Category: Actor/Musician


Vox Populi Covering “The King Is Half-Undressed” By Jellyfish

We’ve always wanted to do this song by one of our all-time favorite bands, Jellyfish, so we arranged it for a 3 piece and did our power trio version as another Quarantine Socially Distant Performance! Here is Vox Populi covering “The King Is Half-Undressed”!

I decided to arrange this for the trio. This meant there are several parts where there is (at least) one vocal part missing. I also decided to try and do it like we would live so instead of videoing myself doing several guitar parts, or a keyboard part, I just left it with one guitar part performed simultaneously with the vocal (like I would live). Of course, in a studio setting, this is not optimal as my very sensitive vocal mic (a Slate Digital ML-1) picks up the jangling noise from strumming my guitar strings as well, but it’s tolerable.

I love this group and this song and this is definitely one of my favorite musical things that I’ve ever been involved with. Vox Populi is me, David Houston on bass and vocals, and Matt Patterson on drums and vocals.


Cover Of “September Gurls” By Big Star

Matt Patterson, David Houston and I have been threatening to start a power pop cover band. We’ve all been throwing song ideas around and Matt has been throwing out all kinds of great song suggestions that I’ve somehow never heard before. For our first ever virtual performance, he wanted to do “September Gurls” by Big Star, which I’d actually never heard. About 2 hours later I had learned and filmed my parts! We have dubbed ourselves “Vox Populi” and VoxpopuliPowerPop will be our URLs around Cyberspace!


Darin Murphy And I Cover “Getting Better” By The Beatles

Finally! The project that I’ve been totally immersed in for so many hours over so many days that time has lost all meaning (in a good way…I’ve been smiling and cackling like a mad scientist in his lair).

Among my latest random musical urges, I suddenly, out of nowhere felt like I wanted to cover “Getting Better” by The Beatles and do one of those videos where you video as you record each part. Initially, it was just going to be a solo project, but then I thought how things are always more fun “With A Little Help From My Friends.” So I contacted the biggest Beatles guru I know who also happens to be a multi-talented musician, singer, actor, and all around ridiculously good guy, Darin Murphy to see if he would be the John and Ringo to my Paul and George. He was gracious enough to agree to “Come Together” and I absolutely love the result.

It may be a strange song to cover in these crazy days, but if nothing else I like to think the title alone is just a good goal and hope. And some Beatles always makes things better.


The Ending Of “Sultans Of Swing” By Dire Straits

Revisiting the ending to “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits. This song has always been special to me, as it was the first real milestone for me as a guitarist. When I learned the whole song as a fresh new guitar player oh so many moons ago, I felt I had really accomplished something big. I think it’s still some of the finest and most original guitar playing ever recorded.


Keyboard Solo To “Africa” By Toto, But On Guitar

In a lot of my bands, I end up covering a LOT of musical ground like keyboard parts for example. I had a particularly good time learning the keyboard solo to “Africa” by Toto. It can be a lot of fun and educational in that it gets you playing in a different way than you normally would.


Salvador Dali

So here’s something extremely silly I did. I used to work with the Paramount Story Wranglers which is an AWESOME group that goes to elementary schools and teaches kids about writing stories, then takes the CRAZY stories they writes and turns them into skits and songs for a show that the Story Wranglers perform at their school.

For one of the shows, I took one group’s story about Salvador Dali and turned it into a song. Tonight while looking for something else, I found the demo I had made of the song so we could learn it for the show, and decided that it needed the full production treatment to be a finished song. I wish I knew the elementary kids to credit for writing this story.

I am Salvador Dali, that is my name
I practice and I practice for my art
I want to be a painter of extraordinary fame
But my art room is a mess and I guess that makes it hard

It makes me oh so mad, that I can’t paint
I feel I’m not the person for this craft
Maybe mom and dad can help with my complaint
And help with brainstorming ideas and maybe painting a first draft

So we drove to a museum filled with other people’s art
Just so I could see ’em, get ideas of where to start
That’s when I saw a flyer and I found myself obsessed
It said “Want to become famous? Join the Art Museum Contest!”

I went back to my art room and I painted and I painted
I sent it to the contest, it was done
And when I told my parents the good news, they nearly fainted
My painting didn’t win 1st place, but 2nd place I won!

