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1/20/06 - Guitar Hero
2/26/06 - The Massacre
3/27/06 - I got nothing
4/25/06 - Bizzier than a one armed juggler
5/31/06 - Holdsworth
7/6/06 - Review, Pea Brain, CoAx
8/31/06 - Road Head
9/31/06 - The Quest For Tone
10/31/06 - Halloween, Sanction, the quest continues
11/31/06 - Metal Storm
12/31/06 - Happy New Year, James is Dead

1/20/06

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, Chanukah, etc etc. I tell you it's such a relief when the Holidaze finally are done and over with. Christmas Eve was nice. We headed over to my parents and hung out and ate a lot. There was some gift giving and receiving and my son got some really cool stuff. Including Guitar Hero for the PS2 which is what this months moronalogue will be focusing on. This game is all sorts of fun and as addicting as crack. My boy had some trouble the first few times he tried it but after a day he was rippin' through it. It was great to watch. Basically the game comes with a mock guitar as the controller. It has 5 buttons on the fret board and instead of strings it has kind of like a plastic fin that sticks out and you strike it with your thumb. You pick your character and guitar and you play some of the local dives. The logistics of the game are pretty simple. Basically there's kind of a conveyer belt and these round markers of varying colors that come toward you. Once they reach a certain spot on the belt you have to press the corresponding colored button on the fretboard and also flick the plastic fin to score points. On the lower left of the screen there is a meter that gauges your accuracy and if you get into the red zone the crowd starts booing and you eventually lose and have to try again. Obviously the better you are the more the crowd cheers. There is a whole bonus point system as well but I ain't gonna get into that. The song list is pretty good check it out.

"Ace Of Spades"
"Bark at the Moon"
"Cochise"
"Cowboys from Hell"
"Crossroads"
"Fat Lip"
"Frankenstein"
"Godzilla"
"Heart Full of Black"
"Hey You"
"Higher Ground"
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
"I Wanna Be Sedated"
"Infected"
"Iron Man"
"Killer Queen"
"More than a Feeling"
"No One Knows"
"Sharp Dressed Man"
"Smoke on the Water"
"Spanish Castle Magic"
"Stellar"
"Symphony of Destruction"
"Take It Off"
"Take Me Out"
"Texas Flood"
"Thunderkiss '65"
"Unsung"
"You've Got Another Thing Comin"
"Ziggy Stardust"

Not bad. So as you progress through the setlists and get better you then proceed to better gigs at bigger venues. Also you start to get paid. You can spend your cash on a new character or a guitar etc etc. This game is fun, period.

 

We have an improv workshop coming up at UMusic on 2/4/06 so please contact Lou or me at 736-7777 to let us know if your interested in coming. The last one we had was packed and we had a great time. We also had our Christmas party which was a lot of fun. We did a lot of playin' and a lot of eatin' a good time was had by all.

 

The saga continues...We, meaning Jeff, Dale and I have been hard at work on this totally fucked up Zeppelin thing. This thing is like a virus it just keeps growing and festering! Here's what we got so far. It starts out with Dale doing the intro to The Crunge and we do about four or so measures of that then we go into Moby Dick. Instead of the lead breaks in Moby Dick we insert different Zep riffs (Jeff - Livin Lovin Maid, Dale - Rock 'n Roll intro, Me - How Many More Times intro). After that Jeff starts HeartBreaker and we hang on that for a verse and then we go into Houses of the Holy then into Misty Mountain Hop. Then (if I remember right) we quote The Ocean and then Fool In The Rain and finally end up playing all of Good Times Bad Times. Believe it or not these tunes actually segue into eachother...somehow. Needless to say there are a few wrinkles that need to ironed out.

 

Name change on the disk. It be now called Caste. Basically what I did was have each song represent a facet of someone's personality and basically personify it through artwork. Needless to say there's a lot of artwork. I'm thinking of going full color on the inside this time (woo hoo big spender!). As far as the music well I just got one more song to put a solo on. I have some short tunes that are already done that I want to try and integrate as well. I've been doing some test mixes that sound halfway decent but not quite there.

The above is subject to change.

 

It seems that I haven't really reviewed any cds lately. I really need to get out and get some new shit. I'm pretty sure Devin Townsend's new disk Synchestra is coming out soon. Hopefully that will satiate my appetite.

There's one thing I'd like to pimp and that's a new gadget I picked up made by Digitech called the Jam Man. Basically it's a phrase sampler/looper. Read on for the specs:

-Save up to 99 independent loops.
-Store over 24 minutes of looping time on the included CompactFlash card. -Upgrade to a 2GB card to store up to 6.5 hours of audio!
-Connect to your computer via USB and never lose another loop ever again!
- USB port to transfer loops to and from your computer. Create a library of all your loops
-Record rhythm loops and solo over them on the fly, completely Hands-Free
-Load up the JamMan with bass lines, drums, harmonies, and more; create an entire backup band, take it with you, and perform anywhere!
-Slow down or speed up any song without changing pitch
- Balanced XLR mic input with professionalgrade, low impedance input with dedicated gain control. Perfect for dynamic and self-powered microphones
-CD quality 44.1kHz sampling rate
-Metronome with multiple rhythm sounds and time signatures
-Rugged metal chassis
-Automatic recording\

Connections:
Instrument Input Jack (1/4 in.)
Balanced XLR input
CD/AUX Input
CompactFlash Type I Storage
Footswitch Jack
Output Jack (1/4 incv)
Power Adaptor Jack
USB Jack

I really haven't had time to really delve into the dirty details of this gizmo but I've had a lot of fun with it so far. I use it at work too and my students get a kick out of it.

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2/26/06

I hope everybody came out unscathed during the Valentines Day massacre and put a smile on their significant other's face. I made out nicely with a couple of nice "coffee table" type books on Led Zeppelin. My significant other received two nice pairs of earrings. Not bad. To be honest with you though I pretty much think the whole idea of Valentine's Day is a bit ridiculous but we pretty much covered the farce/facade that are the Hallmark hoildays. Onward and upward, shall we?

