SpinTunes 12 Round 1 Reviews

February 1, 2017

lagertha loves me.

Whoa. 37 songs in this SpinTunes group. Many superb songs. I’ll try and parse some thoughts on each.

Ryan M. Brewer – ReCount, Revenge

Driving rhythm, nice hook, and lots of wordplay in the imagery of the disputed Gore v Bush election counting in Florida. Well done, and it’s sticking in my head.

Kyleen Downes – Do What You Do

You hit this one out of the park. Dreamlike and etherial, yet grounded in a fait accompli. What do you do after you’ve lost something you never thought would be lost? And you’re not responsible for those anymore since you lost? Drew me into the story, and the chorus was a nice hooky break.

Lucky Witch & The Righteous Ghost – Spoiler

The chorus is catchy – I keep coming back to it. Maybe because it’s repeated 4 times. Use of the synth bells on the keyboard was a nice touch.

Governing Dynamics – Concessions

Haunting guitars and an overall mood of uneasiness works it way through this track very insidiously. Punctuated with a blistering soul searing solo. Bonding with those who lost has never been so wallowing with hope.

Dr. Lindyke – Doom’s Day

Love the concept. I’ve always had a soft spot for Victor von Doom. And using a Tango base for a dictator was inspired. Brough a Latin and Latvarian flair to the proceedings. Reed Richards would be suitably upset with this song. Bravo.

Edric Haleen – This Changes Everything

I’ve read Edric’s reasoning why he should be DQed for this song. It’s true. He should. But It was something he believed in, and making a stand is something he’s good at. The dissonance in the song fit the mood of the ‘event’. So you win. and lose. Simultaneously. Here’s hoping you win in the end in another venue.

Kevin Savino-Riker – The Damn Breaks

Simple arrangement with guitar focuses the attention to your lyrics, which is a good thing. A good warning to those who win that they might not actually get what they’r looking for.

Heather Zink – BeFührer

Nice plaintive piano work on the German history of the early setbacks of Adolf. You just can’t keep a good man down. Or a bad one. May the Fatherland last 1000 years… or 12 and end in a bunker.

Shyfox – Berdie

Kicking back with a ukulele, a deceptively upbeat song on keeping the faith and moving forward even with the current setbacks. Nicely done.

Domingo – Bulería de Persuació

Beautiful Guitar Work. Emotional response. I ran the lyrics through a translation, and your version was much more striking – ‘Don’t Throw me to the Wolves’ isn’t as persuasive as ‘Awaiting to be thrown to the depths of Hades’. Very enjoyable song.

Steve Stearns – Overthrown

Love that funky bass line. Also love the future dystopian society on a remote colony base. I’d like to hear the backstory on this one.

Zoe Gray – Long Live The Queen

Funky drums behind an etherial vibe. I missed the Carrie reference until I read the details on Bandcamp. Now it all makes sense. Winning the election for Prom Queen isn’t all it’s cut out to be for the voters. Nice execution. Literally.

Brian Gray – Abernathy Fitzgerald

You’ve got a great talent telling stories though creative characters. Another home run with this loser turned winner who is still a loser. The chorus of ‘Suck it’ was truly inspired.

James Young – Vote For Me!

Driving bass line and guitars keep my attention here, as well as the lyrics that just keep relentlessly coming. Nice guitar solo and alternating vocals between punctuated riffs.

Rob From Amersfoort – Why

I like your off kilter style. The effect laden voice and overall goofy take on the loss of the election kept me off balance – It’s kinda like XTC meets Emperor Gum and had a baby that came out of the womb as a teenager.

Bryan Schumann – Royal Blood

Nice mood you set with this one. You captured the loss of a parent, and the need to succeed when you succeed. Good guitar work.

Ross Durand – Homeroom

Nice take on the angst of losing a school election. The self loathing of having to hear the voice of his rival every day over the PA system fits all too well. Solid guitar work and plaintive vocals put the cherry on this.

Jerry Skids – The Ethical Ballad Of Mayor Goldie Wilson

I never thought the Mayor of Hill Valley would be the topic of such diversion. Or the cause of two many issues in the main city of ‘Back to the Future’. Nice extrapolation from the point of view of Marty McFly’s nudge into politics. Harmonies and simple guitar work come together for a song greater than the sum of it’s parts. Good one.

Turtle Fence – Mr. Brexit (or, Nobody Loves EU)

Stripped down arrangement amplified by the multiple voice tracks. Felt a little sparse, but then again, Brexit doesn’t make you want to jump for joy either. I liked the multi voice tracking.

Mick Bordet – Democracy Inaction

Whoa. Slow things down and feel the burn. You set a mood for this whole piece that was depressing and thoughtful, which I think you were looking for. Achievement Unlocked.

Army Defense – Elected

Upbeat surf rock ditty on the rich corporate america lifestyle. Pretty dystopian, but with a nice counterpart including the happy guitars. The hook sticks in my brain, so you got something going on there.

Emperor Gum – Lucifer

I love the idea of evil incarnate having a go at UK Politics. Obviously he’s going to succeed. But with style and panache. Nice comic timing with the appropriate verses kicking in with music creshendo. Very well done.

Mariah Mercedes – Election Of Love

This rocks in so many ways. The chorus. The seduction of the voter with the sultry voice.  And the hook. One of the top songs this round which keeps going round and round in my brain. Don’t forget us when you’re in the big show!

Alex Forger – Change The World (I Hope)

Nice, Simple arrangement for a winning candidate and his ethical debate with himself. When you go down that slippery slope, what happens, one compromise at a time? Who knew ethics could be so intriguing? Good ideas in a complicated story.

Caravan Ray – Party Games

You have to smile when you hear a banjo. Which make the depressing lyrics hit a great counterpoint. Great banjo work as well. A solid entry and bonus points for rhyming disorder with  schadenfreude! Best dissonat couplet since Mark Humble rhymed Pizza with Neitzche.

Adam Sakellarides – A Better Place To Live

I like future songs about enslavement of the human race. You’ve done a good one here. Adding the self aware touches and catch chorus, you have a winner. However, none of us will be around to sing it.

Jailhouse Payback – How To Lose A School Board Election

Nice groove, completely at odds with the protagonist of the song, who isn’t comfortable in his own skin. Interesting tempo changes. I liked it.

DJ Ranger Den – My Fellow Mannabadoos

I think you wrote this song just because you like saying the word ‘Mannabadoos’. I can’t blame you. It is catchy. Catchy enough to say it 10 times… 11 if you could the backward masking (Yes, I counted!)

Boffo Yux Dudes – Bully For You

I do love Al’s photo punk rendition of the Roosevelt / Taft slugfest that left Wilson the victor.

The Crack Fox – Erection

An interesting mood piece. I’d almost call it an instrumental, although you did use 7 words so you did hit the challenge.

Sumner Wynn – The Great Weight

Brash fuzzy guitar and drums over a wistful and forlorn vocals discouraged over the loss of

an election. The analogy of weight and the presidency is interesting juxtaposition with the colorful lyrics.

Ominous Ride – 19 Never Comes

Perplexing lyrics. Driving beat and and baseline. Vivid imagery  You definitely set a mood here. What does it all mean? and why 19 votes?  The bears repeated listening.

27 Tikis – Kahuna Of The Corn Tropics

Happy Island vibe in the midwest. This one made me sway and smile. Silly and fun. Thumbs up

Megalodon – Democrat Pixie

Interesting tale of the ’66 senate race of Dick Tuck. I like how you took the phrase ‘The Bastards Have Spoken’ and turned it into your chorus. Is that a Dulcimer or a Uke in the background?

Good execution and good story.

Dr. Lindyke – A True Democracy (Shadow)

A fitting tribute SpinTown and the contest itself. Although the mental image of Cherry Pi riding herd is a little much. And illegal in most states.

Dr. Lindyke with Cherry Pi & Spintown – It Happens To Everyone (Shadow)

Yeah. Cherry Pi in a Shaggy dog story? Again, illegal in many states. But Emily Litella would be proud.

