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Thursday, December 1, 2011

FP Update: 12-1-2011

Happy Holidays FP Fans!

Here's the latest:

1) I've been whittling away at the vocals on 'Rabbit Hole' in the studio. I have had several 'good days' (and a few bad days in between) and overall it is really turning out well. Also, we've really come a long way with our live band rehearsals. Our 'Rabbit Hole' live version is getting much tighter and tonight I was really admiring how we were sounding tone-wise and balance-wise. We still have a couple small kinks to work out here and there but I think everyone is trying hard to 'do their part' and I am really anxious to perform 'Rabbit Hole' live somewhere. It simply sounds good and we all find ourselves smiling when we work on it. I even lost my place with one of my finger positions on guitar tonight because I got so absorbed in the 'sound' of everything. I'm a bona fide tone-freak and as such I couldn't help but get caught up in the moment. It's funny when the 'listener' in me usurps the 'performer' like that. Hopefully our audiences will experience the same sort of 'lost in the moment' episodes like that. I can't wait to play live shows...

2) Speaking of rehearsing for our live stuff, 'Getting Away' almost got away from me at tonight's band practice. For whatever reason, I've been struggling to find the right notes when singing the melody. Seems like the melody we originally wrote has always been either too high or else too low for me to sing effectively at full band volume. So tonight I had the guys pull back volume-wise long enough for me to experiment with some new vocal ideas. Turns out I just needed to start singing a harmony part in place of the main melody. Everything ended up being a 5th higher than my 'lower version' of vocals. And it really adds to the vibe of the song and brings a depth to everything that (we now realize) had been previously lacking. It's a bit tricky to hear at first but I am so getting that part down before we have our next rehearsal. Wish me luck!

3) I'm slowly getting all of the pieces to my 'pedalboard puzzle' assembled. This past week I was able to pick up a Carl Martin OctaSwitch Mk2 and I'm now trying to gradually get the cabling I need to hook everything up properly. It's amazing how expensive proper cabling is going to be for this pedalboard by time it's all said and done. But it will be pretty amazing once I've finished putting it all together. Here's a quick shot of some of the pedals I'm planning on using (including the big red OctaSwitch):



That big red OctaSwitch will keep me from having to do too much 'tap-dancing' during live shows. I know all of those pedals look a bit complicated to most folks but it's really not too crazy. An overdrive, a couple fuzz pedals, a couple echo pedals, and a cool tremolo pedal can produce quite a bit of ear candy. It's the signal routing and powering schemes that get a bit tricky to figure out. But (as I've said many times before) I'm a total guitar geek and I love the tech side of things like this. I probably spend way too much time lying in bed each night mulling over big ideas about how to use my gear in new ways. Even just today I stumbled upon an unexpected sound while putting a couple of my pedals in an unconventional order, and it made me smile from ear to ear when I heard the results for the first time (and that sound will definitely get used in future FP adventures). Stuff like that just makes me happy...

So anyway....I think that's all for now. I feel like I am forgetting something that I was going to blog about but it escapes me at the moment. If I think of it, I'll post again....It's getting late and apparently my caffeine is wearing off.

Time to sign off until next time...

~ Todd

Saturday, November 19, 2011

FP Update 11-19-2011

And here's the latest news in FP Land:

1) We are now getting back on track per recording stuff. Seems like we have all been so distracted lately with other things going on that the recording front has gone quiet. But this week Jake, Robert, and myself have all been able to put some time into getting 'Rabbit Hole' up and running again. And it is starting to sound pretty good! Jake has a few more sections to go and I have several vocal sections that need recorded, but past that the guitars are all mostly there and the drums are done. I've given some thought to adding one more section of banjo but if that happens it should be pretty simple (and easy?) as I feel fairly connected with the banjo right now. We're anxious to get this one out and ideally I'd like it finished by the time Christmas rolls around. Maybe sooner. We'll see what happens. Can't make any promises but it will be here soon...

2) Whenever all four of us are together we are usually working on rehearsing our live performances. Ideally we will start 'playing out' sometime late-winter/early spring. Lots of little kinks to iron out but it's definitely a good time. That being said, we are hoping to play our first couple of public performances a bit 'under the radar' just to help us get a better feel for things as a band. Things like set-up/tear-down, stage monitoring, amount of stage volume, gear choices (etc.) all factor in heavily here and we'd like to get a feel for as many of those issues as we can (out in the real world) before chasing after any higher profile shows. Better to potentially get tripped up at small gigs than at big ones. Should be a fun ride though....

