Dr. Z on Ebay

May 10th, 2007 |

I just put my Dr. Z on Ebay. My heart is pounding. That was scarier than The Wizard of Oz. I sure hope I did everything right. I sure hope people aren’t turned off that I’ve never sold or bought anything on Ebay before. I sure hope somebody drastically overpays for it.

The Six Comforts on My Space

May 8th, 2007 |

I’ve been overdosing on nostalgia ever since I got home today and saw that I had a friend request on My Space from The Six Comforts. This is roughly one degree of separation away from getting a friend request from Invention of the Wheel. I accepted.

I’m pretty sure that a healthy percentage of you know what The Six Comforts is (are?). In fact, some of you were involved with the project. But for those of you who don’t know, here’s the quick and dirty. The idea of there being six comforts (Home, Sleep, Love, Food, Self, Work) was a concept Christopher Gustave birthed. He based some of his art around this concept.

In early 2002 Gustave asked me if I would meet with him on a Saturday afternoon at The Mad Art Gallery to discuss an idea he had. I agreed. What he proposed was so huge and awesome that I agreed to it only because I knew there was no way anyone could ever pull it off, especially not us. I knew this great idea would die in the planning stage so my real time commitment would be negligible.

Within (I’m guessing) nine months the entire thing was finished and approximately three times as big as his initial proposal.

The initial proposal went something like this. He wanted to pick his six favorite bands, assign them a comfort, have them write a song about it and have me produce it. He also talked about there being some short, spoken-word pieces to which I would provide some ambient music. Then there would be a short CD released in conjunction with his art opening.

The final product dwarfed that. It had seventeen songs, twelve musical groups (or solo artists), five spoken-word pieces with extremely involved musical scores, multiple fund raising shows, various radio appearances by the various groups, and a gigantic opening with live performances by everyone involved, among other things.

With only a couple of exceptions, the entire album was recorded right here in my basement. Riley was born right after we started the whole thing so that meant Angel spent most of the time trying to keep him quiet upstairs while we recorded downstairs. There is a special mansion in heaven waiting for Angel because of her suffering during this process.

I am extremely proud of this album. Unfortunately, the whole thing kind of flew under the radar after it was released. I honestly believe that if this album had gotten the press it deserved it would be considered a gigantic milestone in the history of St. Louis’ music scene. This was not just another compilation album. In fact, this was not a compilation album at all, though it got labeled as such by some who totally missed the whole point. It is one gigantic work by a gigantic group of artists who created material specifically for this project and the music is excellent. I can’t believe we pulled it off.

Some of the music I wrote for this can be found here.

Jellyfishing

May 7th, 2007 |

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while know that I believe Jellyfish’s ‘Spilt Milk’ to be the greatest album ever made. In fact, those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while will know that whenever I talk about Jellyfish I always start out the post saying “Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while know that I believe Jellyfish’s ‘Spilt Milk’ to be the greatest album ever made.”

Now that we’ve established that, I found a Jellyfish video on You Tube that I’ve never seen before and thought I’d share it with the class. This song is not from ‘Spilt Milk’, which was their second album, this is from ‘Bellybutton’, their first album.

The singer/drummer/brains behind Jellyfish was Andy Sturmer. Check this out.

Demo #3 and The Guitar Center Coup

May 5th, 2007 |

I added the sax and the “trombone” to the new tune yesterday. I tried to approach it like a James Brown song as far as the horns go. It’s a little hard to incorporate a horn line into a song like this without distracting from the melody but I think it works.

The trombone was played on my tiny little keyboard and it sounds completely ridiculous by itself but if I mix it just right, it sounds just ambiguous enough to almost resemble some sort of brass devise. You work with what you got.

Get the mp3 here

Last night I went with my cousin Keith and his son Jake to Guitar Center to buy a few microphones for the worship band. We were like eleven year old boys walking around and picking everything up and playing it – loudly. This went on for far longer than it should have for grown men.

We started with the guitars, especially the ones over two grand. Then we went to the keyboards, especially the ones over two grand. Keith almost figured out how to play the song from the Geico commercial where the caveman is walking through the airport. Then the drum machines. Then the PA systems (JBL speakers are loud, I learned). Then the acoustic guitars, especially the ones over two grand.

We went to check out and the child behind the counter asks “Might I ask why you chose the SM58?” This is the kid who’s been an audio engineer since, like…last November bro’…he’s already got a subscription to Mix Magazine which means he knows everything and would have made a few changes on the white album if he’d been alive at the time.

Maybe after hearing our drum machining skills he figured he had us pegged as newbs. I don’t know, whatever it was, it made me think thoughts about him that the Bible says I shouldn’t. I politely listened to his pitch as to why we should buy the EV mic instead. “It has the same frequency range, higher gain before feedback, and it’s thirty dollars more expensive—but I can knock ten dollars off that”. The “frequency range” comment gave him away. This would be like a car salesman pitching one car over another because “It also goes zero to sixty”. Or “this piano has the same low note and the same high note as the one you want.” These are the kinds of statements that make audio engineers blow milk out their noses – and by “milk” I mean Red Bull and Xanax.

We stuck with the SM58s.

I Want To Know Christ – Demo Pt 2

May 3rd, 2007 |

OK so here’s the latest demo clip of my new song “I Want to Know Christ”. The original demo can be found here.

This demo is designed specifically for teaching this song to my worship band. This is not in any way meant to be an album-style recording of this song. I say that for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think the acoustic guitar is stylistically out of place in a song like this but since we have an acoustic guitar player (me) I put it in there. Secondly, the verses go into this call-and-response thing that will work extremely well with the eight singers we have, and even better with a full choir, but it sounds a little weird with me doing all the parts myself. Like I said, it’s a demo. These verses will definitely kick a lot harder with a real drummer too. The sax, trombone, and piano parts are in the works.

The chorus lyrics are taken from Philippians 3:10 & 11 and the verse lyrics are taken from Philippians 3:7 which says:

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (NASB)

Download the mp3 here

Happy Anniversary

May 2nd, 2007 |

It was nine years ago today that Angel Elizabeth Broughman pledged her undying love, faithfulness, devotion, obedience, and servitude to Drew Alan Johnson. She publicly changed her name to Drew’s Wife and made me some dinner. Honey, you’re welcome.

Yeah, so anyway, Angel and I celebrated our nine year anniversary today. We ate some leftover pork steaks and watched Phil get robbed on American Idol. By the way, did anyone see the performance by Robin the creepy “R&B” (the quotes are mine but I suggest he adopt them) singer. I drank a gallon of bleach after he performed just in case. That was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. People who sing falsetto had better have an awesome falsetto or it just sounds gay. Prince, Justin Timberlake, Bee Gees guy, and Jonny Lang have great falsetto tone. Robin Whatswiththesweater needs to re-evaluate his strengths. But that’s just me.

Back to the pork steaks – the Granite City filet mignon.

Angel got me a brand new copy of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ for an anniversary gift. That pretty much solidifies her position as Greatest Wife Ever. She called me on the phone the other day and said “Hurry, put it on 101.1, bye.” Sweet! It was Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ right before the “Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa” part. Crank it man! Riley got a kick out of it.

I remember taping the world premier of the Thriller video and watching it incessantly until I was, like, 28 or something. I could do the entire video. I didn’t get the glove until later but when I busted the zombie dance, you got the message.

I’m very fortunate to have Angel. She is the funniest person I know. She says I’m not fat even when I am. And she’s obviously super hot. Here’s to another nine years – then I’m finding somebody else.