Friday, 31 December 2010

Luke Clarke's World Of Tomorrow!

Welcome To The World Of Tomorrow or 2011, one of the two, you decide... it's all a matter of choice

So, just a very quick post here,

I signed in on the 30th, the anniversary of my Dad's death and HABISKY! we had 1,000 views! fantastic, I don't even know that many people, so thank you all very much for working your way back here, to the Luke Clarke Blog, I appreciate each and every one of you, you're all diamond, if not a more precious material, because it's you that pushes me to keep writing this blog, with the help from my friends creating and suggesting content, we've moved this blog from strength to strength, I'm writing more than ever and I'm enjoying writing each and every one of them. 

So let's keep this train keep on ridin', ridin' on through!

Also, a while back, I entered a competition over on Frampton Central, the main fan page for one of my favorite guitarists, Peter Frampton. The prize was the above pictured Gibson Custom Les Paul Peter Frampton Signature, now this evening, I checked my inbox, and I made a phone call to Simon, the guy who runs the website and when he answered, he told me that I had won that guitar, all of you readers will know of my abysmal bad luck, and this, was the light at the end of a terrible 2010 tunnel, so thank you Frampton Central, from the bottom of my heart. 

"I wonder how you're feeling, there's ringing in my ears"

Longer post coming soon!
Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
Your Pal
Luke Clarke

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Yesterday I Spent Asleep

Wotcha Readers!

So were approaching the end of a shitty year, there's no debating it's been terrible, there's nothing left for me to do this evening, so I thought I'd do another blog for ya...

Coming up to the end of 2010, I'm feeling as if I'm just waiting for the new year to come in, kind of lost, finding myself, literally doing nothing, having no effort or motivation to do anything, the band's on a break for now, I'm writing alot of material, I'm taking advantage of Red Dead Redemption's double XP until 2011 thing, gonna try and get to level 50, alas, I just really haven't been feeling all that chirpy this last week or so, overly tired, bloated, drunk are all things I've been feeling, and I don't like it, not one bit...

Now you can probably tell through my writing style here, that I'm not myself, I know I normally have some kind of flow going on through my blogs, but as I say, I'm not feeling myself, but I feel compelled to write here, before I lose all sanity...

Now speaking of losing sanity, I've been doing this thing called "reading", I was bemused by the concept at first, but it's really quite cool, anyhow, I've been reading H.P Lovecraft's Weird Tales, all I can say is wow, I'm not a fan of fiction, I've always been into biographies & fact based books, but this is incredible, and gets the imagination running wild with these images of distorted and creepy images of these worlds he describes, I felt as if I was hanging off every word on the page, it's truly riveting stuff, and it's what has been inspiring some of the creepy sounding work I've been doing musically, if you're not convinced by my comments here, pick the book up for yourself, I warn you, it's intimidating, but you'll never regret buying it, there are 900 pages of sheer awesome weird short stories that will keep you reading...

Linko McLinkerson! £12.19, free delivery, if you're after a good read, go fer it!

But aye, last blog was my 40th post, how about that eh? Just a thanks really, I had alot of really nice feedback from that previous blog, saying some people also were moved to tears reading it, it's touching to get that kind of response, thanks you lot, thanks for sticking with this blog for 40 posts... I also looked at the counter while writing this post... 925 views, that's more people than I've ever met, ever

So thanks, for coming back post after post to read my ramblings about everything, it's nice to see that number shoot up every time I post

Next on my venture for guitar gear, MIDI!

That's Why, watching that, seeing what Robert Fripp does with a MIDI Capable guitar, the possibilities that would bring to the band would be endless...and I really wouldn't mind putting that on the SG to spruce it up a bit, would certainly be something that I'd like to experiment with, weighing in at a hefty £600 though, it's a pricey bit of kit, Imagine being able to create that kind of atmosphere on demand, it's an incredible feat, one that I'd love to do, throw in some soft brushed drums and a tickled bass...

