Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Delightfully Blogged, Part 3.

Roller Coaster Smoke

Lost-mania was at its peak during the recording of Delightfully Pleased, and of course we are all fans (except for Cory who hasn't watched it yet, but I'm sure he will eventually). We had the musical ideas down for the song long before we ever decided to make it about Lost, but it just seemed to make sense, considering we would stop practice to watch it if we practiced on Tuesday nights. Once we even hinted at the idea of making a song about our favorite television show, there was no going back. We pressed record on Garageband at practice to record the music, and within a few days Steve sent back the same file with his vocal ideas over top of it. It went from his head to my ears, and there was no way it was coming out once it was in. I really like the way he made the first verse the "Jack" verse and the second verse the "Locke" verse. "We'll live together, or we will die alone" seemed so obvious to sing in there, but how could it be anything else? It was perfect.
The second verse of the song had a few revisions, and Steve borrowed an idea for the "you don't control me, I'm on my feet again" line from a demo of an amazing song he sent me probably well over a year ago. The demo song that he sent me just wasn't right for this album, but I hope that we record it someday. Its very Kanye West "808s and Heartbreaks" style, which may have been strange to include in this collection of songs. The line in the demo was "you don't control me, you're not my manager", but "I'm on my feet again" made way more sense for a John Locke verse.
I really enjoy playing bass on this song, and I really like the way it turned out in the recording. I love the long single notes in the chorus, and I love moving my head the way that Beck's bass player moves his head when I play it. I also got to sing the "yeaaaaahhhhh" s in the post-chorus, which I think is really fun. I don't even cringe when I listen to it, I think it sounds pretty good.
It was cool doing some things in the song that the writers of Lost would've done if they wrote the song. Secret messages, flashbacks, and strange effects all seemed very appropriate, and we had a blast coming up with little things to add in the studio. Flashing back to the Rewind EP in the end of the song seemed like the perfect thing to do, not only because it sounded good, but also because we knew that long-time listeners of Punchline would really appreciate it. Working on this song with Jamie was fun too, because he was also a Lost fan. He knew what the heck was up.
Despite all the indirect Lost references in the song, we were careful not to make the song too specific to the point that a) we'd be sued, or b) a non Lost-viewer couldn't appreciate the song. I think that if Lost never existed, the song would still be cool and put very vivid visuals in your head when you listen to it. Plus, I think the main lead of the song is one of the catchiest things we've ever written. I hope that Roller Coaster Smoke plays at the Lost cast reunion 10 years from now.

Joe DeWitt made a pretty amazing music video for the song:

We also have fun playing it:

I didn't like the ending of Lost, by the way.

Into The Mouth

"Into The Mouth" was originally supposed to be nothing but a short interlude on the album right before "Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want". Put the four of us in a room with Jamie Woolford and Mike Ofca though, and an interlude soon becomes a highlight of the album. Largely inspired by Queen (obviously) and the punk rock bands we all grew up on (obviously), this is the song that I knew all our close friends would love.
Steve wrote the very strange and descriptive lyrics pretty much on the spot, and no one even questioned them. I thought it was very Propagandhi of us to say "politefully dead" and then burst into an all-out fast punk rock song. And not to be cocky about my bass-ing, but how damn good does my bass sound right after that? Cory was the master of the punk beat, and the fact that we even used the punk beat on the album says a lot (I think it does anyway). Cory also sings the highest part in the beginning harmonies....bet you didn't know that! Paul gets to rip it up during the verse a little bit as well. He is a great guitarist. Of course all of us were very excited about this song.
I thought that having the fastest/most punk song on the album come right before the most straight-up pop song on the album would be a cool dynamic. I also think that if we sell a couple hundred thousand copies of Delightfully Pleased and have money to make a big budget music video, you'll see the best music video of your lifetime to this song. Superheroes vs. Giant Hell Monsters. Sounds cool, right? So yeah, spread the word so we can make it!

Oh yeah, and of course this song goes along great with our album cover :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Delightfully Blogged, Part 2.

