<![CDATA[Soul Funkin Dangerous - SFD Bloggin]]>Sat, 19 Dec 2015 15:24:00 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[STOP! Collaborate and Create!]]>Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:05:59 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/stop-collaborate-and-createApologies for the summertime blog hiatus, let’s dust this thing off. *cough, cough*

Now that I have your attention, let me get a show of hands for the content creators.

Keep your hands up.

How many of you are doing this for the passion of creation?

Awesome! Keep those hands up. 

Now, for those passionate creators, who is actually making a living off of their art?

Did your hands get tired?

Well, let’s face it, a lot of us content creators, who love to make art, are not able to give it the full go because of one thing or another acting as a stumbling block. Be it work, finances, family, mental blocks, lack of drive, overinflated perfectionist ego, or the critical creator that never finishes; 

there is always something to blame. 

I admit, there are times when I want to create, but just don't. No reason why. I ask myself, "Why not just pick up the guitar and figure out a few chord changes and some lyrics to tell a story?" or "Instead of binge watching The Wire, Sherlock, and Trailer Park Boys, why don't I make a cool video or finish a song that is half done?" Part of it could be the energy/passion ratio, where you put energy into a project and the passion fades before you finish. Another part could be the fear of failure. Let me tell you all, famous or not, go ahead and swallow that tye dye colored pill that not everything you make is golden nor will everyone love everything you do. Learning to be brave and bold enough to create in the first place gives you fuel to give it a run. If you run out of gas, find some way to refuel. 

One of the best ways to refuel is to work with other people who may have an excess of energy and alternative ways of thinking. This process is the whole point that Soul Funkin Dangerous even exists. Creative musical minds that had an excess of energy, wanting to make something to listen to for whoever wanted to listen. Sure, working with other creative types can be a challenge when clashes occur. Human nature at it's best. Nothing more rewarding that when a collective of ideas brew together and make something beautiful. Scientists, engineers, stagehands, electricians, horticulturalists and artists share this common thread (not to exclude any field, but you get the point) 

Two heads are better, right?

Being inspired by a class conference with Jack Conte, CEO and Founder of Patreon.com, I want to implore all who may read this to create and find people out there that like your work. Encourage yourself to keep creating, even when life tries to stop you. Through outlets like Patreon, following people like Tommy Darker, and believing that your creation is worth something, you can start to build your brand and your revenue. While it's not all about the money, it's takes money to live and create. 

There's a reason behind asking about passion before making a living. Here's something to ponder...

Without passion, art is nothing.

Once you have the passion to create, other people can share your passion and help you continue to create. It's not about making buckets full of money. It's not about your face being famous everywhere. You may still have to teach lessons of your craft, sell some physical content, a combination of the 42 Revenue Streams for musicians or other avenues to fill the gap. Follow these rules for success:

Rule #1 - Create 
Rule #2 - Finish 
Rule #3 - Make sure it doesn't suck
Rule #4 - If it sucks, create something that doesn't. If it doesn't suck, skip to Rule #5
Rule #5 - If it doesn't suck, keep doing that
Rule #6 - Do it til you're satisfied (Just do some more)

The point is: Strive for Createness!

<![CDATA[Improvisation: The Jam]]>Mon, 05 May 2014 20:29:57 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/improvisation-the-jamMost all musicians agree that music is a language; the universal language. Playing music is very similar to speaking. You have an idea about what you want to say, and then you speak the words necessary to get your idea across to the listener. One doesn’t think of individual words to say, but the general idea is thought about and the words come. This should be the same with music. A musician doesn’t think about specific notes they want to play and in what order, they think of musical ideas. The feeling of the music, e.g. its dynamics, groove, place in the form, chord, all dictate the ideas that are played by the soloist. In a group that really gels, the musicians are carefully listening to what their other band members are playing, then they fit their idea in with what they hear. Each voice should be attentive to all the other voices, for the collective voice to work musically. 

When a person grows up and learns to speak, they are learning from masters of the language. Their parents, and older siblings already know how to use the language. People learn their words, how to form sentences, grammar, etc. all from masters of the language. The same should be true in music. The conversation of music takes place in what is known as the jam session. In a jam, tunes are played and music is created from all the members. To grow as a musician, one must do more than just practice. Get used to performing music, playing what you hear, and creating coherent musical ideas. Of course, as with language, play with the best players you can. You will learn so much from musicians that have more experience playing than you do. Every musician should learn from everyone they play with, but imagine how much you can learn from playing with better players. You can also play with great players through records. Transcribe solos, tunes, chords, grooves, whatever, then play that part from your favorite records. If you are playing what Miles Davis played on Kind of Blue, in a way you’re also playing with Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley. Learn the solo exactly as they played it. Every note, rhythm, articulation, dynamic and tone should be as close to theirs. The music should also be repeatedly played from memory. You will find that the more you do this, the more ideas and aspects of their playing will come out in your playing. Jamming with other people is creating a conversation musically, and the better the players, the more interesting the conversation becomes.