3) I'm still writing new material to some degree but we won't be tackling anything new as a band until we get our live show dialed in. That being said I already feel like I am at a slight turning point in how I write stuff. Not so much from a technical aspect but moreso from the creative side of things. Things like lyrical content, overall musical style, etc.. Not that I am making major changes from what we have already done, but tweaks here and there. It's kind of hard to pinpoint where I feel like I am heading creatively but I feel like some growth is taking place and I feel that I am less worried about what I 'think' people would like to hear and now I'm mainly just writing what I like. For instance, when I wrote 'Marigolds' it was all completely authentic and from the heart, including those WooHoo's, but once that song was finished and we released it, I've not really thought much more about it. Granted it's a song that gets stuck in your head, but 'Marigolds' probably gravitates as far to the 'pop' end of the spectrum as we want to find ourselves going. We aren't an overly heavy band, but we definitely aren't a 'radio' band either. In a way, we still have a long way to go to really 'find ourselves' as a band. But in the end it's all about the journey...

That's all this time around. Thanks for tuning in...

~ Todd

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FP Update: 10-25-2011

Howdy All...

Things have been a bit scattered and disorganized for us of late. But good things have been happening:

1) Perhaps the biggest news in FP Land is that Jake got married back at the beginning of October. Congrats to Jake and his wife Sarah! (And of course Jake has been gone a bit for their honeymoon...) On top of that, shortly before tying the knot, Jake took on a sweet new job doing marketing and photography. Lots going on in Jake's life! And then Matt, Robert, and myself were all groomsmen in Jake's wedding. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to snap a couple pics of the four of us together while we were all decked out in tuxes (this pic was taken just minutes before Jake and Sarah said 'I Do'):



Something else that came along with Jake getting married were the coolest groomsmen gifts ever: Jake made us all matching FP logo Bags board sets (or you might know it better as 'cornhole' depending on your locale):




FP has a history of Bags (or 'Cornhole') competition within the band and the competition can get pretty fierce. And for the record, even though mild-mannered Jakeman is usually the biggest smack-talker of us all, Jake doesn't always win. He does win quite often, but definitely not all of the time...



2) I haven't been able to spend much time lately working on studio recording stuff. Not sure if I've temporarily fizzled out or if I've just had a tricky time of switching hats, but we've starting putting more focus upon our 'live' performance to prep for playing out in a few weeks/months. As such, I've not had quite as much 'brain juice' for doing the intense editing and detail work that recordings require. I will of course get back on the studio stuff, but part of me realizes that I need to be in the right frame of mind for the task at hand, and I hate doing something creatively at half capacity. So fear not, more song recordings (including 'Rabbit Hole' and 'Getting Away') will get finished and released to our fans, but we need to do these things on our own time-frame and not spread ourselves out too thin. I guess that's the advantage of being an unsigned band without any imposing deadlines looming over our heads. Fact of the matter is that I wish we were ready to release "Rabbit Hole' and 'Getting Away' now because I have two or three more awesome songs that I'm looking forward to recording and rehearsing for our live show. But one thing at a time... :-)

3) One of the big distractions that I've personally been dealing with has been equipment changes. After some unexpected (and expensive and untimely) equipment failures, I realized I needed to upgrade my rig, especially where my amps are concerned. I had been using a pair of Line6 half-stacks for everything and honestly thought I had the ideal set-up. However, after some serious thought and contemplation I realized that those half-stacks were entirely too big to be convenient for any future live shows we'll be doing. I also realized that I wanted something much nicer and more toneful as far as my amps are concerned. So in the end I have settled on this current rig (pictured in the order of the signal chain):

1) Guitars: Vibrance Ambrosia Double-Cut and Vibrance Padauk Single-Cut (custom made for me by Craig Collins of Vibrance Guitars):









2) Pedals (this will evolve over time of course):

Cause and Effect FET Dream Overdrive Pedal (my main Tone):




Seymour Duncan TweakFuzz (one of my Favorite Fuzz machines - very nasty):



Way Huge Swollen Pickle Fuzz (another Favorite Fuzz - very wooly):



Pigtronix Tremvelope (my newest addition - makes everything go 'woo-woo-woo-woo-woo...')



