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NorthernBandit / Burt K. Arthur / Blog

How would you choose?

...So this is a bit of a technical question but it rolls into the arena of anyone that listens to music as well... If you were asked to pick a guitar sound what sound would you want to hear in your new song? The answer...does not come about instantaneously though sometimes it may seam that way... Relatively speaking, I arrive at the choice more often during the process of recording more then having a predetermined set idea. Sometimes a pre-determined sound will work but again it is relative to the project. Being blast fire indoctrinated in Blues Rock by the influences of Gibson and Fender guitars...it's not too hard to imagine where I might go with a song idea...after all the Les Paul and the Stratocaster are my two exercisable fixtures when talking electric guitar. But even with that in mind, the realm can change dramatically given the soulfulness and character of the song. I have a new song coming out in a couple of days call " Blue Sky"...even though its a Hard Rockin track...the textures are many...each influencing each other...the trick is to have the colors of the portrait remain clear ( song and sound )...sometimes though even a little mud helps the vision appear crystal clear... Ears to the ground my friends...'Blue Sky's a comin!

In Memory of Jack Bruce!

In Memory of Jack Bruce. ...If ever there was a reason for being rejoiceful as a want to be musician it can come in any number of ways but as I was starting out in the early days listening to Cream on the two live albums they released in the late 60's early 70's I knew with out a flicker of a doubt that I held a similar spirit to Jack Bruce at least in the power and image that I perceived of him. That's how I want to play and be creative too...ah but alas Jack is Jack and I am but a lowly want to be. Jack came from a different place and time, the fact that he was a Scot helped to connect me because of my Scottish Heritage, he inspired me to be what I have become in music and a soul happy with what I have done and am doing today. I haven't any Jazz influence, never went there musically but I could feel the tension in the music and Jacks mix of Jazz, Blues and then what became Rock took it all to a whole other level. The fact that he played a Gibson EB3 short scale and threw Marshall amps gave the impression he was a Lead Bassist...and that was cool because he backed it up with such skill and soul it appeared at times he just might take flight and indeed he did. He flew! There are few images the get burned into your mind as those of inspiring nature...and everyone of them is etched in the depths of our being forever...it is with regret that I never got to see Jack perform live...he had been to Seattle many times and I wish I had had the ability to experience him up close, him playing on stage. A very dear friend, Tom Bukowski was as inspirational to me...like myself Tom also was an admiring fan and Bass guitarist fan of Jack. Tom and I both understood how valuable Jack was to our essence in Rock and Blues. I will not digress any further but to end this saying that only in life can you come to understand the importance of those who are around you...those who touch you soul on so many levels, good bad or indifferent. The most important thing though is understanding that though the living die...their spirit lives on forever and to that I say this Jack Bruce, your life and legend is still alive though you have gone to the better place...and I will continue to share what you shared with me unto eternity...energy and hope, melody and electric thunder...like the man and soul you were and the Bassist and songwriter we admired...Thank you with no end.

A Great Producer!

A Great Producer... Did you ever wonder why a band either makes it or breaks it? Yeah, timing is everything but patience is usually what is needed and a lot of dedication to your craft. This is Art we are talking about...in all of our early days I don't think we actually thought of what we did as Art...it was more a matter of letting loose a lot of built up energy and at the same time enjoying the music we were afforded by out favorite Artists by letting go of a bit of our hard earned money to buy and listen to a piece of history and a stretch of our wandering souls. Then it became an issue of wanting to be like our music hero's and so we went out and bought or barrowed gear to pretend to be like them...There comes a point I think in most players life that pretending goes away because we see a different side of music, one that we see ourselves creating and writing our own story...and with enough practice and some well learned lesson and maybe with some talent and luck we continue on. Some of us try to produce our own material and either because of frustration or the lack of friendly support we decide to do it all but it is a blessing if you can find a Producer that reads your aura and knows what your about and can do great things for you because they want to...That is a Great Producer...I hope you all find yours!

What say you!

