Pro-Tip: In-Ear Monitors – Protect them from your sweat

For all you musicians that are using In-Ear Monitors (also known as Ear Molds), here is a great tip from my friend the “Queen of Earz”, Ms.Joy Bastow. If you have any questions related to in-ear monitors, you should visit her website and contact her; great products and superior customer service !

In order to protect your ear monitors from sweat getting onto the contact area between the molds and the cable you can seal the area at the end of your cable with Nail Hardener.

You want to put this stuff all round the spot where your cable sits on your earmold to protect sweat from getting in there. In order to get a real good seal it is recommended to apply 3-4 layers of hardener. It takes about 15 minutes for each layer to dry (before you can apply another layer).

The recommended brand is Sally Hansen ‘Hard As Nails’ (because of its viscosity – meaning it is thicker than others) and it can be purchased conveniently from Amazon:

I’ve done it to my in-ear monitors (as I sweat quite a bit) and have not had any issues after applying it (I did experience occasional dropouts in the past).

Hope this tips helps everybody maintain good monitors.

Stay tuned for more Pro-Tips,
DiB

Auto-Tuned

Since its interception in 1997 no other effect has been used and overused as much as Auto-Tune (except for maybe compression, but that’s a whole other story). Nowadays you will hardly ever find a recording session or any release that doesn’t take ‘advantage’ of the Auto-Tune technology. A lot of singers these days rely so heavily on this effect that it becomes part of their ‘sound’ and the listeners have become so used to hearing the typical Auto-Tune sound that they don’t even realize it any more.

At a Martina McBride concert a few years ago I got a chance to talk to the FOH engineer after the show and asked him why he used Auto_Tune on her vocals and he told me that audiences nowadays are so used to ‘that sound’ that it was requested of him to use it on multiple songs throughout the show. We both agreed that a singer of Martina’s caliber really doesn’t need it but he had to do it anyways.

Reviewing the last George Strait show on his Farewell Tour I was floored by how much the Auto-Tune was overused and audible throughout the whole show. It become really annoying to me when i.e. Vince Gill’s vocal runs were completely destroyed by Auto-Tune technology.
I couldn’t help but think of the days when artists would actually sing and work on their craft (I remembered shows of Diamond Rio and Restless Heart back in the day – no Auto-Tune, just pristine vocals !).

I realize that we will probably never get rid of Auto-Tune and that in certain circumstances it can be a valid and appropriate tool (when used in a subtle manner) but I am seriously getting tired of people letting a computer do their singing for them. Im my humble opinion: if you can’t sing, you may want to look for a different job. Apart from that, I don’t mind hearing little imperfections during a live show …. it’s a LIVE show, if you want to hear the song in perfection go buy the recording and enjoy it.

My hat’s off to all the artists out there, big league or not, that keep singing their songs to the best of their abilities, stay true to themselves and keep Auto-Tune locked up in the recording studio.

“Just because we have all the technology tools doesn’t mean we have to use them (all the time) !”

Cheers, let’s make some music ….
DiB

Remembering Jeff Porcaro

Remembering Jeff Porcaro (04/01/1954-08/05/1992)

jeff-porcaro-thumb(Photo Credit : unknown photographer (from Drumlessons.com)

Today would be Jeff Porcaro’s 60th birthday and I was going through YouTube to find some more info on him. Jeff has and will always be one of my absolute favorite drummers of all time. His groove is undeniable and the world of music is a better place for him leaving us his body of work to study and enjoy. There is a ‘lightness’ in his snare and hi-hat playing that nobody to this day has ever been able to re-produce or copy.

“Arguably the most highly regarded studio drummer in rock from the mid-’70s to the early ’90s”, Jeff was a member of Steely Dan and super group Toto and played on countless recordings of some of the world’s best known artists.

To this day there are still a lot of rumors and discussions about the cause of his death and I for one don’t really care what the real reason was (although I tend to believe Steve Lukather), I am just deeply saddened that it happened and we lost this incredible musician 22 years ago. From everything I have ever heard he was also a great human being which only adds to his legacy. Drummers all around the world have been and will be influenced by Jeff Porcaro’s work.