Onto what I mentioned earlier, new material I've been writing, 4 songs in total, some we jammed at practice, but I'm actually arranging as songs now, so far the one I sent to Jay got fantastic feedback, and the others I'm working on require a lot more work, but honestly readers, I've never written or played at this level before, I'm at my peak at the moment, getting more practice in than ever, I'm enjoying how it's all going, here's hoping the band goes from strength to strength in 2011, because right now it's what I need, to gig, to record, to get somewhere, would be awesome...

Now earlier, I had a really strange experience while I was asleep, I had a dream which isn't uncommon, however, I turned over on my sofabed, expecting someone to be lying there next to me, looking back at me, but there was no-one, the house was empty and for about a minute or two I was lodged in a sense of despair, wondering to myself "where is she? she was here, but now she's gone" the thing is, I'm sure I felt her presence, her smell, her voice, I'm sure she was next to me but how, how can anything be so real, yet non-existent?

So weird...

On that note

Catch you later!
Luke Clarke

Saturday, 25 December 2010

So, This Is Christmas

Raymond Trevor Clarke
And so, we hit 40 blogs, and probably close 900 views, but right now, I really couldn't give two hoots, today was Christmas, a day that should have been full of merriment, fun and the rest of it, but alas, for us here in the Clarke household, it wasn't, it was the first Christmas without my Dad, I took a walk down to the graveyard earlier, and spent sometime just thinking, just remembering, it saddens me as I write this blog, with tears in my eyes, as a family, we've not had any luck this year, it's been a constant case of two shots of happy, one shot of sad, with all the buggery being committed by bastard families around the world, we get all of this dropped on us, as I sat, the winter sun filtering over nearby houses, the snow untouched except footprints of where I had been, I didn't know what to feel, it seems not long ago that I helped carry his coffin into and out of the church to the sound of The Beatles' 'Let It Be'.

Now my Dad was always superb in supporting me when it came to my ambitions with bands & music, more to the point we used to go on trips to S&J Music in Lichfield, to the now closed Soundcontrol in Birmingham and a few other places, and the sun always seemed to shine on us, while the windows were down, we'd talk non-stop about the songs that came on his CD's or on the radio shows, it's half the reason he was one of the best friends I had, he was always there for me when I woke up dazed from my epileptic seizures, ferrying me around when I needed it, crafting me makeshift pedalboards and stuff, if only he could see what was going on now, throwing his arm around me when my confidence was knocked at every single hospital visit, sure, we've coped without him, but that's not the point, he was the driving force of this family, sure, in the last few years, his drinking and changeable moods were cause for concern, it didn't change who he was...

If you're ever going to take anything I say in this blog onboard, let it be this
smell the flowers while you can, treasure what you have and never forget it
because when it's gone the cruel reality of nature is, theres nothing there to physically remind you of what was there in the beginning, and you'll never be able to tell them what you wanted to
so please, love and value your family and close friends, ignore the world if you must because once they're gone, you'll have nothing left to hold on to, except the "what if's" 
give your time to those who deserve it, and most of all, get to know them
but most of all, be who you are when you look in the mirror
who you're meant to be.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

NGD: ISP Decimator

New Gear Day: The ISP Decimator

Hey there!

I had a new pedal arrive today, the chromalicious ISP Decimator, normally retails for £150+, an expensive stompbox, for what it does though, I can see why...

Now, me being the crafty bugger I am, I got it for the fantastic price of £99 on the dot, with free next day delivery, though with the pitiful sprinkling of snow the country has had, it only arrived today, opposed to Tuesday, now onto what the actual thing itself does! It's a noise gate, and a damn good one at that, one of the best I've ever encountered, it's built like a tank, and it weighs quite a lot for a little stomp box, the main reason I brought it, was well, I use alot of distortion for my lead tone nowadays, and that causes alot of unwanted feedback and noise, and I needed something to cut that out, without having to turn my effects off mid song, sure, it might sound like a mild inconvenience to you, however, I'd end up tap-dancing like Bruce Forsyth...

