living the highlife

doing a little live video with daniel ahearn at arron's studio. 

jaded lover

last night i went to see marianne dissard play at the echo curio. this was the after party featuring the awesome fiddle of vicki brown. this should be every night.

the day the music died

i was just about to rip a solo for a recording and my ebow will not work. pain in my ass! i didn't drop it or anything. so i took it apart and the bastards at ebow decided to drown everything in silicone so you couldn't work on it, or to absorb shock.

nevertheless, fuck them.

i'm going to drive to the store and buy another one on monday. ebow, i wish i could quit you. here is a picture of the way i feel.

that guy's got a sick sense of humor

i don't know if you can read that, but that sign says jimmy kimmel live. and that can only mean one thing. d'mode. for you who are not in the know, that means depeche mode.

d'mode made the city shut down hollywood boulevard so that they could play personal jesus to their adoring fans, aka us. here is a picture of carrie reacting to dave gahan's bare chest while i'm reacting to martin gore's bare chest.

after the shock wore off there was a little bit of this going on.

the best part about it was that there were all these policemen on horsies because they anticipated a riot. why would they riot? for depeche mode? the next video might help to explain.

gentlemen, start your engines!

blue blood (guitar refinishing part fourteen)

here's an update. i'm wet sanding very slowly because i'm afraid of sanding through to the primer. i've started using a 800 grit wet sandpaper because it has the sensitivity i need for this moment. since i have no paint left, sanding through would send me in a panic. i get hung up on little things like that. i wouldn't be able to forgive myself for a long time.

patience is the most important thing at this point. so i spend a lot of time slowly working and trying until one day it happens. like losing your virginity. or so i'm told. here's my blue bowl.

wet sanding makes the paint come off and mix with the water and you basically get fresh paint. wet sanding is really relaxing and i recommend it if you need to unwind after a long day of being unemployed. here is a picture of what wet sanding does to towels.

a few more days and i think it's clear coat time. we also need to talk about a logo for this mother f**ker, aka/ bad boy.

twitter, i guess.

all this social networking makes me want to barf. but on the other hand, sometimes i think i'm falling behind. i feel that way about music a lot. pitchfork tells me that the hottest new band is like vampire weekend or like dan deacon or some shit. so i go to youtube to listen to a song and i don't connect with it at all. so i'm sitting there thinking maybe the world has passed me by. maybe i've stopped learning how to love. oh blessed are the joys that vampire weekend brings to the youth. i wish i could feel that warmth. but then after ten minutes you realize that vampire weekend sucks balls and maybe it's time to get a twitter account.

facebook really got me soft for social networking. there was too much poking and getting in touch with people who used to beat me up. so this is my new experiment. how long will it take before twitter turns out to be the next vampire weekend? i'm trusting you on this one oprah. the challenge starts now.

wet sanding contest (guitar refinishing part thirteen)

wet sanding. it sounds scary. while spraying the blue on the guitar, i got a run. oh no! they say that wet sanding is the way to go. i was scared. so i started to dry sand, things were going pretty good. then i saw a glass of water and thought,"now's the time to live. i just gotta be me!" dunked that nasty 600 grit wet sand paper and started rubbing so hard. blue water everywhere. man i'm wiping and sanding and wiping and sanding. then i drop the guitar and get a big deep dent. oh, hell no!

i'm not sure what to do. so i put some wood putty in the hole, sand it down and spray more blue over it. amateur hour. i keep repeating to myself, "no one will ever know. no one will ever know." it covers up quick and it looks better than a big ass dent. it's time to move on. so tomorrow i'm spraying whatever is left in that can. no surrender!

paint it black (guitar refinishing part twelve)

i got my spaycan in the mail today. let's go straight into the unknown. i feel like spraying the guitar blue is a big deal. it's like the guitar has hit puberty. a few more years and it's not going to need me anymore. i'm terrified.

i'm going to spray indoors because i hate the sun and the wind. i tried to lay down a tarp. i think it's going to be o.k. because the primer didn't travel very far and this is a light color.