This months moronalogue is going to cover the idea of who is, and what makes a guitarist "better" then another. I like to frequent different guitarist/musician type forums as well as band forums. The eternal question always seems to pop up no matter where you go. Is _____ better then ____? These questions often lead to a heated debate and possibly a banning or two. My question is, is it truly possible to objectively compare guitar players or musicians in general? I pretty much think that you can't. Now of course there is an exception and that would be comparing a blatant beginner to a seasoned pro. Obviously we have to remain in the realm of working musicians. Now, I think I have respect and admiration for all guitar players. I feel that we can all learn something from everybody. Some people think Johnny Ramone is the ultimate while others think he's a hack and Yngwie is the man to listen to. A lot of people think Keith Richards did some groundbreaking things while Steve Vai is just a shredder who has no feel. Who is to say one is better then the other? Its all up to personal perception. It's subjective. Think of it this way. What if it was decided that the more product a musician sells the "better" or more talented they are. Does that mean that the singer with a nice rack who sings out of key and doesn't write her own music but yet goes platinum is better then a technically proficient yet little known singer?

In the spirit of the Olympics lets make a comparison to sports. With athletes the comparison is much easier to make. The first one across the finish line wins. The highest jumper, the fastest skiier and the most accurate curler. These type of events are cut and dry, there's a winner and then there is the rest. Since there isn't really an Olympics for guitar players (at least none that I know of) there is no finish line or gold medal so essentially there is no winner.

What makes a guitar player better than another? Is it speed and technique. Or maybe phrasing and feel. Songwriting? Who endorses them? I don't know. But I do know who I like. I think it all comes down to personal taste. Some guitarists that I like have sick techique. Others have written the most memorable riffs of all time (in my opinion). I also like to think that most guitar players follow their own vision and don't really care if they're "better" then anybody. For me I always strive to better at what I want to do. I do it for my sense of achievment. I don't want to be better then Johnny Ramone, Allan Holdsworth or Jimmy Page. I just want to be satisfied with myself and happy with what I've accomplished.

 

The disk is being mixed and is currently on its first version. I've been trying to listen to it on a few different systems. I kinda thinking that I may have to do a couple of parts over 'cause they're bugging me. Other than that the artwork is being wrapped up and I've been in touch with the duplicator. Things are starting to come to a close. Finally. Oh yeah, it sounds pretty good too. :-)

 

Things at UMusic are humming along nicely. Lou has been put in charge of a benefit for the music program at Hendrick Hudson High School. Basically he's in charge of putting together the talent and all sorts of other logistical nightmares. The show is going to be held at the Paramount in Peekskill. It should be fun.

 

I really haven't been listening to anything new 'n different as of late. I am getting psyched for the new Tool release as well as Morrowind Oblivion.

I'm a geek.

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3/27/06

I have absolutely nothing prepared this month as far as a moronalogue goes. I am thoroughly disappointed in myself. I'm a bad, bad man. Ok I'm over it.

 

The disk is pretty much mixed and mastered. I'm thinking, or rather hoping, that it'll be just need a few more minutes of baking before its done.

 

We had our show at the Paramount. Everything went really well. We did have a few PA issues but that's to be expected. All the Hendrick Hudson acts kicked ass and the opening dance troupe did well also. Lou's band Clockwork came off really well. They pulled off a lot of nice material combining classical with rock and I'm thinking that everybody appreciated their hard work. After the intermission we had a great bunch of bands representing many differnent types of music. We had some ska, modern, punk and semi-hardcore. I do have to tell you that it was an incredible amount of work. All the running around, setting up, unloading reloading, and tearing down. When I got home I was dead tired. But it was worth it.

 

What I've Been Playing:

Morrowind Oblivion!!
It's finally out and man was it worth the wait. This game is SICK!! It'll suck you in and won't let go. You have 16 square miles to explore, completely open ended. You have 10 races to choose from with a shitload of skills and classes. This game has over 100hrs of game play. The graphics are amazing. Finally something next generation. The combat kicks ass as well. You can cast while you're beating the hell out of your enemies with your chosen weapon. They included a stealth component a la Thief which is another cool feature. None the NPCs are scripted. The intelligence is based on Radian AI:

"Radiant AI gives every NPC a set of 'needs' (such as hunger) that they will need to fulfill, thus creating a more lifelike world. Radiant AI works by giving NPCs a list of goals. Nothing else is scripted. They must decide how to achieve these goals by themselves based on their individual statistics. A hungry NPC might compare his current gold against his moral values to decide whether he will walk to a store and purchase food, or just steal it; a skilled archer can choose to hunt his own deer." - Wikipedia

There is close to 1500 NPCs and over 50 hrs of voiceover recorded. The soundtrack is awesome as well as the sound effects. I'm sold.

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4/25/06

Man I've been busy. Lots of work both with Splinterhead and the music end of things. I have a couple of things hopefully winding up with Splinterhead and I have to try to start promoting this new disk. Today's moronalogue isn't going to be on that though. This month I wanted to talk about how important repetoire is, having an open mind when it comes to music and juggling.

As a knucklehead guitar/bass teacher I come across a lot of different musical tastes. My student's tastes include, fusion, metal, classical all the way to old skool rock and straight up jazzers. This kinda makes it challenging as a teacher to cover all this stuff and do a good job. I do my best to make sure that and the student leaves with something that is exciting to them so hopefully they'll practice, but I digress. Coming up with a repetoire that covers the gamut and also having the chops to play this stuff can be damn challenging. Also I really feel that I need to play it well in order to teach it. It would be like trying to to teach someone how to drive without knowing how to drive yourself. I guess it could be done but it wouldn't really have the same impact. In other words I think it's important to really know the piece and not just hand over a sheet of music. Unfortunatley "getting to know" the piece can require an extraordinary amount of time. When I was a kid all I played was classic rock, Zeppelin, Skynyrd, Tull, some AC/DC, shit like that. So I feel I have a bit of a handle on that. It's the new stuff that I'm trying constantly to keep up with. Stuff like Green Day and the pop oriented stuff is pretty simple figuring out by ear. But some of the hardcore stuff is absolutely brutal to transcribe. Its like sheets of noise. Now I'm not bashing the stuff 'cause I truly like some of it, its just... goddam...lets try to be a bit more articulate so I can figger out what the hell yer doin!! ahem...Anyway back to expanding repetoire. I've been on a classical binge as of late. Ive been working on the 5th Caprice and a bunch of variations on the 24th Caprice. Everytime I think I'm getting a bit faster and accurate I put on Fisk and I throw my hands up in the air. On bass I've been working on Flight Of The Bumblebee, Bach's 4th Invention, and Mozart's Rondo a la Turk. While some of these pieces are harder then others it's really been the time factor that's been the issue. Nevermind all the jazz charts that I've been going over. What I want to know is how do players find time to keep up their chops and broaden their repetoire? How do these guys make time?? It's like if you focus on one thing too much you drop the ball on another. The perpetual circus act continues...

