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January 26, 2009

Tunes of Tapey Goodness

As I mentioned in my previous post - here's the full tunes I recorded to tape. 1 Fretted - 1 fretless.

Both demos. Both untitled. The audio for both are taken from the tape.

Jeff Schmidt Demo tune #2 fretless bass to Reel to Reel Tape from Jeff Schmidt on Vimeo.

Jeff Schmidt - Demo tune to Reel to Reel Tape from Jeff Schmidt on Vimeo.

New Video Blog - Demo ideas to Reel Reel Tape

Goin old school bitches!

Like I mentioned in my Sporadic Gig Syndrome post - I opted to flesh out some new ideas for my house concert on friday night (with Steve Lawson, Lobelia & Gustaf Fjelstrom) rather than boning up on my Outre material.

As I don't have any gigs lined up right now - I don't feel any incentive to keep working on these tunes. Just how I roll.

So I figured I'd record them as they stand now for posterity. And also to remember what the hell I played 5 months from now when I want to finish these things.

Then - it hit me. I should record them to the Fostex G16 tape machine I picked up over the summer. I had yet to use it. It would be a great test.

This vid blog documents the effort. Well - about 9 minutes of it. It actually took several hours.

Jeff Schmidt Video Blog 7 Jan 09 (Demo ideas on Reel to Reel Tape) from Jeff Schmidt on Vimeo.

The video only includes samples of tracking 2 tunes - but I got video on all of the complete tunes. I'll put those up in another post when I get some time to knock it out.


January 24, 2009

What's with the $85 CD?

On Dec 15th 2008 I posted this bit on Twitter -


Now, typically, that's exactly the kind of thing I'd say cuz it's funny or absurd and leave it at that. But this time - just putting the words out there made it different.

So I went to CD Baby and changed the price of my solo bass CD Outre - to $85.00.


So what happened?

I got a few e-mails from buyers and a call from CD Baby asking if it was a typo. If the real price was supposed to be $8.50.

No, I explained - the price is $85.00. To those that emailed and wanted the download version - I directed them to THIS $6.99 DRM free download of Outre. I get to keep all the money on that sale AND offer it at a lower price than on I can on CD Baby.

One copy did sell at $85.00. Thank you.

Why did I do it?

With EVERYONE talking about music being free, or close to free - I felt the need to indulge my contrarian impulse. Not only would I RAISE the price - I'd raise it absurdly. $85.00.

After I raised the price I began to think differently about music and artists pricing their works.

For example.

I occasionally go to art festivals here in the Bay Area. Every once in a while we'll see something that's truly striking. We'll look at it, marvel at how awesome it is - and then notice the price. Oh - $15,000. Oh well.

Obviously that artist carts that big ass painting or sculpture around to every art festival they can with the hope it finds the ONE person who will pay $15,000 for it.

We accept this dynamic for paintings - sculptures and other works of "fine art". But not for recorded music.

I decided to try to find the ONE person who would buy Outre for $85.00.

I did.

So now the experiment is over and the price will return to the level the "market" expects a CD to sell.

I don't have the answer to music pricing - or how to make music special in the same way that a painting or sculpture can be.

But it was fun to think about and price my album in the same way I might a sculpture or painting.

January 12, 2009

Deadly Things, Death, Bad Misspellings, Animals, Religion

What is . . . names of Metal Bands, Alex.


So awesome.

January 04, 2009

Sporadic Gig Syndrome

Wanna see me and others play weird/strange/cool/lovely bass music LIVE?

I have a gig coming up.

No shit.

Me - Jeff "How come I never get to see him play live" Schmidt. :)

Its a house concert in the San Jose area on Jan 23rd around 7:30pm - the Nerd-Farm Solo Bass Hootenanny! where I'll be joining Steve Lawson & Lobelia and Gustaf Fjelstrom. It's a casual but cool affair.


SEATING IS LIMITED - RESERVE your seat at this website.

I haven't played a proper show in a few months. This means I've forgotten how to play many of my tunes.

