Friday, June 19, 2009

Port Sexy II

Yesterday Clinton and Alissa drove/walked around to some Madison venues to distribute press packages/demos in hopes of securing some local gigs, and they were kind enough to let me ride along. It was a pretty productive evening, at least compared to most of my recent evenings. We talked to a lot of nice people, and I bought an effects pedal for the keyboard from this cool guy at the guitar store next to the Harmony. While in the store, he read a little from a nine page letter he received from a crazy old musician...and I got to play a little on a Wurlitzer keyboard right in the front of the store. It was pretty awesome. Given enough time trying to find gigs and I'm sure we could tell a bunch of interesting stories, and maybe that will happen someday...but this post is about something different. We hung out on the pier at Port Sexy while waiting to go to the Pub (yes, the Pub. I know.) and inspiration struck.

I am proud to announce today (in preliminary form, yes...and without authorization of the other members of the band, true...but still.) the Common Swift Lake ____ Music Festival.

What is that, you say?

Well - one day, after we become wildly (moderately) successful, Common Swift will buy (steal) a lake house and christen it Port Sexy II (obviously). Then, at least one weekend/summer we will host 4-6 bands, some of their guests, and our friends for an awesomely awesome conglomeration of swimming, music, dancing and good food. The reason it is the 'Lake ____' festival is that we don't exactly know where it will happen at the moment.

Anyway, heads up - contact your favorite Swift to get your name on the list!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A while ago, I wrote a post documenting the band's issue with our 'look.' While I don't want to revisit the days of plaid pants and decades-old soccer jerseys, I do think that readers should know that there were consequences of that post. In it, I asked for suggestions for our look. As of last count, we had received zero ideas from people not actually in the band. As such, we were left to our own devices - look where that got us.

Clearly we need some guidance. Thanks a LOT, readers!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Common Swift and the Electric Mayhem

While I'm out wandering around Wisconsin digging holes in yards, finding golf balls by parks, and getting sunburned on 2/5 of my arms...well, my mind wanders. Today, it drifted off to the muppets. It wasn't a completely random jump - I was thinking yesterday that it would be great to live in Fraggle Rock, where you can dance your cares away and save your worries for another day. However, since we're not in Fraggle Rock, I actually do have to replace all of my car's brake pads, and I'm pretty sure that the dealership won't accept the Charleston as payment.

Today, though, I wasn't thinking about Doozers, or Sprocket, or car repairs. I was thinking - "if the band members were muppets, who would we be? OMG THERE'S A MUPPET BAND SWEET"

Which leads us to this - Muppet descriptions are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dusty - Animal
Animal is "
named for his wild behavior and drumming."
Parker - Zoot, if Zoot played piano.
Zoot is a "
balding saxophone player...and generally a laid back fellow."
Me - Rowlf
Rowlf actually only played with the Mayhem in one episode. Sometimes it feels like I play with the band that rarely, because of the job. Ah well. Also, I'm brown, moderately fuzzy, and play the piano.
Strutt - Dr. Teeth, switching the keys for a guitar.
Dr. Teeth's first lines in The Muppet Movie
: "Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence." I'm not sure why, since Strutt doesn't have gold teeth, but this is fitting.
Alissa - Janice, minus the guitar
Janice "
was involved with Zoot in the first season of The Muppet Show, but paired up with Floyd Pepper at the start of season two." I'm not actually all that thrilled with this pairing, but Janice is the girl. She sometimes sings. Close enough for me. Also...Alissa? Parker? to elaborate?
Clinton - Sgt. Floyd Pepper
Sgt. Floyd is the bass player. He is "
the most cynical member of the band and perhaps of the entire cast; in several episodes, he observes his fellow Muppet Show performers' backstage antics and pratfalls with great amusement and is not above outright laughing at them." Also, he's involved with Janice, so there you go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Codename: Sleeveless

Strutt made mention in his last post of the pictures I took to document the making of Common Swift's untitled EP. I had forgotten all about them. So, in lieu of a narrative documenting our weekend "on tour" in La Crosse, which I assure you is coming, enjoy these goofy-ass photos.

Strutt Jeff and Parker in our recording "command center." In order to keep the sound clean, each musician of the band was set up in a different room of the house and connected to the main mix via headphones. It certainly didn't seem natural, but it felt more natural than playing to a click track.

My rig, set up to record. We had four mics on the drums -- not by any means a professional studio's worth, but enough to mic the kick and the snare, and to get a stereo overhead mix.

