Best Friend Forever Login

To participate, register for Best Friend Forever access or login below:

Latest Release

Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

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

Not into albums?

 

Email Signup

Get the latest Brad Sucks updates:

Upcoming Shows

Blog

51Anc1ZmXFLI own several books by Bobby Owsinski and since I’ve been putting a live show back together I bought his new book and DVD: How To Make Your Band Sound Great.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The new live show’s sounding pretty good I think and I’ve got a fair amount of experience on stage now but figured it’d be worth checking out.

Good Stuff

The most useful sections in the book for me were his technical descriptions of dynamics and playing “in the pocket”. Bobby talks a lot about playing “bigger” rather than louder or faster which has been an issue I’ve struggled with. For instance I liked this observation about why a lot of musicians feel like the life’s been sucked out of their performance if they aren’t playing really loud:

The internal dynamics of each individual usually go out the window. Instead of playing crisp yet quiet, with the same attacks and releases the band had at the higher volume level, the attacks and releases get relaxed so the playing becomes less precise. The real trick is learning to actually play with the same intensity at lower levels.

Makes a lot of sense. He suggests plotting out song (and set) dynamics on a 1-10 scale and to make sure the band members agree on what the levels on the scale sound like.

Bad Stuff

But besides a handful of useful tips, the book is geared towards the beginner. Repeated admonitions to tune your instrument, turn off your cell phone, take vocal lessons and be a professional might be useful to some readers but they seemed obvious to me.

The included 60-minute DVD of Bobby coaching a band rehearsing a song is interesting, but could easily have been edited down to around 15 minutes, which would have made it more effective and reduced my exposure to ska considerably. Cuts back and forth between the earlier and later (improved) performances of the song would have been a helpful demonstration.

Conclusion

It’s not a bad book, I’d recommend it for a complete beginner. But it made me more aware of questions I had going in that it didn’t answer. I’d love to see another book that dealt with situations that are more geared towards laptoppy Internet recording artists who are branching out into live performance like:

  • How to deal with a laptop on stage – my first few times out I had issues with only having unbalanced outputs.
  • Backing tracks. How many outputs to give the house, how to treat them, how much backing stuff to include.
  • How to simulate band dynamics with drum backing tracks or a drum machine.
  • Vocal treatment & effects. Especially in small venues I’ve found running my vocals through a compressor/limiter helps my vocals sound more like the records.
  • How to handle crappy sound guys. (Constructing an alibi, body disposal, etc.)

I’m sure it would be a huge, huge money-making hit.

Posted on - February 26, 2010 [at] 3:06 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

Totally not dead up in here. Stuff I’m working on:

New music

It’s being worked on. I had a slow start in the new year but I’m back on track finishing up demos for the new album. See photographic proof:

photo

I’ll post stuff as I finish it, which better be soon if I hope to be nearly finished this album this year.

Live show

The live show is coming along nicely and is basically ready to go. It’s myself, a laptop, a drummer (Justin) and a guitarist (Ben). I think it’s sounding a lot closer to the albums than the last live setup that was more of a garage rock version of the songs (which was fun for me but apparently not what most people wanted to hear). I just got this book today so you know it’s serious.

Figuring out what to do with my live show

Did you know I’m not at all popular in my home town of Ottawa? That sounds amazing but it’s actually true. Gigs here are generally both empty and demoralizing. So I’d like to actually play for some people and maybe make, rather than lose, money.

Apparently I’d do well in places that are very far from my home but I’m not sure how to get the live show there without losing a ton of money also. And furthermore: money.

Recording a band

There’s a band I know (and like) and I’m recording their album. They’re pretty different than my stuff so I’m learning a lot. How to record a drum kit, how to record a rhodes piano, how to binge drink, etc, etc. I just bought this book so you know it’s serious.

Boring stuff

I’ve been trying to be better about a lot of areas I’m bad in. Bios, photos, t-shirts, promo and so on, they’re tedious and boring processes and I don’t want to talk about them. I also bought a car. And an iPhone.  And we have a new foster dog (our fourth!):

IMG_7569

His name is Milo. He has no home but he’s hanging here until he gets one.

Posted on - February 19, 2010 [at] 9:36 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

Hey, there’s a new Brad Sucks t-shirt. Here’s the design:

BradSucks-Arcade-Tshirt

Designed by Brandon Ortwein, it’s $16 and looks best on black or navy blue.

Posted on - February 8, 2010 [at] 8:45 pm by Brad
Tagged in - ,

There is nothing about this Spanish lip dub of Dropping out of School that doesn’t make me smile:

From Elisa, one of the authors:

We hope you like it! :D I’m sorry, the dubbing itself it’s not really that good -_- first of all the audio is not well synchronized and second one is that Spanish people are not that good at English lipdubbing, I guess ^^U haha! But we hope you enjoy it anyway!! :)

Rad.

Posted on - February 2, 2010 [at] 7:52 am by Brad
Tagged in -

So Brad Sucks should be coming out of live show retirement this year. There’s an interesting show I’ve been offered but I need to gauge interest + probably sell tickets in advance to make it happen. Here are the potential details:

Anyway, please let me know if it’s something you’d attend. Thanks!

Posted on - February 1, 2010 [at] 8:34 pm by Brad
Tagged in - ,