Strymon Timeline Delay (Echoes, Ambiances, Filters, Beautiful-Things-in-general...this TimeLine delay is like Heaven-in-a-Pedal)



Amps:

A stereo pair of Swart AST's (Atomic Space Tones):






Needless to say, lots of guitars, pedals, guitar parts, and other gear have been sold in order to acquire the above mentioned gear. And perhaps some may question how researching, demo'ing, and buying new equipment can be such a distraction. But imagine a NASCAR driver completely changing out his cars, tires, sponsors, pit crews, etc.. Or imagine changing from a PC to a Mac. Or imagine relocating to a different city and moving into a new house. Everything changes. All of the rules, all of the familiarities, all of the quirks, everything. And such is my rig. Everything in my rig is different than it was even just a year ago, and all of that new gear requires time to get used to, and in some cases (especially where the guitars and amps are concerned) certain playing approaches and techniques have had to be largely readjusted. Fortunately it has been an extremely fun ride and (going back to the 'moving into a new house' analogy) it feels like I have stepped up from a 'fixer-upper-starter-house-in-a-so-so-neighborhood' to a 'wow-this-is-the-kind-of-house-I've-always-dreamed-of'...It really does feel like that. Of course any adjustments I've had to make along the way have been totally worth it and I'm grateful to be at this place as a guitar player where I can use high-end gear to get the job done. I do love gear...


So I suppose that's all for now. We've been busy. Lot's going on.

Adios until next time...


~ Todd

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FP Update: 9-20-11

Howdy!

I'm keeping this one short and sweet. Just a quickie update...

'Rabbit Hole' is done with 95% of Robert and I's guitar tracks and I'm now ready to start adding a few banjo tracks. I've also started back on the main chorus vocals which seem to be going well. Not sure how soon Jake will be available to finish up his bass parts...he started a new day job (which means a new schedule to work around) and he's getting married in a couple of weeks. But we'll get things done soon. As of right now, we're a bit scattered with all of our crazy schedules, but as I mentioned before in previous posts, we are wanting to focus on polishing up our songs for live performances. No promises on when or where we'll be entertaining folks, but we'll keep everyone in the loop. Lots going on...

Stay tuned...

~ Todd

Friday, August 19, 2011

FP Update: 8-19-2011

Hello Hello...

OK....So first matter of business: Sorry to everyone for the month-long (to the day) silence here in FP Land. We've all been quite busy and before I knew it, an entire month slipped by without an FP Update. Dang. We actually had one fan from the Chicago area tell us "I got a little sad when the FP Updates slowed down"...Oops. Our bad. We really are working hard in the background to get more music out. Lots going on...

1) I think the biggest news is that we finished up the drum sessions for song #5 called 'Getting Away'. It's probably our moodiest song to date and it eschews the common song formats that frequent most airwaves today. Simply put it goes like this: Intro/Verse1/Short Interlude/Verse2/2nd Short Interlude/Big Chorus/Mellow Bass solo stuff/Big Guitar Solo (and Big Everything Else as well)/Quick Outro....Finis. When we were initially writing this song we were trying to figure out the best place and best way to land it. We tried several different ideas, and then Matt suggested that we simply shorten it and Get the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks Out of Dodge right when the listener expects us to go on further. Worked beautifully and it thus became so. (Don't worry about me giving the plot away...it will still take you through some unexpected twists and turns when you first listen to it...You'll like it.)

(Below is a pic I took while recording drums for 'Getting Away'... A room with a view - or more specifically a bathroom with a view - of a corn field. - It's a Midwest thing.)



2) So now that the 'Getting Away' drums are recorded, the next agenda on The FP To-Do List is to have Jake start recording his bass parts to it. While Jake works on that, Robert and I are going to focus on our guitar parts for song #4 'Rabbit Hole' (along with my vocals which are well under way). Once Robert and I get the primary guitar tracks done for 'R.H.' (and once Jake gets his bass parts done for 'G.A.') we'll all swap songs and then Jake will finish up his remaining parts on 'R.H.' and Robert and I will tear into the guitar parts for 'G.A.'.... Make sense? :-) With any luck at all we'll have a much shorter span between these two new song releases than what we have had in the past with our first three songs. Lots of work to be done, but we are definitely getting the hang of things these days. Good times.

