Please allow me to introduce myself, as the song goes. I am delighted at the prospect of reaching out to a new and expanded audience courtesy of the fine folks at Scotti’s Records. So who am I anyway? Please read on and find out:
At an early age, I found I was musically inclined. I started by stealing my brother’s guitar and wailing away with some of my friends. One guy would bang on some pots and pans (cliché, I know) and one guy would “sing”, while I “played” guitar. We would even run a cassette recorder in the event that any worthwhile music would emerge from the noise.
No recordings were ever retained; it seemed the music never surfaced through said noise.
I became more serious in the 5th grade by taking oboe lessons. But being born with a cleft lip and palate, that proved problematic, as did any attempt at a wind instrument. I then moved to drums and never looked back. But a traumatic incident occurred in 6th grade. Over the course of graduating up from 5th to 6th grade, I was given a drum set. I thought it would be great to bring that kit into grade school, to show my instructor, and add some “oomph” to our little grade school band.
Instead of my efforts to lug a three-piece set (bass, snare and shell tom with cymbals) to school, set it up and bring it home being appreciated, my instructor took one look at it and said drolly, “That’s nice, now set up your snare drum in a standing position and play right.” On top of that, my classroom teacher decided later on to blackmail me by saying “You’d better start getting better grades or I am going to suggest to your parents that you quit drums and pay more attention to school.”
Imagine his surprise when he found out that the reason I was doing poorly in his class was because I couldn’t see the chalkboard, as I needed eyeglasses.
Since that time, I have had little respect for formal education, at least in terms of music anyway. I refuse to hold all educators responsible for the irresponsible actions of one or two bad teachers.
So I took to self-teaching. After this incident with the drums at school, my family imploded and I was usurped from my home and moved out of state. Being eleven years old, I had no say in matters. So as I lost all my childhood friends, I turned to instruments to be my new friends.
I first taught myself bass, as there was a shortage of bass players in the area. I formed my first band in Jr. high but I got bored with bass quickly and took up guitar. I never got bored with guitar (even some thirty-odd years later). Then when the advent of midi came along, I was finally able to have a teaching device that would be patient with my slow learning curve. At least on that one particular instrument anyway. I also had assistance with developing my vocal skills. My choir teacher and I had a deal in place. I would teach some of his younger students some beginning theory (I knew enough about keyboards to teach this level) and in exchange for taking some of these pressure students from him, he took me on as a private vocal student. This lasted for three years. My obsession with guitar has lasted far longer. I still enjoy learning and expanding the vocabulary of the instrument. From technology to technique, everything is fair game.
This blog will delve into areas that are not simply limited to what sounds good to me, what I like, what is popular. I tend to evaluate music with some unusual criteria, most times overlooked by your average everyday reviewer. As a multi-instrumentalist, I tend to dissect music, not listening to the overall tonal palate, but instrument by instrument. What are the drums doing versus the bass part? Are the other tonal instruments doing something innovative? Is the production run-of-the-mill? Are the voices blending in a harmony that is evocative yet pleasing to the ear?
Unfortunately, I have ruined many people’s listening habits by telling them how I absorb music.
So here I am before you, a seasoned multi-instrumentalist / vocalist / producer / engineer. You see, ever since that cassette recorder that I had running in the room with my brother’s stolen acoustic guitar, I have had tape recorders in some form of recording studio. From a handheld cassette recorder (then) to a 16-track hard disk recorder (now), I have been a recording musician for most of my life. I have 21 independently produced albums, my 22nd is in process now. It will include some tracks I was asked to write for an Animal Planet special (my tracks were not used in the US airing), as well as some songs that had been floating around in my head for something like 15+ years.
I am also a published writer, photographer, I have done desktop publishing for Fortune 500 companies like AT&T and more. I founded and was editor-in-chief of an arts and entertainment newspaper, where I wrote record reviews, editorials, and in college I wrote a political column and followed the election that was occurring at the time.
So dear Scotti’s readers, I have thus presented my qualifications for reviewing music, musical instruments, and most things musical. Should you feel inclined, please feel free to follow the link over to my MySpace blog (www.myspace.com/jeffboule) where I detail more of my musical (and some not-so-musical) adventures, as well as having a more detailed history of my musical outpourings, a discography and even samples of the sick, strange stuff I call my music.
But I also want to accomplish more here than just to expose my music. (Truthfully, my music needs no more exposure, ever since joining MySpace, my music has gotten plenty of exposure. For those of you who follow American Idol, for a brief period, I was loosely associated with the late Glitter Girl. Let’s just say I am still vacuuming up glitter in my living room and my control room. But my music gained a great deal of notoriety by simply having her profile listed as one of my friends and vice-versa. It may have been removed since her death…). A noble goal would be introducing music of an obscure nature to the vox populi. Another noble goal would be to relay my years of musical knowledge, experience and black and blue marks to the eager, youthful and not quite yet jaded and dejected musician. If this forum presents itself with the noblest of intentions, I feel it mandatory that I make the readers investment of time worthwhile.
How can I make this blog experience worthwhile for the reader? I am confident that there will be contributors who can present competent “how to” entries as far as instruction on guitar, instruments, etc. But I can guarantee to tender forth unique and distinct philosophies on the approach to the instrument. There are non-musical factors that the musician can adopt to their everyday life that will not only impact their lives outside the realm of music, they have been known to improve their playing as well as their approach to practicing, rehearsing, interpersonal relations within their band and more.
How can this be achieved? Better living/playing through blogging? Watch for my next blog and we will begin!!