Andy Glover – Ratings Are Down (For Now) (Shadow)

I like the tone you set with just a simple guitar and your voice. The analogy of votes and love are strong. Ratings and luck are both down for this person, and it comes across. Nice execution.


Reviews: SpinTunes:Champions vs. Shadows

July 30, 2015



Since there were 3 members of BYD involved with this puppy (and Toni, who weighs in on Al’s vote), it was a complicated process to figure out the actual vote. Travis has our results, but the reviews are up for all to peruse, cajole and otherwise commiserate about. I was surprised at Scott’s thoughts, but hey, he has a point.


First up – Al Morgan takes the stage and mixes a few drinks.


Bubba and the Amiable Kraken – Bluebird:
Very catchy and sweet; I like the wistful vibe. Simple, but that works in its favor. Kinda XTC-lite. The whistling part could be the background of a car commercial.

Zoe Gray – Satisfaction Guaranteed:
Very smart; my own feminist teenage daughter would approve, and in fact this sounds a lot like some of the music she listens to. I like the spacey feel, which conjures a retro-futuristic (or is just futuristic?) vibe for me, especially contrasted with the wry content and delivery of the lyrics. Great tune (hummable!), only the bridge took me by surprise a little. A strong contender, of course.

Hotel Rex – Bridge:
I’m a sucker for power pop, what with the “1,2,3,4” countoff and all, though I’d likea little more power here. A bit generic, but ultimately a perfectly pleasant tune, well-executed.

Jutze – Ballad of the Emperor:
Props to any fellow traveller who takes the offbeat route, and bonus points for using “septillion” in a song. You do realize Star TREK is the superior franchise, don’t you?

James Young – Sandcastles:
Really well done. Not much to say, except that I like it a lot and that the Posies called and want their song back.

Rob from Amersfoort – Dream House:
OK, now THIS is what I’m talking about. When it first started I was dubious, and within 15 seconds I was loving it. Just brimming with the post-psychedelic quirkiness that I yearn for; it’s like some garage-band cross between The Soundtrack of Our Lives and The Tages. You’re not gonna get everyone on your side, but the ones you do are gonna LOVE you.

Brian Gray – I’ll Do It Myself:
Wow, I’m glad this isn’t about me. The music is exquisitelysequenced/played and fits the mood of what you’re going for perfectly. The lyrics are razor-sharp though they wander into unfathomable acronym territory at times, which I suppose is part of the joke. I think I know what you were going for with the “Septembers” bit, and it’s a nice change-up, but ultimately I think it disrupts the flow of the song. The best caustic put-down songs (and this is a good one) are usually pretty relentless. I would have liked to have heard more vitriol in the vocal delivery, but you probably see the character differently than I do.

Boffo Yux Dudes – Tiny House:
I just thank God that my wife indulges us in our silliness and I finally found a Linux-based vocal compressor plugin that works for me.

Dr. Lindyke – Day after Day:
Ah, my old archnemesis, earnest self-reflection. Well-written, sung, and played, this has everything a good 70’s-type piano song needs, including true emotion and a big ‘ol hook. The bird sound effects are appropriate and NOT played for laughs; consequently, this seems like a waste to me, but whatever floats your boat.

Pigfarmer Jr. – River of Tears:
Straightforward and roots-y. I think it works in that I want to take the narrator out for a few beers and get plastered so we all forget our troubles.

Trader Jack – Building:
The instructions are going a bit fast, so I appreciate the repeated phrases. I, too, could not find a compass, so I had to hand-draw the circles best I could. You seem to be concerned with wanting more, but if we’re going to get this done you’ll have to stay focused on the task at hand. And we won’t be able to build the tesseract you mentioned until we’ve completed the two-dimensional stuff.

Ben Taggart – Building Me:
This kinda thing ain’t my cup of gin, so I’ll note that the simplicity of the arrangement works in your favor, but you have to guard against monotony (yeah, yeah, I know, pot, meet kettle). Nice melody, but there might have been a pitch crack here or there (dammit, there’s that pot/kettle combo again!)


Jenny Katz – Thoughts on Leaving You:
This is a whole new level of good. I have a low tolerance for confessionals-with-an-acoustic-guitar, but damned if you didn’t keep me listening and thinking. Emotional without being overly sentimental, direct without being aggressively blunt, I’ve been there and maybe you all have, too. So you made me want to ask the question, Jenny: what DOES “free” mean to you?

Governing Dynamics – Room Stop Spinning:
Sounds like a lost You Am I track, which is a definite plus in my book. Growing old’s a bitch, which is why I’ve given it up mentally even if my body trudges onward, so I’m right with ya, buddy. And any DJ who doesn’t know Nirvana isn’t worth my junked collection of Ric Astley twelve-inchers.

Matt & Donna – Reasons My Kid is Crying:
You think things are bad now…wait until the little bastards become teenagers.

MC Ohm-I – Favorite Things:
The main drawback for me is that the vocals seem really low, so I have to consult the lyrics, which I mostly understood but my son thought were the best things he’s heard this week. I like the idea of hijacking something from “The Sound of Music” for a hip-hop song, if not least because it amuses me to think of Edric Haleen guesting with you on this. That’d be kinda awesome, actually.

Next up – Scott Mercer serves up his results with a dish served cold for the Champions…

All of the Champions should be disqualified.

None of them met the requirements of the challenge.  The challenge was: “write a list song about any topic you like.  The song should be in the form of a list, not about a list.”  To me, that means that the song should consist of a list and nothing more.

None of them were in the form of a list.  All the lyrics contained extraneous phrases, descriptions, questions, sentences and lyrics that were not part of the list.    (If the second sentence was not in the challenge, all of them would pass.  That second sentence prohibits any meta-commentary).

Having said that, the song that most resembled a list was the song by Jenny Katz.  Still, one of the lyrics is “I guess I should put the rest of the good down here in the column,” which is her commenting on the list, and not part of the list.  Clearly, there she is talking ABOUT a list, which is not to be done, according to the challenge.

Musically, the best song was the song by MC Ohm-I.  The My Favorite Things loop was fantastic and appropriate.

Moving on to the Shadows.
The challenge was a lot more vague and open to interpretation.  Probably appropriate that the Champions should get a more strict challenge and the Shadows get a much looser challenge.  So no disqualifications for the Shadows.

Overall a strong group of entries.  Nothing outright terrible.

1. Bubba and The Amiable Kraken – Love it…don’t mind the whistling at all, it’s a song about a bird.  Really pleasant and catchy.  Great hook in the chorus.

2. Zoe Grey. – Fantastic girl pop.  Lots of heart and brains.  Good social commentary here.  This manages, somehow, to feel both contemporary and timeless simultaneously.  Just a winner all the way around.

3. Hotel Rex – The first of several bridges that get built.  Really like the music, it’s got that classic Beatles/Badfinger feel.  Really strong entry.  The clumsy ending means I can’t rank it number one.

4. Jutze – This is a novelty, and I think I know where I speak regarding novelty songs.  So it has to be judged on different criteria from the other entries.  Is it a good novelty song?  I think it’s just okay.  No new twists on the Star Wars mythos really.  Hasn’t this vein been mined out by this time?  Overall, it’s a bit perfunctory.

5. James Young – It’s got an 80’s rock feel, like, I dunno, Big Country?  Midnight Oil?  It’s not bad but it doesn’t get me riled up.

6.  Rob From Amersfoort – Okay, more building castles.  This is also has an 80’s feel in my opinion, but more like Talking Heads or The Cars?  A bit “New Wave”.  It’s a bit more catchy than the James Young, but not much.  Really not a fan of that coda.

7. Brian Gray – This type of musical arrangement would have been good for a list song, but…that’s irrelevant.  Anyway, love the wordplay, and the “End of The World As We Know It” lyric torrent.  The completely non-matching bridge makes a nice intermezzo, a refreshing palate cleanser before we go back into the final verse.  Delightful!

