Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The MySpace Conundrum

I reluctantly got dragged back into the MySpace thing as a marketing tool. Every musician I know and every wannabe insists that's where I have to be. Okay, already, I'm back there again BUT, I had two false starts. Because their interface is ridiculous and poorly explained. I noticed at least two other musicians I know made the same mistake of setting up a Myspace that was NOT a musician's account and then had to open another one. Yup, I did that too. So now I have to ask all my friends to go to my NEW MUSICIAN'S MYSPACE PAGE and become my friend all over again.

And that's not easy for me to send invites either. Because the search engine is crap. You can't enter a myspace URL into the search engine and land on the person you want. WTF? Also my computer is very confused about which of my pages I am transferring stuff to and from. I'll delete the old one as soon as I have you all onboard the new one.

Okay, I'm up and my new URL is MySpace.com/budbuckley1. If you're on that dreaded site, I'd appreciate it if you'd become a friend of mine, like you're not already but you know, I don't want to look friendless. Bad for this image I'm trying to manufacture along with the five billion teenagers who collect "friends" like herpes germs.

I'd also appreciate some ratings on the songs I put up there. I'll add more when I have time to sit and watch the little thingy scrolling past like a downtown traffic jam.

Notice I mentioned the word Marketing way up there in the first sentence. I am doing this blog and the MS thing to sell CD's after all. Many of my regular readers have bought them too. If you're new around here or just never got around to it, I should again mention my special offer to my blogger pals:

If you e-mail me at Bud@budbuckley.com and ask me, I'll send you a CD for only $10. I'll pay the postage for you. I'll sign it as well, Just tell me who you want it signed to.

There are samples of the tunes on the Sounds link on the let side of this page. If you don't care for this kind of music or even if you just think I suck, it's really okay. I don't take it personally. That's something I learned from teaching 10 year olds. There's always somebody who loves you and somebody who hates you. In the same room. Sometimes it's the same person at the same time.

You can see a few reviews of the CD on CDBaby or by our pal Jade at MaliciousBitch.com. You might even want to write a review yourself. If you do, I'd be inclined to give you a deep discount on the new CD when it comes out.

Here's a special request: I need to have a couple of cool Halloween-ish type songs to play at October gigs. The only ones I can think of are People Are Strange by the Doors and Spooky, which I lost and can't remember but I'll find it. Got any other suggestions? I'm not talking kiddy songs here, okay? Or metal. I do acoustic, ya know.

posted by Bud @ 7:05 AM

Thursday, September 14, 2006

NY Trip: Third and Final Part

Cathy took the pictures in this post and the last and I linked other pictures of stuff we neglected to take. Also I have a better link up to my song Tattoo if you've been struggling with that other lamo link.

Saugerties Lighthouse After Cathy arrived in NY, I still got in several sessions with Helen, during which we finished the demo of Tattoo. (This link should work better)). But in between those sessions we got away with our great friend Ed and his girl Cynthia to the Saugerties Lighthouse for an over nighter. It's being run as a B&B. Saugerties is next to Woodstock but sits on the Hudson River. It was a thriving paper mill town in the early part of the last century. I lived there for a few years and used to ride my bike past Big Pink, the famed recording studio crash pad of The Band and Bob Dylan. The first Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, which I attended briefly, was not in Woodstock but about an hour and a half south of there in a town called Bethel. (Now Home of Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center on the site of the original festival). Apparently they couldn't get the town ordinances but they had printed all the tickest and postes so they stuck with the name Woodstock. But the town is still home to many gigantic musicians and famous recording studios. NRS, which I mentioned last time, is one of them but is actually outside of town as well. To be totally honest, if you're in music and you are within a half hour of Woodstock, you claim to be from Woodstock. So before we treked out to the Lighthouse, we had lunch at the famed Little Bear , drove through town which is a late sixties time warp of a place if ever there was one.

Bud on the Saugerties Lighthouse Ah, but this was supposed to be about the Saugerties Lighthouse. We had the run of the place for the afternoon and night and following morning until noon. It only has two bedrooms and we had them both. There's a little museum too. A nice young man named Patrick ran the place and cooked us breakfast. We were amazed when he took off with a Coast Guard friend in kayaks across the river at dusk. We didn't expect him back when night fell but he did arrive and Ed chided him about his lack of life vest and light. "I had it in the boat," he said "and all I had to do is aim for the Lighthouse." Oh, yeah, there's a big light up there. We had a grand time because this thing is way out in the river and you're totally isolated at high tide. The marsh you walk in on becomes unpassable. So I did my best to let the river bring me a song but I only got some scattered phrases. I wrote them down but nothing really to brag about. I did enjoy playing the guitar all over that thing, looking for the muse.

