Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Path of the Wicked [ep] Latest Update

So as reported yesterday "The Path of the Wicked" EP is pretty much in the final polishing stages. I just have to clean up a couple of vocal harmonies. I'm experimenting with different mixing and mastering techniques but all in all it should be done within a week or so. I'm going to shoot for the 2nd week in June for the release date.
The tracklisting thusfar is...

01. Take Me Home (07)
02. Two Worlds
03. Oblivion
04. Tonights Sunrise (tentative title)
05. Here in My Mind
06. Never Satisfied (Judas Priest Cover)

It will be available for free download in multiple quality rips.
I'm going to offer a "Lossless" form of WMV and a 192k of MP3.
I'll also be providing all of the album artwork (in full 300dpi quality).
So everyone can choose to do what they will with this release.
I am also considering going with one of those "press by the piece" companies for this album.
Now keep in mind.. this will be in CDr format. But it is just for the people who like the artwork and do not want to go through the hassle of burning the CD themselves.

I hope that you all like this EP it is about 30+ minutes long and it really is a mini-album.
I have to say there is a little more "experimental" moments going on with these songs. But as you are all aware of the days of a straight forward 2 riff Planet Gemini song are (for the most part) over. I like to add peaks and valleys to my music.

I think you'll all enjoy the new tracks.
BTW, For those unaware "Two Worlds" a track from the upcoming EP is available for download off of the main page (via the banner at the top) please feel free to give it a listen and drop me an e-mail to let me know what you think.

Take it easy guys

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Shure Beta 87A died... *sigh*

I suppose it was bound to happen. My beautiful Shure Beta 87A condenser Vocal mic died. Now, I am not a sentimental person. I don't really care when things go I just run out and buy something better. However, This really bothered me. It bugs me when something works amazing and then all of a sudden just dies.

I know I can just drop another $250/$300 for a microphone but... There's so much history between me and this Mic. I screamed every Planet Gemini song ever made into it. Fuck it lasted longer than my bandmate. hehe.

Well I suppose time moves on. I'm going to take it apart and see if there is anything that can be done. But I highly doubt it. The mic has never given me an issue before. It has endured me screaming at extremely high volumes into it for years. So I guess it deserves the rest.

The Path of the Wicked EP
Is done and is in mixing stages now. I just need to throw vocals on one more song (DOH!). I should either have a new mic or have this one fixed by the end of the week. I've got two bands to record in the next two weeks so replacements are a must!

So... a moment of silence for my friend the Microphone.
May he Rest in Peace.
Doom on MIKE!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Information for the DIY'rs

I know there is a large part of my visitors to this webpage that are kind of semi producers yourself. Actually I must say that one of the coolest things about the webpage since posting up the "Wicked" demos is the feedback I've gotten asking how I get certain guitar sounds.

I must admit that my guitar sound is somewhat of an anomaly. I can pretty much get it on any guitar/amp combo I've used. But the drum thing is so trial and error it isn't funny.

For the Wicked setup I'm actually using a method that Vinny Appice recommended to me. (Drums about 5 feet away from a padded wall and very low overhead mics). I've also used some advice from my friend Dale (who is a phenomenal drummer) and dropped my snares very low and loosened my snare head quite a bit. (doesn't sound that great to the naked ear but on tape it cracks very nicely).

But this is all besides the point. I wanted to come on here and pass along a great webpage for all of you do it yourself musicians.

These guys go into very great detail when it comes to mic'ing amps and drums. Using things like compression and how to avoid phase on your mixes. These guys are great and I freakin' wish they were around when I started this project. (The other PG stuff would sound much better).

I've even learned some techniques from this webpage on how to get rid of some unwanted ringing from a drum (I have a 16 inch floor tom and is just deep and rings like a fucker).

So.. check out this page and enjoy the amazing learning tools they provide you with.
Make some music and send me an e-mail with your myspace page or something so I can hear it.
We're all friends here and I just want everyone to be able to do what I do.

