Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

http://www.one-thousand-words.net/blog/?page_id=649

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.)

Tom:

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:
http://spintown.bandcamp.com/album/spintunes-4-round-2

You can vote on them until Friday here: (but listen to them all)
http://spintunes.blogspot.com/2012/02/spintunes-4-round-2-songs.html

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”:

Al:
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.

Tom:
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.

Tom

Anyone with a Syracuse Connection – we need your thoughts.

October 3, 2010
My alternate career as a SFX modelmaker

Who knew Spielberg started this way?

Old and current Syracuse folks – We need your input. Al and I are doing a BYD song about my homewown, and need some background info on the Salt City that only the locals can dream up.

So go past the Dino BBQ and Heidi’s. Past the Syracuse Walk of Fame, and the 1500 versions of the Hotel Syracuse.

What makes CNY special to you? Blue Potatoes? Salt Potatoes? The old MONY building? Luigi’s? Harry Chapin at the Landmark? And why is it special?

I’m hoping to actually create a upbeat theme song for the city that’s not too sarcastic, if not nostalgic.

The song is due Midnight Sunday 10/10 and I’ll post links to it the next evening. Drop me a link, or comment here. Everyone has a great Syracuse story – from the Eggplant to seeing U2 at the City Limits or The Police at the Firehouse. What’s yours?

I Went Back. Though I’m not really sure why.

August 16, 2010
Not the actual bird, but it's pretty close

Not the actual bird, but it's pretty close

I Went Back.

I’m not sure why I did, but I went back. And I hope it made a difference.

I wasn’t in the best of a mood. Long day at work, where little got finished. Schedules kept changing, I’d get part of one project done, and another demanded attention… so it ended up being a not quite satisfying day.

On the way home, I was stopped at a busy intersection. Two birds were flying, and one didn’t make it across. It fluttered like it was injured, but could still move, then dropped to the pavement, flopping while trying to avoid the passing traffic.

I thought about getting out of the car. There was traffic. There were people behind me. I rationalized I couldn’t do anything, and took a right, and headed home.

But it bothered me.

In the past I’d tried to save a bird, but it didn’t make it. They’re fragile creatures, and once they have a damaged wing, its hard for them to recover.

I got up to my driveway, and didn’t drive in. I turned around to go back.

I figured in the few minutes I was gone, the bird had either flown away or was hit by a car. I drove through the intersection, but didn’t see anything.  But something made me check. I pulled over, emptied a soda cup, and walked over to the road.

There on the road was a very small speck. It couldn’t have been an inch or two long. Cars continued to pass it, but none had hit it. Traffic stopped as I approached. It was a small bird. Just sitting there as tight as could be. I scooped it into the soda cup and headed home.

It was in total shock. Blinked its tiny eyes a little. It hardly moved at all, but didn’t look like it was hit.

I drove home.

I got in the driveway, parked, and set the bird on the front step I still haven’t repaired. There was some liquid that came out of the cup – probably soda, but I wouldn’t doubt it was more than that from what the bird had been through.

As I set it down, a small rabbit jumped from the front bush, and headed off into the woods.

The bird sat. It stared out, blinking, but not really moving.

I stepped inside to take the dog out to do its business. I came back to the bird.

The bird still sat. It’s legs looked fine, but since it still hadn’t really moved much, I couldn’t tell.

I went in and started dinner.

I came out a few minutes later, and the bird was in the same place. It seemed to have a bit of a slower heartbeat, and seemed content to just sit on the brick stairs.

After dinner, I went out to check. The bird was gone. Looks like it flew off.

That’s a good thing.

Occasionally, you can go back home.

November 5, 2009

Boffo Yux Dudes & Friends Pt. 1 – ‘Elvis Says’

The first part of the BYD and Friends show, live from Syracuse University in 1989. Pat does ‘Elvis Says’ with the help of house band ‘Yosemite Quick’.

I grew up in Syracuse, NY and ended up going to Syracuse University for a TV Management and Psychology degree. In ’85 I headed out to New England for Radio and TV work, and ended up creating BYD with Pat and Scott. 4 years later, 2 of Scott’s friends at SU, Renee and Joyce, fresh from working on Null and Void at UUTV, asked us back to do a collaborative show at the Newhouse school – sort of a fun homecoming in between gigs and projects. We jumped at the chance to work with these folks. Bill and Mark made us laugh on a bunch of skits, and it also gave us a chance to do some of our radio bits for TV on a larger scale than the one camera bits for BENT!

One of the most searing memories of that week was the Ernie and Bert puppets. Pat put them on in the car on the way out, and I swear, (more…)

Low Tech Commercials in a High Tech World

May 30, 2008

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOHRRoVlqr8]

1 900-On Hold commercial

 

In the 90’s there were a lot of those 976 and 900 numbers playing late at night on TV. Mainly for lonely people to talk to someone, or to find a way to part you with your money. It was a ripe subject for a number of bits – this one was a little more technically difficult for it’s time… I think we used an Amiga 2000 to make the graphics, but did it all live through the switcher. It was blocked out in sections, and pieced together to make the final product.

Pat’s surfer dude still makes me laugh – the double take is a classic.

I did like this genre – we did a bunch of radio bits on this theme.. I’ll have to dig them up. Enjoy.