Everything and Nothing

“Everything and nothing” is my new favorite way to answer the question, “What’s going on?”

Good Lord, I’ve been totally avoiding my own site. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time for updates. So I threw up a new theme design (hope you enjoy it) and said, “I’m going to write something, dammit.” So here we are.

Goodbye 2012

I want to have a quick look back at 2012. The band and I played many a gig, and many a GOOD gig! I have to not only thank the band members but also everyone who came to the shows and supported me. It really is the most important thing when playing a show. Playing to an empty room is no fun at all. Playing to a room full of people, familiar or otherwise, who are into it and singing your words back to you on cue is a euphoric experience that I can’t explain.

We had many great shows at places like Crossroads, Connolly’s, National Underground and wrapped up our year with a great gig at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. I’ve gone to many a show there and was thrilled to be able to be on that famous stage. Being from NJ, I think we take that place for granted a bit but there’s lots of great music history there and I’m glad to say I’ve played there. Thanks to my friends in Bradykynin for offering the slot to me.

This year I want to try and keep to at least one show a month, so I  hope to see you out there. Our gig at Hat City Kitchen in January was AMAZING. So many great people and so much good energy. Thanks to our friends in Test Pattern for giving us a slot and recording the show. You can hear the audio bootleg here:

I think my biggest achievement in 2012 was The Code of the West. Writing and recording a concept album is a very ambitious feat and it is not easy to pull off. I’m used to working quickly but this record really forced me to slow down a bit. There was months of on and off research (most about the old west, guns, and so on) and there was a lot of writing before any notes were played. Taking this thing from concept to fleshing out the story alone was hard work. Then I had to actually record the music and hope that it all made some kind of sense.

While the songs still have that “demo” quality (it was all done in my garage) I have to say I’m proud of the whole thing and there are some very different and interesting things on there for me. I went into areas I didn’t know I could and came out a better musician. Please give it a full listen if you can and let me know if the story works for you.

We’re going to start breaking in some of these songs live very soon. The first will be “This Gun is Now My Life” and we’ll follow that up with some of the more rocking tunes like “On the Run” or perhaps “Keep on Moving West.” I’d really like to play the closer, “It’s Finally Time to Sleep” at some point also. Please give me some feedback when you can.

The Band

I’m happy to say that the band is doing well. When you’re a solo artist, it’s quite hard to find people willing to come in an be the backing band, especially when there’s little to no pay involved. I’m sure Lenny Kravitz or Bryan Adams can hire whoever they please. Lou Tambone has to take who he can get.

You have to find people who love music so much that they don’t really mind what they’re playing or why. They play because they love it. I was lucky enough to find a batch of musicians like this. For some odd reason, they are happy to come down and play my songs to people for next to nothing and I appreciate this immensely. So much so that I want to give individual shout outs to them.

STEVE SAVONA plays bass. I’ve known Steve for what has to be around 20 years now.  He was the first person I asked to play and he agreed right away. I never, ever, have to worry about what he’s doing or how he’s playing things and he has a humble attitude that’s refreshing.  He’s laid back, but tight and in the pocket. A pleasure to have next to me, even though he towers over me and makes me look even shorter. I’ll have to invest in some platform shoes, I guess.

DAVE WILSON plays lead guitar.  I remember auditioning Dave. We were really going through the ringer auditioning guitarists and none of them were working out. I’d give them songs to learn and they would hardly bother with them. Dave was one of maybe two guys that actually listened to the songs and learned them. He came in prepared, played the songs, and left with a handshake. That’s pretty much how he got the gig. Plus he could play. He’s good-natured, easy to work with and very accommodating.

ROB SILVERMAN plays drums. Much like Dave, he was a drummer who came down prepared to play and knew the tunes well. I was pretty impressed at how he picked up on a lot of my little drumming quirks or chops and was able to repeat them. He’s a funny guy with many a story to tell. He puts in the time and it shows on stage. As busy as he is, he always finds the time to get to rehearsals and gigs. He smokes electric cigarettes, which to me is cooler than smoking real ones. Now I’ve said too much.