Here are some more of the stories behind the songs on Delightfully Pleased...

21 Forever

When we first wrote this song at practice, I thought it was going to be the best song on the album. By the time we finished recording it, I thought it was the best song we've ever written. Not only was it super relevant and relatable, but it was also that song I'd been waiting for...an all-out rockin' song in which Steve and Paul trade vocals. Steve had written the first very catchy verse and had the framework for the chorus, which was another one of those very "natural" choruses that just kind of happened (much like the chorus for "The Hit"...it just happened...no long discussions, lyrics changes, or anything....what it was from the beginning is what it ended up being). We had been playing the music for the second verse the way it is for a while, but we didn't come up with the melody and lyrics for it until we got into the studio. Paul came up with a great melody for it and we all collaborated on some lyrics that fit perfectly in there ( I think that's how it happened). I remember sitting on the back porch of the studio with Steve and an acoustic and really working out the intro of the song, and the whole idea of "Katy White" (or Katie White, I forget how we spelled it). "Katy" would be a girl who turns 21 and gets out of control, and we would be sort of her Jiminy Cricket conscience / guy who is in love with her. You can both of those things at once when you're writing a song, I just decided that.

My favorite part of this song is the bridge. There was much discussion about whether the bridge part should "swing" or just stay straight-forward. Steve really fought for it to have the swing feel, largely inspired by Toto's song "Africa". Jamie (Woolford, our producer, duh) very much opposed this, and I actually leaned toward Jamie's side because we hired him to produce us. Looking back, I'm glad that we did go with the swing feel because I think it sounds great. Steve wrote what I think are perfect lyrics for this part, especially since he put in a reference to The Streets. We had contacted Patrick Stump about singing the bridge, and he pretty much agreed to do it. We were pretty psyched about that, and Jamie sent him the song files and we waited as long as we could to get them back but they never came. I am sure he's a very busy guy, or maybe he thought the same thing that I did...Steve had sang the part great, and taking it away from him would be silly.

The part that gave me chills in the studio was Paul's final chorus. He sang it the way he had the whole song, and I suggested (I try not to suggest things often, but when I do, I like to make them count) that he really get to the top of his vocal range on the last chorus. There was a part in our really old song called "Play" off of The Rewind EP where Paul was going to go really high but then decided against it. It always bothered me that he didn't because I loved it, so I wasn't going to keep my mouth shut this time. Of course he nailed it, and I feel like it really gave the last chrous a very "HELL YEAH" kind of feel.

We will very soon have a music video for this song that we shot at our CD Release show in Pittsburgh. I think we very easily could have made a standard music video with a plot that really goes along with the lyrics, but I thought it would be much cooler to have a video that shows how cool our hometown is and how cool the people are who come out to the shows. I think its going to be great, and I am excited to have it out there in a few weeks.

Maybe this should be the music video for the song instead, complete with non-current band lineup! I also love the part where it has a picture of Unsung Zeros with our lyrics over it.

Greatest. Party. Ever.

We wanted to write a song that really got the party goin'. We wanted the party to get going our way though, complete with vegetable trays and Scrabble boards. I wanted to mention Mario Kart but Steve shot it down. Also, the movie was originally "Waterworld" instead of "Forrest Gump", even though Forrest Gump is my favorite movie and I've never even seen Waterworld. This was during the time where I was really into the idea of having a birthday party where everyone comes over and just watches Waterworld, which looking back still seems like an awesome idea.

I really like the chorus of this song a lot, and I think it was enhanced even more by a lead that Steve added in which really makes it sound more like something that The Pixies would do instead of just a standard pop punk chorus. We had a lot of fun with putting ridiculous ideas into this song, like the very faint Kurt Cobain-ish "hey" sounds in the bridge, and the "hey girl let me get your information" part that I got to shout very loudly into the microphone. I did a lower take and then a take where I was at the very top of my range and my voice cracked a lot, but I think it added to the craziness of the part.