I have been made fun of, in haiku form nonetheless, for being a huge wuss about how painful it is to be a drummer. But I submit to you photographic evidence of the BRUISE the gloves I was wearing left ALL THE WAY AROUND MY WRIST and UP THE HEEL AND PALM OF MY HANDS after eight hours behind the set. And know that anyone who saw it in person will attest it looked a lot worse in person. Painful though it was, it was still better than the BLISTERS drumming for eight hours would have left.

Fast forward several weeks later. It's 2:30 AM, the night before our first gig in La Crosse, and it's arts and crafts time to prepare 50 EPs to take on the road with us.

But the end product was fuckin' money.

Yes, each of our first 50 original EPs is hand-lettered and numbered. The numbering is because we're full of ourselves. The hand-lettering is because we're cheap. I think the fusion of the two is something pretty rock 'n' roll.

Covered in happiness.

Common Swift, the untitled EP, edition 00. Parker's printer ran out of ink while we were printing jackets, and the back came out in a blue-ish hue. It's a one of a kind original. The guys want to keep it. I want to sell it to someone random and see if it ever surfaces again.

Jeff's Story

I posted my tale of the La Crosse weekend here.

The pride and optimism generated by the gigs is slowly dissipating, turning into an anxious desire to play again.

That's okay with me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Band Look

As we move as a band from a generally rehearsal-oriented/writing phase to performing more out in the open, we probably have to settle upon a ‘look.’ Here is a photo of us at our Cheese Days show:

As you can see, we have several style, uh, issues. Now, I'm no fashion "guru" - many, many people can attest to that. However.
Dusty is in a who-knows-how-old Monroe Rebels soccer jersey. We can be somewhat grateful for that - at least he’s wearing a shirt (not always the case at practice). Alissa is wearing plaid pants. I suppose that’s unique - I can’t really claim to have ever heard of a band frontman (frontwoman?) wearing plaid pants. Parker is wearing different shorts than he was ten minutes before the show, due to a button fail. I am wearing SWEET shorts with a sort-of hippie shirt* and a holstein-themed bandana.

*On that note, does anybody know where I could find another one of these shirts? I am a huge fan of it and it is sort-of getting worn thin. Let me know.

Strutt - I kinda think if you're the guitar player and general heart of the band, it doesn't matter WHAT you wear.
Clinton - If I remember correctly, Clinton was rockin' an awesome beard today. You know what they say about beards - they grow on you.

So. That was our look in September.Follow the link on Parker's post below to see a series of pictures taken at one of our semi-recent rehearsals.

Brief observations:
I’ve developed a goatee-like growth on my chin (it’s gone now), Dusty has kept the bandana, and Alissa has un-plaided her pants. Parker is wearing his pants.
Same old story for Strutt - guitarists are cool, no questions asked.
Clinton yet again is making me feel horribly inadequate about my 'facial hair.'

Basically, we probably need to find a cohesive “look” - any suggestions, superfans*?

*Does anybody read this but us? Jody? Katie? Bueller? Bueller?

Ideas in the comments, s’il vous plaĆ®t.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Hello Swifts!

The last weekend was busy indeed. Here's a quick rundown of how we spent our time.

On Friday Clinton and Alyssa came over to the studio/our house and helped set up for recording with Brian and I. Actually Clinton Alyssa and Brian did most of the set up, I played a lot of FarCry2.

On Saturday the whole band, sans Alyssa, recorded for most of the day, and it went amazingly well. We didn't start an electrical fire, we didn't hate what we recordred, we didn't kill anybody, and most importantly we didn't record a single cover. By the end of the day we were all exhausted, or wrists and fingers swelled, and many of us had blisters. Plus I played a lot of FarCry2. The recordings we made on Saturday are pretty polished, and the set up we used for recording was a work of art on its own, incorporating four seperate rooms, including my bathroom. There are pictures too, which I'm sure will find their way to here.

On Sunday Brian Alyssa and I laid the vocals down. We have great takes of everything, and Clinton came over later in the day and we recorded the Flute and Oboe parts. Plus I played an absolute shit-ton of FarCry2, the game is just amazing! Brian has been mixing every since, and a rough cut should be done in a few days. I'm sure we'll post when the EP is ready to go, which shouldn't be too far from now.

Also, look out for show dates coming soon.

Here's a link to some pictures that Ian took at a practice of ours two weeks ago, enjoy!