(And speaking of 'getting the hang of things'....here's a pic of our original drum mic channel layout sheet that we keep using for every song. Kind of a cool pic. It just struck me as an interesting moment when I saw the page sitting there.)



3) Robert and I have come up with (more than a few) new song ideas. We actually wrote some guitar parts to a new song one Thursday morning, then later that same day when we met up with Matt and Jake for band practice, we showed them the basic ideas we had developed and then everyone was able to improv off of that. What was even crazier is that the bulk of the lyrics I wrote were off-the-cuff as we were playing it. I didn't have any lyrics when we first started playing the song, but I did have a lot of good lyrics once we got started. Everything just came together on the fly, and four minutes later we had a basic song structure in place. Nice. Needless to say that was a pretty awesome moment for all four of us. I've had plenty of situations where I have improvised guitar parts to fit a certain vibe or session, but lyrics usually don't happen that way for me. But with this song, the words just came to me as needed while we played it for the first time. Very nice indeed. Consequently the lyrics really suit the music and I hope we are able to start recording this song very soon. The working title for it is called 'Beautiful'...

4) As mentioned in earlier posts (from way back when we first started this blog), I have several songs in the works that just need some FP group therapy and (in some cases) a little more work lyric-wise. Some of the working titles for these songs are 'Drowning', 'The Antebellum', '451 Sandusky Drive', 'Montego', 'Anderson Hill (A Small Town Epic)', and a bunch of others. And it seems more ideas happen each day. Needless to say, it's a good day to be an FP enthusiast. There's lots of ear candy coming your way folks. We play stuff the way we like it and we all put our best into it. Good things will happen....Stay tuned.

That's all for now. Hopefully the next FP Update won't be a whole month away. :-)

~ Todd

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FP Update: 7-19-2011

Howdy Howdy!

Here's the latest FP Update:

1) Perhaps the biggest FP News is the addition of a new member to FP. Yep. You read that right. FP is now a four-piece unit. Ever since the beginning of FP I always swore up and down that we would remain a trio. Well...sometimes someone comes along that changes your way of thinking, and our newest member-in-the-making Robert Shepherd has done just that. We approached Robert, a long-time friend of Jake and Matt, last week about joining FP as a second guitar player, and Robert said he'd love to. He has sat in with us a couple of times during past drum sessions and rehearsals just to hang out with us. And Robert and I have already messed around with a couple song/riff ideas for a tune I'm calling 'The Antebellum'. What's more, his playing style and background is a good balance to my own style and background and it already feels natural to work with him and collaborate on material. He'll be adding a lot of nice dimension to FP's sound and writing style and we are very excited about having him become a part of FP. For my part, I am looking forward to having another guitar player to bounce ideas off of and giving me some breathing room to focus a bit more on my vocals. Mind you, I have no intention of slacking in my guitar playing, but Robert will definitely make my job as a singer/guitarist easier to manage. Good things will happen...

2) 'Rabbit Hole' is temporarily on hold guitar-wise in order to allow Robert some time to familiarize himself with it. The current plan is to have him add some guitar tracks to it as soon as he feels comfortable to do so. That being said, he has his work cut out for him as there are a lot of bass/drum/guitar interactions going on that are really tough (but really fun) to play. Again, good things will happen...

3) Drum sessions for 'Getting Away' are currently scheduled for the first week in August. We intended to record Matt's drums for that song sooner, however, work schedule conflicts, Midwest heat indexes reaching 110*(+) in the shade, and other odds and ends have necessitated that we hold off until the first week of August. No biggie. Hopefully the Midwest heat will simmer down a bit between now and then.

4) We are still working on our special WooHoo YouTube Channel and hope to have it open to the public soon. I am offering some light commentary on each WooHoo'ers performance to make things a little more entertaining which is asier said than done when there are 70-some-odd WooHoo'ers to write about. I probably have half of the commentaries finished as of this moment. Will be worth the wait though, especially when you hear some of the WooHoo's that we recorded. Funny stuff.

5) We also have someone in mind to give us a hand on putting together FP YouTube videos (on our main Channel) from raw footage that we compile. We'll wait to release that person's name once they get the first video up and running (probably in August sometime?) But we feel pretty serious now that we have a fourth band-member and our first volunteer staff member. Good things will happen...