That’s the core band, but as you might know, sometimes LIFE happens and someone can’t make a show for whatever reason. Sometimes they’re away for work or on vacation. Sometimes there’s a family event. These folks are doing me a favor by playing in my band so I always tell them that family is first!

That said, I’ve started to try and make sure I have alternate players available so that when there’s a gig someone can’t make (or a last minute replacement is needed), I don’t have to cancel the show. Booking gigs is not a pleasurable experience for me so when I book them, I like to keep them.

As of now I have two alternates, one for bass and one for lead guitar.  When there’s no drummer, we’ll just have to go without… or maybe I’ll play some live drums one day… who knows?

HANNAH HAREL plays the bass and is my good friend. We have played together in another band and had lots of fun. For some reason, she seems to really like playing my songs. I think something must be off in her head, but it works to my advantage so I go with it. When Steve can’t make it, she’s my go-to girl. You’ll see her in some of the youtube videos. I can’t say enough good things about her. We always have a good time.

ROB FERRARO plays lead guitar. He and drummer Rob Silverman, along with myself and another bass player named Anthony Capricuso are all in another original band called Radio Therapy. He’s going to be filling in for Dave at our NYC show on April 6th. This is a real sweetheart of a guy and once again, I’ve lucked out. He also played on the track “On the Run” from my Code of the West recording. He’s a great player.

I’m still auditioning keyboard players but I think I’m close to someone. Keyboard players are a tough breed! If I find one, you’re going to start seeing some cool stuff happening.

Music Stuff

I have all kinds of ideas. All the time. Getting those ideas to a place where you can see/hear them is a project unto itself. Some things make it, others don’t.

There will be new songs/music this year. I’m determined and have lots of drum tracks recorded. Once I have the drum tracks down, that’s usually a good indicator that the songs will actually happen. If I can eek four more drum tracks out, that’s enough for a new record and that will make me very happy. Stay tuned to the site and my Facebook page for updates on new music.

I’ve been seriously considering trying out this whole crowdfunding thing. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo seem to be doing well for musicians. The only X Factor is people. Running one of these campaigns is like a part time job for a month. You really have to get behind it, make a video, plan out all kinds of rewards and make sure people know where every dollar is going. I’ve already done most of the work but I haven’t made a video.

Here’s my thinking. Right now, I have three “albums” of material that I’ve recorded mostly alone in my garage/home, playing all the instruments not counting the occasional guest spot (sax, steel guitar, lead guitar parts, etc.) All of these recordings have a home demo feel to them. I’d like to have an album available that is studio quality. I don’t expect people to shell out money for my current home recordings. They’re not sonically up to snuff and I don’t have the money to record in a real studio.

If I could raise some money through crowdfunding, I could cherry pick 10-12 songs from my first two albums and make a “real” album of studio quality songs that I feel good about handing out to people or selling on the internet or giving to clubs to get better gigs/time slots or selling at gigs, and so on. Since I could play music, I’ve always thought it would be a funny idea to make a first album and call it Greatest Hits. I have no idea why. When I started doing more recording at home, I broke that rule with Damaged Goods. However, those are really demo-like. This could be a real studio record and it would be my first solo one. So Lou Tambone’s Greatest Hits may see the light of day if this whole crowdfunding things works out. I’m still on the fence about starting it though. Part of me thinks, “What have you got to lose?” and part of me just wonders if it’s worth it. If no one donates, I’m back at the drawing board.

Please leave me some comments if you can. Have you done it? Would you do it? Have you donated to other people’s campaigns? Would you donate to mine? I’m considering it but not totally sold.

Previously, I mentioned another original band I’m in called Radio Therapy. It started off as a cover band but that quickly fell apart and we  all decided that original music was where it’s at. Team leader Anthony brought in a bunch of his songs. I donated a few more. Rob F.  gave us one finished song. The rest came out of joint writing sessions with the three of us. The songs are really good and we’re about ready to play live so look for updates to the Calendar here and on Facebook for the gigs.

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Look, I could ramble on all day but I feel I’ve done my duty here. Thanks again for a great 2012. Hope to see you all at a gig in 2013. Please leave me some comments about whatever you want. I promise I’ll try to update more! See ya!

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