Archive for the ‘Mad Rants/Observations’ Category

Another year, another blog entry

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

It’s been a while since the last one, for many reasons.  First, as I tell everyone, a new change in command at TUSAB.  It seems like a lame excuse, but new command means new workflow, and it’s an adjustment, no matter who the new guy is.  For some reason, this year was much busier than usual, and no hope for better this year.  This year, its an inaugural, next year it will be Pageant of Peace.  Left, right, left.

The other reason is that I didn’t feel like I had much to say, particularly about music.  I didn’t write much of anything last year.  No commissions, which was fine for a change because I had lots of other work to keep me busy, as well as my day job.  This year, as of this writing, I have 2 pieces to write, 3 if you include the Symphony I’m working on.  What the heck, I’ll write more about that later, once my panic attack subsides…

Actually, I do have a lot to say about music, but it’s more than can be easily written (typed) in one sitting.  I also had one of those self-censoring moments where I wondered if anyone actually read my blog, or if I even had anything to say, about music or anything else.  The problem with a blog is that it’s tempting to write what you’re actually thinking.  If I did that, it would be mostly complaints and lists of things I find ridiculous about the human species.  That just makes you sound like an asshole, and I’m not an asshole!  At least I hope I’m not one.  BUT that seems to be what people want to read.

2012 did have some ups and downs.  The Mayan Apocalypse apparently came and went!  I had one of the tougher bits of copy-work come across my desk on the Kennedy Center Honors (blasted Prokofiev!).  I went hiking, went on a few more wine tours, spent some more time with my camera & sweet lenses, got to see my family at Xmas for the first time in about 12 years.  All in all, a good year.

I do have some exciting gear upgrades in the works.  I’m going to get a copy of the new-fangled Band in a Box, with the real tracks and everything.  Also looking forward to trying the EZDrummer series of products.  Looks promising.

I would also like to do a review of some ZOOM products.  I like my ZOOM stuff.  More to come.

“Fine”

Friday, February 17th, 2012

At the ripe old age of 37, I’m starting to feel like a “real” composer/arranger.  After 20 years of doing it for fun, and 10 in the service of “l’Oncle d’Sucre”, I’ve learnt a funny thing or 2 about my little corner of the musical macrocosm.

One is that a first reading of any chart, composition, whathaveyou is no more or less painful the 1st time as it is the 101st time it happens.  I equate it to standing trouser-less in front of 60-100 strangers doing a still-life sketch of your genitals, complete with commentary on size, shape and usefulness, which are then read aloud.

Initially, the feeling is borne of the usual dreads: the wrong notes, the missing repeat signs, anything that you might have forgotten or unintentionally omitted, a part in the wrong transposition, etc., all attributal to the common human failings like fatigue, boredom, drunkeness, etc.  Then are the arranger/orchestrator things, like voicings, colors, etc.; there are always at least a dozen things every arranger/composer would like to change, but that’s reigned in by something called a “deadline”.  The third level of “I feel like I want to puke” hell comes from the players, and the unavoidable element of human error.  Wrong notes in a first reading are an inevitability – we’re all human beings after all, and though conscientious players are good about owning up to it, mistakes stop a rehearsal and trigger that “oh geez, what did I do???” reflex in the arranger, sort of like a fight-or-flight response.  One wrong note breeds others, and all of a sudden 4 more hands shoot up, usually over things as wildly dissonant as minor 7ths (mercy me!).  It just sucks.

I’ve come to realize something that I imagine many composers must have realized in their day, and that is this: a “perfect” performance or rendition of your carefully-crafted work is a rarity; savour it when it happens, but don’t expect it.  Think about any tried-and true piece from the musical canon, something like Handel’s “Messiah”, or Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”.  Think about the “best” performance or recording you know of, out of how many?  Now think of any amateur assemblage of musicians’ rendition of the same, and magnify that by the number of venues and groups around the world throughout time.  I imagine performances ranging from good to hilariously bad to ugly and all points in between.  If your wish is to write music that has any mass appeal (which will result in commissions, sales, royalties and eventually FOOD), this is something you’re going to eventually become acquainted with.

Back when I was a burgeoning composer, I started out in that kind of “crazy perfectionist” mindset, where a missed note or crescendo, or playing out of tune was tantamount to a personal insult, the words “I COULDN’T HAVE MADE IT ANY BLOODY CLEARER YOU SMALL-MINDED IMBECI^%#!” emblazoned across my face.  Getting personally offended by a missed note or two, however, is a fastlane to insanity or other disquieting stress-related maladies, especially if they’re YOUR fault (which face it-I’m the composer, of course the notes are right).

