Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Telephone Guitar


As many of you already know I am always actively searching for new and different instruments to mess with and utilize in order to expand and shape my music and sound capabilities. In my years traveling and hunting I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see and play all sorts of different instruments both near and far but I had never seen anything like my latest acquisition from Rainy Day Instruments. While surfing the net hoping to find something to grab my attention I found myself coming across the site Etsy. Etsy is a social commerce website that is focused on handmade and/or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. After scrolling through numerous pages in the music section of the website I found what would later become my newest and most prized instrument. It was a Handmade Epiphone Telephone Acoustic/Electric Guitar and the only one in existence. 

The instrument itself is an Antique Playschool Phone (from the 1950s), which is securely attached to a new Epiphone Gibson Special neck. In addition, the instrument has a Piezo pick-up installed inside allowing the guitar to resonate through an amplifier. The "Telitar" as I've been affectionately calling her has an excellent sound and great playable action. The tone is slightly tinny but extremely warm and sounds very smooth acoustic and even better through an amplifier or PA. Rainy Day Instrument’s Marc Potter built the instrument. As per my request he was kind enough to also install strap buttons onto the instrument before shipping it. 

Aside from my "Telitar" being the only instrument of its kind in existence it is a priceless piece of art. Not only is the “Telitar” art that can be visually enjoyed and admired, it is a fully functional guitar with a unique and vintage look that makes it special. 

Many have understandably questioned whether or not the “Telitar” is in fact real. Doubt no longer. The "Telitar" is real and included here are pictures from the initial Etsy listing and a picture or myself with it as added proof. However, if that’s still not enough you’ll just have to make sure to come out and catch me on tour to see/hear it for yourself. Until next time…


Monday, June 18, 2012

Mayday! Mayday! Records: Sixteen


In 2006 I formed Clocks Are Devils with friends from my previous band The Great God War. After vigorously practicing and writing quality songs we were collectively happy with we began recording our first release (Split with 8085). Not shortly after we began the recording processes I can into contact with Mayday! Mayday! Records. The Kentucky based non profit label run by a small group of friends focused on producing  good quality packaging for good bands. They have released albums and cassettes for bands including Bears, Demeanor, Leaving Songs, and Sohns. Mayday! Mayday! Records ended up putting out the split release Clocks was working on with 8085 and following our eventual breakup released the first ever Montgomery Drive cassette release The Elephant Never Forgets.

 After being pushed to the side for a while Mayday! Mayday! Records has begun revamping their logo and site while simultaneously planning to release new material in the next few months from Sixteen and Best Summer. For Sixteen, Mayday! Mayday! Records is in the middle of putting together packaging for the cassette version of "Now It's Gone". In addition to containing the recordings from their CDR release, the cassette will also feature an additional cover track.  To begin promoting, marketing, and creating an initial buzz for the release Mayday! Mayday! Records released a video teaser on YouTube (check it out below).

The video was done by Matt Barnes (of Mayday! Mayday! Records) and in the credits it notes that the release will be coming out on cassette via Mayday! Mayday! Records. Utilizing social media and web 2.0 Mayday! Mayday! Records and Sixteen are promoting for the release and building awareness of the cassette version and the distribution channels in which this excellent release will be available for purchase. In using this efficient and cost effective marketing the label and bands have been generating lots of attention. These DIY (do it yourself) ethics only strengthen the brands involved and the actual power behind the release. 

In terms of the genre and networks the release is aimed at, this tactic is one of the best and overall effective means of doing this. The limited run being made will certainly sell out and become one of the gems for tape traders, collectors, and cassette lovers everywhere. Following its release and what happens, perhaps Mayday! Mayday! Records will do another run of the long awaited cassette sooner than later provided all goes according to plan. For those not aware, Sixteen are a  two piece that started in the summer of 2009. According to their Bandcamp page they currently reside in Bowling Green Kentucky, wallowing in the murky depths of depression and self pity. They have an excellent blend of sounds that's definitely worth checking out and has become very popular over the last few years with bands like 1994!, Grown Ups, and Algernon Cadwallader.


Ipecac Recordings & Fontana Distribution


Ipeac Recordings is an independent label based in California. Founded in April of 1999 by Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Peeping Tom,  Fantômas, and Mondo Cane) and Greg Wreckman (Mike Patton's manager). The label was initially created to release the first Fantômas album after shopping the release to some bigger labels and being unhappy with the offers. Currently the label releases and distributes other artists as well as Mike Patton's plethora or musical projects and collaborations. One of the most interesting things about Ipecac Recordings is their policy of signing bands to only one-album contracts. Wreckman was quoted as saying, "when starting our label we decided that it did not feel right to "own" the artists on our label. Instead we would rent or license records from artists that we liked". With this philosophy Ipecac Recordings has found them in a unique position of being able to release the music they enjoy and create on their own terms which leave both the artists and label both happy.

In August of 2006 Ipecac Recordings signed an exclusive distribution deal with Fontana. Fontana is the independent distribution sector of UMG (Universal Music Group - the world's leading music company). Fontana provides unparalleled sales and marketing support as well as back office services. They distribute for over 60 labels in addition to distributing certain projects from UMG labels worldwide. Due to this agreement Fontana will work directly and closely with Ipecac Recordings on expanding the label's reach in the marketplace, building and extending its brand and helping them to capitalize on the many new and emerging opportunities across all retail and new media platforms and formats. Since the agreement Ipecac has released multiple releases that have found success and support from fans and critics alike. Mike Patton's project Peeping Tom's first single "Mojo" debuted at #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in addition to becoming one of the most added songs eat Modern Rock radio. Furthermore, Mike Patton's "Mondo Cane" debuted as #2 on the Billboard Classical charts and #7 on the Top New Artist Album (Heatseekers) chart. With releases ranging from the heaviness of Fantômas to the smooth stylings of Peeping Tom to the classical sounds of Mondo Cane Ipecac Recordings is quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Now with this deal with Fontana the end seems nowhere in sight for the very unique label founded by Patton and Wreckman.