Until next time...

~ Todd

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Marigolds' is Here! WooHoo!!!

FP - 'Marigolds (The WooHoo! Song)' by theFPband

(Directions: Click the BIG RED ARROW to listen to the song. Or...Click on the small black down arrow to DOWNLOAD the mp3 file for free. You can also find 'Paid' versions of our songs on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, Nokia, IMVU, eMusic, Zune, etc if you have other preferences for downloading our music. Enjoy!)

Lyrics:

(Verse 1)

You and I have a special power...
Our love grows like a bed of flowers...
Holding your hand I'm barely breathing...
Funny how fast my heart is beating...

(Verse 2)

Never knew time could pass so slowly...
When I'm with you it's like the only thing...
Gonna be late for work if I stay here...
One more kiss...I'll be on my way Dear...

(Pre-Chorus)

And when I leave you
You know I want to see you again...
And when I'm with you
You know I never want it to end...

(Chorus)

You put the WooHoo back inside of me!
And if you don't mind I'll say it again...
WooHoo!!!
And 'You and me' might sound like a fantasy...
But we both know we'll never find it again....
No!!!

(Verse 3)

Marigolds in the front yard growing...
Only two months (and) you're already showing...
Can't wait to feel them move inside you...
Hope the twins love their mama like I do...
(Yes I do...)

(Pre-Chorus)

And when I leave you
You know I want to see you again...
And when I'm with you
You know I never want it to end...

(Chorus)

You put the WooHoo back inside of me!
And if you don't mind I'll say it again...
WooHoo!!!
And 'You and me' might sound like a fantasy...
But we both know we'll never find it again....
No!!!



Credits:

Drums - Matt Goodner
Bass - Jake Lockard
Guitars, Vocals - W Todd Reynolds
Backing Vocals - Charlyn 'Charlie' Hester
Lyrics by W Todd Reynolds
Music by FP
Produced by FP

And a Very Special Thanks to all of our WooHoo'ers!!! WooHoo!!!

(Listed in alphabetical order according to first names):

Abe Neufeld
Alex Hatcher
Anderson Reynolds
Angel Jett
Angel O'Brien
Angie Springer
Ben Brumett
Beth Eyrich
Beth Goodwin
Bill Montgerard
Bobby Huber
Bonnie Gaston
Brett Springer
Brian Carpenter
Brittany Goodner
Brock Dieu
Cathy Wiese
Charlyn 'Charlie' Hester
Christina Brumett
Cindy Pittman
Clay Hicks
Cooper Carpenter
Crystal Suchaczewski
Curt Ellis
Don Wiese
Gabbi Haas-Reynolds
Gina Brady
Greg Ingalsbe
Hannah Stockwell
Harrison Stockwell
Jacob Cassity
Jaedon JeRue
Jake Lockard
Jeff Lane
Jennifer Clark
Jeremy Stimac
Jeremy Ellis
Jeremy Stockwell
Jill Bosch
Judie Barrett
Julia Reynolds
Katie Lund
Kim Jamison
Kyle Finley
Lee Reed
Lori Chowning
Lucy Reynolds
Lynn Lewis
Margaret Houpt
Mary Lou Thomas
Matt Goodner
Megan Ketcherside
Mike Jett
Miles Clark
Nikki Haas-Reynolds
Patty Killingbeck
Ruby Montgerard
Sara Anderson (soon-to-be Sara Stimac)
Sarah Reiter (soon-to-be Sarah Lockard)
Shareen Huber
Simphi Lenover
Stephen Lehman
Tim Mills
Todd Jamison
Trace Reynolds
Tyler Reynolds
W Todd Reynolds



(P) (C) 2011 The FP Theory
All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 23, 2011

FP Update: 5-23-2011

Just a few quick announcements...

We are ready to release our third song 'Marigolds' just as soon as we take care of some red tape. We have the mix finished the way we want it and we'll be releasing it in the next few days! So keep your eyes peeled on our blog for download and/or streaming links. As usual we will be offering this as a free release if you download it directly from us. (You'll also be able to purchase the song for 99¢ via iTunes, Amazon, etc, if you would rather go through an official online distributor. Either way, we want this song to lodge itself in your head....you have been forewarned.)