The remedy came in further study, becoming clearer in my notation and compositional technique, and adopting a more laissez-faire attitude about performances. Over time I developed something of a defense mechanism against this, and it comes in the form of a certain degree of detatchment.  I wouldn’t call it “apathy”, but I come to a state of “fine-ness”. Barring a complete trainwreck, I’m usually fine with how it sounds.  Face it – to the last person from the NY Phil down to the pee-wee beginner string ensemble, everyone tries their best, and they take pride in what they create, just like I do.  Give it a chance.

The Composer Next Door

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

A few nights ago I attended the yearly meeting of the Homeowner’s Association in my neighborhood. It’s not called that, but that’s in essence what it is. I’m not sure how many places outside the real estate hotbeds like Northern Virginia and well, CALIFORNIA, have HOA’s, but they seem to serve a dubious purpose, that is, for a modest fee, to make sure everyone’s home values stay nice and high, re-sale values stay nice and high, property taxes stay nice and high, and to keep the riff-raff from buying houses in the neighborhood (whatever that means). This is despite the fact that anyone with steady employment and any aspirations of starting a family or settling down isn’t concerned with that, but this is Northern Virginia, where most of the tenants stay for 3 years, do their stint for the government, contribute nothing to the community, and leave. Either that, or they do their stint, fall in love with the lush greenery of Virginia and the generally apathetic people, then settle down, contributing nothing to their communities.

Anyway, the HOA’s threaten legal action if you put up the wrong kind of fence or don’t keep your lawn and home in decent shape, “decent shape” being a purely subjective standard, apparently. In my view, however, they succeed in serving 2 important purposes: 1) giving the neighborhood busybody something to do, and 2) giving them people to lord over. Also, they make sure large patches of ground known as “common areas” get their grass cut in the summer, or at least try to get it cut.

Luckily, the HOA I was forced to join, or I should say “not given the choice of opting out of” is a pretty ineffectual one. The dues are low in comparison to others, but they also do comparatively little. Housing prices are what the real estate market says they will be, property taxes are what the county says they will be, and riff-raff seem to be buying nice houses and trashing them EVERYWHERE, including in our neighborhood, but even more so in the “rich”, or “rich looking” subdivisions.

I don’t usually attend these meetings, where your name is your house number, for the same reason I have iffy feelings about MOLA (despite the otherwise fine work they do): it’s a gathering of people for the purpose of agreeing on standards that does nothing but disagree on standards. These HOA meetings eventually devolve into a screaming match between who is or isn’t perceived to be complying with the ill-conceived and out-dated by-laws, mostly fuelled by 1 or 2 people. I usually end up walking out once the shouting begins.

As I sat there, looking around the room, there were all types of people. Some old, lots of middle-aged, a few younger ones. As I looked around, I wondered to myself if anyone had a clue about what I did, or what the others in the room did. Would anyone care that a composer (I’d say “famous”, but I’m not quite there yet) was sitting in their midst? Who knows. For all I knew, there was a rocket scientist or CIA person sitting among us; it is Northern Virginia after all. I wondered what people in Gabriel Faure’s neighborhood must have thought, maybe “hey, there’s that old guy. Doesn’t he play piano or something?”. I live in a town that has a surprising number of musicians, and I run into them, or hear of them every so often, which always strikes me as bizarre. If I was driving by their house, I’d just assume that they were Joe Sixpack.

I remember being in Sausalito once while on tour, and having some friends tell me they were in line at a coffee place behind Stone Phillips – that’s right – THE Stone Phillips. I couldn’t for the life of me picture who that was or what he looked like, since I’m assuming “Stone” is a male name (no, I don’t watch TV). I thought it was funny how in Sausalito, this guy was just someone’s neighbor. I’m guessing in Hollywood it’s like that too. Maybe you win 5 Emmy’s and a Golden Globe, but to someone else you just might be the redneck neighbor, or “that guy, you know, the nice young couple that has those pretty bushes in their front yard, who occasionally leaves the house wearing a tux (?)”.

It’s a small, large world.

