Congratulations to our winner, Gustaf Bjorlin, who impressed me mightily with a set that although quite different than the one I plan to play, captures the spirit of what a live set needs to be; and is not unlike one I’d draw up myself.
But first, thanks go to the nearly 1000 entrants who took part. Overall, I was quite impressed with the sheer diversity of songs chosen. And as I said to a friend looking over my shoulder, “did I really write all these?”
For his efforts, Mr. Gustaf receives a private meet and greet at this Saturday’s show.
So here is the winning set, with my comments below…
THE CELESTIALS/OF A BROKEN HEART/THE ROSE MARCH/PERFECT/WHIR/STUMBLEINE/THAT’S THE WAY MY LOVE IS/VIOLET RAYS/MINA LOY/THINK YOU KNOW/LET ME GIVE THE WORLD TO YOU/RHINOCEROS/FOR MARTHA/PINWHEELS/ROCKET/UNTITLED/
WITH EVERY LIGHT/MEDELLIA OF THE GREY SKIES/DROWN/1979
In making a good set, there are a few things I look for consistently: pace (as in tempo), song quality, and a surprise or two; and this set has that. CELESTIALS is s strong opener, as far as setting a narrative. OF A BROKEN HEART working anywhere, but being 2nd draws a listener in without losing them ballad-wise. THE ROSE MARCH is solid 3rd, the only downside being two songs in a row in ¾ time; but we’ll pretend RAVINIA is a sailing ship instead of a music venue just outside Chicago. PERFECT 4th is perfect; a known song to get those looking for those sorts of things back into the game. WHIR would be highly unexpected, and Jeff and I did try it in rehearsal. THAT’S THE WAY picks the pace back up, a single (though mostly forgotten) that at least feels significant. MINA LOY I’d love to play there (9th), but would probably need some kind of backing (drum machine, percussion). THINK YOU KNOW is a fantastic choice: drives, great lyric, and timely politically. LET ME GIVE THE WORLD a sentimental fave, and would hold the crowd 11th, with the sentimental fave from GISH, RHINOCEROS to back it up. Plus as a more acoustic-type number you hear more of its trippy origins. FOR MARTHA shifts gears and sets a lovely, ‘Sun has fallen’ mood, for PINWHEELS to take us into the moonlit night. ROCKET literally lifts the crowds spirits after introspection, and UNTITLED adds swing and moxy. WITH EVERY LIGHT a resolving, finale note, to take us out with the shimmering, 3-way tide of MEDELLIA, DROWN, and 1979.
Overall, really well-paced set, historically respectful, without pandering to the low-hanging fruit of hits to make the point.
5 down, ladies and gentlemen, 4 to go; ONE AND ALL currently being on the clock…
Thus far, mixer David Bottrill has built a more lush landscape around what were almost all dry tracks; giving space where before there was only density. The upside being that the music sounds more contemporary than say my usual 70’s-inspired bluntness. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the whole deal in sequence to see how this alters the emotional impact that I got from the rough mixes; which I admit I only listened to twice; once with T Lee; the other with my best friend. So figure the album is done in 4-5 days with only mastering left. With my friend, the masterful Howie Weinberg set to spin the last of the dials.
Ah yes, and I just finished looking through nearly 1000 contest setlists. Dare I say I’m impressed by the entries, with a wide range of notable candidates to sift through. Yet one stands above. Winner to be announced tomorrow.
Oh, and how could I forget: RAVINIA in only 4 days! The mind races at the suspense of how I and The Shredder will face down the thousands waiting to hear an acoustic rendering of their favorite grunge classic. But nay, only shall the folk and sub-electronics ring in their ears…
Truth be told, I’m tired of rehearsing and am ready to get on with it, as the Ex-Cops are in tomorrow to make it all more real. And then chanteuse Sierra Swan to follow; she of the two children and easy tears. Methinks our singing together (the 4 of us) to be a highlight of the night, but of course you must come to see to KNOW. Because even in the digital age there are those things, moments, spells that you must be there to experience; selfies against the stage with BC as backdrop be damned.
I hope you will come if still in doubt, because rare is the night where the music is programmed for that evening alone. And given the weather here in Chicago a biblical backdrop is assured.
So a story to end…
Yesterday in rehearsing (in which this clip of TO FORGIVE was filmed), I found myself yawning a bit. For shouldn’t I know some of these so-called classics well-enough by now. It’s been a crazy go lately: filming R Pro TV show for AMC, mixing, book 6 days a week, plus Zuzu’s Teahouse and don’t forget mademoiselles Chin-Chin, Ling-Ling, Sammi, and their foil Mr. Thom. So yes, I was tired but working away and I thought, in my mind of minds, “at least you are playing music, your voice is in good shape, and in the next room your album is getting finished. And in the other Howard is sorting MACHINA tracks.’ Point being that my life, at its core, is music-music-music, and in that I’m blessed as an artist to still have a show to play.