8. BYD – Not rating our own song.

9. Dr. Lindyke – Well, hey.  More building castles in the sand!  This is a nice ballad, kind of a power pop ballad.  Reminds me of The Vandalias.  Nobody knows who that is, I’m sure.  We stay with the sand/beach metaphor throughout the song and really explore it, though.  And I appreciate that.  It’s not just a passing, obvious gambit.  Definitely a 70’s feel.  And a cameo from Jonathan Livingston Seagull!  Points for that.

10. Pigfarmer Jr. – Okay, now back to building a bridge across the river.  The songwriting is perfectly good, but I’m not blown away by the arrangement or the recording.  It’s pretty spare and I think the song could have justified a denser arrangement.  I know, it’s kind of country or folk or whatever, but that’s just how I feel.

11. Trader Jack – I appreciate the attempt at doing something different, but I did not want to listen to this a second time.

12. Ben Taggart – (late entry) – It’s a nice heartfelt song, I like the tack on the lyrics, something nobody else tried.  I don’t think it would have won, but I liked it.

and lastly, up with desert is Tommy G, who hits the nail on the head with his insightful commentary (or is that the mixed drinks talking?)

The Champions…

Jenny Katz – Thoughts On Leaving You
I like the simple guitar melody line that pushed the thoughts forward. It’s as though the pro and con list is a frantic thought process. What’s good? What’s bad? and what’s not in my control? She’s made her mind up. What about him?
Nice, plaintive ballad that hits many good notes and answers one question but leaves us wondering on the final one.

Governing Dynamics – Room Stop Spinning
Fun, Fuzzy Guitars accent the fuzziness inside the singer’s head. Is he growing up and out of partying? or just annoyed at the fact he can’t relate to the next generation coming up in the wash of bourbon and regret? If you’re too cool for the room, should you stay in it?
I like the driving bass as a counterpoint to the languishing guitars. The song can’t keep going in one direction, which accents the spinning room. Interesting use of tempo there.

Matt & Donna – Reasons My Kid Is Crying
I liked the melancholy kid cries turned into the chorus refrain. Nice touch on using a stylophone. It fits like an electronic xylophone glove. The forlorn feeling by the doting Dad come through as exasperation from the parents, where they can’t do the right thing for their kid (Although they look like they’re doing the right stuff, the kid obviously doesn’t agree)
It looks like they both need a kid breather after this, but the song tells the story well.

MC Ohm-I – Favorite Games
Good use of tying the music riff into the list theme for ‘My Favorite Things’. It fit well. The lyrics had wit without being snarky. I’d love to hear the vocals more present in the mix – they should be front and center on the next version.

The Challengers

Bubba & The Amiable Kraken – Bluebird
Fun, easygoing song about making a birdhouse. I liked the harmonies on the final chorus line, and the accent from the electric guitar complements the acoustic strumming.
The lyrics brought me to a meadow in my mind. Good job.

Zoe Gray – Satisfaction Guaranteed
Building your personal robot? That will take care of your every wish? What could go wrong with that? Well, what happens if that robot finds out there is more than serving people out there? Interesting tale, and good use of minor chord progressions to heighten the off note that all is not as it appears in the song.

Hotel Rex – Bridge
Good bar band rocking song, but the lyrics cryptically show the building involved is one of self deception. Nice twist there – the main character is actually pretty clueless about his situation. So it’s treating the subject as a positive, while the listener can pick out all the negatives involved in this relationship. Good touch.

Jutze – Ballad Of The Emperor
Who doesn’t love a good Star Wars romp? I like this upbeat ditty about building the most powerful station in the universe. Nice foreshadowing with ‘This weapon is too big to fail’.  The whole song made me smile.

James Young – Sandcastles
Funky analogy of Building Sand Castles and the impermanence of reality. Good guitar solo.  Do the castles hold your dreams, which wash away with the waves? Is it all futile in the end? a bit depressing, actually, but the forlorn voice does bring it together in the chorus.

Rob From Amersfoort – Dream House
Very dreamy stuttersteping song. Odd choice of chord progression, which builds on itself, brick by brick. Feels like you took inverse chords to make it have an unsettling emotional response. Then you toss in the refrain at the end that mixes things up more. The dream is askew, and the notes reinforce that thought.

Brian Gray – I’ll Do It Myself
Driving upbeat, manic tempo keeps the pace with a caffeine fueled tantrum.
The break was a good counterpoint for where the singer wants to be – but never quite gets back there. Also liked the organ solo – kept things moving fast like the mental state of the programmer.

The Boffo Yux Dudes – My Tiny House Is Too Tiny
I’m biased on this one. Al and Toni took a fun take on Scott’s lyrics. I’m still laughing every time Peter Dinklage is mentioned. So I’m a little prejudiced.

Dr. Lindyke – Day After Day
I like the laid back vibe this puts out. It’s not rushed. It has its own pace, and keeps to it. The ebb and flow of the tide fit the couple and their on again, off again relationship. But like the tide, they keep at it and build it back up again. SImple melody, but it all fits together like  glove. Well done.

Pigfarmer Jr – River Of Tears
Aching lyrics of lost love and lost time hits the heart. Nice guitar solo. Building Bridges over the river of tears is a good analogy for the heartache of the singer.

Trader Jack – Building
You build confusion very well with this tune. Watching the video helps at least make some sense of the lyrics, but it’s a long way to go for a cube.

Ben Taggart – Building Me (Shadow)
I’m seriously bummed this one came in too late to be a true shadow, and is more a stalker song. NIce analogy for building character instead of things. It also has a nice theme of passing on knowledge through the generations.

I’ll add the actual ranking of all the songs after Travis has posted his versions, since we had one clear victor, but the others were all within one point. Nice job everyone, and on to the final round!


Tommy G., Al and Scott.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to speak of other things”

December 16, 2014

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to speak of other things”
Like a fallen star who works in a bar where Yesterday is king
The fans will stay for an hour or so, they still remember his fame
But the time has come the Walrus said, to call your fans by name

– H. Nilsson “Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song”


In 2015, your patience will be rewarded. Big BYD plans in motion. HUGE. Slow spoilers to come out soon.

Before then, we’ve got SpinTunes 10 to complete.

If you are, or think you are a songwriter, you really should be a part of this one.

Don’t just take my word for it. Take Hulk Hogan’s.


SpinTunes8 Reviews – Missing You (but remembering RC)

February 14, 2014

This round starts with a testimonial and remembrance to our lost friend RC, who passed away much too soon. Randy Christopher was SpinTunes 7 champion, and we gathered before the listening party to play some of his songs and say some thoughts about the man we never met, but knew nonetheless. Then we introduced the new round of songs with the challenge ‘Missing You’. Audio from the Listening Party with RC’s song can be found here.

I’m a little disappointed there haven’t been many people reviewing the songs for SpinTunes 8. Well, here’s my two cents on the 32 songs in this round. The gauntlet has been tossed!

You can listen to them all here or go to the doohicky link or click the lines to get the individual songs…
Dex01 – Monster
Love the grungy guitar. Reminds me a few early punk bands and echos of Boomtown Rats. Good effort on the production.

TurboShandy – Torchbearer
Good ballad. Like the vocal doubling on ‘Baby’. Solid effort.

Felix Frost – Cat’s Eye
Very eerie production values. You’ve  picked up your own ‘sound’ that’s recognizable. Interesting imagery.

Jutze – Nancy (Please Don’t Go)
I like the peppy beat, and the slow reveal to the ‘who’ of the song. Jaunty and rockin.

Jenny Katz – Secret Love Life
I like the jazzy groove and production of this. Jenny’s voice works well. The hint of strings underneath adds to the melancholy of the whole piece.

Dr. Lindyke – Why
Interesting reflective piece. Strong piano, and different hearing Dr. L. using drums more often. Nice job on this one.

