The band called Klaatu

The Canadian Progressive Rock band Klaatu certainly needs no introduction. The myth/rumor of “Klaatu are the Beatles” didn’t hurt the bands career either.

Some of Klaatu’s great compositions are Calling Occupants, Anus of Uranus, Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III and Doctor Marvello just to name a few. Bands just don’t make music like this any more. Where is the passion, ingenuity and originality?

They were so massively talented in so many ways, that I can not possibly begin to tackle all of their skills in just one post! I will try though to sum them up in a couple of simple areas. For the un-anointed, sit back and enjoy a terrestrial ride.

  • The Sentimental Factor
  • Myth/Mystic
  • Sound of the band

First of all there is the sentimental factor. Klaatu was CANADIAN! Their music resonates in Canadian minds of the good times that we, as a country, were experiencing! When I was around 9-10 years of age, I distinctly recall listening over and over to the song Sub Rosa Subway. I would be in my parents backyard, with that old silver Radio Shack AM radio, goofing around with the family doing whatever, just having good old family fun!

As for America’s first subway
The public scoffed, “It’s far too rude”
One station filled with Victoria’s age
From frescoed walls and goldfish fountains….
To Brahmsian tunes …

Next came the mystic of the band. Nearing the end of the Beatles era, a band was rumored to be the actual Beatles working in a clandestine project. Who were these members, where did they come from? It was a mystery and myth to most of us at the time. Everyone who thought that this group was in fact the Beatles, frantically searched through any and all of their past master pieces and for subtle clues. You can see how this would make the rabid fan lose many a nights sleep, looking for their lost heroes, just listen to Klaatu’s sound.

Let’s face it, even the electronic voice analyzer in Australia thought it was Paul McCartney singing Sub Rosa Subway. Dee Long Klaatu

Then came their distinctive sound! In some of their anthems, you could easily hear similarities in the voices.

Klaatu had many fans listening to the bands songs backwards looking for any hidden meanings. To decide for yourself, go to the Klaatu website and click on The MUSIC, in the top left of the site, look down towards the section and click BACKWARDS MESSAGES! You then have to go through a disclaimer that rightfully so, blasted some idiot who illegally took the bands hard work from their site, and created his/her own YouTube video, uploaded it to the site and then had the balls to take credit for it! Fucking idiots!!! It has since been removed by Youtube! They do have the backwards messages section nicely set up and it’s easy to use. It allows you to listen to some of the songs in question, forward and then backwards. The words show up when playing them backwards and it is quite astonishing!

So I hope that you enjoyed the trip! I just loved posting on this topic. I hope to keep the art of fine Canadian Progressive Rock music alive!

Keep on Jammin’




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The Dream Theatre Rock experience

I first heard of this band by my buddy Tony when we were standing next to the speakers at the Saga concert that I was at recently.

He had told me that his son that has his own band, loves this type of Rock. He quickly described it as a hybrid of RUSH, Saga, Yes and Heavy thrashing metal. These guys I had to check out!

I first headed off to what in the world is that obscure site called … oh ya, youtube and listened to a few of Dream Theater’s tunes.

This is the one song that really caught my eye. It was everything that Tony had told me about all wrapped up into one song.

The keyboardist sounded like a young Rick Wakeman near the beginning and the bass player sounded a bit like Chris Squire. The guitarist had that Alex Lifeson sound that he had on A Farewell to Kings album one minute then a hint of Permanent Waves the next! The vocalist at first sounded a bit like Jethro Tall then Michael Sadler from Saga.

Todays music in my mind, sometimes lack the feel of musical diversity. There is so much influence out there that bands just don’t tap into. Remember, there is no such thing as a completely new style that has never been heard of before. We may use multiple approaches/styles to create these new sounds but we all use outside influences to create our own individual stamp of music.

I now think that it’s time to let Rick be exposed to this style and see if he can incorporate some of this into his unique approach!

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Keep on Jammin’

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OMG you gotta hear it to believe it

Now I already have a good pick-up system in my Larrivee L-03 but when went into my favorite guitar store, the 12th Fret in Toronto, I feel madly in love with the L.R. Baggs IMix.

Now I have been looking to update my pick-up system in my L0-3 lately and found many systems in which to chose from. I have narrowed it down to two items. (1) the Fishman Ellipse Blend vs. (2) the LR Baggs IMix.

