Front and Centre

For the first time in over 2 and a half years I was up on stage.

It was this past weekend in Toronto, with my band the Catallyst. It was actually only the second time I’ve ever played guitar on stage before. (I was the bassist in my previous band.) It was thrilling and unnerving all at the same time, and it kind of put the music I’m making into a new light.

For one, it was our first time testing the material in front of a real tangible audience. I mean, we’ve had songs online for about a year but you really can’t gauge a response from people unless you present something where they have to sit there, listen to it, and give you some real feedback. A lot of people are, seemingly, easy to impress, but it’s those few that actually give you constructive criticism are the opinions that I really value the most. I wanna hear about the things I’m not doing so well, you know, give me a shit sandwich! It’s the only way to improve on what I’m doing. Thanks dudes, you know who you are.

The Catallyst is about Rock n’ Roll. High energy, rhythmic, almost trance-like, sometimes progressive song structures, and our singer kind of lives above it all, within the music. Whereas, I write my guitar lines to be melodic and with a heavy groove (almost like a bass player, wink wink).

I’ve always been a DIY musician. I don’t wanna spend 10 grand getting my ass handed to me by industry guys, or take shit from people who’ve had the privilege of being classically trained their whole life. I’ve pretty much taught myself everything I know, just out of necessity and curiosity. I sought out those people that I could really learn something from, have fun with, and help out. But being a good musician has not come easy to me. I sometimes have had trouble finding inspiration in doing repetitive tasks, I need something fresh periodically to recharge my energies.

I find when I’m stuck doing the same types of things for a long time, I start to get discouraged and it’s not good. I had to find a way to make a balance in my life, mentally and spiritually. Nothing has ever made itself glaringly clear, and I felt like there was always some sort of grey area in all aspects of the world and life. I don’t know how I really came to be that way, but I cannot and could not find any real absolute truth, and as far as I’m concerned there is none.  The one calling I’ve always had, ever since I was a small child, was to play music. To facilitate that for my friends who wanna come along for the ride, and be a conduit of energy for the people who come to see me. I get a real sense of accomplishment when I come out of those type of things, and making recordings as well. I cannot stand unfinished business, it is important to identify the people you have a strong working relationship with and those that are simply involved for the ideal result or have a completely different view than you in what you’re trying to achieve.

The art of labour is something that is often over-looked, and is largely the most gratifying process in the whole of any experience. If the labour is too much of a dire struggle, then the end result is hardly satisfying because you know you have to go through it again to achieve anything close. In music, the quality of the art is intangible. There is no quantitative measurement of success. Only the quality of the sound, which is a reflection of the art of the labour. Money is a by-product of a good business dealings, not good music. The end result is that the experience is over, and I don’t wanna experience that until me or the music no longer needs to exist.

Jon

Satch Boogie

Going to check out Joe Satriani @ Massey Hall tonight kind of out of the blue. It’s expensive but how often do you get a chance to see one of the greatest guitar players ever in concert? I’m glad I’m a music nerd right now.

Satriani has been around for a while, and he seems to pop up time to time with something pretty cool. I’m not really a huge fan, but I checked out his recent album, Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock, a little while ago and thought it was pretty good. In fact, I think most of Satch’s recording’s are good. I don’t really have a favourite though. None really starkly stand out that much to me as “the best”, not because any lack musicianship or anything, I have no idea why (a lot of his older work represents 1980’s shred guitar, which can be a bit kitch… not necessarily equaling quality song-writing in my opinion, but to each his own. Whatever I have absolutely nothing on this guy.) However, he did help me a ton with understanding modes.

So upon hearing about the show I sought out some live footage and found a few gems, this stuff will probably be what I’m about to see tonight, can’t wait!

Summer Song

Super Colossal

Cool #9