here is a close-up of the first coat. it's a little uneven but i figure the next few coats will cover up my amateur ways.

so now i have no idea what i'm doing. i think i should leave it alone for a few hours and then re-spay. some people also recommend wet sanding. what the hell is wet sanding?

getting water all over this guitar seems like a really bad idea. i'm going to do some research and get to the bottom of this matter. also, the nitrocellulose lacquer smells like paint. there was supposed to be a huge difference, but i can't taste it yet. here's one last parting shot of the daphine blue. that's a nice looking blue.

back in the living room

out of the studio and back in the living room. this week was all about putting some hustle back into the CMG record. i borrowed some equipment and some people and set up shop at the casa biazevich for five days. i realized that i have never recorded a band live in my life. i've always single tracked due to lack of equipment.

come to think about, it's also a learned behavior from my metal years when it was all about precision. and when i started recording the novi split record, i was the only guy in my band. it makes sense.

so anyways, i was scared as hell but it turned out really good. the songs instantly sound more natural. all the bleed from all the instruments (and there's a lot) gives it way more depth, even in mono. that's what i've been missing all these years. tears stream down my face even as i'm writing this. i was moved.

they songs got worked out as we played them. we recorded them quick. we had way more fun. we were all focused.

for a second, it was starting to look like the cmg record was going to be the 'chinese democracy' of our generation. now it looks like it'll be out by this summer.

another thing i felt was important was the use of a living room. houses sound better than shitty studio spaces and sometimes high end studios. maybe it's the shag carpeting? maybe it's the view of the cemetery? maybe it's all the dialogue you have to provide when the t.v. volume is off during a take? maybe it's all the time i've spent in that house as a young dude? whatever it was, i want more. i'm really getting back to my roots here. here's a really poor clip of a song we we're working on called 'feel the night' that i took on my camera phone.

primer update (guitar refinishing part eleven)

i just put on the primer. it's looking better than the last time. had some problems with the sides looking like cellulite but i sanded down and reapplied the primer. it's all about multiple light coats. thanks for the tip dan. here's a picture of me and my painter's touch primer.

we're all set.
now i wait for the paint.

daphine blue (guitar refinishing part ten)

spent hours looking at colors. narrowed it down to just a few. how can a man pick a color if he can't see it in action? a color sample is one thing, but when it's on the object, the rules are that there are no rules.

so i turn to carrie sweet, my in-house designer, to draw me up a silhouette replica of the guitar body. and then through the use of computer technology, i made some mock-ups. check it!

this is some sort of red. it's o.k. but i'm looking for impact. this guitar says to me,"play it safe. market is unstable. let's move everything into gold."

this was a close one with me. you can never find a decent green booger guitar. green booger, you're the best i've ever played. let's move on.
this was carrie's pick. i have to agree it would be awesome, but my skills are not at the level of this work. could i rise up to the challenge? realistically, no.

this is also carrie's. i'm not sure what this is supposed to mean.

so hours of research has led me to this decision. daphine blue. i chose it to replicate the old mustang that CMG used to play back in our glory days. i loved that guitar and you could never find that blue that was mostly on those mustangs, until now! try to deny it carlos, but that thing was sweet.

i'm a nightmare walking....... (guitar refinishing part nine)

colors! here we go. i am the great decider! there sure are a lot of colors in this world. and there are all types of paint styles. solid color, see-through, metallics, cracked. it's a never ending list but i want to go old school. the story goes as follows......

fender used colors based on the cars that were coming out at the time. so if you want a fender cherry red, it's actually like a corvette red #1876592 or something. and before they turned to acrylic lacquer, they used a lacquer called nitrocellulose. the reason they stopped using it was because the finish would get darker from uv light and start lightly cracking, but those are the reasons why people love those guitars. acrylic lacquer is more stable but much thicker which people say screws up the tone of guitars. the nitrocellulose lacquer would actually get rubbed off from playing over the years creating the perfect sounding guitar. or so the story goes......

