Diatribe To A Timespan

I have this custom when at the end of the year I write a post on my blog about how my year was, what happened and how I intend to begin the new year, doing my best to attain what new year’s resolutions I have come up with.

And for the first time in ages, I don’t feel like it.

2016 wasn’t just like any other bad year before. It wasn’t just shit. It was utterly crap.

I didn’t realize it at first, as the only thing I recall from writing my previous seven attempts at making something of this blog post was that I was spitting, cussing and foaming at the mouth at all of the injustice I felt that transpired in 2016.

A huge share of my childhood heroes passed away this year. And through their passing, as the world grieved over lost childhoods, memories, infatuations, admirations and all that jazz, we began to feel mortal. It homed in because of this, like a heat-seeking missile on course toward the target.

It began at the end of december 2015 when Lemmy passed away and only a couple of weeks later David Bowie and Alan Rickman. And the year continued on with more, as one by one they all fell down. Glen Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Keith Emmerson, Greg Lake, Piotr Grudzinski, Ron Glass, Gene Wilder, Jerry Doyle, Maurice White… The list goes on and so many more went then just the ones I just mentioned.

February 2016 is a particularly dark moment in my life when my aunt Doris passed away after a short period of being ill. In the midst of worldly turmoil and sadness over lost heroes, one of my closest heroes lost her battle and left us. Moving on from that has been difficult and still I am trying to place everything in perspective.

It’s been a sad year and I fully intend to move on from it. For the coming year I have plenty afoot and planned, but for now I shall have to shroud that all in mystery until certain things are more worked out.

For now, this is Ghost signing off and wishing you all a happy, healthy, musical, loving and safe 2017. Be well all and catch you on the flipside.

Ending Theme or A New Years Resolution For 2016

RdG live 2015

2015 was a difficult year. One that brought many good things and several challenges I still need to overcome.

No job still, despite a couple of hours a day on the bus for a transport company picking up mail. No extra hours in the long run, so not the perfect solution. Not by a longshot. And it’s depressing the hell out of me at times, although I am still going on and refuse to quit.

2015, however, was also a great musical year. The release of Sylvium’s “Waiting For The Noise” in March was an exceptional piece to work on with the band and we’ve jumped in with great response. We’ve met many superbly great people and I can safely say that all of you lovely people made it even better than it already was. Thank you for that 🙂

In the meantime we’ve been writing new material, that we’ll be working out in the new year for our third release. To say we’re excited to begin work on this would be an understatement!

As for Ghost, I’m working hard on “Shifting Mirrors” so all I can say is: watch this space. 😉

2014 was a crap year, and although 2015 was difficult, it was also beautiful, full of love and great music. Here’s to a beautiful, musical, full of love, full of peace and an amazing 2016. Be well!

Breaking The Silence

2014… Not exactly the best year, in hindsight.

I keep telling myself that every year will get better, because the alternative is too damn bleak. I know I can be a sour bastard at times, but a little optimism never killed anyone.

Losing my relationship at the beginning kicked it off and saw me flying blind for the first time in two years again, as I was so happy in that relationship I didn’t know how to move on at first. I felt like a rabbit in bright headlights. I sometimes still do.

The part-time job I found in march this year wasn’t the break I was looking for. It wasn’t the fact I was selling bikes, it wasn’t the fact I was stuck again in the east of Holland but the aggressively paranoid alcoholic of an employer that stood above me. I’m not going back there. I’ve done my time and I’ll take my chances elsewhere instead of having it batter my sanity even further.

Being without work for as long as I’ve been unemployed is amazingly bad, because I hate sitting still. Apart from having little to no income, it also halted my own musical project Ghost. I had told myself it would be a cold day in Hell© before I would hinder myself in recording my first album, but Hell© froze over as I have had to postpone the album due to several reasons, although one was a reason I could fully understand and put myself behind.