I think the chorus of this song really keeps it in check. This song could have been an all-out cheese-fest, but I do think the chorus is deeper than you'd normally hear in a "party" song (but not as deep as Ween's "Your Party", which I think is the greatest song about a party ever written). All in all, its a song about living your life like every day is New Year's Eve, which wouldn't be such a bad thing, unless you were really fall-down drunk every day of your life, which would be bad. Maybe the best way to put it would be "live each day to its maximum potential". There wouldn't be anything wrong with that.

Party of the year at my house, there's no place you'd rather be.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All I want to do is inspire everyone who ever lived.

I want to be the damn RUDY of bass playing and blogging.

I want everyone in the world to accomplish everything they want to. I want to see 90 year olds climbing Mt. Everest and 10 year olds building the Eiffel Tower out of Legos. I want to see less whining and more doing. I want to see everyone in the world making strides toward what they want. Nothing is insurmountable. I mean, look at this damn dude...

I want to see everyone being cool to each other too. Being a good person and just generally nice to other people can go a long way for all of us getting where we want to be. I hope that I have been nice to everyone reading this. If I have done you wrong, please let me know so I can apologize and buy you a damn pizza.

I love common sense too. Churchin' it up is cool and a lot of good people love churchin', but I think it would be cool if everyone practiced the religion of common sense! Don't kill anybody, don't hurt anybody, don't rape anybody, be nice, help people out, do your best, don't waste your life, don't be a jerk to people who don't have the same opinion as you, make the world a better place. I think those are all common sense things that people were probably trying to convey in religions before they got all mixed up through thousands of peoples' translations.

I'd love to see everyone in the world leave the world a better place than it was before they existed. Here's something I like to read that inspires me that was written by the BADDEST DUDE EVER!

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance,
’Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
-Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today I posted on facebook that I'd really like to see a sticker of Calvin peeing on the cast of "The Big Bang Theory", and luckily a nice person named Obed Vetter made this for me...

It really got me thinking about other things I'd like to see Calvin pee on. Here is just a short list...

- A pickle.

- A swastika.

- A pickle with a swastika on it.

- Mad TV.

- Glenn Beck (but only a very small stream of pee, so it kinda looks like a single tear running down his cheek).

- The band "Metrostation".

- The band "Never Shout Never".

- A cup that Jesus is holding, but then in a second sticker you see that Jesus has turned the pee into wine.

- The entire Family Circus family.

- The world "reading".

I really like the idea that my friend Dane came up with too, where Calvin is peeing on a sticker of Calvin peeing on something that you actually like. It could get very confusing, but could also be a really cool way to show you like something. For example, Calvin could be peeing on a sticker of Calvin peeing on a Pittsburgh Penguins logo. I think that could be a lot like the movie "Inception". Taking it to a third level would be really unnecessary and awesome. For example, have Calvin peeing on a sticker of Calvin peeing on a sticker of Calvin peeing on a Ku Klux Klan member.

The Calvin peeing on something decal is an American classic.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I need to have a #1 album, pronto.

I don't ask for much. All I want is to have the #1 album in America. Is that asking too much? Hell no! I've played bass in this damn band for 13 years, and I think that asking for ONE DAMN WEEK at the top of the DAMN BILLBOARD CHARTS is not too much to ask! If we got to #1 on the charts just for one week, it would mean a whole lot of things. First of all, we'd get to spend every hour of our day WRITING SONGS and be able to put out TWO ALBUMS PER YEAR. We have the ability to write FOUR ALBUMS PER YEAR but that might be pushing it. But yeah, we could easily put out a couple albums per year, and isn't that what bands should be doing anyway? Why do all these damn bands that get all huge and have millions of dollars not put out more music? Why do they wait years between albums? I think that's a bunch of C#$%!!!! (crap)

I suppose that I've never cared too much about being the biggest band ever, I've just always wanted to be able to continue making music and hopefully reach more people with each album. But F#$% that!!! I think its time that everyone burns our albums for 20 of their friends and insists that if they listen to Punchline, they'll be instantly more HANDSOME and/or GORGEOUS! With that kind of word of mouth and false/possibly true promise, there is NOTHING STOPPING our album from being #1!

