Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brand it, sucka!


What's UP? Hey man, I've got a bee in my bonnet...again.
FYI - the phrase "Bee in my bonnet" refers to a thought, idea, or concept flying into my hat, and buzzing angrily around, forcing me to align my actions correspondingly - usually by yelling.

So one of my clients got VIP tickets to see KISS in concert. Man, oh man, you should see the pictures he brought by! He's standing in a room backstage, flanked by the band in full makeup. It is AWESOME.

And then I got a piece of direct mailing today that really set me over the edge. It's for a gym. You open it up, and the first thing you read is:

"Yadda yadda fitness center is committed to conducting business in a manner that demands respect for everyone seeking our services. We strive to ensure that there is no offensive language and appropriate attire is worn. One of the major focal points of.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..."

When I woke up, that bee was buzzing around trying to escape the bonnet.

Boooooooooooring. (And besides, when's the last time THEY'VE tried to lift a heavy weight - Jesus gains a few middle names...well, at least some of the fellas add them...)

Contrast that with the photo of Evan with KISS. Instantly recognizable.
The other one - uber professional, and uber BoRiNg.

Does your band bio say "Chronic Bleeding Death Sky is well versed in a variety of styles, including, but not limited to, blues, rock, pop, oldies, top forty, jazz, ska, and is quite reasonably priced for your next party, bar mitzva, or campfire..."

OR -

"During a concert by Chronic Bleeding Death Sky, the chicken littles are right - the sky really IS falling."

Brand it.

Make it cool.

(And that's not just for band bios.)


- Josh
PS. Don't forge to check out my NEW SONG at!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tough Angels - AND NEW SINGLE!


I need your high-voltage help!

Meet Patty. Originally from Colorado, she has traveled across the world to help the women and children trapped in South Africa's rape epidemic. Her stories are of incredible pain, unbelievable sadness, and unimaginable grace.

Enter my Ma.

Check it: She gets to hear from a lot of cool people through her transformational art business. Well, a customer wrote one day, one thing led to another, and she found out about Patty's cause. So, coming from strong German farmer roots, mom kicked it into high gear with a ridiculously short deadline, my brothers joined in the fight, and... launched yesterday. Visit it.

Cut to: Mad scientist Josh, cooking up sonic stews in his...OK, I won't refer to myself in the third person. Is that the third person? There's so many of 'em in my head, I lose track.

ANYways, I wrote a song for the site. It's available for download under the "Non-Profit Art" section of the site. Yes, you gotta pay, but every dime goes to Patty. Actually, three of them go to PayPal, but you know how that goes.
Interestingly enough, in what started out as just a side project song turned into my best one yet! It's got vocals, cool chords, and a neat little intro hook. I really hope you'll download it, and help support those women and children. They could really use it.

I'm very excited about the cause, and about my song. Help the world, and help Patty help the world! If you've learned something cool from this blog, or my articles, or would just like to help, download that song, man!

You know how they always say that it's good to write from different perspectives? I wrote this song from that of a Zulu woman. That's sort of a reverse-Michael Jackson morph right there! Amazing...

Peace! And spread the word!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Through the lens of an artist


OK, new insight here, so listen up, class! I've been observing an interesting phenomenon in myself and other students of guitar that doesn't seem to be shared by other artistic disciplines:

We simply view ourselves as invalid, unworthy students of an unattainable goal.

Sounds like a sick religion.

Go back a few days - I took a vacation, and boy, it was nice. I recently bought myself a nice digital SLR camera (a Canon XSi for you fellow geeks), and I had lots of fun interpreting the world through the lens as I see it. I consider the pictures my art, and I had great fun being creative.

Why is it when I pick up a guitar, I'm crushed under the weight of validity, standards, and trying to live up to Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar sound?

And I'd venture to guess I'm not the only one. I think most of my students consider themselves students - unable to make any valid artistic statement. Not only that, but it might not have even crossed their minds.

Start thinking about it, rockers! Create the next wave! Don't worry about being unique - you already are. Just play.

Another thing about vacation...My brother Zakk burned a CD of a lot of System of a Down. Those guys are so weird, it's refreshing. I don't think they're standing in the shadow of Eddie Van Halen.

So try approaching the instrument just as you would a camera - you're not gonna pick up a cool SLR and say "Oh, I'd better just stick to shooting the flowers in the front yard..." Would you?

- Josh

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The 6th Annual Silly Hat Contest - Happy Birthday, SRV!


Well, it's almost over, but today's date marks the advent of one of the Rock Gods' gift to humankind - Happy Birthday, Stevie Ray Vaughan!

And, as some of you know by now, this kicks of the 6th Annual Silly Hat Contest! Wear your silliest topper for a chance to win!

Yes sir, Stevie sure liked his strange hats. Besides being my favorite guitar player, I also admire the guts it takes to wear something like this:

So, barely a month into at my teaching gig five years ago, I decided to honor the dude's birthday, and do something fun for my students. The First Annual Silly Hat Contest was born, and has been rockin' ever since! I've had people wearing light up hats (Zach!), custom made hats with mini-guitars hanging from it and pictures of SRV on it (Thomas!), a brain hat (Timmy!), and a super green cat in the hat hat...AND they had it on as the walked through Hot Licks Guitar Shop...Good job, Jake! (He was wondering why people were looking at him. They must have sensed his greatness as a future rock star.)

And the Silly Hat Contest is not just for students anymore! Here's the rules:

During the month of October, wear your silliest topper for a chance to win. Winners will be announced at the Monster Jam! Wear it in to a lesson, or if you can't make it, send a photo.

Doghouse readers -send a picture in! Bonus points to: a.) any student who wears the hat through the parking lot, up the stairs, and for the whole lesson, b.) any reader or student who takes the picture of themselves wearing the hat near a busy intersection or anywhere there's lots of people, c.) if anyone walks around playing "Willie The Wimp" while wearing their silly hat.

Rock ON!

And, of course, Happy Birthday, Stevie.

- Josh