Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Andy makes ANOTHER online milestone....

Well, I expected there to be a little bidding at least... maybe I pitched it too low! The X60 I put on ebay last night was sold by the time I checked on it before 10am this morning. Mind you, I did pitch the "buy it now" price at a bit above what I'd just seen an auction for another X60 go at.

I think I'll up the ante for the next one!

So now I have to get the whole package together... and mail it to the guy second class registered post. No problem. I'll get me car tax at the same time...

Was talking to Neil F the Manager last night, he's been selflessly winding through the roads of southern wales looking for fun places for Janeiro to hang out and record. A place called "the pop factory" - combined audio & video production facilities - quite a place, apparently. The website looks impressive...

Must text Terry and ask how he's doin'. And Jamie too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

At last... Andy enters the bi-directional eBay age

Another dweeb moment I must cut down on these.

I've got an item for SALE on eBay! No biggie in the enormous scheme of things that is eBay's continuing conquest of the known (used) universe, but it's something big for me. Provided I can make a little cash, I need the dosh to feed my janeiro habit!

Speaking of which, if what Neil says is true, the luvly Terry Keys-Man thinks we're a band (well, i could have told him that...;) with lots of energy and good feeling - he's into us! Now all I have to do is text him and confirm that ;)

Jamie continues to improve - I'll chuck him a text as well and ask how his eye is.

Here's hoping my item attracts a little attention on eBay: I watched another x60 go for 43 quid odd before I decided where to pitch mine. £35 quid "buy it now" to you mate!

MySpace... Interesting.

More Janeiro related electronickery... I've opened a MySpace account for the band. Looks like they have some BIG names who use the service - guys like HIM(tm) and the Bloodhound Gang...

Check us out!

That should have put a button to it on there... wonder if it worked?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Quick test...

I'll post about how cool last night was a little l8r. Right now, does this direct email-to-blog work better than the annoying flickr, which keeps mangling text?

I'll try moblogger next. Excuse minor dweebage. Normal funk will be resumed pronto.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Comings, Goings...

Janeiro Junk
It's going to be fun at rehearsals today. We've parted company with Javier from Janeiro (it's in the news and everything) so we now need a new keyboard player. While it's true that I obviously have lots of confidence in Janeiro as a band with a future, I can see Javier's problem - he needs money, and Janeiro isn't going to be hugely profitable overnight (just read the tales of what happens to manufactured pop acts!). He needs to be able to pick up paid gigs at the drop of a hat to keep cash coming in: in london, it'd probably be easier for him, but oxford just ain't that big.

So, today I make my way up with a keyboard player named Terry - spoken on the phone, sounds like a friendly chap. Jake knows him from a few years back (Neil F does too) and speaks highly of his talents: Terry makes a living in London and has satnav, so I think it's probably fair to say he must be pretty damn good! I can only hope he can spare the time...

Since we're going to be doing this touring thing soon, there's going to be a lot of hard work coming up, in terms of time and travelling: I'm going to have to make it up as I go along regarding work - good job I've got flexible working times.

Andy's Birthday
I've never decided if it's proper to keep marking the years after you hit 30... mind you, I'm the one who advocates doing what the hell you like as you get older, and not subscribing to "sensible stereotypes" as an excuse not to do things that scare you or threaten the cozy semi-detached status quo.

So I'll be celebrating this year, just not sure how yet.

I'll be buying some form of bass though! 2 options currently exist...
1 - a Ned Steinberger upright bass, either the NS or EU series
2 - a 5-string fretless, not sure what yet, possibly one of the new Yamaha carved-top series. Pretty. :)

I think option 2 is gaining ground purely because I'd like a pro quality fretless - I'd be able to tinker with the 4 string I made then, and use it as a back-up bass.

Either way, I want this bass to be something really special - right up there with the others, they've all got value to me both in sentimental and sonic terms. The 5 string Hohner B-Bass V sounds great now I've cranked up the output level (I set it way too low years ago when all I compared it to was the Aria passive).

It's all go...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bleurgh! Head Cold! Still, happy.

Like the title suggests... I got a head cold, starting Tuesday (I was supposed to be in a 3G training course until Wednesday, so I shall remain unenlightened until I catch up on notes, I guess) and it's still with me now. The full sweats, sneezing, upset stomach feeling I always get with a proper cold. I've decided it's my body's way of telling me to slow down for a bit - I'm doing about 13 hours a week in the car, covering nearly 500 miles in that time. Lots of concentrating, then it's usually big concentration required at rehearsals and work, so I think my Red Bull habit (I did cut back to only one before rehearsals 3 times a week) might have been a sign of something!

