Posts in Music
Happy Birthday, Neil!

The past couple weeks I’ve been planning to make a rap song for my friend Neil, but I got hurt skating and then it kept raining and it seemed like it would never get done. I recorded the song last week, but there was still a video to be made. Yesterday I started brainstorming and worked on it all evening/night. Get ready to see a half-assed production for a non-half-assed friendship. Happy Birthday, Neil!

Remembering John Lennon with Artist Pablo Stanley and Guitarist Andy Timmons
 My Dad and I becoming ONE.

My Dad and I becoming ONE.

Growing up in the house that I did, The Beatles were everywhere I turned. They have long been one of my father's favorite bands. As a product of the 60's, he will forever be stuck in that generation. Sadly, there are only two members of The Beatles still living: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (George Harrison passed away November 29, 2001.) The first Beatles member to pass though was the late great John Lennon, who I'd like to honor today.  

 Photo courtesy of  www.johnlennonartworks.com

Photo courtesy of www.johnlennonartworks.com

John Lennon was born in Liverpool and became involved with the "Skiffle Craze" which was a music genre consisting of jazz, blues, folk and American folk influences, usually using a combination of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. The Beatles were originally called The Quarrymen, but changed to The Beatles by 1960. 

Lennon was an accomplished artist in various mediums of art including music, writing, and drawings. His interviews and art often showcased his rebellious nature and wit. All of these artistic avenues were filled with his political anti-war views and peaceful ideals.

One of my favorite comic artists, Pablo Stanley, has a beautifully illustrated version of John's song, "Imagine". It started me on a quest a few years ago to research not only Lennon, but Stanley as well. A video of the comic, teamed with the original song, is below.

John went solo for a lot of his projects and was on, off, and then on again with Yoko Ono. The two finally teamed up for the album "Double Fantasy" in 1980. Lennon was tragically gunned down in front of his Manhattan apartment 3 weeks later on December 8th. 

I wanted to write this tribute for two reasons. One, 37 is my favorite number and two, The Beatles have been a huge part of my upbringing. It only made sense to celebrate the man on this particular commemorative day.

I was reminded of this anniversary by a close friend/co-worker, Tanner Peterson, who sent me a link with an amazing cover of the song "Across the Universe" by Dallas guitar virtuoso, Andy Timmons. Let's remember John Lennon today by listening to Andy's wonderful cover below.

Across The Universe by AndyTimmons

A loving instrumental tribute to John Lennon's moving spiritual composition. Instruments used: 1963 Epiphone Texan, 1963 Gibson J-160E, Ibanez AT100 prototype (the white one with rosewood fretboard), Mesa Boogie TA-30 amplifier

*Bonus picture of when Tanner met Andy!*

 Andy and Tanner at the 2017 Dallas Guitar Show

Andy and Tanner at the 2017 Dallas Guitar Show

10 Spoopy Doot-Doot Soundtracks that Mr. Skeltal Would Approve of You Listening to On Halloween

Happy Halloween, chumps! Though if you haven't started celebrating Halloween already, there must be something seriously wrong with you. Now, most of us have to work on Halloween since it falls on a Tuesday this year. That sucks, but it doesn't have to suck. If you're like me, and you're able to, then you listen to a lot of music while at work. So in the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd saloot the doot with 10 soundtracks to put in your ears holes. LET THE TOOTING BEGIN.

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1. Stranger Things

Stranger Things, Vol. 1 (A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack)

Stranger Things, Vol. 1 (A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack), an album by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein on Spotify

2. The Ring

3. Beetlejuice

4. Crimson Peak

5. It Follows

6. The Witch

7. Suspiria

8. Silent Hill

9. The Nightmare on Elm Street

10. Hocus Pocus!

Happy Samhain!

Shaun Gunnels and His New Music Project: Dnvr Max

Shaun and I go way back to when we both used to work at Firewheel Mall together in Garland, TX, starting in 2006/2007. Even at the time, Shaun was playing music. Around that time, he played in a band called The Background. Recently, I saw that he had started up a new music project and after listening to his new song and loving it, I reached out to him for a brief interview on his musical past and DAT NEW-NEW: Dnvr Max. 

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When did you start playing music/singing?

