Actor/Musician

Special Valentine’s Day Greetings

I know. The last “Live Imperfect Raw Acoustic” (LIAR? RAIL?LAIR?) video I posted was, like, in the paleolithic era but here’s a new one for Valentine’s day.

And this one has a generic intro so that you can tell your partner (or just someone you like) that I recorded it special just for them.

*I do not guarantee the success of this ruse nor am I responsible for any ramifications

And as a bonus, this unearthed Valentine’s video from Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (beware: profanity and sexual themes).

Epiphanies in Acting

I tweeted earlier “the secret to acting (and one of the hardest things) is to BE interesting and not to TRY to be interesting”. This was as I was sitting on set preparing to shoot a small role as a bartender and trying to find a way to make this small part “interesting” to watch. I needed to quit trying to be interesting.

This brought to mind another example from my own life when I was auditioning for a 3 line role as an FBI agent. I went in and just read my 3 lines as naturally as I could, in character. I didn’t really think I had done anything all that original or spectacular but when I finished my 3 lines, the room erupted in laughter and praise about how great I was. I smiled and thanked them and left, a bit baffled. To me, I just delivered my lines as real and naturally as I could, as the character I had created in my head. I wasn’t trying to be funny or interesting but apparently I just was.

I got the part and the director actually expanded my role and wrote me into several more scenes and into the sequel.

Another story I’ve heard was something about Marlon Brando in a stage production where he was not the focus of the scene. He was just supposed to walk across the stage eating an apple while some other characters were having a conversation. However, there was so much going on inside his head, behind his eyes, that he was utterly captivating and stole everyone’s attention, and the scene, from the main characters.

This is obviously a tough balance to strike (in fact, much of acting is a balancing act…to be prepared, but not too prepared, rehearsed but not too rehearsed). As actors, we all have our own methods and tools and in the end we are acting, pretending but sometimes if you can just inhabit that character as a real person, you will be far more interesting than trying to find some artificial way to make that character interesting.

In the immortal words of a master (Jedi master, that is), “Do or do not, there is no try.”

“My Muse” is up!

I have “finished” my latest song “My Muse”. Give it a listen over on my Musician page. I put “finished” in quotes because I never actually feel finished. I just eventually have to walk away. Hope you enjoy! For the lyrically curious:

I crave your flesh
The sustenance you give me
I don’t know which will be the first to kill me
The starvation or the passion in my veins
As every muscle strains to keep myself together
I don’t know if I’m sleeping or awake
Hoping to finally feel the fever break

You steal my breath when I don’t choose to give it
You give me life, but take my will to live it
Every contour of you burned into my brain
My scars spell your name
The density of our destiny is so great that time is slowed
Nothing escapes, it just implodes.

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my wish, you’re my wounded angel
You’re stalking every shadow in my mind
I feel you everywhere though my eyes are blind

You make me sweat and shake with lustful urges
Lost in you, the undercurrent surges
Abandoned jetsam set adrift and drowning in the sea of my desire
Yet somehow I still burn on a pyre
You comfort me and heal me
But still you stoke the embers in the pit
And now my burning body is the only warmth I get

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my want, you’re the voice inside me
That sings to me in whispers and in screams
Can’t tell the difference between nightmares and dreams

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my void, you’re so ravenous
You can’t fit all of my soul into your mouth
And what you can’t consume, you just spit out

Be free, little song!

Alright. I’ve told myself it’s time to step away from the computer, stop tweaking and call this song “finished”. The lyrics and small disclaimer are in my previous post.

My latest creation from the mad labs at Nosferatunes, “World’s Greatest Ex”.

Sneak Preview

Just for the record, my latest song is not about any particular ex of mine. I was just amused with the title and wrote some lyrics that could apply to many different exes in different parts while taking the opportunity to poke some fun at my own past romantic failures.

SNEAK PREVIEW of the lyrics to my latest song:

When you look back on love, do you see bridges on fire
And littered with the bodies of those that you desired
Immolation, devastation and scorched earth where your heart once grew

Well that’s not how I roll, I like to keep it optimistic
To all those I’ve loved, you’ll never just be a statistic
You’ll always have the little piece of my soul that I left with you

Every word I ever said is completely true
And you know I said I’d always be here for you
You’ve got your laundry list of everything about me that you think sucks

The way you shot our love to pieces
All I can say is nice shooting, Tex
I may have been a disappointment
But I’m the worlds greatest ex

Well you can talk to me about your new lover
You can take some solace from me if you’re distressed
Just take whatever you want from me and bury the rest

I’m glad to hear you found someone better
I hope it stays exciting, shiny and new
I hope he makes you feel everything you said only I could ever do

You’d lost your faith in love and I brought it back
You felt so full of love you thought you’d have a heart attack
Unfortunately I turned out too good to be true

But if there’s ever anything I can help with
Like heavy lifting or incredible sex
Well you can always count on me because I’m the world’s greatest ex

So if there’s any of you thinking you might want me
If you’re lucky maybe you could be next
But let’s just skip the pain the heartache and forget the pretext
We’ll start right at the end and just begin being vexed
Fast forward to our breakup and I’ll be your world’s greatest ex

Heath Sings “I Will” by The Beatles and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

Mother’s day is coming up this weekend and my mom requested I record this song so she can sing along and harmonize with it.

And it’s a “Two For Tuesday”! I also recorded Ginger’s request.

