Thoughts on gigs I’ve been doing or have coming up
I can’t believe I never published this!!!
I wrote this post last year – before I told anyone we were pregnant with Abby, at a gig that was kinda killing my soul just a little. Anyway, I had a lot of fun with it, and I hope you like it too:
I’m at a gig right now. I’m writing instead of focusing on the job. I’m still doing great, don’t worry. Folks are talking, dancing and in general enjoying themselves. I do my people watching at gigs that I don’t have to think too hard about. Here’s some things I’m musing about as these folks go about their celebration:
I don’t care what you saw on television. When you’re confronted with a microphone in public, don’t tap the damn thing. That just makes you look dumb. Scratch the screen if you really don’t know if it’s on or not. Tends to annoy people a lot less.
When that microphone starts to feed back, don’t cover it. That makes it worse.
Pregnant women throwing up is hilarious.
That orange that’s not an orange, but rather a chocolate thing, and you smash it and it’s a buncha pieces? Those are dumb.
Couples that keep their finances seperate freak me out. Makes no sense. Either you’re supporting each other as a unit, or you’re just dating. Kinda.
Jimmy Buffet is kinda boring. I like Brian Adams though. How are those 2 ideas related? Bite me.
I want a CR-V.
I wish the soundcheck feature on iTunes was better.
That’s all I got. I think I’ll sing a few songs now – – – hold on…
Professional people fake hula dancing pleases me. Make a video and post it as a response below!
That is all. Imma go sing now. Do your job well, you guys.
New stuff coming up!
Playing 2 sets with Tin Lolita on the 19th of October – one in libertyville, then back to the Chi to play with Mildly Intoxicated. The Libertyville show is an Octoberfest type party to celebrate the opening of the new, kick-ass back porch they built onto Holy Cross Church, then in the city we’ll be at a hipster sandwich shop – you’ll get deets as I get em!
Then, on November 2 Something Beautiful will be playing at YOTI in Mt Prospect with Solarsphere and OnceTheSun – It’s a re-run of a show we did a few months back. Strong bill, great people. This will be the first show since we parted ways with our drummer Eric, and we’ll be playing with the old tracks again.
This month we’re gonna start picking up the old momentum. If you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to throw something up here every day. I figure it’s good for my brain. I need to stay engaged. It’s tough, especially since I’m just doing the thing over here. But it’s helpful to think of things in new ways, and recently I started listening to the DIY Musician Podcast from CDBaby.com – there’s a ton of great information available there and my favorite nugget of information is to think of your social media strategy as a bunch of little things to do, rather than one big project.
Ultimately, I’m taking the opportunity to talk about just about anything I feel like – playing games, my toys and stuff – while I plug some shows and let you know what’s going on with the old guitar playing. Maybe I’ll start podcasting again…
So I’m supposed to be writing my bio right now. And looking up my upcoming show dates. Instead I’m writing this for you, and hanging out with our Aiden and Abby, while Nikki works on some design ideas for Northwest Arts Connection. She has deadlines, and all I really have to worry about is finding a 14-hour energy drink so I can play Magic: the Gathering tonight. More on that in a minute, but for now, here’s Abby:
There’s at least one Dale Tippett Jr feat Tin Lolita show coming up – I’ll let you know details when I know. Something Beautiful will need to get back to work, we have one in November that I need to start thinking about… That’s of course, alongside a TON of solo work, and studio sessions for Angel Anatomy.
Know what’s kind of fun? Putting links into blog posts.
So there. I’ve been productive today, right? Right??
Here’s some video of me with Tin Lolita, playing at 6 Corners BBQ Fest, at the NAC tent.
This was a hell of a show, I was getting over some kind of fever, and you can see me get a little dizzy at the end. Felt real good to play though, and the audience was great. Matt and Michelle from Skull Fogger were in, and this vid was shot by Danielle from FlyingSaucerChicago.com
Several songs are up for download at the facebook page – not including this one, but go check it out – and by all means, tell somebody!
As I write, it’s about 9am here, and I couldn’t be gladder to be here on the couch. Whole last week was an absolute bloodbath – I think that’s the right term for it. 9 straight days of performances, so busy that I couldn’t even stop in to say hi to you guys!
Needless to say, that by Friday night, I was in bed with a fever, couldn’t move, and was absolutely miserable all around. That was terrifying, since I still had 6 performances between Saturday and Sunday, the first of which being the Six Corners BBQ fest show.