Also, we are still wanting to make all of the individual WooHoo's available for your listening pleassure. We spent a lot of time (and lots of giggles) going around to people to have them WooHoo for us. If memory serves we have nearly 80 WooHoo'ers helping us out. We'll get those WooHoo's out sometime in the near future. (The big priority lately has been wrapping up 'Marigolds' as well as writing new material for song #5. Only so many hours in a day....)

Another update concerns 'Rabbit Hole'....all things being equal I plan on starting guitar sessions this week and next. I've been holding off on that because of wanting to finish 'Marigolds' and also because I wanted to wait until my two custom Vibrance guitars were ready to go. All systems are a 'go' now and so tomorrow I can take off the Producer's hat and just focus again on being a guitarist...can't wait to get started!

So that's all for now...the new song will be in your ears very very soon! Enjoy!

~ Todd

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FP Update: 4-26-2011

"This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel."

- Horace Walpole (circa 1776)


And now for the latest FP News:

Lots of crazy things have happened over the last two or three weeks. I have had several unexpected house repairs (broken windows, broken gutters, etc) thanks to Mother Nature, our family minivan got a very bad bill of health which in turn prompted us to find a new vehicle (this time we found a nice SUV...yesss), I had a rough week of allergies that eventually forced me to go to the doctor (I'm all better now...thanks for asking), and my beloved MacBook Pro laptop (the centerpiece and control center of my humble studio) bit the dust. Sort of.

This last Saturday when I was at work giving guitar lessons, my MacBook Pro (MBP) lost its display screen. Nothing but blackness. The rest of the laptop seemed to be functioning just fine, albeit without being able to see anything on the display. Not good. So I finished that afternoon's lessons, went home, started doing some research, and came to the conclusion that my MBP's graphics card bit the dust. Again, not good. So after some more research I realized that the repair costs would likely be high and that it might just be a good time to upgrade to a newer model (the broken MBP is a late '07 model). So later on that day I ordered a new MBP from Apple with all of the upgrades in hopes that I can get through another four years of heavy usage with this new laptop. (And while I was ordering the new laptop I also decided to order a new iPad2. Sweetness.)

Concerning the old MBP, I decided I would probably just EBay it for spare parts. So yesterday (Monday) as I was doing some more research on my broken MBP (so that I could offer some sort of explanation of what needs to be fixed to any potential EBay buyers), I stumbled upon an obscure Apple Forums memo that stated that my broken MBP would likely be eligible for free repairs from Apple as they had a bad batch of graphics cards from NVIDIA (NVIDIA is the company who made the graphics cards). Nice one. I just spent a ton of money to replace a laptop that could potentially be fixed for free? Wow. Go figure. Timing is everything. That being said, I was bummed only for a couple seconds before I smiled and told myself, "But you're getting a brand new MBP and an iPad2! Score!" So with any luck we'll be able to get my old laptop fixed for free, which will mean that we'll have a spare (albeit a bit older) MBP floating around the house. Sweetness.

So what does this all mean for our fans? Well, unfortunately it means that my studio is currently shut down until I get the new laptop. And then once I get the new laptop I will still have several hours/days(?) worth of updates, programs, and settings to configure and install. And all of that means that our new song's release is getting pushed back a bit. (Bummer...and I was soooo close to getting 'Marigolds' finished just before my laptop crashed.) Fortunately, I am 99.9% certain that none of our recordings will be lost or ill-affected as I can simply copy them over from the old MBP's hard drive to the new MBP's hard drive. But again, I anticipate all of this taking some time. We're talking about a few hundred GB's of data. I still won't have the new MBP for a few days, so in the meantime I have been getting some work done around the house, homeschool stuff caught up, studio equipment repairs taken care of, and the like. So in a way I feel like I am on a mini-vacation since I haven't been able to work in my studio for the last few days.

Also, my two custom Vibrance guitars are within a week or so of getting finished. Between waiting on my new laptop to arrive and waiting on these two new guitars to get finished, I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas to come around. The anticipation in the air is palpable folks. I've been trying to keep myself busy so as to make the time go by quicker but that's easier said than done of course. But all of those things are on the horizon. Will be a crazy week next week. And a fun one! Can't wait.