 

The disk is done and is currently at the replcator, Magnetic Air. I received the proofs for the artwork the other day and everything looked really nice. I know I say this everytime but the guys at Magnetic Air kick ass!! They are always helpful and give me a great price. I went for color inside the jacket this time as well as the outside. Also I ordered a clear tray with color behind where the cd goes as well. woo hoo!

I've also been slaving away on the new site. It's a huge amount of work. Basically I've been doing that at night 'cause I want to try to coordinate the release with the new site blah blah blah. And this mean that I haven't been able to play much Oblivion which is a bit of a drag.

 

Things are heating up at UMusic. We have Allan Holdsworth, Chad Wackerman, and Jimmy Johnson coming on May 12 for a clinic/performance. It's going to be sick!! We have 50 tickets available so if you want to check out Holdsworth in a very intimate enviroment give us a ring ASAP at
(914) 736-7777.

 

What I've Been Playing:

nothing.

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5/31/06

So I finally got off my ass and put together a new website. i figured it was time since this one is getting a little long in the tooth. A lot of pretty cool things have happened lately so on with the show.

 

At UMusic we had Allan Holdworth back and man he totally brought down the house. He had just started a 2 week minitour of the east coast. He'll be playing at the Iridium in the city for four nights and also a few other places in the tristate area. Go to therealallanholdsworth.com for updates on his tour schedule. His trio included the great Chad Wackerman on drums and Jimmie Johnson on bass. This lineup proved to be the best yet. In my opinion Wackerman and Johnson bring out the best in Holdsworth. We made 50 tickets available and ended up having close to 60 people there when all was said and done. A lot of students and friends helped out by bringing in stuff and donating their time effort. We really need to thank Rob Mealy, Chris Slagel and Dane Ubriaco for bringing in a ton of food. Also Steve Magnotti for making sure the equipment was ready to go, Mike Ubriaco for letting us use his power amp. And also Lou for arranging this clinic/performance in the first place.

So basically the day went like this. We pretty much had the studio prepped with whatever equipment that they might have needed beforehand. I got there at about 3:30 to help wrap up a couple things and get the "back stage" area set up with tables and food 'n stuff. Allan, Chad, and Jimmy got there at 4:00 so we loaded them in and helped set up their stuff. It turns out that they rented pretty much all their backline so they didn't need what we had on stage. Murphy's law. Anyway Allan played his Delap through two Mesa Boogie Mark IVs and two Mesa 2x12 cabinets in conjunction with his Yamaha DSstomps. His sound was amazing as usual. Jimmy opted for one of our bass amps. He was playing a 5 string Alembic one of his preamps (not sure which kind). Chad rented a 7 piece DW kit (3 rack toms, 2 floor toms, kick, snare) which filled the room nicely. Part of their set list included "The Things I See", "Water On The Brain" and "Fred". The place was mobbed with a very supportive crowd and I think they appreciated our enthusiasm.

Allan, Chad, Jimmy
Allan, Chad, Jimmy
Allan Holdsworth
Chad Wackerman
Jimmy Johnson

Jeff, Dale and I are working on a new/old project. We pretty much resurrected CoAx again. We are definitley psyched. I bribed my good friend Chris Saas to help us out on bass and so far it's working out really well. Its great to be playing guitar again in a band situation and the energy is awesome. We are presently tightening up 7 songs that we wrote previously and we are going to put together 3 more and then get the fuck out and play. The music is nice 'n heavy, very syncopated and rhythmic.

 

The disk is still getting pressed so I haven't received them yet. Hopefully soon...

 

What I've Been Listening To:
Who hasn't been listening to Tool's new disk, 10,000 Days?

Overall Impression:
First off this is definitley a Tool disk. As soon as the first cut Vicarious kicks in there is no mistake.  The cool rhythms, unique time signatures and middle eastern instrumentation are all there. The production is of course top notch.  The guitar sounds a bit more modern and a bit heavier then previous albums. The bass is crisp and present. The drums sound tight and punctual.

Performance:
Danny Carey - I think is the centerpiece of this band.  He is able to manipulate rhythm and turn ordinary riffs into unique musical passages.  He also provides the backbone and a solid groove, grounding the band. 

Adam Jones - is a great rhythm player who focuses on creating  tight, coherant riffs that support the tune.  While some of the riffs off this disk sound recycled they still sound good and complement the disk as a whole.

Justin Chancellor - what's cool about the bass role in Tool is that it is truly on par with the guitar.  Justin probably has just as many "solos" as Adam.  Also he creates his own unique parts which mesh well with Carey and Jones' parts. He doesn't just mirror the guitar.  Again some of his parts sound somewhat familiar but they still carry some authority.

Maynard J. Keenan - Maynard is probably my favorite vocalist of all time. Definitley up there with Layne Staley and Robert Plant.  On this record while he sings with conviction and passion the aggression is not as intense as it was on Lateralus.

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7/6/06

Last month went by pretty quick so in my infinite laziness I guess I kinda skipped the June update.  The world is still spinning and the sun has risen yet again so I'm thinkin' that it really didn't make a whole hell of a lot of difference.  This months moronalogue will be a little geopolitical as i rant and rave about:. 

North Korea.  Why is this fucking pea brain in charge of this country?  How in God's name did he get to be in charge? Now mind you I'm purely talking out my ass here because all I know is that N. Korea is a communist/dictatorship kinda country. I don't know all the ins and outs of how one ascends to leadership over there.  First off what's with all the saber rattling?  Why is this guy making all sorts of threats?  When I start reading headlines like "North Korea Vows 'Annihilating' Nuclear Strike if United States Attacks Preemptively", that shit makes me wonder.  I mean if this dude shoots off a long range missile and it reaches our airspace, I want that shit shot down. Wouldn't you? What is with the preemptive shit?  If that little fucker wants to play big shot I'm thinking we're gonna squash him like the festering zit that he is.  The cool part is that when he did shoot off his "long range" missile called the Taepodong-2 (someone has some deep issues of insecurity to name a missile "Taepodong-2", but I digress.) the damn thing went up in the air for 45 seconds and disintegrated.  I guess he was trying to help us celebrate our 4th of July by shooting off some fireworks.  Seriously though this guy wants to start a war.  Everybody is pissed at this guy.  Even China!  I don't get it. 

 

The resurrection of CoAx (or whatever we name this thing) is indeed a reality.  The tunes are almost back in good shape. We've made some changes in arrangement 'n stuff, hopefully for the better.  Mr. Saas has stepped up and has pretty much integrated himself into this primordial soup of pestilence, with a smile on his face no less.  We also have started to do a bit of recording so hopefully we'll be able to share the resultant goodness before the next millenium.

