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December 18, 2009

Brrr...

Those of you in London know... KNOW... that it's BLOODY FREEZING here right now.

As I was walking home from The Stabilisers gig last night, driving snow burning every exposed appendage, I realised that I've not really indulged in an Allmans kick this year. Usually, as soon as the weather turns a bit nippy I break out all my old records (okay, okay, mp3's) and I re-acquaint myself with The Good Stuff.

It's almost Christmas, I guess I've been snowed under (ha-ha) with stuff lately. Just for fun, here's Brother Gregg bashing out a solo acoustic version of "Come & Go Blues"...

December 8, 2009

Just Add Water

So, I had Jam #2 with my new "Blues Band" last night. I don't want to blog specifically about the band, other than to say i think session number 2 went really well.

The line-up this time around was two guitars, bass, blues harp and... and... well, that was it. Our drummer was poorly, so the skins just sat there, unbashed.

Now, in my old age I've become something of a technophobe and I don't like to over-complicate things with kit. I'm not terribly keen on computers and I hate mobile phones, social networking and reality TV. On the music front, I don't even like pedals, though after struggling to get a decent sound out of the studio amp last night, I think I might have to consider investing in one. Any suggestions for a (reasonable) blues tone? Anyone? Anyone???

Last night, much to my surprise, technology came to the rescue. Not only that, but it was technology that I've been carrying around in my pocket.

Those initiated into the not-so-secret society of iPhone users will doubtless already be sporting a knowing smile. Drummer not able to turn up? There's an app for that.

More accurately, there were two apps for that. The first one, iDrum, I've mentioned before. iDrum's strength is that in real time you can quickly build up a beat and modify hits whilst it's playing. Last night, iDrum was the app of choice when practicing specific songs.



The second app, which I've not mentioned before, was "Instant Drummer, Heartbreaker" which is a set of acoustic drum samples that you can play back, varying such things as intensity, number of fills etc.



The beauty of Instant Drummer is that, when jamming in 4/4, you can just hit play, set the tempo and you immediately have a 'realistic' sounding drummer. Okay, so the drummer's never going to react to the band and speed up or slow down, but for a practice session, it's good enough.

The downside of both apps is that they don't swing. I'm hoping that the 'blues' edition of Instant Drummer will be more flexible, but for now you're stuck with regular time.

Neither of these apps are any substitute for the real thing, obviously, but for the first time since getting it, I really saw the potential of the iPhone as a usable tool and not just a flashy toy.

December 3, 2009

Let's See If This Works

I'm sure the quality will be terrible, but... here goes nothing!
video

December 1, 2009

15 Minutes Of Fame...

Okay. That wasn't too bad. So I said "phallic" on BBC1 but, hey, it was an arts show...

It's frikkin' weird seeing yourself on TV.

Red looked lovely and you couldn't really see the stain on the sofa!