Archive for April, 2016

I was playing acoustic guitar in the living room the other night and I was playing a piece that I had written decades ago. My good friend Tom Robinson added some chords to the structure and it became a favorite instrumental of ours called “Lurker”. I think the name fit as the instrumental piece has a LOT of intentional dissonance and it keeps repeating the pattern over an over, though it changes feeling as the piece is played. I thought about doing something with this guitar piece (there were never other instruments, just the guitar parts) and headed up to the studio. In my computer I found a file called “Lurker” and I opened it up not knowing what it was.

As it turned out a couple years ago I had worked on some drum patterns to go with the guitar part – which like other things, got put on the to do list as I went on to other projects. Funny how many simultaneous projects I have going at any given time. I like the feeling the drums added and thought I would record the guitar piece and play with the tune. As I worked with it I naturally started to think about lyrics for it. Then it hit me – the instrumental piece is repetitious as I mentioned and really doesn’t change ( no Chorus, Bridge or Break or alternate chord arrangement, etc.) The post “Some People” is the same way. It was not structured like a normal “commercial” song. (not that I have ever written one of those!)

So I have been working on the two and I thought this is still going to work as a blogger project. I may add other instruments going forward as it still has just the guitar and drum parts and I toyed with a spooky synth sound for the solo.

I also put up a video on my you tube channel with color pictures I have taken over the years. Some black and white pictures courtesy of Tom Robinson.

I make music and take pictures, but my wife is the creative half of the team.  She does it all.  I have threatened to list her abilities here before but none of us have that much time!  She loves to carve pumpkins during the Halloween season and would other times if pumpkins were around.  We would have the kids and grand kids come over and carve pumpkins in the back yard.  It was so much fun and the kids really loved it too.  She made the mistake of telling a few friends and the next year they invited themselves.  We all had a blast.  I am not great in the carving department so I would gut them for the little kids, make sure music was playing and everyone had a hot drink and a perfect pumpkin to work on.  It was a great family event and each year we looked forward to pumpkin carving time.

It seemed like a harmless mistake.  Friends told other friends.  Each year we had more and more people coming over.  We provided the pumpkins and you could take yours home after showing them off to everyone.  The carving tools got more elaborate.  The patterns and artwork more challenging and the carved pumpkins were AWESOME.  I served more hot drinks, gutted more pumpkins than I could count.

Soon we had more events; we had a screaming contest to see who had the most blood-curdling ear-piercing screams (the little kids were unbeatable!).  We had walnut trees and as a result a walnut throwing contest.  Haunted trails through the woods.

Then came the hay rides!  Not to be outdone, we had a haunted house the next year using lights, fog machines and other equipment from the bands I played in.  People started bringing soup and chili to share so we had contests for the best dish.  We started buying pumpkins by the skid!   It now took almost a month to plan the events and get masks, haunted house, hay rides and everything else ready for the big day.

My wife and I were so busy entertaining that she could no longer take the time to carve pumpkins!  This is why the whole thing started and now she could not carve any of her own.  WE were exhausted by the end of the day and even though we had a great time and everyone loved the event, we looked around and decided not to do it next year.  Or the year after.

Fortunately, friends of ours started their own carving events and we went over to theirs to carve pumpkins for a few years until they moved out of state!

With that in mind, here are just a few of the pictures.  Maybe one day close to Halloween I will post the winners of the screaming contest!

Last September I posted an article with some lyrics/poetry that I had written a while ago called “Some People” using lyrics from a poem called “Some People Are”.  I left out some of the verses for the post but for a refresher to the article use the following link:

I did not have music for it at the time and it sat for a while but I really liked some of the verses.   Then I thought about asking readers to submit their own verses because you are so creative and I would come up with some music for it and post it as a shared song written by fellow bloggers.  As things in life happen as they can – not as I plan or want them to – I put it on the list and worked on a few other things like finding a job and other projects.  But things on my list usually get done.  One way or another ……….. in one form or another.

The structure of the lyrics changed a little, so the submissions will need to fit the meter of the new lyrics below.  I can’t guarantee that I will add every submission, but I will take select submissions and post the song.  I think it would be fun and entries will be credited as co-authors.  The new song is titled: “Some People”.

  “Some People Are”                   Lyrics by MSK © 2-22-2016  

 Some people are humans 

 Trying to get their kicks 

 Some people are animals 

 Able to learn new tricks. 

Are you somebody? 

 Show me.  Show me. 


Some people are clever 

 They know just what to do 

 Some people are sneaky 

 And always out of view. 

  Are you different? 

 Different than me?  


  Most people are decent 

 And give you the time of day 

 Most people are ignorant 

 Of debts they should have paid. 

 Do you know these people? 

  Do they know you? 


Most people are honest  

Till they tell their first lie 

 Most people are lonely 

 And will never say good bye. 