When I started to get really serious about playing bass, Toto albums were my food for inspiration and there was always something new to learn from the Masters. I’d like to think that my meter training was done in part by Jeff Porcaro because I jammed to his drumming a lot. Unfortunately I never got to meet him but I have always felt a strange connection to the way he played. On my attempt to learn how to play the drums, “Rosanna” was one of the first tunes I wanted to play.

My thoughts today are with the whole Porcaro family (especially Jeff’s brother Mike who is battling ALS a/k/a Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Jeff’s extended Toto family (Steve Lukather, David Paich, David Hungate, Bobby Kimball, the late Fergie Frederiksen, Joseph Williams, Jean-Michael Byron, Greg Phillinganes, Simon Phillips, Keith Carlock, Shannon Forrest, Nathan East and Leland Sklar).

Jeff Porcaro will live on forever …… in countless drummers and admirers around the world !

“Our Love Doesn’t End Here, It Lives Forever On The Wings Of Time”
(inscription on Jeff’s tombstone)

April 1st, 2014 – Robert DiBlanco


Here are some cool links that I found relating to Jeff Porcaro:

Drumlessons.com – Who is Jeff Porcaro
Musician’s Institute in the 80’s
The Jeff Porcaro Half-Time Shuffle (Rosanna)
Mushanga – Jeff Porcaro
Jeff Porcaro Interview (1990)
Jeff Porcaro Interview (1988)
Toto Interview (1988)
Steve Lukather on Jeff Porcaro
Mike Porcaro talks about his brother Jeff
Toto talks bout Jeff Porcaro (Nov 1992)
Jim Keltner’s thoughts on Jeff Porcaro
Michael Thompson on Jeff Porcaro
John Robinson on Jeff Porcaro
Bill Schnee on Jeff Porcaro
In the studio with Toto
WikiPedia: Jeff Porcaro
A fan’s Jeff Porcaro Blog
A Jeff Porcaro Tribute Movie
Jeff Porcaro (1954-1992)

Special Thanks to Leland Sklar for keeping the memory of his groove buddy alive and in all of our minds ๐Ÿ˜‰

My All-Time Favorites

See my list of all-time favorite instrumentalists categorized by their main instrument:

NAME INSTRUMENT
Michael Rhodes Bass Guitar
Willie Weeks Bass Guitar
Keith Horne Bass Guitar
Glenn Worf Bass Guitar
Dave Pomeroy Bass Guitar
Mike Brignardello Bass Guitar
David Hungate Bass Guitar
Leland Sklar Bass Guitar
Mike Porcaro Bass Guitar
the late Roy Huskey Jr. Upright Bass
Victor Krauss Upright Bass
Edgar Meyer Upright Bass
Eddie Bayers Jr. Drums
the late Jeff Porcaro Drums
the late Larry Londin Drums
Shannon Forrest Drums
Paul Leim Drums
Steve Gadd Drums
Dieter Gerbe Drums
Joe DeLeon Drums
Brent Mason Guitar
Albert Lee Guitar
Joe Anslik Guitar
Bobby Terry Guitar
Brad Paisley Guitar
Ricky Skaggs Guitar
James Burton Guitar
Ray Flacke Guitar
the late Carl Perkins Guitar
Anita Cochran Guitar
Keith Urban Guitar
Jimmy Olander Guitar
Vince Gill Guitar
Mark Knopfler Guitar
Pete Anderson Guitar
Eddie Van Halen Guitar
Steve Lukather Guitar
Paul Franklin Pedal Steel Guitar
the late John Hughey Pedal Steel Guitar
Bobby Terry Pedal Steel Guitar
Ralph Mooney Pedal Steel Guitar
Cindy Cashdollar Pedal Steel Guitar
Herb Remington Pedal Steel Guitar
Mark O’Connor Fiddle
Gene Elders Fiddle
Sam Bush Mandolin
Marty Stuart Mandolin
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Bela Fleck Banjo
the late Terry McMillan Harp
Delbert McClinton Harp
John Hobbs Keyboards
Matt Rollings Keyboards
Rondal Huckaby Keyboards
Benmont Tench Keyboards
Michael McDonald Keyboards
Bekka Bramlett Backing Vocals
Robert Bailey Jr. Backing Vocals
Kim Fleming Backing Vocals
Donna McElroy Backing Vocals
Vickie Hampton Backing Vocals
Curtis “Mr.Harmony” Young Backing Vocals
Wes Hightower Backing Vocals
Liana Manis Backing Vocals
John Cowan Backing Vocals

