Happenings

How to change a lightbulb

Just re-watched this.

It's easier to do trivial things that are urgent, than it is to do important things that are not urgent (like thinking), and it's also easier to do little things we know we can do, than to start big things we're not so sure about.

I think I'd forgotten just how much great stuff there is in here. I think it's another one of those things that needs to be read, listened to, etc every now and then, and each time you get something slightly different out of it.

Tab hack thing

This is one of those things I probably should've realised a long time ago, and plenty of people probably already do know, but for those of you that don't, I discovered a little tip for learning some covers the other day. We were chucking around the idea of doing a version of Police and Thieves, and to get a starting point, I was looking at the tab and spotted those annoying 10's and 9's. On a bass guitar, not a problem, but on a proper bass, once you get to around the B on the E string (or where the 7th fret would be if there were any) you kinda run out of easily accessible neck, as demoed by this handy diagram:

Once you're past that point, for a lot of players (or maybe just hacks like me) intonation tends to get a little ropey, so we try and stay in the lower (pitch-wise) regions of the strings so we don't have to get all hunkered down over the bass.
After a few seconds of my brain churning, I realised that if that note on the 10th fret of the A string (G) was that far "down", it had to show up on the D string further "up", et voilà, 5th fret on the D is G, and the others are all around, but the trick that for some reason hadn't clicked for me until then, was that all you have to do, to work out where a note is on the next highest string (assuming you know which fret it's meant to be on), is -5.

So

becomes

EASY!

Think that took way too many words to say something pretty simple, but you get what you get

Breakout

So, Bedlam was pretty awesome!
The whole thing was really well organised, Tigger provided some excellent food, the other bands were amazing and the crowd were pretty good too. The Roadmender is a great venue too, should you ever get the chance to visit, don't pass it up! No one left while we were playing, which is always a bonus! There are a few photos courtesy of the legendary Pot Belly, I'll post any more as/when I find them. Massive thanks to Phil, Tobe, Andy and the rest of the Bedlam Crew.
People enjoyed our set, and it appears we've swung a gig or two out of it, so we can't have messed up too badly. To keep up to date, watch this space.
The lineup for the next one looks pretty amazing, well looking forward to that too!

Punk face bedlam

I'm playing with Nuclear Skyline at the Face Bar in Reading on Friday. This is a replacement for the gig that was cancelled due to snow earlier in the year. We've got a few tickets left to sell if anyone wants any, it'll save you a couple of quid compared to the on the door prices, and be a pretty big help to us, so get in touch with me or anyone else from the band!
The Wreck Scene are still well looking forward to Bedlam Breakout, and have scheduled a couple of practices between then and now to polish up our craft. The week after bedlam we'll be strutting our stuff at Punkolympia 2, along with the awesome Jane Likes Books. That'll be a grand gig, I played the first one with the nukes (the wreck scene were otherwise engaged), and it was a night of epic proportions, so if this one is even half as good, it'll be amazing. Tickets are available in advance from here. We have merch in the works too, which should be ready for those gigs. Speak up if you want to reserve yourself a shirt.
I've got a couple of secret new projects on the go, more info to follow soon but at the moment neither of them involve a drummer, and that's the way they're likely to stay, so looking forward to unveiling them when they're ready!
Plans for the return of Chaffestock are underway for early June, in memory of the legendary Eddie Chaffe who we lost just over a year ago (time flies). They're pretty loose at the moment, but I'm planning for at least one of my bands to be playing, and/or I might end up running sound on the night too. Exciting stuff for a great cause.
Rumours of The Wreck Scene touring The North have yet to be substantiated. yet

Buy Buy Buy!

The lovely folks at Cracking Tunes are to blame for you now being able to fork over your hard earned for the pleasure of carrying The Wreck Scene with you wherever you go, or at least listen to us on your computer!
We’ve got a couple of tracks up on iTunes, Amazon, and Play.com and we’re floating around on Spotify somewhere too! Just because we’re awesome, we’ve put a third track up for free download for you folks.
So go, get spending!

New (old) goodies!

I got around to ordering a new bridge and some strings from Superior Bassworks a while ago. And they’re awesome.

Deuce Bridge

The bridge took a bit of work to get fitted, but was more than worth it. And way easier than fitting a “normal” bridge ((link to deuce video here)). The feet are made from spruce, which is a softer wood than the maple usually found in bridges, which makes fitting them to the bass top (which is generally also spruce) a breeze. It’s a brilliant bit of engineering.

overview

The way the feet are made, it’s pretty much not gonna tip over, ever. The bass side foot running along the bass bar transfers more vibrations to that side of the bass, and we all know vibrations=noise, so thats great to give the lows a bit of a boost. As fitted to my commie bass (after an all too brief stint on the beater bass), that thing is now a damn cannon.

