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Carl talks about the Pat McDonald Drummer GoFundme, then answers music questions about practicing, reading music, and finding one’s own style. Then he explains why he loves the band Skillet, talks a bit about the upcoming Pantera tour, and admires a YouTube musician named Hermit The Fraud.
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Carl King on Twitch
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Skillet On YouTube
Hermit The Fraud
The Johnson Report
COLD OPEN / PAT MCDONALD GOFUNDME
Stop the music! Turn it off. Hang on, hang on. This is Carl King, your host, and I’ve got something important to say. We have a friend of the Carl King Podcast that needs our help. Some of you might have heard that drummer Pat McDonald suffered a STROKE recently. This is terrible news. He’s an incredible drummer and one of the biggest musical inspirations of my life. Some may know he played on the Sir Millard Mulch song BROCCOLI, and several other songs on my first Sir Millard Mulch CD.
Anyway, Pat’s wife is running a GoFundMe to help cover his emergency medical bills and his physical therapy. It sounds like it’s going to be a long road, but they say that they are hopeful.
I’ve created a Bitly link, and I’m putting it in the description and / or the show notes, but I’ll also read it here. The URL is… BIT DOT EL WHY SLASH PAT DRUMS.
And remember, any amount will help. So head over to that GoFundMe, and help Pat McDonald through his recovery, because we need him to get behind those drums again. And SOON.
BIT DOT EL WHY SLASH PAT DRUMS
IN THIS EPISODE
Now let’s begin to get started.
Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media.
Here’s what’s coming up in this episode.
We’ve got a MUSIC-focused show this week. I figure I’ve done enough mumbling, incoherent film reviews for now, so we’re going to change gears a little bit. And I know a lot of you are MUSIC people, so hey, this is for YOU. Because my show is YOUR SHOW! But not really, I’m just saying that because it makes me appear to be a good person.
So, with MUSIC in mind, Carl King is going to answer 3 LISTENER QUESTIONS ABOUT MUSIC. That’s going to be a ton of musical fun.
Then I’m going to talk about some new content I’ve uploaded to YouTube. Can’t wait to hear what that’s about, can you?
Next, I’ll announce a new live streaming music-related show I plan to do on TWITCH.
After that, I’ll discuss the breaking news that a famous METAL band from the 90s is getting back together. They’re even GOING ON TOUR, but with a fresh twist. And it’s kinda blowing my mind.
Then I’ll announce the results of last week’s Word Game Creative Challenge AND of course I’ll give you all a BRAND NEW Creative Assignment.
To wrap things up, I’ll tell you about a musician I’ve come across on YouTube. He’s sharing some intriguing interpretations of music that all of us in the Carl King musical universe are going to appreciate. Are you ready for that? Is that something you think you’d enjoy? I think you will. Nod your head. Yes, Carl King, I will enjoy it. Good.
By the way, this podcast is now available on many, many platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, and I think some others. So be sure to subscribe on whatever platform or player you prefer with plenty of plosives. And write me a nice little review while you’re at it. Why? Because YOU are a very good friend of Carl King. And that’s what very good friends of Carl King do.
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE
Allow me to give you all a quick update on Carl King The Human. Because without me, I wouldn’t exist. So here I am. I’m in Southern California, the Imaginary City called Los Angeles, and it is currently and presently 93 degrees F. I’m wearing my red gym shorts, and a comfortable grey T-shirt my wife bought me.
That guy I hired to paint my studio, guess what? He rescheduled again. We’re now looking at August 9. Of 2023, perhaps. No, that’s not true. Okay, he just rescheduled for THIS FRIDAY. That’s good news. I can’t wait to smell those paint fumes in here.
In other news, remember how I had itchy Carl King hands last week? It turned into an entirely ITCHY CARL KING BODY. Yeah. In the middle of the night, I broke out in HIVES due to my previous Covid infection. As I said before, I thought it was our cats. But the doctor said, no, probably the virus. I wanted to jump out of my skin. Ever felt that? Unbearable. The next morning I went out and got some pharmaceuticals from a doctor, and the large red swollen welts have uh, subsided? Vanished. For now. But they could return at ANY MOMENT. So if you hear Carl King type of screams and itching sounds, perhaps Carl King blood spraying across the room, you know EXACTLY what is happening. Don’t make me upload photos. Here’s to hoping it really is the post COVID immune reaction and that it’s not the cats, or some other animal we live with. Maybe I’m allergic to podcasting. Hmm.
