Ian Schwartz and The Sour Candy Orchestra

So in my morning browsing on facebook, I came across an interesting link to a video in my news feed.

Gamer Uses Flute to Play Rock Band

(here’s the YouTube Version…, it’s amusing to read all the comments, esp. the crazy guy who thinks it’s a viral ad, lol)

I think to myself, wtf?  That’s pretty f’ing sweet…so I check it out.  To my surprise – I actually know the flutist…we were at SUNY Potsdam together.  I went back to check the source of the link on facebook, and it was actually not from Potsdam or from anyone who knew her (she’s on my friend list, so I could have easily come from a close source).  So, man, it looks like it’s actually getting around!

Anyway – basically, Danielle (the flutist), uses the vocal play option on Rock Band.  Since it doesn’t rely on actual words, just pitch and rhythm, apparently any instrument will do.  It’s awesome.

So, of course…I went and tried it myself.  I don’t have Rock Band, only Guitar Hero World Tour.  I pulled out my flute and brought up Misery Business (since I’m oh so familiar with it from covering it with the other band).  I felt like Guitar Hero was a bit more finicky with vocals than Rock Band…it wouldn’t register pitches I knew were correct.  And the mic kind of sucked, I had to be practically on top of it.  But, none-the-less, it was a lot more difficult than it looked, and made me appreciate the 98% she got on expert.  I received in the 70′s on expert.  Damn.

So…a new way to play Rock Band/Guitar Hero?

I know I get tired of playing “fake” bass all the time – this could turn out to be rather interesting…

So what do True Blood, Mean Girls, and a folk festival have in common…?


Behvin and I play in another group (essentially an instrumental chamber ensemble that plays pop rock covers and some originals) which I shall refer to as “the band formally known as Audix.” (or BFKA)  Though we currently go by the name of “Revamped” until we can come up with something better, I will refrain from using that as it will be painfully ironic in many ways in about two minutes.

Anyway, I compose and arranged for BFKA.  And this blog is about the sordid tale of one of our songs, “Glenn Coco”  (yes, I am terrible at naming things, and it is a far from subtle reference to Mean Girls, even thought the piece has nothing to do with the movie)

Here is the opening little snippet.

Let’s rewind back to July 2005.  I attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival for 4 days in the Berkshires on the NY/MA border.  I was stoked for the pretty big names there that year, including Ani DiFranco and Dar Williams.  But probably the group I remembered the most was a band called Crooked Still.  I didn’t know anything about them at the time, but I was blown away by their live performance that I left the festival with a copy of their CD.  I also bought a copy of their next release when it came out the following year…and I listened to them a bunch.  But, like my ADD self, I slowly drifted out of my folk music obsession and I didn’t listen to them for probably a couple of years.  Mainly because the CDs became lost in the mess in my room and I hadn’t imported it into my iTunes.

Fast forward to this past March.  I began churning out pieces for BFKA.  The second piece I finished was “Glenn Coco”.  We played it.  Recorded a crappy demo of it.  etc.  Then, months and months later, probably over the summer, I was going through my music library and listening to old stuff I haden’t listened to in awhile.  I found Crooked Still and listened to their second album, “Shaken by a Low Sound”.  I got to the mid part of the album and the song “Ain’t No Grave” came on…and I got all excited, I remembered this song…it was kind of awesome. 

Then, I realized…it sounded very familiar.  A little too familiar….  I went and listened to “Glenn Coco”.  No way.  No freakin’ way.  The similarities between the two were unreal.  Same “riff”.  Same key.  Same damn cello slaps!  

I had unconsciously ripped off the intro from “Ain’t No Grave” for “Glenn Coco”.  It was completely unintentional, but it was scary how exactly my mind must have remembered that song…then after years of not hearing it, it became completely divorced from its original source in my head, and then some how came out through my little musical fingers.  It kinda sorta blew my mind at the time.  I went back and forth between the two tracks just listening to the opening.  I showed Behvin the Crooked Still song, and, well, I guess she can speak for herself…but I think she was kinda shocked by it, too.