I told myself no matter how my painting looks
There’s one thing more important than the rest
Regardless if my name ends up in history books
At least I’ll know that I tried my best!


Thriving In Quarantine

Things I’ve done since lockdown that you should definitely (I mean, if you wanna) check out. #shamelessselfpromotionedition

  • Recorded and released a new song. Here’s all the details including the story of its making. I also thought of a few last-minute production things that made me cackle with glee even though most likely no one will detect them but me so it was just updated today with the final version. I say final because if it isn’t I’ll have to rename the song “Someday, I’ll Stop Tweaking This song, But Not tonight.”
  • Redesigned my website. You’re looking at it now.
  • Re-wrote the problematic lyrics to the Rolling Stones song “Brown Sugar” into something tasty and useful.
  • Wrote a special Quarantine Love Song.
  • Covered an apropos Jellyfish song.
  • Recorded a dramatic monologue for the #OneMinuteMonologueChallenge on Instagram.
  • Live streamed a dramatic reading of Masque Of The Red Death and then a very not-dramatic reading of it.
  • Re-mixed the Friends Theme to have way more claps because of an off-hand silly comment on a friend’s post

Recorded VO as a foul-mouthed pirate cat for a web series, began recording audiobook narration for 4th book in a series by Andrew Hunter (I also narrated the previous 3). Played a lot of video games. Slept a lot. Took lots of walks. Got my diet in much better shape. Have stuck to a regular push-up regimen. Edited a series of videos for a friend and re-formatted his book. And probably a lot of other stuff I’m forgetting.

I”m not bragging or trying to detract from the seriousness going on in the world, but for me keeping track of the good and the light is the best, most productive and positive thing I can do. Everyone’ handles things in their own way, and however you are handling it, it’s right and okay. Maybe some of the stuff I’ve done can entertain, make you smile, or have some positive impact. That’s all I can really hope for is to try and put my little orbs of light out into the world. #quarantinethrive


A Visit From A Muse

From a spark in my brain to finished song: 13 hours.

Long version: I had some dreams last night. I woke up at one point this morning and the idea and chorus for this song were in my head. I was still tired and wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. And this song kept nagging at me to give it life. So I got up and fired up my studio. I knew this was going to be different from anything else I’d ever done. I knew it was going to be all synthesizers when I’m mostly an organic guitar-driven guy. I knew the exact vibe and atmosphere I wanted. I also knew I was going to write it in a way that I’d never written before: as I went along. Just tinkering with sounds and parts.

So, where to start when you have many different synths, each with hundreds if not thousands of sounds? I did a search for every sound that had “Dream” in the title. Then I started going through them all and finding ones that I thought might work for what I was going for. I ended up with about 20+ tracks of synths ready to be used. I started piecing it all together part by part. After about 10 or 11 hours, the music was done and I had a verse and a chorus of lyrics. I took a walk at around midnight and finished another two verses. I got back home and finished the last of the lyrics, thinking I would record vocals tomorrow.

Then I realized that I was going for a very soft vocal style on this song, so despite sleeping roommate’s and roommate’s child, I decided it couldn’t wait. I recorded all the vocals, did a few overdubs and edits, and here we are. Approximately 13 hours from when the muse kissed me, her gift is done. A song completely unlike anything I’ve ever written or recorded before. Everything but the vocals was done with Reason 11 in Reaper.

Some of the identifiable (to me) influential ingredients in this musical casserole:

  • Billie Eilish
  • David Bowie
  • St. Vincent
  • Pink Floyd
  • Jellyfish
  • Cars
  • Annie Lennox
  • Adele
  • Muse

A list of (most of) the synth sounds used (all the “dream”-based sounds):

  • Analog Dreams
  • Dream Sands
  • Ethereal Dreams
  • Galadriel’s Dream
  • Alan Turing’s Dream
  • Dreampark
  • Wavetable Dreams
  • Porpoise Dreams
  • Spock’s Dream
  • Start Your Dream
  • Acoustic Dream
  • Toy Dream
  • Dream Central
  • Soft And Dreamy
  • Dreamsong

In a lot of my bands, I end up covering a LOT of musical ground like keyboard parts for example. I had a particularly good time learning the keyboard solo to “Africa” by Toto.