Sara Parsons – Guilt
Pretty vocals counterpoint the words of loss. Good to see Sara writing more songs again.

Caravan Ray – Missing You
Upside down grunge. Extremely tasteless lyrics. I liked it a lot.

Ominous Ride – When I Lost You
Very ethereal production. Moody Bluesesque. Nice 12 string work.

Brian Gray – The Child I Left Behind
Bold choice to go acapella. Chuckled at ‘Pants on Fire’. Solo seemed to work well with the material.

Edric Haleen – On The Matter Of Bullying (Part 3)
Powerful piece. Nice collaboration. Stirring performance.

Ryan M. Brewer – Burn Out Or Fade Away (PSH)
Good Ballad. Piano supports the theme and mood well. I like your voice with this piece.

Army Defense – Phil And Don
I liked the trade off between the brothers, and the production changes between the early Everly brothers and a more 70’s technique in harmonies. Nice job putting their breakup into a song.

Jailhouse Payback – Hey Eugene
Nice guitar work. Looking for a connection to the Pink Martini’s song, but there might not be one.

Ross Durand – Sitting Right Here
Bittersweet ode to a mother-in-law slowly slipping away. Good counterpoint making it an upbeat ditty with the sad lyrics.

The Orion Sound featuring Microglitching – Without You (A Valentines Stalker Song Sequel)
The 2nd sequel song this round. Interesting operetta storyline. Tho the ‘It was all a dream’ is a little off for an end, the imagery is kinda funny and harsh.

James Young – Never Coming Home
Love the guitar work. Simple yet complimentary. Nice solo.

Zoe Gray – Ginger Twins
Nice lament from one brother to another after a battle. Your voice fits the haunting thoughts the Weasleys had in the aftermath of Voldemort’s final battle. I liked ‘The Joke’s on me’ since that was the shop they ran together.

T.C. Elliott – Broken Mind
Grungy guitar goes well with the warped mind in the song. Counterpoint of Steel guitar in the solo worked well. Hint of backing vocals fit nice.

Trader Jack – Doom Dah
Interesting ramble. Made me snicker in a few places, but needed a little something to bring it together. Otherwise it’s just a crazy guy with no purpose.

Adam Sakellarides – Right Place, Wrong Time (The Time Traveller)
Takes a bit to get to the chorus, but has a nice groove. I like the story of love lost before it even happens. Has a Jonathan Coulton vibe to it.

The Boffo Yux Dudes – Dead Wrong
What is this crap. Lousy song. These guys should be shot.

Menage a Tune – The Box Feeling
2nd acapella tune this round. Interesting song about loss and remeberence looking at photos…

Sid Brown – Who You Used To Be
Song builds well. Sad tune on the loss of another. I like the guitar work.

Taylor R – Missing You
Love lost and on a plane to Australia. Good grungy guitar. Vocals a little pitchy. Nice effort.

Spencer Sokol – Burdens
Multilevel song about accidents, loss of life and faith, and how things fade away. I liked some of the interesting wordplay. Nice to hear Spencer back in the saddle again!

Wait What (the Band) – Without You Here
Once again, I laugh in spite of myself. The dick jokes come fast and furious. Literally.

Governing Dynamics – Song To Stay Awake (700 Miles)
A song about loss and regret. Guitars keep the mood of hopelessness and loss of redemption moving forward. I like you snuck in some keyboards as well.

Hudson And Day – I Tried, Okay
Hmm. Funky experimental art piece. Like the idea but a little hard to pick out the lyrics without the words. Might have been stronger if you did a call and response instead of singing on top of each other…

Heather Miller – Greatest Generation (Shadow)
Sad this one was delayed and became a shadow. A song of rememberence and respect for someone gone. Liked the story of trying to show respect to one’s elders you care for.

T.C. Elliott – Will You Run Away With Me, My Love (Shadow)
T.C.’s second song this round. Forlorn love and lost dreams. Good guitar work.

Andy Glover – What’s Making Me Sad (Shadow)
Upbeat song on love lost. Nice counterpoint to the words. Flows together well…

Overall a strong round. Looking forward to Round 2!

India Loves BYD. Who Knew? Our You Tube Analytics Report

June 1, 2013

Who new? You Tube Edition

I was playing with the BYD You Tube Analytics and found out some very funky facts about the 800+ video’s I’ve posted over the years. These facts are only relative to ones played in that particular country. While I’d love to say We’re huge in Belgium, I don’t know that for a fact. But I do know relative ranking of the videos when I start clicking around, and here’s what I’ve surmised.

India Loves BYD. 5 of the top 10 videos are our comedy bits
Almost half of all our plays of Speculation Theater in the world are from India.

Saudi Arabia Love BYD as well – 6 of the top 10 videos are from there.

Serbia and Slovenia like Peyote Man.

England loves Steve Steinberg. Over half of the plays of this video are from there.

Europe loves The Butties – 4 of the top 10 videos played there.
5 of 10 in the UK, Turkey, South America. Ireland, Venezuela, Argentina, France
6 of 10 Japan, Malta, 7 of top 10 Germany
But Austria is king – the ENTIRE top 10 is only Butties videos.

Russia loves Hank Pym – The BYD song has over 1000 plays there.

Highest video hits in Iran – Tennesse and Chumley Worship the Devil. Maybe it’s research?

Malaysia loves Driftless Pony Club. So does New Zealand, Romania, Portugal. Lithuania and Israel. Bulgaria has 4/10 Latvian are fanatics at 7/10

China #1 video – Pop Machine’s ‘Time to make the donuts’

Landon Austin has 2 of the top 10 videos in Malaysia, France, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. 3 in Brunei.

Estonia and Dominican Republic loves MC Frontalot.

Macedonia likes Brandon Patton and his ‘Big in Japan’ IS big in Japan

Australia and Morocco like Scott Barkan

Qatar loves Mike Falzone.

Vietnam likes The Doubleclicks

Moldovia likes Andy Glover

Oman likes All Caps

My brother Tim Giarrosso has 4 of the top 10 videos played at St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Nikolas Metaxas has the top 6 videos in Greece and Cyprus

The Czech Republic Loves Marian Call – 5 of top 10. Thailand too.

South Korea, Jordan, Lithuania and Vietnam like Paul and Storm but Puerto Rico loves them.

What does this prove? That people watch crazy ass things, and you never know why they actually click on a video – but it’s kinda funky to say we have people watching our Tennessee Tuxedo Video in Iran. More to come.


How do you pick the Douchiest one?

December 22, 2012

Tonight, I’ll be hosting the ‘Douchiest Song
Challenge’ a spur of the moment song contest thought
up by Mitchell Adam Johnson, which brings titans of
the music world head to head in creating soul
filling ballads and heart wrenching lyrics for your
aural pleasure.

Given the title of the event, I’ve decided it’s
apropos to review the songs before anyone else has a
chance to. I hope you tune in to see if my reviews
fit your thoughts on these fine pieces of
tunesmithing. The songs will be available to
download here  and links will be active after the listening party Saturday

the jewelry completes the ensamble

The jewelry completes the ensemble

You’re An Angel – JD Micklemack

JD has a way with lyrics. Whether they’re filled
consonants or vowels, he manages to hit all the
right notes to make the ladies purr.

By wanting to find his perfect mate in an angel, he
not only fulfills finding his match in a deified
partner, but also manages to slide in a forbidden
love mere mortals could never accomplish. Bravo, JD!
Here’s hoping your offspring populate the heavens
with more power ballads like this one!

You'll be my number two!

You’ll be my number two!

The Angel I Need – Toby Thomsen

Toby has a way with lyrics. Whether they’re scat,
bebop, or bodacious, he manages to hit all the right
notes to make the ladies purr.

By finding his muse in a local lady who inspires his
muse in a way he finds amusing, Toby proves his
mastery of all things vocal, including skiddley bop
bop, Rrrrooobie doobie doobie do, and especially his
A pick it, boom. Truer words have never been
uttered. Here’s hoping your offspring populate the
heavens with more power ballads like this one!

