Technical components of a great disco song

  • 4/4 time.
  • Constant quarter-note bass drums.
  • 8th note hi-hat, closed on the 1, 3, 5, and 7, open on the 2, 4, 6, and 8.
  • Bongo drums.
  • Interludes of just drums and bongos.
  • Hand claps.
  • Bass guitar mimicking the bass drum and hi-hat: root note on the 1, 3, 5, and 7, root note but one octave higher on the 2, 4, 6, and 8.
  • Lots of strings, real or synthesized.
  • Horns can be a great addition, if available. Must be real though.
  • Confidence and attitude of the singer is more important than technical talent.
  • Fun lyrics.
  • Sparse, clean guitar. Similar to guitar is played in funk.

That’s all it takes, folks. Now go write a disco hit and start the disco resurgence.

Advertisements

R.I.P., identity of the last 27 years

Yesterday I played guitar for quite a while. It was the first time in many moons that I’ve done so by myself, writing some material and practicing some technical shit. I really enjoyed it for, I don’t know, maybe an hour?

Then, all of a sudden, a switch was flicked, and I felt the way I usually have about guitar for the last 10 years: bored and annoyed. But it’s deeper than those words convey. I felt so bored and annoyed that it put me in a foul mood. I couldn’t just put the guitar down and go do something else and be happy again. I ended up feeling like doing anything at all was pointless. It was miserable.

I don’t know why I was having so much fun and then suddenly hated it, but it got me thinking about it this morning. I love…well, I was going to say metal but that’s not really true. I grew up listening to metal and still do so a lot of the time but I’m just as picky about it as I am any other genre. I love lots of other styles of music too, like pop and electronic and disco and funk, but I feel like saying “I like a genre” is a silly statement because I don’t like every song or artist in that style. In fact, I’m so picky that I hate the vast majority of all genres. The few songs or artists I like are exceptions, regardless of genre.

So anyway, to be precise, I love a lot of metal but this morning I realized that almost all the metal I listen to is stuff I’ve loved for many years. And just the other day I was wondering why I still bother to read the metal news every day when I rarely like or care about any of the bands being covered. And it made me think, maybe I don’t really love metal anymore. I mean, I used to love some bands that I eventually came to loathe, like Anthrax and Testament. I’ve really thinned the herd when it comes to my metal tastes, and it’s not really any different than my approach to any other style of music.

So I don’t think I really consider myself a metalhead anymore. I think I only like metal as much as anything else. I’m just more familiar with it than other styles. No, I think I’m now better described as a general music enthusiast — golly, that sounds dry. What have I become?

1200px-dasht-e_kavir_22c_iran

A: Dry as fuck.

To finally bring this back to where I started, I think my great familiarity with metal is why I suddenly hated playing guitar yesterday. I’ve been playing metal on guitar for so long that unless I’m doing something fresh with it, it doesn’t take long before I get bored by it. So maybe it was fun while I was writing something new, but as soon as I started practicing some old shit, it just felt tired. Sure, I could try to take up jazz or classical or whatever but I’m not interested in those. I’m just fucking tired of guitar, and I’m tired of playing metal. Generally speaking.

That’s why I want to find a god damn funk/disco band I can play bass in. That is exciting and fresh to me. I can write the most basic, simple, obvious slap bass riff, yet it is infinitely more exciting to me than an intricate, complex death metal guitar part. The change of scenery is that welcomed at this point.

It’s a good thing I already transitioned away from wearing camouflage and metal shirts, otherwise this would be a much more jarring realization.

The best disco music ever

Yesterday I bought yet another disco compilation record at a vinyl record swap. It had a few good hits, the rest sounded respectable, and the artwork was good, but when I got home and put it on, it sucked shit. I was immensely disappointed, just like I have been by almost every disco compilation I’ve checked out.

I think part of the problem here is that, incredibly, my introduction to disco was the very best of the best: Don’t Walk, Boogie.

I was working at Salvation Army as a 20-yr old when I first encountered Don’t Walk, Boogie. I thought the cover looked cool so despite not having any experience with or love for disco, I brought it home, gave it a listen, and was shocked. It was awesome. Well, by the first side, anyway. The second side was hit and miss but the first side was 30 straight minutes of upbeat, energetic, cocaine-fueled grooves and good times.

I loved that record so much that on New Years Eve 2007, I brought it to a house party where a friend was DJ-ing and spinning records. I gave it to him and assured him everyone would lose their minds when he put it on. He was skeptical but eventually played it, and the dance floor completely cleared within a few seconds. Absolutely no one but me enjoyed it, and I was so shocked, brokenhearted, and embarrassed that when I left the party I didn’t even bother asking my pal for my record back. Only the party gods know what happened to that copy of Don’t Walk, Boogie but I imagine my buddy threw it in the trash in short order.

But my dismay over what transpired that night didn’t last long, and I was soon kicking myself for leaving it behind. I still loved it and wanted to listen to it even if all those goons at the party didn’t like it, and now I didn’t have it! I looked for it in various forms online over the years but could never find the same edited versions of the songs, so last year I finally bought another vinyl copy of it off of ebay for what I consider too much money.

