Placebo Part Company With Drummer Steve Hewitt!

October 1st, 2007 No Comments »

Sad, but true – it is now official: Steve Hewitt is no longer Placebo’s drummer!

Here is the press release from Placebo *:

“PLACEBO PART COMPANY WITH DRUMMER STEVE HEWITT

Placebo have parted company with drummer of 11 years, Steve Hewitt, due to personal and musical differences.

Brian Molko commented “Being in a band is very much like being in a marriage, and in couples – in this case a triple – people can grow apart over the years. To say that you don’t love your partner anymore is inaccurate, considering all that you’ve been through and achieved together. There simply comes a point when you realize that you want different things from your relationship and that you can no longer live under the same roof, so to speak.”

The split is amicable and a sad time for both parties. Steve Hewitt replaced Robert Schultzberg behind the drum kit in 1996 whilst the band were promoting Placebo’s eponymous debut album and went on to record the following 4 studio albums ‘Without You I’m Nothing’, ‘Black Market Music’, ‘Sleeping With Ghosts’ and most recently ‘Meds’.

Placebo have just returned from the USA where they were part of the high profile ‘Projekt Revolution Tour’ alongside Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. The band are now taking a well earned break.

Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal will begin work on Placebo’s 6th studio album next Spring and are in no rush to find an immediate replacement for Steve.”

* sources:

Placeboworld.co.uk

Placebo MySpace Blog Entry

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Drummer’s Survival Guide / Checklist

October 1st, 2007 No Comments »

The older I get, the more I am into checklists to make sure I do not forget things.

It has been claimed that by writing a checklist, you are more likely to memorize what you are writing down.

Whether I go out to play the drums in a studio or at a live gig, I always make sure that I have the following items in my bags:

- Drumsticks
- Music Charts / Scores / Notes
- Writing Paper & Pencils
- Roland SPD-20 Drum Pad
- Roland SPD-20 Drum Pad AC Adaptor
- Roland SPD-20 Drum Pad Mounting Kit (incl. Screws & Tools)
- Laptop
- AC Adaptor for Laptop
- Firewire Cable
- USB Cable
- External USB Mouse (in case the trackpad malfunctions)
- M-Audio USB Sound Input/Output
- Headphones
- Spare Headphones
- Headphones Extension Cable
- Chinch to Jack Adaptors
- Jack to Chinch Adaptors
- Gaffer Tape
- Tuning Key (for Drums)
- Spare T-Shirt
- Towels
- Custom Earplugs (not the cheap ones from the Pharmacy)
- Flashlight

For gigs I like to add:

- Laptop’s Operating System on CD
- Software I am using (Ableton Live) on CD
- CD or Harddrive Backup of all (Audio/MIDI) Data needed

The list might seem kind of crazy, but experience shows that most things listed can come in handy at one time or the other.

I have had my laptop “go crazy” on me before. Re-installing the operating system as well as the application took care of it. (It is best to have no data on the harddrive that has not been backed up yet, so one can just format the HD and start re-installing.)

Another time the laptop’s harddrive stopped working an hour before the gig. Luckily, one of the VJs had a spare laptop. I installed the application, copied the data onto his harddrive and was (more or less) ready to go by the time we hit the stage.

Since I oftentimes play with backing tracks, I cannot survive without headphones. I usually have some left/right channel splits happening, so the headphones must work 100 %. The spare one has saved my life more than once.

The custom earplugs I also want to mention again. The volumes we are often exposed to on stage are nothing but poison for our hearing, so it needs to be protected. No hearing = no music!!!

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How To Play With A Click Track

September 3rd, 2007 No Comments »

This week we started rehearsing with momokomotion for our show this coming Friday.

Since momokomotion could not find a keyboard player yet, we will be using backing tracks on every song.

Being the drummer, I am in charge of feeding the PA system with the backing tracks. I am running them in Ableton Live (Version 5.x), off my Apple iBook G4, into the M-Audio Fast Track Pro; Channel 1 is the actual backing track, channel 2 the click track.

On one song I was persistently thrown off the beat, which was very annoying. Even more so because it did not seem to make any sense.

I did some research via Yahoo! and Google and found some valuable information.

The click track that the studio engineer had recorded for me was nothing more than a metronome sound (very annoying and poison for your hearing!), with an accent on the 1 of every beat.