I love you as much as my PBR

I love you as much as my PBR

You, A Beer, and My Truck – Trey McClayton

Trey has a way with lyrics. Whether he ponders about
his lady, his brew, or his vehicle, he manages to
hit all the right notes to make the ladies purr.

By repeating his mantra over and over, ‘You, Beer,
Truck’, a quiet calmness and inspiration overtakes
me. The Simple things have never been so clear.
Here’s hoping your offspring populate the heavens
with more power ballads like this one!

Dance MF – D.B. Rouse

D.B.has a way with lyrics. Whether he’s Dancing,
Driving to the dance floor, or bumming a ride to the
dance hall, he manages to hit all the right notes
to make the ladies purr.

By finding a drum machine and a midi sampler, he’s
encapsulated a modern day rapper’s paradise with a
bpm that other MFers will die for. Here’s hoping
your offspring populate the heavens with more
raptastic songs like this one!

Krystofer is the man. at least he keeps telling us that.

Krystofer is the man. at least he keeps telling us that.

Second Cousin (SQ – Quadrophonic Mix) – MetalShaft
Alice Featuring Krystofer Jayye Heartbreakzz

MetalShaft has a way with lyrics. Whether alluding
to an allegory of special syntax, or looking to get
lucky in the cold, dark area underneath the staging
the roadies never fully secured, they manage to hit
all the right notes to make the ladies purr.

By purchasing a guitar and amplifier, MetalShaft has
found a unique way to repeat the same 3 chords over
and over again to make their fans all runny. Here’s
hoping their offspring populate the heavens with
more hard rocking songs like this one!

Nothing shows being pensive more than brooding out a window

Nothing shows being pensive more than brooding out a window

Ace of Hearts – R.O.A. (Road of Absolution)

R.O.A. has a way with lyrics. Whether he’s stringing
letters together in a random manner, or attempting
to sound like an auctioneer on steroids, he
manages to hit all the right notes to make the
ladies purr.

By picking up a guitar and figuring out how to sing
notes into a microphone, He’s managed to exude a
unique sound that few can repeat or others might
wish to. Here’s hoping his offspring populate the
heavens with more hard rocking songs like this one!

I care. Look how much I care. (Puppy dog eyes)

I care. Look how much I care. (Puppy dog eyes)

To Girls – Love, Boys – Levi James

Levi James has a way with lyrics. Whether he’s
lurking on the campus quad stalking his last
breakup, or longing for the cashier at the Dunkin
donuts, he still manages to hit all the right notes
to make the ladies purr.

By learning his trademark ‘repeat the same word over
and over until it loses any meaning’ hook, he’s
created a new way for locals to find to hate and
serious desire to inflict bodily damage upon him.
Here’s hoping his offspring populate the heavens
with more hard soft folk rock songs like this one!

Collars and Shades melt the chicks like butter!

Collars and Shades melt the chicks like butter!

Heart Beatin’ (Tara’s Song) – Saffron Sparrow

Saffron Sparrow has a way with lyrics. Whether he’s strumming on the heartstrings of his latest girlfriend, or attempting to make a reservation without tipping the maitre d, he manages to hit all the right notes to make the ladies purr.

By mournfully emoting his theme, the ‘lub dub’ mantra, he captures the essence of what it is to be desired. Hard to believe that he’s not beating them off with a stick. but that’s something he reserves for himself, in a dark closet with the heat turned up high. Here’s hoping his offspring populate the heavens with more hard doleful ballads songs like this one!

You know the drill, and it uses batteries.

You know the drill, and it uses batteries.

Guess What – Cherry Pi

Cherry has a way with lyrics. Whether she’s bent over half drunk in a friends commode, or lying flat on the floor of a dive bar, Cherry is always consistent in her lack of skills and etiquette. She manages to hit all the right notes to make the ladies purr.

By using drum loops and handcuffs on her remaining band members, Cherry manages to record a unique view of the world, her ego, and a sonic landscape of desolation and Id inspired mayhem before the local authorities corral her for the required 90 days. Here’s hoping her offspring populate the heavens with more pop rock anthems like this one!

Calling out for help with Marian’s TV show.

July 17, 2012

A step by step way to get ‘Marian Call: Live at Pandemonium Books’ on your local cable station.

DVD Cover for Marian Call show

Want to help distribute a Marian Call Concert? Read on below…

Hi – I’m Tom, and I’ll be your guide to getting our friend Marian Call’s concert on your local PEG (Public/Education/Government) Television station in the USA.

First – let’s find out if you have a Public Access Station local to you. If you do, you should well on your way. Local viewers usually can’t be denied access to playback of programs they submit if they live in town. If you do have issues with a local channel, contact me at (boffoyux at gmail dot com) and I can help walk you through the process. (Look for Public Access Channels. Gov’t channels don’t usually play outside programs, and the Educational channels usually just play school related shows. There are some combo channels, but it depends on where you live.)

or http://communitymediadatabase.org/

Call or email your local station about how to place a program on the air.

Many have forms and policies online to walk you through a submission process. Most times if you are a local resident, it involves filling out a form to be a local ‘producer’ and then you can submit programming to air on the channel.

This show is released under a Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA . Content is Copyright Marian Call, with the production created by Tom Giarrosso in affiliation with Salem Community Television. This program may be freely duplicated and distributed under the creative commons license, but can not be sold.

(Basically you can air it, copy and distribute it for free as long as all attributions are kept with the program, but you can’t sell a physical copy or put ads in/around it during rebroadcast.)

I’ve got a rainstick, and I’m not afraid to use it!

How to get a copy of the show –

If your PEG station is a member of the Alliance for Community Media (many are), they can download it free from CMDA – search ‘Marian Call’, and they can download an MPEG2 version that is the standard for computer playback at most stations.

The MPEG file is also available for PEG stations at http://www.pegmedia.org – search for Salem Community Television / SCTV17

Or, you can download the .iso file at this mirror site
which you can burn a DVD and hand to your local station for playback. Burning a DVD from an .iso file is built in to Windows 7 and there are several free software packages you can use – here’s one FAQ for burning an .iso DVD


I wonder how many stations will play me?

Why am I doing this?

To be honest, I’ve met a number of people struggling to get their music out to find an audience, and see this as a unique way to get new people to sample their content. I’ve been involved with PEG programming for many years, and it’s something most artists overlook or aren’t aware exists as a venue to expand their audience at a minimal cost. Also, it’s fun to pay things forward.

There are challenges to this approach, but it’s similar to streaming your material for free. The stations get free quality programming to play, and the artists get exposure to new markets and hopefully people who will support them while touring. Win – win for everyone. I’m hoping this will be the first of a series of self producing artist concerts from friends I’ve met on the internet and the various music competitions I’ve been involved with. (Masters of Song Fu, SpinTunes, Song Fight)

I would appreciate help spreading the word on this, and an email on the location and station you’ve gotten the show on. I’ll put together a Google Map on stations that will be playing the show (so far, 4 have shown interest and downloaded the show this week on their own)

I’m hoping for 100 stations to play the show by September. With over 2000 PEG access channels in the US, (About 1/3 of them Public Access Channels) I think we can hit this goal and then some!

Thanks for the help

Tom Giarrosso

Boffo Yux Dudes

BYD: Boffo Yux, You’ve Done A Lovely Cover

February 16, 2012
Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Whale.

Jury found him guilty. Gave him sixteen years in hell

Our entry for the SoulTreeRecords.com ‘s Gift of Music. It’s an offshoot of Songfight. In the 2012 contest, we did this song for for Caravan Ray.

Note – Eddie hasn’t put up the 2011/12 entries on the official site yet. Here’s a link to them at a temp site.


Al and I created this cover song for ‘The Gift of Music’ – it’s a secret santa contest for other musicians, and a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – the contestants ultimately vote on the winners, and the money goes to fund research. Win Win for everyone.

