Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hong Kong

Oh yes, another self portait, but I made it look like someone else what taking this picture of Hong Kong. I held the camera out with the timer set. Had to take it 4 times to get it right. So, this is a picture of one part of Hong Kong during the day in the hazy. Posted by Picasa

Shanghai Grand Hyatt

Another self potrait I took while in Shanghai of me and the Jin Mao Tower. This is the 4th tallest building in the world. Part of the building hosts the highest hotel in the world. It is the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. Fantastic hotel and not all that expensive considering the beauty and service.

My hotel room was on the 66th floor. The lobby to the Hyatt was on the 54th floor. Extremely cool building. My Harvard classes were down on the 2nd floor. The whole building is covered with stainless steel on the outside. If you are ever in Shanghai, you should consider staying at this hotel. It's the only hotel on my trip to China that I really would have liked to stay at another night. Posted by Picasa


HEY! I found some more pictures from my trip to China. I don't usually take pictures of food I'm eating. I used to take pictures of odd stuff, but I've had so many odd (and good) dishes that things just don't surprise me.

Well, this was served up for lunch while I was in Macau. Oh yummy! It was pretty gross looking because there was a whole big plate of these little birdies.

What the heck I ate one...but I left the head.

New Runner Tune

As I've mentioned in past postings, I've been jogging (or even running) for the past few years. Maybe it's 4 years now. Well whatever the case, I'm planning to run my first marathon in the next 6 months or so. I was thinking about that today which got me to thinking about a song called Runner that I've been working on, on and off. It's a song about pacing yourself. Have a long-term time horizon view on life. It's also a song that I think about in my head when I'm doing a 7 mile or longer run.

Anyway, I haven't really worked on this song in some months so I called up the tracks in Sonar 4 and started messing with the mix. I've upload this mix of Runner. It doesn't have any vocals in the mix yet, but I like how much of it is coming together. There are still some goofy things in the mix, but I welcome your comments.

By the way, Wally is playing the keyboard, piano, organ parts on this song!

Mr. Wally "Virtuoso" Minko

Had the fun opportunity to check out the sound check at the Gregg Rolie show this past week. This is Wally Minko playing! Wally is a virtuoso. He does some very complex voicings combinations as he plays. I really need to study what he's playing to understand how he makes it work, but it just flows from him. I've studied a lot of improv theory, chord voicing, scales and how it all fits or doesn't fit together. As I listened to his playing this time, I realized that I clearly didn't know what he was doing. Kind of like a magician doing a trick and you can't figure out how they did it. You can hear Wally playing the keyboards with Jean-Luc Ponty No Absolute Time. It's got some funky African rhythms, but totally a Jean-Luc Ponty slant to it. The best thing you can do is just go see Wally playing live in the Gregg Rolie Band.

Almost forgot, go buy the Gregg Rolie Roots CD too.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Cleaning the Barn and Studio

I had a small recording studio at the old family homestead. The farm is being sold so everything has to be cleaned out. I had a studio in a shed that pigs and then chinchillas used to live in. My buddy Warren and I renovated that place for about a year. We built a nice control room and a studio area. I recorded a lot of live bands in that studio. I worked with very mediocre metal bands, alternative bands (before it was cool) and country bands. Did a little bit of radio stuff. A number of coverbands. My own stuff. And whatever else is on all these reels I now have at home. I think the studio opened in 1986 and stayed open for 6 years or so. It was fun. So now I have some old gear headed to eBay. Know anyone that needs a Crown poweramp, WRT820 mixer, Tascam 32?

In the big barn we pushed out the old 1960 Corvair. Check out what the trunk looked like this morning!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Kurt Griffey

Kurt playing a really difficult chord! Hey, I could play that!!

Probably not too many times during a concert that Kurt is just playing a simple bar chord, but HEY here is evidence!

I got to talk with Kurt about his stage setup earlier in the evening. Didn't get to have lunch with him because he decided to walk 5-miles to McDonalds before I got there.

About 30 minutes after this picture, the rain started just pouring, but Kurt kept playing. It was finally raining so hard that the band had to stop.

I remember having beer spilled on the floor of a yatch club one of my old bands was playing at. Some electrical cords and mic cords were in that stuff and I got a really good (bad) shock. Not good from one's long-term health. None-the-less, Kurt didn't shocked 'cause the bad stopped playing...there was a roof over the stage so that helped for a bit.

You can check out Kurt's guitar playing in any song of mine that doesn't say "demo".Posted by Picasa

Ron Wikso

Here is Ron Wikso getting his rental drumset ready for the sound check at the Gregg Rolie concert yesterday. I've known Ron a few years now, but this is only the second show I've seen. It was fun to see a band setting up from the stage side. It's really not that much different than any other band setup other than there are more people helping get the work done.