Apart from all this bad news, there is also good news. Although we took our sweet time, currently Sylvium is in the studio recording our second album ‘Waiting For The Noise’ ( and chronicling the event at www.sylvium.wordpress.com). And I’m glad we took the time, as the music is so much more stronger now. And that is one of the reasons why the ‘Shifting Mirrors’ intended release of march 2015 is being postponed; the March 28 release of ‘Waiting For The Noise’ at Rock Ittervoort is extremely important to us all and although it was yet another nail in the intended release of my first solo album, it also meant a new opportunity.

After recordings for ‘Waiting For The Noise’ are done, I’m going to record ‘Shifting Mirrors for as much as I can at my homestudio and hope that the intended kickstarter I am planning to set up is going to get the funding I require to do the drums at professional studio, along with the vocals if possible. There’s a lot of possibilities and opportunities to seize here and you bet I’ll be going for it.

Apart from intending to release ‘Shifting Mirrors’ ( which will be aimed at october 2015) I’ve also been writing a lot of new material for Ghost. Songs that I’m quite proud of though I’m not done yet. And I like that. I don’t feel forced about that and I know I can make this even better. The perfectionist in me isn’t worried; he’s happy. And I like it that way.

So life hasn’t been the best to me this year. But it’s the 31st of december as I am writing this post and I’m ready to move on. 2015 is going to be a busy year; just as it should be. With lots of music and other fun things to do. Sylvium will have several gigs lined up ( go to www.sylvium.com to find out where!) and I’ll be doing a lot for Ghost too. And to make amends for a silence way too long, here’s a demo of a song I wrote this year. No vocals yet, but I’m sure you’re going to love this track 🙂 I know I do.

Goodbye 2014. Go stink on someone else, I’ll be with 2015 rocking out.

15889563436_2e2164d9b3_oedit1 finished

Setting Up Plans…

PlanA_PlanB finished

The coming weeks are going to be quite hectic, given several things are to be worked out. One is the Sylvium album we’ve been doing a lot of work on and will start recording on this year, the other is Shifting Mirrors.

Before I’m unveiling all of the plans I’m working out, I’m actually trying to work out all the music for the songs, which has me going through all the notes I made over the years along with me listening back to old demo’s to know just what the hell I was playing 😛 Especially that is causing several problems.

Considering I do not read music at all ( although I use an extremely basic system where I annotate the note I am in by a letter with a number above it depicting the amount of clicks that chord is played) I have to relearn the tunes by ear. I do not for instance write my own tabs, which is a bit of a bummer but eventually I should get the hang of it. I rely mostly on my own memory and although guitar wise that isn’t too difficult for me, keyboard wise it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. So the past few days have been spent figuring out chords for ‘Marooned’ and ‘Inches to Fall’ which feature major keyboard parts along with the guitars that I haven’t played for quite a while.

Apart from that, I’m also checking the demo’s for how many tracks I played on them and if I need all of those or if I am still missing parts. For ‘Marooned’ for instance, there is a part where a keyboard solo would come but I never got round to record it. This is the case also for several parts of ‘The Big Fade Away’, whereas with ‘Dodge The Debris’ I’ve stripped the song down at least 4 to 5 tracks. It’s a slow and time consuming process, but at least I’m happy it’s improving the songs before they’re set in stone, so to speak.

The thing to do after, for me at least, is to work out how I want to do the vocal tracks. For some, they’re done and I don’t need to worry about them, but for some other tracks such as ‘Driving With Open Eyes’ for instance, I have several options I can do in regards to different takes, but I’m not going to get ahead of the job yet and see what I have to do first. But all in all, it’s sounding pretty good and I’m quite chuffed about it 🙂

Gears of War #5: Kicking Ass and Chewing Bubblegum…

First off, sorry for being away for about three weeks, but apart from being very busy I was also down with the flu and still am coughing out my lungs on occasion. Also, I’ve been very busy entertaining myself with this bad boy:

 

gt-100_top_gal

Can I just say this is awesome!? I have always been a fan of Roland and Boss products but this thing takes the cake! My sounds are much more powerful, not to mention fuller. Quite amazed about this machine, I knew it was great from all the Youtube footage I watched about it, but having it in real life has made me a much happier man! There a few things though that get to me…