 

Here's a review on the new disk. Click here to check it out at Prognosis.

"Greg Rapaport now has a few cds behind him, and has maintained a dedicated pursuit of progressive instrumental music on all of them. Each successive cd shows that he also continues to hone his skills as a musician, composer and sound engineer. Greg represents the musician of the new millenium, as he proves that with the discipline, time and effort, one can create quality home brewed music from the confines of the home studio environment. His music is what could be dubbed progressive metal/ instrumental, with hints of fusion and shred added, as he himself desribes, that the rhythms tracks should stand on their own as intersting and challenging, rather than creating a vehicle for soloistic exploits, suffice it to say, that he achieves this goal, and does in fact write in a manner that stays fluctuating and adventurous.

Here on Homunclus, Greg has lifted his sound from more raw and in your face to a full depth array of sound, he has taken some new approaches to creating a sonic environment to enhance the listener's involvement, allowing for more intricasies to be heard and unveiled while taking in careful listens. For my tastes, this is how I prefer to hear heavy electric guitarists approach their music, taking account for that idea that songs are more than backdrops for shred affairs and soloing. At this day and age, we truely have heard it all before, yet in hearing what Greg has accomplished on this recent release of his, the future is wide open for this genre, his ability to create a concept for instrumental music, and finding new ways to integrate technical writing with melodies and atmosphere make this more than a guitarist s' cd.

The challenge for a musician to nix the band idea and tackle a project single handedly often ends up with mixed results, as many times continuity and sincerity are lacking, other times the end production seems to be near perfect and without a soul, often times I get that from hearing programmed drumming, midi synths, and generally over mechanized non-human performances, here on Homunculus, Greg does a nice of balancing the human with the non human, where the listener tends to focus on the songs more so than the emotive aspects of each instrument. While I will always be an advocate for real drumming, I really don't notice anything about the drum mixdown that seems plastic or cheesy.

I like this cd, it is full of interesting sound, and the idea that Greg Rapaport did this all on a Roland vs1680 - 16 track with a host of other toys impresses me even more, as I happen to have one also, and have never gotten anywhere near this quality of production from it, perhaps I can get Greg to help me figure out how he does it. Don't buy this cd if you are looking for great shred guitar playing, but DO buy it because this is highly creativem progressively inspired hard instrumental music that was done by a good guitarist, and an inspired musician."

-MJ Brady

 

What I've Been Listening To:

bupkis

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8/31/06

August can be a pretty rough month.  You gotta deal with the dog days of summer.  The near grasp of a new school year, and of course in the not to distant future, the Holidays. This year the first two weeks of August was awesome as far as the weather goes. Sunny, not too hot and quite dry.  The last week or so of August, well that was a different story.  Anyway...

 

The band currently named "Road Head" is cruising along nicely. Dr. Saas aka Dr. Kevorkian has undoubtly become another cog in the machine that is ahem...Road Head.  We're having fun so screw it.  We did a couple of mini sets with a few covers thrown in at Dale's (drummer) end of summer bash.  It was a good time. We got a chance to play our originals out in front of a bunch people which was cool.  We have seven tunes done and three in the hopper.  So a solid set is close to completion. 

I for one am really getting pissed off at my live sound.  My guitar sounds like a chainsaw cutting through a pile of rocks. I'm hating it.  The clean sound is passable but the dirty sound sucks the proverbial nad hairs.  If we are going to be playing out consistently I'm going to have to do something about it. Not sure what yet though.

 

Here's a new review for Homunculus. Click here to check it out at Metal Storm.

"Greg Rapaport is an American musician who comes from the underground scene of his country. Even if "Homunculus" is already his 4th piece of music, I cannot say, unfortunately, that I had the luck to hear something about him before. But this lack of recognition doesn't come from any lack of talent because Greg, you can trust me, is just an amazing guitarist and compositor. No, actually his "problem" just comes from the fact that Greg plays instrumental music and as you all know, it's not so trendy nowadays…

"Homunculus", the last album of our American dude is a nice piece of Progressive Metal. Divided in ten tracks (each track represents a special character, like a Jester, a Priest etc) the album is a description of some parts of human personality. It's not so easy to "send" a message to the listeners when you only play music and don't use lyrics, but for sure Greg Rapaport succeeds in this work.

The ten songs are complex and technical but in any case, Greg tries to do some musical demonstration. It's more a matter of "musical feeling" then anything else. Even if his guitar playing is really good and complex I've never had the "boring" feeling that we can encounter with some "guitar heroes". Between the range of a Symphony X on some songs (like "The Sojourner (Confined)") and the technicality that you'll be able to find with some bands like Dream Theater the music of Greg Rapaport is original and never boring. Plus, his guitars are totally crazy and remind me the guitar playing of "IA" Eklundh on his "Freak Guitar" albums.

The production is really good and at the end this release will please all the ones who like instrumental music. All the songs have their own personality with a lot of differences between them. Plus, it's real Progressive music that means that, even if Greg is the only musician on this release, you'll never be in front of a CD that will look like the one of a "guitar hero".

Even if it will be hard to find a lot of success with this kind of release (not in reason of its quality of course) I really hope that the real Metal Heads who like guitars will have a look on this release to support this good musician.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8
Overall impression: 8

I want to say thanks to Jeff over at Metal Storm for the positive feedback!

 

What I've Been Listening To:

OSI - Free

OSI is cool side project made up of a few different bands including Dream Theater and Fates Warning.  The musicians include main songwriters Kevin Moore (ex  DT) Jim Matheos (Fates Warning). Joey Vera added some bass tracks, Mike Portnoy (DT) was on acoustic drums. Moore was in charge of vocals, some keys, and programming while Matheos dealt with the guitar tracks, keys and programming as well.

Lets check out the tunes shall we?
First up is "Sure You Will".  Cool upbeat tune with a nice bass groove to start.  You can hear the cool integration of acoustic drums and electronic drums which will be prevalent throughout the disk.  Moore's vocals are pretty much the standard monotone fare which fits nicely with the music that supports him.  The guitars come in pretty dramatically, nice crushing tone.

"Free" - starts with a cool semi nu metal guitar riff then kicks into a nice groove.  The guitars shine on this track.  The rhythm tracks are full of crunchy goodness which makes me a happy listener. 

They kind of take it down a bit with "Go".  This song starts off with an acoustic guitar riff, kinda folky.  This is combined with some electronic treatment with some light percussion. As the tune progresses the acoustic guitar remains pretty steady while the electronic sounds increase in complexity.  While the tune isn't incredibly fulfilling in general it adds a nice dynamic to the album.