As fun as that sounds, It really isn't...
Now when I first plugged the thing in, I was kinda doubtful, because it took alot of tweaking, but as soon as I hit the sweet spot, the sound I desired was right there, a dab of reverb & delay and I've got a cracking solo tone, and not only that, the Behringer Leslie Cabinet Simulator is back on the board too now, and I'll be honest, I've rekindled my love for my Vox AC30, because a couple of months ago I was having a case of 'Don't meet your heroes', because this amp to me was the kind of thing that crafted the tones we use now, an icon in the classic rock world, and well, I was starting to find that I couldn't get the right tone out of the thing, which made me sad for a while, but today, tweaking with all these effects, it's back up there, maybe with the Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier contesting it, but I don't have £3k to spare...

Honestly though, the ISP Decimator is one of those tools that should be in any guitarists arsenal, especially those that play with high gain, it's a godsend when you want to roll back the volume knob and do some softer playing without having your amp squeal at you, expensive, is what I thought at first, but I see why, it's well worth the wonga, most definitely, because when you're playing live, the last thing you want to do is make peoples ears bleed, without even doing a thing. Now there's still plenty of room on the 2nd pedalboard next to the DL4 & Electric Mistress, so who knows what might come next...

How could I resist a tool I could make use of called "THE DECIMATOR", also, how nifty is that image of the pedal at the top? awesome isn't it, I took that on my iPhone, with this new camera app I purchased called "Hipstamatic" which simulates an old film & lens based camera, adds frame, and corresponding effects, and makes sure all you have to do is take a photo, and it does some superb work with the simplest of shots, as you can see!

Just a shorty this time around!
Stay Cool!

Your guitar slinging pal!
Luke Clarke

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Earth Heals Herself


Hey readers, How're you doing? I hope you're all well on this nippy December night, because I can't sleep, and I need some open ears, and since you're here, well, you might aswell stick around eh?

So, followers of my Facebook page will know of my feeling of statelessness just recently, and I don't know why, it's a feeling of being somewhat lost in life, longing for a solid purpose, maybe not that far, but it's something that has me staring into nothingness, something that gets me lost in my music, it's that same feeling of statelessness which enables me to put on some music and stream write my entire blog in one go, which some other Bloggers I know find difficult to do, is this a good thing to do? having a feeling of being distant from what you're seeing through your eyes isn't a nice feeling, not a nice one at all, but this feeling of not having a purpose, I hit a nerve towards what it must be, just yesterday, let me elaborate...

Now any songwriter who's worth their salt will tell you for every good idea, theres a shitstack of diabolical ones that will never have any use, now for the last few months, I've had a few diamonds in the rough, purely improvisational riffs though, however yesterday, the strangest thing happened, I was sat with a guitar I've not really had any ideas from, my Gibson Buckethead Les Paul Custom and I had this little three note arpeggio, just a sequence of three notes played over and over, so I tabbed it out on Guitar Pro, put that guitar down, and picked up my Jazz Bass, leaving this arpeggio looped in the background, as soon as i sat down with the bass, I hit dead on, the perfect C, and from that spawned a beautiful chord progression that worked underneath this arpeggio, then I took a break for about an hour, came back, and that spawned another awesome chord progression for a verse, and from that over the space of around four hours on and off, I've written one of my best pieces ever, Guitar, Bass and even Drums this time around, today, I sent it over to my band's bassman Jay, now, using the "Luke Clarke Sod's Law" theory,

"Luke Clarke Sod's Law -"
"The more work you put into a Guitar Pro project, the less it's liked by anyone"

However, this was not the case, fully expecting him to say "I don't like the bass you've written it's a bit boring" but, within seconds of me getting online, an MSN window burst open and I got the message "Luke! You genius f**ker you!" He tells me he thinks every aspect of it is superb. Any songwriter will tell you, THAT is the reaction you want, he also agreed the drums that I wrote were spot on, so it's a case of getting CJ to learn them, which may prove tricky, however, I remain confident...for now

But this brings up something else, have I got to a point where I've worked on technique to a point now where I'm playing better than I ever have, where I can turn thoughts into ideas, and ideas from rough drafts into songs for the band? I really hope this song I've written is the start of a flood of songs for me, it's what we need in this band, I've been putting in the work while just jamming with the guys, but putting songwriting itself on the backburner, so maybe this is the start of something similar to the flood of ideas I had near the start of Crashpoint back in '08.