After MUCH negotiating with my protesting skin, we loaded up to the Northwest Arts Connection tent, and Auggie promptly broke his kick drum pedal, which explains the beginning of this video:
A couple times during the set, my vision started going fuzzy, and it was a bit of a struggle, but we had a TON of people out dancing, and overall it was a great show, by all accounts. And it was a welcome change of pace from the twenty-some-odd hours I spent during the week rocking out with 200-ish screaming kids with this band:
All told, I crammed 16ish performances into 9 days. I’m not all recovered yet, but my chores ain’t gonna do themselves, and my work ethic is riding high so I gotta take advantage of that while I have the chance.
I’ve got tons more to say about all this, especially since it was my first Father’s Day the next day, and Nikki really hit a homer! I’m finna do it justice, so for now, why don’t you stop by the facebook page and click the free downloads button to grab a couple free songs?
I get asked a lot about the chord fingerings I use, and how to grab them quicker. I’ve been planning on sharing that information, and the time is about right for that, but I’m going in with some assumptions.
About once a week I’m going to start posting a new episode of Get a Grip: The Chord Voicing Show. I’ll be skipping the straight cowboy chords (C, A, G, E, D) and some of the beginner’s fingerings like Am, Dm, A7, Em, and stuff like that. If you don’t know those, check this link out. The easy, basic open voicings for these chords can be found here:
Once you’ve been primed with that information, we’ll be ready for the big job – being able to play through chord charts without needing a chord dictionary.
Barre chords are for scrubs. Here’s Why.
Barre chords are the enemy of the beginning guitarist, and only barely efficient in most scenarios. I play more than 200 gigs a year, and I almost NEVER use them. They make my thumb tired. If I’m playing with a full band, the notes get lost in the mix – I might as well be playing power chords. They stomp all over your bass player, and God forbid you’re playing with a keyboardist. Geez, the damn things are useless. But somehow, every beginning guitar player thinks that they hold the key to opening up the flat keys and more complex play. False. They get in the way of you being able to learn songs, write, and perform. Beginners got weak first fingers, and barring all six strings makes them cry. Their pinkies are weak too, but we can worry about that later. Either way, stop wasting your time, and start learning how to play guitar. We’ll start next week.
So about once a year, I get asked about what kind of strings I use. It’s usually because somebody wants to get me a Christmas/birthday present, doesn’t know about my toy collection, and also is unaware that I love getting a bunch white socks – as boring as possible, so I don’t have to spend much time matching them.
Anyway, this usually gives me pause, because I have a really hard time remembering what I use on my acoustic guitars – the ones I use the most, but restring the least. So I figured I would write about it today so next winter I can just google “what kind of strings does Dale Tippett Jr use?” and get a faster answer.
Here’s the rundown:
On my six-string electric guitars (my primary is a fixed-bridge Schecter Hellraiser), I use ten-gauge D’addario strings. Playing on a six, I lean on clean or slightly pushed tones. Ten-gauge strings don’t go as sharp when I hit em hard, as is my custom. I use a lot of my acoustic technique on clean/pushed electric guitar music, which means a lot of percussive picking and hard pick strokes. On lighter strings, that causes the notes to go sharp, and that’s a boo all day long.
On my seven string Schecter Hellraiser, I use nine-gauge D’addarios. Nines can bend wildly, which allows for a couple different things. There’s a lot of give, so bending is super easy, and a little vibrato goes a longer way. The action on my seven-string Hellraiser is set REALLY low, so with the strings light and the action low, I can play for hours without much fatigue. On top of all that, Something Beautiful tunes a half-step low (Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Bb,Eb), so the strings are even looser than they would be in standard. All these factors make shredding about a million times easier. My technique on that guitar is much more gentle – I let the gain from the amplifier do most of the work, and playing more percussive parts with a lot of incidental string sounds is generally undesirable in a high gain situation.
I always need this video:
I have two Schecter seven-string Avengers, that I write on, but rarely play live anymore. They’re fixed bridge (the seven string Hellraiser has a Floyd Rose on it) so I treat them with a lot less care, and a ton more aggression. Since I hit them so hard, I use ten-gauge strings on them. That keeps them from going sharp, and I can just go to town. It’s a bit of a challenge to play very fast on these two, but sometimes that’s enough to give me a new idea for a solo.