To enter, you pick 4 songs you’d like someone to cover. Any songs. They can be songs you’ve written, favorites, the most hated song you’ve ever heard… you pick. Then you’re matched up with someone else’s picks, and you need to do one of them. Pretty simple.

We ended up with Caravan Ray, who has done some fun songs over at Songfight.org and the Nur Ein competition we were in last year. His reaction to the song?

“Heh! Boffo Yux, You’ve Done A Lovely Cover. That is truly bizarre. Funny – when Bon died, I don’t remember Peter Noone being suggested as a replacement, but you have demonstrated it could have worked!”

I think we succeeded on all counts this one. Here’s the song…

Here’s our thoughts on this puppy. First up, Al:

“Jailbreak”: With the “Gift of Music” cover, we were given four choices of a song to cover and this one stood out to us as a) within our musical abilities to tackle and b) contained the best possibilities for mischief.  (On a side note, we also provided someone else with four choices, and they unfortunately did not complete the challenge.

Which is too bad, because I thought we, or certainly I, provided annoying enough choices for an entertaining outcome.)  Oh, sure, we had to tweak the choice in a fun way, but how?  Pulling on my internal database of justifiably semi-obscure pop trends, I thought “Herman’s Hermits”, ’cause that’s just how I roll. Tom is typically a genius at isolating specific elements which sell a concept, and this was no exception.  He found the method used to get that typical HH “plunky” guitar sound (answer: stuff a rag between the strings and the pickups, no joke), which I think sells the endeavor.

One trawl through the HH catalog for sonic signposts and a Dick Van Dyke-level Cockney accent later and we had it.  Musically, we’re like The Professor on Gilligan’s Island:  mostly what we have in our repetoire is the aural equivalent of coconuts, but we can build a pretty decent radio transmitter out of ’em.  (Though, oddly, not a boat.  Never a boat.)


I liked the idea of doing something odd with an AC/DC tune. It seemed subversive and devilish… but I wanted it to be cheeky, in the British sense of humor vein. How to make it ‘smart’ just not too pretentious? I also liked one UK band doing a cover of another by us yanks. So – part homage, part tweaking people, we started on the idea of using Herman’s Hermits doing a cover.

I remember seeing an interview with Peter Noone a long time ago where he explained how they got their ‘plinky’ sound for the guitar, and I knew someday I’d use it. It came in handy here.

Al ran with it, doing all the instruments including the tin whistle (Inspired!) and spoons. I just helped with a few backing vocal tracks. I’m very happy with the resulting song – I’m sure it’ll be used to torture purists for years to come.

I tried to get Peter Serafinowicz to give it a listen – thought it’d be up his humor ally, and tweeted him about it, but never got a response. If you know him, give old @serafinowicz a shout about the song and a link. I’d love his opinion. Enjoy.

Shooting arrows into somebody’s chapped ass

February 15, 2012
BYD on Valentines Day? Forsooth ye strange demons!

I get it. It's a pictogram!

SpinTunes4 Round2 songs

We’re back! Not like we went away, but this blog has been dormant for a while, so I’m kicking it back into high gear with projects we’ve been working on. First up – The song deconstruction on our latest tunes for the SpinTunes4 songwriting contest.

You can hear all of the songs here:

You can vote on them until Friday here: (but listen to them all)

As usual, Al and I bounced ideas and tracks back and forth between Chicago and Boston to get the final mix.

“A Letter to Bernie”:

This was one of those “click” moments where we were brainstorming and Tom came up with an idea that I knew we had to do something with: Cupid gets arrested for arrow abuse and has to butter up his bail bondsman to spring him. I knew our lyrics would be bringing the tasteless and wacky to the table, so to play against that I had an urge to go with some “Love Boat”-y soft-rock post-disco musical cheese. Tom was indulgent, as always.

Indulgent, indeed. After a bunch of cogitating, we narrowed the ideas down to Cupid incarcerated and fearing for his jailtime virginity. We knew I had to sneak in some pop culture and Skyrim lines, but it took a bit to get the tone correct. It helped tie it together when we swapped in Cupid speaking like a poor man’s Danny DeVito to the verses instead of singing the whole song.

I like how the chorus comes in kinda like Harry Nilsson’s ‘The Point’. Gave it a line drawn cartoony feel to me.

“Be My Valentine (Settle For Me)”

Al: The last song we did was a wee bit cutesy, so naturally I wanted to go the complete opposite direction and do something loud and just kinda…wrong. So hence we have a story about someone who just can’t let go of a past love, even though she’s (and he’s) supposedly moved on. In retrospect, I could have tuned the guitar (and my voice) better, but keeping the energy seemed paramount at the time. Oh, well, that’s why it’s the b-side.

Tom: I like the ballad intro with just the guitar to lead into the high energy chorus. Also the ‘not all there’ feel for the guy, who just can’t find his limits on his past love. The ‘Settle repeating chorus morphed into a mantra/hypnotic type thing, which made it all the more creepy to me. It’s like he’s trying to rationalize his bad behavior by imposing his will on his past love.

I’m also going to rationalize the tuning and off key parts as being part of his demented psyche, and not because the guitars were out of tune at first. It was intentional. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

Please visit and listen to all the contestants. There are a lot of quality tunage here this round. Props to Robert Borden for getting Julia Nunes involved in his campaign to rule the popular vote! The more the merrier in the voting process.

I’m planning on doing regular updates again to this blog – lots of projects we haven’t plugged or talked about in the last few months that are long over due! Enjoy.


Deconstructing Frankensong

February 22, 2011

Tonight was the Frankensong Listening party. You can find out all about the endeavor here.

This is our 1st entry in the Frankensong Collaboration by The Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol for Charlie McCarron.
AWSP is Chris Cogott, Gorbzilla (Dave Gorbe), Kevin Savino-Riker, Jason P. Schumacher and The Boffo Yux Dudes
(Allan Morgan and Tom Giarrosso)

Go to http://frankensong.tumblr.com/ for more information on this interesting project.

All the entries for round one can be found at http://frankensong.tumblr.com/after the listening party.

I'm a 3 on a scale to 16.

Our band ‘Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol’ put together a song, and a video for the occasion. We also wrote a few words describing the event. First, the video – Then a few words from our bandmates. Enjoy!



Kevin Tells It Like It Is



Frankensong: Anatomy of One of Five Contributions to a Composite Musical Piece Authored by A Team of Loosely Acquainted Internet Musicans and God This Title Is Long

by: Kevin Savino-Riker, of Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol


I am a wordy, wordy bastard.  Feel free to skip around, or past, this writeup.  I’m the kind of guy who can say in 100 words what most say in twelve.  By choice.

That means you have a choice, as well.  Alright, now that I’ve thoroughly disclaimed you….


What a delightful little (actually quite big) project!  There’s been a rash of creatively conceived events between rounds of the SpinTunes contest, the latest of which comes courtesy of Charlie McCarron.  You should know him for inventing the polyalbum; you don’t know him for that, but you should.

When I signed on to take part in Frankensong, I figured I’d be one of maybe a dozen people with nothing better to do; what I discovered is that I’m in a field of five teams of four to five members each, all of whom seem very eager to strut their multifaceted stuff.  This event is big and it’s going to be really interesting once we hear every team’s take on the challenge.  Well done, Charlie.


Despite being a regular member of a number of bands for the better part of the past fifteen years, I’ve done very little that I could fairly call ‘collaborating’.  I wanted to change that, and taking part in Frankensong was going to be my crash course in the most extreme flavor of the act.  “If I can get through this…”, so the saying begins.

I received my team assignment and I found myself in talented company.  Crap.  I spent a fair bit of time wondering if I had any leftover ‘A’ game hidden in my closet.


Never having done something like this before, I found myself unsure of how to prepare for my part in it.  I settled on doing nothing.  That is to say, I consciously chose not to listen to a single track before my turn.  Not only had I not listened to the tracks of my preceding teammates, I didn’t even listen to Charlie’s seed track.  I could say this was to prevent myself from prematurely forming my own ideas of how the song should sound, only to find those ideas incompatible with my teammates’ contributions… but the truth is I thought I’d do my best work being as unprepared as possible and under a time crunch.

