Production for the film 'A Celebration Of Life' has been postponed indefinitely. The method I am using to create this film is collecting video footage from the internet and editing its duration in such a way that creates a visual accompaniment to the music on the album. I am not a film producer, so the process is very difficult; yet I am not giving up, and intend to resume the project at some point in the future.
Happy New Year!
2017 is slated to be an exciting time for my fans around the world, as I have several projects to announce!
First up is my debut at film production! A Celebration Of Life is the name of the mini-movie, which is slated for an early spring release. Though it's not a production in the full sense, I am compiling pre-recorded footage and using my own editing techniques to create an audio-visual experience, the soundtrack of which is my solo album of the very same name. This project was conceptualized back in 2014, but I had zero video-editing skill at that time. Over the past couple of years, I have learned basic editing techniques, and though I openly declare that the methods used are basic and simplistic, I also assert that this film will make an artistic statement. The production of A Celebration Of Life began in December, 2016. The film will be released on my YouTube channel for free viewing; I have not yet decided whether to also make a physical copy for commercial release.
Second up is my vocal debut! The band name is Cognition, and is currently a one-man project, though I may assemble a band in the future. The debut e.p. Separation Anxiety is slated for a late spring release. Recording began in April, 2016, and is almost complete. Mixing began in December, 2016. Several engineers have contributed to the recording of the music and programming of the drums, and the project is being mixed by Spencer Fox at No Passenger Studio, a mobile recording facility based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Third is the Realm Of Glass debut album! I recorded my bass parts for this cd from November, 2014 through December, 2015. After being sent off to mixing, it was determined that all of the vocal tracks had to be re-recorded, due to an engineering error that had afflicted all of the original vocal recordings. These songs were all re-sung from October, 2016 through December, 2016. Spencer Fox is mixing this album, which is slated for a summer release.
Fourth is my fifth instrumental solo album! As yet untitled, the recording of this album began in November, 2016. It features a plethora of colorful guests, and is slated for a late 2017 release. Spencer Fox is recording and mixing the album, and Joel Wanasek will master it at JTW Studio.
In addition to my creative projects, my music lesson business is booming! I have started several brand-new students in the past month. Some are guitar students, and some are bass students. Things are so good, in fact, that I am increasing my rate, as of New Year's Day! Already-enrolled students are grandfathered in at the old rate.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased my music and contributed to and shared my musical journey with me so far! This is just the beginning!
What a great mini-tour this was! I covered Florida to South Dakota and lots of places in between, and left a bit of myself every place I went.
The two guitarists and former bassist of Awakening were in attendance at my Lake Worth, Florida show. Award-winning singer-songwriter Melanie Kirby attended my Corbin, Kentucky show. I also met countless fans and made new fans along the way.
Thank you to all of the fine people who came out and saw me on my Victory Or Valhalla U.S. Mini-Tour!
Happy New Year! The bass is complete on the Realm Of Glass album 'Reveries From The Haunted'! Justin Hernandez and I spent New Year's Eve recording my bass for the song "Broken". His home recording facility Obsidian Insanity Studio was disassembled when he moved in September, and he just finished reassembling it in December. In addition to reassembly of the electronic equipment and such, he and his workers actually built and painted the walls, converting an entire attic into the recording facility that he'd enjoyed in his previous residence. That is why the transition took so long.
As I performed my parts tonight, I noted that I am at the top of my game. Solo music leaves room for doubt, as you never can introspect objectively enough to know for sure whether you are fully challenging yourself, but session work never deceives. The artists who's recordings I play on do not write their songs to fit my style or skill set; therefore, I know that the level at which I play their music displays the true level of skill I possess on my instrument. I worked very, very hard on honing my abilities in order to pull off a very challenging bass arrangement, and was extremely happy with the result tonight.
I arrived home from tour yesterday at 6:00 in the morning. I had a great time! I met and hung out with some cool people, made some new fans, and was treated with hospitality. I really enjoy performing musical concerts, and I feel- and have felt for many years- that this is my calling. One interesting thing about this mini-tour was that I did not share the bill with any other performers (other than the open mic event that preceded my performance at one venue). I think this is a first on that count. That's not a good or bad thing, just an interesting one. Yes, some people in this world are sophisticated enough to attend live music events other than their "friend's band". I was fortunate enough to play in front of some of these fine people on this tour.
Thank you to all of the wonderful venues that hosted me this round:
The Cornerstone - Galena's Live Entertainment
Red Rooster Coffee House
The Empty Glass
Red Mug Coffeehouse
I just had an amazing conversation with my drummer Scott Chazan. It started out with this text message he sent me:
"Ben I am sorry dude...... I am eating dinner. I am going to have to back out of the gig due to many reasons. I know this isn't cool. It just isn't feasible to drive all the way up there just to set up and basically rehearse. I will try to set us up a gig where we can play in front of people. I like your material. It is just not fair to both of us to have to travel so far to rehearse. I have no drivers license and have to drive at night on a Saturday night trying to find my way with gps and cops behind me. It just makes no sense. I have to simplify my life, and taking that risk is a step in the wrong direction."
So I called him on the phone and confronted him about the fact that he is committed to playing that show, and that it's not "rehearsal", it's a concert. He called the 15-member audience at our first show "no one" (as if 15 equals zero), and Nostradamused that "no one" would be at our second show, also. I told him that his suggestion that after canceling this gig he would get us another gig is absurd, as I would never play with him again after he canceled this show. I promised that I would never play with him again. He cited excuse after excuse, the same ones "professional" musicians have been telling me for 15 years now, and quite frankly, it gets old. One excuse was his loved one's upcoming doctor appointment that might- I repeat, might- culminate in a diagnosis of something terrible.
He had the audacity to ask me how him backing out of the gig will hurt me. I rejoined by asking him why people have him play drums for them. Is it that they don't really need a drummer, they're just pretending? Their show will go on no problem without you, Scott? I told him that I will ask the venue if I can do a one-man show instead, since my drummer bailed on me, and maybe they will reluctantly let that slide, or maybe they will say no. THAT'S HOW YOU'RE FUCKING HURTING ME, SCOTT! Besides, it's beneath me to even explain to a motherfucker why backing out of a commitment is bad. He told me that I need to grow up, and I rejoined that grown-ups stick to commitments. Then he ceded that maybe he is the one who has some maturing to do.
I reminded him that in the half-a-year we've known each other, he's harped incessantly about how the members of all of his past- and current- bands did not stick to commitments, as well as other complaints, and the irony of his current actions within my musical duo.
In the end of the dialogue, I told him that if he doesn't play this show, we're through. He said "I guess we're through, then." We each said "bye" and that was the end of it.
Summation: If I'm playing for you, you can run your career how you see fit. If you're playing for me, you had better be prepared to stick to commitments and not be a flake. I hope this post scares off any other flakes that might consider playing for me.