"All Gone Now" - has a crunchy guitar start in 5/4 reminiscent of King Crimson.  A kind of cool dissonance reigns over this tune. The bridge has a very cool synth treatment that compliments the guitar line quite nicely.  Kind of haunting.  One of my favs.

They kick it down a notch again with the next track "Home". Starting off with a light synth melody (the sound reminds me a bit of the keyboard sound that John Paul Jones used in Zeppelin's "No Quarter".  This track is a moody one, lots of atmosphere and head space.  Very cool listen with headphones.

"Bigger Wave" is up next.  Another semi low key track.  This one does have a bit of a groove though.  A little more than half way through they bring it up with sweet guitar groove in 10/8 which is damn cool.  I just wish it lasted a bit longer.

"Kicking" is prolly my least favorite.  The guitar riff is not really inspiring and the vocals kind of drag it down a bit.  While the synth lines have a nice analog sound to them and the overall electronic treatment is decent it just doesn't seem to be on the same level as the other tunes.

"Better" is well...better.  I hear a bit of Tool influence here (which I think is a good thing).  They mix up some meters in this tune as well.  About half way through they really start screwing with the time when the guitar kicks in.

"Simple Life" - starts with just Moore and some electronic rhythms with a synth backed by a two chord vamp.  The song has a bit of traditional electronic dance groove until about half way through when Matheos comes in with some nice guitar work.  We actually hear a bit of a solo here as well.  Not a bad track.

Next up is "Once".   Clocking in at 6:38 it's the longest track on the disk.  The beginning is again some electronic effects/loops 'n stuff.  But there is a bit of a Middle Eastern vibe going on here that makes it a bit more interesting.  It kinda reminds me of the beginning of "Head" off their first album.  About half way through it kicks into high gear with an energetic beat and additional accompanyment.  The song drags just a bit but a nice listen none the less.

The last track "Our Town" wraps up the disk with a nice acoustic vibe.  After the first verse it sounds like Matheos lays down some slide tracks and then a banjo comes in (yes a banjo). This works though!  The progression remains virtually the same but with the additional instrumentation that's introduced keeps the listener interested.

Overal Impression:
I like the disk.  To me it is not as strong as their first but they had a lot to live up to 'cause that first one was pretty damn brilliant.  Could there be some filler on this disk? Not sure.  I'll leave that up to you.  The production on the disk is stellar just like the first.  Listening at any volume brings a smile to my face.  Headphones should be worn at least once to really hear all the cool stuff they jam onto this disk.

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9/31/06

I have been on the search for a new sound.  If you are a guitar player that may send shivers up and down your spine because you know how much of a pain in the ass this process is.  If you don't play, well let me tell you what's up.  I decided that my live sound pretty much sucked the hair off a gnat's balls. I was using a Rocktron Chameleon with a BBE Exciter through a Rocktron Velocity power amp.  This setup served me very well for a damn long time.  But now I kinda figure that I'd like to step up a bit.  I've broken my ass to become halfway decent so I figured I'd start on the journey of tone.  Or as I'd like to call it the journey of frustration, depression, and downright pissedoffed-ness. Whatever.

First up Carvin V3. 
I read a lot about this amp and I was damn psyched to get my grubby hands on this thing and put it through its paces.  All tube all the time.  3 channels of tonal bliss with a bunch of modes to boot.  It took about a week or so to arrive and when it did I was all sorts of excited.  I took it out of the box, plugged it in, plugged my guitar in and started twiddling with knobs and flicking switches.  I was digging it...a lot.  Basically it had one clean and two crunch channels.  The clean was VERY nice.  Round, warm, you know the deal.  I set up the first crunch channel for rhythm and it was well...crunchy.  Nice, even and warm.  I set up the lead channel and it sang pretty nice, I solo with my neck pickup. 

So I bring it to practice and flicked it on.  Well when I started to play my sound kinda got lost.  It wasn't cutting through. I basically turned knobs all night trying to find a way to be heard. Turning up wasn't the answer.  I just could'nt find my place in the mix.  I looked at the boys and they seemed kinda non-plussed. Here I was playing this nice new shiny Carvin but no one could really hear me.  I brought it home and messed with it some more. It sounds damn good when I'm playing by myself but when there is a cacophony of racket going on it just don't cut through. Needless to say I was bummed.  So I gave 'em a buzz, boxed it up and sent it back.  Damn I was pissed.

Second up Mesa Boogie Roadster Head. 
Me 'n my buddy Jeff went up to Alto Music in Wappingers Falls that Sunday.  I was determned to make good on my tonal excursion. I was gonna try out everything I could get my hands on.  I had called Alto on Saturday and asked if I could come up with my guitar and start plugging in.  They said "sure come on up".  I want to just say that they were very patient with me, answered all my questions and helped wherever and whenever they could without hovering.  Quality service.  Anyway I first tried the Boogie 3 channel Dual Rectifier.  I plugged my Carvin in and started hammering on the low B to see what this puppy was made of.  The cabinet was a Boogie 2x12 with Celestion 30s in it so I knew I wasn't going to get the umph that I would out of a 4x12 so I took that into consideration.  It sounded nice. Very aggressive and full of attitude.  A smile began to appear on my face.  I started fiddling around with it a bit more. I put on my neck pickup and started to do a couple of single note runs.  Hrrmmph.  The note was kinda dieing early and the tone was a bit sterile and cold.  I switched back to my bridge and went to the rhythm channel and did some riffing.  Damn it sounded brutal.  I looked at Jeff and we decided meh, nice amp but lets see what else we got.  We tried the Ibanez Thermion. Its a new 100 or so watt all tube head.  It looked cool. Lots 'o purty lites 'n shit but we needed to see what this thing could do.  So we plugged in and I started chugging out some rhythm stuff, not bad, raised eyebrows all around.  As soon as I put on the lead channel and did a couple of runs well that's when this head shit the bed.  I would hit a note and it would just die, like immediatley, no sustain.  See ya.  Now my friend Jeff he's a guitar player like myself and we be in the same band.  I consider him a good judge of tone and he's into the british sound.  So hey lets check out a Marshall. We got the best one in the joint, a TSL100.  We plugged in and looked at eachother like, you're kidding me right?  The clean was ok, the rhythm was meh, and the lead was well...uninspiring. It was kinda thin and one dimensional.  Maybe it was the room, or the cabinet or something but the Boogie sounded better. Underneath the Dual Rectifier was a new Mesa head called the Roadster. It looked damn nice.  4 channels of 100watt all tube goodness. 3 modes per channel, fx loop that can be switched on and off for each channel.  You can change from 100 to 50 watts and even switch from tube to diode rectification on any given channel. Ho boy.  I said we gotta give this thing a shot.  And we did.  And I heard all the goodness that is Boogie. The sweet, round cleans.  The gritty pushed sounds.  The brutal rhythm channel and the sweet gain of the lead channel. The smile came back and I looked at Jeff, we knew that this was it.  This was the best sounding amp in the store.  This beast was mine.  So we stroll on up to the counter and say to Nate, "that Roadster over there, that's the one I want. How 'bout you go in the back there and dig me up a nice freshly boxed one."  Nate turned and said, "sorry but that's the only one we have."  And then he said that there was another problem.  A modification had to be made to one of the circuit boards before it could be sold.  A resistor of some sort had to be soldered on.  I said ok, uhhhh, could you order one for me?  Maybe one that has the mod done already at the factory?  He said sure, prolly won't take that long to get in, couple 'o weeks maybe.  I said cool.  We left and hit DQ on the way home.  We learned a lot. 