Take it easy

Thursday, May 17, 2007

(Not band related) Ozzy Osbourne's - Black Rain

Hey everyone, I know it's not band related but I just got an advanced copy of Ozzy's "Black Rain" album and... well... I figured I'd post my thoughts on it.

First of all let me start by saying I've been an Ozzy fan for as long as I can remember. With that being said I can't say that I was particularly thrilled with "Down to Earth" (Ozzy's previous album). But as I look back through my Ozzy solo catalog there are really few shining moments in Ozzy's solo career. Of course the first two solo albums with the late (great) Randy Rhoads. The album "Bark at the Moon" wasn't terrible (though poorly produced) and "No Rest for the Wicked" was very fresh sounding in it's time. (especially when following up The Ultimate Sin which is probably one of the worst sounding Ozzy albums ever.) I liked "No More Tears" but it was obvious to me that the bloom was off Ozzy's rose at that point. Then Osmosis came out and I really enjoyed that album. I mean Geezer had a hand in writing some of the tracks and some of the lyrics were very dark and not just about Ozzy wanting to "Rock & Roll" or... him informing us that he is not indeed as "Crazy" as everyone thinks. So that brings us to Ozzy's latest release "Black Rain" here are my thoughts.

Okay, the album starts out with some industrial sounding drums and it's got a plodding beat and decent generic Zakky Rocker riff. Ozzy's actually putting a little effort into the chorus which is nice to hear. But opening the album with this track is something I question. Ozzy needs some help with songwriting to (and this goes for the whole album really) someone needs to inform Ozzy that some of his greatest tracks of all time didn't have a chorus. So basically you can read a songtitle on this album and know that that title is going to be sung about 40 times during the song. Every track on this album is Chorus driven. It's like Ozzy just wants people to "sing along" during shows. Hell, there are even tracks where he includes hand clapping/stomping and the usual Ozzy "Hey" that he does live. These songs sound like they were written with live performance in mind (which isn't always bad but... not particularly intriguing to me).

The rock songs are watered down for the most part and the ballads are Ozzy's attempt to be John Lennon/Elton John and it comes off rather poorly. The album isn't without it's moments though. As I sad the first song was decent (if you throw away the "Not Going Away" that took place every 8 bars into the song.). Black Rain had a little flare to it and was slightly more ambient for Ozzy. I thought Zakk dropped the ball on the chorus on this song. It sounded like they wanted a Middle Eastern feel and Zakk just went with his normal "Rock" solo. Ya know playing the major scales really fast... Zakk is great but it'd be nice to see him think outside the box for the Ozzy stuff sometimes. (Though I'm sure it's not all his choice).

I will say this Mike Borden has improved greatly since starting to play with Ozzy. If you listen to Borden back in the Faith No More days he sounded sluggish and sloppy a lot of the time. This guy was right on point on this album... very good performance for both him and Blasko (Bass Player).

My favorite tracks on the album were... Black Rain, Not Going Away & The Almighty Dollar. Everything else on this album is a "take it or leave it" track and while nothing truly "Sucks" on this album... I don't feel that this is music that we will be talking about in 20 years. (much like very few people talk about "The Ultimate Sin" now.)

I'd love to see Ozzy get together with a young heavy songwriter. Someone who grew up listening to his Sabbath stuff and understands what Ozzy should sound like and I'm not talking about making him sound like Black Sabbath again... I mean.. it'd be great but that's not Ozzy today... Ozzy needs someone who understands what metal music should sound like. It's obvious that everyone around him is very far removed or not giving their true opinions because of his legacy.

Again, this is all my opinion... and I really do not HATE this album. But, I highly doubt I'll be listening to it frequently... and I couldn't fathom talking about it's "greatness" years from now.

4 out of 10 in my book
Listenable but not that enjoyable.
Let me know your thoughts when you hear the album.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Questions answered...

