Sunday, 23 January 2011

Double Trouble NGD!


Yes! Two new bits of guitar slinging kit in one fun filled, completely knackering day, on the first picture is Simon from Frampton Central, presenting me with the Gibson Peter Frampton Les Paul, and I gotta say, it was a pleasure meeting him, such a down to earth bloke, this is the bloke who set up FC, and created, all I can describe as a fantastic community, gathered to share their likes for Peter Frampton, he drove all the way from Exeter, and it really was a pleasure to meet him, however he seemed oddly familiar...
I gotta say, after stretching the strings, adjusting the action for fret buzz, this thing plays like a dream, the extremely slim neck, which reminds me of a shredder size neck, the hot pickups, it's a fantastic bit of kit, it's the only real bit of luck I've had in the last few years, and I'm dumbfounded when I open the case and clap eyes on it... ah...

Up next, a 1982 Laney Linebacker Reverb 50w, this little rarity cost me £45, yes, you read that right, a full valve amp, 10 inch speaker, 50 watts with a decent reverb channel, for £45, It sounds awesome, in terms of tone, it gives my AC30 a run for it's money! however, I need to take it in for some work, because the all the front inputs keep crapping out, however, when I plugged my EHX Big Muff in, it sounded amazing!

The main reason I brought this, is because I plan to hit some open mic/jam nights with a redux rig, a couple of pedals, this little amp and a guitar, it's ideal for me to sort of take my own little tones with me, along with a couple of mates who've suggested I go with them, I reckon it'll be awesome, some of my best live experiences have been from jams, so we'll see...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Same Great Luke, 100% Less Illness


It seems after a few days of being bogged down with the previously described symptoms, I've recovered, I'm still a little groggy, but I'm glad to be back, and hey, were at over 1,500 views, can you believe it? I know! It's madness!

So, I hope you're doing well, I'm back to normal now, it's late, and often is the way, it's time for me to start writing my blog, I've been branching out a bit, listening to a bit of music I don't normally listen to, watching vast amounts of Whose Line Is It Anyway? And essentially just having a bit of me time, however, I've been doing more work in GarageBand, I dug up some files from my external hard drive, I found my cover of the Ashes to Ashes theme, and a few of my solo tracks in there, working them over with EZDrummer and M-Tron Pro, I'm giving them a new lease of life, and my guitar playing is still on form, but changes attitude from guitar to guitar, which is nice, but it's hard to choose which I want to use, I picked up the Buckethead Les Paul tonight, and it's still an awesomely comfortable guitar, precise, tight, beautiful, always makes me feel great when I play it, people talk about giving inanimate objects persona's or a soul, I think I have with my guitars, I've been through a lot with them, there's a story behind every one of them, maybe one day, someone will give a damn and will want to hear them!

Aye, I'm feeling a bit zoned out at the minute, I've put on some Eno to calm myself down a bit while I write, a bit of deep breathing and all that, I'm just thinking out loud here, I was talking to one of my readers, and contributor, Kay Worley, last night, she's a frequent reader, and made some lovely comments about what I do here with the blog, and it was nice to get a handle on what someone else thought, after she drew Dave Wongaman in the banner there, she's gonna draw us another which is really great of her, so yeah, thanks for sticking with the blog, Kay, thanks for the kind words and thanks for drawing our friend and our mascot, Dave Wongaman!

I was shocked to see I'm rapidly approaching 50 posts now, that's alot! I might have to do something, maybe wear a special hat while I write the blog, or a monocle, I mean looking back at the state I was in when I started this writing malarky, then maybe it calls for a more reflective piece, I'm unsure at this point in time, all of my stuff isn't planned, it just sort of happens, people ask me if it's drafted, because it's always uninterrupted and it flows, like I'm talking to you at my local, but it isn't! Looking at how I've altered myself over the years, I can say I have no regrets, I can look at where I am now and say that I'm pretty happy with everything that's going on, I mean sure, we're all working on that impossible dream, but it's what keeps us going, isn't that right folks?

