Blackbird video on YouTube

I recently posted a video in which I play the song Blackbird on the acoustic guitar and mix in the audio from GarageBand into iMovie. I recorded the audio using a boom mic connected to my camcorder and an instrument mic connected via the Apogee One into my computer. You can view it at the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZTBrylldt4. Below is the video itself.

Death Magnetic rocks!!

Metallica’s new album Death Magnetic is now available. I’m just sitting and listening to this while doing some other stuff, and I am just simply blown the f*** away!! It has got to be the best Metallica album since Master of Puppets (and I really liked a lot of stuff since that album).

You want speed? You got it. You want heavy? It’s there. You want an instrumental? Yeah, there’s one of those too. You want a love song? Go elsewhere! Death Magnetic is not for the faint of heart.

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NBC releases New Orleans “O Holy Night”

I enjoy watching NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It’s fairly witty, and the acting and writing are quite good. I was watching the Christmas episode last week when they had a group of New Orleans musicians play “O Holy Night.” It was quite moving. So it turns out that NBC has released the song on its Web site as a free download. See my link to it below.

Studio 60 – O Holy Night

The Tipitina’s Foundation

Apple iPod turns 5

Apple’s iPod has been on the market for the past five years, and there doesn’t seem to be any slow down in its staying power. That’s significant, seeing how it not only was a pioneer, but also remains the leader in the market. I think this has to do with Apple’s ability to realize what customers want and makes efforts to deliver.
I remember purchasing my first iPod just three years ago. Back then, you had three choices: 10 GB, 20 GB, or 40 GB. The screen had one color, and it only came in white. Since then, new features were added; screens are now in color, larger ones can play video, anything with a screen can show pictures, and they come as small as a binder clip. In the past five years, the iPod has evolved significantly.

The significance of the iPod is not based only on the device, but also on the business model that Steve Jobs (CEO, Apple Computers) and Apple developed. Apple developed iTunes, the first on-line music store with industry buy-in. It developed a device that commands a high price when others are available at lower prices. The iPod is a very simple device to use and has an intuitive interface. And making iTunes available for Windows opened availability to a greather market. Although not the first on the market, it was certainly a pioneer in making the mp3 player more portable and easier to use.

So, happy birthday iPod!

Newsweek on-line interview with Steve Jobs: Good for the Soul

ABC News/PC World Analysis: iPod at 5 is Still the Top Dog

Master of Puppets turns 20

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Metallica’s landmark album Master of Puppets. This is one of my all-time favorite albums, and it is often recognized as one of the most influential metal albums. What’s more amazing is that Master is timeless in terms of its sound and its themes. Much of it is as relevant today as it was in 1986. Furthermore, the sound, the speed, the heaviness, and the feeling are all so real that it is hard to ignore the authenticity of Metallica’s soul.

I have a calendar that marks today as the release date for Master of Puppets, but the Metallica Web site states that it was released on February 21. Either way, it’s still one of the best albums ever made… from a metal standpoint.

Metallica’s Web site: Master of Puppets

Remembering John Lennon

Twenty-five years ago today, former Beatles singer/guitarist/songwriter John Lennon was shot outside of his New York home. Of all the things for a seven-year old to notice, I happened to remember watching this on the news the following morning and just somehow knowing that the world suffered a great loss. Lennon’s rhythm guitar style with the Beatles inspired me to start playing the guitar when I was a teen, but he was more to me than musical inspiration. He peacefully fought for what he believed in, voiced his opinions and stuck it to the man, and yet always managed to sneak in some folly with the English language. Although greatly remembered as one of the Beatles, he also asked us to imagine a world free from want and hate. Today, I dedicate this blog to John Lennon, his family, his friends, and his fans.

The FBI’s new antipiracy label

I consider myself a law-abiding citizen; I haven’t been to jail or fined for breaking the law. Today I bought the new Audioslave CD, “Out of Exile,” and I noticed the new FBI Anti-Piracy sticker on the back. I don’t burn copies of a CD and give them out or sell them. Instead, I burn one copy for the car and download the music into my computer to use with my portable digital jukebox. They are strictly for personal use; I do not broadcast their contents illegally, share them online, or give them away. I am not rich enough to buy multiple copies of one album, and doing so is practically ridiculous. But the anti-piracy sticker got me thinking and researching, so here is what I’ve found.

The FBI is working with recording associations (Recording Industry of America Association – RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America – MPAA) to help stop piracy of their members’ materials. Technically, according to an RIAA lawyer, it is illegal to copy music from a copyrighted source to another. However, the practicality of enforcing the law is so difficult that it is rarely pursued. The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 states that “copyright holders cannot sue the average user for making home recordings of their music” (Van Ness, see CD Burning Software Review article below).

Below are some links that provide more information. In the meantime, I’ll continue my current practice.

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Investigative Programs Cyber Investigations – The Anti-Piracy Warning Seal

Digitalproducer.com article: Copying Music to CD: The Right, the Wrong, and the Law – For the Record: The RIAA Position on Home Copying (1998)

US Code 17 – Copyrights

CD Burning Software Review article: Is CD copying illegal?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Of 1998 – US Copyright Office Summary (this opens a 71 KB PDF file on the US Copyright Office’s web site)

BBC News article: Why that mix CD might be illegal (Nov 10, 2003)

No more guitar?

As an aspiring guitarist, I find the following Wisconsin State Journal article somewhat disturbing. But I don’t believe it means the end of the guitar as an American icon. Sure, popular music (stuff made with computers, synthesizers, and samplers) does not have as much guitar in it anymore. But the guitar is still common in real music. This covers jazz, country, blues, rock, and metal (yes, there are other forms of real music, but I don’t consider pop music real to begin with).

Even then, guitars are still apparent in some pop music. Sheryl Crow and Dave Matthews play the guitar. John Mayer is a blues guitarist gone popular. But these seem rare in today’s “Top 40” culture. I was young and stupid once, and I listened to popular music in my youth. Today, I am a living, breathing musician who appreciates musical and writing talent. That’s why my musical influences include Lennon and McCartney (and I can’t wait to see Macca play at this year’s SuperBowl), Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Joe Walsh.

It’s also no secret that I’m a Metallica fan (or a Metallicat). Their intense, guitar-driven riffs and mind-blowing fast solos keep me wanting to learn how to master the guitar, or at least play like Kirk Hammett (as I’ve said, when I grow up I want to be him). For the handful of us that are purists, it is difficult to convince us that guitar in music is dead. It’s very unfortunate that popular music has essentially put it to rest. I think it goes to show that the recording industry still controls the music that we listen to.

So if you’re like me and an aspiring musician (or an accomplished one), appreciate the talents that you have. Perhaps chicks will again dig us. I’ll continue to enjoy playing for as long as I can, and I’ll never tire of the great original sounds that come from the guitar.

Wisconsin State Journal: RIP? Pop Musicians Are Making Do Without The Icon Of Americana