I just returned from The Desert, where it was 115 degrees. That sure was something. Took a little trip out there for the weekend. No one out there wants to go outside, so there’s barely any traffic. Speaking of desolate places, you might have seen there’s a guy named Elon Musk who wants to colonize Mars. I saw a funny clip of Neil DeGrasse Tyson responding to that idea. He said, basically, we already have Antarctica here, and no one wants to move to it. Mars and Antarctica actually have similar temperatures, Minus 70 or 80 degrees. So temperatures outside a narrow comfortable range kinda discourages space exploration, I think. Maybe Elon can first colonize Antarctica and the lost civilizations beyond.
So I’m happy to be back in my studio, next to this scorching window and freezing AC.
3 LISTENER QUESTIONS ABOUT MUSIC
Now let’s dig into those listener questions. ALL 3 of the questions I received this week happen to be about MUSIC. What are the odds of that?
This is from someone named Mordrid Ice Breath – sounds like you might be a dragon. Are you actually a dragon? That would be wild.
Mordrid Ice Breath asks… can you help me with my music practice routine? I want to get better at guitar. Thank you.
Mordrid, here’s what I recommend. And this is what I do myself, when I’m in guitar or bass mode. FIRST of all, try to practice every day for some amount of time, even if it’s just 15 minutes. But don’t practice more than about 45 minutes in one sitting. Take a break, stand up, walk around, stretch. It can be BAD for your body to play an instrument for long periods of time without a break. Also, taking a break will relax your mind. Then, if you want to do another practice set, do another 45. But as I said, if you can’t even do a single 45 minute chunk, just do 15 minutes a day. Or even 10 minutes a day. Daily practice that adds up to 3 hours in a week can be better than 3 hours of practice IN THE SAME SESSION, just once a week. SECOND, start by doing something simple that gets you warmed up. Some simple strumming of chords in time. Something easy and comfortable. Do that for about 5 minutes. THIRD, spend the bulk of your focus on things you can’t quite do perfectly, to where it’s challenging. Think of it kind of like lifting weights. You want to be pushing your limits just enough. Don’t just noodle, playing things you can already play for 15 minutes and call it practicing. If you do that, you won’t grow. Learn new material, learn a new technique. FOCUS, don’t let your mind wander. It’s like meditating. Don’t goof around. FOURTH, you can end your practice session with another 5 minutes of something you’re comfortable playing, just for fun. Try to make it a little daily routine. And let me know how that works for you. I think you’ll see a big improvement.
Gloom Thornheart – Huh, that’s like the name of a dragon slayer. Or a dual-class fighter / mage. I’m sensing a sort of medieval fantasy story emerging here. Anyway, Gloom Thornheart asks:
I hear some people say I should learn to read music. But it feels like a waste of time. What do you think?
Gloom, I say yes. Learn to read music. Real notation. Not just TABS. Here’s why. First, it will help you understand music in a new way. Some ideas are SO MUCH EASIER to understand and share with other people, if they’re written down. That’s why it’s been done for centuries. Second: imagine if you had to go through life without being able to read English, or whatever your native language is. You’d literally (?) be illiterate. Imagine how much that would limit you. I mean, you wouldn’t have been able to submit this question. And think about this… if music is something that’s SO IMPORTANT to you, if you really take being a musician seriously, you want to increase your chances of success in any way you can. You want every opportunity, every tool available to you. Reading and writing are basic communication skills in life AND in music. So go for it. I recommend a couple of resources for this, the most impressive of them is an App for your phone / device / computer called Sight Reading Factory. It will teach you to read, and practice reading, on any possible instrument. Seriously, install it on your phone, and when you’re on the toilet, sit there and practice your reading. Better yourself. Sight Reading Factory Dot Com.
