Monday, April 28, 2008

un poco loco

For a long time, we've been having a Taco Truck show up here every Thursday night to help ease the pain of a long crunch period being endured by one of our teams at work. One of the guys in the Audio Department is in love with the Taco Truck. I don't mean that he's happy that it exists. I mean he has deep-seated romantic feelings for that truck. If a man could kiss a Taco Truck and not be scorned in society for doing so, he'd be making out with that truck every Thursday. I think it's some odd Freudian thing where it shows up, feeds him, takes care of him, and doesn't ask anything in return.

Unfortunately for this guy, though, last Thursday was the last Thursday for the Taco Truck as the crunch period has hopefully come to an end. About 10 hours without the Taco Truck went by before he started emailing me haikus:

oh the taco truck
such tasty quesedillas
you're already missed

Poor guy. Luckily for him, I heard on NPR this morning that some dude is mapping taco trucks across the country at I don't know the name of the wondrous truck that visits us; but if I can find it out, I'll make sure it's on the YumTacos map. Hopefully that will stop the haikus.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the tables have turned

There's a period of time early in their careers for all burgeoning songwriters and bands where they decide that they have something marketable/unique/professional enough that they want to make the jump from hobbyists or garage bands and try for true fame and fortune. It's usually after they've managed to have written at least a handful of songs and most likely have recorded at least one of them in some sort of version.

Nowadays, the first few steps towards notoriety tend to involve posting this recorded material on either MySpace or YouTube. But in the era before the Internet, there were seemingly very few roads into the industry.

- You could gig forever until you had an undeniable fan base (i.e. - Hootie and the Blowfish)
- You could magically find a well-connected producer who loves your work
- You could spam the world with demos (which ended up in the trash, if unsolicited by labels)
- or you could pay Taxi

Taxi is an "independent A&R company" that claims to be a magical bridge between unsigned bands/songwriters and the elusive power brokers that make and shape careers. Taxi's whole gig is that you give them your material and they send it to labels, music supervisors, and producers for you until you become a success - and all it takes a $300 a year membership plus $5 per song you want to submit each time you submit for a listed opportunity.

For bands that are just starting out, that's a huge money suck. Taxi claims that you get as many as "1,200 opportunities a year in just about every conceivable genre of music" to submit your stuff. Let's say that you're sitting on the world's greatest song and you end up submitting it for every listing up there. You're now spending $6,300 a year trying to get your song heard through Taxi.

Like I was saying, Taxi exists and presents itself as a magical in-road to the industry, and therefore every band seems to agonize over joining it at one point or another. Unfortunately, horror stories swirl about Taxi, too. Mostly about flushing endless amounts of money into a system that doesn't actually get you any results. Are the horror stories true? I don't know. I do know that I've never heard of a single person on the Success Stories page. And, to be honest, for a company that's been around as long as Taxi has to have "Four major labels came to see my show because of TAXI and then one of the A&R guys invited me to hang out at his house the very next day" as one of their top success stories is not a good sign.

Anyway, I'm at a meeting yesterday about something and when I return to my office, I have a message blinking on my phone. Turns out, I got a call from Taxi. Taxi called me to introduce themselves, tell me what they do, and try to pitch to me that they're an invaluable service to Music Supervisors and that they'd love to talk to me about all the great music LucasArts games can get by associating ourselves with Taxi. I'd forgotten all about Taxi, to be honest, and at that very moment I realized that I'd made it as a professional musician. Without sucumbing to the lure of Taxi, I'd managed to network myself into a great gig, climb the ranks to a Music Supervisor role, and now I have Taxi chasing after me. And come to think of it, I have no idea how they got my phone number. It isn't listed anywhere ...

I guess Taxi is magical.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

thanks, mr. president

I had to pay for $4.02/gallon gas tonight on my way home. And I didn't stop at some kind of executive caviar gas station, neither. Just regular freakin' low grade unleaded pump it yourself and then get the hell out of there gas. $4.02/gallon.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

if the eyes are the window to the soul ...

Then today I saw a woman with the fugliest curtains ever. We were at the grocery store today picking up some stuff for a nice and leisurely breakfast picnic. When we went to check out, one of the cashiers had such freakishly fake eyebrows that I had to call Amanda over just to gawk at her with me.

I'm not really one who understands the whole concept of shaving or plucking your eyebrows completely off and then drawing them back on; but I would imagine that if you do this kind of thing, the reason you're doing it is because your brows are really bushy or something and you want them to be thin and cute or whatever.

But, unholy hell ... this lady ... she didn't have a minor eyebrow redo, she had clown makeup on. It was like she's been doing it for so long that she's completely forgotten what normal eyebrows look like. I've tried my best to recreate it with some photoshoppery:


Honestly ... what the eff are those things? They look like supervillian eyebrows or some kind of quasi-Nike swoosh. There are very few times that I see personal stylists or shoppers as a respectable career. But, somewhere out there there's a personal stylist who can win some kind of humanitarian award for turning this lady's grooming habits around. Either that or she needs to just be electricuted one rainy night, embued with super lightning powers, and start running around in lyrca causing mayhem already.

Friday, April 18, 2008

how do you back out?

And I don't mean backing out like this. I mean backing out of a gig. Have you ever been a freelancer who took on one too many projects? Have you been a professional musician who got himself into a gig that he then wasn't available for? How do you back out of it? Can you? Is it possible to back out of a gig without having it ding your professional reputation?

I have a friend going through this right now and he's not sure what to do. Thought I'd see if anyone I know had any advice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

new interview has a new interview with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed's composer, Mark Griskey, and myself slapped up on their front page. Basically, we just yammer on a bit about the recording session and a little of the writing process for creating the new game score for TFU.

Thought I'd share.

Friday, April 04, 2008

music, family, and ... um ...

Okay, so there's only two things. I've been meaning to post for a while, but have been too busy to actually get around to it. Couple of interesting things going on though.

The official website for the new Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game, the title I've been working on for the last 3 years in one form or another. Anyway, the new website is up and you can hear the main theme that I wrote for the game playing as the site's background music (by the way, the theme was orchestrated by Mark Griskey, the game's composer). So far, the music seems to be getting a really positive response, so that rox.

In other news that rox, everyone's favorite Techno Squirrels have moved to San Francisco. So, now Ry and Lisa are about 40 minutes away instead of being 6 hours away - which totally rulez. Not that we've really done anything or seen each other yet, other than the night they moved up, but still ... the potential to see them is there. And that's what really counts.

Kinda. Hey, Ry - maybe we should do something?