This week’s BHYH has been taken over by site Art Director, Andrew Bargeron. Read on, listen, and stay tuned for more staff music recommendations on the next edition of BHYH!
It was my birthday this past Sunday, July 5. And as we are oft wont to do on eventful passings as such, we reminisce. The mode of my reminiscing here will be music that I have made with friends over the years.
First and foremost is one from the zillion new tracks from my latest project, AFK. Though what’s been released is but a sampling of that plethora of tracks, even as I write, I’ve yet to hear most of them. Very recently I reconnected with my pal Lorin. He decidedly doesn’t have much of a social media presence so you’ll have a difficult time following him online. One day Lorin showed me a YouTube clip of a guy rapping Dr.Seuss books. This struck me with an idea: I have a bunch of nonsense poems from when I was a teen; perhaps we could make a hip-hop tune out of a few of them. I selected a beat, did some minor edits (an iPhone alarm sound looped through), and I rapped the poem “Marky” (in hopefully an obvious homage to the great Beastie Boys style). I chopped those elements up and sent them to Lorin. What would transpire over the next two months yielded MANY tracks from this one poem (presented here for you as “Marquis”), and all of them produced mostly by Lorin with input here and there by me.
A further while back, I had this grand idea to record a cover of the Lady in the Radiator song from the film Eraserhead. My arrangement is rudimentary and perhaps a little rote. But dare I say, the element that seals this cover into something decent is none other than our beloved editor, Elbee’s ethereal voice.
A scrap leftover from the pile of ideas that became Station! Fantastic Cinematic is “This Is Their Story” from the “film” CrimeCity Fighters. This track was intended to be a love-letter of sorts to “City of Crime” from the film Dragnet. Alas, I wasn’t up to the task of doing two completely different voices for the rap parts (“He’s an undercover cop & and he’s an inner city hood, when we get together we’re up to no good!”), so my options were shifted to sampling action movie quotes and mixing them over a decidedly Whodini-inspired backing track. What we have is a pretty solid homage to action films of the ’80s and ’90s…and a little bit of X-files.
The first track from Fantastic Cinematic is a tune called “So Very Close” that also features b-movie samples. This was the first track completed and collaborated on by my pal Marty after we reconnected after over a decade of nary a word between us. Life, you know? Upon reconnecting, Marty was surprised that I developed a modicum of musical ability, whereas before we parted ways, my skills were scant (and his were plentiful). So here, I programmed a beat, strummed the rhythm guitar, and compiled the b-movie samples, and Marty noodled on his guitar, the lead. What this session yielded is a tone piece, a sleepy southwestern highway macabre affair that I’m still incredibly fond of. Someone even put together a music video of it!
During our collaboration on FC Marty and I reconnected with another friend of ours from high school, a Nashville record producer named Jeremy Michael. While most of this song was arranged and recorded and produced by me, Marty was intended to lay a lot of the chorus vocals, and he did just that. But the result wasn’t “sweet” enough, so we asked Jeremy to contribute and he nailed it. Marty’s vocals are still in the song, adding a necessary darker texture, however subtle.
With Ennio Morricone’s recent passing, I would be remiss to not include our homage to the spaghetti western soundtrack. Our track “Six Tons of Six Guns” is a veritable spaghetti western in audio form. Again using film samples, the song is an audio tapestry that includes Marty strumming the guitar as fast as he could, a lower guitar riff supplied by me, and manly grunts by the both of us. I think, though not masterfully, we paid our respect to Morricone and his ilk well enough.
Remember in the ’80s when high concept but low budget movies hit the video shelves and all we could do is bum out because our folks were fuddy-duds that wanted to only watch Agatha Christie and Biblical epics? No? Just me? Well, “New Wave Laser Cats” and its sequel “New Wave Laser Cats 2: Meow or Never” are my homages to those bonkers little films. The first song is intended to sound a bit like the milksop fake new-wave sounds of a one-off band you might hear sing the titular track during the end credits. Here Marty was not on board; he hated the idea, but I insisted he throw on some Fred Schneider-esque vocals during the chorus (his only contribution to the track), and the song is a billion times better for it. At any rate, his kids loved it.