This ended up being a crucial move, as I was originally scheduled to submit our song’s second track, but a personal complication (read: “spectacular car accident”) ate up a lot of the time I had budgeted for this project, and I ended up switching into the 3rd round, with teammate David Gorbe stepping in and submitting the 2nd round track for me.  Were I to contribute a part that only accompanied Chris Cogott’s rhythm guitar track, the song would’ve gone in a less interesting direction.   But being presented with Chris and David’s distinct and complimentary parts I was confronted with a more complex and nuanced landscape.  More pressure.  Better contribution.

I play all your basic rock band instruments, but I consider myself first and foremost a drummer.  While this would be the logical contribution to make amongst a team full of guitarists, because of my time constraints I pleaded with the rest of the team to take on what I thought would be a simpler task – the bass line.  It turns out that writing bass for this song was much more demanding than I expected it to be.  This is to the credit of Chris and David for their intricate rhythm and lead guitar parts.  More pressure.  Better contribution.

Chris and David, due to their early slots, had to submit interesting parts that left enough empty canvas for the remaining teammates to use; since the song’s sound was pretty set by the time I received it, I thought it appropriate to provide as much raw material as possible for our team captains to utilize as they saw fit.  I didn’t trust myself to decide for them where my contributions would be most valuable; what I may have thought was too cumbersome or too ‘forward’ might have been exactly what our mix master was clamoring for, and something my own uncritical ears may have found crucial and beautiful might actually have been too cumbersome and forward to the objective listener.  So I played through the whole song.  You can always take unneeded crap out, but it’s impossible to add it where it’s missing.

The one place I did decide to take the lead was in the hole Chris and David left at the song’s time-signature change bridge/breakdown around the 2:30 mark.  Our bridge sounds dramatically different from the rest of the song, so I took it upon myself to navigate into it.  Being a drummer, I have a bit of a percussive style when I play the guitar.  Being a guitarist, I have a bit of a lead guitar style when I play the bass.  So my transition from verse to bridge ended up being a percussive lead guitar-y bass riff, for better or for worse.  We can always make it an a capella segment during final mixing.

I wish I knew a damn thing about music theory, but I don’t, so I can’t comment on what effect, if any, my part had on the key or mode or temper (I’m just throwing terms in here; I don’t know what they mean) of the song.  All I can say is that I stuck mostly to basic major and minor pentatonic guitar scales that followed the root note of each chord.  I tried to weave my part around David’s lead for most of the song, but paralleled him in a few spots when I was feeling particularly saucy.  There are a couple places where I went to an interval note instead of matching the root, but I can’t tell you what interval it was or why it sounded good to me… it just did, so I did it.

My ignorance of music theory was especially problematic for me when it came time to play along with our extended second verse.  I’m convinced Chris felt like being an asshole and constantly changed chords that didn’t follow any sensible progression so he could laugh at me later for having to suffer through it.  I have a pretty good knowledge of scales as they pertain to guitar solos within a single key, but I was lost on this progression.  I enjoy walking bass lines, but I couldn’t seem to find a scale that worked along the series of chords Chris provided.  Ultimately, I picked my part out note by note, shifting scales with each chord change.  Which, I should add, came approximately once every two seconds.  Chris, you asshole.  Of course looking back on the completed segment I think it’s genius.  But still.  Asshole.

From the very beginning of my turn I wanted my track to vary from part to part throughout the song, but I thought it important to maintain a measure of symmetr… and I was also getting exhausted and creatively drained… so I played my ending to match the intro.  Then I drank heavily.  Self medication costs way less than counseling.


I’ve spent time talking about Chris and David, and far too much time talking about myself, but Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol also features the talents of Jason Schumacher and Tom & Allan of Boffo Yux Dudes.  Jason is the only team member with whom I wasn’t already acquainted before this contest, but I can say this: despite not knowing him, I respect the hell out of his ability to use a bottle of soy (or maybe Worcestershire?) sauce as a percussion instrument.  SUBLIMINAL NOTE TO OUR TEAM CAPTAINS: I REALLY HOPE THE PERCUSSION TRACK FEATURES PROMINENTLY IN THIS SONG, ESPECIALLY THE SOY SAUCE PARTS. Ahem… Tom and Allan are two of the funniest and most fearless guys I’ve ever not-met-but-know-pretty-well-from-the-internet.  I could have believed that with them in charge of lyrics, our song could be about pretty much any topic on the planet.  But the truth is that since before the first note was ever recorded I knew our song was going to end up being a power ballad to a sex robot.  And it’s superbly sung with rich harmonies and great lyrics… something hard to do with as layered of a sound track as was given them  Great job, guys.


Jesus, I’m at 1400 words and I still feel like I need to provide final thoughts?  Maybe I should’ve written that disclaimer in a larger font… I’ll try to keep this short.  Now that my piece of this puzzle is submitted, I’m very happy with the form our song ended up taking.  It’s most certainly not the way I’d have written it, and that’s the point.  And it’s better, too.  In addition to being a valuable learning tool, it was tremendous fun in a hectic kind of way, much like SpinTunes and the Songwriting Cycle and the White Elephant Music Club challenge and, well, every other contest and project in this community tend to be.  I keep doing it because it’s good for me.  It’s really good to be exposed to the creative products of people who do what you do, differently.  It’s really good to learn from that experience.  It’s really good to discover a wealth of truly remarkable artists who share their time and talent for the sake of the song.  It’s really good.


Allan Wants To Make Some Noise



Allan Morgan – Bon Vivant – Man Bout Town.

I am not by nature a garrulous man, yet there are some stories which should…nay, MUST be told.  Hearken back with me, O reader, to those halcyon days of 2010, as I spin a tender web of adventure, intrigue and bio-mechanics.

I was studying ancient cuneiform (as is my wont) in the study in my civilian guise as Arthur Q. Septogram III, slippers and smoking jacket immaculately in place as always, when a gentle gurgling from the southeast corner of the room (yes, the one showcasing the stuffed ibex) demanded my attention.

“The Boffone!” I whispered to myself, striding purposefully towards that instrument of communication and portal to adventure, gently but forcefully removing the handset from its onyx cradle and placing it to my waiting ear.  I solemnly intoned my half of the BYD codephrase: “Drop the speculum, Franz!”

An electronically-modulated voice on the other end completed the sequence:  “This suit, is it worsted?”  The filter then dropped, and the natural low bass Slavic-inflected rumble of Tommy G’s voice came on the line:  “My friend, it is good to hear your voice again.”

Inwardly, I smiled.  Outwardly, I drooled.  “And yours, comrade.  Send my best to Katya and the Colonel.  But…”  my tone darkened, as did my trousers. “I assume this is no social call?”

Tom sighed.  “You are correct, as always, my friend.  Our talents are needed.”  He paused before continuing, letting the silence add weight to his next pronouncement.  “On the INTERNET.”

The internet!  Home to pedophiles, thieves and drunkards!  The internet! Hellish phantom zone of lost morals and lost causes!  The internet!  The macabre instrument to which I lost…my beloved.  A chill ran down my spine as a stared off into the inky blackness swimming before my eyes. “I…see.”  was the best I could muster.

Tom knew I was stunned and gently brought me back:  “Fret not, my good sir.  This time we are not going into that inky blackness alone.  Have you ever heard of…The Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol?”

The Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol!  More formally known as “The Amazing Super-Fantastic Bubble-Plastic Tight-Trousered Euphonium Brigade and Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol Society Featuring the Fabulously Mind-Expanding Harmonica and Glockenspiel Stylings of Big Herbie “Little Herbie” Herberts and his Flatulent Supporting Cast of One-Eyed Spanish-American War Veterans With Bill “Pootie” Dobbs-Meyers, King of the Latvian Rhumba”, AWPS were known throughout the land for being a beacon of light and hope in an ever-darkening sphere of debauchery and sin.  “I certainly have!”  I managed to stammer.  “But how do we fit in to their plans?”

