Jose at Musika “Luma” Album Launch, March 5, 2016

Jose at Musika - Luma Cover

Jose at Musika, the band that I currently play in, will be launching its album entitled “Luma” on March 5, 2016. The launch will feature guest performances by the following bands:

Antimano
Dhruva Tara
Maryzark
Carlo Ordonez of Kastigo
Clubhouse
Soil & Green
Jana Garcia
Agos
Unmute
Coming Up Roses
Mooncake

The likelihood that I’ll be playing with another band (*ahem* Clubhouse *ahem* among others) is a possibility.

The launch will hosted by DJ Acey and will be held at Mang Rudy’s Tuna Grill and Papaitan, Yakal St., Makati City. There will be an entrance fee of Php 200 (includes one free drink), and a copy of the album costs Php 250 which will be sold at the gate.

Jose at Musika is Jose de los Reyes on acoustic guitar and vocals, Wilbert Tan on lead guitar, Robert Taylan on bass, Jazz Magday on drums, and yours truly on piano/keyboards.

Multitasking Onstage with Clubhouse

Hello, folks (a.k.a. the 20 or so more or less readers of this blog)! It’s been some time since I’ve written a proper post so here goes:

About a week ago, Choy Marasigan (singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist) of the local indie band “Clubhouse” asked me to play with them at the University of the East – Caloocan for a campus show. He said he didn’t have a lead guitar player so he asked me if I was willing to play for that show. I said yes and then also offered to play guitar as well since I did know how to play a number of their songs in that capacity. I’ve always wanted to try doing that sort of Kerry Livgren, Robert Henshall, Tony Banks, or Geddy Lee-styled multitasking so I asked him if I can play guitar as well. Choy was probably hesitant to say yes to yours truly playing lead guitar as well but he did.

I am not so sure if I’m ever gonna do multitasking onstage again. I might do it again if I can get a band together to play my solo artist stuff (something I am having a lot of trouble with). I would say the experience of doing that was very fulfilling. However, it was a pain carrying a lot of gear myself. I probably need to train to strengthen myself to keep on doing such on a regular basis. Maybe if I start earning enough to afford a roadie to help me in such times, it would literally take a load off of me.

Anyway, I enjoyed playing that day with Clubhouse for a bunch of college kids. See for yourself in the videos below:

The first song was “Mundo”:

Second song was “Nais”:

Many thanks to Choy Marasigan of Clubhouse for inviting me, and thank you Nathan Avante (drums) and fellow session player Bong Cervantes (bass) for playing onstage with me.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XVI. “Elevator Jazz” Jam

A good way to spend a break from transcribing music to jam freely to some random backing track found on YouTube. It’s one way to have fun and try to develop/enhance chops.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: XIV. “A Day at a Music Store”

Being at a music store is a musician’s version of being at a candy store or a playground. You get to see all sorts of instruments, appealing to your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and then (if you’re really friendly with the staff) you get to test all sorts of instruments and jam with them. Here’s one of the many jam sessions I get to enjoy at Lazer Music SM Bicutan with store manager and regular jam buddy Allan Lopez.

Throwback Thursday: Recording BGM for the GuitarZoom Course “Ultimate Metal Concepts for Guitar”

Months ago, I recorded some background music for the splash animation of “Ultimate Metal Concepts for Guitar”, a course by Eric VanLandingham released by GuitarZoom. The above video says it all.

Life as a “Single” Guy – Stories Through Musical Improvisation: VIII. “Looking Forward to Tomorrow”

There is always hope after emotional turmoil. While I am always unsure of whether or not I will wake up the next day, I always believe there is something beyond the here and now, something to look forward to. The future looks bright indeed. I suppose there probably is no better way to tell that story than through the power of the electric guitar.

I Wish Most Filipino Luthiers Were…

…able to create real, unique, custom instruments!

Please take note that I have deep admiration for Filipino luthiers. I am not insulting  or trying to offend such fine craftsmen. Their craftsmanship is superb. That I do not doubt. However, it seems to me that most of them are afraid to take up the challenge of experimenting and building unique instruments that will bring about new sounds that will bring about much needed change in the OPM scene.