Now for a little bit of plugging, a good mate of mine who blogs, plugs me a lot and I very rarely plug him, so go and read the ramblings, he's pretty good at this malarky!

I think that covers it for now...

Catch you later!
Take care
Your Pal
Luke Clarke

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Luke Clarke Unwell-a-thon

Hiya readers!

It's me again, but with 100% more illness! yes, I seem to have come down with a ruddy throat infection of some sorts, it's all swollen and I'm talking like the Multiplayer announcer from Red Dead Redemption, so I'm not all that great, but d'you honestly think it's going to stop me, compared to what normally strikes me down? I don't think so...

So, how're you doing? I hope you're well, I looked the other night, and we hit a whopping 1,400 views, that's a lot of people, right? right! So I put it on my to do list to write a blog when I could gather the energy to get out of bed, alas, it's been swings and roundabouts this week, so let's fill you in about what's been going down in funkytown!

So, you know I use Toontrack's EZDrummer on GarageBand to do my recordings with right? well I've got a hold of one of the superb expansions. The "Twisted Kit" expansion adds some ridiculous stuff to the plethora of sounds I already had, and I've spent the last hour just experimenting with the silly percussion items, to create some stonking effects, I'll post something up soon, I should have a Mellotron and an Electric drum kit add-on on the way for GarageBand, so we'll see where that takes us!

On the topic of GarageBand, I've been working on a superb backing track for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". My version is inspired by Peter Frampton's cover, but I've thrown in aspects of various bands and artists I like, I've got my mediocre Mellotron in there at the moment, (when I get M-Tron downloaded, it will sound superior!) and I've mixed the drums around, made them a bit more technical in the chorus, to go for an early King Crimson sound, added a Cello at parts for some experimental Beatles aspects, I like how it's coming along, the idea being a final YouTube cover of the song with the Peter Frampton Les Paul when I finally get my hands on it, for all the folks over on Frampton Central, and for everyone out there who appreciates what I'm doing with my spare time...

Today, me and the band's bassman Jay went into Lichfield to frequent one of our favorite guitar shops, S&J Music, I took my 6 year old Epiphone SG400 Custom in for some work, I gotta say, to go that long without having to need repair, makes it an awesome guitar in my books, I may just use it next time we play in the band, either that, or the recently re-strung Peter Green Lemon Drop Les Paul!

Either way, Bassman Brunskill saw a smashing bass that he intends to put a deposit on tomorrow, a Cort GB75, a sexy as hell 5 string bass, with a Coil tapped Humbucker at the bridge, and a Jazz pickup at the neck, a natural maple neck with mother of pearl inlays, and a locking jack, easily one of the nicest basses I've ever seen...ever, take a gander


But aye, I feel pretty cack, but in comparison to how I'd feel after a seizure, it really doesn't compare, so I suppose it isn't all that bad!

Only a short blog this week, my top tip though, If you get chance, check out a new band called "Black Country Communion" on YouTube, the song "The Great Divide" blew my head off when I heard it t'other day, get to it readers!

On that note I depart to a lemsip
Take care
Your Pal
Luke Clarke

Monday, 10 January 2011

Blinded By The Light

Wotcha Readers!

Crazy week here in The Lair, I decided on rebooting the iMac, due to it's sudden slowness, I'm glad I did, but, as always readers, Sod's Law struck again, and as I thought I'd backed everything up on my external hard drive, inevitably I hadn't, so when I came to put it all back, there was nothing to put back, horrified, I mourned over the 700+ albums worth of digital content I'd lost off borrowed CD's etc, however, my mate Rich called me, now let me explain...

Everytime we meet up for our trips to Walsall or Birmingham, he ends up with a DVD of music full to the brim, and over the years he'd accumulated my entire music collection on an almighty stack of around 15-20 DVD's and an external hard drive of his own, it took me a good few hours to transfer over all the music I wanted, but it gave me a great chance to condense my out of control music collection, It's all back now, even the ultra rare U2 stuff he didn't have backed up, and the iMac is now as quick as it was on day one back in 2008!

