Monthly Archives: August 2011

MuteMonth One: On the Job Training

“So Todd, I know you haven’t played a show with us yet, but for starters is it okay if we fly you 15 hours to Japan and put you in front of a crowd about yay big, with no soundcheck, and maybe have Paul come inches from ninja-kicking you in the head?”

“Uhhhhhh, yeah…..sure. I could probably do that.”

It’s been seriously hectic these first few weeks as new guitar guy. And it’s not even like we’re playing shows every night, but somehow I’ve still found myself exhausted numerous times. These are some highlights (with some illustrations):
—Toward end of practices- accidentally fell face down in a rainy, puddle-ridden gravel lot (cuts and bruises)—- darren and roy said it looked like a penguin dive.
—Tulsa storm destroys our stage as we’re starting show (which I posted earlier)
—Amazing first shows in Tokyo/Osaka @ Summer Sonic

—Did some deep thinking here…

—Ate the most painful ramen noodles (click the pic bigger)…

—Time travelled back to the U.S. (left right after eating lunch in Japan, arrived 12 hours later to L.A. just in time to eat lunch on the same day)
—Played to a slammin crowd @ The Troubadour…..(while Paul BLEW my mind on the rhodes)

—Got pizza on hollywood blvd, and while carrying leftovers back to hotel, had THREE completely separate guys on different blocks ask me if they could have a slice. The last guy offered to rap freestyle for a slice. SOMEONE please order that street some pizzas!! Hollywood Blvd is hungry
—Stayed up outside all night shooting a music video for blood pressure- until the sun actually came up- which you’ll prob notice in the video when it’s released.
—While sprinting back and forth in said music video shoot- tried sprinting backwards while holding my guitar and proceeded to fall, completely laid out, backwards onto the pavement right in front of Paul and the main camera, which was still rolling. I held the guitar up in the air the whole fall, and kept the it and my precious noggin from hitting the ground. Popped right back up, and did some more sprints. What’s a few bloody cuts and a sprained wrist in exchange for a sweet music vid?
—Rocked with a really fun audience at the lovely Saenger Theatre in Mobile, AL. Then this happened….

If you can’t tell- I got on my knees to get to his level, and he promptly one-upped me by dropping to HIS knees. Touche little man. And +1up for the stylish ear protection.
—Got to come home for a day and a half break to relax, and write this, and now it’s off to the Mercury Lounge in NY. Really looking forward to playing more shows, and trying to get hurt less often. I hope this post finds you well and in a pleasant surfing mood. Thanks for reading,

Todd

Mutemath has a practice

Me, Myself, and MUTEMATH

Schweeeet

So this has been brewing for many months now, but I’m proud to say that I’m officially the new guitarist for MUTEMATH.  It’s an awesome time to join them, for many reasons of course, but especially because their newest album, Odd Soul, is some of my favorite stuff they’ve done to date.  And it kicks all kinds of tail, all over the record.  We’ve rehearsed for several weeks now, and the new songs have an incredible energy live.

My first show (and their first show with the new material) was supposed to be in Tulsa, Ok for a festival with The Flaming lips just a few days ago, but right before we finished our soundcheck, literally just a few minutes before we kicked it off, a crazy thunder/hail/sideways rain/g-force wind storm sprung up on us and pretty much destroyed the stage, along with a bunch of The Flaming Lips gear, including a massive video/lighting rig (which crushed a fence as it fell).  There are several vivid videos on youtube documenting the crazy….
Us setting up while the roof blows away:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ258PXLN-w
—-that huge metal tower to my right completely blew over just a few mintues after this video was shot- i was right next to it.

And then this (skip to 2:00):

Needless to say the show was cancelled.

So instead my first show with them looks to be in Tokyo/Osaka, Japan for the Summer Sonic festival in just a few days.  The rest of the band has been there a handful of times already, but it’s my first time visiting Japan, so I’ve got a lot of newness to take in over the next week.

I’m honored to be playing with them though, and I’ve been beyond impressed by their musical prowess.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of fun updates for you in the near future.  For now, here’s a picture of our recent practice space, and one of me getting a little too hyped up and destroying one of darren’s drums.

Stay tuned.

Thoughts of a Dying Athiest

thoughts of a dying athiest- muse- gummerman

Here is a cover I did years ago of a Muse song. It was one of my favorites on the album Absolution, and after hearing it several times I realized, “Hey, this chorus progression is totally like an R&B, smooth, hold me sweetly vibe!” So I wanted to hear it slowed down, and this is where my version ended up going.
I have fond memories of the upright piano in this recording, which I bought at a local thrift store for 75 bucks. The overall tuning of the piano was a half step below pitch so I just decided to leave it there for good, which really made a drastic shock to my brain. I’d sit down and play just a nice solid B chord for example, and all of a sudden that chord sounded completely different to what I was used to- since it was coming out as a B flat sound. That strange feeling on that upright had a huge part in inspiring several of my tunes, like by my side, poison, and further away from you.
I also really like the hammond b3 effect on this track (pictured below)- which had a broken vibrato option on it. And when you flipped it on it ended up skipping the sound, which some have labeled a “motorboat vibrato” feel.
The other pic doesn’t have much to do with the song- except that it’s me as a lil’ lad, preparing my brain for the ability to take a very, very fast song and make it very, very slow.