I got to park backstage and watch the dude from Supertramp, Roger Hodgson doing his show. I ended up with a VIP wrist band for Roger Hodgson. I guess this would have allowed me to go have dinner or snacks with him in his backstage trailer. I chose to hangout with the Gregg Rolie band instead. By the way, his Supertramp show was a bit different in that he was solo without a band.

Also watched the band Ambrosia from backstage. Met the lead singer with Ron. He sounded like the orginial singer, but looked like Elton John. Seemed nice enough. Had a nice voice.

I enjoyed Ron's drum solo too! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Beijing Olympic Count Down to 2008

Beijing Olympics are coming in 2008. This count-down clock is across the street just east of Tiananmen Square. Only 1159 days, 13hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds until the games official begin.

I want to mention that there is a multi-year selection process for songs for these games: " The Campaign will begin in 2003 and end in 2007. The objective of the Campaign is to spread the Olympic spirit of "Citius, Altius, Fortius", to promote the theme of "Green Olympics, Hi-Tech Olympics and People's Olympics" and to carry forward the cultural background and humanism of China world widely. During the course of the Campaign, ten "Songs for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games" (the "Selected Songs") will be selected every year for wide promotion. The official theme song for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games will be chosen from the Selected Songs."

You can learn here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Forbidden City

Here I am at the entrance to the Forbidden City on June 6, 2005. There were guards marching each morning in front of this entrance, but I didn't take pictures of them. They had guns.

I remember seeing the protest on TV in front of this place. Seemed like the other side of the planet.

Tiananmen Square

Ok, I've got the pictures off my camera finally!

About 5:45 AM on June 6, 2005 in Tiananmen Square -- I took my camera with me on an early morning run from my hotel. It was awesome to think that the 1989 Tiananmen Square "Massacre" was right here. 16 years later, here I was jogging around the square. The world is certainly always changing! Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why Say Goodbye?

Jet lag from my return from China is easing up a bit each day. I didn't wake up until 5 AM this morning. The sun was actually almost starting to come up. The fog outside cleared up over the next hour while the fog in my head was mostly cleared up. Major jet lag is wacky.

I fired up Sonar 4 this morning. Loaded up a song I've been working on during the past year. Messed with it some more and then mixed it. Right now it's called Why Say Goodbye. Doesn't have any vocals yet. I also added song links on the right hand column of this website. From now on you'll find all the songs I reference ---> over there. Was losing track of them before. This gives me a place to put songs as I'm working on them.

There's another track without lyrics over there. It's currently called Change Your Mind. Both of these tunes will need to have vocals to actually be complete songs, but I thought it would be fun to get more "work in progress" stuff posted. For some reason, a lot of songs I write start with the music beforing having any lyrics. This might be totally abnormal. I'm not sure. It doesn't always work that way for me.

Ok, so what's the deal with Why Say Goodbye? Well, it's me playing all the guitar parts. My Parker Custom Fly through a Boss GT-3 pedal. Some of the guitars are then being processed a bit through the Trash plug-in. The drums and percussion are all loops. The bass is chopped up loops. The organ is even from loops. Lots of chopped up loops. I mixed through Ozone with an overall EQ setting I sampled from More Than A Feeling by Boston. Ozone has this unique feature for matching the master EQ from another recording. Leave me a comment if you have questions about this.

I like getting a song to this stage so that then I can listen to it a bunch of times and think more about the arrangement. This song needs about 5 more re-writes before it will be ready to record for real. It's needs to be more epic with a bigger build up at the end. Of course I'll want a bunch of harmony guitars. It may also need a dramatic quiet section. AND some hand claps! ...and Brad Delp singing.

Now I have to drive over to my old studio. I have some equipment still there and the place is being sold. eBay will be getting some old recording gear soon! I kept it all these years (more than 15 years) because I didn't want to say...goodbye.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Blog Explosion!

Now that I've returned from my "tour" of China (Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Hong Kong), I've been updating my blog. I set up some links to the songs I've posted over the past months. I've also brought out a link to my first podcast. These audio link kind of got lost in the blog postings as time rolled by.

...lots of song ideas whirling around in my head.

I spent quite a bit of time checking out the website. Once I got listed there and learned how the credits work, visitors started rolling in here to my arthur vance blog site. Even earned $.04 from a click through ad! It's free to join. If you decide to sign up, please use my link so I get credit for it! The link is I had something like a hundred visitors since this afternoon. Pretty neat.

Back from Hong Kong

A bit jet lagged...ok, a lot jet lagged. I'm back from China with my last stop being Hong Kong. I'll get the photos out of my Canon PowerShot Elph digital camera. I need a new adapter PC card. I broke an internal pin while in Beijing.

I'm off to the store to find one!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Next Stop...China

I'm flying to Beijing tomorrow. Let's see if I can get online!