Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas! & Best Fishes!

Hello all, I am enjoying my time out at Dad and Sally's!  We enjoyed watching the Vikings Vs. Packers game yesterday.  It was a shutout with Vikings winning it, and Sally was not amused!  This evening we are unwrapping presents and watching the movies Despicable Me 3 and The Other Guys!  Excellent!

With the year coming to a close, I think I'm happy with the events of my life.  Things haven't been all unicorns n' rainbows but It's A Wonderful Life!  It was an honor graduating Olmstead and performing our skits at the Court House in St. Paul.  Our skit was about our Tour of Homes to show people with disabilities how they could live on their own but still receive support.  In my team's skit, Ashlie and Dustin placed bricks with the benefits of increased independence written on them reading them aloud.  Then I boomed out, "I'm the guardian and I say no!"  This illustrated a major barrier for many people with disabilities- often we want more, but the guardian gets afraid that we can't handle it and puts the kibosh on it!  What is important to remember is "The Dignity of Risk."  We deserve the opportunity to get the most independence and integration we can with the community.  With the right supports in place that should be realistic.  I know that guardians are only doing what they think is right too; it's a tender issue.  I know they must get scared, but I believe people deserve a chance.

Here in the present moment Sally is passed out with the Book Magicians on her lap and dad is snoring through a history show.  Andre is also in slumber next to Sally and no doubt Bella will try to sneak away with whatever morsel of food she can as ma and pa are unawares!  Again I would like to wish you a berry merry Christmas and best fishes for your new year!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Destiny Is Not What You Think

My theme for today's post is- 'Destiny Is Not What You Think' because life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.  But really it is!  You know, when I was 18 I had it all mapped out; I was going to get my degree in music and be a world renowned musician.  I had a scholarship and went to college at U of M, Morris.  But, Destiny Is Not What You Think- I had trouble sleeping in the summer heat, I got disoriented easily, I didn't have the desire or presence of mind to do my homework, basically I became overwhelmed with the situation.  After only a month I dropped out and moved in with my Dad and Stepmom in St. Cloud.

My education did continue in the form of guitar lessons and learning job-skills at Goodwill.  And I never gave up my dream!  I made new friends with Asperger's like me and we formed the band "Syndrome"!  We performed an open mic at The Local Blend.  It went over great!  I played the melodica for the song Incense & Peppermints as well as bass for the song Wonderwall.

Fast forward.  If I hadn't dropped out of college I probably wouldn't have met a lot of great people in my life today.  My best friends Tyler, John, and Kyle- The 3 Amigos!  Or my buddies Mike and Cole- Dos Bros!  Everyone at Asperger's Group in St. Cloud!  Everyone who is or was one of my staff, supporting me with either challenges I face, or just encouraging me to keep working on my music and other interests.

Last year I hosted my best concert yet, Don J Neu's Birthday Muzak Bash!  The turnout was amazing, the adrenaline of performing was like a drug, the pizza was delicious, and my friends got to enjoy playing ping pong while I played!  I'm sure as shit going to host the party again, so March 2018 expect Dni's Birthday Muzak Bash 2.0!

Another great opportunity I had was being a part Olmstead Academy with Dustin and Ashlie.  Now that I've graduated I'm co-hosting DETS with Bev Kaler and Dustin. DETS stands for Disability Equality Training Series.  This is the new path I'm on.  The path of self advocacy.  I'm totally stoked, and I really feel like I'm doing God's work he planned for me.

Please enjoy this live DJ set I created during my hotel stay of our Olmstead Graduation↓
 

       

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christopher "Dry" Martinez Secrets for Totally Transcendental Tunes

Another internet buddy of mine gave me the inside scoop on how to ROCK! None other than Sugarland, Texas' own Dry Martinez! Dry and me had worked together on a few songs, and I knew he had serious skills. But what I really wanted to know was-



What first inspired you to become a musician?
I come from a musical family. My Uncle was a classical pianist who wrote scores in Hollywood in the 1930's. My Sister is a classically trained pianist, and my oldest brother was a guitar prodigy. As long as I can remember I wanted to play some kind of instrument, I just didn't figure out which instrument until I became a teenager.





