Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Musical Journey Part 5

So hanging out with Phil, Brian, and co. was great. I kind of wonder what those guys thought of me sometimes. They were all a couple years older and had a lot more experience playing and probably life in general.

I went to my first keg party because Brian's amp died on him. They called me up looking for an amp to use. My parents were cool with it so they came and picked me and my Acoustic 134 amp up and headed off to the party. I don't remember much about the party (no I wasn't drinking). I just remember thinking it was pretty damn cool to see a live band jamming and everyone having a great time.

Mike D. was at a different high school and Mike B. was in junior high so we weren't seeing a whole lot of each other but we did manage to get together frequent enough to keep the "band" going. Mike D. got us hooked up with a drummer named Tony Morosini (sp?). So another variant of the group got going. We started experimenting with some more complex music such as Rush and Led Zeppelin. Tony loved Rush and Zeppelin because the drums were challenging and the rest of us liked them because the arrangements were interesting and we had a lot of things to learn.

Phil and Brian formed a new band with a new bassist (Randy) and drummer (Reggie) called Gallows Pole. They were a better band for sure - much more solid and tight. My parents left town for a weekend at the same time that Gallows Pole needed rehearsal space. There's no mystery as to what happened next. They basically moved in for a few days. It was pretty cool. Just a weekend of music and hanging out. Phil managed to put a guitar case through a window pane in the side door. A new window pane was procured at the local hardware store. Note that I said procured vs. purchased. I don't remember who actually didn't pay for it, I just know that a new window pane became available. When Phil and I reconnected a few years ago he sent me a CD of some of the music recorded that weekend - how cool is that!?!?!

I floated around playing with various people - nothing really went anywhere but it was always good to play. There were a lot of kids that played - Ricky Adams played drums, his twin brother played guitar, Eddie Vaio (sp?) played guitar, Scott Carter (drums), John...etc. Pretty much every other block around us in our whole area had one or more people that gave music a go in some form. This was really a fantastic time to be playing. Really, it was great.

So at this point I was hip to Kiss, a lot of 60's rock (Stones, Beatles, Hendrix, etc.), some more progressive stuff like Rush and Zeppelin. I was aware of Van Halen and some current groups but I was listening to their influences rather than them directly.

I knew there was more to learn so I started seeking out more stuff to learn. I was pretty much self taught - I could read music but very slooooooowly so that wasn't really an option. For you guitar players following along, there wasn't an abundance of instructional stuff for people wanting to learn rock/pop music - it was all the books that teach you how to play Yankee Doodle Dandy. And there were no Internet sites filled with tablature for every song you'd ever want to know. I learned to use my ears. I would put a cassette in my radio each night and press record. The reason for doing it at night was less commercials and back then they used to actually play the whole side of an album pretty often. This was basically Napster in 1980 :) The next day I just learned as much as I could. Some things were stupid songs I didn't like and others were beyond my abilities but it was still valuable to try and learn as much as I could - everything from Joan Jett to Yes and everything in between. To this day I can probably play at least part of a few thousand songs LOL.

HippieSound Studios Construction Week 2

Ok, this post is late as we're into Week 3 now. Anyhow...

The vinyl barrier is going up in the "live" room:

The control room is being insulated:

The control insulation is pretty much done and the drywall is going up:

The drywall is all hung in the control room:

Most of the vinyl barrier is up in the live room and the hat channel is going up:

More pictures here: http://www.hippietim.com/Studio/Studio.htm

I've decided on some changes to the way the live room is being built. I am having the isolation clips and channel installed on all the walls and we are going to do a double layer of drywall. The second layer will be 1/2". The reason for these changes is that I figure that I'm really not going to have another shot at this anytime so I would like to just do it as close to "right" as I can. I ordered more isolation clips today and had them sent via 2-day air so progress is not stalled. Man, those clips are expensive!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Red State, Meet Police State


That's great. Our department of homeland security budget has a slot for someone to patrol parking lots for bumper stickers in Idaho. Brilliant.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

HippieSound Studios Construction Week 1

I am having part of my basement finished off for a home studio/band room. The first week of construction is done. Yipee!!!!

Here is the plan:

Here is what it looked like to start:

Then I cleaned it up a bit:

After the first day of framing:

All the walls are up:

The soffit is up in the control room and electrical work is under way:

More pictures here: http://www.hippietim.com/Studio/Studio.htm

I am doing a decent amount of stuff for sound quality and isolation.

The band room (larger room):

  • All four walls are getting a Mass Load Vinyl (MLV) barrier installed - this is a VERY heavy 1/8" thick sound isolation material - it weighs 1lb per square foot and is very dense. This goes on before the drywall.
  • Two of the walls are concrete and almost completely underground - the walls are 2x4 and are about 1" off the concrete wall - no sound is escaping this way
  • The other two walls are 2x6 - after the MLV goes on then hat channel will be run on special sound isolation clips to float the walls for isolation purposes - http://www.kineticsnoise.com/arch/isomax/index.html
  • The ceiling is trickier because about 2/5 of it houses plumbing, duct work, gas lines etc. - basically a bunch of stuff I want to be able to access over time. So the solution is to drywall as much as possible using the MLV and hat channel/isolation clips. The remainder will be grid/suspended ceiling tile. The tile will be drywall backed with MLV.
  • The window between the rooms is still TBD - probably a dual pane laminated window.
  • The doors will be exterior and will get the MLV treatment and acoustic foam on top of that.
  • To minimize the number of holes in the ceiling there will be no ceiling lights. I am going with wall sconces instead. I'm still looking for cool ones.
  • The walls will get acoustic tile (Auralex or similar).
  • The floor is concrete - I am investigating if the MLV is necessary - I don't think it is. In any case, I will use a thick pad and commercial grade carpet.

The control room is simpler since the concern here is just making a room that sounds good rather than worrying about sound escaping too much since it won't be anywhere near as loud as the other room.

  • The walls and probably the ceiling will be double drywalled - this will allow me to crank things a good bit - it won't be as effective as the MLV but it's considerably cheaper.
  • The walls will get the acoustic tile treatment as needed as well.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Me and Michael

Remember Michael from Musical Journey Part 3? Tragically, Michael passed away in 2004. I hadn't seen him in years - we spoke a time or two but never quite managed to run into each other. I had moved to the Seattle area and he had moved to Florida. Then he moved to Maryland and I moved to North Carolina. The classic cliche' applies here - see your loved ones whenever you can because you truly never know when it will be the last time. Man, I'd love to have just a few moments to say goodbye to him.

After he passed away, my mother had found an old photo of Michael and I playing guitars. She had it framed and gave it to Michael's folks. Over this last winter break we visited Michael's parents and his dad pulled this picture out. Wow. That brought back so many great memories. Michael's dad scanned the photo and sent me a copy. That's me with my first real electric guitar - a Fender Telecaster in Antigua finish and Michael with his brand new Fender Musicmaster.

Thanks for everything Michael.