As always, happy practicing!

<![CDATA[Fela!]]>Tue, 29 Apr 2014 17:05:44 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/fela Take time out to listen to Fela Kuti. He was many things during his time on this earth: a voice for Africa, a star on par with the likes of Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, a trend-setter, a political malcontent, and unrepentant sexist, Between himself and the great Tony Allen, they invented a genre, Afrobeat. A previously unknown gumbo that combined African American music such as Jazz, Funk and Soul with sounds only heard in the heart of the mother continent. That continent and its music are eternally etched into the DNA of the human race. When Fela Kuti combined those mythical beats and sounds, the radio waves carried worldwide. The effect was seismic in nature. The ground would shake as the people came together. The majority of Africans oppressed through corrupt government now united against their common enemy. Fela declared that his home was independent from the Nigerian state, calling it the Kalakuta Republic. At one time, the Kalakuta Republic was laid under siege by over 1,000 Nigerian troops, stemming from Fela’s outspoken political stance. Fela was severely beaten and lost his mother in that attack. His response was the single "Coffin For The Head Of State". To mark the occasion a year later, Fela married 27 women in a single ceremony. The 80s and 90s found him behind bars on regular basis due to his outspokenness in regards to Nigerian politics. An arrest for smuggling currency and one for murder jump off of the page among others. The world lost Fela in 1997 due to complications from the AIDS virus. His legacy lives on through his music and countless sons and daughters. He was the light and the dark. This still shines through the Funk that he left. 

Love, Funk and Fela!

<![CDATA[Improvisation: Vertical vs. Horizontal and Numbers of Music]]>Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:52:06 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/improvisation-vertical-vs-horizontal-and-numbers-of-musicThere is a tendency to think of scales and chords as separate things, especially in practice.  In jazz, the two are inseparably linked, being that one is basically the other, only played differently.  If you look at a common jazz chord, for example the dominant thirteenth, written C13, you will find that when you voice the chord vertically using scale degrees: 1, 3, 5, flat7, 9, sharp 11, 13, you are using every note in the scale to fill out the chord.  In every case, 9 is the same as scale degree 2, sharp 11 means sharp 4, and 13 is the same as scale degree 6.  Every note is a chord tone, and every note of the scale is in the chord.  The chord, technically C13 #11, and the scale, C Lydian dominant, are comprised of the same tones.  Playing the chord is to use the notes vertically, as in stacked thirds, and playing the scale is to use the notes horizontally. 

It is important for every musician, not just a jazz player, to know that scales and chords represent one another.  To think of a chord should be to think of that scale.  This is true if the chord is simple; say a C major triad, or complex, like a C altered dominant.  If one breaks down chord and scale relationships, at the most elementary level, both could be seen as working with numbers.  Every degree of the scale and every chord tone are associated by a number; the root is one, the third is three, etc.  When you practice scales, chords and arpeggios, try to hear each scale degree and think in terms of these numbers.  This is especially helpful when practicing all twelve keys on your instrument.  Instead of having to think individual notes, try to hear numbers.  When visualizing music on your instrument, think numbers as opposed to individual notes.  A good musician should also be able to name the notes of the chord or scale that they are trying to play.  As you practice chords, remember that the notes in the chord are also in the scale you use to improvise, and when you practice scales, remember that a chord change goes with those set of notes.  Practice the scales up and down, on the full range of your instrument, and practice arpeggiating all the notes in the chord.  Think of the scalar sound as being heard horizontally and the arpeggiated chords as vertical uses of the same set of notes.  Just playing scales and chords can be boring though, so mix it up with scalar patterns, arpeggiating in fourths and fifths, playing different modes of the scale as you ascend and descend, etc.  

Being able to hear scales and chords is important, but as you improvise try to think melody.  A good starting place is to have the melody of the tune in your head as you improvise.  This helps your thinking as you improvise, and helps you to keep track of the form of the tune as you play.  Eventually one will be able to recognize music without having to think notes.  You will begin to feel the music instead of thinking notes and numbers.

As always, happy practicing!