Lessons learned: Stay Involved

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I just finished a harrowing 15-ish hours, and I’m dog-tired, but while physically exhausted, I’m actually thinking clearly, so I thought I should jot this down before relaxation washes away the memory of it.

I was up all night writing another piece for the WMPA. I enjoy writing for the group, and I never pass on the opportunity to write for orchestra. For some reason, however, I always end up filling up my lead-time with other things to do, things that have to be done fairly quickly. Ugh, time management…

I was writing yet another overture; no special instructions or crazy stuff, just a couple of minutes of music. Through combination of a surprisingly busy schedule, some bad timing, and – face it – just plain laziness, I basically left it until the last minute. While writing under these circumstances isn’t usually hard for me, this time it proved especially difficult. I sat down at the computer yesterday at about 2:00pm and finished at about 5:00 this morning. Feeling like a sack of jello, I laid down for a few hours before processing the parts. I’d been wracking my brain trying to think of what made it so difficult, or FEEL so difficult is probably more like it, and I think I hit upon something we all should think about as composers.

I’ve been playing in a community orchestra for the past couple of years. It’s a far cry from my days of “show up, sightread Mahler 1, here’s your check+travel”, but it keeps the horn on my face. I’d taken about a month off recently to conduct the premiere of my latest ouevre “Somnambulant”, so while I had my composer hat on for most of the time, I’d also had a substantial break from the horn.

Going through school, I spent more time practicing and performing than I did at the keyboard or writing-desk, even though I was a composition student. There was always the immediate, visceral pleasure of creating sound and “making music”, but I eventually came to recognize that the physical connection of performing music, and the subsequent creation of those mental pathways, was how I seemed to learn to compose. Early on, I was encouraged to write for my own instrument, and in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense when you take into account the fact that you can only really articulate your thoughts as well as you are familiar with the syntax. In other words, you can only speak as well (or specifically, I’d say) as your vocabulary and command of the language allows. The better my trombone playing was, the more facile my writing would be, so the theory went.

My writing of this piece had become a purely technical process, which is odd for me. I tend to write with the most comfort when it resembles a more reflex-driven process, in much the same way that I see notes and shaped on a page of printed music and my body reacts in all the miniscule ways to produce it on the trombone – the perfected balance of body and mind. I feel as though taking so much time away from my primary instrument has led to the atrophy of certain capabilities, or that I’ve become divorced from the vital process of performing to help fuel creativity. Maybe it’s just that they aren’t as automatic.

Ach, maybe what I really need is some REST. Everything’s harder when you’re fatigued. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding, and in the end it may turn out to be more successful than my very self-critical sensibilities predict. Whatever the case, it certainly won’t hurt to get the horn back on the face.

I, Conductor

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Last night I had my public conducting debut. I’ve had the conducting bug for a long time, but neither the time nor relative motivation to pursue it seriously. Recently, however, I’ve been coming to the realization that the composer/arranger would do well to be able to include the baton in his toolbox along with the other assorted goodies, so there’s no time like the present.

For it being my first time, I made it pretty easy on myself, actually. At one time I had probed the YouTube(s) for helpful hints for a beginning/aspiring conductor, and after sifting through the good, the bad, the ugly, and all of the wonderful archival footage of Maestro Herbert von Karajan, I found a great video short featuring Larry Livingston, prof. of conducting at USC. He states, in a nutshell, that to conduct, you needed 3 things:

1. Conviction
2. Absolute Knowledge of the score
3. to “Be” the Music

In this case, I was granted the opportunity to conduct the world premiere of a piece I was commissioned to write by Bishop Ireton High School. It was a biographical/programmatical piece, so I knew it absolutely, and I could most definitely embody, or “be” the music. I wanted the performance to go well, as a composer seeks to be understood through music, so I’d say that counts as conviction. Still, a conductor is the sum of their parts, so I drew upon my years of playing under Eugene Corporon, Craig Kirchoff, Anshel Brusilov, David Baldwin, and observing the officers at TUSAB, and my fellow students through my studies like Jason Lim and Scott Terrell, and I gave it my best shot.

The whole of the experience left me with some interesting thoughts to ponder. It was odd for me to come in and work with another person’s group. It was hardest getting up the courage to correct mistakes or things that were a little off-kilter; I liken it to coming over to someone’s house and taking it upon yourself to discipline their children in front of them, although I’m sure Mr. Eyles hardly would have seen it that way. That’s something I’ll have to work on.

