on a lake. The Master Bedroom and the Kitchen look out over the lake which affords us a killer view. Anyway as I'm wading neck deep in boxes 'n bullshit I'd figure that I'd update the old site.

My computer project is done *breathes sigh of relief*. Turns out I had a bad motherboard so I had to send it back for a new one. So I basically built and rebuilt my computer like four times. At least now I know how to get around the guts of this thing. So the final component list is:

Enermax 600 watt power supply
ASUS A8V Deluxe Via K8T800Pro Athlon 64(FX) Motherboard Ver.2 Mobo
Thermaltake Xaser V Damier Black Full-Tower Case
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ CPU
I/O Magic 1.44MB 3.5 Inch Internal Floppy Drive, Black
Plextor DVD burner
Lite On CD burner
2 Samsung 160gig harddrives
ASUS X800 Pro 256mb Video Card
2 gigs of OCZ Performance Series Dual Channel Ram
ViewSonic G90FB 19" PerfectFlat CRT Monitor

This thing is pretty much a screamer. I've been playing DOOM3 with maxed graphic settings and the computer is running it flawlessly...so far. Oh and DOOM 3 fooking rawks!

 

The new album as taken a back burner lately as I've been on focusing on getting the new digs together and setting everything up. The studio is pretty much good to go, just a few more wires need to be run and that's about it. I completed the drum tracks before I packed everything up so the eighth tune has been arranged and is all set. I really gotta get my shit together and start making some more progress.

 

This month I got featured on The Metal Observer which is pretty goddam cool. If you have some time to kill feel free to read the interview. I want to thank Val for all her help and also for getting my music on the Metal Observer Radio waves.

 

I'd like to talk briefly about what happened to Dimebag. First off when I found out I just couldn't fathom it being true. I thought it was some BS hoax or something. When I started surfing the news sites (I don't have TV), I just couldn't believe my eyes. I was so completely bummed out. I was literally sitting their frozen with my mouth agape, eyes nonblinking. This guy was a true guitar hero. He was a pioneer in his genre of music. Nobody ever played like him before. His playing reeked of attitude and aggression. If anyone could flip anybody off just by playing a riff it would be Dimebag. The thing that was also fucked up was that we not only lost a great guitar player, we lost a great person as well. Mind you I didn't know him personally but from the interviews I've read and friends of mine who have met him and been to his shows you get a vibe of what a person is like. He seemed truly genuine. No bullshit, straight ahead, humble, and generous. I've been reading the tributes that other guitar players have been posting and it's absolutely crushing. The metal community has lost one of its great explorers. RIP Dimebag.

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