My musical passion began before I could walk and my career started when I was 18 with my first band, The Background. For a decade or so we toured regionally on 4 different EP’s spanning those 9-10 years. Dallas fans and the Dallas music scene taught me everything I know and is a huge reason I’ve decided to come out of hiding with this project, Dnvr Max!
— SG

I feel like I grew up listening to The Background, not only as a local band, but within the same playlists as All American Rejects and my other favorite bands.  These dudes have been killing it for awhile. Here's an example of their sound and one of my favorite songs from The Background.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

My music influences change almost daily. I’m super influenced by friends and fellow musicians in the scene.
— SG

It's been really cool following Shaun's music career through the years and watch as he progresses through the Dallas music scene. I can't tell you how many times I've been somewhere in the past decade and seen a video or post about the band from different fans. It would be an understatement to say that he and The Background, as a whole, have had a huge impact on the North Texas music scene.

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Do you have an EP coming out or have you already put one out for the new project?

Right now, I’m writing and recording and releasing what I feel represents me the best. My first release is streaming over at SoundCloud.com/dnvrmax
— SG

Check out his new single below!

DNVR MAX

"Come & Go" EVERYWHERE JUNE 1ST

The new song has been on repeat for me and I can't wait to see where Shaun goes with Dnvr Max. Hopefully, as he progresses, I can keep everyone updated and write a follow up article in the future. 

If you'd like to follow him on your own and stay up to date on future shows and song releases, check out his Facebook at Facebook.com/dnvrmax and of course his Soundcloud at SoundCloud.com/dnvrmax.

The Wonderful Discovery of Tyler Adair

As a part of my daily routine each week, Spotify puts out a 'New Releases' playlist I always listen to. A couple weeks ago as I went about my business at work as usual, a piano song stripped of all other instruments, began to play.

As the lyrics came in and the artist's voice came over the sound of her keyboard, I really enjoyed what I heard. Then the chorus came in and I was hooked. The artist in question? Tyler Adair.

After I listened, I decided to look more into her music. I ended up finding some stuff on YouTube and her website, but I really wanted to share her sound with others in an encompassing way, so I reached out. We emailed a couple times back and forth and she agreed to an article. Without any further ado, here is the budding musician behind my newest song to jam to, "You'll Miss Me Someday", Tyler Adair!

Where are you from and when did you start playing music/singing?

Born in Long Beach and raised in San Diego! I have to say, I’ve pretty much been singing since I learned to talk (much to my siblings frustration haha). Singing has always been one of my favorite things but it’s mostly been confined to my house, the shower, and definitely in the car. I took piano lessons when I was in second grade, however it only lasted until fourth grade when I decided that soccer was more fun than piano lessons. To this day I cannot read music, however I figured out how to play by ear which is how my song “You’ll Miss Me Someday” was crafted.
— TA
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Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Growing up, my mom loved a wide variety of music and really encouraged us explore our own tastes so I was very lucky to have been exposed to a very eclectic set of artists and bands. My top influences include: Dave Matthews Band for their passion, Everclear for their raspy sound, Amy Winehouse for her trailblazing attitude, Jack White for playing so many styles, and I’ve always loved Kings of Leon.
— TA

Are you planning on playing any shows soon?

I actually just played my first open mic last weekend at 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach! I’d love to do that again soon. A friend of mine invited me to sing at his show on June 30th at Sanctuary Lounge in Scripps so we have that coming up as well.
— TA

It's so awesome to interview and discuss music with talented new musicians like Tyler. It's especially great when the meeting happens because of a random connection through Spotify. I wish her all the best and I can't wait to hear what you have in store for the world in the future!

 If you'd like to see Tyler Adair play and you're in the San Diego, CA area on June 30th, head on over to the Sanctuary Lounge. You can find more details HERE. You can also keep up with her through her website at TylerAdair.com

Logic and Neil DeGrasse Tyson Conversate ('Converse', for the butthurt)

I was so excited to open up my YouTube subscriptions page today and see one of my favorite rappers discuss a wide variety of topics with one of my favorite scientists. Good job, Complex Magazine for bringing these two together in an interview.

If you're unaware, Tyson and Logic teamed up on Logic's new album to create a concept album. I have a lot of opinions on the topics they discuss, but talking about them from my perspective, in this case, I think would do a disservice to the video you're about to watch. Let's just leave it at, "I agree". 

Dallas' Own "Tension & Release" Debut Their EP + Interview

If you're from Dallas, you know a lot of great musical acts are born here. One of my favorite neighborhoods for underground music is Deep Ellum right outside of downtown Dallas. Since I've begun hanging out there a lot more within the last six months, I've decided to dedicate articles here and there to these up and coming Dallas artists. To kick this series off, let's dive into a newer band called, "Tension & Release".

Tension and release is a collaborative group of musicians with varying musical backgrounds that decided to mix their talents in 2015. The group is comprised of James, John, and Jacob (pictured below). I got a hold of them and was able to ask them individually about their backgrounds and some more insight into the band itself. 