My main acoustic guitar is a zebrawood (what?) Ibanez that my gorgeous Nerdy Girl got me for Valentine’s Day. I was restringing it this morning and that’s what prompted this post. I put a set of EXP11’s on it. That’s D’addario 80/20 bronze, twelve-gauge. what’s that all mean? I don’t really know, but they sound good as hell. Most new strings do, but more on that later. That guitar has the usual Ibanez fast-action, pretty low, so I’m ridiculously happy with it. The electronics amplify beautifully, so I don’t get in awkward micing situations and it’s plenty clear for small rooms. Real balanced output, too, so nothing weird comes from my percussive right-hand technique. So good, and also real good for soloing.
A few years ago, Auggie from 5 Minus X, Hubbard Union and Tin Lolita got me a Fender Twelve-String Acoustic. I tend to go lighter with that one, eleven-gauge – to prevent fatigue on account of the big grip of strings. Technique is more gentle on a twelve, with focus on arpeggios. I even prefer a lighter pick on that. Not sure why though.
So why all D’addario? Durability and cost are really the main driving factors for me. I play more than 200 gigs every year, and that wears my strings down quite a bit. If you’re not gigging very much, you should be changing your strings 3 or so times a year, but with that many shows, my strings go dead faster, and that makes playing a lot less fun. Breakage happens, but mostly on my six-string electric, because I play it so hard. Overall, I have fourteen guitars (I think) and getting super fancy coated strings can get pretty expensive. D’addario’s last long enough and don’t break so often that it complicates gigs.
So this weekend was CRAZY.
Friday night we hit up Ye Olde Towne Inn in Mount Prospect to close out a killer lineup featuring Solarsphere and Once the Sun. Something Beautiful was in rare form, thanks to the fact that Once the Sun was using a backing track setup that let us fire up our own orchestra, so big thanks to them!
Long night though. We were closing – which we of course found out after loading – but to be fair, I called it. Jim digs us, so we close out YOTI pretty often. Texted Jim while I was on the way but he was out on the road with Jungle Rot, of course!
Now closing out the night after two blue motherfuckers (the second courtesy of Tommy from Armored Assault) Was no small task, but hearing the string parts and extra bits come out of the house speakers really made it a good night for me. Playing A Voice in the Shadows and Crimson and Violet back to back like the old days was a real good trip, we only did songs that had backing tracks – nothing loose. I got stuck a bar late in Daughter of God, but for less than half a phrase, so I’m not too mad at it. It was Tommy’s fault anyway!
BIG props to Chris for not only coming to the show and paying the cover, but helping us kill our pizza AND move our equipment!
Six years ago I took the post of Music Director at Irving Park Baptist Church. Lots of musicians have come in and helped me out from time to time, Jon and Auggie from Five Minus X, Steve Nixon from FreeJazzLessons.com and more recently, my buddy Alex has been doing some Sundays with me. But in all the time I’ve been at Irving Park, these three ladies – Nora, Vicky and Louise – have been part of my core support structure. I spend time with them almost every Tuesday night before Something Beautiful‘s scheduled rehearsals, and they teach me songs that they want me to teach them – I know that’s a little backwards sounding, but it’s a two way street.
Lots of people think church music has to be boring – and don’t get me wrong, it can be – but not if you make the right decisions along the way. Some regular pop, rock and even metal music can get pretty boring sometimes. Maybe I’m talking about Opeth, maybe I’m not. But either way, whenever I engage in a new piece of music, or a new kind of music, I try to figure out what it’s trying to say, how it wants to be felt, and how can I tap into that energy. Sometimes it means I have to reinterpret the song entirely, sometimes it’s super easy and we’re jamming in no time, but either way – choosing to learn music that you don’t have a vested interest in is one of the best ways to really learn your instrument. More on that later, but for now, I just hope you like our song. On Facebook, if you would, of course…
So I got a message from Hoagy (lead vox, Crusader) asking if some of us would or could do a guest vocal track for their new album. I was totally down, pending my own schedule, Matt Wolf from Skull Fogger was going, and Justin from Something Beautiful was good to go. Unfortunately, Eric, our drummer was out of town on family business, so he couldn’t make it.
One of the perks of most of your fans being in other bands and knowing how to sing metal is that you get to do stuff like this for them, and you can trade shows, book fun events together, and in general, support each others’ creativity. While we were mixing Something Beautiful‘s Lay Down (Songs About Angels) we had a bunch of our friends come in and yell for us. Really is a great way to spend time with your friends, I think.
Since Crusader was working on several of the tracks for their upcoming release, I didn’t stick around too long, but it really was nice to hang out for a bit outside the confines of a noisy club. Their new material sounds KILLER, and it’s shaping up to be a sick record that these guys can definitely be proud of.
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