What instruments do you play and how did you develop your style of musicianship for each?
I first took piano lessons when I was 9 years old. I was training to play classical music but once my piano teacher taught me a blues scale, that was it. I knew what direction I was headed. Some friends I spent a lot of time with were learning to play guitar at the same time. When we were about 14, we decided we'd start a band. That's when I picked up the bass. The bass came real natural to me while I had to work really hard to play the piano so doing what most teenagers did, I took the easy road and played the bass. At that time I was really into bands like RUSH and YES so it was like I was learning classical music... at least in my mind what we called "Progressive Rock" was as challenging as classical music to perform. I also had a 6 string Les Paul knock-off and I was picking up there where I left off on the piano. Playing the blues felt natural on the 6 string.





So how do you record?
Right now I'm using an 8-track Tascam stand-alone hard drive recorder. I usually program a beat on my old Alesis SR-16 drum machine and lay down a stereo drum track, then bass, guitar, vocals, etc. Then I mix it down and make a "master" CD. Pretty basic stuff really. I use on-board effects for final production. That's why I call my music "Dry"... not much effects





What is your favorite guitar to play, favorite bass?
My favorite guitar has to be my Stratocaster. My favorite bass would have to be my 1985 Charvel/Jackson 4-string.





What are your favorite guitar pedals, favorite amps?
I've always had a soft spot for my MXR Distortion DS-1... it adds just the right amount of distortion (for my needs). I currently use a Crate GFX212 120 Watt guitar amplifier with 2-12 inch speakers. It's fine for home recording but in an ideal world I'd like to have several different amps for different styles of playing. A Fender Twin Reverb for playing clean blues or a Marshall Stack for songs with heavy distortion.





What do you think of working with a record label verses being an independent "bedroom producer"?
In my opinion, it all depends on what your goals are as a musician. Some people want to score the big "deal". I chased the "dream" for years and when the group I was playing with finally did get a record deal, we got screwed by the label. We basically paid them to put a single of ours on a compilation CD that was distributed to radio stations around the country. Our song was 11 of 20 on the disc and probably never got heard. I'd bet most of those compilation CDs that went out ended up in most radio stations' trash cans.
Being a "bedroom producer" gives one the creative freedom one might not otherwise have if they were signed to a big label with some producer breathing down your neck telling you how to make your own music. For a reasonable amount of money you can market and sell your albums on the Internet . Then there's the old fashioned- promote your music through live performances avenue. These days it's a lot easier for an independent musician to put their music "out there" and sell it with varying degrees of success- depending on how much work you put into your musical endeavors.





The guitar is sadly becoming undervalued in modern music. What would you tell a non-believer? How can we bring it back?
I'd tell the guitar non-believer to listen to guitarists like Tom Morello or Robert Fripp. Two guitar players from different generations. Both are innovative artists creating sounds that you just wouldn't believe came out of a guitar. I'd also tell them to pick up an electric guitar and a good effects box/pedal and make some noise. Hell, just go to the local guitar store and plug in and give it a try. You don't have to be a "player" to make great sounds from a guitar. Once an artist makes an unforgettable "noise" out of an electric guitar, they're hooked.





What are your secrets of songwriting? Do you have any soft of formula?
I don't have any real songwriting secrets. I usually sit around picking on my guitar or bass and happen upon a cool riff, then I'll build a song around that riff (or "hook" as they say in the industry). I try to stay in keys that "play" well together, but not always. I guess one could say I use the "old school" formula for songwriting. I'll generally start off with an intro, followed by 2 verses with vocals, a lead instrument of some sort (usually guitar), a third verse, and then the ending. As far as lyric writing goes, I'm usually inspired by current events in my life.





What are you working on now? What can we expect to hear in 2018?
I'm currently writing several songs, written in my traditional style utilizing both acoustic and electric guitars. I have about 4 finished pieces (fully written) and half a dozen other unfinished works... some of which is pure Texas Blues. Look for new music from DRY MARTINEZ in the spring of 2018 on my page at Reverbnation.
(www.reverbnation.com/drymartinez)





What advice would you give to a newbie musician?
I'd tell them to follow their heart in every aspect of their music. From the kind of instruments you play, to the way you sing, to the kind of songs you write, don't let anyone tell you how to feel about what you're creating. It's your art. And naturally, you need to practice. I hate to sound like a parent preaching to their kid about how practice makes perfect, but you can't develop skills without practicing. Besides, when you're practicing is when you usually happen upon those cool riffs that are the genesis of great songs.