I feel like I relied on the score a little too much, even though I hardly looked at it, and knew every last note of it. I suppose it was more of a mental crutch than anything. I also wanted to make sure I didn’t confuse anyone when I started “just conducting the music”, because I’m keenly aware of the phsychological stability that metered barlines seem to offer, especially to younger musicians. I would have hated it if everyone got lost because I couldn’t throw a good downbeat on my own freaking piece.

From a purely conducting technique standpoint, the performance itself was quite the eye-opener. I’d taken a lesson with Anthony Maiello (I’ll be calling you soon, Maestro) and he’d recommended getting a small pocket-video recorder, mine being the Zoom Q3, so I’ve been recording myself diligently every chance I’ve been able to get for podium time. I don’t know why I didn’t do more of it through school (laziness, I guess) because it’s incredibly instructive. We, myself and the B.I. Wind Ensemble, did a run-through about an hour and a half before they were to go on (after the Navy Band) and it felt GREAT. I watched the footage of it later with my wife, and there were a few moments where even SHE said “ah, I see who you were channeling there”. Yes, I felt I had a few brief “Karajan-esque” moments in the run-through. I did my “eye-brows” at the right people, had some brilliant hand gestures, did the whole “squeezing music out of the depths of the earth – eyes closed” thing. Awesome. NONE of that was there in the actual performance, of course – none of it. The performance itself, however, was electric. My conducting was off a tiny bit, but it was true music-making. The “spirit” of the piece was there, making the invisible energy vibrate in that indescribably warm and beautiful way. There were moments of spontaneous clarity, little subtle changes in the tempo – brief pauses where the music could relax just that little extra bit, and the band was right with me the whole time, step by step, as if in perfect sync. It was truly magical. I really had to grit my teeth in the last few bars to keep the tears back. The stick-waving might not have been stellar, but the performance was more than I could have ever hoped for.

I’m guessing this is how conductors are born.

Tone-deaf kids & Cash Cows

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

What do those 2 things have in common? Christmas, that’s what. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Aside from all the crabby people and horrible traffic, yes, it certainly is.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. It’s too commercial. I’m not really a fan of most holidays, actually; they seem more like exercises in mass mind control than anything else. Really, think about it for a second. Valentine’s Day – buy candy, do “romantic things”. Easter – buy candy, hide eggs. 4th of July – blow things up. Halloween – costumes & candy. Thanksgiving – eat turkey. Christmas – buy stuff. New Years – get drunk, kiss someone, at MIDNIGHT. And the cycle repeats…

One nice thing about Christmas is that it is awash in music. One of my personal favourites is “Some Children See Him” by Alfred Burt, performed by Andy Williams. If you want a cash-cow, write a Christmas song; that sucker will be played every year throughout the end of time, even if it’s a steaming pile of manure. Just tune in to any radio station around Christmas time and you’ll see what I mean.

Of course, most of the best Christmas music, arguably, has already been written. Even Rob Mathes’ “William the Angel” (which is a good song in its own right) has “Angels We Have Heard on High” as sort of a basis to it. Then there are ones that have been cannibalized, bastardized, out-right STOLEN. Just slap an R&B rhythm figure behind it, and boom! You’ve just “written” a new tune. I was staying at a hotel at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic last year, and the lobby music was this compilation of old Christmas classics that some “genius” had taken random 2-bar phrases of and looped, over and over. Yes, how clever. It’s like hearing “and they lived happily ever… happily ever… happily ever…” and so on. If I ever find the guy who did it, I’m going to punch him. Really hard. (figuratively, of course)

And, inevitably, it will be sung by a gaggle of kids, only a small percentage of which, statistically, will be able to carry a tune. We have, around these parts, a very generous radio station which plays performances by local groups starting the day after Thanksgiving. Some of the performers are bona fide diamonds in the rough; a majority of them are gaggles of kindergarten-ers with their own particular brand of, how shall I put it, “sprechstimme”. I would be dishonest if I said that kids used to be better singers, but that small percentage seems to have shrunken somewhat. And the more tone-deaf, the more endearing.

Piano music… for trombones.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I made a pledge to myself once: “I will never transcribe or arrange anything for trombones, ever again”.

Ok, hang on… let me explain. Trombone players are a desperate lot, and I’m a trombone player, so trust me, I’m not just saying that to be a jerk. We beg, borrow and steal from everyone. Bassoons, Cellists, Horn players, Flute players, clarinet players, oboe players… piano players.

