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We all know about how unreal things can get on the internet. How easy is it for some to pretend to be something they're not? I was making all kinds of claims on zappa.com about the kinds of tunes I liked to play on the guitar and the kind of music I was able to compose and it occured to me I may not be being taken seriously. So, I whipped out a few tunes using a laptop camera and posted them on YouTube. These are not professional studio quality productions but I think they speak for themselves.
A collection of my own compositions using the medium I generally create with. These are all one take videos with no editing or overdubbage. Turbulator is an exception in this list as I wrote that by bringing together a previously unrelated guitar arpeggio thing I liked playing, with the intro, which was also formed while playing guitar. That in itself is not unusual as I'll explain below, but the lead guitar work I just wrote out of my head into a computer score writing program, imagining I could play it when in fact I originally had to use a synthesiser to perform it back in 2004. See the Perfect Time page. But, I later on decided I would practice the guitar more often and work to get my chops to a level where my playing might inspire more respect when I finally get around to trying to put a band together of quality players. So, the version of Turbulator below is a one take video of me playing it live on an electric guitar.
These are all one take videos with no editing or overdubbage.
I have a nerve don't I? Well, I'm sorry, but I really enjoy playing this music. Whatever myth we have been presented with since the death of Frank Zappa I seriously cannot believe he went all sentimental at the end and proclaimed that only Dweezil was allowed to play the big three. That is, Black Napkins, Zoot Allures and Watermelon In Easter Hay. I remember as a much younger individual, before FZ passed away, dreaming of what it would be like to be able to play Zoot Allures. It was as if that piece was out there in the Twilight Zone and only a freak like FZ could understand it. Well, with perserverence I came to understand it and work out my own arrangement. I love to play it.Seriously, those black jokes you hear sometimes after someone has died where someone ends up by asking "Is it too soon?" Well, Frank Zappa has been gone more than nineteen years and it's well past time to move on. Hang on, am I apologizing for not being overly sentimental? Who was one of the first people - after my Father that is - to inspire me in that department?
Again, this is a one take video with no editing or overdubbage. This composition is meant to be a big rock opera type production number with a cast of thousands. It is comprised of compositional chunks that were written circa 1980, 2009, 2010, 2012. This is often how my compositions come together. This video is just me and an acoustic guitar. It's clearly not the final "big production" item I have in mind. Use your imagination. I live in hope.
I think I've probably dreamed of being able to play piano like a master since I was in the womb. The point about piano is that I started by teaching myself how to play my daughter Catherine's required pieces when she was learning to play during primary school in Adelaide so that I could help with them. This continued for a short time after we moved to Sydney at the end of 2005 and Catherine got piano lessons for a while after starting High School there. One time we even played a duet on stage at one of the school's musical evenings.
Anyway, Catherine gave up the piano lessons soon after, but by this stage I'd realised how beneficial it was for my composition. Several of my compositions really came alive when I started trying to play them on the piano. I've only really been able to progress beyond a certain stage since I started to play the piano the way I play the guitar. That is, play mostly my own stuff, so I put all the classical stuff and the grade books away after I came out of hospital in 2010, where I spent some significant time facing some pretty traumatic stuff and doing a great deal of soul searching. I've been doing only my own thing on the piano ever since.
I wrote the following two pieces ages ago. I have several much more challenging piano compositions for which I'm still polishing the performances. Watch this space.
I've always wanted to play a brass instrument. Okay the sax is a kind of brass woodwind thing, as opposed to a full on brass instrument like a trumpet, but King Crimson are responsible for inspiring me to play one. Then there were various jazz bands, like Galapagos Duck, an OZ band from the days when the music business allowed such things. And then finally along came Frank Zappa with sax all over the place. I bought an alto sax in December 2009. I learnt to play Eat That Question within three weeks, so this video is a document of that. I was bit green with the computer video camera and so the video is mirror image. I will find a way to fix that but without modifying the recording itself because that is me at that time. Then after six and a half weeks I was playing We Are Not Alone. That is me playing it in real time as a one take video, but the guitar track was recorded earlier during that day of course. Soon after the second video I started getting really ill and couldn't play sax any more. I ended up in hospital for a significant proportion of the first half of 2010. I haven't really managed to get back to it properly since because it was giving me migraines. Now I'm back at uni and my Mum's going down hill it's still on the back burner but I have a way of resolving these things eventually. Again, I live in hope.