Pt 2 the Roadster saga continues:
I got home and was perusing the Boogie board to see what else I could find out about the Roadster.  Essentially it's the Roadking with out the  progressive linkage and only one fx loop. Hmmmmm and I read further.  Seems to be in high demand...hmmmmmm...backordered for 4 months!!  Now I'm a patient guy but when I read that, that shit wasn't gonna float.  So the next day I called those boys down at Alto, put a deposit down on it, told them to do the mod as per Mesa's specs and that I'd pickin' that bad boy up on wednesday come hell or high water.  So that's what I did. The tech said that the mod took 5 minutes and it went swimmingly. So i'm itching to get this thing home and try it through my cabinet but then Alto's computers go down and I have to wait while they get their system up and running again.  They were cool though and very apologetic.  They threw in 3 packs of strings and I left with a smile on my face.  I get home plug it in crank it up and ho boy, that's what I"m talking about. 

Pt 3 yes there's more:
Friday comes around and rehearsal comes with it.  I lovingly put the Roadster head in my car and carefully drive on down to UMusic (that's where we've been rehearsing lately).  Now UMusic has really REALLY high ceilings so its a bit echoey in there so I figured that the head may not sound quite as nice as it does in my small studio.  Ooohs and aahhhhs all around when I took the cover off and plugged it in.  I said "fellas, this might just do the trick."  And it did, kinda.  Everyone said that it was much more present then the Carvin.  It cut nicely. But I still just couldn't hear it.  It wasn't quite the sound I was looking for.  Again, when it's by itself its magical, almost a religious experience.  But when it's put in a band situation it kinda disappears.  Also it wasn't that tight. It was a bit sloppy on the low end.  The leads sounded pretty good but man I really coulda used some more sustain, I like that shit to sing.  I figured that I needed to dial it in a bit more and work out the bugs.  So the next week I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked some more.  I brought it to practice the next week and goddam it it still wasn't what I needed.  It was weird.  When I'd turn up it got harsh and I really couldn't get the mids to sit right.  And let me tell you that I fuckin' tweaked that thing all the way through practice and I couldn't get what I wanted.  Goddamit!!  I had it for over a week so there's no way I was going to get my money back, only store credit. Now Jeff if you're reading this don't flip out...

Pt 4 the Roadster hits the road... enter the Triaxis:
I called Alto on Saturday and said that while the Roadster is a damn fine head, it just wasn't making me completely happy. I'm a picky bastard.  I told them that I wanted the Triaxis. They said that they didn't have any.  So I called the Middletown store (there's a bunch of Alto Music stores) and they had one. Again I did the deposit thing and called Chris (bass player in the band) and asked if he wanted to take a ride to Middletown Sunday morning.  He was up for it so we met half way dropped off his car at his dad's and headed up.  Now this branch of Alto Music is nice.  Were talkin' like Guitar Center big.  All sorts 'o goodies to look at and drool over.  I had my guitar with me and met up with the salesman that I talked with on the phone on Saturday.  I returned the head no problem.  Then I plugged into the Triaxis.  I hit one note, just one and I heard all the frequencies missing in the Roadster.  I looked at Chris and he started to laugh.  I said "goddam this thing is nice!"  By the time I got to the 20th preset I was in love.  Now I have to say that I'm a bit of a tweaker. I like reading the manuals and screwing around with the buttons 'n shit.  I figure hey if you're gonna drop a chunk change on some gear you might as well take full advantage of what it has to offer.  And well I gotta tell you the Triaxis has A LOT to offer.  It's 8 preamps in one.  Its all tube, 5 12ax7's glowing in the back.  It's freaking midi controllable, it even can do cc messages.  The flexiblity of this thing is mind boggling. They even integrated an EQ circuit!  If you want, go to mesaboogie.com and check out manual.  The goddam presets are awesome!! And I hate presets.  Basically what they did was put the whole Mark series of amps into this thing and stuck a rectifier in there as well.  I found this preset that makes my neck pickup sing like the proverbial fat lady.  This note just keeps going. Now I know I'm getting all sorts of excited.  And you're probably saying "but you didn't try it with the band yet". And you're right I haven't.  But I see light at the end of the tunnel.  This thing has such a huge tonal variation between the all the tone controls and modes that if I can't get a sound that sits well in the band then I guess I should just pack it up. 

To be continued...

 

Road Head aka CoAx is making very nice progress.  We've been hammering out two new tunes which will round out our set.  On Saturday October 7th Road Head will be making its debut performance at PJ"s in Mahopac.  woohoo! We're going to be opening for local perennial hardcore favorites Sanction.  This will be trial by fire as this was not a planned gig and it just kinda fell into our lap. (Thanks to Chris and the boys in Sanction)  So this Friday we will be drilling the set and dropping a cover or two in. I for one am a bit nervous 'cause I get a bit jumpy in front of a crowd.  But the only way to overcome yer fear is to run into it with your head down and yer mouth shut (so you don't bite yer tongue).

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10/31/06

Man it seems a lot has happened this past month.  Work has been absolutely bat shit busy.  A lot of projects goin' down and not a whole lot of time to git 'em done.  Don't get me wrong I'm psyched I have the work but man when it rains it pours. 

So what should be the subject of this month's moronalogue?  Since I'm writing this update on the 31st why don't we chat a bit about Halloween? 

