Sunday, October 27, 2013

What Happened?

This blog hasn't been updated in a long while... so what happened?

It's no secret that The Periodic Table of Geek Musicians exists to fund the RiteCare Centers for Childhood Language Disabilities.  The thing is, it's pretty time consuming and labor-intensive to come up with designs and products that haven't really sold that well (with a couple of exceptions).

So I've lately had to focus on other things.  I hope to do more of the Periodic Table, but I'm going to have to find some better way of handling the production and publicizing. Remember, this is 100% charity, and 100% of the money finds its way to funding the centers.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jason Morris: #39


Jason Morris is the consumate musician. He's a composer, drummer, singer, guitarist, and does everything incredibly well. The very fact that he participated in The Masters of Song Fu #2 gives him indisputable street cred among musicians and geeks alike. The fact that he lost to the Rifftones in the final round with a respectable vote tally means he has chops. Great, big, powerful Chuck Norris chops.

Jason also competed in Masters of Song Fu #5. Now, he hasn't posted most of these songs elsewhere so you'll have to follow the link to the competition to get them. They're worth tracking down. Jason had to step down in the third round, thus never answered the challenge, "write a winter holiday song that is not about the holidays". Who cares? He made up for it by totally running away with the Holiday Special challenge, "Create a brand new character for this holiday season, and write a holiday song for him/her/it."  The result of that challenge was Twangles, the Christmas Squid:
Original art by Kimberly Johnson for The Periodic Table of Geek Musicians
copyright 2011

While the other competitors were (almost) uniform in offering scandalous or cynical ditties, Jason alone threw his heart and talent into the competition and came up with the first truly original, family-friendly character I know of since Frosty and Rudolph. This is just a really great song. Have a listen and see if you don't agree.



A squid who brings toys to the children of Atlantis, where Santa can't go. Folks, it doesn't get more creative than that! And now you know why I've been saving Jason Morris for December's spot on the Periodic Table!


While many geek musicians play with tongue in cheek, or in a niche, Jason just comes right out and plays good old-fashioned ROCK AND ROLL. He gives his clever lyrics on odd topics a mainstream delivery that sometimes has you wondering "what did he just say?" especially in "adult" numbers such as "American Doll" or "Burning for You".

One of the best parts of doing these reviews is that I get to go back and listen to all the music to refresh my memory. In going through the old Song Fu entries, it strikes me how few of them (and by that I mean none of them) sound as though they were written for a competition. No matter how weird the challenge, Jason rises to it as though it was his idea from the start. And when the topic calls for it he's ready to set aside the hard Rock and change genres, as he does in "The Ballad of Rufus Amos Adams" and "The O'Sullivan Stomp".

This is stuff you'd be happy to pay real money for, and Jason gives it away for free!

I'm glad that Jason's got his Bandcamp page up now, and I'd like to encourage him to gather these harder-to-find items up there so people can get full enjoyment out of them.


And now... STUFF!

Jason very kindly allowed me free reign on placing product, and this being December, we're going with the Twangles theme. So there's a LOT of stuff here to choose from. I think you'll find something you like.

NOT ONLY THAT, Jason has marked Twangles on his Bandcamp page as a "name your own price" download, with the proceeds going to RiteCare! So say you don't want to shell out 30 bucks for swag, but you still want to help RiteCare. Just go Bandcamp and download Twangles, and pay what you want. It could be zero, or any amount greater. Any amount is appreciated.


I'm not going to link everything here, but click on the link and visit the shop. We've got mugs, steins, bibs, clothing... even Christmas stockings and ornaments. Order now for prompt delivery!











   Jason's Bandcamp Pages      




(I do want to take a second to recognize Kim Johnson for the original Twangles artwork that she provided to me on very short notice! I've been short on time, and she really came through. Now if I can only get her to take paid commissions from the public she'd be wealthier and the world would be more beautiful.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Joe 'Covenant' Lamb: #55


Joe 'Covenant' Lamb has already been featured here on the Periodic Table of Geek Musicians as part of the group, Duality237... so what's up with the separate entry? Well, to put it bluntly, Joe's that cool. Joe's so cool that Snoopy has to pay him royalties every time he puts on a pair of sunglasses. But beyond that, Joe also releases music on his own, with a very distinctively different style than that of Duality237, and it was as a solo act that Joe won the 5th Masters of Song Fu title.

