Tuesday, September 30, 2008



I was just talking to a client yesterday, and I told him I'd send him some cool videos to get him re-inspired. I went looking on YouTube, and man, these are sick!














Sunday, September 28, 2008

Are you a FOP?

Hey hey hey!

I've just started something realllly cool! A Global Guitar Club on facebook! It's called....Drumroll please.....

The Fraternal Order of Poodleman

(And, of course, it's in no way intended to be disrespectful to our brothers in blue.)

I started a guitar club for my students, and now, I'm takin' it global! Join up, and rock on!

AND - you may have noticed the new widget to the right called "FFOPs."
(Who comes up with these names? Widgets, that is!)

If you're a fan of The Doghouse, become a follower! Wow...I'd like to have followers. Perhaps a limo is next? Ha ha!

Your letters worked!

Hey everyone!

I'd like to say "Thanks" if you sent in a letter on Troy Davis' behalf. Less than two hours before he was scheduled to be executed on extraordinarily shaky evidence, his execution was stayed. I can't imagine what a relief that must have been. What a poor fella - talk about messin' with yo' head.

Check out the Amnesty International press release. The Supreme Court will decide on Monday if they'll hear his case again.

And remember - we all have a voice. This is proof that they work! Never forget that, and never forget the guys who fall through the cracks. This case shows me how it could happen to any of us.

Now, where's the music? OK, here's some wisdom and advice from a buddy of mine:

The Only Place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

Go Practice!

Adobe Audition crash fix!

Yo Rockers!

Man, I just figured out a fix for Adobe Audition. If you're trying to record with this cool program, but your PC keeps actin' funny (and you don't know why!), try this:

- Uninstall Microsoft Intellipoint
- Uninstall Bonjour service (I think it's with iTunes, but I could be wrong.)

Audition does not like these guys, as I found out. I had problems with my recording screen "shimmying" around (like it was scared of the mouse or something!), and my computer would crash every five minutes or so. This usually happened when I was using a lot of effects on the tracks. I initially thought I needed more memory, so I added another 2 gb to my existing four. This still didn't fix it. After some googling, and seeing other folks' pain and solutions, I uninstalled Intellipoint and Bonjour. Presto! It works like a charm, now! A disclaimer: My computer has not blown up yet, but ask someone who knows what they're doing if it's ok to give these programs the pink slip before you uninstall 'em!

And it really works great with my new Presonus Firestudio Project FireWire interface! This is a cool piece of gear. I can record up to 8 XLR inputs simotaniously, and it sounds great. Plus, it's got some cool blue lights on it. I bought the unit from Randy over at Sweetwater. Those guys are great. I highly recommend 'em. Ask for Randy, and tell 'em Josh Urban sent you.

Rock on!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two hours left...

Send a letter for Troy now!

Click here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tales from the teachin' room

Man, I have a great job. I get to sit down all day and play guitar. And let me tell you, these folks I teach are mighty funny. This past week in my teaching studio has been especially entertaining.

Young student (we'll call him Juan): My Dad says that the singer for AC/DC has a drugged out voice.

Me: Yeah, well, a lotta those guys are crazy.

Juan: Their voice is all scratchy
Me: Yep, and smoking messes up their voices, too.
Juan: My teacher says that coke will temporarily scratch your vocal chords, too.
Me: (Note: Anytime a kid brings up drugs, I try to tell them to stay away from 'em, how Stevie Ray Vaughan cleaned up his act, and generally be a good example.) Yeah, that stuff will kill you! Stay far away from it.
Juan: Well, my brother says he just loves that taste, and that sugar rush!
Me: Uhhhhh.....yeah...I thought you were talking about....well, it's not that bad for you. But it's still unhealthy! In fact, it will take copper off pennies.

A few hours later, Mabel comes in. Mabel, younger that Juan, is one of the few students that actually likes the singing Hannah Montana pen that resides in my studio.

Mabel: Josh....Are Earth Girls easy?
Me: (Thinking back to the numerous hippie chicks that have failed to see my obvious and stunning charms...) Well, that's not always been my experience....
Mabel: I was watching this movie called Earth Girls and it was about aliens coming to earth!
Me: Oh.

My goodness...I'm always getting knocked off my chair. Hey, they certainly keep me on my toes!

By the way, that Troy Davis case is down to the wire. If you've got literally 30 seconds, call the Georgia Board of Paroles at:


Give 'em your name, what state you're calling from, and urge clemency for Troy Davis. It's that simple.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I want to rock the house, not the boat, but...

As a musician - Rocking the house is a good thing. Occasionally, the boat gets rocked, too.
It's certainly not my wish to do that this time, however.

I've got over forty students, so many friends and colleagues, and each with a different point of view - all of which are worthy of respect and consideration.