Yes Sir, two down, 7 to go. Sound like I'm counting the days? David having nailed the ambience of DORIAN's sanguinity…
But not before I dubbed the vocal as presented 'uneventful'; or 'too dry' in studio parlance. Ambience added, I felt it worse. "How about 'The Pumpkinizer'?" I suggested; as so dubbed by Butch VIg circa 1990. An Eventide H3000 patch he'd amended you'd instantly recognize from GISH onward. And laughable I still have the setting saved!
"Let's try it," David said, and I'll be darned if it didn't work again for the 1000th time. "It just does that thing," Jeff said, and I didn't argue though I figured with all the new-fangled plug-ins out there the gimmick would no longer be needed.
Together we'd listen to the prints off tape, which ambience-wise always come back a little more stark, but lush. A slight tweak of the delay setting and we were done; David being fast in his brilliance.
And a side note: there's always a bit of sadness at every step of the recording process; from the writing to the demo, the demo to the actual master, from the master to a mix master; and even mastering. As some-thing must be let go of (that you liked) to ostensibly 'get' something better. And I do feel that here too, as DORIAN'S bleak, 80's-ish rough gives way to a print that David masterfully made much more contemporary. My general thought being: "Well, I'm not the one who has to fall in love with it…"
Yes, the rumors are true: RESISTANCE PRO WRESTLING, creatively led by BC, begins its long and circuitous journey to national television this SUNDAY, AUGUST 24th, as 4 camera crews will descend on ARABIAN KNIGHTS FARM in WILLOWBROOK, ILL to capture all the action.
"When we started the promotion," Billy says, "our first goal was to figure out a way to distinguish Resistance Pro from other companies. For just like in rock and roll, one has to endeavor hard to come up with something 'different'. And of course remember, professional wrestling's history dates back to the 1800's. So to do something truly new we looked toward the model of unscripted television as a different way to tell our story. The thing we're excited about with this television show is that it is an unvarnished look at the business we all love, with its eccentricities built right in. The fact that we landed on the AMC Network is mind-blowing, because as everyone knows their programming is cutting edge, and that's what they want from this show. I'm very proud of our roster for helping us get here, and I can honestly say from this moment forward there will be no looking back for Resistance Pro."
For those interested, on-line ticket sales end tomorrow (Saturday) for the show on Sunday. A huge walkup is expected, so please note advanced sales are advised.
RESISTANCE PRO PRESENTS “THE REAL THING”
Special Sunday Early Evening All-Ages Show
CHICAGO, IL, August 21, 2014—On the heels of its first sell-out show, Resistance Pro returns to the ring with “The Real Thing.” The Sunday early evening show will take place at The Barn at Arabian Knights Farm, 6526 Clarendon Hills Road, Willowbrook, IL 60527. The event starts at
5 p.m. but doors open at 4 p.m. Resistance Pro is a partnership between Smashing Pumpkins singer/songwriter Billy Corgan and brothers Jacques and Gabriel Baron.
“The Real Thing” will be part of a taping for AMC’s unscripted reality show in which Corgan pulls back the curtains on the pro-wrestling world as he takes over creative direction for Resistance Pro.
This month’s show highlights include the Resistance Pro Heavyweight Championship Match
with current champion Jocephus (with Eve) versus “Special Dark” Suge D. The Resistance Pro Women’s Championship Match includes Crazy Mary Dobson versus current champion Mickie “Moose” Knuckles. Christopher (with Remi & Warden Myers) matches up against “Simple Sexy” Shawn Blaze. If Blaze wins, he gets three minutes alone with Warden Myers. The 4-Way Match to crown the new #1 contender for the Resistance Pro Tag Team titles are Body Magic versus Soul Touchaz versus Slobberknockers versus Mad Man Pondo and a mystery partner. In the 2-out-of-3 Falls match, Cobra (with Justin King) will face Jake O’Neill. In the Former Partner versus New Mentor match, “Big C” Chris Castro faces Col. Jesse Corgan (with Miss Prig and “No Apologies” Matt Knicks). The Femme Fatale Four Way! will feature Lucy Mendez versus Angel Dust versus Palmoa Starr and D’Arcy Dixon. And The Honeymoon is Over! match will be “The Ego” Robert Anthony versus Scotty “The Kid” Young.
Tickets are available on the merchandise page of www.ResistancePro.com and will be available at the door the day of the show starting at 4 p.m.