When that record finally showed up and I put it on, I realized I had been right all along, and all those jackoffs at the News Years party didn’t know shit about good music — Don’t Walk, Boogie is as amazing as I remember, and I won’t accept any other opinion. The songs are all great hits, they’re all driving and full of energy, and they’re all edited down to 3 minutes and 30 seconds so that there is no time wasted with anything that is not a killer hook. And after revisiting side B and paying more attention to it, I see the value in it too. It’s not as immediate or rollicking as side A, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. It has more of a warm afterglow kind of vibe, like the winding down at the end of a wild party, which is of course very fitting. Despite probably being thrown together as just a dumb compilation, I think the record is actually a surprisingly valid piece of art.

So there ya go. In my opinion, Don’t Walk, Boogie is by far the best disco compilation every made. Second place goes to an unreal Christmas disco record, aptly titled Christmas Disco by The Mistletoe Disco Band. The arrangements and musicianship are insane. I like it so much that I even listen to it outside of the holidays. The musicians are not credited anywhere and it’s a fucking shame because these people nailed it.

There really isn’t enough love for genuine disco these days. I need to start a disco band and start promoting the genre again. Just picture all the empty clubs we would play to. It would be even sadder than New Years Eve 2007.

I’m never leaving home again

I just got back from a trip to Victoria. It sucked. It was a rainy day that wasn’t good for doing much outside at home so I thought I’d make the best of it and head to Victoria to take care of five errands I had gradually accumulated.

Alas, memory is short, and I had forgotten just how godawful and downright tedious driving in Victoria is. It’s fucking gridlock from Mackenzie all the way to Dallas Road. Plus, I neglected to consider that we are only a week away from Christmas, and every other jerk like me was out there, madly dashing about trying to find gifts before zero hour arrives (only one of my errands was picking up a gift but that still makes me one of the hoard).

I could have been ok with the traffic if my errands had gone smoothly, but they didn’t. One by one, they each went progressively worse than the last. On the first one, I accidentally drove past my destination and wound up driving several extra kilometers on a bunch of stupid one-way streets, doing numerous U-turns before I finally got it right. Not terrible, but annoying, for sure.

On the second errand, I had to park three blocks away from the Dutch Bakery and hoof it there through torrential rains and hurricane winds. I forgot both my reusable shopping bag and to put money in the parking meter so I turned back, prolonging my time in this soggy hell. As I walked hurriedly, the top of my umbrella bashed the low-hanging awning of a shop and it in turn bashed my glasses into my face. I played it cool because I was in public but I was secretly murderous. Then the debit machine at the bakery had a tipping option and I gave a 15% tip solely because the girl who served me was attractive, and I hated myself for doing it. I wish all servers were hideous old people so that I never felt this yearning to appease attractive people. It’s fucking absurd but it’s a tough bastard to shake. I think that’s a blog post in itself.

Then I went to The Turntable in Fantan Alley. I was looking for a particular disco compilation record called Don’t Walk, Boogie.

Dont-Walk-Boogie-best-I-can-find

This is an unreal disco compilation, and the genesis for my love of disco music.

They didn’t have it. This errand really wasn’t so bad because the owner of the shop was quite determined to eventually find it for me in his never-ending record hunting, and I happily hung out and chatted music with him and a few other guys there for a bit. I love that shop, and Fantan Alley in general. Such great vibes there. But keeping in the theme of this post, I did not find what I was looking for so this mission was a complete failure.

Next, I went to Chinatown to find kitchen chair cushions made of straw-like material, like this:

tatami-kissen-jw10010

Or this:

Corn-bran-Straw-Seat-Cushion-Handmade-Round-Futon-Cushions-Japanese-Style-Tatami-home-decor-FREE-SHIPPING

I went to numerous shops but none had anything close to what I was looking for. A kind woman overheard me and suggested I try Capital Iron. I did, and they didn’t have shit either. I was really hoping to avoid buying these things online, waiting months for them to actually show up, and then only to find they don’t fit on our chairs or are only 1/4″ thick and hard as rocks, but I guess that’s the route I must now go.

Then I went to buy a vintage home stereo amp from a guy. His ad said “works well, clean condition,” but when I showed up he casually mentioned that the lights on it didn’t work, and would be a real nightmare to replace (he did some work on the stereo but didn’t bother with the lights because they were too much of a pain to access even when he had it all apart). Well, shit. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to him that I wanted the fucking lights to work but when I told him I was going to pass on it, he gave me that bitchy, passive aggressive, “no, no, sure, yeah, no problem, yup, nope” response, ie thanks for wasting my precious time here, now I’ve missed 10 minutes of Duck Dynasty for nothing. He’s not the one who drove all the way to fucking Victoria to fight traffic and get fucked around and disappointed by every jackoff he dealt with so I don’t know why he was so upset.