I will admit I am crazy. I have this loony side. I like weird stuff, with weirdness that crosses over the border of becoming unique without sacrificing function. For years, I have had this dream or aspiration that one day, a Filipino luthier would be able to make the instrument/s of my dreams. Some of these instruments I dream of having include extended-range guitars (more than 7 strings) and a guitar that can function like a viola de gamba (arched bridge and fretboard). It feels very frustrating that these proud luthiers can’t build any of these. There are a number of things or reasons why these luthiers can’t make such instruments, and that would include lack of materials or a lack of knowledge.

One day, while I was on Facebook, I approached this luthier who had a substantial following. I requested from him to give me an estimate as to how much it would take for them to build it. He said he can’t do it because he doesn’t have existing patterns or templates for it. I said I’d take the risk of spending more just to make sure my vision is realized. Afterwards, he said he just can’t do it. A few months later, he starts spewing pictures of how he masterfully copied Taylors, Gibsons, Martins, and Fenders for his customers.

What does this tell us? Do we revel at the fact that we are good copycats? Why can’t we Filipinos aspire for bigger goals? Why can’t just try to change? Why do we have to stick to years of traditions that don’t push us forward?

Again, I am NOT trying to insult Filipino Luthiers out there. I am merely posing a challenge. Please build real custom instruments, not just copies of popular brands like Taylor, Fender, Martin, Gibson, Guild, etc.

New Blues and Metal Guitar Courses on GuitarZoom

It’s been a while since I wrote anything that refers to GuitarZoom, the organization where I mainly work as a music transcriber, social media moderator, music theory and guitar answer guy, and now as a composer of background music. Anyway, GuitarZoom has a lot in store for this year, and this includes a couple of Blues and Metal courses.

For the serious intermediate metalhead guitarist, here’s a good course on Metal by Eric VanLandingham:

http://guitarzoom.com/ultimatemetalguitarconcepts/

(FYI, the music that you hear just before the lesson kicks in (the Djenty BGM you hear during the animation sequences) was written, performed, and recorded by yours truly.)

If you wish to be able to utilize pentatonic scales effectively, especially in a blues setting, you have to check out this upcoming course by Casey Smith’s called “Ultimate Power Pentatonics for Guitar”

(Again, intro animation music by yours truly.)

All of these courses come with my sheet music transcriptions in standard notation and TAB.

For more information regarding these courses as well as upcoming promos, go visit http://guitarzoom.com. For any questions regarding course content, music theory, guitar playing, or anything music in general, you can always email me at mark(at)guitarzoom.com. (FYI, I don’t handle customer service stuff and technical issues, but I’d be more than happy to talk about music with all of you.)

An Unexpected Surprise: Fanboy Elation

Lunchtime around this period of my life consists of a single cup of homemade Greek yogurt mixed in with honey and some sugar-free strawberry preserves. As I was eating my lunch and reviewing my GuitarZoom transcription work, I get this friend request from Michael Shawn Turner. After accepting it, he suddenly tells via a private message something like, “Hey are you the guy who wrote this? ” And then I realized I was talking to one of my heroes: Battery’s Mike Turner!

I was very much surprised. I never would have thought one of my heroes would start to speak to me, let alone read my blog! Anyway, to cut the somewhat long story short, it was a very pleasant exchange. He even wished me well in my search for a new drummer. Afterwards, he explained the reason why Battery ceased to exist: he flew to Los Angeles. It was as simple as that!

I remember saying in my blog that I regret not purchasing any of Battery’s albums back in the day. Mike Turner revealed to me that all of Battery’s songs are available via his Reverbnation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelshawnturner/songs. Now I know that I can enjoy Battery’s music via the web.

I cannot thank Mike Turner enough for being an inspiration and for giving me a fragment of his time.

Before I end this piece, I’d like to share with you folks Mike’s latest project called booRADLEY. They started an Indiegogo campaign, so please visit the page and offer your support. I’m very sure that it’s a decision worth taking into consideration:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/booradley-join-our-journey

Newbie Tries Live Looping Using Ableton Live

I am that newbie, and boy do I suck at this. How many times do I have to suck before getting it right just like those folks at the BOSS Loopstation Championships? Gotta shed some more wood on bass? Piano? Ableton? I guess that would be everything.