James R. Tramontana

Tips for Playing Live: A Sack of Wet Hair Being Hit with a Rusty Hammer

Posted 09 May 2018

We have an arrangement for another new song that we're tentatively calling, "All Teef (F the F)."

Jim forgot his "order up" bell but magically some bell-like sound effects show up anyway.

Some advice for the studio and live environment are shared. When you tune your instrument, MUTE YOUR INSTRUMENT. No one wants to hear that stuff. It's a sign of an amateur. Don't do it. It makes everyone crazy. And at a show, don't noodle on your ax. It's dumb.

We also share a few tips for playing when you're overweight. Cuz, ya know. Some of us in the band could use droppin' a few pounds. Not Doug. That fucker is skinny as a coal miner.

Andris talks about his in-ear monitors and his new personal cooling unit, also known as a fan. It's really, really cool. Get it?

We talk about some of our current influences and how the music you love can work its way into your songwriting adventures.

The working title of the new album is now, "$3000 Puzzle Hunt Freak Out." We're sure we will change our minds later.

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How to Be a Prolific Songwriter: Interview With STOLAR, Our New Pal and Life Coach

Posted 02 May 2018

We have the extreme pleasure to talk to singer/songwriter, Stolar, who in the past four years has written over 1,000 songs. Stolar shares with us some of his songwriting philosophy and techniques and boggles our minds with his organization and life skills. He also opens up about his personal life and how songwriting is part of his daily routine to keep him centered and on track. A theme that comes up a few times is not allowing self-censorship to get in the way of good musical ideas. Create in the moment and see what happens. Also, good music has deep personal meaning and don’t be afraid to share real emotions.

Read more here.

And if that weren’t enough, Stolar also shares his favorite place to get a slice of pizza in New York.

After the interview, we decompress and discuss our thoughts on rockin’ music and what we’re trying to accomplish as a band.

Then, as usual, we devolve into extremely immature banter that has nothing to do with anything.

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When You Record, Keep an Open Mind: Interview with Producer, CHRIS SUTTLE

Posted 25 Apr 2018

On this exciting episode, we welcome our first guest, producer, engineer and damn fine human being, Chris Suttle.

Chris talks about how he got his start in recording as well as the importance of working with a producer or engineer that fits with the bands' personality. We all give some "what not to do" tips for the studio.

Chris's biggest tip for recording: come with an open mind. You don't know everything. Be open to there being more than one way of doing things. And also work out the business-y stuff ahead of time.

We also change the name of the new song we're working on. Then we all realize we are actually in a pre-production meeting and take the time to talk to our producer, Chris Suttle, about the new album.


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How to Start a Song: Doug Comes With Riffs

Posted 18 Apr 2018

In the last episode, we gave Doug some homework and boy did he deliver. Doug brings 38 starts to songs -- different riffs and chord progressions he has recorded while writing at home.

We do a little Get to Know Ya where Andris and Jim talk about instruments they wished they knew how to play as Doug browses through his riff library. Then we pick one to jam on and form the basis of a new song.

Doug offers a tip for playing loud without going deaf in the process.

This episode is an excellent example of exploring the possibilities of a new song and letting the music lead you in the appropriate direction. We go in a lot of different places, trying out various styles, tempos, etc. before getting something we all like. Feast your ears on the majesty.

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