We made our way down to Narrowsburg, NY, passing Bethel on the way. My sister, brother and Mother have been living there for about six years now. It sits on the rapids of the upper Delaware River in the lowest part of the Catskills. Cross the river and they call those hills the Poconos. Extremely warm time with my family and Bree and Josh came down for an overnighter there too. My Mom is going to be 90 this December. Every minute I can spend with her is precious but she is, by her own admission, tired of it all. I hope I get up there again this fall before it snows or in April. It was while we were there that Cathy discovered she had been taking the wrong meds for 10 days. LONG story but clearly an honest mistake that anybody could have made. Her blood pressure climbed up 55 points and when she couldn't put her shoes on, she finally read the pill bottle. A big oops and a trip to the ER and she was on her way to normal. We drove the rental car to Philly where I lost my palm pilot and where the baggage handlers destroyed my iPod. Both have been replaced now. The upside is that I had a pretty good cheese steak in the airport and that it was a direct flight home.

I've been trying to get myself reorganized ever since. Maybe this weekend. Happy Friday.

posted by Bud @ 8:46 PM

Monday, September 11, 2006

New York Trip Part 2

My 18 days in New York state were jam packed with work and fun, family and friends, five days of nice weather, too much food, not enough exercise and LOTS of music.

Day one was sunny and warm Sunday and I raced down to Coldspring to see Helen Avakian and husband Terry Champlin do a classical gig in a historic restoration/church. I loved the look on their faces as they were not expecting me. I had already seen one former student and had coffee with my daughter, Bree, when she left work at Vassar hospital. I also made some phone calls to set up more meetings with old friends and students during the week. I wanted to get as much of that out of the way as possible before Cathy was to arrive a week later and my schedule would be less flexible. Halfway through Terry and Helen's gig I raced back to Poughkeepsie to meet Bree and son-in-law, Josh. We had dinner at a river front restaurant where Bree tends bar on Saturdays. We fed the members of the experimental/progressive rock band "3" who were home between world tour stops with Coheed and Cambria, Atreyu, 36 Crazy Fists, Chiodos, and Adair . Lead guitarist, Billy Riker, is a close friend of Josh and Bree and I hadn't seen him since their wedding a couple of years ago. An amusing dinner with three drummers, a tour manager and two girl friends present. I'm sure those of you in the business can appreciate the dynamics to which I allude. Later we walked to their gig and were knocked out by them.

Monday, I met with a family that included two of my former students Riane and Riston. The oldest, Riston, opened for my shows last year. She's a talented young singer songwriter. I taught her guitar but she has gone way past what I was able to give her. Scary to see how they've matured so fast. Riane is becoming a talented writer. Hope these two stay in touch.

Bud Buckley with Helen Avakian I spent the next 12 hours with Helen and Terry. We did break for dinner and met up with Terry's Mom and by my close friend Ed Haas and his friend Cynthia. I was staying with Ed but this was the most time I had spent with him since I arrived. Most of my Helen time was capsulized in the last post. Except I must report that Helen learned while we were recording Tattoo ((Click here) ) that she won a song writing contest for Best Love Song at the Walnut Valley Folk Fest in Winfield Kansas. She also placed in the categories of Best Instrumental and Best Feel Good tune. She'll be perfoming there on Sept. 16. I'm so proud of her! That's my teacher! That's my friend!

Songwriting team of Buckley/Feeney

Bud Buckley with Kathy Feeney and the comical Ashley Gilnack

The following day I met up with another former student, Stephanie, who got so beautiful I didn't recognize her. Then I was off to meet my co-writer and former student Kathy Feeney and her family and our pal Ashley. Splendid and productive day there. We finished Kathy's latest song, Elevator, but I'm going to redo it with a different groove before I post it. I think that was the first time a former student drove me anyplace when we went to get pizza. Stranger than when my own kids started to drive.