And there you have it! Now gosh darn it be inspired and (((ROCK))) like Eddie!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bufinjer, Electronic Music Hero of Buffalo NY

I have had the honor of getting to know a very talented, upbeat guy from Buffalo, NY who produces various electronic music and publishes online.  Today he answered some of my questions about his journey into sound-

What inspired you to produce electronic music? When I first heard Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine Album I started to like the electronic and industrial music styles. Eventually started listening to Electronica like Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers, and Prodigy. I moved to Texas, and at that time there was a club that played all the styles I liked. A few years later, I moved to NJ. I was up late watching TV and saw a commercial for Acid from Sony with their new music making software. I ended up getting it for my birthday that year, which was 1999, and have been making music ever since. 

How long did it take you to get the hang of production and what were your "Awe-ha" moments? Hmm, well I think I am still growing with my production. It was probably a year or so after I started that I felt more comfortable making music, but I believe I am constantly improving my quality and sound. As for Ah-ha moments? I think once I finally started to connect with people on social media, and started getting good feedback I realized this was something I wanted to continue to do. Once I got my first sale, it really hit, not because I sold a song, but because someone actually wanted to buy it. 

What song up to date are you the most proud of? I don’t think there is one song I am most proud of. I am proud of all of them. I do have Some like Deep Under and Trapped from my Electrolysis album that have gotten many plays across all my platforms, and been on compilation albums. I also am happy with Josh’s Part, The Break, and IDEK, all of which are songs I collaborated on with my son. Every new song to me is better than the last, so I think my best song is still to come.

What is your go-to software and what is your favorite thing about it? I have many programs I use, but I always fall back on my old and true friend Acid Pro. I know the program so well that I just feel comfortable using it. 

What are you plans for future music and gear upgrades? I have a new album I will be releasing hopefully by the end of 2017. I have a few collaborations I am working on, and other than that, I have no specific plans at this point. I like to just play it by ear, and go with the flow. As for gear upgrades, I don’t know if there will be anything any time soon, I’d like to make myself a little production studio, but I have other priorities at this time, so I don’t know if and/or when that would happen. 

What would you tell someone just getting their feet wet in electronic music production? The biggest thing is to have fun and do it for yourself first. Music is a tough business, and very difficult to make money from. Do music that makes you happy first. Feedback is good for growing your skills, but don’t change because someone says you should be like others, or be more mainstream.

And there you have it straight from the horses mouth!  Below I have linked his personal website, where you can stream for free or download on all the best platforms.

Friday, November 17, 2017

TPM- And soon will come 2018 (a life in progress)

Hello my friends!  Holy cats, 2018 is almost upon us!  What great wonders await?  What challenges?

For those of you 'meeting' me for the first time, I am Donald J. Neu- creator of magical delights!
Master of chaos!  The elves know me as- oh wait that's me ripping off Hello From The Magic Tavern; I'm obsessed with that podcast!  Anywho I just returned from a wonderful vacation in New Mexico.
I visited my mother, step-dad, auntie Gina, uncle Karl, my Gramps, nieces, cats, dogs, unseen bears, a wolverine named Bob... where was I?

We enjoyed a couple days at Ghost Ranch taking in the rocky, mountainous landscape and exploring it.  During my stay I learned how to open a beer bottle with a door latch.  Yes, now I wager I am a force to be reckoned with!