It is with some hesitancy that I'm posting the link of a buddy's blog. James is a friend of mine, and he's super liberal. I think he's got some great points at this crossroads of America, and I really dig his blog. However, I certainly don't want to put folks' collective noses out of joint. So - I'll put the warning that he's very political, very left wing, and doesn't have any qualms about it. As universal studios would say, "the views contained in his blog aren't necessarily endorsed by Rock God Music, LLC, or it's affiliates." If you're up for it, check it out at


And if you're not, I suggest that you don't.

Now, this is a music blog, so here's some music!

The next time you need a challenge, try this: Dial up 80 beats per minute on your metronome, or www.metronomeonline.com, and play the following:

The major scale in increments of:

1 note per click
2 notes per click
3 notes per click
4 notes (yawn) per click
5 notes per click (what?!)
6 notes per click
7 notes per click


Plain text indicates run of the mill shred
Boldface text indicates knock yo' block off hard confusing stuff to get your chops Arnold level.

Subdividing the beats in such odd increments creates a unique challenge, indeed.

Don't be a girly man! Try it!

PS. Keep an eye out on ultimate-guitar.com for my latest article! It should be out fairly soon.

Well, I'm CERTAINLY not missing YOU!

Gooood morning, folks in the blog world!

Well, I'm sitting here, listening to my favorite musicians chirp away in the morning stillness (crickets), and I've got another idea to share with you.

First off, my brothers have been accusing me of either loving something, or hating it. I guess that's true. Pizza and corvettes are awesome, and if it's cilantro or a Honda Prelude, I'll have it stuffed! Hey, nothin' wrong with feeling strongly about life, right?

Well, well, well....! Call me grumpy, but I was at the gym last night, and I saw another video that annoyed me. Some R&B track by Stacie Orrico called "I'm not missing you."

Hmm. Creative. Wow, I bet I've never heard a song like that before. (And with the sunglasses she was wearing, I'd cheat on her, too. Ha!)

So many of the songs out there, especially the ones that are popular on the music video circuit, seem to be a lousy excuse for these "artists" to live the dream of an eight year old girl who wants to be a pop star, and extract revenge on anyone who's ever looked down on them by...having their own helicopter. (Don't get me wrong, I think that's an excellent way to proceed if that's your goal.) As another video sums it up, "It's all about me." Sure, I don't want to watch some geek talkin' about the economy while rapping, but still...The world is so messed up right now, and I'd really like to see some concern in the artistic community. Hey, you can still have a hot car and ten gorgeous back up singers, too!

We've got guys like Troy Davis who are about to be unjustly executed for a crime they didn't commit. (By the way, help the fella out - He needs it badly.)

The point is, fellas - let's use our music to speak - to matter. We don't have to play serious stuff all the time, but make each note matter. Sometimes, bringing folks a bit of joy is just as important as waking them up.

When I play in dive bars, which happens too frequently, I like to try to play with as much excellence as I can. Bars can be sloppy places, and if I can bring something in there that's not, perhaps it will reach one person, and help one life. Hey, maybe not, but it's worth a try.

And please, help Troy Davis out. He could use it, and it'll only take a moment.

Rock on!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Get a boom car...Maybe


It seems we all get stuck sometimes when we're trying to figure out a song by ear. We'll listen as hard as we can, but we just can't figure out that chord movement, one note, or whatever is stumping us.

I was talking to a client today as we were working on learning Done by Anew Revolution. He remarked that the cheesy little speakers in the studio laptop made it easier to hear the song than his nice headphones. I jokingly told him he needed to buy a laptop!

It brings up a good point - a change in perspective can be just the ticket for getting through a wall. I've been in another room while my brothers were blastin' tunes through the stereo, and I couldn't figure out what song it was - it sounded so different. The walls tuned out almost all the guitars, and I could hear the bass line clearly. Joe, the guy I was talking to today, made the point that a song sounds so different inside, and outside, a car.

Often times, particularly in rock music, the guitar is following the bass. So if we're having trouble hearing the guitar, try listening to the music - from another room!

It's all about turning something on it's ear, and viewing it from a new perspective. Try doing this next time you're stuck with ear training. Mess with the EQ, listen through different speakers, try hooking the song up to a subwoofer...The possibilities are endless.

Best of luck!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow! Java weird out...

Hey friends 'n fans!

Huh - I'm not quite sure what happened to my gig tonight. I was supposed to be rockin' out at Janet's Java in Alexandria, but nobody, and I mean nobody, showed up. As in management. It was closed! Odd. I hope everything is A-OK on their end, and nobody's hurt. I called and spoke with 'em about a week ago, and everything was supposed to be on. However, it certainly wasn't.