Part of what makes Joe incredibly cool is that he is one of the most selfless musicians it's ever been my honor to know. He will work with practically anyone, in whatever capacity he can, adding vocals, guitar, or his distinctive bodhran to other artists' work; and he isn't shy about calling on someone else to collaborate with, either.

The bodhran (pronounced "bow-rahn") is a Celtic drum, and never having heard one you might be inclined to think that such a thing gets old very quickly, but you'd be wrong... it never gets old. Here is Joe's album, Shadowland, which is available for purchase on his Bandcamp page.




While you're there, make sure you check out his other albums!


Joe is the the Assistant General Manager and Assistant Programming Manager of TheLook247.com online radio station, as well as hosting 4 hours of pop, indie, and eclectic music each Saturday evening.





The Swag!

For Joe's contribution, I wanted to try something cool and distinctive, so I picked out one of my very favorite Joe Covenant songs to illustrate. "Tom Furby" was Joe's answer to one of the gnarliest Song Fu challenges ever, which was to write a song about one of the 700 "mole men" that are listed in John Hodgman's book, "More Information Than You Require". This was no easy thing, and I think everyone who's heard the song is in agreement that Joe hit the ball completely out of the park. Here is my rendering of Tom Furby setting a trap so he can torture, kill and maim some of the annoying fuzzballs (which is, let's face it, what we all have wanted to do since they first hit the store shelves).



And remember please, that all proceeds go toward the Rite Care Centers for Childhood Language Disorders.







Here's the song!


The Book!

 I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Joseph Lamb is now also a published author. His first novel, Sister of the Wolf, is available at booksellers online, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Hey, I bought it; you can too! Congratulations, Joe!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: #2


If you're a musician, prepare to be intimidated. If you're a listener, prepare to be AMAZED. This week's installment of the Periodic Table features none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the premier Geek Musician of all time, and the inaugural member of the "Noble Geek" group.

I know, I know... you're thinking "Huh? Some stuffy classical composer?" Not on your LIFE, people! This man's work literally defines Classical music. He is also quite possibly the biggest selling composer of all time... any time, any era, anywhere. Let's back that up with some facts...

In his 35-year lifetime, Mozart composed over SIX HUNDRED pieces of music of various genres and styles, from concerts to bawdy rounds. If you put all of his work together (and it has been done!), you wind up with ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY full-length CDs. Let that number sink in. Now consider that since 2005 this boxed set sold over 100,000 copies in France alone. That's more than 18 million CDs sold in one country, recently. Now consider that his music has been selling steadily internationally in the form of digital downloads, CD's, vinyl, sheet music and concert performances for well over two hundred years. Forget The Beatles, forget Elvis, forget Michael Jackson. Mozart is da MAN.

Mozart's geek credentials are unmatched. He was a prodigy, having begun playing the clavier at four years of age. Among his earliest compositions was what we know as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", composed when he was just six years old. Oh, yeah, you've sung Mozart... and liked it. As Tom Lehrer famously observed, "It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for a year." It is indeed people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished.

Mozart's music has a quality that is nearly unmatched... you've heard the phrase "Mozart makes babies smarter," popularized in the movie The Incredibles. That's not just a joke. It's called "the Mozart Effect", and is the subject of serious scientific study. A 1993 study indicated that listening to Mozart's music could result in temporary enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning. This is beyond geek... it's mad-scientist insanely geek.

Here's a little night music, performed in France and uploaded to YouTube by Fasculin:


Even in his day, the multi-lingual Mozart was an international phenomenon, Now you might think that, having been deceased for 220 years, Mozart wouldn't have much of an Internet presence. You'd be -- to pardon the expression -- dead wrong. Proto-geek Mozart is represented everywhere:

Is this music still relevant? Well, consider that it's still performed, remixed, and re-interpreted to this day, and if you put a beat behind it (as many have done), it genuinely rocks. Here's YouTuber "Pianowork" giving his interpretation of Rondo alla Turca:




Would Mozart have supported RiteCare? Without a doubt! Brother Wolfgang was a member of the Viennese lodge called "Zur Wohlt├Ątigkeit" and composed a fair number of pieces of Masonic music. He would certainly have embraced the charity wholeheartedly. So to celebrate Mozart, proto-geek and uber-geek without peer, the first of our Noble Geeks, we offer the following:





Other people get mugs. Mozart gets a stein.