'Hal' & Jim


---We also hiked down the Rio Grande!  It was amazing... and steep---


I also learned from my step-dad to never join a road committee!
πŸ‘ΏπŸ‘ΏπŸ‘ΏπŸ‘ΏπŸ‘Ώ

Perhaps I am still tired from my trip I was gone 9 days and really missed my mattress!
πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ

I got good opportunities to show mom my new music and website stuff & catch up with everyone.  I even helped out around the house; I think all things said I was a pleasant guest to have!
We enjoyed good food and beers from a number of breweries.  Don't panic it's a low number!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Creative Process of Song Writing

When this blog was still brand new I made a few posts about the creative process of song writing.  It was good food for thought.  Now, I figure, would be a good time to elaborate with the knowledge I've gained since then.  A musical career is all about growth and how you evolve as a songwriter and musician.  When I started recording, I recorded everything through the built in mic on my laptop. Because of it's location and since this wasn't a high-grade mic, sound quality was distorted and somewhat grainy.  I would improvise 80% of my songs, usually starting with some loose ideas for melodies and lyrics.  Songs from the first five years of my career have a certain patina as if they were vinyls recorded long in the past.  This was good for giving me experience working with damaged audio and creating ambiance, but also bad because I was loosing sound quality.  As time passed I continued to experiment with my sound.  I also invested in a CAD condenser mic, pop filter, and a Scarlett 2i4 recording interface.  Now I was getting far better recording quality, and I was maturing as an artist.  My songs were more thought out, more structured.  I would sit down to write lyrics, musical notes, or a guitar tab.  I also devoted myself more to the production.  I got rid of clicks, pops, and background noise in my recordings.  I learned it's best to export audio as a 32 bit float WAV file.
More recently I have been working with FL Studio and learnt about intros, risers, drops, and outros and many of the rhythms and music theory involved.  When I work on EDM I do it all for me and what I think would be interesting.  I try to do something that breaks new ground while at the same time paying tribute to the EDM artists I admire.  On youtube I've learned a lot from FrankJavCee & Busy Works Beats.  I will close with something I've said before:  When you make a song, make it for you!  There are bound to be like-minded people who like the same things.  This is the most rewarding way to be an artist. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cyrilla Beach

I remember Cyrilla Beach,
And my great friends growing up. Though I was living out in the country I wasn't your typical country boy, I was something of a couch potato. While other boys were fishing I would probably be inside playing my Nintendo GameCube, Wario Ware Inc. and Super Mario Sunshine were a couple of my favorite games, but blast it! Josh beat Mario and I never did. But I remember climbing trees and going out with my dad in the canoe (where I actually DID fish) Once we capsized! I remember helping shingle the roof of our cozy house. I had a second hand computer running Windows 95 StarGunner and Jazz The Jackrabbit were a couple of my favorite computer games!  Lego Island was also THE SHIT!  I had an off-brand moped that went where most mopeds have never been before; Oh those were the days! One day I hit a jump accidentally and got insane air, though I didn't pull off the landing. I remember following the neighbor boys off road and having to push that sombitch up the hills! I remember another wipe out not knowing better than go against traffic and dodging Matt John Doomer! My bad! What I wouldn't give to turn back the clock! I remember looking out the window on our recliner and just taking in the sun. I had the coolest RC cars- my favorite the Tyco Psycho!  It could do these crazy flips and it sure was a speed demon!  I remember making a mountain out of a molehill at the Plantenburg's about "please" when they didn't say it, my Asperger's probably to blame but I now know there was nothing rude about it.  This was just different customs at their house. Oh! Wait! And when I kicked off my sandal and it busted their lightbulb in the kitchen!  Such nice neighbors the Plantenburg's were, they never held it against me! I loved running into them again at Eden Valley Midsummer Bash! Such great people! Josh Plantenburg my best friend! Remember Tyrian, what a game!  Remember Kinex and our cars, our demolition derbies! I look back and know I have to let certain memories go but I save the best!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hey Everybody, Let's Have a Party!

I have so much to share!  First I'll start with Don's Birthday Muzak Bash, a flippin' fabulous party I threw on Saturday, March 11!  I had many friends from Options and Mains'l there at the Warehouse Room of Monticello Community Center, so many that we went through 7 pizzas!  The plan was to get there and set up before everyone showed up... But since I had to pick up pizza and also because I procrastinated on packing my gear I was a tad late to my own party.  Thanks to my best friend, Tyler I wasn't too far behind!  He was a big help in me getting a move on and loading my keyboard, guitar, amps, etc. There was this big ole farmer's market and craft show going on at the same time so parking was scarce.  Other than that things went off without a hitch!  I had a blast performing my music there for 2 hours!  It was exhilarating!  Some of my favorite memories were performing "The Lord is Kind & Mysterious" my psychedelic tribute to God, rapping my infamous "Pen To Paper", and being a real classical music badass!  I also enjoyed mixing in some folk music and my own singer/songwriter originals on the geetar.  Nate said at the end that it was, "the best party I've ever been to!"  Big thanks to everyone who showed up.  Following the party Adam, Tyler, and I hung out playing yard games, hacky sack, and Sing Party for Nintendo Wii U.  Yeah, that's right I have a Wii U...  What was I thinking!?  It's kinda a P.O.S. but hey it's actually fun to have some times.  We also went out to see Logan with my roommate, Mike.  Great movie but just a little gory!