Ugh… So what’s an instrument family to do? The only sane & safe answer seems to be to write original music for trombone. It’s not as bad as one would think; a good professional trombonist can cover about 4 solid octaves and all dynamic levels, and can create lots of tone colors. And thank the maker, trombone players are a very open-minded and receptive lot (especially if you happen to write good music). BUT, occasionally you have a request for something crazy, and who are you to turn it down? Besides, if anyone asked me how I felt about doing a chart on , I’d be immediately ecstatic, no matter what it was (God, please let it require kazoos). Oh, the exotic life of an arranger.

So, anyway… I’m working on a chart currently that is a transcription of a famous piano piece for, arguably, 4 of the best trombone players in the world. If it were for anyone else, it might be annoying, but I’m ecstatic. If it were any other piece, it would be a bit less of a pain, but I like a challenge, always and everywhere. So on to business!

It’s tricky figuring out how to approach something like this. Lucky for me, I played trombone professionally for a number of years before becoming a chairborne-qualified Finale Ranger, so I know some tricks. Note to Junior orchestrators: KNOW THY INSTRUMENTS. The most well written music can still sound like garbage if poorly orchestrated.

Back to it… The way I see it, there are 2 ways I could go about skinning this cat:

1) Go literal
2) Go liberal

Some pieces seem like they were written to be played by everything and everybody. Bach chorales, hymn tunes. Easy! Virtuoso piano music? Not so much. It may not always be possible, or practical to represent every single pitch of every single octave. In fact, if it’s a piano piece for any winds, unless you’ve got a full orchestra at your disposal, it just ain’t gonna happen. Most ensembles have enough instruments to cover a pretty good span of octaves, but wind instruments in particular have limits as to where things stop sounding normal.

So it’s time to “go liberal”. It’s the point in my chart-writing where I say “f#@! this, it’s my chart now!” I don’t want to suggest that re-writing is the 1st answer, or that radically changing a piece is the only way to go, or that it really makes it “my piece”. There are instances, however, where an orchestration or arrangement is nearly re-writing the piece; examples that come to mind are: the orchestration of Satie’s “Gymnopedies” by Debussy, Stokowski’s Bach “Prelude & Fugue in D-minor”. With others, it’s either a necessity or an open ivitation to be a little free with the interpretation, Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” for example. Other pieces seem to say “this is exactly how you’re going to orchestrate it, like pretty much any piano piece by Debussy.

What about trombones and kazoos…

Up With People… with guns.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

You know that it’s time to re-examine your life when the description of the thing-you’re-currently-doing includes “It’s like Up With People… only *fill in blank*”. Seriously, what could possibly go in that that would make it a good thing?

Right after high school, I was in a touring group called “the Kids From Wisconsin”, which (if you aren’t from Wisconsin) is a show troupe of singers & dancers and a small 13-piece band that performed broadway numbers, assorted vaudeville, and top 40’s tunes. It was a tiny bit cornball, very flashy, but very well run, and one of the formative experiences in my life, both as a person and musician. I learned most of the music battlefield lessons in that group, which serve me well to this day. Anyway, I’d heard people describe the show as “well… it’s kinda like Up With People”. Both groups have clips on YouTube, oddly enough, so anyone can check it out. Having never heard them before, I saw a clip of them and I had to grimacingly agree. Sure, it’s the same, maybe if it was run by the USO, which the “Kids” director and creator had actually done in the 50’s. Up until my YouTub-ing I hadn’t heard a performance or otherwise from Up With People, and I’d venture a guess that most people haven’t either, but for some odd Kafka-esque (or Orwellian, take your pick) reason, everyone seems to immediately know, without any further explanation, what “It’s like Up With People…” means.

Anyway, I’m currently on/off the road with the Army’s touring pageant-outreach show, Spirit of America. It is comprised of the various elite Army ceremonial units of the Washington DC area I may have mentioned in a previous post. Fifes and drums, the Army Drill team (my personal favourite) and of course, the US Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”. It’s a 2-act show with a historical drama/musical which gives the TUSAB arrangers a chance to play film composer for a bit, before the “cool stuff” in the 2nd act, performances by the above mentioned ceremonial groups. I overheard a colleague describe it to someone they knew as “Up With People, only with guns.”