(Wow, I was 18 then, and I was sporting a Fu-Manchu rather than a full beard...Bad times)

So with that sorted, onto band practice, it was just Me & Jay, we just threw some ideas around but it was kind of idle without a drummer, though I was kinda shocked when I busted out some Frippertronics and Jay was liking them, suggesting we use them as an intro to a song, which was a shocker as I say, I wasn't happy with the shitty "Bees-In-A-Box" Marshall sound I had going on, it just reminded me that amps on a budget sound like ass, even with the Decimator it seemed to feed back, remember readers, the MG series by Marshall is Luke Clarke's big nono

I can't describe how poo these amps are...

But aye, I digress, I woke up today feeling chesty as hell, It's doing my head in that I feel as if I've got a Japanese Gameshow Host on my chest, you know he's there, but you can't tell him to go away, because he doesn't speak any English! So I hope that sorts itself out soon, I've been doping myself up with regular doses of Covonia and Whiskey, a concoction so strong, it'll put hairs on your eyeballs, but I'm feeling slightly better after it, but crikey, it's getting a bit painful to breathe, and Ol' Luke has work in the morning...

Now the other day, I brought a Guitar magazine, something I never do thanks to online guitar journalism, however there was a fantastic article on cheap guitars and how the quality is getting better and better, now all of you readers know I'm a big fan of quality at a great price, and this article showed how cheap instruments have improved through the years, and the prime example they mentioned was Trev Wilkinson's UK brand "Vintage", I can vouch for the fact that they are superb guitars, I paid £350 for my Peter Green Les Paul, and it's one of the best guitars I've ever owned, and it goes to show, that build quality doesn't have to be compromised even if it's at a low price, I just wish the same could be said for Pedals and Amps! *cough* Marshall *cough*

I do say folks, you wouldn't believe this, were nearly at 1,300 views here at the LCB, I barely know what to say anymore, except thank you, you're the people that keep me writing, and I enjoy doing so!

Shouldn't be long until I get my Frampton Les Paul now...

Speak soon
Take care
Your Pal
Luke Clarke

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hospital, Band & Springsteen


Hope you're all doing well out there, keeping warm, because it's been a bit chilly as of late!

But aye, yesterday was the dreaded time again, where I had to visit the hospital, I say dreaded, I quite look forward to it, so I can get a handle on how I'm doing, my specialist commented on how well I looked, and how chipper I seemed compared to our last appointment, alas, I've been prescribed a couple of new pills, but nothing too drastic, which was a relief, after the seizure I had in November, I was a tad worried something more drastic was gonna have to be done medication wise.

However, my mate Rob came with me, save m hovering around on my stoney lonesome, we got lost in a posh hospital, we had a walk around a melancholy Walsall, and he gave me a late Christmas present! Bruce Springsteen - The Collection 1973/84!

Seven albums of all American, grass roots New Jersey solid rock, after listening to "Darkness at The Edge Of Town" and "Greetings From Asbury Park" (at full volume), I'd rekindled my love for The Boss' music, remembering how uplifting it was to listen to, yet how everyday the lyrical themes were, cheers Rob, fantastic!

Tonight, I've been at the pub,with a few mates of mine, talking over band business, getting peoples views on what we have in mind, the feedback was fantastic, Me & Jay also talked over some things that needed to be addressed, and laughs were had, comic relief is something that's kinda needed between members, and Me & Jay always have a right old laugh, we sorted out what needs to be done Saturday at neon, we're putting in the work and we have a plan.

In terms of the band name poll, me & Jay did some investigating, "Monolith" is taken by several bands, I think were pretty much set on "Calculon", I've talked Jay around, fellow pubsters thought the Futurama character would be an excellent name for a band, even my Mom did! (yes Foster, Mom, is what I've always called my mother, on cards, everything so nyer *blows raspberry*)

Were getting close to 1,200 views now, Sugar me down!

