Friday, December 10, 2010


Well, just got back to work from a nice 3 day vacation. Took the kiddos out to jelly stone park for the big christmas lights display and then had a daddy/daughter date to go see Tangled. I then took my wife out for a fancy dinner last night. It was a great 3 days. The worst thing about coming back to work? Having to play catch up. Bleh.

In music news, I will be playing over at St John's lutheran on the 11 and 12th and over at Morning Star on the 18th and 19th. Excited about that last one. I got a gig playing for Mark Roach and he is bringing me in to play at his church that weekend. Gotta make a good impression!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New happenings

Okay....where to start?

I went and auditioned for Mark Roach. That was, handsdown, the most terrifying audition I've ever been on. HUGE church, full lighting production and stage setup. Walked in to him doing Winter Wonderland to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." THAT was cool. He gets done with praise band rehearsal and brings me up on stage. His praise team goes and sits in the pews and they black out the auditorium with only the stage lights up. He has me go through the Aviom system and has me cranked in his monitor. Mistakes WILL be caught. We then proceed to hit 8 songs in about 30 minutes. One right after the other, no redo's. We finish, I pack up and go, thats it.

Luckily, he called me a couple days later and I got the gig. Phew!

The very next night, I auditioned for a group called The 45, a local rock band. Between everything else going on, I didn't get a chance to prepare for the audition (doh!) and went and did it cold. Managed to get the gig somehow and ended up in the studio for a 10 hour recording session on saturday and a 5 hour midnight mix session last night. (blah) The stuff sounds really nice. Cool group of guys and pretty easy going.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Music update and Misc other things

Well, I got the position as the backup bassist for Josh Golden. This actually works out really well as I will be trying out for a tour with Mark Roach in the spring.

Oh and Call of Duty: Black Ops is incrediawesome. you must buy it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

David and Goliath

So I was in church yesterday listening to a sermon on the famous battle between David and Goliath and thought I would offer up a few of my thoughts on the message.

This story is a HUGE example of the rewards of a faithful follower of Christ.

1. David was a nobody at this point.
- Probably a teenager, very very young
- A simple shepard boy

2. Goliath was enormous
- Over 9ft tall
- He had been fighting grown men since his youth

3. Goliath had been mocking the Israelite army for 40 days by the time that David showed up.

4. David was seething with righteous anger that none of his country men had fought him yet.
- Saul scoffed at David initially when he approached him to fight goliath
- sault told David that he couldn't go fight goliath as he was just a youth

5. David's faith in God never waivered
- He pressed his case with Saul until Saul relented
- He told Saul how God had enabled him to kill a bear and a lion with his bare hands

6. David approached Goliath with nothing more than his staff, a sling and 5 stones
- After telling Goliath that God will deliver him into his hands, David RUNS to meet him.

7. David kills this enormous warrior with a single stone from his pouch and sends the entire philistine army in retreat.

The key phrase that I was drawn to in this message was in the threat that David gave to Goliath.

46"This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

This moment of faith was so huge that it is one of the most famous stories in the bible and we are talking and marveling over it thousands of years later.

Think about it. Here is this nobody kid. No one knows who he is, what he does, nothing. He is coming to battle, merely as a messenger boy. He shows up having never fought a battle in his life and manages to kill the enemies champion with a ROCK. He ran to battle with nothing more than his faith in God and because of that faith, he changed the course of history.

Because of what he did, he eventually becomes a leader in Saul's army, then King of Israel. He leads his people in worship of the one true God and because of his continued faith, God gives him a lineage that eventually results in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Beautiful the Blood

I never knew death could be so sweet
I never knew surrender could feel so free
I never seen such meekness in majesty
That the blood of Jesus was bled for me
And now I sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful the blood flow
How merciful the love show
The King of glory poured out
Victorious are we now

Never knew through these nails would love unfold
And never knew these wounds would heal my soul
I've never seen such beauty and sorrow meet
The blood of Jesus was bled for me
And now I sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

Now I'll sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

How to tour in a band

Here is a list of do's and don'ts for touring. This was originally written by Thor Harris, but I have edited it.

1-Don’t Complain. Moaning and whining is tour cancer. If something is wrong fix it or shut up.

2-If you fart, claim it.

3-Don’t Lose anything. Everybody loses stuff. Don’t do it. Jerk.

4-Bring two of EVERYTHING.

5-If you feel like crap all the time, drink less at the gig. You will play better & feel better. What are you… a child? Some have the endurance for self abuse. Most don’t.

6-Remember the soundman’s name. He will do a better job.

7- Eat oranges. Cures constipation & prevents colds.

8-Don't forget your instrument.

9-If YOU can’t carry your suitcase 3 blocks, it’s too big.