not my bass, but a decent pic

Another cool detail is the way pickups are fitted. On a normal bridge, there’s a bunch of filing, sanding, and probably shimming involved to get a secure (but not too snug) fit for the pickup. The Deuce overcomes this with a cleverly crafted slot complete with a screw so it is super easy to install a pickup, and adjust the pressure/fit on it so you can dial in a decent sound. Piezo pickups can be a bit of a dark art. If the fit is too loose or too tight, all sorts of strange things’ll happen, nasally sound, feedback, crap tone, etc. So much depends on the correct fit that couldn’t be overcome with EQ or other processing, and this design makes it as easy and almost instant as you’re likely to get to adjust that.

too many fiddly nuts, but it gets the job done
The only thing I’m not such a fan of is the method of adjusting the string action. It works for sure, but it’s not the easiest method, fitting a spanner into the tiny space and wrangling a couple of nuts per side to raise/lower the bridge. Perhaps I’m being spoiled, having two way adjustment is awesome, I just wish it was easier. I’ve seen some spy photos that suggest the new versions will have a different, tool-free, system, which I look forward to, stay tuned! I will be getting another one of these for my other bass as soon as I (and my bank balance) can get round to it.

The Strings

The Superior Bassworks Deluxe Strings are amazing. For starters, you get six strings in the packet so you’ve got a few options for which gauge strings you run, and can switch them in and out for the sound/feel you prefer. It’d appear the general consensus is to run strings 2, 3, 5, 6 (from thickest to thinnest) which is what I’m running on the bass in the pictures, and it seems to work pretty well.

Grippy + fat!

The texture makes them a lot easier to play than the other “whacker” type strings I’ve used, they stick to your fingers really well, and even make a decent noise when bowed (my arco playing leaves a little to be desired though). Apparently the texture makes them “grab” the air for more acoustic volume/tone too, which is a bonus, especially when recording (which is mainly what this bass is going to be used for, it’s a little more fragile than the one I use for gigs). I know enough physics to know that that makes sense! These things play like butter.

The sound on them is great. A nice low growl with a quick decay. The E suffers a little in the definition department, but is by far the best “gut like” string I’ve heard, and is fine once amped up. That all important click is great too, a good woody thunk without being too harsh or “clacky”.
Here is what I recorded recently with The Wreck Scene, for some sort of reference.
There's no way I can recommend this stuff enough.

Wreck online

So, The Wreck Scene got themselves a website! It's a little quiet for gigs at the moment, but we got some nice fresh recordings up there for you to listen to for now.
The Nukes Will be hitting the mean streets of Oxford again on October 12th, back at the Wheatsheaf, then delving into the Cellar for the delayed PunkOlympia.
Again, better/more interesting posts on the way, I've got some sort of "proper" job on the go now, which is nice.
Really interesting thing about kids and learning and it not always being about how "intelligent" you are, non-cognitive skills and such here

Northampton ain't ready

Saturday will see The Wreck Scene tearing it up in Northampton at The Racehorse, which we're pretty excited about. As the home of Bedlam Breakout (Northampton, not the venue we're playing) it could see a good turnout. Tobe reckons he's gonna try and make it, so that's something, at least, perhaps it'll lead to us blagging a slot at a future Bedlam fest!

Also, we just go some stickers made, so keep ya eyes out!

And now, back to your regular programming.............

Been a little slow updating things on here,apologies to all my loyal readers (all 2 of you).

The Nukes had an awesome time at the O2 academy in Oxford a few weeks ago. I’ve stuck the photos of the other bands that played with us over in the photos section, have a looksee. There are some pretty good shots in there I reckon, I think I mainly need to work on my editing skills, as in spend more time in photoshop/aperture and just cut down a little on the quantity. I might go back to the “old days” a little and pretend I’m shooting film again. Maybe not so much when I’m actually taking the photos, I’ll still spam the “go” button then, but I reckon I’d get through maybe three rolls of film at 36 shots a pop, so there’s no way I’d come away with over 200 photos for two nights of gigs!

The O2 was possibly the hottest, sweatiest gig I’ve ever played. You could’ve bottled the atmosphere, pretty much literally, and sold it for a tidy profit. The range and sheer volume of emotions on show were pretty exhausting, and everyone did themselves proud.

After a brief respite, July 12, 2012 marked the return of the nukes to Oxford, this time playing a few doors down from the O2 at the Bullingdon arms, along with Jam Jams’ other band, Demask Thyself. Things for us were a little sloppy due to lack of a recent practice, but we had fun, and so did at least three other people in the crowd! We also had the dubious pleasure of powering through most of the last two songs without Joey’s guitar thanks to his E string (the one that matters, not that skinny noodley one) giving up about three bars into our second to last tune. The show must go on and all that! Again Leon was on hand with his camera and took some pretty good photos.

Proof that I can smile

Our Joey sans guitar

The Wreck Scene had a night of firsts on the 19th. It was our first gig that was even remotely local to home base, and a pretty good turnout considering we managed to coincide with the first night of Truck Festival. After quite a few gigs further afield, it was nice for us to play somewhere most of my friends could get to, and having played there a few times before with the good ship Nuclear Skyline, it’s almost like I’ve taken up residency or something. We also got to roll out our second vocalist, The Jenerator for her first public performance and bust out a brand new tune in the form of “Baby’s Got a Flak Jacket”.
The new and improved lineup

I also had a few new goodies attached to my bass, details in a future (but not too much future) post. Needless to say, things went super awesome, the turnout was grand, and we got a couple of fresh gig offers, details coming soon, don’t touch that dial!