Credits & Thanks

Thanks to all of the following people for what you have done with or for me. I know I am forgetting somebody but I do the best I can to keep the list up-to-date – there’s just so many people to thank:

Family
Amy Floyd; Austin Dieter Billasch; Helga Billasch, the late Bube, the late Felix, Trixie, Momo, Reba, Aretha, Moritz & Othello; Katja & Klaus Buchwald; the late Dieter Billasch; the late Brigitte Stickeler-Billasch; Heike Kopf-Rohner; the late Katharina Dickler; the late Robert Dickler; Willi Gondolph; the late Elfriede Gondolph; Hans-Juergen Gondolph; Rainer Gondolph; Stefan, Doris, Anna & Patrick Poesch; Erik Werdel; Christian & Gabriele Werdel; Helga Werdel; the late Joseph Werdel; the late Maria Kohns; Annette Floyd; Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd; Jennifer Floyd; Sarah & Gerald Fox; Laura, David, Adam & Reah Levitan; the late Heidemarie Rohner;

Germany
Bernd “Marty” Wolf; Jochen “Joe” Anslik, Klaus Greller; Hans Schaefer; Helmut Temp; Berthold Brand; Harald Brand; Jutta Witkowski; Wolfgang Weber; Albert Pinsdorf; Harry Stoltz; Harald Heil; Michael Schleicher; Armin Niebling; Klaus Mohr; Dieter Gerbe; Stefan Gerbe; Tom Astor; Renate Stein; Robert Makowski; Dick Frangenberg; Helt Oncale; Dagmar Tietz; Harald Reichel; Jill Morris; Anders Forstmann; Roger Immig; Werner Vogel; Uli Moehring; Marion Moehring; Hans “Grizzly” Weimer; Hubert Degen; Albert Lee (United Kingdom); Peter Baron (United Kingdom); Fargo; Horst Eickelberg;

U.S.A
Cat Verdell; Todd Fritsch; Robert Ashley; Clay Farmer; Lynn Bell; Briana Bagwell; Stephen Chadwick; Ronnie Dobbs; Cameron Parsons; Jody Cameron; Todd Parsons; Darwin Macon; Rod Robert; Lisa Robert; Paul Burnett; brother Joe DeLeon; Randy Wall; Sebastian Ayus; Jason Ellsworth; Jeff Morrison; Susan Hickman; Doug Deforest; Robby Springfield; Martha Moore; Enrique Alvarado; Tracy Martin; Kevin Fowler; Rick Trevino; Milton Walters; Tim Weaver; Donnie Simmons; Don Vickers; Lee Mounger; Leo Thibodeaux; Billy Hillman; Kenny Grohman; Doug Driesel; Aaron Teal; Richard Ebert; Scott Shipley; Jim ‘Haystack’ Novak; Steve Wilkinson; Cody Kouba; Shane Barnhill; Junior Gordon; Mike Adkins; Randy Cornor; Kenny Cordray; Kevin Hardin; John Matlock; Drew Balog; Andy Bradley; Jason Barrera; Jason Lerma; Jason Rooks; Bobby Terry; Mark Shannon; Lisa Shannon; Lupe Alvarez; Chip Wied; Raegan Brockenbush; Betty Fritsch; Martha Moore; Dr. Hector Aguero; Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra; Dr. John Ricarte; Brazosport Symphony Orchestra; cousin Marty Stuart; Harry Stinson; Kenny Vaughan; Brian Glenn; Keith Horne; Tracy Lawrence; Clay Walker; John Slaughter; Ronnie Milsap; Rick Robertson; Ryan Couvillon; Larry ‘Hollywood’ Parcell; Paul Chris; Jason Burk; Kenny Martin; Pat Green; Jon Wolfe; Chad Ware; Trevor Reifel; Richie Vasquez; Darryl Green; Walter Cross; Jason Pate; Mike Ferrara II; Aleph Yonker; Kenny King; Allen Huff; Roger Creager; Kenny Jackson; Keith McCoy; Terry Westbrook; Don Westmoreland; Jason Allen; Donovan Lindsey; Brian Thomas; Cooper Wade; Kevin Black; Tracy S.Park; James T.Ferguson; Benny Rod; Jeff Hale; Mark Zeus; Jon Wolfe; Tom Ben Lindley; Jennifer Fitts; Bruce Wiggins; Andrea Wiggins; Brian Sacco; Drywater Band; Dixie Trahan; Skeeter Trahan; Amanda Williams; Kim Carson; J.D.DiTullio; Johnny Wolfe Falstaff; Steven Bailey; Cindy Cashdollar; Ron Crick; Wayne Wilkerson; Herb Remington; Johnny Cavazos; Davin James; Sam Moore; Jesse Dayton; Big John Mills; Wesley Cornor; Randy Meadows; Angie Beck; Robin Mims; Melinda Mones; James Stone; Celeste Terrell; Neil Austin Imber; Doug Keyes; Ricky Wells; the late Joe Perry; Rob Lee; Nancy Jean Buchan; Charles Eichelberger; the late Papa Joe Britt; Kevin Stanley; Lucia D’Agata; Lane Moore; Clint Glaze; Sid Brown; Mark Stokes; Danny Tice; Pauline Reese; Joe Parsons; the late Ann Parsons; Leslie T.Travis; Pat Neifert; Kristen Jensen; Lisa Novak; Buddy Allen; Marius Fleck; the Reverend Billy F.Gibbons