Artistic Accidents and Imperfections

I’m fairly positive that I’ve written before about how difficult the recording studio can be versus a live stage. Playing live, you have the energy o the crowd and can get away with less than perfection without anyone really noticing. In the studio, everything is under a microscope. It’s hard to see the whole picture instead of just scrutinizing each little piece and hearing every tiny flaw, imperfection and slightly off note. Some argue that it’s these very imperfections that make music human and give it unique personality but at the same time when is a “flaw” too much to ignore? How far flat does a note have to be before you fix it? Obviously these are probably personal journeys that each artist must decide for themselves. This is where being a one man operation like me can be hard. I don’t have a producer or fellow band mates to get opinions from. Though I do listen to feedback from my friends and fellow musicians who give it, that’s a battle in itself in that you could get endless and conflicting feedback from endless sources so again, in the end it’s up to you as to what you incorporate and what you ignore.

However, sometimes there are accidents or imperfections that end up being an integral part o the character of a song, or just a cool moment. In “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles, there’s a moment just before the third verse where there is a little feedback, which is normally not a good thing but in this case, it’s now (to me) an integral moment of character in the song (which I actually replicated in my cover of it). In “Fall For Me”, there’s a moment where I can distinctly hear two notes chime above everything else, and yet when I listen to each instrument individually, these notes do not exist. Somehow, they come out of the ether as a result of all the instruments together. In “Tech Support”, Iskra hears the line “I want to fill your iPod” as “I want to feel your iPod touch”. Now I can’t decide which I like better! In “The Hunger”, there is one snare drum hit where I missed and hit the rim but instead of correcting it, I left it. It’s barely noticeable, but for some reason it appealed to me as one of those moments of human imperfection that wasn’t planned but adds a unique moment to the song.

Hell, there’s even the age old tradition of purposefully playing “behind the beat”, which adds a laid back groove that just creates a whole different, and desirable feel than being a perfect time keeper. I suppose it’s all a wonderful microcosm of life itself. Finding our own boundaries. Deciding which of our own flaws and quirks are acceptable and possibly even endearing, and which ones we need to work on, improve or eliminate.

New song, “The Hunger”

Well I think I’m satisfied enough to finally let this new creation out into the world.

“The Hunger”

I’m always a bit torn as to how much to say about my music. Some people enjoy getting all the VH1 “Storytellers” type details, but on the other hand I love that music is so personal and I don’t necessarily want to color anyone’s personal journey by saying too much. I think there’s something to be said for just letting the music speak for itself and letting the listeners take whatever they will and have their own personal experience.

I will say this much: This song began when Lars asked me to write an original song for a short film he’s making. He played me a song he really liked the “feel” of and wanted me to write something similar. I planted that seed in my brain and then just let it grow. This is generally how my creative process works. Over the following weeks (maybe months, I’m not sure) that seed, rolls around in my brain, germinating, percolating. Ideas start forming. Lyrics begin to come. Then like a gestating child, I start feeling “labor pains”. Suddenly everything starts coming together more hurriedly and I can feel it wanting to come out. Then in frenzied flurry of creative outpouring, I do the heavy writing and recording.

In the end, I was extremely happy, pleased and satisfied with this song. It did what I needed it to do. I think it has the “feel” of the song Lars played me (no, I will not reveal what that was for a multitude of reasons), and yet grew off into it’s own original entity. It led me off in some musical directions that I might not normally have went down which is always fun. At the risk of saying too much and coloring your experience, I will add one final thing that surprised and amused me: I think it sort of ended up sounding like if U2 and Muse had a musical baby, even though neither of those bands was the original inspiration and, while I like U2, they’ve never been a major influence (I don’t even own any U2 music, actually).

Another side note:
After a brief experimental foray into making my music only streamable on the internet unless you bought the song to download, I’m going back to my roots and once again making all my music available to download for free (except my cover songs because I’m still figuring out the legalities of all that). You can still buy songs if you’re so inclined, or just make a donation to the paypal link if you want to support me, but it’s more important to me that anyone who wants to enjoy my music can do so and to have my music in as many people’s hands/mp3players as possible. Thanks for all your support over the years and I hope you enjoy my newest progeny.

Addendum:
“The Hunger” is my first ever use of a fade out, which normally I hate but which just felt creatively appropriate and needed here.

Education Through Imitation

I’ve recorded a handful of cover songs by various artists. Some were my own original take on a song such as “Tomorrow Never Knows“, “Kiss The Girl” and “Boys Of Summer” and some were painstakingly faithful reproductions such as “Because“. Some people may wonder, “Why bother re-recording someone else’s song? Especially if you’re not doing anything original but just meticulously copying the original artist.” Sometimes it’s a bit of a hybrid such as “Eleanor Rigby” which faithfully reproduces all the individual parts but replaces the string quartet with all guitars instead.

My newest cover is mostly a faithful reproduction of Butch Walker’s “Ships In A Bottle” with a little bit of my own flavor in it. I think Butch is one of the best singer/songwriters making music today so why do my own version? Well for one, it’s a tribute to him. Secondly, it’s just fun. And thirdly it’s amazingly educational. Breaking down a song, finding all the little hidden parts and nuances, listening to how it’s mixed, the effects used, the equalization across the frequency spectrum, and all the million little details of a recording educates me through osmosis. I learn to be a better producer, engineer, and songwriter not to mention honing my playing and singing chops.

These songs are only available to stream at the moment because I’m still working my way through learning the legalities and such of covering other people’s music, therefore, while I have bought some limited rights to these songs, I don’t feel comfortable offering them for download, much less for sale. If you like my versions, I highly encourage you to go out and buy the original artists’ recordings of them! Thanks for listening!

A Special Request Video

You can blame this one on Andy, one of my oldest and dearest friends.