Okay, so our album debuted at #41 on the Billboard "Heatseekers" Chart, but I don't even know what the heck that means. i am very appreciative that many people bought it, don't get me wrong. But seriously, we need to sell 1 million of these so that we can put out more albums and, of course, I can get ON TV and possibly GET MY OWN DAMN TV SHOW.

You wanna help us keep being a DAMN BAND for another 13 years? Well we need to get this dang album to #1. Here are some things you could do to help if you feel like it, which I really hope you feel like it.

1) You can go on all your friends Facebook pages and post a link to our Purevolume page (www.purevolume.com/punchline) and insist that they go download "21 Forever" on there. Tell them that there are also a whole bunch of other songs they can listen to as well.

2) We need to get on the DANG RADIO, and the perfect place to start is in our hometown of Pittsburgh. That means that all of you should call and request "21 Forever" on our hometown rock radio station, The X. The number is 412 - 333 - WXDX. Just call and request it. 10 times a day. And tell everyone else to do it too! Maybe if enough people call, they will play a Pittsburgh band who has been around for a long time instead of ALICE IN CHAINS. Who is calling and requesting Alice In Chains?

3) We don't have millions of dollars like a lot of these "sexy" bands do, so we rely purely on WORD OF MOUTH to get the word out there about our dang band. Tell everyone you know, and play Delightfully Pleased for them! Burn them a copy of the CD, but insist that owning the actual album is way cooler. Tell them its also on iTunes and available in stores like The Exchange and Hot Topic. Also let them know that we're a real band.

4) Let ALTERNATIVE PRESS know that you like Delightfully Pleased! You can do that by going here: http://altpress.com/ap_readers_chart/ . Tell them that you're feeling us. Tell them that you like our songs and that you think I should be on TV.

5) Leave us some DANG REVIEWS on iTunes! Just go to Delightfully Pleased and leave a review. I like reading them. Everyone is so dang nice. It'll build my confidence to try to GET TO #1 ON AMERICA'S BILLBOARD CHARTS.

We'll have some new dang music videos pretty soon. Hopefully they'll play them on TV, like maybe on Fox right after The Cleveland Show, or maybe on halftime of Monday Night Football.

I hope you all like me. But in all seriousness, please help my band make ten more albums because I love playing bass on them.

I need to get on TV.

I just decided that I want to be on TV. I think that everyone should start a movement to get me on TV because I think I'll be the best guy who ever was on TV. I have so many ideas of cool things to do. Here are just a few of the things that I'll do when you guys get me on the TV.

1) On Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I will answer the first question correctly and just decide to take the money.

2) On Saturday Night Live, I will tape up the picture of the Pope that Sinead O'Connor ripped up. I will then proceed to rip up a picture of myself wearing a Pope-style hat and declare myself the NEW POPE.

3) On the MTV Music Awards, I will call out everyone on the fact that MTV doesn't play music videos, and therefore should not be giving out awards for music videos. I will then have a small tirade about how MTV needs to bring back my favorite VJ, Jesse Camp. And also Puck.

4) On Good Morning America, I will confront Juju Chang on how offensive her name is.

5) On WTAE News, I will deliver Erin Kienzle's child live on the air.

6) I'll smoke crack in the Cash Cab.

As you can see, its pretty important that I get on TV. See what you guys can do for me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Delightfully Blogged, Part 1.

Sorry I haven't blogged in here in a long time, but I'm back.

My thoughts on Delightfully Pleased, in case anyone wants to read them.