10-Respect public space in the van.

11-If you borrow something, return it. Not busted Up.

12-Do not let the promoter talk you out of the guarantee. If there weren't enough people there, it’s their fault.

13- Driver picks the music.

14-One navigator only (usually sitting shotgun). Everyone else shut up.

15-Soundcheck is for checking sounds. Shut up while everyone else is checking.

16-Don’t wander off. Let someone know where you are.

17-Clean up after yourself. What are you… a toddler?

18-Touring makes everyone bi-polar. Ride the waves as best you can and remember, moods pass. So don’t make any snap decisions or declarations when you are drunk or insane.

19-Fast food is Poison.

20-The guestlist is for friends and family. Everyone else can pay. They have day jobs.

21- Don’t evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having bad days at work? Shut up & do your job.

Friday, November 5, 2010

First progress shot

Well here is the first progress shot I have. Check out all that pretty flamed maple!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Custom Warrior

So I just heard from JD a month ago or so that I am going to be one of their new artists. Sweet! He is already busy building me a bass. Here are the specs

5 string Warrior Soldier

Ash Body
Flamed Maple top
5 piece flamed maple/mahogany/purple heart neck
Ebony Fretboard
Triangle Fret markers
Bartolini Preamp
Dual Bartolini X5's
Red burst oil finish

JD should be sending me some progress shots tonight. I'll ost them as soon as i have them. I'll be driving down to Chatanooga in April to pick her up!

A bassist's role in music

The role of the bass in a song is to bridge the gap between the drums and the gutiar. To do this, we combine the chord progression of the guitar line with the beat of the drums. Once establishing the key of the song, the tempo and the chord progression, here are a few tricks I like to use to write my bass lines.

1. Lock in the with the drummer
- Pick a drum and try playing the roots to the beat that he is using. Experiment. A lot of bassists like to use the kick drum, but the hi hat, ride and snare can also provide some interesting alternatives

2. Lock in with the guitar
- Another technique is to copy the rhythm of the guitar whilst ignoring the drum beat all together.

3. Play something melodically and rhythmically different from the guitar and drums
- This is where you use your knowledge of the key and your modes (You DO know these, right?) and craft a bassline that adds a melodic counter point to the song. This is something that can usually be defined as a hook or counter melody to the vocal line. ex. Duff McKagan's bass intro to Sweet Child of Mine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I look for in a bass: Part 2

5 string
- I prefer a 35" scale as it makes for a better defined low B string.
- I also like a very thin and wide neck with a failry flatly radiused fret board.
- Neck through neck is bonus as it makes the upper register a lot easier to get to.
- Tilted headstock. This creates a nice tension over the nut.

4 String
- I honestly prefer a Fender or a Fender copy for my 4 string.
- I prefer a slightly chunkier neck for my 4 strings with a 10.75 radiused fretboard
- Maple fret board please
- No active electronics
- I'm a big fan of a well set up, no frills, passive bass for my 4 stringers.
- Bonus points for a nitro finish instead of a poly.

What I look for in a bass

I was asked by a student of mine what I look for when buying a new bass. Excellent question. This will vary from bassist to bassist, but here is what I look for.

1. Playability, playability plyability.
- If the bass isn't easy to play under my fingers, I put it down about as fast as I picked it up.
- Playability includes things like a straight neck (no warping or twists), low action and accurate intonation.
- Sometimes I will overlook the action and intonation on a bass is the neck is in good working order, as these can be adjusted on your my own.

2. Fit and finish
- Is the bass in good condition? Does it have a tight neck pocket?
- This too can be subjective, depending on the bass I'm checking out. If its a vintage fender, a few scuffs and scrapes add character to it and I rather like that. If its a brand new MTD or Warrior, that thing better be in pristine condition.

3. Sound
- How does the bass sound unplugged? How does it sound plugged in?
- This is pretty self explanatory. If the bass doesn't sound good to you, chances are it won't sound good to others. Put it back.

4. Price
- How much does it cost?
- Is it a good deal given the components, fit, finish and condition?
- Price is honestly the last thing I look at as f you find a bass that 'speaks' to you, its well worth the extra investment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wow, it's been awhile....

Well, just to give everyone an update on what I've been up to lately..... I quit playing for Hero after the environment got to be a little too toxic for my tastes. I started playing bass for a few churches in the St. Louis area and just recently picked up an endorsement from Warrior Instruments. I also just auditioned for a guy by the name of Josh Golden and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity that could provide.

Other than that, the only other point of interest is the obvious change of the last name to Sweeps. This is just a stage name and I have a full set of web pages devoted to it. It just allows me to develop an performance image and to keep my music and private life seperate. No, I did not disown my family.