SubscribeStar Saturday: Yngwie Malmsteen Concert

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Last week I rode up to Silverado’s in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with my younger brother and his wife to hear Swedish neoclassical metal guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen.

Boy, it was an amazing concert.  He even played some Mozart!  Yngwie also played one of my personal favorites, “Albinoni’s Adagio“:

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll concert, and Yngwie delivered for a solid ninety minutes of neoclassical decadence.

This post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Open Mic Adventures IV: KISS’s “I Still Love You”

Last Tuesday I forewent my usual trip to F.E. Pop’s to take an end-of-summer trip to Benjamin’s Bakery in Surfside Beach, South Carolina to play their new open mic night.  My girl lives down that way, and she’d never seen me play live before (although I send her videos of my pianistic noodling on a regular basis), so we decided to take advantage of this opportunity for her to hear me play a few tunes.  It was a fun evening, and a great opportunity to meet some new musicians in a different town.

Unfortunately, my girl was so enraptured watching me perform (and a little girl grabbed her attention for about half of my mini-set), she didn’t take any video of my powerful coffee shop crooning.  That performance is now lost to the mists of time (although I will always remember it; I hope she does, too!).

As such, I’m going back to the night of Tuesday, 26 July 2022, featuring a duet with my buddy John Pickett.

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Open Mic Adventures III: Joanie Sommers’s “Johnny Get Angry”

Well, it was inevitable: after getting the early 1960s Joanie Sommers tune “Johnny Get Angry” stuck in my head, I had to cover it myself.  The version that really got me into this song is from the 1990 film Nightbreed, specifically the Clive Barker-approved director’s cut.  Other versions of the film apparently were missing the song—performed by actress Anne Bobby in the role of heroine/love interest Lori Winston—which is a travesty, as it’s really key to highlighting the struggle inherent in Lori and Boone’s relationship in the flick.

Here’s that version:

The Anne Bobby/Nightbreed version is the one I used as the basis for my own performance.  Instead of the iconic kazoo solo from the Sommers original, I replaced it with a classic late 1950s/early 1960s voiceover part after the key change.

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Open Mic Adventures II: Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”

After the warm reception the first edition of Open Mic Adventures received, I figured I’d keep the fun going with a second installment.

This week’s featured tune should come as no surprise, seeing as I play the piano and sing.  The technical, industry term for this combination is “singing pianist.”  It says it all!

That said, even though I’ve been singing and playing piano for years (and in earnest for ten years now), I somehow never managed to perform Billy Joel’s iconic hit “Piano Man.”

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My Latest Earworm: “Johnny Get Angry”

I love many kinds of music, but I’m primarily a rocker—I like swaggering, almost comically masculine hard rock.  I want to bang my head, shake my fists, and rock out to thundering power chords and hypnotic bass lines.  When I listen to rock, I feel like a panther taking flight on the wings of a phoenix.

But I also have a softness—a weakness, really—for late Fifties/early Sixties doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll.  Sometimes—perhaps, embarrassingly often—that love extends to female torch singers (I promise, I’m an allegedly heterosexual man).

Lately, I’ve had the 1962 tune “Johnny Get Angry” stuck in my head—constantly.  Songwriters Hal David and Sherman Edwards wrote this bit of bubblegum pop for Joanie Sommers, and it was a modest hit for the songstress.

That 1962 version is pretty catchy, and the instrumentation is interesting—especially the kazoo chorus when the key changes from D major to E major—but the version that really got me into this song is from the 1990 film Nightbreed, specifically the Clive Barker-approved director’s cut.  Other versions of the film apparently were missing the song—performed by actress Anne Bobby in the role of heroine/love interest Lori Winston—which is a travesty, as it’s really key to highlighting the struggle inherent in Lori and Boone’s relationship in the flick.

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Lazy Sunday CLIII: MAGAWeek2022

Last week I celebrated MAGAWeek2022, my annual observance honoring the people, places, things, events, concepts, etc., that have, in their own ways, made America great (again).

