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Moosejaw Muldoon / Blog

Have I stopped talking?

No, actually, I moved my blog to my web page, at Http://moosejawmuldoon.com. All of the most recent blog posts are there..so go check 'em out!

Surreal x South West

It was the straightest, strangest Austin visit I've ever had. I ate meat every day, didn't visit many of my favorite spots, and saw only a fraction of the music showcased in the crazy week that is SXSW. That being said, I heard live music and ate ice cream every day, and made sure everyone in my family got to see shows that they enjoyed.

I'm still too overloaded to write a full treatment of the week, but I need to say the following:

Dear J. Mascis, River City Extension, Airborne Toxic Event and Bright Eyes, you made my music experience. Seeing you was pure joy.

Dear Groupo Fantasma, Shannon McNally, and 10 years... you put on a great show, I'm glad I had the experience.

Dear City and Color, Secret Cities, Blue King Brown...I had no idea who you were, but thank you. I am a new fan.

Dear Wild Flag, Uh huh her, Screaming females... please play nearby soon, so I can make amends, I really wish I had seen you.

The Power of Choice

I think this is the first New Years Eve Ive spent alone. Well, alone with two amazing and cuddly puppies, and all of my thoughts and all of my things. There was a time when I could not imagine such an eventuality, and this year, I chose it.

I chose not to make plans, I chose to stay home by myself, alternating between mental fluff and great substance, tofu and nutella, productivity and relaxation.

I am still a bit under the weather, and Ive had an exceptionally busy fall/winter holiday season. The upcoming few months will entail a lot of travel and hard work. I have been craving this time. I will take a bath, listen to months worth of practice mixes, put some thought into my goals for the upcoming year, and read, read, read.

Tomorrow is a new day. A day to reorganize, put some new prints on the walls, and evict some old behaviors and unhelpful thoughts. Sunday, I will see all of my friends, and it begins again.

I hope your ritual/celebration is peaceful, thought provoking, safe, and fun. See you next year!

Namaste.

Wandering through the soap aisle

I have always been blown away by the level of choice we have in this modern world, especially in America. Now, this phenomenon has struck again - this time in my studio. I have been planning to upgrade my DAW interface to a cheap used Digi 002 for quite some time, and had been shopping on ebay...then Avid blew my mind apart. Welcome ProTools 9 - usable with ANY audio interface.

WHAT?

For those of you who don't record audio, it would be like having no prior preference or exposure to commercial soap brands, scents, and varieties (perhaps you were raised by hippies in a remote enclave that made their own dr. bronners type all purpose cleanser) and then being plopped down in the middle of the soap or shampoo aisle in Target. There are hundreds of varieties of products that all promise to get you clean, smell great, and have various other wonderful bonuses for you to investigate. do you want no scent, hypoallergenic, fresh scent, soap that matches your bathroom, moisturizers, tea tree oil, environmentally friendly? And of course,there are a wide range of costs.... Are you wiling to pay extra for organic ingredients, or do you just need to be clean?

So, Im looking at the focusrite saffire series pro 26, 40, and liquid 56 I've also looked at the TC electronics Konnect, and a few others.What about a firewire mixer? Should I just save up for a fireface? I'm in a bit of a daze. Of course, while the interfaces are comparable in cost to the upgrade I had planned, now I need to spend another $250 for the PT upgrade... so maybe I'm jumping the gun a little.

I have to admit though, as bewildering as the choice is... its a little exciting.

(all of these products can be easily found at: http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/computer-audio/audio_interfaces/)

Hanging with some old friends...

40 gb of them, in fact. Not all of them, and not the oldest ones... I'd have to pull out the three CD books for that. But a good part of the past decade at least... my digital music library. We're singing at the top of our lungs, much to the chagrin of my dogs and neighbors....

I'm really struggling in this multiple format era. I have the doors and patti smith, billy joel and pink floyd on vinyl, a vast array of "alternative rock" and light metal (it was the 80s ok?) on cassette, some 600 CDs (many cassette titles re-bought at the record exchange), and a hard drive full of digital music. I still want a physical copy of all new music, which means more CDs - but then I have to get them into digital format so there is some chance I'll listen to them.

Then there is my car - a 2005, CD player stereo, no aux output. My fm transmitter for the ipod busted. They really don't work all that well anyway. It's been grim in there. I've actually had to listen to ...gasp...the radio. A very sweet woman just made me 25(!!!!!) mix CDs for my car so I would stop complaining, as I'm never going to get around to upgrading the stereo. So now that is all new music, that I really only listen to in the car... not at work, or in the house.

I just want my music all in one place again. I want to be able to play any of the thousands of songs I love at any moment, whether I'm at home, work, driving, walking down the road, whatever. Supposedly I can do this digitally, but... ... I just don't trust it. Does that mean I'm officially old now?

She Cant Sleep No More...

This is what happens when I go to shows. I saw Laura Monzo and Jenny Owen Youngs wednesday night at the Downtown in Red Bank. I say I saw them because it was INCREDIBLY loud and drunk in the room, especially during J.O.Y.'s set, which is a shame, because she is an amazing singer/songwriter. I am hopelessly infatuated with her new album "Transmitter Failure", and serendipitously saw that she was playing back home in Jersey this past week. I enjoyed the show anyway, a foot from the stage, with the other 15 or 20 folks who were really there to hear amazing music. I tried, in my goofily charming way (if I were John Cusak, and we were 19), to chat her up a bit afterwards, and settled for complimenting what I heard of the show, and buying a "jenny owen youngs knocked me up" t shirt.