And last, let me say how much I regret not investing more time in reading and writing notation through all my years of playing guitar. It has become SUCH a useful skill for me. For instance, if I can play through a piece of music when recording, without needing to memorizing it, it makes my life so much easier. And even just memorizing my own musical parts, having notation in front of me speeds up the process, rather than digging around through MIDI and listening to parts over and over. So the sooner you can become notationally literate, the better. Seriously.
Szip Dop Gnikkeq – wow. Okay. I don’t know if now we have a Goblin writing in, or one of those weird kids from Venice Florida that makes up their own names. Does it spell something backwards? Qekking Pod Pizs. No. I see it doesn’t.
The question is: how do I find my own musical style?
Szip Dop, here’s what I have to say, and you might be surprised with how easy this actually is. FIRST OF ALL, a style is really just two things: a set of limitations, and a set of repeated elements. Things you never do, and things you do all the time. For instance, ACDC has an identifiable style. Their limitations are: it’s always guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. It’s always classic rock riffs in 4/4 time at a steady tempo. Verse, chorus, bridge, Angus Young guitar solo, etc. If they were to add Moog synthesizer solos, it wouldn’t be ACDC. Same with a band like Bad Religion. There’s a drum beat that almost every song has. They probably have 100 songs with the same exact drum beat, and without the other instruments you could never tell them apart. But it works. It’s their thing. SECOND: ask yourself specifically what you like. Do you like the Lydian Mode? Then use it often. Make it your thing. Steve Vai has sort of made it his thing, but you know what I mean. Find some VERY specific thing you like… it can really be anything. For instance, I like Major Chords. So you know what I did? I wrote a bunch of albums using almost entirely major chords. It gave my music a sound. So: make yourself a list. Find 3 or 5 or 10 things in music that you really like. Pick one or two of them, and see what would happen if you made them a thing you always do. Be careful though, because Lars Ulrich did that, and a guy named Josh Steffen made an entire YouTube of playing covers of songs that have been what he calls “Larsified.” The results are hilarious. Look him up on YouTube, and I’ll also add a link in the show notes. If that’s OK with you.
Keep those Questions coming. Send anything you’ve got to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Episode is Sponsored by… Carl King, and his Patreon Patrons. If you want to help support this podcast, you are always welcome to head over to Patreon. I just wanna let you know what my $5 and up Patreon members will get. There’s a sticky post, a sort of INDEX at the top of the Members Only Section, that has the following:
8 Music Albums from across my discography of Sir Millard Mulch, Dr. Zoltan, and Carl King, all in high-resolution WAV format.
1 PDF Book – I just uploaded one of my books called We Are The Pilots of Giant Robots, from 2009. You can’t get it anywhere else. Patreon Only.
And 3 pretty cool VIDEO music lessons that are exclusive to Patreon Patrons. I play my electrical bass instrument and my electrical guitar instrument. In those videos. I hope to make more of those soon.
CHEWBODE VS. HANK HOWARD III ON PATREON
Speaking of Patreon, we have a bit of a situation over there, folks. And I’m going to tell you about it, RIGHT NOW. It seems that this past week, my only $50 Patron, Hank Howard III, has been USURPED from his Throne. It’s true! While he is still supporting at the $50 Arch-Mage level, my old friend, from the bus, CHEWBODE has raised the stakes. That’s right, Chewbode Handler of Humongous Hairy Hot Dogs (all covered in Hickeys and Herpes), has… OUTBID Hank Howard III by pledging $50 and One Penny. Can you believe that? I didn’t see that coming. It’s safe to say NO ONE DID. We could not have prepared for this!
Now. I’m not issuing a challenge here. I’m not turning my artistic integrity into an auction. Okay? Not at all. Imagine the scandal that would cause. I would never do something like that, because, you know it’s against my principles. And to be honest, there wouldn’t be any benefit for me, financially, if you two started raising your pledges. I mean except for the fact that I’d get more money. So guys. Please. You don’t need to prove who cares more about my creative projects, you know, my friendship.
CARL KING’S RECENT YOUTUBE RELEASES
Now it’s time to talk about Carl King’s recent YOUTUBE Releases.