For this extremely lazy edition of Lazy Sunday, here are the four entries from this year’s illustrious list of greats:

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Summer Camps 2022 Reviews

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

I spent the first three weeks of summer break running camps:  two sessions of the popular Minecraft Camp, and one session of the far-less-popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp.  These camps make up a substantial portion of my summertime earnings, and so are an important revenue stream for yours portly during the otherwise lean summer months.

In this post, I’ll discuss each camp briefly, then break down the financials, and how I netted (after expenses, but before taxes) $1965.64 across roughly forty-eight working hours.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Midweek TPP Update: Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp, #MAGAWeek2022, Etc.

Summer is rolling right along, sometimes at an alarming speed.  I’ve gotsta buckle down if I’m going to get all these projects finished.

This week I’m running Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp, which I offered for the first time last summer.  Last year I had three campers—a small but talented group.  This year, I’m down to one diligent bassist.  I wasn’t even sure if he was going to show up, but his grandmother rolled up Monday morning and dutifully dropped him off, so we commenced a-rockin’.

Essentially, he’s getting twelve hours of private lessons from yours portly for about 22% of the normal cost (if I charged my half-hourly rate of $30 for twelve hours/twenty-four half-hours of lessons, I’d pull in $720; I’ll net $160 on this camp [that’s $200 total for the camp, less the 20% the school takes]).

Of course, we’re not playing bass for three hours straight each morning.  Where it’s just the two of us, we’ve worked out a schedule that seems to work pretty well:

  • Start with about thirty minutes of bass guitar—his bass “lesson” for the day.
  • Shift over to piano (his little fingers need a rest from pressing metal against a hard wooden fretboard) for about thirty minutes, working on chords and music theory.
  • Take a morning break, during which we talk about songwriting.
  • Work on songwriting (we’re currently wrapping up a tune called “The Story of Sam the Clam”) for about forty-five minutes.
  • Take a second, shorter break.
  • Review the songwriting session, then clean up and organize the Music Room for the day.

It’s pretty cool to have the flexibility to build the camp around what he wants to learn, while also working in some things that I know will be beneficial to him.

The other looming event of the year is #MAGAWeek2022, which will run from Tuesday, 5 July through Saturday, 9 July 2022.  For newcomers, #MAGAWeek2022 is when I celebrate the people, places, things, ideas, concepts, institutions, etc., that have, in their own way, Made America Great (Again).

During that week, all posts are behind the paywall over at my SubscribeStar page, but generous previews will be available here.  Fortunately, it’s just $1 to get access to everything for the week.

Finally, I’ve at least pulled up the manuscript for the first volume of Sunday Doodles, which I hope to publish via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service by the end of the summer.  The plan originally was to include the first fifty editions of Sunday Doodles, which are normally only available to $5 and up subscribers, as a handsome, black-and-white paperback.  Now, however, I’m thinking I might go even bigger, and include the first 100 editions of Sunday Doodles.  Talk about a nice coffee table book!

Speaking of, I am running late—for the first time in a long time!—on this past Sunday’s edition of Sunday Doodles.  Hopefully it will be live for subscribers by the time you read this post.

So, there you have it—some quick updates on yours portly.

Happy Wednesday!

—TPP

Supporting Friends Friday: Frederick Ingram’s “Ephemery”

My phone has twelve tracks downloaded to it, which auto-play in alphabetic order every time I get into the car.  Six of them are the tracks from my album, Contest Winner EP; four are from Frederick Ingram’s Elements; one is Frederick’s single “Fish Bowl“; and one—oddly—is Ozzy’s “Shot in the Dark” from The Ultimate Sin album.

This Friday, I’m diving back into Frederick’s exquisite EP Elements, one of my favorite indie releases of the past decade.  Because I listen to this EP multiple times each week, I’ve gotten to know these tunes very well.  Indeed, I wrote about another song from the EP, “Yesterday’s Weather,” back in January.

Today, I’d like to examine the other standout track from Elements, the shimmering “Ephemery.”

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