Then I fought traffic through the pouring rain all the way home. That was my trip to Victoria today.

many audiophiles are full of shit, and some are also unpleasant snobs.

I’m working on putting together a nice, ugly, retro stereo system for our house. It’s going alright. I don’t really know shit about stereo equipment so I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring craigslist and whatnot, finding cool-looking old shit, and looking up specs and reviews on it. Doing this, I’ve come across a lot of ‘audiophiles’ selling their audio gear, reviewing stuff online, chatting about it on forums. It’s been kind of interesting because it’s a totally new world to me and it’s neat to see people so into something I’ve never given much thought to.

But of course, it’s also been pretty irritating because of how snobby and elitist a lot of the audiophile gents are. Some of their responses to my emails have been extremely terse, as if I should already know the dimensions of their 1970’s bookshelf speakers. How dare I ask!

giphy

“Why, Dynaco A25 speakers are obviously 11.5″ W x 20″ H x 10″ D, you insufferable vermin.”

So that’s been annoying, but what really has my head spinning now is that I’ve realized that a lot of these snobby old white guys with nothing but time and money on their hands are probably using their ridiculously expensive home stereos to listen to complete and utter shit. Like this (the music starts around the two minute mark):

It’s On by Rockstar Supernova? That’s what this audiophile is using to show off his new speakers? Holy fucking moly, that’s an absolutely horrible choice of music for any occasion, especially when you’re trying to impress people with how awesome your stereo is. I honestly couldn’t believe it when the music started. I expected a record that sounds fantastic, organic, and real, and something that virtually anyone and everyone can get behind — something like some Led Zeppelin or The Beatles.

And you know that the vast majority of the other audiophiles out there are listening to music that is just as bad, or even worse, on their amazing sound systems. It’s a shame, a real fucking travesty.

I know, I know. I’m sure most audiophiles would probably say the same thing about my music tastes — “pffft, The Doors suck. Ack, The Police are annoying. Ewww, disco compilations.” And hey, those imbeciles are free to have whatever confused, misinformed opinion they like, just like I’m free to post my insightful, enlightening, thoughtful point of view here: I estimate that 80% of their stereo blathering is hot air, 80% of them couldn’t tell a good stereo if they didn’t see the make and model of the gear before they heard it, and most of them are wasting their amazing stereos playing garbage music.

feeling…good. for now.

after feeling oddly shitty at the start of january 2017, i’ve actually been feeling pretty good lately. there’s a lot of stuff i’ve felt pumped or even grateful for. in fact, i was just listening to led zeppelin’s ‘III’ album and enjoying it so much that i felt like making a list of things i like, things that make me happy. here it is.

  1. led zeppelin
  2. cookies
  3. the satisfaction i feel after doing some house cleaning
  4. playing bass in standard tuning
  5. sim city for SNES
  6. tetris, obv
  7. real winter weather, like snow and sub-zero temperatures
  8. driving my 4wd corolla wagon in the snow
  9. meeting interesting seniors at work (there are interesting non-seniors every now and then too but seniors are usually more sensible and calm, and have a deeper pool of life experiences to talk about)
  10. chickens
  11. our dog, cat, horse, and goat
  12. camping/road trips/exploring with jenn
  13. getting xmas and birthday gifts for jenn that are both a surprise and a big hit
  14. rick and morty
  15. the wonder years
  16. twin peaks
  17. getting a great night of sleep
  18. dreams
  19. lucid dreams
  20. experiencing crazy premonitions
  21. dancing to 80’s and disco hits
  22. sointula, BC
  23. shawnigan lake
  24. UFC
  25. watching UFC with pals
  26. burgers
  27. having so many outstanding old friends
  28. the seasons
  29. watching films that really knock my dick into the dirt
  30. seeing our fruit trees thrive in the spring
  31. carving jack-o-lanterns
  32. coming home after a few weeks away
  33. quitting time at work
  34. retro furniture and housewares
  35. swimming at the fish ladders with pals
  36. working out/exercising in general
  37. screaming and growling

…to name but a few.

why do i hate hipsters?

yesterday, a friend told me that i don’t actually hate hipsters. and i thought about it, and realized: yes, yes i do. i definitely hate hipsters.

hipster

kill em all

but not exclusively. i hate hipsters because i hate everyone who lacks their own identity and prefer to hop on board with whatever everyone else around them is doing. hipsters are just as bad as metal heads or country girls or ballers or red necks or jocks or hippies or any other mental weaklings who jump in with any given crowd. those people don’t actually know themselves. they’re just dressing like a recognizable group and hoping to be accepted by that group. rest assured, the same people who are hipsters today would have been hippies in the 60s, glam rockers in the 80s, grunge rockers in the 90s, etc. whatever it takes to fit in.

i think that’s spineless. and i don’t like spineless non-people. they’re boring. they’re typical. i feel embarrassed for them.

so yeah, i’m quite confident when i say i hate hipsters. just as much as i hate every other masked, crawling worm of a non-person.