If you have a YouTube account, head over to YouTube Dot Com / CarlKingdom, and check out what’s going on there. Over the past week I’ve uploaded hours of content, going all the way back to Dr. Zoltan days.
1 – Dr. Zoltan Declaration of War On Fun LIVE with Marco Minnemann (2008) – this is the full length live show I did with Marco in Hollywood, at the Steve Allen Theater’s Tomorrow Show, hosted by… hey, the creator of Metalocalypse, Mr. Brendon Small himself. I wrote up this huge speech and had Marco play drums to it. It was a pretty wild performance art show.
2 – Dr. Zoltan’s Understanding Music Through Geometry (2007). This is a wacky video that Terry Bozzio was pretty into back in the day, in which I play guitar, bass, and drums, and explain an unusual way of understanding odd tuplets. I don’t really think of tuplets like that, but it was a way to show them visually with spinning geometrical shapes.
3 – Brendon Small Interview From 2011 – This was the first time I interviewed Brendon at his home studio, and I asked a heck of a lot of good questions, focusing on psychology. Trying to figure that dude out. It was for my So You’re A Creative Genius Now What podcast, but I’ve finally made it available on YouTube, so go and listen.
4 – Carl King Interview: Kinda Geeky Podcast 2018 – Back when I was raising funds for my animated pilot The Oracle of Outer Space, this dude named Keith had me down to Culver City to talk all about making the show. So go listen to that, if you wanna hear what I was thinking at the time.
5 – GuitarTricks 6-Second ANIMATED Commercial, VO by me and Dan Foster. This was actually ANIMATED by me, in a visual style I was developing at the time. Came out pretty cool! It reminds me that I should do more actual animation myself, but it just takes me so long, and there are only so many things I can do at one time.
PANTERA REUNION TOUR
I have a strict policy here at the CarlKingdom Podcast. I don’t talk about current events. Because I don’t care about the world or the present. But I’m breaking that policy ONLY ONCE. And it’s for a damned good reason. Did everyone hear that PANTERA is going on tour again? How is that even POSSIBLE? You know what? I’m excited, because here’s what I’m told the tour is going to consist of. It’s just gonna be the two remaining living members. Can you believe it? Just a duo! Well how could that work, you wonder? It’ll work like this. Rex Brown is gonna wear his dapper fedora and vest, and sit on a wooden stool and play bass-lines. While Phil Anselmo tells angry macho stories and does improv beat poetry. I’m surprised they’re doing this. Says here they’ve agreed to make each show entirely spontaneous, created in magic of the moment. Not a single previous Pantera song, no Mouth For War, No Walk, No 5 Minutes Alone. They intend to live totally in the now, which is going to be crazy. I don’t know about you, but I’ve ordered my VIP tickets and I plan to follow them on the road in an RV, Grateful Dead style. My wife and I have decided to put the house up for sale, and… oh, wait. Hang on a second. No. That ISN’T right? No? No. I was reading this press release wrong. Ah, crap.
CARL KING’S COMPLICATED MUSIC HOUR
Now it’s time to announce my new Streaming Twitch Show. Or at least my intention to do one. I haven’t worked out all of the details yet, but I’m hoping to start broadcasting a weekly show on Twitch called THE COMPLICATED MUSIC HOUR. But it will definitely be longer than an hour. Because, you know, it’s Complicated. I’ll at least do one episode to test out the concept. So what the heck is it going to be? I’ll be sort of a VEEJAY, a Video Jockey, and you can join me in exploring and watching a bunch of YouTube Videos, made by insane musicians of course, of what I consider to be COMPLICATED MUSIC. An example might be some wild modern classical piano piece, or a fusion drum solo, or an orchestral metal nightmare. You know, the kind of thing I appreciate, where it sounds like a band of virtuosos is falling down the stairs. I’ll try to do it at a set time each week. But in the meantime, head over to Twitch Dot TV Slash Carl King and FOLLOW me there, to get notified when I go live. And by the way, the show won’t be archived, due to complications, so you can only see it when it’s actually streaming. And it’s going to be a heck of a complicated thing. So I hope to see you there.