Because he's MOZART, that's why.







There's also this cool 'Amadeus!' T-shirt!

Mozart was multilingual, and adapted his name to several languages. Mozart's middle name was variously expressed as 'Amadeus', 'Theophilus', and 'Gottlieb', all of which mean, "Lover of God".

This shirt gives you an opportunity to honor a geek, make a statement, and support a charity, all at the same time!





If you're rockin' with Mozart, you're probably totin' some sheet music.  That's why we're also offering this stylish 'Amadeus!' messenger bag!









Finally, Mozart makes babies smarter. We all know that. So why not let the world know as well?  Our exclusive toddler T-shirts and infant bodysuits proudly proclaim, "Mozart Made Me Smarter!"(TM)



















Oh, all right... let's not leave off Mom and Dad...


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Craig Bevan: #13


I have a confession to make. Normally, I try to post these folks in roughly the order in which they've signed up (and there's a link up above if you'd like to show up on the Table); but Craig Bevan, element #13, wasn't next on the list. Here's the true story of how Craig came to be on PeriodicGeek this week... my wife lobbied for it. By "lobbied" for it I mean that she determined to make my life a living hell if Craig weren't next up on the blog.

I relate this story not to cast a shadow on my wife, but to illustrate the kind of appeal that Craig Bevan has. This is a guy who truly has star power. He has supreme control of both his guitar and his voice. Listen and watch...




See what I mean? Obviously, Craig was a shoo-in for the Table in his own time, but I couldn't help but ask my wife why he should be next. As English has no words for "je ne sais quoi", she just drooled silently at the screen for a while. I, being a loving husband of 16 years, understand this to mean, "his sex appeal has sex appeal and if he were in the room I wouldn't give you conversation." Fair enough, Lisa.

Craig's got quite a YouTube presence, with a number of covers. They're ALL good, people, but please take the time to sift through the videos for his original songs, like the one above... they're awesome. The voice is smooth, the music is smooth, and it's easy listening all the way through. I'm ecstatic that Craig's offered to lend his presence to the Periodic Table, and in so doing support the RiteCare charity!

In terms of merchandise, the most compelling design I can think of is Craig Bevan's own presence. So here's a taste of what we have for you (this image is used on the button):


Click the image to visit Craig Bevan's section of the PeriodicGeek store!




We're pleased to offer Craig Bevan buttons, T-shirts and mugs, so please click through the graphic to the PeriodicGeek store and see what we have to offer. Remember please that all the profits are donated to Rite Care Centers for Childhood Language Disabilities, a superb charity that helps pre-school children live up to their full potential.

While your bank card is out, head over to www.craigbevanmusic.com and check out Craig's new album, I Think We Made It.

You can buy it right there on the website and can download a FREE track, 'Feelings I Find Hard To Show'. Or buy it on iTunes.

In addition you can find out how to follow or friend Craig on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter.



...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hiatus is Over!

We're back! And we're busy listening and doing. Busybusybusy. Look for an update soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A New Radio Station

Click on the cloud to learn more and donate!


While we're on sabbatical, I'd like to take this opportunity to promote another project. Jules Sherred of the Geeky Pleasures website has started a project to create a new Internet radio station.  The investment required is modest -- just $3000 -- but she needs some help to get it started.  Now, she could go to the bank, or some venture capitalists, but those kinds of solutions often cause problems of their very own. So she's started a Chip-in project.

If only 300 of the thousands of visitors that Geeky Pleasures gets donate just $10 each, the goal is met. For your $10 you have the satisfaction of having started something grand, and ensure a year's worth of entertainment. Get that? A YEAR'S worth of entertainment for the cost of one used DVD.

Jules' shows feature Geek musicians, many of whom are or will be featured here on the Periodic Table. It's YOUR kind of music, folks. In addition, she interviews the most interesting names in music and entertainment. Joining her in this endeavor is Joe 'Covenant' Lamb, the Yang of Duality237, a band which was featured right here.

Please help make this happen, folks, and continue to support the many independent musicians and artists who work to add a little entertainment to our drab and boring lives.