In general, i don't like when bands have songs about being a band, because I think its a subject that most people can't relate to (unless they happen to be in a band). I think one per album is acceptable though, and why not make it first? I was extra excited about a) this song being on the album, and b) this song being the first song on the album, because I had contributed more to this song writing-wise than I had on any of the other songs. I had sent Steve a not-that-good demo of it that I did in GarageBand with an acoustic and 5 tracks of my own vocals, and I was psyched when he liked it a lot. Steve is the best songwriter that I know, and its always exciting when the best songwriter that you know encourages you to write songs, and then helps you make them better. What I had sent him was the first verse and chorus, and I always had a vision of the chorus turning out EXACTLY like it did on the recording. The first line of the song/album, "You won't find songs of hopelessness on this record" (which it seems every review we've gotten on the album so far has quoted) was inspired by an interview that I read with Bjork where she talks about how she only likes to write songs of hope, and she was ashamed that she had written a "sad" song (referring to "Possibly Maybe", which is actually one of my favorite songs of all-time). Once Steve shared my vision on the song after jamming on it at a few practices, adding Paul and Cory to it just brought it full circle. Steve added the bridge, which was something he had written for another song but worked perfectly in context with the song. We all contributed lyrically to the second verse. In fact, it was Cory who suggested that we mention "Laga", which is the Pittsburgh club (which no longer exists) where we had our first good shows. We also started the reoccurring "space" theme with the line "we shot for the moon and missed, so we discovered our own planet". The song has lots of "chicka chicka chicka chickas" in it, which I think adds a lot to the air drummingness of the song. I had fun splitting the second verse with Paul, although I was a little bit shy about it because I tend to cringe when I hear my own voice recorded. Jamie (Woolford, our producer, duh) added an effect on my voice so I wouldn't feel so self-conscious (plus it sounded cool). Paul sounded great singing his part. I was excited that we were all singing on the first song, and I thought that people who have listened to us for a long time might be reminded of a song like "Play". There is actually a small musical reference to "Play" in this song, and I hope that people notice it on the 75th time they listen to it. Actually, I'll just be happy if people do listen to it 75 times!

Many people have already asked us about the "I've seen friends become successful and then be a friend no more" line, and who it is in reference to. In all actuality, I kinda thought it would be a line that anyone could relate to, not just us. I also kinda think that if we were complaining about any person/band in specific, we'd sound like a bunch of whiny babies. The point of the song is that despite any setbacks and disappointments we may have faced, we're still making music and enjoying it more than ever. Plus, if someone was your friend and then forgot about you after some "success", they weren't really your friend in the first place, right?

The Reinventor

I have loved this song since Steve sent me an all-out demo he had done of it over a year ago. He played everything on it, including programming the Reason drums, and to tell you the truth, the demo actually sounds pretty damn great. I remember being on tour and running on a treadmill at a hotel in the morning while listening to Steve's demo (which at the time was called "Get Me Out Of The House") and noticing how much faster it made me run. It made me excited, and I really thought that the subject matter of the song was great. By the time we recorded the song for the album, we really had barely changed the structure or lyrics whatsoever...it was that good already (hope that doesn't come off as cocky, but I really like this song and Steve wrote it, not me). That's not to say that we didn't all do our best to make it as badass as possible when it came to our own individual parts though. Paul added some very subtle but very awesome (in my opinion) leads in the verse, which reminded us all of the band Bracket (which is a very good thing). Steve had written the bassline on the demo, and it is my favorite bassline to play on the entire album. I did my best to play it incredibly and really make him proud. And last but not least, there was Cory. He ABSOLUTELY TORE IT UP on this song. The beat he plays during the intro and a couple more times throughout the song is my favorite on the entire album. I loved watching him play it in the studio, and I love watching him play it now. I think he shines from top to bottom in this song. I also really love Paul's backup vocals in the second verse, which ends up being the part I sing when I sing along to the album (I'm not really allowed to listen to our own album anymore, but I was allowed to before it came out, and sometimes I sang along, and I don't think there's a damn thing wrong with that!) Plus, when we play it live I sing it with him and just double it. So yeah, i was just practicing, not singing along to my own band's CD.

I love the whole feeling of this song, and also the message. I hope that this song inspires people who are in a bad place to take a break, take some time to themselves, make some great plans, and be the best person they can be. Yeah, that would be awesome.

I'll write more later.