In Rock and Roll it is a matter of involvement, to what degree is any ones guess. As in the lyric line by the Byrds ( *correction made compliment of a great fellow musician friend :) Thanx ) " So you want to be a Rock and Roll Star " goes...get an Electric guitar and learn how to play...Yeah I am doing that, have been since 1973, actually even further back than that but you know...what it come down to is the peace in your mind that sets the level of what Rock and Roll really means to the individual and for me I have to say is that it never has ever been enough! Warren Zevon wrote lots of great songs...now don't go taking this literally but like his song 'Excitable Boy' with music sometimes I feel that way...all wound up and no where to go. For me though I get frustrated and pick up the guitar and write, play or record music to satisfy the frustration I get from the distraction of creativity. See it's something I can't seem to let go, actually it's something I wouldn't give up if forced too. I don't know if there is anyone out there like me...it really doesn't matter but what I guess I am trying to say is that if I didn't have a guitar I would build something or resort to banging on a tin can because it is what I must do. Music is so rooted to our Heart...the way our blood pumps threw our veins, the beat and the foot step, the back beat...the rhythm, the connection of our inner being our soul and the external environment in which we are physically bound. I don't have anything but gratitude for what I have been given...through all the years of painful lesson learning playing the guitar and the many relationships I have had with the people I have encountered in this musical life, it is with some regret I wish I had been more of an extravert, being able to stand in front of a crowd of a few or a multitude of many and perform and be more out front, but alas I am not that person as I have discovered...I am more prone to staying at home...minding my families needs and being completely satisfied with my life as husband and father. You know they ( who the hell are they anyway? ) tell us inspiring musician types..."Don't quit your day job" basically because the 'Normal People' don't think out side their box and have this impression that everyone should be 'Normal' to their standards... ...The reality though is that there is no normal and normal is in the mind of who possesses it. ...I still search for a kinship with others who are musically inclined but it also appears to be that we are getting few and far between...it is not Rocket Science...it's the Human condition that brings like people together...my hope is that it won't come too late.

Good Morning!

...You know the World is getting smaller every day...yet we all seem to be so far away from each other...one of the things that makes music such a great medium for the human condition is the connectability of the many to the few ( which actually there aren't that many few ) so we have reach a conundrum...at what point do we trade places...it seems we already have. There was a time in history and the current realm of things where there were fewer musicians then listeners and the advantage of that is that the field of Artistry was more refine...as a listener you could get a better perspective on the genre of music you levitated towards and could identify with the spirit of your choosing and be happy...and of course there are the elitists who no matter what will fight to the end to defend the honor of their chosen fate but the Musician had his core values, now as time moves forward in the field of creative enlightenment some players will step outside their early influences and go where no one has gone before and then there are the traditionalists who revel in the past and the enigma of 'The One' and so this great big glorious pile of creativity has truly gotten all mixed together and spun around so that unless you search for it...it actually appears that Music has become a melting pot of what I would call 'The All' The All seems to be the problem. The reason I say this is that in the world of Music...where Professionalism once was the only measure of greatness 'The All' has taken over because now as never before anyone with an ambition can be creative, write songs, record and not rely on anyone but their own resources. This really isn't a bad thing but it does to a degree cheapen the effect Professionalism has on music and in turn effects the economy to those who are trying to earn a living in the Entertainment Arts...Music industry. I have never want to take from someone their livelihood...though it appears that my very ambition has done the very thing that I I did not want to do...In my ambition for creativity I have not recognize the effect my desire and creativity has siphoned away the greatness of the professional 'others'. I don't have a solution to my discovery...and I can't say I will stop what I am doing because of my realization but what I will say is that what I do does not infringe on copyright...I do not play others music and profit from their creativity...I am a spiritual activist for the right to create music born from the Human Experience. I refuse to put the Guitar down, I refuse to stop singing and baring my soul...I decline to participate less in the activity that makes me a less dull boy/man! I will until the end turn up the Bass...sing the chorus with others and play drums on my knees as I see fit...and you will not stop me. This is who I am and I love what I do, I love who I am and you should do the same for yourself...you deserve it! As for the professionals...I salute you and I buy your records because I want to...as for all of us 'Want to be' We will be just fine! Thanking you for your timeless inspiration! allowing us to be as you have been...The circle continues!

Whats all the fuss...

Well, now I can see where it comes from, this whole thing about 'Free' music. I don't need to name names it's not that critical but for some who want to be like they are on Jerry Springer I suppose like anything worth raising a voice over this is as good a subject as any especially since I too am a musician but I think that's where I draw the line...Understandably giving a product away in a professional setting no matter the industry will set some on fire and have them calling unfair and others using not so tame comments, if you really aren't happy with what others are doing even if you think it is directly effecting you future...Get Over It! Do something about your issues...it is true if you don't fix your own house you have no right complaining about others. Be resourceful, think on your feet...get a decent manager...sell yourself in the most positive way you know how but don't be critical of others who have a different picture...Art and Music are what we have to share and enjoy...lets keep it that way for every ones sake.

New Release...Interview.