Hello everyone,

It's been a little bit since I have had the time to post anything on here so I figured I would get to some questions that people have sent me in the last couple of months. (BTW if you've sent me an e-mail in the last 3 weeks and I haven't answered it chances are my server dumped the e-mail... so please try resending. I had a little trouble with my e-mail account recently).

Okay Q&A time

Q: Will you be re-releasing the out of print material from Planet Gemini?
A: No, even though I wrote most of the material I wouldn't want to release anything with Josh on it again. It's nothing against the guy but I just need to look forward in my life and can't make that step backwards. Wizards Blood and SuperGod are still very much in print... and to be honest I would really suggest picking up these albums if you are looking to collect something because once they are out of print they are done. They won't be released again (unless for some reason I decide to re-record the album... but I can't see that happening).

Q: Please give me a list of the equipment that you use for Planet Gemini.
A: Okay this is kind of a long answer so let me start at the top.

I have about 4 guitars that have gotten lots of use.
I use an Ibanez Universe more than anything else. I also use the Ibanez Jem (Steve Vai model) for solos. I use a B.C. Rich Beast for more of the Wah Wah stuff and I've been playing around with an old Les Paul I found used for a very low price.

I use Marshal Amps (JCM800) but for the last 2 albums I've bypassed the head and used a tube poweramp. From there I use a Digitech effects unit running a Wah pedal through the unit (because the stock pedal isn't that good).

I record the guitars digitally and through micing the cabs but I tend to use more of the "digital" sound for the high end and the "mic'd" sound for the ambient noises.. (feedback and whatnot).

I do use a 7 string guitar most of the time (the Universe) because even when I use thick strings my 6 stringed guitars just get too loose and flappy (technical term) for me.

I tune in standard E,A,D,G,B,A and B,E,A,D,G,B,A (7 string). I do NOT use any drop tuning currently and I only have for maybe 2 or 3 songs in Planet Gemini's history. (Karate Fighter on COF1 and Empire on COFIV... and maybe Hand of God not sure) I'm not a fan of the drop tuning because I actually play scales and it fucks up my runs quite badly. I suppose if I took the time I could adapt but... I'm not really interested in that at the moment (maybe another time).

As for Bass guitars I use a Ibanez Prestige which is a 5 string bass. It is quite beautiful and was actually left to me by Josh to finish up the Planet Gemini project (which was an amazing gesture on his part). I love the 5 string I've been recording a lot of other bands lately and when I see them struggle with the loose strings tuning down to a C it just boggles my mind why someone wouldn't just make the plunge to a 5 or 6.

Drums I explain on the "Wicked" write up (in the discography page)
and as far as my recording methods they are pretty much 90% analog now. (with the exception of the digital channel for the guitar to add the high end).

I hope that all helps.

Q: Who are your favorite bands?
A: I listen to lots of music to be honest. You'd actually be very surprised if I told you that I really try hard not to listen to other Doom Metal bands. I find that it infects my songwriting to listen to similar artists. It's kind of a sacrifice I have to make. My favorite bands include Black Sabbath (of course), Deep Purple, Dio, Rainbow, Halford, Iron Savior, Helloween..etc. I like to listen to Power Metal (because I dont' play it so it makes things kind of easy for me not to steal it). I'm also a big fan of jazz music. Old Buddy Rich Band music. I love some "swing" in my music. I love the blues. I love pretty much anything that is played with heart and soul. I must admit I'm kind of a music Nazi. I can't deal with people who listen to "Pop" music or "Rap" music. I can't stand people who think "Mainstream" garbage they play on the radio is "good music". I try to be as cool to everyone as possible but when you come to me saying "insert cookie cutter nu-metal/hardcore/pantera ripoff band here" is great. I'll basically go on a 12 hour rant about how the music industry demolishes everything pure in music. (that's not that much of an exaggeration. hehe

Well that's it for today. I hope that I answered most of your questions as well as possible. I've got a couple more to answer. So I'll be doing another blog soon to finish them up. I just wanted to make sure to say "hi" to everyone and let everyone know that I am still at work on the album and I am still producing like a mutha..

Hope you are all well