It may come as a shock - but I actually don't sit around playing my own music much.

So if I'm not gigging - I'm not playing the tunes. If I'm not playing the tunes for a few months - I forget how to play them.

They are, if I do say so - pretty frakking hard for me to play. I can't just "wing it". Wish I could.

In 07 I was playing gigs with such regularity that keeping my material in shape was easy.

But last year was reeeeeeeeealy mellow on solo bass gigs for me. Mostly by choice - but still.

So now, when someone asks me if I'm into doing a solo gig - all I can think about is the time and effort needed to bone up on my own music. Add a certain amount of laziness on my part and you start getting the idea.

That's Sporadic Gig Syndrome.

You should've seen me - hitting Youtube - watching my own stupid videos trying to figure out how I played some of that stuff. I'm such a tard.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: vote for your fav in the comments!

A.) lower my standards - don't practice & wing it!

B.) gig more. duh.

C.) write simpler music I can play without much prep.

vote now.

Anyway - it seems I'm fated to create music I'll need to incessantly practice. My cross to bare. Weep for me.

My feeling right now is that I'm probably not going to play much Outre material for this engagement. We'll see.

The idea of playing some of my newest musical sketches is far more exciting than spending hours re-learing/practicing older material.

mere moments before getting assualted by a drunken baffoon women.jpg

I think I can safely say I have no "hits" that I'll need to play to "please the crowd" - so this shouldn't be a problem. :) If you plan on attending - and this is a problem - speak now cuz I'll have to work on it if you want to hear something. Otherwise I'm going rouge bitches! :)

Does anyone else have Sporadic Gig Syndrome?

Does anyone else write music they forget how to play?

Does anyone want to help me get - ya know - Frequent Gig Syndrome?

Drop a comment.

House Concerts are all the rage now cuz it's easier to put on than at a "proper" venue that often needs 200 people drinking expensive drinks in the house to make it worth their while.

If you want to put on a House Concert just drop me a note and we'll work something out.

January 03, 2009

More Cowbell - Satori Style

My Solo Bass Tune - SATORI with 50% cowbell - 95% Walken

 Make your own at 

January 02, 2009

Advice from Monk -Timeless & Universal

Handwritten notes documenting advice from Pianist Thelonius Monk - captured by Saxophonist Steve Lacy circa 1960.

KFOG Program Director Dave Benson, the biggest jazz fan I know, came in contact with this jem and passed it along to me. It's great stuff. As Benson said - "you just want to have it framed"!

I'll have to settle for having it "blogged".

Click on the image to see the bigger version.


The most ironic bit to me - Monk saying "Don't play all those weird notes - play the melody!" Classic.

My favorite - 'Whatever you think can't be done - someone will come along and do it".

Amen to that!

The hating whitey bit at the end is a close second. ;)

January 01, 2009

Practice + Luck & Circumstance = Success.

As we've discussed on this blog before and ELSEWHERE practice is a HUGE part of achievement.

The idea of being "gifted" or possessing "innate" ability/talent is massively over stated in the explanation of why some people do amazing things. It's easy to see an elite musician perform and think "they're god" but that totally ignores the DECADES of dedicated practice and motivation that came before the performance.

And here, as Malcolm Gladwell covers in this great interview - we learn luck & circumstance ALSO has a LOT more to do with it than we'd often like to admit.

But you know that - we've discussed that here also.

This was interesting to me because it answers the problem I had with the "practice" issue. While all elite musicians are dedicated practicers - not all dedicated practicers are elite musicians. Gladwell suggests that Luck, circumstance and environment (mostly outside of our control) are the other elements that result in success when combined with dedicated practice.

Bottom line - it's not good enough to not suck. It's not good enough to be good enough.

I think about what it must have been like to grow up in the Marsalis home, or the Wooten home. Everyone playing and experimenting with music. Clearly, that kind of shit makes a HUGE difference.


My vote is for Gladwell and JMJ to trade places for 2009! I totally wanna hear Gladwell throw down the bassline to March of the Pigs.