This ambient music is still continuing the flow of streamwriting, Brian Eno & Robert Fripp are ethereal geniuses, it's something much, much more than music, more akin to an atmosphere, ever developing, constantly populating further on and on, until it just stops,and life continues back at th epace at which it was, I could listen to 'Evening Star' or 'Music For Airports' all day, it's food for the brain is what I would call it, I haven;t stopped typing, not once, there are synth swells that make you feel as if you're being wrapped up in a warm blanket, bellows that will make you look around if you're listening through headphones, it's something else, hence my extensive research into the Frippertronics guitar style, to be able to create that kind of ambience, is something beyond "Four chords and the truth"

Now today, I've done a bit of gaming, I purchased a quirky platformer which harks back to classic days of having to tune in a Nintendo Entertainment System to a big old tube television, On sale on the Xbox Live Marketplace, "Super Meat Boy" is one of the few games that made me smile this year, for about £6, it was a steal, and also, enjoy the menu music, it's bad ass!

Taking up my time too, was Super Street Fighter 4, which I enjoyed sharpening up on with my friends Maccie and Mat Husted, laughs were had, it was all good competitive fun, and extremely loud singing of Guile's Theme... we all won a few times and it was a nice change for me, SSFIV was never something I was any good at, but I managed to beat these guys a few times!

Bit of everything today!
gonna try and get some sleep, notice the 'try' in that line

stay cool, friends

Your pal
Luke Clarke

Monday, 20 December 2010

Back In The Saddle, Baby!


After a short break, I return, I needed a bit of time to sit and think through where I'm at in life, and if anything the feedback from this blog, my YouTube channel and other outlets of mine, helped to put things into perspective, I cannot describe the good vibes I've been getting from followers and friends alike, it's helped me gather my thoughts, a break did me well, but in that same sense, I'm glad to be back, which brings me to the next subject...

Mysteriously, whilst I took a break, we gained a catastrophic 100 views, bringing us up to our current standing of just over 800 views, how about that! I'm yet to check the stats as Firefox doesn't really like this website that much, but wherever you are reading from, thanks, it's what encouraged me to jump back in the saddle and run my fingers, albeit very clumsily across these keys, so welcome, one and all, to the latest installment of the Luke Clarke Blog!

Oh hey! have you noticed the new banner? I bet you have haven't you! well, you can see my main man up there, You know who that is? That, my friends, is Dave Wongaman, Want a closer look?
There he is, Drawn by a good friend of mine, a certain Kay Worley took on the challenge of drawing a little character my Mom foun don her way home from work, yes indeedy, Dave Wongaman was a surprise even to me, it was around the time that Call Of Duty: Black Ops came out, Unimpressed, I turned to my Mac, and who do I see, lying there on my keyboard...

This little guy, he was sprawled out, as if he had fallen, I laughed heartily when I saw him, I picked him up and held him in the palm of my hand, I knew from that day, he was destined for stardom, I still look at him, his vacant smile, his tiny yellow rubber body makes me laugh even now, and now Kay has brought him to life in that fantastic image you see in the banner and above, then well I smile every time I blog and I hope you do too, with the vibrant yellow my blog is, and with his cheeky smile I hope he makes you smile no matter how low you're feeling, trust me, when Dave Wongaman is on the scene, everything is that little bit brighter!

I digress however, Dave is now the mascot for this blog o' mine, and that's all well and good, but to answer any questions in advance, the 'Watchmen' font in the banner is called "Futura Condensed Extra" I think, all I did was stretch it upwards a little