I'm a red bull addict, and my name is... hang on, I'm so bushed I'll have to look it up... oh yes, I am Andy. Hear me sneeze. CHOO!

Well, we played the Summer Shutdown Fesitval last saturday. Great fun, although the weather was really REALLY bad - at times, heading up there from Crawley Towers, I thought we were going to have to do 15MPH cos the wipers couldn't clear the screen fast enough! Seems like monsoons are now the norm for end aug/start sept - global warming my arse, God is trying to drown us Ark-style for keeping MPs in jobs!

Anyhue (tm Nic) we got there OK, I brought ALL my kit (including the 100Kg of amp stack) and as we drove in I realised my Skid Pan Training (many tas to Nic's folks, that was great fun) was going to come in handy - REAL mud gets a bit slippy ;) It could be regarded as a positive, but they wanted me to use a Crate 300W stack on the stage instead of setting up my stuff: it was loud enough, but, surprise surprise, pretty FUBAR'd - the input socket missing the retaining nut ring (why do theoe bits always end up going missing?????) and the thing having the general patina of wear from a punk existence :)

I do like to keep my gear top-notch if I can, it means it doesn't let you down when you need it most. (should have repaired that Q-tron sooner - it's perfect now!)

So, I acquiesced and used their Crate. Just as well, there was nowhere dry to stash gear, really, so I left mine in the car pretty much up until we went on: if I'd had to carry any of the stack I would have ended up arse over tit, with anything up to 39 kilos of amp bit on me. Not good.

The set went really well - the sound actually settled down about 2 songs in, which is pretty good for a totally fresh stage with no soundcheck - and we soon settled into the usual grinning madly stuff. Jamie and Richie went mental during "Funks me Off" and played behind their heads(!) - they do keep each other going, it's great fun to watch. Yours truly really got the meat out in the bass solo, I even inserted some 2-handed tap Billy Sheeham style into it!

We stuck around to see the next act, who were a London based bizaare jazz-hiphop collective who mixed live drumming breakbeats with decks (and a respectable MC) and - get this - a 6 foot statuesque sax playing laydee who could blow a mean BARITONE sax - this thing was almost as big as she was!

All in all, an excellent day. The organiser loved our set, and said very nice things which I posted on the Janeiro Website which I've been updating while I've been ill. Much bigger now, with a lot more content and better navigation. I just need to put more pix on there - we've got some great ones!

Nic's away in NY (although she should be on the plane back as I type this) - so it's been a bit lonely apart from having the cats about, and they haven't moved from my side the whole time!

Managed to harvest a few apples as well - this weekend sees Nic & I off up to Tom's to sell him a Xantia and make lots of cider. Wheee! There's so many apples on the tree it's groaning under the weight, so I put Nic's secateurs (sp?) on 40ft of pole and ran a string up to the handle. I can cut apples off the tree 30ft up!

Unfortunately it's so tiring it just makes my cold come out with all fists swinging.

Well, I'm off to splutter somewhere else. Peace out... as they say


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jongleurs - too much electricity, not enough...

Great gig last night, full of fun (the music), frills (Jake's fluffy hat) and frickin' power losses!

I'll lay out the scene in some form of chronological order as usual, before it drops out of my head entirely.

I got to the venue for about 4:20pm, which is a record for me - the A34 was kind, bless - to find Dan and Jamie had been there ages: the stage was set up, and Flash Harry's PA company had arrived with the rig - the same rig that gave us a GREAT sound last time we played in Jongleurs. So it was spit-in-yer-palms time and unload the car.

I should add that last night in Oxford was like taking a more or less constant steam bath. The whole place felt like hanging your head over a kettle, so everybody got very VERY hot and pretty sweaty. This is good to see in an audience, but not so great when unloading and setting up for a night's fun.

