Episode 14: Cutting (Female)

Self mutilation is a struggle for a lot of people in the world and it has always been something that has fascinated me. We didn’t initially plan on doing a second cutting episode until a few days before the first one aired. I was out having a drink with this episode’s guest and telling her about the Cutting (male) interview and she started telling me of her own struggles with self-mutilation. I knew at that point that we needed to do this so here it is. Many thanks to the people who have written to me sharing their own experiences with this. You are not alone.

[audio  https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/wbut-ep-14-cutting-with-marlyn.mp3%5D

Episode 13: Watching someone you love kill themselves.

In this episode I interview my brother, James, about watching our father slowly kill himself by not caring about his health. This was a tough episode to make and an even tougher one to think about posting. If you have ever known anyone who has gotten a second chance at life but willfully decided to not try any more, you can relate. I just want to say that I love my dad. He’s an amazing person. I just wish he would give a bit more of a shit about himself to give us more time here with him, but you cant change people. Its always their decision. Or as my friend Phil Meyers once said when I was going to smoke a cigarette: “Well, its your ass.”

[audio  https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/wbut-ep-13-untitled-2.mp3%5D

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Acoustic Archive

Hey everyone. I got a lot of great responses about the acoustic archiving post from a few weeks back so I wanted to share a little video the producer put together so you can get a better idea.

The process of capturing the acoustics of a room is pretty simple. Play a frequency sweep through a speaker. 15Hz-25kz. You want to sweep starting and finishing with frequencies that humans are unable to hear. Have microphones set up throughout the room. The impulse response times will be captured by your microphones.  Once you’ve recorded the material, you run the audio through a plug in that can process your impulse response times. That’s it. Then you can use your custom made reverb on whatever you want.

This is just an example of the different reverbs that we captured. If you listen to the music playing through this clip, the reverb or echo will change depending on what room you see.

Episode 12: The Law with Jeff Baker

Jeff Baker is one of my favorite people in the world to argue with. Even if you know that your right, you will start questioning it because of his ability to make you doubt yourself. Jeff is an incredibly intelligent person and a great guy. He is a lawyer and a Rabble-rouser. Well, not so much on the latter, but  he gets me stirred up when he makes me question all things I think to be truths. This is his first time on the show but wont be his last.

[audio  https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/wbut-ep-12-the-law-with-jeff-baker.mp3%5D

My journey as a ghost/reverb hunter at the Trans-Alleghney Lunatic Asylum.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I would take pictures and video for a project he was working on. He is a music producer and audio archivist and he has been interested in recording reverb response times in various historic spaces. He had gotten in touch with the Trans-Alleghney Lunatic Asylum (an abandoned mental hospital) in Weston, West Virginia and he wanted to capture the acoustic impulse response times of different rooms there so he could preserve them for historic purposes. Things like this have been done before such as at Paramount Stage M in Los Angeles. All of the natural reverb sounds from that sound stage were nearly lost forever when they were about to tear the building down until a company came in and preserved them. The thought of this dude going through the trouble of all of this in an old asylum was a bit crazy, but incredible to me.

There were four of us. The producer who would be playing frequency sweeps through a speaker, and two engineers capturing all of the sounds through custom made microphones meant to replicate human hearing and then record them into various digital recording devices. I was there just to take pictures and video of the experience.

The trip turned out to be one of the most entertaining and interesting experiences I’ve had in a while. Learning the history of the building of the asylum (it being part of the architectural Gothic Revival and the Kirkbride Plan) was fascinating. Its the oldest stone mason built building in the USA. Of course, hearing about some of the darker things that occurred their was equally as interesting. It was an active mental hospital through 1994. Following years of being abandoned, it was purchased by its current owner in 2007 and now is a ghost hunting tourist attraction.

Below is a link to see a bunch of the photos that I took. If you have any questions about specifics, feel free to write me.  I hope that you dig it.


Asylum Ward Hallway

Episode 11: Long Island

Long Island. The Golden Coast. The largest island in the U.S.A. The birthplace of Billy Joel, Jerry Seinfeld, all of the Baldwins and LL Cool J. Its where my hatred for obnoxious regional accents began! In this episode, my high school friend, Mike, and I get nostalgic for our youth spent on “the Island”. Dig it.

[audio  https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/wbut-ep-11-long-island_03.mp3%5D

Doug Sahm

I was just sitting and watching the Robert Rodriguez movie “Machete” starring Danny Trejo , when within the first 15 minutes of the movie I heard the song “(Hey Baby) Que Paso” by the Texas Tornados. Now its important that you know this little tidbit about me. I’m the type of fella that has a mini whack attack with just the simple mention of a lesser known artists’ work outside of my comfy listening environment. Whether its hearing a Big Star song on a commercial or walking in to a clothing store and catching a tune on a playlist from an artist that is still under the radar. I love that shit. So when I heard Doug Sahm’s voice in that movie, I got a little excited.

I was completely unaware of Doug Sahm’s career until March of 2012. I was visiting my friend Jane in Savannah at her bar, the Sparetime. It just so happened that I was also in town for the Savannah Stopover festival: a relatively young 3 day music festival highlighting newer artists stopping in Savannah on their way to South by Southwest. If you’ve never heard of it, you will soon. Its definitely being positioned to become one of the better known music festivals.  I had literally been there for about an hour and one of her liquor distributors walked into the bar. After they talked shop for a while, he sat down next to me and we started talking about music. After talking about some recent things, he asked me if I’d ever heard of Doug Sahm. I had heard of Sahm’s first major act, The Sir Douglas Quintet, but just more in passing. I probably heard their hit, “She’s About a Mover” in passing, but I never really paid too much attention to it. We sat and talked about him, or should I say I sat and listened, for about an hour. I have a lot of respect for people who can speak passionately about musicians that have changed their lives. Especially when they are not musicians themselves. I made note that day to check it out. If this total stranger was so excited about it, I should at least give him a listen.

About a month or so later I finally looked up some things about him on the internets and began listening to a bit of his music. The first thing that got me was his song “Is Anybody Going (To San Antone)”. Now I’m a bit picky when it comes to country music. I love old stuff that makes me afraid of the woods at night, and I HATE modern polished country. I also really like 70’s country rock. This was pretty close to that. I started listening to more and really began to enjoy his songwriting.  There is definitely a sense of reckless abandon in him that I gravitate towards. I spent a few days listening to his 70’s stuff and then I checked out the Texas Tornados. They are a Tejano band consisting of Sahm, Freddy Fender, Flanco Jimanez and Augie Meyers. I have a soft spot in my heart for Tex Mex music and these guys are at the top of that pile. With songs like “Adios Mexico” and “Who Were You Thinking of”, I was hooked.

He sadly passed away in 1999 so I never got to see him, but I am thankful for the man at that bar who told me about him. I would have never paid attention as closely had he not had the passion that he did for the music of Doug Sahm. I hope you guys check him out and like it.