*A personal interview about his new release Sept. 13 2014 Titled ‘Freeman’ (Not a Ghost ) with Songwriter Burt K. Arthur / NorthernBandit NB: So your new song is coming out in a day or so, from what you’ve told me briefly it sounds exciting, what’s your explanation? BKA: I was able to meet up with my friend Victor Snow to collaborate on this piece which revolves around the basis of my music back ground, the Blues but to clarify this more notably is a Heavy Rock Blues adventure. NB: You said earlier before we started the interview that you drew inspiration for a number of places, can you elaborate? BKA: Surely, The lyric could really be about any place in time…though it was derived from a character in a Harry Potter story named Dobby. The music’s focus is an upbeat tempo with solid Drums, Bass and Guitar but I have to admit with that without Victor on Drums and Keyboards this would not have been as great as it is, the idea was promising but he really gave me the ability to pull up and deliver a Rocker, his playing is stellar. NB: To wrap this up what would you tell listeners about why they should give a listen to this new song? BKA: Life is about rhythm…that is what this song is about. The ebb and flow of energy, the beginning, end and the continuation of the living spirit!

To Rock...

For those who like to Rock! Not too long ago, I posted a video for a song I had written last year to youtube and this page, a song titled 'Freeman (Not a Ghost)' a fairly poor attempt at video recording, I have no excuse for the performance...it was a live take just to get the idea down ( you can view it if you choose ). It has been awhile but I have been talking with my friend and mutual Music compatriot Victor Snow and he has agree to work with me to produce this song idea. As I write this we have collaborated and recorded the rough components of Drums, Electric Rhythm Guitar, Bass, and Vocal. Currently we are plotting the course of other instrumentation but generally speaking sounding pretty good and leaning toward a Heavy Blues Rock sound...it's a bit premature to go on about the track in particular but it's sounding good and I believe will have the energy to light up your speakers. So till then it's a tease but working toward a final production in the near future...I am excite and want to give you far warning of the impending Rock and Roll! as Gary Moore would have said...Rock it!

The Reasons why...

…I was reading a Gibson article about famous guitarists Hero’s…Billy Gibbons started off the list and talked a bit about Robert Johnson as his inspiration. He went on to talk about how nobody no matter what rendition has been able to capture RJ exactly in any form…and in a way that’s sad but cool at the same time. Sad because it is a frustration if you can’t ‘Get It’ and cool because RJ is a ‘One Off’ guitarist and that makes him very special. I have tried for decades to playing like some of my Guitar Hero’s…but to no avail and perhaps that’s better for me then if I tried too hard to be like them. I have over time picked up a few bits and chunks but I can’t say with anything positive that I sound like a particular Hero in the end. Guitar for me has become more of an extension of my soul and a means of expression best described as a connection to life then make believe though I dream a lot about playing and being on stage, I am happy doing what I do just the same being me. If I could tell you who has inspired me in detail I would probably have a list similar to many of my contemporaries and probably bore you to tears but what I can say is that there are really only three or four Guitarists that affect me on a regular basis, the ones I go back to time and again…Billy Gibbons, Duane Allman, Joe Walsh and Huey Thomasson …in no particular order. There are so many others that I should mention and not leave out but these four are where I draw a lot of feeling from. The phrasing they produce, the tone due to their technic, the shear cool factor of the guitars they play…and the absolute knock out Rock and Blues they are associated with. I have been learning how to play guitar since 1973 and I haven’t given up yet. Some might say that I should but to those nay sayers I say…Piss Off! There is no giving up, no surrender…there is no end only the journey. Thanks for sticking around.

From Michael Vinson...and my response

Mike Vinson - Americana Reply Mike Vinson - Americana Saturday, Aug 30 at 12:08 PM Loved "One More Day". Especially the piano work. Well written and performed. Great work Burt! NorthernBandit NorthernBandit Saturday, Aug 30 at 1:08 PM I will agree with you completely...Victor Snow has the touch...a Great composer not just from a players point of view but from an arrangers perspective. What I gave him originally was and Acoustic guitar and vocal track of the song and the rest is a month long back and forth communication discussing all aspects of the song to completion. I suppose what we all look for and rarely get is a Producer who can get in your head..my fortune here is that it happened. Victor hales from Kansas City Mo. I live in Washington State...what's the likelihood there would be a connection like this over the internet...I have had great difficulty connecting with any local musicians...just to meet or talk about music, but then it has to do with making yourself available and frankly I have a real life with a family and I'm older...don't really have the desire to stand in front of people to do what I do, that's where a Band would be cool to interact with but that would be the only reason to get on stage...anyway thank you for your support...would love to perform originals with a Band or another guitarist or keyboard player with drums but it's I guess a bucket list request...if at best. Peace.