<![CDATA[Tough Is Enough]]>Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:31:21 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/tough-is-enoughSpring is in the air! After an unusually cold winter, adults and children alike are ready to get outside and breathe that fresh spring air. For a century, men and boys would look forward to spring knowing that it meant another winter had passed and it was time for baseball. YES baseball! This year, the excitement is more subdued then it has been in the past. It turns out that the great game has fallen on lean times. Don't fret, the owners of the teams and the players still have enough cash to make the note on their new Ferrari's. The script that eludes them is spiritual. They lack the spiritual capital, that in the past was the currency of choice for fans of the game.

As of late, Major League Baseball has been unable to get the biggest and brightest stars in the game inducted to its own "Hall Of Fame". Turns out that great sluggers and rocket armed executioners whom were the faces of MLB during the late 90s and early part on this 21st century have been dishonest with the fans. Fans who in the past had watched their every move just to witness the grace and power that is the world class athlete. The athletes had sacrificed the grace for the sake of the power.

When I was a boy, the greatest players typically played their whole career with one team. The history books are full of the stories of the grizzled old slugger leaving it all on the field. Of old men channeling their younger selves for one more at bat. They paid the price with their bodies, knowing glory awaited those who could rise to greatness "one more time". They defined themselves by the numbers they left in their wake.

Like the old days, players today use everything at their disposal to gain an advantage. Every type of cheating you can imagine has been attempted. From pitchers doctoring the ball, to pine tar on the bat, and cork inside of the bat. Players would use "Speed" so that their moments on the diamond wouldn't pass them by. When players started using performance enhancing drugs, (PEDs) all bets ended. No longer were they just trying to get every bit of talent they had out, they wanted more.

The 1st generation of juicing is over. It robbed us of our heroes and perverted our sense of value. Things like grit and fortitude were replaced by the smooth platitudes of a orthopedic surgeon talking about recovery time.

Movies have been made about how much Shoeless Joe Jackson loved the game of baseball. Nobody is going to make a movie about the love Sammy Sosa had for the game. Nobody sheds any tears for the Bash Brothers, but people are still crying over Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente. Now is the time for MLB to wash its hands of the PEDers and embrace the Hit King. A man who played every position in the field at one time or another. A man who was the last player manager. A man who loves baseball and in fact NEEDS it. Pete Rose has been punished. Let Pete in the Hall of Fame. Show the fans that love for the game means something. Show the kids that stronger and faster isn't always better. It's the intangibles that count. In fact, that's where the spirit of the game resides, the place where ability and fate intersect. End the ban on the Hit King and give America back it's game.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,


<![CDATA[Let Them Eat Pi!]]>Fri, 14 Mar 2014 15:42:45 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/let-them-eat-pi Everyone has their vice when it comes to sweets. Oh you don’t have a vice? Stop lying. Even the most in shape people of the world fall victim to a sweet tooth here and there. What the heck am I getting at?

It’s Pi Day! March 14th, or 3.14. This is a legit holiday now, considering in March of 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HRES 224, recognizing March 14th as National Pi Day. It also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday as well as Quincy Jones. If nothing else, celebrate their birthdays with your favorite slice. Can't locate one? Recruit Superman for his x-ray vision. Easy as...

Yesterday on Facebook, I coined this a holiday for nerds and fat kids. I consider myself to be a nerd of sorts and in my soul, I am a fat kid (or my mom would say, big boned) Pie is not my sweet tooth vice, ice cream sits on the sugar throne for that spot. Here in Lexington, I make every possible attempt to get a slice of Missy's Pies, keeping it local. If you ever come through, their pies are delightful and Soul Funkin Dangerous approved!

Check www.piday.org for more on this amazing pseudo holiday. For those that know me, I like Hitchhiker’s Guide a lot. 3.14159 x 1337% = 42.00. See below video for help memorizing Pi!

Piece and pie love, 


Pi Day Countdown
<![CDATA[Shut Up and Dance]]>Mon, 10 Mar 2014 18:36:30 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/shut-up-and-dance Howdy funk fans. Finding myself sitting here with some space to fill and some time to kill. Supposed to be writing about something relevant and inspiring, a daunting task it seems. Going to give it a shot so here goes...

We are all into music (this is a music blog after all) so let's discuss your local music scene. If your scene is anything like mine (college town) it is full of incredibly talented folks doing anything from Gregorian chant to Marvin Gaye. ABBA to Zappa. On any given night, you can go to a bar/club bistro, hear live music and meet some really interesting people. The only way to do that is to actually make the scene. You have to be physically present in order for these things to happen.  