Tom hesitated.  “They have need of our…singular talents.” he said softly, letting the sentence hang in the air like a pair of sneakers hung over a suburban telephone line.  I knew what he meant.  I had a certain…history that made me…knowledgeable about certain…fringe elements in society.  And I liked…ellipses.

“You mean my…history with…EV.”

“Enough with the ellipses!”  Tom barked.  More softly:  “Yes.  They are good men.  Talented men.  They play instruments and write songs and wear funny hats.  But they cannot know what is in the heart of a man who has built a love and then lost it…you can tell that story.  Only you.  I know that.  You know that.  Now you must tell the world.”

I knew he was right.  If the society needed lyrics, if they needed to tell a story that was right and true and just a bit bizarre, well, then, I was their man.  With a final nod, I put down the phone and pressed a small button on the underside of my bust of Soupy Sales, opening a secret compartment in the wall that revealed the Boffpole, which I then slid down into the darkness of the Yuxcave.

In the darkness and security of the Yuxcave, I labored intensively over the dreaded intenet on the lyrics of EV’s story with my bosom chum Tom. We crafted and refined, melting the story down to its purest essence, jettisoning anything that was wrong or false or legally actionable.

Finally, in the heat of our artistic furnace, we blazed forth a story for the ages, vocal lines to melt hearts, a mix to ring through the centuries, and a video that was pretty damn cool.  This was our legacy.

In the end, with the fires of our passionate artmaking dying down, we sat back and mused at the steps that had brought us here and the gigantic talents upon whose shoulders we sat.

Charlie, who started it all.

Chris, whose rhythm guitar energized us and stirred us to dream.

Kevin, whose supple bassline danced playfully across our imaginations.

Jason, whose polyrhythmic soypacket deployment dazzled us and sentshivers down our spines.

And piercing the night with a lead that brought us to the edge of delirium, the man they simply called…Gorbzilla.

And we smiled.  Oh, how we smiled.  And smiling a smiley smile we laid our heads to rest on the pillow of justice and dreamed of a new day.  An Atomic Werewolf Space Patrol day.





Jason Hits the Sauce - Soy Sauce, that is...



Jason Schumacher – Percussionist with a Spatula Heart

The guitar tracks were already made, so I figured I’d soup up the percussion a bit.  After realizing I hate no percussion instruments, I took a break to ponder and make myself something to eat.  I left the kitchen realizing I did in fact have some percussion instruments!   A pepper grinder made a good shaker sound.  A plastic container of cookies when hit with wooden spoons sounded a lot like a snare.  With some hand claps layered in, all I needed was bass drum.  I found that might space foam neck pillow had a low sound when I hit it with my hand open. Just goes to show, you don’t need lots of money or resources to make a little music.



Tom Is a Splicing Fool



Tom Giarrosso – Someone who needs to get some air and sunlight occasionally

When Charlie put this out, I thought – this looks like a fun project to play with. I think I even committed to doing it before talking with Al. I felt sure it was going to be a wild ride. I wasn’t wrong.

I was in the  Artifiction Chat room when the idea of this was bopping around. I thought it was great that Charlie wanted to run it – I have just found out that many of the people in SpinTunes were actually friends and bandmates of Spencer McGillicutty in MN. They didn’t advertise the fact, but by the final round there were clues, since they all seemed to play on each others tracks more often than Joe Covenant Lamb guests on someone’s tracks. ( Hi Joe! )

It got me interested enough to volunteer us as a captain before the rules were even hashed out. I figured it something that’ll morn as it goes on, and the idea of having to add to other’s work and have other teams doing the same thing in secret until the final reveal was too good to pass up.

It was up to Al and I to pick some teammates ‘playground style’. I’d say that strategy was involved, but really, I looked at the list and tried to pick people I respected and wanted to work with. Of course, those were all taken, so we got stuck with these talented clowns.

I figured – how much work is there? we get some tracks, we lay one down, a little mixing and we’re done.

Then Chris sent his track back, I knew we were in trouble.

It rocked. It rocked his rhythm track so much, I knew we had to bring an ‘A’ game to keep up.  So much for sleepwalking through a track.

Then Gorbzilla’s turn added to my fears. It was also ‘A’ list. Crap. Now we’re going to have to actually work at this instead of mail it in. Then Kevin’s turn. Again, home run. Then Jason took it in another direction, using kitchen implements for a percussion track.

We were totally screwed. No mailing this one in. So Al and I thought of a few ideas for the vocals and lyrics. we figured it should be some sort of 80’s power ballad love song about a woman’s name. But going past that was interesting.

We had 3 choices – a standard love lost story… a love story from the perspective of a pre-op transexual… and forbidden love about robot sex.

I’m sure you know the path we took by now.

RangerDen from Donut Worthy had tweeted they were going to do a video of their song – great idea! So we gathered as much footage of band tracks, and wacky robot shots as we could, and while Al mixed in Chicagoland, I sequestered myself in the BoffoMansion at the royal edit suite until all the footage was assembled.

Then we realized there was no words to elucidate this stunning achievement – so the call went out for the band members to catalogue and reminisce about their exploits for the drama that was the creation of this song….  We’re still working on that.



Chris Cogott Explains it All



Chris Cogott – Not only did Tom hold me at gunpoint and make me write this, but this is also the title…

Its been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to write music and play nice with others and Charlie McCarron’s Frankensong Challenge has provided this opportunity for many of us to do just that. As usual, I signed up not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into but I’m glad I did. I like not having a winner or loser and just having fun writing music, as experimental as it was.
My memory fails me yet again, but I’m not sure if the order of who was recording was sent down the pipes at the same time it was announced who was on what team. Either way, being a nervous person as it is, I was exuberant about being on this talented team, jumping around and crap, until the biggest boulder of all boulders hit me, and hit me hard. I was going first! Talk about pressure. I was kind of hoping to be put somewhere in the middle and maybe contribute some backing vocals or something that I think I’m good at. The pressure of coming up with a track that everybody could play along to and be happy with was immense.
The first challenge to overcome was figuring out what the hell was going on with this seed track. Sorry Charlie 🙂 Take after take after take, I became extremely frustrated. So, finally I brought up the tempo thingy in ProTools and found out that it actually had a consistent tempo. Once I figured out what it was (I think it was in the 90 something bpm range), it became a little easier to work with.
Now to lay down an instrument track. Guitar is what I’m most comfortable with and that’s why I went with it. I thought the rest of the group would need something musical and somewhat melodic to work with. Putting handclaps, or drums, or vocals first wouldn’t work. I did a few takes and came up with what I did. I’m not sure why and I try not to question the creative process too much and just go with the flow. The one thing I purposely did was to leave the track open and airy for others to fill in the gaps and run with it.
And run with it is what everyone did. Dave added a lot of tasty guitar work and made the song soar. He even added a nice little jam in a section that I had left completely open for anybody to take the reigns. Kevin then added some superb bass work complete with what sounds to me like some bass harmonics. I thought Kevin would have taken the drums but the bass lines he played fit right in and he also took the lead in the jam. Jason then came in and saved the day by adding the much needed percussion that the song was screaming for. Then it came time for BYD to work in their special magic. I couldn’t wait to get to this part and hear how it was all tied together. Words cannot describe the flat out awesomeness that both Tom and Al have put into this, plus I’m getting a little tired or writing. The lyrics, the vocals, and all the time put in making the video was way more than I had expected. They really went the extra mile for this project and we are all extremely grateful.
As stressful as it was in the beginning, I had a great time doing this. Thanks Charlie for putting this together. The other songs I thought were outstanding. Donutworthy topping my list. Great job by everyone who was involved in the Frankensong challenge. Look for the AWSP album and tour coming soon. I’m working on my stage outfit now.