On the way home from work tonite I flipped on the radio and there was this pastor talking about how Halloween is a potentially dangerous pastime.  Dangerous if you are the side of a house with 12 teenagers armed to the hilt with eggs maybe. But dangerous to who? Me?  My family?  How so?  He referred to Halloween as a "dark" event that goes against Christain beliefs. "Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent."  Well that I understand.  Afterall it is a Pagan holiday.  But while I do believe in spirits 'n stuff I really don't think tonite is really any different than any other nite regarding the spirit populous and its interaction with the material plane.  Has anyone really seen a ghost on Halloween?  I sure as hell haven't. I've seen a bunch of toilet paper hanging from trees, shaving cream on cars, and eggs on houses, but no ghosts.  I'd like to see a ghost though, it'd be kinda cool.  But I digress.  While Hallow's Eve may have started as a potentially threatening event to Christain beliefs I think it has been thoroughly watered down to a mere Hallmark ripoff.  Little kids dressed as Power Rangers, and StarWars characters...yeah I'm petrified.  I do like the Reeses Peanutbutter Cups though. 

 

The quest for tone continues...

If you aren't familiar with my ongoing saga of getting a halfway decent live sound then please refer back to the "news archive" for the full shebang. 

So I got the Triaxis in my hot little hands and I hooked it up to my Rocktron power amp (I know, say no more) and checked it out. Nice.  I said to myself.  Very nice.  It has a very smooth, kinda wet 'n chewy character to it.  Let me give you the full lowdown in case you aren't familiar with the unit. Essentially its a tube driven preamp.  It's got 5 12ax7 bottles in the back.  It has 8 preamp circuits or modes that are laid out in 3 groups.  The rhythm has two modes, green and yellow. Rhythm Green has a "black face" feel to it.  If you up the gain it starts to get nasty and you get a snarly touch sensitive blues tone.  Rhythm Yellow will give you a narrower frequency range and tighter feel overall.  Good for funk stuff. Again if you start to saturate it with gain you have a whole different animal on your hands. Especially if you start to fool around with the Dynamic Voice control.  The next group is Lead 1. Lead 1 Green is a vintage flavor that comes from the Mark I series. If you raise "volume 2" above "volume 1" you can get a very warm, thick lead tone.  Very bluesy sound. Good mode for when full saturation is not necessary but you still want a bit of hair in your sound.  Lead 1 Yellow a bit more potent.  Overall it's darker and warmer and smoother. Very good for single note runs as well as nice crunchy rhythms, especially if you dial in the Dynamic Voice.  Lead 1 Red. This is where the love is.  This mode gets its own board and once you hear it you'll know why.  Its designed after the Dual Rec Orange channel.  Now while I don't think its an exact copy it has a lot of the character and aggression that I like. Its scooped and tight as hell.  Also you can jam massive amounts of bass through this mode and it'll still stay tight.  Lead 2 Green is taken form the Mark IV lead channel.  It has a very focused gain.  This channel is cool 'cause it covers up the fret buzz and really lets the note ring out true.  Very very good for single note playing.  Lead 2 Yellow, is borrowed from the Mark IIC+ lead channel.  It has nicely stacked harmonics and you can make yer notes squeal like hell!  Lead 2 Red is basically all out shred.  Super aggressive in your face top end and ugly crunch that'll make your dog hide under your bed for days. 

Now as you can tell I paraphrased liberally from the manual.  I still haven't really gotten down and dirty with this thing as far as dialing it in.  The damn thing has 8 modes with: gain, treble, middle, bass, lead 1 drive, lead 2 drive, presence and dynamic voice controls.  That is an insane amount of tweaking.  I basically set up a couple of presets and went with it.

the fun continues...

 

Well RoadHead had its first gig on the 7th, opening for Sanction (thanks boys!!).  We had a great time.  The gig went reasonabley well.  We got a lot of nice compliments on our material and we got asked back so that must be a good sign.  In fact as Jeff and I were leaving the owner stopped us and said that we were one of the best acts he's come across in the 27 years he's been in business.  Not bad for a first gig.  We still have quite a bit of improvement needed but I'm glad we got off on a positive note (so to speak).  We have another gig coming up on 11/18 at Paulies in Pleasantville NY.  Should be interesting.

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11/31/06

I hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving.  My house was pretty much bedlam but all in all it was pretty nice.  We had the whole 9 yards, you know, 18 pounder with stuffing, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, some kind of vegetable I didn't eat.  I think it was carrots.  Cooked carrots are nasty.  Oh yeah, corn bread too.  We had like 3 apple pies, pumpkin pie (my fav), and chocolate brownie like stuff.  Very tasty.  So I pretty much carbo loaded and washed dishes all day.  Now with the Holidaze approaching the madness ensues. 

November has been a real busy month work wise.  I'm teaching around 35 students and Splinterhead Prod. has been ruthless.  When it rains it pours, gotta take it when you can get it...you got the idea.  Working 6-7 days a week does get old though.  Oh well...

 

It's all about the tone...

well things are improving with the whole equipment thing.  I've found that the Triaxis is a great baseline to start with. I managed to spend some time dialing it in and trying to get familiar with the controls.  It's pretty sophisticated because of how the controls interact with one another.  And the rules may change as the mode changes.  Basically I've gotten the tones I like and then I'll tweak them using both the TC Electronics G-Major's parametric eq and also the Aphex Exciter that I have.  The G-Major does make a sizeable difference.  You can really hone in on a frequency and either cut it or boost it making pinpoint adjustments to your sound.  The exciter also has a very noticeable effect as well.  It's more of a shotgun approach though. I'll use it mainly to add a broad spectrum of a certain frequency to the overall tone.  Kinda handy if I'm in a different room and I need to make large tone adjustments.  There is also a nice bass response due to the exciter which can really add some devastating low end.  Kinda fun.  Anyway the progress continues...

 

RoadHead played its second gig over at Paulies in Pleasantville on 11/17. Overall it was a fun gig.  I was a nice big room and we doubled up with the Bitchy Midgets.  They went on second and played a nice assortment of covers.  A nice bunch of guys/girls. We mixed equipment.  We used their PA head and they used Chris's mains and the bands monitors so we had a very nice sound at the front of the house.  We are still smoothing out the bumps and tightening things up.  We're going to be playing at Popeyes Pub which is on Rt 6 on December 30th.  Come on out if you're up for it.