Let’s see… singing, check. Positive messages or imagery… mm.., sure, check. Guns? Oh yeah. Lotsa guns. Simulated gunfire of all types in the battle “recreations”, and then the vertigo-inducing drill team gun-juggling. All that cool GI Joe stuff.

Up with People… with guns. Indeed.

Routine

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Every musician knows something about routine. Either you have one, go out of your way not to have one, have a routine of order or disorder, the concept is something we’re all aware of.

My routine starts at 6:00am. I roll out of bed, throw on my exercise clothes, and depending on the day, I do weights for a half-hour (after stretching) or run for a half-hour (3-4 miles, depending on how I feel, or what I drank the night before). After that, breakfast: 3 eggs, scrambled with butter and cheese, 2 strips of bacon, and a cup of coffee. Then, shower and wet-shave if I need it. I got into the straight-razor “traditional” shave a while back, and I love it; a bit of a learning curve, but it makes a difference. Once that’s all done, it’s on with my day. After that, it all depends on what’s going on.

It took me a LONG time to develop and settle into my current routine; I say “current” because I might need to change it some day, who knows. I never had one back in school. I was of the “cold horn” philosophy of playing, in other words, I felt that I should be able to pull the horn out of the case after being held up in traffic/oversleeping/flight delayed, be able to sit down, catch my breath, and play, and it should sound the same as if I’d warmed up for hours. It was supposed to stand as “since I maintain myself, I can let 1 day slide”, but it morphed into “I’m so badass, I don’t need to warm up.” Yeah, sounds great in theory, but it eventually catches up with you. Crashing and burning in the Zellmer finals was my final wake-up. Doug Wright said it best, I think: “If I miss 1 day, I notice; if I miss 2 days, YOU notice.”

It’s tough to get into a routine. Sometimes routine is forced on you. In Army Basic Training, we got up at 4:00am, every day, did hard PT, breakfast, and then whatever. It was tough at first, but after a while, it became routine. The day we finally got to sleep in until 6:00am, I felt like I was getting up at noon. But getting up at 4:00am was never up to me; it was up to DS Newsome, and the other 200-or-so of my bunkmates had no choice but to comply.

So, if you have no routine, what can help? It doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t have to be absolute. You have to fine-tailor it to your specific needs. Here are some suggestions on basics:

1. Get up early (relatively speaking, and within reason)

In other words, if you have a regular salsa band gig that goes ’til 3:00am every night, “early” might be a different time for you. But the old cliche is true, the Army gets more done by 9:00am than everyone else (because they get up at 4:00am).

2. Excercise

It doesn’t take a lot of time, and you don’t have to be hardcore about it, but you should do it. 30 minutes a day is fine, 40 is ideal. But just like practicing, make the most of it. You don’t play for 5 minutes and stare into space for 25. It helps ALOT if you do it with someone else. I get the most out of doing it early in the morning, but if you can’t, remember to do it BEFORE a meal, not after.

3. Eat breakfast

It gets your mind and body going. Don’t skip it; you can skip dinner, but not breakfast. Go for foods high in protein & good fats, low in sugar. Sugar is no good for you.

What’s in a name?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Howdy, folks. I suppose it’s somewhat official, I’m a web-nerd/blogger!

Check back for news, updates, heads-ups, and assorted mad rantings.

After much gnashing of teeth, wrenching of garments (gotta buy new t-shirts now) I finally have this thing up and running.  It took a bit to figure out how to make it look like my parent page, but heck, it’s all worth it, right?

Anyway, I thought an appropriate 1st post would be have to be something about the inception of this little project of mine.  I’ve decided to start a little self-publishing “venture” to vend and rent my music that maybe isn’t as publisher-friendly as some of my other for-hire stuff, and as a clearing house for the various bits of business I do.  As you can see from my main page, most stuff, if not all is available either through Hal Leonard or Vern Kagarice, or just isn’t available at all.

SO, I decided “JK Publications” would be a good name. You know, 1st initial, last initial, “publications”. Makes sense, right? WELL, as it turns out, I’m not the first person to think of that very simple name.  As it happens, “JK Publications” is not only a pornographer, but the subject of an FTC fraud investigation.  Go ahead and Google it if you don’t believe me.  (I’ll wait…)

Well, it turns out that “JK Music Publications” is kosher.  Frankly, it makes more sense anyway.  I guess the very obvious moral of the story is to check your company name against all possible sources!  You never know, right?