Videos on YouTube cannot compare to actual experience of being there, and let's face it; instant messaging is not a real conversation.  At the very least, it gets you out of the house.  In this digital age, we could all use some time away from our electronic masters.  

Being a musician, I have a vested interest in a thriving music scene, but I feel it is imperative that we have some form of decompression from the daily grind.    

So go see a show, take your friends and help support your local music scene and the musicians/venues who are making it happen.  Dance like no one is watching and let it all out.  

You will feel better and your scene will get stronger.  It's a win/win.  

See you soon,

<![CDATA[Improvisation: Getting Away From The Notes]]>Fri, 07 Mar 2014 00:22:08 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/improvisation-getting-away-from-the-notesHow many musicians have shied away from the prospect of improvising, in any style, due to a lack of confidence about the notes?  For a number of promising classical musicians, the challenge of improvising can be a daunting task, because they are worried about the chord changes, they don’t have enough or any experience playing extemporaneously, or they struggle to find the “right notes”.  If you’re new to improvisation, let me say something that might blow your mind:  You may play any note, within context, over any chord change! 

This could be quite a dangerous concept to state, yet when used properly, any note in the chromatic scale may be used over any chord change.  Without delving too deeply into music theory, technically there are seven distinct pitches in a scale which are “legal” notes for a particular chord change.  For example, if the chord is C major, all the white keys on the piano are in the scale, or more accurately, can be used to improvise on the C major chord.  Now the five black keys, none of which are in the C major scale, can still be played as chromatic passing tones.  This is a chromatic note (a half step away from a scale tone) that is played in between two scale/chord tones.  For example, instead of playing scale degrees 1, 2,3,4,5 in eight notes, you may play 1, #1, 2, 3, and 5.  Usually, the chromatic passing tone is on an upbeat, or the “and” of the beat, but this is not always the case.  Playing a chromatic note directly on the beat and resolving rhythmically can be a great effect.  The example used the chromatic passing tone in between scale degrees on and two, yet the tones in between two and three, four and five, five and six, and six and seven-in other words, all the black keys on the piano, may be played on a C major chord.  To extend the idea, any chord, whether major, minor, diminished, half diminished, augmented, or the big one, dominant, has several chromatic notes that aren’t in the scale of the chord, yet can be played on those chords.

Just think how many chords there are.  How many do you know?  Yet there are only twelve tones in Western music, the twelve tones of the chromatic scale.  Go to a piano, play a chord you like in the left hand, and with the right hand, start playing and running the scale that goes with that chord.  Then, start adding the notes that are outside of the scale.  Start simple at first, remember if it doesn’t sound “good”, or “right” to you, change when and where you play the outside note.  Once you are comfortable with all of the twelve notes on a C major chord/scale, start the process again on another chord.  I’ve found that practicing this concept systematically works well.  Start with major chords; go to dominant or seventh (C7) chords, then minor, diminished, etc.  Always create pleasing melodies, and be able to sing what you play.  The great musicians can sing what they play, yet they can also play what they hear in their heads.  Experimentation is the name of this game, so don’t be afraid! 

As always, happy practicing!  

<![CDATA[Vinyl Redux]]>Mon, 03 Mar 2014 20:34:12 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/vinyl-reduxLet’s talk some more about vinyl eh?

My fascination began with my parent’s collection and a huge console stereo. Elton John, Emmylou Harris, The Who, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Beethoven, Tom T. Hall, The Beatles. There were also these books that were told on record, with sound effects, and a signal to let you know when it was time to turn the page. Stories like Peter and the Wolf, Briar Rabbit, and various Bible stories.  My babysitter, Markita, introduced me to The Bay City Rollers, and KISS. Which explains why the first record I ever purchased was KISS, Destroyer. The collection grew from there to include The Police, Michael Jackson, and too many to go on. A random sampling of my open trunk of records has yielded such gems as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Mathis, Black Sabbath, Bowie, Edgar Winter, Willie, WoodStock, and Donna Summer

You spent time just listening to all this stuff back then. It wasn’t just background noise. Vinyl was more than the music. The artwork on album covers were like a door into the recording. The liner notes would often contain amazing information. John Lennon plays guitar and sings background vocals on David Bowie’s Fame. All of the members of Missing Persons, except for Terry’s sister, Dale Bozzio, make appearances on Frank Zappa’s Shut Up and Play Your Guitar. Not to mention the printed lyrics. It’s basic multiple sensory stimulation. I guess the point is we were so much more connected to the artists back then and the artists were, more often than today, worth being paid attention to and actually had something say.