I can't believe the boost this blog has had essentially from nowhere, I always get a kick out of writing, and it's a nice outlet, seen as I'm not a keen lyricist, all my writing is done note for note, and not many people understand guitar solos & instrumentals, so here I get to put all my thoughts into voice, and I enjoy writing each and every post I do, it never, ever feels like a chore, every time I see that counter, I feel inspired to write about what I've been up to!

and that's it for now, because I'm buggered!
Take care
Your Pal
Luke Clarke

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Band Name Poll : We Need You!


So here are the candidates for a band name, we need you, the reader to vote on to decide on what to use as our band name

Judging by the votes all of the current options had, I've reduced the list of six, down to just three

Calculon, Monolith and DMC12 were the top 3 names people voted for, so now we need to find out which we should choose, and that's where you come in!

Do you choose Calculon, a robot actor who talks very melodramatically?
Monolith, the alien artifact from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
or DMC12 ,the model of car DeLorean made?

The choice is yours!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

When Life Really Flows, Noone Really Knows

Hiya Readers!

Welcome to a proper edition of my usual blog! so, I welcome you once more to 2011, and what a start I've had to it so far, I've never felt so good, seriously, as you may have seen I've won one of my dream guitars, I'm going to see one of my favorite guitarist/singers, this blog is truckin' across the internet, I'm feeling healthier than ever and there was a development tonight that's got me thinking, smiling and wondering...

Now today, after gathering my thoughts and actually letting the thought of winning the guitar sink in, I went on a trip to Walsall with my very good mate Rich, we returned with an impressive (and cheap) haul, we retreated back to my place, where we watched various episodes of one of my new found sources of entertainment and inspiration... Johnny Sokko and his Giant Flying Robot, or Giant Robot for short, It's a right laugh to watch this 60's based series that came from Japan and was dubbed in American voices, we laughed endlessly as we watched Giant Robot fight Dracolon!

"He's flying at over Mach 19! That's 19 times the speed of sound!"

Seriously, I had a right laugh, and he's been a good mate of mine since back in school, the awesome thing is, he knows of all my hardships, and he knows how much winning this guitar means to me, so thanks Rich, you're a fantastic mate and I know for a fact you read this blog on every post!

Tomorrow signals things going back to normal in the world, I go into work to count cold food, most people have already gone back, and come Monday, all signs of the festive period will be gone, I'm kinda glad, I'll be able to resume work with the band, unleash this Lovecraft inspired piece I wrote, and jam some ideas I have, and with Simon from Frampton Central planning to come down and do a presentation as soon as he gets this guitar delivered, I'm really stoked about what this year has planned for this band, I cannot wait for what this year holds, I've entered it at such a pace that I'm not gonna let this energy or passion escape, I've got to channel it into everything I do, I'm stream writing this blog, non-stop typing as I go, all going well after work tomorrow, I should be going for a drink with some of my work colleagues, the ones I actually get on with at least!

I must again, thank you for all the kind condolence messages that have been left here, there and everywhere over the last few days, I've showed the family, and we would all like to thank each one of you.

So yes, today, I spent a grand total of £40, and for that I got

Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
Monsters Inc. (Blu-Ray)
Moon (Blu-Ray)
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon (SACD Remaster)

Impressive eh? I mean I've played Alan Wake for a fair bit and it's awesome, I've played the first bit of ME2 and that's also damn good, and I watched Monsters.Inc this evening, and that blew me away with how superb it looked in HD, and don't get me started on that remaster of Dark Side Of The Moon!

Crikey, I'm so pumped, I've not felt this, for a long long time, I'm refreshed as if I have a new hold on life, as if I've got it in a stranglehold and now I'm in charge, and trust me, I'm gonna sort this shit out, and you lot are all free to jump on board, I've pulled the "More Steam" lever, and we're on the tracks, pelting ahead now, just don't miss it please, it's not a return trip!

On that note friends, I leave you!
take care now!
Your Pal!
Luke Clarke