Anyway, the show had me so wired and inspired... she writes the songs, that one. The lyrics, the twisting moods and stories, dark humor, like a transformer, most often, there is more than meets the eye. I've wanted to do nothing but write songs since. Not so great for the day job. Of course, having practice on thursday only made it worse. We went over some very old songs that are new to the band, and it got me on a tear of examining old hard drives for snippets, melody lines, lyric fragments...wanting to finish any and every naked larval song idea. I still can't sleep, music and words are lighting on me like greenheads in august, breezing, hovering, then biting HARD, snickering, and flying away. This could become a problem. Until then, I'll be in the studio. See you when the sun comes up...

What makes a great show

So last Saturday I was at the Pony, catching some live music. Saw Vic Della Pella - great singer/songwriter, backed by a full band. He played his own solos, I loved that. Tight band. Good sweaty performance.

Antigone Rising headlined the show, hitting the road with their new lead singer. Again, tight band, well practiced, great harmonies...there were a few tiny bumps, but they played them off with great humor. Great. Stage. Presence. (especially smiley bassist Kristen Henderson). They ended one of their last songs with a fascinating medley of hits, of course wisely including Bruce. The crowd loved it. They had fun because the band seemed like they were having fun. (check out the video at their website: http://antigonerising.com/)

When a band is well-practiced, have a great sense of humor about themselves, and are having a great time - I always feel like the best decision I could have made was coming to see the show. I leave smiling. Note to self as musician.

where have I been?

Right? I haven't posted anything since April. I've been focusing on activities that will guarantee steady income, which means not so much on the music right now. I 've been working on the CD mixes periodically, but I need to change a few things, and there are still some decisions up in the air, so sadly, the spring release has been pushed back.

I wish there was more news right now, but things look like more of the same until I go to Alaska at the end of June. If I have anything on my mind that's relatively philosophically interesting, you'll hear it here. Have a great weekend - Stay out of traffic!

Stupid recording tips, pt.3

Never be afraid to try something new, no matter how bizarre it may seem. Example number 1: I was editing journal articles while drinking beer and singing Tool at the top of my lungs (all windows open)- and was actually getting work done! Never would have called that one. I am not one to scoff in the face of inspiration.

I have however, taken a short break from getting "work" done, because of example 2: I was singing, and raised my beer bottle to take a swig of i don't know exactly what tasty homemade beer, and noticed a really throaty, full sound reverberating back at me. Intrigued, I quickly hooked up a super cheap laptop mic, and sang Sober at top volume with the microphone on my shoulder, and facing into the beer bottle. Not quite content, I then picked up a stainless steel water bottle, and repeated the experiment... quite different sound, less earthy, more metallic, ringing (not surprising), still interesting. I then took turns singing normally, and then moving both bottles around near my lips to capture the most fascinating tones in the tiny cheap microphone.

Is this a new technique for amazing vocal tone? Hardly. It is however, an interesting sound that I think I may use (the water bottle) as a homemade reverb for a double tracked spoken part in one of my songs...

Never be afraid to try something different. Sure, it may ultimately not work as intended (read: fail) but you never know what bonus may arise out of the circumstance.

Becoming friends with myself....

I finally outed myself on Facebook. Yep, that's right folks, Moosejaw Muldoon is NOT my real name. GASP! I KNOW, this is SHOCKING, right? I've been thinking about this for quite awhile, and recent events have finally spurred me into the action of accepting my own self as a friend. And oddly, I got more comments on that than anything else I've posted recently. Wild, this internet age.

Originally I saw Moosejaw Muldoon as sort of a character, a particular kind of songwriter, with a particular kind of story to tell, but as time has gone on, I have performed all kinds of songs under this name, and I rather like it that way. Kind of like how anyone who knows Bright Eyes, knows that isn't Conor Oberst's real name, but that is his band name, not even necessarily his "alternate identity".

What do I need an alternate identity for? For when I get FAMOUS? Oh, sure, right. Let me tell you right now, it's not fans that are banging down my door - no one with words that kind. Or, am I just afraid of losing my liberal, discrimination protected job because someone sees me playing....OH NO! Irreverent Folk-Rock! Someone call the decency police! SHHHHHHH. Don't tell, please?

Perhaps not being connected to my band name only encourages people to see both funny artist me and serious career me both as less than a whole person with a real past as well as a future. Perhaps then people start giving me nicknames, because Moosejaw is so unwieldy, which then become "given" names, not "taken" names. Perhaps I am not so full of myself to think there needs to be one plus some, rather than just one. Perhaps, after all of these years, I'd like to pay some homage to the people who, while deeply flawed, gave me a name that means "precious gem", and if nothing else, have always loved me. Perhaps THAT is something I am no longer willing to take for granted.

So, I can't stop you from calling me MJ any more than I can stop you from calling me anything less savory, and I invite you to do so if it is most comfortable for you. But just so you know, in the catchy-as-hell words of the ting tings - "that's not my name".