BANDS I LIKE THAT NO ONE ELSE LIKES
Here’s a new segment Carl King is trying out this week. I wanna tell you about Bands I Like That No One Else Likes.
Now of course, someone aside from me likes these bands. There’s always someone that likes any band. But I’m referring to bands that, if I went to see them live, no one I KNOW would go with me.
First Up, there’s SKILLET.
Skillet are what you’d call a CHRISTIAN NU METAL band. I think the first time I heard of them was in a military recruitment ad in the movie theater. They have this song called HERO. And that video made me CRINGE so bad the first time I saw it. It’s full of dudes in police and firefighter and army costumes, while the band makes a big deal of playing in the RAIN.
Have any of you seen that show on HBO called RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES? It’s a parody of a family of evangelists who run a Mega Church. It stars John Goodman as the head of the family, and his kids who are totally unqualified to take over for him. For instance, one of his sons has formed a cult of Hyper-Masculine Jesus Bros that live in his back yard and do nothing but lift weights and read The Bible.
And Skillet are exactly like that. Their visuals are like an over-the-top parody. There’s constant flames shooting into the air, the two guitarists stand on platforms that go way up and down in the air for some reason, and their appearance in general is, how would I describe it… mega-glamorous? Lots of vinyl and leather and hairspray and accessories.
The vocalist and kind-of-bassist is this steroid-looking dude name John Cooper. He’s decked out in sleeve tattoos, gelled hair, a big perfectly groomed hipster beard, and black eyeliner. And they’ve got a female drummer named Jen Ledger who plays with this outrageous intensity and also sings harmony vocals. It’s a total spectacle. The other two band members are guitarists with a similar glam look.
When I watch their videos, I think, is this REALLY happening?
But I actually got hooked on their music when I heard their song AWAKE AND ALIVE on a Christian radio station. Their sound is very much along the lines of Evanescence, another band I like. I would even say, and my wife will probably kill me, but it’s not far from being similar to Nightwish. Because this group of bands have dark minor key chord progressions, heavy guitar production, and male female harmonies.
Skillet’s lyrics are presented as earnest, hardcore Christian messages. How they feel persecuted for their beliefs, how Jesus makes them feel invincible, and knowing what they believe inside.
Throughout their live shows, the bassist often ENTIRELY stops playing his bass to accommodate his stage moves… which include putting his hand on his heart or holding his arms out in Crucified poses at the audience. It’s possible either some or all of his bass parts are pre-recorded, along with the other backing tracks.
If the level of “putting on a show” was lower, if they just seemed like they were trying, vs. EXPLODING, I would hate it. But this is more like watching GWAR.
At the same time that I laugh uncontrollably at the absurdity of the showmanship, I also really enjoy the music. People think I’m joking. But the music has great hooks, cool harmonies, and solid nu-metal production. It makes me feel good and I don’t want to deny that.
Whether you actually enjoy their music or not, I hope you can see it’s expertly-crafted. Because they have done what they set out to do.
So if you want to try to enjoy Skillet, along with Carl King, take a look at my 3 favorite music videos by them. Look them up on YouTube. They are: HERO, AWAKE AND ALIVE, and MONSTER. And for extra credits, watch some of their live shows, especially live at PinkPop in 2016.
Do YOU have a band that only you like? Email me: email@example.com
LAST WEEK’S WORD GAME RESULTS: S.T.A.R.T.
Shifting gears a LITTLE BIT away from Music. Or a LOT away from Music, it’s time to share the results of last week’s WORD GAME.
If you were listening, the word I assigned was a five letter word. START. And I demanded that the listeners make up phrases using the acronym, S.T.A.R.T. Here are some of the best submissions I received.
• Sloppy Titties Are Really Terrific. Now see, this is why this show needs an Explicit label.
• Sewage Turds Anus Rectum Toilet – not a complete sentence, so that one is disqualified.
• Still Tugging A Raw Todger. That’s a sentence fragment and doesn’t explain WHO is still doing the tugging. And don’t worry. I’ve been assured a Todger is a type of insect.
• Syllables Traded Among Reasonable Talkers. I at least like the idea.