In Ableton Live, I played the backing track (audio), then created a MIDI track, and went through different drum sounds to find one that I felt most comfortable with. I programmed the MIDI drum to play the kick drum on 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the 4/4 beat, added a dry tambourine sound to the 1, and set it to “loop”. Those MIDI drum sounds feel more natural to the ears, and grooving along to them is much easier and much more fun than the high-pitched metronome.

I played around with different sounds on the click track, and varied them slightly on two of the songs. (The kick drum sound I had first used was “drowned” by other frequencies in those songs, so changing the sound was the solution.)

To hear the backing track as well as the click track, I used the headphones output on the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. It has a nice “Mix” function. Depending on the song, I would change the balance (mix) between the backing track and the click track.

This solution, BTW, did not help to solve the initial problem. The engineer had done something wrong on the click track of that song, and there was no time to have him redo it. How did I work it out? Instead of a “proper” click track, I put the original song from the CD as my click track, and switched off the backing track in my headphones. Guess what? We went through the song without any difficulties!

On a sidenote: in some loud live situations, the M-Audio Fast Track Pro headphones output might not produce enough volume for you to be able to hear everything easily, so I recommend having a preamp ready, just in case. And always remember: use custom-made earplugs at any gig! The standard ones that are readily available in supermarkets are useless!

© Patrice Schneider. No reproduction without prior written consent.

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Links For 5 August 2007

August 5th, 2007 No Comments »

Interesting article in the Times Online today, entitled “Money, Music and The Web”.

Both websites introduced there sound very interesting (SellaBand and Slice The Pie.

However, I feel nowadays bands can very well do without such services. Both organizations try to take on the role of the record company. But nowadays the money made from music should go to one (group of) person(s) only: the musician(s).

Links For 5 July 2007

July 5th, 2007 No Comments »

How to Make Smart Decisions in Less Than 60 Seconds (Steve Pavlina)

Overcome Procrastination Once and For All (Lifehack.org)

Tiefsee (NZZ Neue Zürcher Zeitung Folio July 2007) German language only.

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Productivity. Clutter. The Lot…

July 3rd, 2007 No Comments »

Not unlike many of you, I guess, yours truly is also still struggling when it comes to productivity.

And clutter is all part of it…

Clutter in the living room. Clutter in the bedroom. Clutter on the office desk. Clutter in the brain, etc. etc. etc.

Merlin Mann (the guy behind 43 Folders) has a great new and inspiring series: “War On Clutter”.

Go check it out and let Merlin’s words kick you up the [censored].

© Patrice Schneider. No reproduction without prior written consent.

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Your Google Adsense code should be here, but you forgot to edit the plugins/adsense.php file and replace the code there with your own.

Songslide.com: Buy Tunes At Price Of Your Choice…!!!

June 27th, 2007 No Comments »

As pointed out previously, I do feel a new age is approaching for musicians, where it will be easier to promote songs/albums.

Not only are there new alleys for promotion, like Last.FM or MySpace, but also brandnew channels for selling material. Most importantly, and most worryingly for the big record labels, cutting out the middlemen.

Today I came across a new and very interesting service, that I feel you bands should take a look at: Songslide.

Thanks to Jonathan Coulton, on whose website I found the link.

© Patrice Schneider. No reproduction without prior written consent.

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Today’s Top Tune…

June 14th, 2007 No Comments »

No… have not run out of ideas yet… Au contraire!

Just been way too busy…

Will start posting again soon…

P.S.: Happy birthday to my little bro’, to my friend Dani, and to Boy George.

Today’s Top Tune – 05 June 2007

June 5th, 2007 No Comments »

Today’s Top Tune, Round 019.

Let us expand the horizon a little.

Let us go classical.

No, none of the boring, fit-to-be-played-in-the-background stuff… but something that was a huge influence on Mister Frank Zappa – and countless other musicians/composers: Monsieur Edgard Varèse. A composer, most people would say, but he preferred to call himself an “organizer of sounds”.

His orchestral pieces are mind-blowing, a true experience, whether on CD, or live. Though live it is one of the best sonic experiences ever.

My first exposure to Varèse was “Ionisation” – today’s choice.

© Patrice Schneider. No reproduction without prior written consent.

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Full Moon Over Penang (Malaysia)

June 4th, 2007 No Comments »

penangfullmoon.jpg

© Patrice Schneider.