so nitrocellulose lacquer is hard to find these days, especially in colors, and even more so in a spray can. but there's one guy who mixes them to match the 1950's colors and puts them in spray cans. his website is called and he charges up the ass for his effort. i guess you can use regular spray paint or automotive color, but a lot of people have issues with chemical reactions. so i figure i'd pay a little more to avoid that mess and get a spot-on classic color.

supposedly you can tell when a lacquer is a nitrocellulose because of the scent. i can't wait to inhale all that paint.

pac man fever (guitar refinishing part eight)

so, while i spend some time correcting my mistakes, i thought we might talk about custom guitars and design choices. if we look at custom guitars we always see the same thing. awful, nasty, tasteless crap. check out this winner. this is the usual stuff. i mean, it's good woodworking but barf city.

close, but no cigar on this next one. my only hope is the guy on the guitar and the guy who built the guitar are the same person. because if i saw him playing this at a show, i would drop to my knees and cry out a cry that could be heard throughout the ages.

now this is more like it! if you're going to pour this much time into something, it better be a winner. look at the pellet inlays. this guy is a winner and would never be in a band with the guy with the severed head guitar.

so the next move is picking out a color. let us not be tempted by stoner dreams. lets think about classic design. simple is best. roots paint.

teisco!!!! mystery solved!!!!! (guitar refinishing part seven)

like i said, i've owned this guitar for a few years now and i still have no idea what it is. but today i found out it's called a teisco! a japanese company that made shitty guitars from the 40's untill 1970. then kawai (the piano company) bought the brand. i'm assuming to prevent the company from making more guitars. apparently people like these things and they are collectible to a certain extent. this guitar i'm working on is from the 1960's and is called the tulip, or the del ray, or the 110. for some reason the didn't put their name on their guitars, and if they did, it was a badge you could screw off. i played this thing for years until i got a credit card. here are a few others.....

the boy scouts (guitar refinishing part six)

this morning i woke and checked on the primer situation. looking good, but i did notice a few grain bumps. and as the day went by it drove me crazy. i couldn't think of anything but those bumps. let it go, they're just a few bumps. but what would dick proenneke say about it. he'd say,"looks as if a boy scout went at it with a dull hatchet." and that dick would be right. so with dick on my mind, and the electric sander in my hand, i sanded off all my primer along with the lacquer.

now i am reborn. filled with the knowledge of the past, i am kicking this shit into the next level. dick proenneke, this ones for you!

"when you got a job to do you got to do it well" - paul mccartney

"that ain't working, that's the way you do it" - dire straits

"everybody's working for the weekend" - loverboy

"Too many men work on parts of things; doing a job to completion satisfies me." - dick proenneke

rest in peace little homie.

the white stallion rides again (guitar refinishing part five)

i couldn't wait. i was supposed to do this lacquer and sanding down method for like four days but i'm ready to take it to the next level. i can live with a little bit of grain! plus, i plan to paint another guitar soon. right now i'm exploring.

let's explore the half-assed approach. i bought some white primer from the depot, put the body back on the hanger, shook the can for two minutes like it says on the directions, and i just lose myself in the moment like 8 mile. beautiful fine white liquid starts exploding out of my tip. i'm going for it big time. i'm riding the snake down to the lake. the ancient lake! and just as fast as it had started, it was all over.

i covered that thing so good. i love primer! here's a picture of me and my body post-spray. in this picture, our bond has grown and it's showing. good for us!

clogging up pores (guitar refinishing part four)

i really thought i was going to be on the next step, but spraying the lacquer has made my wood's grain pop up like crazy. the whole surface looks like human skin. it seems like the wood filler i bought is also used to fill these millions of little holes. back to home depot like an idiot. this time i bought the same lacquer, but in a bucket. the plan is to fill the holes as much as i can with wood filler, drown it with lacquer, and sand it down. then repeat like four to seven times until it clears up, like p. diddy's face.