• Syntactical Tactics And Responsible Technology. Sounds like a company name.
• Someone Teach Andrew Rodeo Terminology. A solid sentence, and I couldn’t agree with it more.
• Stars Telling Ancient Religious Tales
• Seriously, Try a relaxed T-shirt.
• Simple. The actor’s really trying.
• Sadly, The Artist Retired Tragically
• Squeeze Taint After Releasing Tongue
• Samantha’s Teeth Are Right There.
• Stinking Televangelists Are Realistic Televangelists
• Sheesh. This Armchair’s Really Tasty
• Sit Tall and Rub Throat – those are instructions.
• Stop Talking. Alright, Resume Talking.
• Stewart’s Tonsils are Ready, Tanya.
• Switch Those Around, Right There.
Are you ready for this week’s creative assignment? Who wants to be creative with Carl King?
Here we go. I was driving the other day and saw a woman with the bumper sticker that said MY SON WAS IN THE AIR FORCE. It occurred to me, that’s something you’d never go up to someone and say out of context. Yet it’s perfectly acceptable to write it on the back of your car. You’d never walk into a restaurant and yell that at the waiter. Or whisper it to someone as you walk past them on the street.
So this week, I challenge you to come up with a Nonsensical Bumper Sticker.
Non-sequiturs, folks. We need more of those in the world. I have a hat in my garage that simply says STOMACH. Black hat. All white letters. STOMACH. I don’t know where it came from, but who the hell puts that word on a hat? It’s genius.
Years ago I made Sir Millard Mulch bumper stickers that said Sir Millard Mulch Hates My Hovercraft. It’s not the greatest bumper sticker ever, but it’s good old Douglas Adams “Beware of the Leopard” type stuff. Has anyone read Douglas Adams? Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy? God, I hope so.
What’s the most absurd Bumper Sticker idea you can imagine? Come up with 3 or 5 of them. Just have a good time, go for it. Don’t worry about being judged.
Send me your submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Let’s move on to our segment called MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK.
I wanna wrap this episode up by telling you about a guy on YouTube who goes by the name Hermit The Fraud. Does anyone know who this guy is? He’s mysterious. He tags his location as being Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA. What got my attention is that he does these insightful covers of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, on ACOUSTIC GUITAR. Sometimes just solo acoustic guitar and vocals, and sometimes it’s a bunch of overdubs of himself on the screen.
The songs he’s done seem to be in two playlists: Faith No More Angel Dust, and Mr. Bungle’s California. And I’m just now realizing that he’s done the ENTIRE Faith No More Angel Dust album, plus bonus tracks. AND ALL of Mr. Bungle’s California. And I have only seen a few so far.
Now what excites me about all of this, is he tries to include every detail of the melodies, chords, and overdubs. All those dissonant lines, clashing, but in such a stark, clear way you can’t hear in the original recording. The fresh context helps make it more transparent. This is like what Mike Keneally did with the Steve Vai Piano Reductions years ago. Because this is almost entirely acoustic guitar, vocals, and minimal percussion. It’s really fun to see it all happening.
His user name is Hermit The Fraud, so go look him up and see what the heck he is doing. Some of it is really impressive, especially when he sings those dissonant Mike Patton lines. He does a lot of other cover songs too, like Elliott Smith, Elton John, some Megadeth, and also some of his Originals.
Looking further, someone tipped me off that he also has a band called The Johnson Report. They have a BandCamp page with… 8 albums named after various Office Supplies. Like Pen, Highlighter, Thumbtack, Stapler. You can find that at The Johnson Report Dot BandCamp Dot Com.
This guy has a great sense of humor, whoever he is. Maybe someday I can get him on the podcast.
That does it for this episode. What does that mean, when people say, That Does It. What is THAT, and what is the IT that it DID? We may never know. I’m legally required to thank my $50 and up Patreon Patrons, my Arch-Mages, Chewbode and Hank Howard III. To join them in supporting this podcast, as well as my other creative projects, head over to Patreon Dot Com Slash Carl King and pledge $1 a month, or $5 a month, for various levels of access. See you next week, Mulchians. Goodnight.