Let’s move to the present.  After not watching TV for 8 years, I’ve decided to finally catch up on shows I’ve missed.  So I got Netflix.  I received the first two discs of True Blood on Wednesday, and immediately watched all four episodes on those discs.  Now I can say I’m hooked on True Blood.  Anyway, Behvin texts me last night while I’m at work and she’s like “omg youll never guess what the closing credit song for last episode of [True Blood] season 1 is.”  Oh yes.  It was “Ain’t No Grave.”

Man.  Now I don’t think I can ever play “Glenn Coco” again.  It would’ve been a little less heinous if no one knew the song…but now!  arg.

Anyway…I know this post is kind of random…but being reminded of that song kind of made me want to post this random story.  That, and I really want to actually blog on here quasi-regularly now.


SO.  To sum up my endless rambling.

1.) Check out Crooked Still if you don’t know them.  They are actually from Boston (the founding members were actually students at NEC and Berklee), and have been hailed as “the most important folk group to emerge from Boston since the early 60′s” by the Boston Globe.

2.) It’s kind of crazy how music sticks with you and you don’t even know it.  Like your favorite song from your childhood?  I bet you still know all the words…even if you haven’t heard it in ages.  (Like Ian so sheepishly admitted to in rehearsal while we worked on a rendition of the “Rainbow Connection”)  In my case, it somehow was able to even manifest itself in my writing, unknowingly.

3.) Vampires like good music.


- beth

So now that my brief run playing for Cabaret out in Wellesley has ended, I have a little bit more time on my hands…and I promised myself that I would finally get around to writing a real blog on here. (that, and I’m currently procrastinating doing a paper, and this is far more productive than a myspace/facebook survey)
While lurking around facebook as usual, I came across a link to this video on one of my friend’s pages:Rent: Too Gay For High Schools?

Unfortunately, it didn’t really surprise me that administrators at high schools would be against student productions of Rent, even if it was the slightly ‘cleaned-up’ school version.
(To get the full scoop on the cancelled productions, check out the NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/theater/20rent.html)

The most shocking thing to me? The fact that my high school was the high school featured in the news clip. Other than badminton (who cares anyway?), there’s not much else my old school was good for. But as I watched this video and saw the drama director (who’s been there since the beginning of time, I mean, jeez, he was my elementary school general music teacher) I felt a little sense of pride. My community certainly is not the most liberal of places, but at least they didn’t put a stop to the production.

As I thought about what it would have been like if they had done a production like that while I had been in high school, it irked me even more that some districts found the homosexual content inappropriate. I hate that schools try and ignore homosexuality, or treat it as some horrific sin. Acknowledging homosexuality is not going to spread some gay agenda and Rent isn’t going to turn little Johnny into a raging queer. On the other hand, had I been exposed to things like Rent or any sort of positive discussion of homosexuality in high school, I feel like my high school experience would have been drastically different. My ‘coming-of-age’, if you will, would have been completely different as well. It wasn’t until the very end of high school that I even realized that there was a possibility that I could have been gay. It was just never an option. Instead, I was miserable and uncomfortable and couldn’t figure out what exactly was ‘wrong’ with me. And still, to this day, it has been a long process coming to terms with being gay. I wish someone had told me along the way, “Hey, it’s okay. Some people are gay.”

If anything, Rent could be a tremendous tool for schools to educate about drug abuse, HIV, and homosexuality – especially if coupled with workshops or ‘assemblies’ for the students. *sigh* But, that seems overly idealistic to ever happen.

Anyway, time to end this overly long rant. Paper time…

so – I really should have blogged by now. I’ve had about a million things pop into my head that I want to say…but I’m really terrible at actually writing them down. *shrug*
so, until I have something real to add to this blog…I shall blog about the fact that I’m in utter shock that Behvin blogged before me. I feel like a failure.
…I didn’t think she even knew what blogging was. hah.