 

I forgot to mention last month on the 14th we had a recital over at UMusic.  The program included:

Shane Nolan - Greensleeves
Griffin Irvine - Fur Elise
Matt Lapa - Straight No Chaser
Justin Prouty - E String Etude In E Minor
Rich Aufrichtig - Bourree
Quinn Thomas - E Minor Etude For Bass
Kelly O"Gorman & Nick Loguidos - Ten Years Gone
Tom Burkland - Canon
Sal Devivo - Rondo A La Turk
Hal deGroat - The March
Nick Marone - Mr. PC
Eric King - Well You Needn't
Jim Cobb - A Night In Tunisia
Bruzzi Herman - Sunny
Kenny Lyons - Icarus Dream Suite
Chris Slagle - Always With Me, Always With You
Brian Holt - Cliffs Of Dover

Everyone performed really well and the place was packed.  Thanks to Lou for organizing it, Tom Bitondo for assisting on keys, Nick Vera for assisting on drums and Emmalou DeGroat for overall management of the proceedings.  I videotaped the show so if you want to stop by and check it out go here.

 

I was lucky enough to hook up with a great site called Metal Storm.  Basically a one stop shop for all that is metal and they took time out of their busy schedule to have a listen to my latest disk.  Well here's what they had to say...

"Greg Rapaport is an American musician who comes from the underground scene of his country. Even if "Homunculus" is already his 4th piece of music, I cannot say, unfortunately, that I had the luck to hear something about him before. But this lack of recognition doesn't come from any lack of talent because Greg, you can trust me, is just an amazing guitarist and compositor. No, actually his "problem" just comes from the fact that Greg plays instrumental music and as you all know, it's not so trendy nowadays…

"Homunculus", the last album of our American dude is a nice piece of Progressive Metal. Divided in ten tracks (each tracks represent a special character, like a Jester, a Priest etc) the album is a description of some parts of human personality. It's not so easy to "send" a message to the listeners when you only play music and don't use lyrics, but for sure Greg Rapaport succeeds in this work.

The ten songs are complex and technical but in any case, Greg tries to do some musical demonstration. It's more a matter of "musical feeling" then anything else. Even if his guitar playing is really good and complex I've never had the "boring" feeling that we can encounter with some "guitar heroes". Between the rage of a Symphony X on some songs (like "The Sojourner (Confined)") and the technicality that you'll be able to find with some bands like Dream Theater the music of Greg Rapaport is original and never boring. Plus, his guitars solos are totally crazy and remind me the guitar playing of "IA" Eklundh on his "Freak Guitar" albums>

The production is really good and at the end this release will please all the ones who like instrumental music. All the songs have their own personality with a lot of differences between them. Plus, it's real Progressive music that means that, even if Greg is the only musician on this release, you'll never be in front of a CD that will look like the one of a "guitar hero".

Even if it will be hard to find a lot of success with this kind of release (not in reason of its quality of course) I really hope that the real Metal Heads who like guitars will have a look on this release to support this good musician."-Jeff Mallet

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12/31/06

Well well, another holiday season down the shitter.  I hope everybody got what they wanted.  I received some nice things, nothing major but some nice things nonetheless.  My son on the other hand well, lets just say he made out quite well.  Xmas is about the kids afterall.  One thing did kinda bum me out over the holiday season is the fact that we lost James Brown. 

Now I know the guy was a nut/drug addict/wife abuser etc etc. He definitley ain't up for sainthood.  But the contribution he made to the music scene is undeniable.  He was a huge entertainer, huge.  He could raise the roof and just make everybody fucking go crazy.  He was also a great talent as far as his vocal stylings. Nobody sounded like James.  He truly carved a niche out for himself and rode it til the end.  He also worked with some great musicians.  Guys like Maceo Parker, Bootsy Collins, Clyde Stubblefield and many more brought out the best in Brown. He took R&B to the next level.  He made it grittier, more street and definitley funkier.  He used his voice like a rhythmic instrument.  Punctuating accents with his own array of "Jamesisms" which we all grew to know, love and often imitate.  He is the R&B artist with the most charted hits, 116.  And is the No. 2 of all time with hit records behind Elvis.  Not bad for a kid educated in a reform school in Georgia.

 

The quest...
My sound is finally taking shape.  I'm thinking of possibly ditching the BBE exciter for a digital EQ to really hone in on what I'm looking for.  Decisions decisions.  Alesis makes one and Behringer does as well.  They each have their good points and bad points. So...

 

RoadHead played another date over at a local watering hole called Popeyes the other night.  It was, shall we say, interesting? The line up included 5 bands, including us.  The band Gunfight opened things up with their post country/pseudo rockabilly originals. Quite eye opening, at least for me.  We were scheduled to go on second, which we did.  The stage was a bit tight and the room was pretty small but we made the best of it and had fun. We have a date at The Loft on Feb 23 opening for Joey Belladonna (lead singer of Anthrax) w/ Epoch and Left In Ruins (Doors 8:30pm $12 adv $14 dos). If you are interested in going contact me and I'll hook you up with a ticket.  We also have a gig tentatively scheduled in January but it's not definite so I'll update when I find out.

 

I was able to have my new release reviewed by Adrenaline Fanzine which was purty damn cool.  Thanks Jeremy!

GREG RAPAPORT - "Homunculus" (Splinterhead Productions, Inc.)
Style - Progressive Rock/Metal
Origin - New York
Jeremy's Review - At last, something I can soak my mind into. Greg Rapaport, in his latest endeavor, Homunculus, blends heavy metal, rock, blues, jazz, and his own unique touch to create an instrumental montage that deserves attention. Homunculus is a journey through all the aspects of human personality, and tracks are named according to each idea. The Alchemist (Infernal), for example, describes (in my humble observation) the mysteries of a creative mind who begs to question all norms and rebel to reinvent reality. Yes, I'm that messed up. Listening to each song in succession brings new ideas and images that evolve with every spin. This is music that makes you think, imagine, and enjoy; or just play in the background, because it's just that groovy.

Normally, when one-man bands (even full-member bands) put something out, it feels artificial and over-produced. You can tell each song is pieced together track-by-track, like a cheap puzzle. Not this guy. Although created at his home studio all by himself, all his instruments blend together seamlessly as if a live band is performing right here in my speakers. He jams, he wails. He shreds. The drumming and bass are well-planned and groovy at the best moments, while the atmospheric "fusion" highlights each track to make them all stand out (the electric sounds of The Alchemist mid-song are so Thomas Edison).

All in all, if you're a fan of any blues, jazz, and rock/metal guitars, this is some inspiring music to listen to. It reminds me of Liquid Tension Experiment, Steve Vai, Rush, etc. There's just so much going in here, my brain waves are jumping all over the place. Buy Greg Rapaport. http://www.gregrapaport.com/

Production: 9 Performance: 10 Originality: 9 Tilt: 10
Overall: 9.5

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