How, where, and when did you guys get started as a band?

I listened to all kinds of music growing up (rock, hip hop, classical music, house), but didn’t pick up an instrument until the age of 22. Joined a band with John and a mutual friend after watching an anime called, “Beck Mongolian Chop Squad” in 2012.

A few months later, we got a jam space (which I basically lived in for 8 months) until we had some more material to work with and we got more comfortable playing music together. Originally, I was going to learn and play guitar in the band, but when a spot opened up to give drums a try, I jumped at it and didn’t look back.
— James
 GIF courtesy of Tumblr

GIF courtesy of Tumblr

I was actually a drummer originally back in high school, playing for shitty pop-punk bands. The music was pretty weak, but we were just having fun. Eventually I got more serious about it and started playing different instruments in different bands, just seeing what I could do.

I eventually picked up a guitar and I really dedicated a lot of time to it, started jamming with James and Jacob, and went to college to get a degree in Audio Production. I picked up vocals in college and learned a lot about harmonizing from a badass singer we had in the band for a while.
— John
My memory is fuzzy on this one, but John and I have known each other since middle/high school (early 2000’s). I started chatting with John back in 2011-2012 about playing music and he had a jam space and was just starting to learn the guitar with James on drums. We jammed in that studio into the late hours for a few months before I had a mid-mid-life crisis and kind of went ghost on them.

Fast forward to 2015 and John and I get in contact again. He wanted me to come try and play some bass on a few songs he had written up. Two years later I’m in the band without John even asking me, but that’s okay, because I already wanted to be in it. It’s like when you and the hot chick in high school are dating but neither of you ever made it official.
— Jacob

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Growing up I listened to a lot of emo-pop-punk stuff with fast riffs and catchy hooks. Green Day, Blink-182, New Found Glory. My music taste has definitely evolved from that. Not to take away from any of those awesome bands, but I prefer indie folk and experimental types of music now.

My biggest musical influences ever would have to be Ben Gibbered from Death Cab for Cutie and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver . There is nothing that these guy puts out that I don’t like. Gibbard’s talent to paint a story through words is just so unreal it’s like you are watching a heart breaking every time you listen to his songs. Justin Vernon on the other hand, I haven’t quite been able to decipher all his songs but he does have a way of making you feel like you are on drugs without ever having to be on drugs. Definitely the two guys who influence my style of playing and music writing today.
— Jacob
I listen to a lot of weird, vocally-driven music like Bjork and Imogen Heap, and also love what the progressive-metal scene is doing with drums and guitar right now, ya know, stuff like Animals as Leaders and Periphery. Queen is also god to me.
— John
 Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Daft Punk’s “Discovery” was one of my favorite albums when I was younger. Honestly, there are too many for me to name. I try to pull from whatever I can listen to. There’s too much good music out there, haha.
— James

Tension and Release will be releasing their first EP March 31, 2017 entitled, "Letting People Into Your Life". I got a sneak preview of the EP and it's pretty fantastic. You can get a taste of what their EP is like with their songs "Love Among" and "How To Save Her Soul" on YouTube now in collaboration with up-and-coming artists: The Cure For Paranoia, Eff3, Dez, and Jake O'Neill. (videos below)

Their EP "Letting People Into Your Life" will be available March 31, 2017 on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. You can also check them out at their website www.jtownsounds.com and their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

I wish these dudes all the best and I'll keep everyone updated on when they book some shows here in Dallas. They told me that they'll begin playing shows after the next EP. I know I, for one, am extremely excited to see them jam out live! 

D Magazine on Beauty Bar's DJ Colly T

I don't typically write articles only to share links to other sites. Typically that's a marketing technique and this particular blog doesn't normally cater to that niche. However, D Magazine wrote a really great write up on my friend Colin Theall back in 2014, who is a DJ in the Dallas area. More specifically, off of Henderson Ave. and I just found out about it. I really wanted to share his talent with more people, so here we are.

I met Colin while at our mutual day job. He's one of the most genuine human beings I've ever met. I asked him recently to send me some of his mixes and they are fantastic:

His most recent mix can be found here.

The article described at the beginning of this article however, can be read at the link below. It's a fantastic article filled with everything you'd need to know about 2014 DJ Colly T. As for 2017 DJ Colly T, I'm a little fuzzy on where he currently is. My best guess would be the bass dropped so hard at one of his concerts that his heart stopped and so did everyone else's in the room. Though I also heard that:  

I’m planning on putting out one more mixtape in between now and the fall...
— Probably DJ Colly T

Only time will tell.

Enjoy the full D Magazine article below.