Of course the biggest advantage with of a lot of vinyl being that you get to hear the WHOLE recording. The digitizing process REMOVES pieces of your favorite recordings! CONSPIRACY! Or not. 

To be continued...


<![CDATA[Plastic and Wires]]>Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:53:05 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/plastic-and-wiresPicture
NBC, the oldest major broadcasting network in the country has their in house writers and add men attempting to whip the viewing public into a TV watching, text messaging, social networking frenzy. The sixth season of "The Voice" has the NBC yacht and men’s club crowd anticipating major gains to their already substantial coffers. The popular show is a favorite of fans of popular music. "The Voice" which features up and coming vocalists is hosted by Carson Daly or Ryan Seacrest I can't remember which, anyway the show is hosted by 1/2 of our generation's Dick Clark. The celebrity “coaches” provides the star power on The Voice. The coaches are all nearly contemporary pop vocalists of one stripe or another. They trade good natured barbs with each other designed to convey the respect that undoubtedly share for one another, all the while pandering to their own distinct fan bases while they pick their "teams" from the prospective "contestants". 

I must confess, I don't know much about it. What I do know is, Music is not a competition. I may like something you hate, and vice versa. I would imagine that somewhere on this earth, there is someone making music that no one would like, But you know what? New fans are made everyday. NBC and Apple and the music industry figured out a long time ago how to make money off of passion. That is what music is someone's passion. See the thing is, in creating scenarios, like this show, they attempt to produce a product that everyone will like. Taken in large doses, music like this can cause prostate damage and bed wetting, especially in middle aged men, pining over their long lost love and squandered life. 

In your own town, there are musicians every bit as talented as the ones NBC is powdering up like donuts and sticking under lights brighter than ones Uncle Bud's foot was under when he had his corns removed last July. Go down to your local tavern or pub and watch them pour out their hearts to you, Watch them sing the songs that we all know and love and listen to the songs that they wrote too. A culture and a country can be judged and in fact, summed up by it's artists.

Support you local musicians and live music in your area. Plastic and wires can never replace the experience of human connection and relating to a song being sung by someone who means it. 

Love and Happiness to all ya'll and we will be seeing you soon!


<![CDATA[Rockin the Blog Boat!]]>Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:36:52 GMThttp://www.soulfunkindangerous.com/sfd-bloggin/rockin-the-blog-boatBelieve it or not, Soul Funkin Dangerous is getting into blogging! Each core member of the band will have space to spill some beans. Learn more about who we are, what is on our minds, and many other mysterious messages. 

First up, the deep voiced, curly headed, microphone kisser, Donald Mason. 

Happy Funky Friday! Thanks for taking some time to dig on SFD.

With all of the members blogging, we could talk about music, doing things behind the scenes and all that jazz. Today, I am feeling two things that warm my heart, natural and man made: sunshine and vinyl records. You know those little things in life that make you realize this world is incredible. This week, we have shaken the polar vortex and even broke into 70-degree weather in Kentucky. Taking dogs on walks in warm sunshine during the winter has no other choice but to give you that fuzzy feeling. Ahh... the Spring Knight has come to defeat the Frost King. Still a bit away from reciting Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” though patience is a virtue. I bet that some of you sitting at your office desk, looking out to the sunshine long for redemption from the sun. 

What could you do to break the shackles of responsibility and embrace the ever-close star? 
Your weekend starts soon enough.

Sunshine is wondrous. Music is wondrous. Vinyl records are like capturing pieces of sunshine and mixing them in with organic tunes to create a magical concoction. The crackling of the needle hitting the vinyl for the first time, preparing your ear drums for a fantastic voyage. Watching each spin goes round and round, mesmerized by the way of the wax. Ok, ok, so I like vinyl records. Isn’t it awesome, even if you aren’t someone who has 50+ vinyls on the wall with hundreds more in their collection, to go to a used record store and see the history sitting on the shelves? Where are the 8-track stores? Cassette tape stores? Of course, CDs are still strong and take up way less space. Even still, nothing is like the vinyl record. In Lexington, we are blessed with stores like The Album, CD Central and Pop’s Resale that keep the locally owned music stores alive. The gems in the $1 bins, the overflow coming from collections, and the ability to throw it on a turntable and know it’s real. The moral of the story: open the blinds, crack a window, throw some vinyl on the turntable and enjoy a few of my favorite things this weekend. Your soul will be grateful and may induce a nice habit or ritual. *insert pops and crackling* 

For all of the Louisvillians out there, we will be funkin the River City at Third Street Dive Saturday night (tomorrow night!)

Peace and Love,


    Funky Friday Vinyl Survey