Ugly Things Magazine

Ugly Things

Ugly Things is dedicated to “bringing you wild sounds from past dimensions, from times when rock ‘n ‘roll was young, daring, dangerous and vital,” and few if any fanzines are as informative when it comes to lost, unknown, and overlooked music of the 1960s and beyond. Now in its 30th year, Ugly Things is published twice annually, and each issue features up to 200 pages of in-depth features, exclusive interviews, rare photos, and more. Each issue is so packed that I sometimes forget it’s a magazine (it feels more like a book). If you’re into 1960s-influenced music like I am, be sure to check out the Ugly Things website, where you’ll find information on back issues and how to subscribe.

My Love in Her Attire

Pop Go The Jerrys (small)

“My Love in Her Attire,” from The Jerrys’ debut album, Pop Go The Jerrys, is based on a poem I came across while reading The Top 500 Poems. “My Love in Her Attire” was penned by an anonymous poet sometime between 1400 and 1600, and while it is an awesome poem as is, it needed a little work before it could be a Jerrys tune. Below is the original poem as it appears in the anthology, followed by the words to the song by The Jerrys.

My Love in Her Attire

My love in her attire doth show her wit,
It doth so well become her:
For every season she hath dressings fit,
For winter, spring, and summer,
No beauty she doth miss,
When all her robes are on;
But Beauty’s self she is,
When all her robes are gone.

My Love in Her Attire

My love in her attire does show her wit;
It does so become her, this is true.
For every season she has dressings fit.
For winter, spring, and summer too.

No beauty does she miss
When all her clothes are on,
But Beauty’s self she is
When all her clothes are gone.

My love in her black dress is such a hit;
It does so become her, what a view!
In every color she has dressings fit.
In red and green and purple too.

No beauty does she miss
When all her clothes are on,
But Beauty’s self she is
When all her clothes are gone.

Akai M-10 Reel-to-Reel Recorder

Akai Reel-to-Reel

My first multitrack recording machine was a used 1969 Akai M-10 reel-to-reel recorder that featured a built-in amplifier and auto-reverse capability. This machine was the only in Akai’s M-series (ca. 1960-1973) to have three motors, and it operated at tape speeds of 1-7/8, 3-¾, and 7-½ inches per second. Before the M-10, I had been using portable General Electric tape recorders to bounce tracks around, so this machine was a nice step up for me.

My Fave Shows of 2013

Of all the live music I’ve seen this year, two shows were so good that I’m sure they will be my fave shows of 2013 when the year comes to an end: Todd Rundgren and The Dandy Warhols. Rundgren had just begun his official State tour, while The Dandy Warhols celebrated the 13th anniversary of their album, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, by playing the album in its entirety. Here are a couple of pics.

Todd Rundgren Park West 2013

Todd Rundgren, May 19, 2013, Park West, Chicago, IL

Dandys Vic 2013

The Dandy Warhols, June 8, 2013, Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL

More Chicago Music Summit

Chicago Music Summit Speaker 1

At “Music Partnerships on the Web: Workshop Hosted by YouTube,” a session at the Chicago Music Summit a few weeks ago, Zofia Bajkowska, Manager of Music Content Partnerships, called YouTube “the world’s biggest stage” and showed attendees how they could create their best content and engage their audience.

Chicago Music Summit Speaker 2

Fred Beteille, Product Manager at YouTube (previously at the Harry Fox Agency), showed the audience a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-launched YouTube Audio Library.

Chicago Music Summit

Chicago Music Summit

I attended the first-ever Chicago Music Summit last week, and I’m busier than ever doing all the things I learned there. Three sessions were more than worthy of mention:

  • Music Partnerships on the Web: Workshop Hosted by YouTube
  • Website Demolition Derby
  • Album Release Strategies for the 21st Century

Great event—and free! I’m glad I took the day off from work to attend, and I look forward to doing the same next year.

My Home Recording Setup

Home Recording Setup

Nearly a decade ago, I began using a digital audio workstation of the studio-in-a-box variety to produce the music of The Jerrys. Switching from magnetic tape recording to digital recording transformed the way I made music. In terms of editing alone, digital changed everything.

Fast forward to now. Over the past several months I replaced my workstation with a computer-based home studio. I’ve recorded a few tracks already, and there’s a bit of a learning curve as might be expected. It’s all good, though, as I love learning new things (I’m making progress on a near-daily basis). Without further wait, here are the components that make up my new laptop studio:

HP ENVY dv6-7215nr Notebook PC
For audio recording using a lot of tracks, I needed not only a laptop dedicated to audio recording, but one with some muscle. With a quad-core processor, 8 GB memory, and a 750 GB 7200RPM hard drive, this notebook delivers.

Propellerhead Reason 7
Released in late April, Reason 7 is the latest and the greatest software from Propellerhead. I based my decision to go with Reason solely on the fact that Todd Rundgren used previous versions of Reason to create his last few albums. I needed something that would record guitars well, and if it’s good enough for Todd, it’s good enough for me.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
This basic audio interface does an awesome job of getting sounds into and out of my laptop, and as actual sound recording (guitars, vocals, tambourine, etc) is a big part of my music, that’s essential. I especially like the ring LEDs around the knobs that change from green to amber to red to indicate signal and clipping.

microKORG Synthesizer/Vocoder
While I used to think of my microKORG as only an audio device and not a studio component (ie, as only an instrument), it will now also function as a MIDI controller. I’ve never used MIDI in my music, but there’s a lot I can do with it in Reason, and I’m more than open to the possibilities.

Alesis M1Active 320 USB Monitor Speakers
It doesn’t take a George Martin-type to know how good these little speakers sound. You can spend a lot of money on monitor speakers, but I didn’t, and I’m glad, as these work great.

As mentioned, I’ve been recording using the new setup, and so far I love the way everything sounds. I look forward to releasing music that was made with the new studio.