So yeah, we had band practice last week, down at Neon again, and man oh man, did they make us feel welcome, just one guy on his stoney lonesome by the looks of things, he put a heater in the room, stocked the in studio bar's fridge up with relentless for us, and was genuinely awesome to us, and we had the same service the week prior, which added to the DAMN awesome practice we had, we've gone from the name 'Cuba?' to 'HAAAABISKY!' and I think they're gradually getting more confused as to who were going to be next week, onto the actual music though, beforehand, I'd done half an hours guitar warming up, tremolo picking practice to a metronome (hitting my fastest ever 155bpm) and doing some general dexterity workouts up and down the neck, and I'm really glad I did, when I got to practice, I was playing at my peak through out, until my asthma and a recurring back-ache I've had for a week or so got the better of me near the end, but were working really well, our sound is thick, and we're bouncing alot of ideas around, and I had a weird feeling, you know on The Sims, when your sim is learning an instrument, and that little blue bar fills up over their head? well, I feel as if my blue bar filled up some at that practice, with Ashes nearly done, and with a very suspicious track with CJ going all Keith Moon, and various other songs going down, and me writing more material based off really oddball sources, were not going for that recording session in January, purely because we want to be the band we can be, and we can only be that band, in time.

On another note, I'm treating myself for Christmas, to... take a guess

a) More Pedals
b) A Luxury Set Of Golf Clubs
c) A Signed Photo of Vernon Wells as Bennett from 'Commando'

Yep, you guessed it, more new pedals on the way, an ISP Decimator, a Fender Volume/Tone pedal, and maybe a Marshall Vibratrem, I have plenty of ideas for sounds, and plenty of room for them, I'll put a new shot of my pedalboard on here as soon as it's all rigged up and good to go, Live Frippertronics? Maybe...maybe...

Also, I've discovered a few albums you really should look into over Christmas!

Jools Holland - Best Of Friends (£4.99 on iTunes)
Johnny Aloha - Lavapalooza
Giant Robot - Giant Robot (NTT) (Free!)
Ted Nugent - The Ultimate Ted Nugent
Montrose - The Very Best Of
Elton John & Leon Russel - The Union
Bang Camaro - Bang Camaro
Buckethead - Electric Tears
Guns n' Roses - Chinese Democracy
Primus - Miscellaneous Debris (£1.99 on iTunes)

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed this blog, should have another soon, you take care now.

Wotcha Empire!
Your Friend
Luke Clarke

Friday, 10 December 2010

"Desperation, is the English way"

Hello Empire!

700 Views, how about that...

I'm finding it very hard to get enthusiastic at the moment, it's coming up to a year since we lost my father, 30th December will be a hard day, to lose my Dad, with him being only in his 50's, and for me to find him, dead, was a sight that I won't forget, ever, it was hard for me, so I apologize now, In advance if I seem to be aggressive or over-sarcastic, it's been a hard year.

My last blog, was one of the rare occurances of me going all lovey-dovey here on the LCB, Jay told me to "follow my heart", but that, my funk-brother readers would give me more trouble than it would be worth, as I said previously, I keep trying to shut love out of my life, and 90% of the time, it kinda works, it's just that 10% where I feel glad to have the friends I do, because they remind me, that , well, I'm awesome

And no, readers, I'm still not giving out the name of the mystery girl, she doesn't need that kind of humiliation, nor burden for that matter, I can live with the dreams, yeah... they'll do.

So I've started putting my plans of getting out of Farmfoods into action, I've re written my CV, after yonks, and I'm filling in a job application, I really want this job, I know it's not out of Brownhills, but at least it's something I'm interested in, so it would be nice to start a new job away from the terribleness that is Farmfoods, however, it's the wonga from that joint that has gotten me everything I have now...

So, we had band practice earlier today, Me, Jay & CJ fired up the gear over at Neon Studios in Burntwood, and had easily our most productive practice, a track me & Jay had been working on working titled "Rollerdisco" still hadn't got me convinced, I'm still not feeling that one, but we finished one of our awesome tracks, the Ashes to Ashes themed one (TV show, not David Bowie song), and it sounds truly bad ass, 5 minutes of pure curb stomping rock! we jammed some pretty awesome funk stuff tonight too, which sounded nice to say the least, then after doing all of this, we burst full on into this manic metal thing, which we might throw in to mix things up, it's heavier than ANYTHING I've ever done, ever...

