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Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

Guess Who's a Mess, my third album. 10 tracks, instant downloads.

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I made this Space Invaders themed poster for our gig last weekend. While I was stuck here in -20 weather it went to LA:

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Here it is hanging out with a statue of Charlie Chaplin.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Here it is with Woody Woodpecker, totally qualifying for an admission discount.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Here it is hanging out with Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame even though I warned it not to.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Frank Sinatra. Classier company.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Marilyn Monroe, ooh la la!

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Here’s my gig poster hanging out with Shirley Temple’s foot and hand imprints.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

Oh no, Godzilla!

Brad Sucks poster in LA

I understand my gig poster was trying to hail a cab at this point.

Brad Sucks poster in LA

My gig poster paid this man a dollar to hang out. Money well spent.

Posted on - February 18, 2007 [at] 12:09 pm by Brad
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Hooray, I have a digital music store now! You can buy DRM-free Brad Sucks tracks in high quality 192k MP3, OGG or FLAC formats. You can also buy my entire album in whichever format you like with the album art and lyrics included. Buy buy buy!

I still feel strongly that people sharing my songs is vital to me as a musician, so I have no plans to stop giving my music away for free. But it’s clear that many people want to pay for high quality versions of my songs and I’d like to avoid the middle-man and DRM and offer that directly if I can.

(more…)

Posted on - February 16, 2007 [at] 8:48 am by Brad
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Can I say that Paypal has the slowest, most poorly organized and frustrating website of all time? Because I just did. I’m basically at swear level 8 at this point.

Posted on - February 13, 2007 [at] 6:25 am by Brad
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A while back I thought it would be cool to install one of those LED belt buckles in my guitar. And now my dream has finally become reality:

It was easier to do than I thought. Take one slightly abused guitar:

 

Take one LED belt buckle:

Flip the LED belt buckle over and there’s a piece jutting out that’s supposed to go into your belt:

Drill a hole in your guitar (not too big or the buckle will flop around):

Push the belt buckle into the hole.

Video:

It’s pretty sturdy but I’ll probably tie it to my guitar strap hook to make sure it stays attached to the guitar if it falls out. Also I may install a switch so I don’t have to pull it out to turn it on and off.

Posted on - February 12, 2007 [at] 4:53 pm by Brad
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Scott’s got a new music store. I’m jealous, setting up something like this has been on my to-do list for months.

The options seem to be PayLoadz and E-Junkie. Any others out there?

Update: Oh yeah I forgot about Kagi’s Digital Download Service.

Posted on - February 12, 2007 [at] 8:08 am by Brad
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John Buckman has the details on putting Magnatune streams into your Second Life land. This is a great idea. Users get royalty free music for their lands, Magnatune gets promotion. Very cool. 

Something I was thinking of: is there an easy way to stream podcasts into Second Life lands? That’d be another huge source of royalty free audio and would be pretty interesting. Virtual radio stations.

Posted on - February 11, 2007 [at] 11:35 am by Brad
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There were some great replies to my CDM question about configuring a laptop for live performance. The best stuff:

  • Autoruns – I hadn’t heard of this program but I’ll certainly be using it from now on. You can monitor and alter your loaded drivers, DLLs, services, startup programs and much much more. Great stuff.
  • MusicXP.net – This site has a lot of great tuning techniques for audio.
  • XPLite – I mentioned this in my question along with nLite but one person recommended XPLite.
  • Process Explorer – I’ve been using Process Explorer for at least a year now and it’s fantastic, I can’t go back to the default Windows XP task manager.
  • Process Monitor – I haven’t tried this one but it looks useful.

And there’s this awesome tip from art:

Ableton Live custom windows interface

When I use Live in a live environment, I run it as a ‘Custom user interface’ or ’shell’ in Windows XP Professional. Basically what this is if you aren’t familiar with it, is replacing Explorer with Live as a shell. This means there is no desktop environment, no taskbar, no start menu, no applets running, etc.

There are many advantages to this when using Live – improved stability, free memory, improved performance, etc. The disadvantage is you lose a practical way to multi-task. (But who needs multi-tasking when you only need to run Live live?)

To accomplish this in Windows XP Pro, type ‘gpedit.msc’ in the run command. This brings up the ‘Group Policy Editor’. Under ‘User Configuration’ / ‘Administrative Templates’ / ‘System’, there is a setting called ‘Custom user interface’. By default this setting is ‘Not Configured’ (meaning Explorer).

If you select ‘Enabled’ and type in the path to Live (or any application), Windows will boot into Live upon startup without anything else running.

You must include parenthesis if the path to Live contains spaces – ex. “C:\Program Files\Ableton\Live x.xx\Program\Live x.xx.exe”.

Restart computer!

If you do the above & wish to change the setting back, just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager, hit New Task (Run), type ‘gpedit.msc’ and change the setting back to ‘Not Configured’. Restart and you’re back to Explorer. If you use a sound device that requires an applet to be running all the time, then I don’t really know what your success will be. I used to use an Emagic EMI USB card that installed itself as a system service and always ran at boot-up. I never had any problems running Live as a shell. If you decide to give it a shot, it won’t mess up your system in any way. If for instance you enable this setting & the path or program is not found upon boot-up, Windows$ will load the default Explorer shell.

Hardcore! This is an awesome tip and the sort of thing I was looking for. I used to use Litestep and some other Explorer shell replacements so I know how bulky just having Explorer running is. And pointless if all you’re doing is running one program.

I do wonder if it’d be better to use that approach but also dual boot to protect against whatever crap is already in your registry, pointless drivers and services, etc.

Thanks to Peter for posting my questions and for the readers for dropping knowledge like bombs

Posted on - February 9, 2007 [at] 12:14 pm by Brad
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For those of you who can’t make it to the show Saturday night, I managed to film the end of us rehearsing our Search and Destroy cover:

 So glamorous!

Posted on - February 8, 2007 [at] 9:50 pm by Brad
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Peter from Create Digital Music was nice enough to ask his readers a question for me about potentially dual-booting my laptop.

I use my laptop for regular stuff but am wondering if it might be better to have a separate XP install with minimal services, applications, no internet, etc. for live performance. Or maybe I’m just worrying too much.

Posted on - February 8, 2007 [at] 12:28 pm by Brad
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I’ve been trying to think of something thoughtful to say about Steve Jobs’ anti-DRM essay.

There’s a good analysis at Daring Fireball.

I think it’s cool and all but I don’t get why Apple can’t offer DRM-free downloads for those labels (or artists) that want them. That’d give people who reject DRM a competitive advantage and put the squeeze on the majors.

Posted on - February 7, 2007 [at] 10:01 am by Brad
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