just hangin' (guitar refinishing part three)

so the last time we were here we filled all my holes. i got a 220 sandpaper and leveled all those spots where i used wood grain filler. out of paranoia i went over the whole thing again 'till it was as smooth as oliver dragojevic. now it's time to seal these puppies. people have a millions of ways to paint a guitar. then the guys at home depot tell you that guys who paint guitars don't know crap about painting and they start giving you advice. and half of the stuff you need to do this has been outlawed because they use it to make meth or whatever. people say use a sealer, well home depot don't have no sealer under like a gallon and for $50. i went with some polyurethane lacquer in a can. it just feels like the right move. then there was the question of oil or water based. how the hell am i supposed to know? no one told me there was a choice. so i went with the can that didn't disclose which one it was because i was losing it at the depot. here is my can and a wire coat hanger i untwisted.

i don't have anywhere to paint so i figured i'd do it outside. i used the old 'coat hanger off the gutter' trick. it's not falling down so i'm off the the next step.

i taped the part where the neck goes on so there will be no troubles getting the neck on later. i'm sure i can get away with not doing this but i'm trying to go pro.

here it it after like four coats. still looks the same but i guess it's sealed.

i'm not a big fan of matching headstocks. for some reason i decided to do one. if i don't like it later i can always change it back. taping this was fun.

so here they are after like 6 coats. i can't believe how much crap can come out of one can. again i didn't want to waste anything so i huffed the last of the lacquer. after my high wore off i cleaned up. and now i wait until this dries for 24 hours.

the next step is primer. i hate primer.

do not be afraid

my friend daniel is recording an album and this weekend a few friends and i pretended to be a choir.

fill me up with your wood grain (guitar refinishing part two)

well what do we have here! a little hole. i drilled this hole because the input jack broke and i just ran a cord through the side. it didn't work as well as i thought it would. just look at that hole. what a pain in the ass this thing is. the internet said i can fill it up with wood putty. ill be the judge of that.

so here we are two minutes into the future i filled that hole so good with my putty. apparently this putty turns into wood? i don't know. it looks like chipmunk log. it's the color of acorns.

i spent about $3 for this and decided i was going to be damned if i didn't use the whole tube. i know their game. you use like a speck and pay for the bottle and by the time you want to use it again it's dry and you have to buy another bottle. look at that healthy spread.

now i got to let this thing dry and then sand all the putty down. sanding is pretty relaxing stuff. the palm sander makes your hand vibrate a lot so by the end of sanding it feels like you put your hand in the jacuzzi for half an hour. after this is sanded we apply the primer. god knows what might happen.

dealing with disappointment (guitar refinishing part one)

im not sure if i'm an idiot but i've got into my head that i want to learn how to repair guitars. so to do that we have to break a guitar. look at this fine piece of guitar. i think its from the seventies. i have two of these and they both have no markings on them. they look like harmony's but without any i.d. i'm going to call them copies of harmony's which is saying nothing and saying a lot at the same time. as you can see ive taken the neck off and am holding this thing in front of my new usb camera.

i've never done anything like this before. i have no background in wood or painting. i've used a screwdriver and a hammer before, but thats about it. i have no idea about sandpaper or paint or anything. so this most likely will be about learning things the hard way and dealing with disappointment.

so i took off the pickguard and hardware and poured paint remover all over this thing last night and started sanding it today. but my sandpaper broke. so i'm off to home depot to hook it up. i don't know what kind of sandpaper to get. i don't know how much to sand. if anybody knows about sanding or painting please write a comment about it. here's another photo showing the sanding so far.

as you can see. this might not turn out so well. i will post more as i get involved.

metal drove me back into your arms

if you want to know what twenty seven metal and shitty punk bands sound like if they all played at once, then take a stroll down the halls of my now ex-practice space. last night we cleaned everything out of there. i'm glad because i could never get any work done there anyways. there's something about san pedro that makes everyone here play really shitty metal and ska punk. i blame two bands, korn and sublime. i'd like to blame all the big brothers in the world for that one. it's like this shit gets passed from one generation to the next. stop the madness.

had to get that out of my system.