– I cannot use the old patches from my Boss GT-10, even though previous models like the GT-6 and GT-8 could have their patches transferred to the GT-10. Roland explained that the patches didn’t translate well to hard- and software of the machine. I understand that technology doesn’t always work out with older versions of it, but right now I’m still disappointed due to the fact I had several awesome sounds in there I cannot use anymore 😦
– As much as I love the pre-amps, the distortions and the fact that due to the awesome firmware 2.0 update I have the Multi-overtone and the Tera Echo at my disposal, the fact that building your own effects chain with the GT-100 is next to impossible is a shame. Because this is an awesome machine! It definitely sounds the part and the interface has been cleaned up much in comparison to its predecessor. But not being able to alter the effects chain because the machine holds on to it like a child clutching its teddybear tight because it doesn’t want Teddy to go into the washing machine is a shame, because that’s how the machine looks when not giving me this option.
– Only one CTL switch in comparison to the two that the GT-10 sported. This is severely cramping my style. The alternative is that I add a Boss FS-6 to it, allowing two extra CTL switches to control my device with, but these are only battery powered.

That all said, however: I’m keeping this baby. Despite the aforementioned points of agony, it is a massive improvement over what I previously used. The GT-10 helped me out immensely, but the GT-100 is going to kick even more ass.

So, my current plan is to replace my Marshall amp with a Roland GA-212. Not because I’m a massive fan of solid-state amplifiers, but because this baby has two effects loops. This in turn allows me to use the GT-100 and the GP-10 I’ve talked about recently, without the two interfering with each other when I’m performing. Second, it can be used in stereo setup, which for me was a big plus. And thirdly, it doesn’t sound bad at all, quite the contrary 🙂
Also, due to the fact that I don’t really want to use two FS-6’s on my pedalboard, I’m looking into several stompboxes that I can add on top of any setting my multi effects will use at that particular time. It will enable far more options although this means a lot more tap dancing if I don’t program everything right.

So, I’m off again to try and cough less and rehearse for the upcoming Sylvium rehearsal before heading off on a much needed holiday. I’ll see you all next week monday again!

Gears of War #4: unintentional rhymes and frustration lullabies…

gt-100 gp-10 finished
While writing the teasers for Shifting Mirrors and making sure the art work was done, I’ve been busy writing new lyrics and vocal lines for the upcoming Sylvium album that we’re going to record this coming september. I’ll be talking more about that elsewhere, so watch this space for updates on that 😉

Also, I’ve been working out a new live rig out of necessity. As much as I love my GT-10, it’s dying a bit on me and I’m forced to look for an upgrade. So far, the plan that’s etched into my brain is getting my GT-10 replaced with a GT-100 while adding extra switches so I can quickly call up more effects on top of existing settings, while wanting to add a GP-10 to the rig as well. Being able to have synth sounds along my electric guitar effects is going to be mad. I’ll also throw in an extra delay that I have lying around to stack on top of existing ones and a chromatic tuner to effectively silence my rig whenever I need to.

There is a problem however: both the GP-10 and the GT-100 are multi-effects units and thus will most likely clash with one another, which either results in both devices simultaneously wanting to give sound to me or one dominating the other. So right now I’m in the process of looking how to hook these up with my amplifier along with one or two stompboxes to add specific effects, as well as awaiting an email from Roland to see if they know how to fix this. It took up most of my day trying to contact Roland whose website seems to be quite well at deflecting ( read: causing errors) incoming messages from users who want to know specific product related things.

This should’ve been fixed ages though though by retiring the GT-10, as its effectsloop is busted away. I’ve been running it through the front of my amplifier which isn’t ideal to be honest. I should just invest in a stackload of Boss pedals, Strymon effects and several other obscure brands I’ve been introduced with by friends and internet and get those all to run through a Gigrig system. However, I’d need a lot more money then. Anyone fancy sponsoring me? 😉 😛

In all seriousness though, if this thing should work out, it would mean I could add amazing sounds to my rig and still have a manageable and thoroughly enjoyable pedalboard. And in the end, it should be just that: manageable and enjoyable. Apart from that all, I’m looking into having a separate vocal effects unit I can use to spice up my vocals a bit, but that’s something for another time!