Once everything was set up, the usual soundcheck stuff started. Dan's kit sounded great from the off, and we even got the chance to jam a couple of numbers and I've got to admit, the sound was actually really good. Only slight glitch was taking the bottom end boost off my bass under advisement from our esteemed sound engineer: after the first set everybody kept asking why the bass was so low - so I cranked the Warwick's boost up again and all was well :)

We've seen the pictures Marchello (sp?) has been taking of us all along (right back to the first gigs at Bridge next door) - they're actually pretty good, especially the B&W ones. He nearly incurred the wrath of Jake as some of his pics of Georgie definitely home in on what might be called her photogenic assets... some of the B&W contrasty shots look like perfume adverts, they'll go great as promo shots, etc. Jake has cut a deal to actually get us the pics, very reasonable price too. Marchello gave us quite an impressive photo montage on a Mac G4 powerbook, backed by Jake's recordings - mesmerising stuff. Fortunately there aren't too many shots of me - I'm more impressive sonically that physically! I do need to shop for some impressive stage clothes though.

So. We're soundchecked, and the sound is pretty good, except for a rather low amount of bottom end ;) We now have about 2 hours to kill until 8pm when we agreed to meet back up: Jamie was nippin off to a local pub where he gets subsidised beer (Sponsorship deal in the offing? "This Jamie was brought to you by Carling Black Label!") and Richie, Dan and I all headed for Oxford's Noodle Bar. Top nosh, and a very smiley waitress who seemed to be enjoying herself. Good place, I can recommend the mixed meat yo min noodles. Wierd names for their dishes in their - "yo min" "mai fun" "ho fun" - sounds like Snoop D D's kinda place!

After food we decamped (in the increasingly scary enclosing darkness of a storm-to-be - smell the ozone!) to a lebanese restaurant (they have chateau Musar wine, yet! Supposed to be really nice) where we indulged in cider and an apple hubbly bubbly session - my first time on a hookah! Left me with a huge smile, it's a very mellow way to pass some time after a meal. I can recommend the one in Oxford!

While we were in their the clouds emptied a huge load onto the town, which cleared the air a bit. Luckily we got back to Jongleurs in the dry-ish. We had some of those great debates you can have between really relaxed people when you're out for the evening - I need to egt out with Nic like that more, like the West End in London - dinner and a show, that sort of thing. You know how you sort of kick back, don't walk too fast, talk and take in the scenery, the people, the vibe - all the stuff you don't get time to do in modern life when you're always trying to get somewhere or get something done. Just filling a little time between pleasureable pursuits!

We started pretty late, with a decent and enthusiastic little crowd getting really into what we were doing. Jake donned the pink fluffy hat again (which found its' way to Dan in the second set!) and Georgie contrasted herself nicely from the last Jongleurs gig by dressing entirely in black!

Great first set - like I said though, not enough bass, as I found out in the intermission from good friends! - with "Disco" getting an airing, at last (one of my favourites, a real rolling funk thunder) - and receiving an unscheduled drum break which melted beautifully back into the track! Dan's a trooper.

So we rolled of the stage after the first set, happy things are going well. I actually broke my golden rule and had a strongbow(!) 'cos the place was like a high-set sauna.

Second set starts out, and I've cranked the bottom and top valve boost back up on the Warwick, and it's sounding very sweet indeed.

But wait! I can't hear any keyboards and Richie's guitar's gone quiet! We'd tripped a fuse on one side of the stage. Quick as a flash (arf arf) our Glorious PA Demon from Flash Harry's rolls an extension from the still-working side of the stage and.... that side goes out too! We're silent! Only Dan can keep things rolling now, and he gives a little drum tech solo which gets some people movin nicely! We tried to run lines from the bar, but everytime that right had side of the stage was plugged in we'd go out like a dodgy bulb.

Turns out it's Xavier's keyboard - and it's happened before(!) I need to get my soldering iron on that thing, it's in need of more TLC than Eastenders plotlines. Once we isolated his keyboard (we had the Korg there, thankfully!) we could continue with no problems. Nice. "Funks me Off" saw some of the best solos I think we've done - I was actually smiling at the end of mine - but I really want some fingerstyle in there as well... it's too easy to just beat the hell out of the warwick mith my thumb in some vaguely syncopated Dorian grooving!

Big finale... and we're off. The breakdown of the PA, drums etc takes us up to about 1:30am, and I'm home by abour 2:40 as I had to pull over on the A404 briefly for a "power nap" - not done that before, but I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel! - it worked perfectly, the remaining 20 mins of my journey I was alert and awake no problems. I can recommend just pulling over and stretching out having set an alarm on your mobile for 20 mins hence!

Keep it peaceable Funqy People!