When I went in I talked to my favorite guitar guy Tim Cameron. Being the honest guy that he is he immediately directed me to a acoustic guitar pick up god named Nevin. I told him what I was looking for and told him that I was just looking to hear the differences between the two and he paid as much attention to me as if I was going to pick one up right then and there, now that’s service!

He brought me two guitars that had the pick-up systems already in them and put me in their little music room, plugged me in and let me got at them. Wow, was I impressed with both!

First I tried the Fishman Ellipse Blend. It had a real nice sound but I was detecting feed back. I know that I was in a little room but for some reason the feeling and sound was off to me. I realize I am knew at the finer subtleties of acoustic pick ups, but it was a gut feeling. It was very refreshing to see that you can adjust the position of the mic inside.

Then I tried the LR Baggs iMIX. The sound was full, responsive to very fine picking and it can overpower your senses, in my view that is.

imix.jpg

Guitarist realize that since the sound of the acoustic guitar is very complex and fickle, so therefore it is a must to use more than a single pickup to attempt to sense it.

The iMIX uses the Baggs iBeam under-bridge pickup with a Baggs Element under-saddle piezo. The Element pickup senses the strings and provides the presence and feedback resistance of piezo while the iBeam reads the sound inside the guitar and adds natural fidelity, albeit with increased feedback sensitivity. The signals from the the two pickups are blended, in this case via the rotary blend control, on a side-mounted, Baggs iMIX Onboard, pre-amp. This pre-amp also features three slider controls for volume, treble and bass, plus a phase reverse switch for a measure of elementary feedback control. A fingertip pressure releases the battery from its compartment for a quick change when required.

iBeam

ibeam.jpg

Element

element.jpg

Now all that I have to do is get my wife on board!

Keep on Jammin’

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Bass guitar wonderland

I love playing bass once in a while even though I’m ok at it. I wish that I had the technique to do some “bass slapping” but my longer finger nails prevent me from doing so. I can pull it off in playing songs on my guitar like Neon (John Mayer) or Peggie’s Kitchen walls (Bruce Cockburn) but the doing them on bass is another matter left to the masters of the 4 string.

strange_guitar_21.jpg

My wife came across this site called weirdomatic and bookmarked it without telling me, but I do have selective hearing (like most men) and I had to check it out when I stumbled upon it early one morning while she was asleep.

This site has the best and original looking basses that I have seen anywhere.

Even if your not a bassist check out this link anyway. These artisans are unreal in their abilities to create functioning works of art. I would never have considered some of these styles to actually work.

The bass’ do not look to be ergonomic, but they would be a blast for anyone’s collections. Even just to look at them and admire the artistic merits is worth looking at.

Keep on Jammin’

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Disco is

Gotcha thinkin’ you dancing fool!!!

BTW,are there 2 bass players in this, or is it just an illusion from the short exposure to disco tunes during my formative musical years? See, my brother Tim always told me that this shit would rot my brain even if exposed in short bursts! Always listen to your brother, always!

Keep on ah …


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My first Rock Bands Concert … a KISS tribute one at that!

I mercifully skipped grade 7 for you all and went right to the good stuff.

Well I just have to let the cat out of the bag and swallow my pride on this one! Yes I was playing in a KISS tribute band and was Ace Frehley. Well in all honesty, the majority of the tunes were KISS tunes. I was the only one in the band who did not belong to the KISS Army though.

I was into more challenging music but the only guys I knew that could play were these guys! Don’t get me wrong, these guys were my best friends for the longest time! Eddie, was the drummer and had extensive gigging with a “Polka Band” and Brian, the guy in my previous posts was the other guitar player. We didn’t have a bass player at the time due to the fact that no one we knew played the bass.

When I was in grade 7, I remember playing with the Muroz brothers. It was fun because they had taken lessons and could play their instruments well. I think we played some Queen, Led Zeppelin and some pop tunes of the day. I forget why we broke up but I guess that is how it goes. Sorry, I just had to write a bit about the grade 7 thing!

Anyways, we would practice and practice for hours on end. I keep trying to get these guys to slow down and take apart the songs that we were playing and it did sink in to some degree. I’m sure that they would tell ya differently but it’s my blog so there!