And the sequel, well, I made the song in conjunction with a t-shirt design I made over at threadless. When they debuted the design to the masses, they also released a little action movie homage to the themes on the shirt and they used this track and even remixed it!
There are many more tracks on FC with themes that range from sci-fi to horror to dystopian to comic book heroics to ’90s style kinetic Euro-thrillers, but the last track I’ll share from the album is “Goober.” The prompt I was given by Marty was “make a song that combines Weezer and Radiohead…think ‘Buddy Holly‘ and ‘Creep‘.” And I’m pretty sure I didn’t succeed at all. Even still, this track might be the one I’m most proud of. Lyrically it’s more true than fiction, and musically, it seems like a complete song, even before Marty’s backing vocals and added keyboard hooks. In fact, he didn’t wanna do anything to the song because he was so impressed; though I insisted and his parts are a nice lacquer to what is arguably the most legit song on the album.
Before Fantastic Cinematic, I teamed up with my friend Nicholas Karp. We were concert friends who would meet up at Southern California power-pop shows (Weezer, Ozma, Teen Heroes, etc), and eventually we became collaborators on a few odd tracks here and there. This track was for a fan-based tribute to Matt Sharp and The Rentals. “Move On” features me on main vocals, beats, and fuzzed-out guitar, and Nicholas on backing vocals, keyboards, and everything that made the track interesting. Nich’s musical output is decidedly quirky, and I think we made a decent duo.
This track, “Super Awesome Arcade Summer,” is one of the tracks that convinced Nich to collaborate with me. It’s just a silly, joyful ode to having an awesome time at the arcade.
This is one of those tracks done around the same time as “SAAS.” Most of the tracks were instrumental, but this is the one wherein I realized I could do cool sounding voices. With just three words, “Lights Camera Die” is the track that proved to myself that I could make something that I’d wanna actually hear had it been anyone else that made it.
In the early 2000s just before the zombie wave crashed upon us all, I had the idea to design my website www.gimetzco.com as an interactive zombie shooting gallery. Nicholas worked on the site with me, using flash, and we came VERY close to completing it before an accident happened that destroyed his computer with all of the work! Blast! “Gimetzco Zombie Killers” is a track that resulted from me dinking around with NOTLD & ROTLD samples while trying to come up with music for the website.
And finally, in late ‘99, the year that started it all re: me actually making music, I designed the cover artwork for a Weezer tribute. In fact, I designed two versions, and as compensation, instead of money, the producer (he really was just a money guy, he had zero creative input about anything and only wanted to make his small fortune off the backs of the bands on the album) gave me three or four slots on the CD to fill with whatever bands I wanted. I chose friends’ bands like O’Doyle Rules! and Awkward and Mizulla (Monique Powell’s other band), and nearly got Rilo Kiley before they realized it was a dumb deal and pulled out (I don’t blame them). But a friend who was in a so cal wanna-blink pop-punk band called Why Bother? suggested I sing a Weezer song with his band backing. I thought about it and figured it was worth doing, so I chose “The Good Life,” only to be told it was already taken. In its stead, we went with “Why Bother?” But Why Bother? covering “Why Bother?” Huh? Well, that would not do. While sitting in the green room nursing a sore throat (as you’ll hear on the track, my “me” is flat for that reason) and watching Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey on VHS, I leapt to my feet and ran into the control room: “The band is going to be called ‘STATION!’” And I was mostly met with “huh? Yeh ok?” But it was a big deal for me. In the end, we added new things that were unique to our song: a baseball stadium organist, a bro chorus/outro, and handclaps galore. I do wish the song was slower as I initially intended but it was a punk band who NEVER EVEN HEARD THE SONG THEY WERE COVERING! YEP! It’s true! And so I present to you the last track of this playlist: “Why Bother?”
And for all of you not wanting to click each song individually, here’s the full playlist! Please listen and don’t hesitate to let me know what you think of all of my nonsense!