The following weekend my dad took me to a genuine BLUE OYSTER CULT concert!  Like woah it was amazing!  I especially liked the 3 guitar harmonic soloing and those insane vocals.  Next day I went out to Tyler's farm in Regal.  We went for a ride in his new electric golf cart and, I shit you not, damn thing went dead in the middle of nowhere.  His dad towed us back, 5 minutes later works fine WTF.  This sort of plays into the new "Don has bad luck theory" long story.  My joke now is that I have bad luck but good karma.  Karma must be good seein's how I beat him at cribbage and I haven't played in years!



Me, Dustin, and Ashlie are working on a Olmstead project now.  We plan to integrate people with disabilities by getting them into apartments of their own.  This is also something I am looking to do. We will be hosting tours of apartments and group homes to give people ideas of more independent options.  I am now realizing that this really is work.  Nevertheless I'm so happy to be doing this!  This is our time to shine and make a big difference for the disabled community and the community as a whole.  We are getting a grant to pay for a bus driver, maps, pamphlets, and a dinner for all at Pizza Ranch.  Olmstead Academy starts again April 18th through 21st.  I can't wait to see all my new friends again!


Special Olympics Basketball was last weekend, my team took 2nd in State.  We played really hard each game but that last team got us.  Oddly enough they weren't the most aggressive, the 2nd team we played were some stone cold brutes.  But we showed them who's boss!  After our two games the first day we got a dance.  And who should show up but CRUNCH!  Crunch is the mascot of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  He did some sweet trampoline dunking and I shouted my lungs out with cheers!  The guy who DJed the dance was also really good.  I had a blast!


One last thing,
ATTENTION new song on SoundCloud by Dee Neu-
https://soundcloud.com/the-primal-musician/modern-manderins
             

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Let's All Just Relax A Bit

So that just happened, Trump has been inaugurated.  Ain't shit I can do about it!  Look honestly I didn't vote for either of our "Main Stream" candidates.  I figured Hillary goofed up with the emails plus there was a lot of misinformation going around about her so that struck her out.  Trump is a lousy person, I mean really terrible, and the guy took every loop-hole he could find to not pay taxes while the rest of us who actually work for a living paid our does! (How is that for Trump-speak)  I also feel like he will be bad for minorities and people with disabilities.  So I voted for Gary Johnson. I did the honest research on him and, while I did not agree with all of his opinions, I found that most of it made sense to me.  Also I want to be a part of a trend of having more than just two flipping parties that anyone takes seriously.  I mean come on that's bogus!

Anywho world keeps turning...

I was out to see my mom back around Thanksgiving.  We all had an excellent time and there was no shortage of pie!  I got to show Mom my new Aspergians song and she really liked it!  She taught me lots of cool things about bees and honey!  Visiting with Anne was also nice.  Me and Grandpa had a really cool chat about the stars in the night sky and how we're not so important as we think we are and we're only here for a blink in the cosmic history.  I loved seeing all the animals again, good dogs & cats!  Entertaining all with guitar playing and singing was delightful!  And we saw some really neat art and glass blowing in person.  Me and Al also stopped for cigars toward the end of my stay but 'shhhh' that's top secret.  Or not so secret now that it's on my blog!  Ooops.  It was really good catching up with my uncle Karl too... in spite of all the farting!  I also got to see movies Hacksaw Ridge and Fantastic Beats & Where To Find Them, both excellent.

I've stayed busy lately with many music projects and developing other interests such as video gaming, wordfinds, reading, and building friendships!

Rewinding back to my first theme: Nobody knows what to expect with Trump, we should stay informed, but let's all just relax a bit.