Sunday, January 24, 2016

It Seems Dead Teenager Songs Were All The Rage In The 1960's

The other day as I was riding in the car I heard a song I had never heard before.  What was interesting is that, it was a song from the 1960's.  We were listening to Sirius 60's on Channel 6, and a song by the Shangri-Las came on.  They were best known for their song, "Leader of the Pack."  However, this song I had never heard before was called, "Give Us Your Blessing."

As I had never heard it I was somewhat paying attention to it.  It seemed it was a typical 1960's love song about wanting to get married to your best gal/guy and kissy, kissy stuff.  You know, the usual.

So this is how the song went.

Run, run, run
Mary, run, run, run
Jimmy, run, run, run
Mary, run, run, run
Mary and Jimmy were both very young
But as much in love
As two people could be
And all they wanted
Was to share that love eternally
They went to their folks they told them
That someday soon they'd be wed
Their folks just laughed
And called them kids
So Mary said
Give us your blessing
Please don't make us run away
Give us your blessing
Say you'll be there on our wedding day
They wouldn't have laughed at Mary
If they could have seen through the door
But Jimmy was waiting in the car
While Mary begged once more
Give us your blessing
Please don't make us run away
Give us your blessing
Say you'll be there on our wedding day
So, so far it seems pretty normal right?  Just a below average 1960's song that I described above.  That is until the next lyrics.
Well as they drove off they were crying
And nobody knows for sure
That, that's why they didn't see the sign
That road detour
The next day they found them
Mary and Jimmy were dead
And as their folks
Knelt beside them in the rain

 They couldn't help but hear
The last words that Mary and Jimmy had said
Give us your blessing
Please don't make us run away
Give us your blessing
Say you'll be there on our wedding day
Run, run, run
Mary, run, run, run
Jimmy, run, run, run
Mary, run, run, run
Wait, what?  Dead?  I mean, we went from wanting to get married, and now everyone is dead?  You know what this means.
So it seems I had to do a little research on this song.  It turns out that the Shangri-Las were not the first to perform this song.  That goes to Ray Peterson.  Also, he did not write it.  It seems it was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich who I found out liked to write a lot of dead teenager songs.  The song hit #70 for Ray Peterson and #29 for the Shangri-Las. 
I guess every musical decade has their "thing."  In the 80's it was awesome (and some not so awesome) guitar solos.  In the 90's it was everyone trying to sound like Nirvana.  Now-a-days everything is autotuned beyond belief.  But in the 1960's it was songs about dead teenagers. 
So remember when they talk about the good ole' days, remember this kids.  They tend to forget the worst parts.  Yes, 1960's music was great, but not all of it was "that" great.  Remember, they tend to only play the best hits of the 60's on the radio.  You don't get the so-so ones being played that often.
And now, if you really want to hear the song...  (But don't say I didn't warn you.)

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Combo Amp Project, Part 2

To understand this post a bit better, check out part 1.

So the last time we left off, I had done some pretty cool things with the amp project.  I got the Bitmo mod working and the cabinet built.  All's that I had left was for me to start finishing the cabinet.

However, I got to thinking.  Before I decided to put a finish on the cabinet, I thought I would put down shielding paint.  The Epiphone Valve Jr. has a tendency to pick up signals, so I thought I would shield the top.  It also doubles as a heat resistor.  I worried about the amp heating up and being so close to the wood. 

So I mixed up some shielding paint the old fashioned way.  I took Liquid Tape, Acetone, and graphite, and stirred it up in a nice bowl.

I did this two times, but the second time I put on a super thick amount.  I didn't aim to make it that thick.  But since I did, I decided to go with two big coats instead of three medium sized ones.

Next, I put four coats of polyurethane on the cabinet.  I won't show a bunch of photos of it since it all looks the same.  One good picture of it at the end will do.

Now I was ready to put it all together.  I thought it would take much longer, but since I did all my homework beforehand, it all went together much easier.  In other words.  I made sure all my holes were lined up straight and the right size.

First up, I put on the feet.  I didn't want anything too big.  I just wanted something simple.

Next I added the handle.  Again, this is a simple handle since the whole project is lightweight.

I was worried that the wood piece that holds the speaker wouldn't want to line up, but once I got the first screw in, it all fell in place nicely. 

This is when I realized that a lot of companies paint this piece of wood black so that you don't see the wood.  You see the grill cloth.  So that didn't work out so well for me, but oh well.