Business Germany
GACMF German American Country Music Federation; Offener Kanal Dortmund; TCS-World of Country Music; Rhoencolor deBoer; RoBiCom; Musik Meyer, Marburg; Country Friends Koetz; Cafe Hahn, Koblenz; Touchdown Records; Saturn, Koeln; Minas GmbH; Walther & Sohn GmbH; BB Music School; PIK Buehnentechnik; Liveliner GmbH; Texas Heat Band

Business USA
Todd Fritsch Enterprises; Sweetgrass Talent Group; Macon Bacon Records; Goode’s Company; Roger Sadowsky & Sadowsky Guitars NYC; Dan Lakin Guitars; Lakland Bass Guitars; Tegeler Chevrolet; 3D Belt Company; Peter Montessi & A Designs Audio; Power 3 Productions; The Cuttin’ Crew; Ten 18 Sound Productions; Dino Fiumara and BSX Bass Company; Clay Farmer Band; Maury Tate & MoBetta Western Wear; Manuel Exclusive Clothier; Dave Funk & Thunderfunk; Mark Wright & Accugroove; EA Euphonic Audio; Ecstatic Electrics; retrospec Audio; SWR Sound Engineering; Raven Labs; Line 6; Marty Garcia & Future Sonics Ear Monitors; Lance Keltner & RetroChannel; ELIXIR strings; Jeff Barnett & Sweetwater; Glenn Kawamoto & Austin Bass Traders; Sennheiser USA; Equation Audio; CMA Country Music Association; Blanco’s Bar & Grill; RoBiCom; Band Together Music/Humble Music Center; So Much MOORE media; Ray Carter & RLC Productions; Black Lion Audio; Horizon Artist Management LLC; Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; Sugar Hill Recording Studios, Houston TX; Limelight Studios, Dickinson TX; ASTRA Studios, Channelview TX; Bungalow Studios, Houston TX; Sound Arts, Houston TX; Guitar Emporium, Louisville KY; Richard Tyler International, Inc.; American Internet Technologies; SABAWI Tax Services; Rockin’ Robin; Guitar Center, Houston TX; Guitar Center, Dallas TX; Steinberg Software GmbH; HillTrax Studios, Huntsville TX; R/R Studios, Lake Jackson TX; Karl Kuenning & Roadie.net; The Foundry United Methodist Church; Tiffany @ Massage Envy, Cypress TX

TheBassLab updated …. again

TheBassLab has updated once again and is now running AVID ProTools 10 and Cubase 6.5 / WaveLab 7.

The combination of having both DAW systems available enables us to quickly cater to any customer’s specific needs. ProTools being the industry standard definitely takes the preference on most projects but the enhanced MIDI editing capabilities of Cubase 7 make it a very interesting alternative and preferred system on MIDI heavy projects. WaveLab 7 is an awesome tool for mastering and any detailed editing task.

We have also updated the studio front end to the newest edition of Black Lion Audio’s Sparrow MKII interface and the addition of retrospec’s JuiceBox in order to guarantee fantastic sound quality on all our recordings.

More to come soon …… let’s keep it groovin’