We spent most of the day discussing the newest song with a working title of Keeping Secrets. This one is going to take a while as we only agreed on an outline and some key phrases and images. I have a first verse and most of a chorus and a riff with some chord progressions. The rest we'll do by e-mail and cell phone. Of all the songs that Helen made lyric suggestions on, Kathy's songs took the smallest hits. I'm not sure what that means but I'll just go with that flow and consider myself lucky to have such talented young collaboration.

After three full days with Helen I went to the studio with her to watch her record a song for her new CD. NRS studios are run by Scott Petito. He's an amazing producer/ sound engineer and musician. Watching them all work for seven hours was both humbling and illuminating. I hope I can book some time there. Check out his recording credits to see why it might be a problem squeaking in some sessions.

Met up with three other students, all siblings, Ana, Chloe and Kevin. All very bright and all gifted musically. Missed out on seeing all the other kids I wanted to see. Then on Saturday, a week after I arrived I picked up Cathy at the Albany Airport. I had stayed busy enough during the days to not feel her absence but night time was a whole other problem. I could see her across the baggage area when my cell rang and it was her asking me where I was. "Watching you talk to me," was my answer. God, I love to watch her face light up like that.
Bud Buckley and Cathy Lewis


posted by Bud @ 6:51 AM

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New York Trip Part 1

Still sorting out the problems of being away from home and blog for so long. I missed reading you. Only three bad things happened in the 18 days I was away. The rest was fun and high adventure. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. I lost my Palm Pilot. Maybe in the rental car, maybe on the plane. But I have my data backed up and bought a new one. My 40GB iPod died in transit. Also backed up, of course. But Tuesday is supposed to bring the announcement of an iPod phone. We'll see about that. I need an iPod phone that's also a Palm Pilot. That way I could lose everything at once. Or I could have it grafted to the side of my head and projected to the inside of my glasses. Remember where you heard it first. The third thing involves my Cathy and her taking the wrong meds for 10 days before she swelled up like a sausage and realized it. She's nearly back to normal size now. We're still laughing about it.

See, so everything turned out fine.

My original intention for this trip to my old homeland 90 minutes north of NYC, if you remember or care to know, was to get some recording done. That was gradually amended to getting some arranging done with my dear friend and former guitar teacher Helen Avakian. It's difficult to quantify just yet how much I learned from this trip. Helen has made a huge contribution to who I am musically, to begin with. She continues to set new standards for me. Regardless of the final outcome on this project, I am a better person/musician for taking this trip.

Every artist should have somebody they trust and respect as much as I do Helen. The first thing I said to her was, "You can't insult me or hurt my feelings. I've been told everything imaginable by ten year olds for years and years when I was teaching fifth grade. So I'm depending on you to tell me when I suck." And she did. Lovingly but insistently. She got me to listen and to work harder than I ever have. And to give me more work than I've ever had. I have a lot to do.

We started reworking some lyrics where they were a bit nebulous or had forced rhymes, or too many of the same rhymes. What WAS I thinking? We didn't have to do too much to change the music, strangely enough. A few progression alterations here and there. Mostly to accommodate the layers of guitar I'm putting in. We managed to do one very quick demo of a song called Underground that I hadn't intended to release on this CD except as perhaps a hidden track as it was all Neil Youngish. Helen was totally enamored with it, however, and loaned me the new Neil CD, Living With War to make her point. Her husband, Terry Champlin, a highly respected classical guitar teacher and composer, gave us a riff as he was moving between coffee urn and practice studio.

BudBuckley & Helen Avakian We recrafted some lyrics on other songs that I have to work on now. The major work was done on Tattoo, which is probably my title track. We streamlined some lyrics and simplified the basic guitar track. Then I added two tracks of guitar underneath to give it the texture I was looking for. Helen added some light hand percussion and bass. Terry came home late from auditioning prospective students. (Yup, you have to audition to get into his classes as Vassar College), we ate a pesto dinner at 10pm and then he mixed the demo for us. Helen danced some flamenco steps around the studio to keep herself awake while I watched Terry edit blown notes faster than I could run a spell check. I don't think you can hear Helen's bass in it that well. But here it is:

We managed all this in-between multiple gigs that Helen had to do. Two nights before I left, she did this fun restaurant gig and asked me to join her at one point. It is always a thrill to play with her.

Next entry will fill in some more fun details.

posted by Bud @ 1:31 PM