Next, I added the speaker.  Again, all the holes lined up nicely, and the screws didn't poke through to the grill cloth. 

I then added the amp unit.  Once I got the first hole lined up everything fell into place.

I was all excited to play it when I realized, I still needed to add the cord that goes from the amp to the speaker.  I also needed to grab my power cord, otherwise, how would it work?

So after all this the main questions is, "How does it sound?"  Well I could tell you.... or I could show you with the power of magic!!!  Or I could show you an MPEG of it. 

Now, a few tips/ thoughts.  First, it helps if you turn your speakers up somewhat loud.  Otherwise, it will seem that it doesn't have a lot of bass.  The bass isn't huge, but it works for me. 

Also, the sound can really change depending upon the three way voice selector, and the tone knob.  I will agree with a user comment on the Bitmo mod that the best tone choices are between 4 and 6 o'clock.  However, when you turn the volume way up, the tone knob can be usable on either side of that. 

The sound I recorded is just the sound that I will most likely use in the future.  Like Keith Richard's said, "Give me 10 minutes and I'll make every amp sound the same."  But the way it's set is the kind of sound I go for.

I do want to say that I'm digging the WGS C12 C/S speaker.  It's very creamy, and the kind of American sound that I am looking for.  It's very responsive to the tone knob. 

If I have time, I may post a video that shows all the different settings.  But I have been really busy with work lately, so it may get put on the back burner for a while.  I hope you've enjoyed my pics, video and blog.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Enemy Within

This story spans over a decade.  It is a tale of how long anger can last.  Anger is and always will be my enemy within.  It is something I have struggled to control.  Most of the important things in my life have been lost to anger.  This story will demonstrate that.

Back in 2004, I had a bit of a situation during a CUUPS service at the Unitarian Church.  And by "situation" I mean something I don't want to put in print on my blog.  Anyway, I was trespassed from the property by the main guy in charge, Ollis.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "What in the cold Hell do you have to do to get banned by a U.U. Church?"  I know, it's like Friday and getting fired on your day off.  I'll admit, I screwed up royally.  Which leads most people to ask, "No, seriously.  What the ever-loving fuck do you have to do to get thrown out by the most liberal religion in the U.S.?"

And again, I'm not going to talk about it.  Just know I was trespassed from the property, and have never been back in over 11 years.

I'll admit, I did have a problem with Ollis, the main guy in charge of CUUPS.  So, back then, I wrote Ollis an e-mail, and said that I was okay with the punishment, but other people should be thrown out too.  He never answered back.  All the crap fell squarely on me.

Back in 2011, after one of the services, I met up with some friends at the I-HOP across the street from the church.  Ollis and some of his group showed up.  We never spoke to each other.  It was cold.  I mean, there was some serious tension in the air. 

Back then, some of them wanted to ask Ollis on my behalf if I could come back.  I don't them not to bother because of the tension between us.  There would be no reason he would ever let me back.

So fast forward to October of 2015.  My friend Candie invited me to her wedding that would take place, (dah, dah!) at the U.U. Church.  So I have to tell her that I can't come since I am still trespassed from the property.  She said that she would talk to Ollis.  Low and behold, I was okayed to attend her wedding.

After the wedding I interrogated her on how it all went down.  Let's just say it didn't go the way I thought it did.  This is what Candie said happened.

Candie:  (Speaking to Ollis)  "Do you remember Adrian?"

Ollis:  "No."

Sidebar.  Wait a minute.  So all that coldness at the I-HOP?  It wasn't because of what he thought of me.  It was because he had no idea who I was.  He didn't know who I was.  I can't believe this.

Back to the conversation.

Candie:  I want him at my wedding.  It is alright if he attends?

Ollis:  Sure.

Sidebar.  So no wheeling and dealing?  I was really expecting some sort of wheeling and dealing, but no.  She got me there in what had to be the shortest conversation of her life.

Then, at the wedding today Ollis asks Candie, "Do you know that guy wearing the suit in the corner?"

She had to tell him, "Yes, that's Adrian."

He had no idea what I looked like.  So all this anger I've been carrying?  I figured that Ollis was carrying the same for me.  He wasn't.  He didn't even remember me, or remember what I looked like.  Wow.  I don't know what to think.  It's kind of changed my view on how one deals with anger.  I guess I will have to reevaluate mine.