Upcoming/partially written posts on more Wreck Scene news, developments in the Nuclear Skyline camp, and new bass goodies to come in the next week or so, hopefully! Your patience is appreciated.

You are now experiencing technical difficulties

Apologies for the lack of updates, there are a couple of actual posts I’m working on, in the meantime listen to this as it’s pretty funny. Especially the dead rubber girl in my closet episode, although that’s also a little disturbing.

Recording time!

also upcoming gigs

Me and the nukes played the hell out of a new set last Thursday at The Bullingdon! The legendary Leon Stiles and Lutèce snapped a few photos:


Yours truly, courtesy of Leon Stiles
Yours truly, courtesy of Leon Stiles


Cheers to Lutece for the shot of Darren getting a better view of the crowd
Cheers to Lutece for the shot of Darren getting a better view of the crowd


We’ll be in the studio later this week, so keep ya eyes peeled for a new track in the near future. Recording is the easy part, it’s the tweaking afterwards that takes the time. I’ll be in the producer’s seat for this one, so the plan is to record as live as possible, and we’ll do the pesky vocals separately.

We’re pretty excited about the upcoming O2 gig too. Should be a good night

The Wreck Scene will be entering the depths of Appletree studios in September, recording a single for Cracking Tunes which’ll hit the shelves (virtual or otherwise) in time for Christmas! Thoroughly looking forward to that! A little nearer-term we’re busy playing up in Lincoln on the 20th of June, Ickworth Festival in Bury-St-Edmunds on Saturday 23rd June, and we’ll be playing with our friends in the awesome Run Devil Run at the Fiddler’s Elbow on Saturday the 30th of June.

Fun times!

Emotional Blackmail

The Wreck Scene had an awesome gig at Sub89 last Friday. It was a little rainy, and Ade managed to get himself trapped in the lift, but we only had the good kind of feedback from everyone. Busted out a brand new song, as well as the second airing of The Hanging Tree which went down well. One step closer to world domination.

Props to Sounds of The Suburbs for the gear-share. They definitely know what they’re doing, and I had the honour of filling in on bass(guitar) for them for a song while their bass player was en-route.

U.K. Subs kicked arse. I kinda want to steal their guitarist. They fired out all the classics, and came back fo more (not bad for old men) with a cover of The Cramps/The Sonics “Strychnine”, which was a nice surprise.

Next live action for me will be back in Oxford on Thursday with the good ship Nuclear Skyline at The Bullingdon

Countdown

In other Wreck Scene news, we’re supporting the legendary UK Subs this Friday, which we’re all pretty excited about!

Tickets are a tenner, or more on the door, or if you let me know in advance that you’re coming, we can blag you in for £7.

Stoked!

JD + Jimmy

Went to see the phenomenal JD McPherson at The Borderline on Friday.
The sound was amazing. Like the roundest, fullest sound I’ve ever heard live. Nothing was overpowering anything else. Like even if I didn’t like the music they were playing (and to be fair, not all of it is totally to my tastes), it still would’ve sounded good.
Also, sleb spotting. My wife was talking to Huey of fun lovin criminals outside, and didn’t notice her brush with stardom til Ade was gushing like a teenage girl at the photo he got of himself with the guy. Ya know you should check a band out if someone that oozes cool as much as Huey is going to their gigs.

Shot a bunch of photos for the first time in a while, kinda getting the shutter bug again.

We’re badgering them about a support slot when they play at Dingwalls in July, so if you somehow have any influence over that, hook a brother up, I promise not to steal Jimmy Sutton’s gear, or slice his head open to gain his powers.

Gigs n burgers and more gigs

Gig on Saturday was pretty awesome. It was strange playing so early in the day, but did leave room for a stop off at Nelson’s Diner, which left everyone involved feeling very full (foot long hotdog or route 66 burger for the win). The gig appeared to be filmed pretty pro, but until I get my hands on that footage, you’ll have to make do with this and the out of focus debut of our new song.
In other news, The Wreck Scene are in that thar battle of the bands now too. Looking forward to/dreading both my bands being in the same round!

Upcoming giggage

This Saturday (05/05/12) I shall be plying my trade with The Wreck Scene at Tuckwell Live down in sunny (I really really hope) Farnam.
Next Thursday (10/05/12) me and The Nukes will be a little closer to home at the Battle of the bands that’s being put on by Middleton Music Festival and AKA.
Then there’s a couple of spare weeks (for now) before Nuclear Skyline return to The Bullingdon for what looks like a good night of punk rock.
Then June is going to be busier!

Testing the iPhone thing

Seeing how this works. Wonder if it takes **markdown** stock?
Here's a photo too!
Cool, there is a markdown option for the text, so this should be ***awesome***