Now, I'm feeling quite rough, I think I may be hitting one of my rough patches in which case, I'll be ducking out of blogging & vlogging for a bit, keeping myself to myself, I need a break from the world, I'm at a point again, readers, where all my problems, with my medications' side effects wrestle me to the floor, and beat me into submission

for now readers, thanks, and this may be the last blog for a week, maybe more, who knows, I just need a break, but do me a massive favor, and go check out these blogs, they'll keep you ticking over while I'm not here, They assure me

The Indifference Gamer
The World Of Jay
Maccie's Blog
8-Bits Of Retro

and on that note, thanks again, I leave you with this

Sunday, 5 December 2010

"Well I Dreamed Of You Last Night..."

Hey Empire

I know what you're thinkin'

"Buggering hell, another blog, what's up with LC?!"

Well, I've had something on my mind today, all day today, so I've thrown on some light jazz, and here I go, just lately, my dreams have been mega vivid, to the point where it's been every night, and I've been remembering every little detail, every scratch, every click, every heartbeat...

What's been eating me today, what's got me feeling raw, is last night, I dreamed of somebody, somebody I really shouldn't have, it was a really nice dream sequence, and I woke up smiling, but she was there, not someone I'd rather forget, more so, someone who I dunno, I'd never thought of, but either way, can't think of in that way if you get me, but why? she's been in dreams every night for the last week or so, and I'm looking into her eyes, she's looking into mine, her lips are moving, I don't hear what she's saying, but her laugh, her innocent smile, it's strictly taboo that I'm dreaming of her but, I sigh because the dream made me smile, what is it with dreams, I keep getting them, of her, so vividly, I've shut love out for so long now, I really don't want it, but were The Beatles right? is All I need, love?

I bloody hope not, I've been hurt once, and I like money too much, I had to get this out of my system, and well, this blog comes in handy for this, I know I shouldn't block love out, but I do, and I'm a better person for doing so, no regrets either, I've been sailing solo for a while now, and I'm enjoying it, but it's just the little things at times...

sorry if I've bored you, but I feel much better for that now!

Thanks for listening

Your Pal

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Heavenly Music Corporation


It's you...I knew you were coming, I could feel it, your eyes burning into the text...

Alas, I joke, Welcome to another edition of my blog, how about that counter, edging closer to 700 now, I mean, bugger me, what a following, thanks guys, you're the ones I write for every time I fire up the webpage, so keep coming back, and I'll keep writing...

So yeah, yesterday I was sent to the arse end of nowhere, Heath Town, in Wolverhampton, "Not too bad" I hear you mutter from wherever you may be reading this, however, you weren't there for 17 hours, around staff that had as much sense as an egg cup and had seemingly all been in prison some time in their lives, shifting more shit than you could shake a stick at, not that I rant that much on here, but over the usual symptoms, words cannot describe, how cack I feel today!

On that very same subject, that escapade made me miss band practice, the one main highlight of my week, the thing I can constantly work on to get this band closer towards the impossible dream, because I want it, I'm a damn site more than stacking shelves in some dead end freezer shop, sorry fellas, but I promise you, I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve, new tones, I tell you folks, I've never, in the few years I've been at this, I've never been so excited for practices to roll around, 2 a week? I'll see what I can do!

If you want an alternative perspective, check out the blog of the bloke who holds down the lower frequencies in the band, Bassist, Mr. Jay Brunskill!

Go there, and await further instructions!

Now, avid readers will know I attempted to start a video blog, and yoho ahoy! Part 2 is here!

Now onto what I've been doing, crafting new tones, playing games and being a general dogsbody, but I had a revelation while I was blindsided on an idle Tuesday, it's kind of funny, how much respect I seem to have gained by putting in the work I have, Musically, and through this Blog, the few Youtube videos I have and general treating those whom I respect with the same respect that they give me, I personally am humbled every time by the compliments, messages of support and thanks I get, I occasionally dispense advice here and there to those who need it, so it's nice to feel like a guy who has established himself through hard work, this is just the beginning, and it's a refreshing way to be after the last few years I've had...

Now bloggers, I'm REALLY not a Christmas kind of guy, but heres hoping that 2011 is our year, me, you sitting at your computer, or reading frrom your smartphone, or wherever you may be, I think we all need it.

Until next time friends,
Your friend
Ha Bisky!

Luke Clarke