As we grew older we found that other schools had band and that they were playing live at their schools so we had no choice, let’s do a live show. Our first and only show was to be played at “St. Bernard’s” school. This was what we thought was our big break!

During this time I had been introduced to another band in the making. They were both in high school and they were just who I was looking to play with. They were Tony, the keyboard player who sounded like a god on that thing, and Harry the guitar player who could play quit well technically but lacked the feel that you need!

Anyways, when we played the show, I had a blast! My soon to be band mates where in attendance and the show went on. Brian, who was like Gene did this wild guitar solo in the audience with the help of MANY GUITAR EXTENSION CHORDS while i was lying on the stage moving these knobs on my old ” BOSS BF-1 FLANGER”. Our band was named “Duce” and when we played it to start off the show, the words go something like this, “Get up and get the hell on out of here!” and there goes Brian singing it directly to a nun, I almost blew a nut laughing so hard on stage!

So, how was that?

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The Christian Rock Band

Mrs. Lord, I think, arranged for a Christian Rock band play at our elementary school one time and this is what sent me on my journey to where I am today. To this day I am still trying to to find out what the the name of that band was.

They had showed up at our school with this touring bus that looked like the Partridge Family bus and it was amazing to look at. It had real groovy colours and patterns in the design. It looked like the Big Top just pulled in, well to a little kid anyway.

They were a 5 piece band with long hair. There was 3 men (guitar, drums and bass) and 2 women(Keyboards,flutes and tambourines).

When we went into our class, after the beginning/morning bell rang for us to go in, the anticipation was so thick that you could cut it with a knife! The morning had pasted and we where called in for the afternoon. As they were doing their sound check, my heart was racing so fast and I was literally bouncing off the walls! Mrs. Lord knew that I was going to go inter ballistic so, to make sure I wasn’t anymore of a distraction then usual, she asked me if I would see how the band was doing. Thank God the door was open or I would have bolted right through the damn thing.

As I entered the gym, the regular lights were out, the bands lights were being worked on and they were tuning and talking to each other. It was at this time that I think that I had an outer body experience!

I just stood there right in front of the stage and absorbed everything I could. I saw these glittering drums these big tall black things with lights and knobs on it (it must have been a Marshall, full stack) these things that a women was playing on the right side if the stage, that sounded like an organ one time and then the next moment sounded like a whole herd of violins that sounded much better then the grade 8 class ever did!

I had never heard a keyboard with such a full, wild sound like that before. Our church organ/keyboard had a traditional sound and feel, but seeing and hearing this electric keyboard\organ thing was wild! This was a change from the organist at our church which was always a man. I was trying to listen to both the guitar player and keyboardist but I was just in ahhhhh with what they were doing.

Finally the whole school was asked to go in and the event that was going to change my life was about to start!

When we were all seated on the floor, I didn’t sit with my classmates. I sat right in the middle and if anyone would have tried to ask me to go to where my class was sitting, I think that … well they wouldn’t be with us anymore.

The lights then went down and this very eerie music that made me feel very strange and scared, started to play! Then after minute pasted, a flash of light appeared and the transformation had begun. The lights were flashing and the POWER CHORDS brought me to another place in my mind!

Throughout the whole show I thought that I was the one that they were playing for, nobody else! I watched intensely as they played, the drummer was sooo powerful and the guitar solos made me feel like I was literally floating in the air. I finally looked around and saw kids holding their ears and running out of the gym, what the hell where they running from?I thought, GREAT, I hope they all leave and I can have this experience all to myself.

When the show was over I started screaming like some crazy girl at a Leif Garret show. For those not familiar with this guy, go and google him! Then everyone started screaming and screaming! Finally they came out for an ovation! They did this acapella thing that was a lot better then the harmonies that we did for mass and that stuck with me too!

After the show, we could go up and ask them questions and I told the guitarist that I too was a guitar player and he said that was great! He said keep practicing the basics and go VERY SLOWLY with it at first and then I will get faster later. Mrs. Lord then added that I was a good guitar player and she wanted to see if he would listen, and he said yes. I wasn’t nervous about anything back then so I played the band some songs and they liked it!

I got a chance to see them pack things up, and I watched them drive away. The guitar player drove away with one of the women in the band on the back of his motor cycle, wow, I knew then that this is what I wanted to be!

Has anyone ever had an experience like this in their life that changed them in such a drastic direction?

Keep on jamming everyone!

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