So, if you showed up to a dark building, I do apologize for the weird event!

Stay tuned for the next gig. I'll let ya know!

Rock on!


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Monday, September 8, 2008

Sponge Bob Hero

Hey hey!

Wow, the best part of being a guitar teacher is I get to find the coolest things...While showing a student a song on YouTube, I ran into THIS:

Sponge Bob rocks out.

Now, I think this is my new theme song. It's a reminder to keep reachin'. Why not be a Juke Box Heeeroooo with staaaaaars in your eyes? A darn good question.

Gee, now I'm all pumped up and ready to conquer the world!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rockin' da' park

Hey Rockers!

Whew, what a great show in the park today! Thanks to Jason and Brad for showing up and being roadies and merch guys! Thanks also to Libby and Tanner for checkin' things out.

Here's two lessons I learned today:

1. ALWAYS bring water. I thought my throat was gonna give up on me or something while I was singing. Bring it.

2. Great shows, or lousy ones, are a state of mind. If you're on top of your game mentally, you'll probably do great. Of course, warming up and practicing, the physical aspect of it, contributes just as much. If you think you can do, you can. And if you think you can't, pretend you can!

Here's a specific, too. While you're rehearsing for your next gig, keep in mind that your amps will probably be quieter at your show. Folks need to hear themselves think, and us electric guys tend to crank things a bit too loud. Be sure that you can "get off" to a great start with a quiet amp as well as a loud one. Practice with both, as they're very different. A loud amp spits dynamics galore at you, not to mention feedback. A quiet amp tends to make me hit the strings too hard, and not let the amp work.

Rock on!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Something to believe in...

I think an important point that gets missed in the quest for greatness is - the sincerity of music. In our scramble to learn about intervals, master advanced techniques, and train our ears to we can tell if a Mosquito is out of tune...we forget the essence of rock, brotha!

Try this on for size - go listen to the music that first got you inspired. It's a good thing to do. Try to capture that energy, and combine it with your new found slick tricks.

Secondly, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that while politics are annoying, they ultimately affect all of us. If we're all underwater from global warming (that Sarah Palin doesn't know for sure if it's man-made), it ain't gonna matter how fast we can play. I don't know about you, but I sure can't play in a scuba suit. And it won't matter how good or bad the economy is if the mountains become waterfront property.

So, I'm hopping up on my soapbox in my lime green wrestling shoes. I'd like to remind you to...

Vote! And if you're not registered, do so now!

And - Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KjsEs46C70

Wake up - believe in what you play - and don't forget the essence of rock! (Or jazz, or blues, or whatever makes you play air guitar.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day To Me!

Heyyy heyyy heyyy!

Happy Labor Day, all you US readers. And to all you lucky Non-US readers, too!

I'm proud to announce that today marks the four years of me as a guitar teacher. I started my teaching business on Wednesday, September 1st 2004 at Hot Licks Guitar Shop, in Waldorf, MD. This dude, who we shall call Kwame, was my first lesson in a tiny little teaching room, and mann, I was scared to death. He was just there for one lesson, as he wanted to use his lesson coupon up.

I always have had weird tastes in music, and weird licks in my library, but Kwame knew exactly all of them. Darn you, Kwame! Why'd you have to know all that? Haha! But seriously, dude, thanks for sitting through my first lesson.

I just saw Kwame the other day. He stopped by to jam, along with another buddy and former student, who we shall call Gustave. Kwame, Gustave, and I had a nice jam session, shared some stories, and had fun listening to Gustave's new 12-string guitar.

Four years after that scary day, I've got my own teaching studio (just a small room, but it's cool), and I'm supporting myself with the business. I've met some super cool people, learned so much from my students, and have had lots of fun teaching folks to play music. From little kids learning heavy metal, to adults struggling with theory, it has been an honor and a privilege to sit in my comfy chair and help 'em out.

Some of my favorite memories and aspects of teaching are....Faking my way through "Eruption" and passing it off to a punk student as the real deal (he refused to practice his homework unless I did so)....Seeing the light bulb go off over various clients' heads when explaining theory to them...Christmastime, because everyone brings me cookies, gift cards, presents, and generally makes me feel special...Teaching anyone a cool rock song for the first time...Receiving student artwork - a hand drawn Guns 'N Roses poster, a drawing of my car, you name it!

It's been great, and I look forward to many more years of learning - and teaching!

I hope in the next four years students will have the opportunity of seeing me at many local gigs, and getting on the guest list for a bunch of big shows. I'm working my darndest to be able to show 'em around a tour bus, too.

I'm going to work hard at improving the lesson program even further, and as always, keep it as crazy as ever.

Thanks, everyone, and I'll see you at the studio!

- Poodleman