Does it matter? 

 Does it matter to me? 


  More people are angry 

Seeing things in black and white 

More people are dreaming 

 Something wrong that should be right. 

 Where are the people? 

 Have you seen the people? 


Poor people are proven guilty 

More often than not 

Poor people are givers 

And they’ll share what they’ve got. 

 More poor people 

 Would help a lot. 


You tried to tell me something 

I could never understand. 

Wouldn’t know how to follow 

 If you guided me by the hand. 

 Tell me. 

 Tell me something. 


  So many wrong directions 

In my ever-changing past. 

 Can’t guarantee to be there first, but 

 I have never been the last. 

 Another wrong direction 

 Forgotten so fast. 


Your people are crazy 

 Going out all the time 

 Your people are busy 

 But they’ll stop to pick up a dime. 

 It’s not worth it. 

 Not worth it to me. 


Your people are active 

 Found the right ass to kick 

 Your people are saying  

 That’s the nature of politics. 

 That’s the nature 

 The nature of politics 

It is time to report on the progress of the song that Mack and I have been working on titled: “My Heart Is Silent”.   We had the basic instrumental tracks in place and a rough mix finished and I posted it a few weeks ago.  I added a scratch vocal track so we could get an idea how and where they lyrics fit.  Soon after we let a few vocalists we know listen to the music and the idea we had for the melody line.  The arrangement had a number of parts and we had to adopt the lyrics a bit and worked the melody to fit around the arrangement.

I will include a rough copy of the song with the vocals.  A friend my wife knows came over to the studio to lay down some vocal tracks.  She is not a professional vocalist and this was her first time in any studio.  I know from many years of recording other artists that it is not as easy as it sounds.  I try to be charming and supportive but it can be difficult to feel comfortable when the recording starts and you want to make it perfect.  Ann did very well and she started to get the melody down and add a few flourishes.  So knowing this is a first session and not intended to be a final take, here is the song as it was.

I say was, because each vocalist we talked to, and during our internal creative discussions, it became apparent that the lyrics and mood did not really match the music.  After a number of talks we decided to scrap the music all together.  Mack wanted another crack at it and took the lyrics – and our observations home to try to come up with an arrangement that better matched our thoughts and discussions about the lyrics and what we wanted to hear them with.  As I mentioned, this can be a long process with plenty of changes and modifications along the way.

While we now have a pleasant instrumental piece almost complete, my wife and I will write lyrics to it (so all is not lost).  Mack wrote a new piano piece and kept some of the ideas of the first version.  We have been working on the new musical piece and I will share that with you in a week or so.  We have a vocalist working on the basic instrument tracks and hope to have the new version with lyrics fairly soon.

Part II of Making a Song

Part I of Making a Song




I joined the ranks of the unemployed the end of January this year.  A number of followers check up and ask me to keep in touch and I promised to do so.  Here are a few thoughts and observations from the unemployment line so to speak.

I worked at my last job for about fifteen years.  Needless to say it has been a while since I interviewed for a job.  To make things a little more realistic, I worked for the same company (but different owners) for about eight years until they filed for bankruptcy.  I found other jobs and a few years later the company built itself back up with new owners and products and I knew people there and was told of an opening.  I interviewed and was rehired immediately.

In fact, I cannot think of an interview I had that did not result in me getting hired.  There may have been a few interviews where I did not want to work for the company or in the available position, but in general, if I got the interview I got hired.

Since I am talking years ago even those experiences are irrelevant.  Today most applications are on-line.  You can upload your resume, and then there are pages of questions, evaluations, tests and responses to complete.  There seems to be a few companies that provide this service for large and small companies that need to hire workers.

Until this week I did not get a real ‘bite’ on my applications.  I use social networks, job blogs, hiring company notifications and other resources.  This week I had an ‘open house’ style interview with one major company and set up a phone interview for another.  Sounds like a good time to report on progress!

I grew into the position at my last job from years of experience, absorbing new tasks, proving I was able to take on new assignments and making things happen.  So I gradually moved into a position that by today’s standards would require a HEAVY and targeted educational background.  Not complaining here. I am actually proud of the success I made.  Add to that that I am a musician first (I would joke that working was my ‘hobby’) and my appearance and philosophy do not fit the corporate image at all.  In spite of all that I gained a lot of respect, responsibility, and knowledge.

I am ‘disqualified’ for a lot of things quickly during the rigid on-line application process.  Either I make too much money for the position offered or I do not have the formal education required these days to do similar jobs.  Add to that my age, and the process often ends abruptly.

Fortunately it allows me to narrow down positions that will be good for me.  I do not need much and in a strange way I can be a bit choosy.  I also have a good track record, and if I can land an interview, I have confidence I will be fairly considered for the position.

I will keep you posted and let you know how it goes.

For those of you also looking, how is your search going?  What is your feel for the current job market?