And also (since I am in 'waiting mode' right now), I've had some extra time to practice my vocals and guitars for our new song, (tentatively titled) 'Getting Away'. Like 'Rabbit Hole' this new one is a darker, and perhaps a bit moodier and ethereal. Jake, Matt, and I plan on resuming our weekly practice schedule this week and work begins on the new song. We haven't had any rehearsal time since we finished up the drum session for 'Rabbit Hole' back before the Holidays. Will be good to get back into the flow of things.

So I think that's everything for this FP Update. Thanks for checking in and checking up! Stay tuned for more!

~ Todd

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Marigolds' Update: 3-30-2011

Hello! Hello!

Just a quick status update on how 'Marigolds' is coming along. We felt we needed a little bit more umphh on certain sections of the lyrics (beyond the extra layers I had already sung) and so we enlisted the help of my sister Charlie. She came over Sunday afternoon and recorded vocals for almost two hours. I had her sing a bunch of variations just to have plenty of options on hand, and at this point I am in the process of fiddling and experimenting with different parts of her vocals. As such I'm working on finding the right balance for her parts. Too much can be a distraction but too little can be pointless. Good times.

Also, as with any mix, I'm trying out different tones and EQ treatments on the bass parts. Easier said than done, especially in my smallish studio room where I do my final mixing. Small rooms are the bane of mixdowns and even with all of my sound panels (and all of the crazy research and money that I've poured into my mixing space) there is still a fair amount of trial and error involved when dialing in the low-end of a mix. Every song that I mix hopefully sounds better than the previous one, and it is forever a learning process for me. Plus I'm a perfectionist. But I will get this finished ASAP.

We're pretty much done collecting "WooHoo's" from everyone and it was a ton of fun going around and getting friends and family to 'WooHoo' for us. A few days prior to the release of 'Marigolds' we plan on posting everyone's WooHoo's individually so that everybody can hear themselves (and all of the other WooHoo'ers of course!) WooHoo'ing. I recorded a bunch of people WooHoo'ing using my iPhone 'on location' at my workplace, outside restaurants, in warehouses, behind taverns, at church, at various homes, out on the streets, etc.. I think we have over 60 WooHoo'ers WooHoo'ing for us. Talk about funny stuff. Some of these 'on location' recordings are hilarious and during the course of capturing all of these WooHoo'ers WooHoo'ing in their natural environments, we soon realized that we just had to share these clips with everyone. Get your giggles ready folks...you're gonna need 'em!

So all in all I'd say that this song is 75% mixed down and good to go, and I've been making some serious progress on it these last several days. I know everyone just wants to hear it sooner than later, but it has to be 'right' before we showcase it. Our name is attached to it and so it needs to be good. Real good. Hopefully you'll find it was worth the wait...

Stay tuned!

~ Todd

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Calling All WooHoo's!!!

WooHoo!!! by theFPband


Hello FP Fans!

We need your help!

We need a bunch of FP fan-based "WooHoo's" sent in to us for our soon-to-be-released song 'Marigolds'. The more WhooHoo's we can get the better. All contributors will getting honorable name mentions in the song/album credits. Here's how it works....

Listen to this demo of Todd's "WooHoo" and then use your computer's built-in microphone, your iPhone/iPod/iPad/Droid/smart-phone voice recording app, a recorded phone voicemail, or whatever else you can use to record yourself 'WooHoo'-ing. We need fun/rowdy/excited WooHoo's from all ages (guys and gals) for this to work. If you can WooHoo then we want to hear it! Then send in the file (mp3/Wav/AIFF/etc) to our band's email address:

theFPband@gmail.com
Subject Line: WooHoo!!!

We'll see how many our friends, family, and fans can submit over the next couple of weeks. We'll try to cut off the submission date around the end of March 2011 so that we can finish this song and get it out to the masses. The rest of the song is pretty much done and ready to go but we thought we'd make this extra special by involving our listeners and making them a part of the fun!

So start WooHoo-ing and send us your best!

WooHoo!!!

Todd, Jake, and Matt



(P) (C) 2011 The FP Theory

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Changing Times....FP Update: 3-4-11

Here's the Latest....

1) Jake is 'kicking butt and taking names' on his bass tracking sessions for 'Rabbit Hole'. Matt and I took more than a few liberties and artistic twists and turns when recording/producing the drum tracks. During pre-production and rehearsals we wrote the basic arrangement and skeletons of the song, but we only worked out the generalities, namely to allow Matt a sense of direction and vibe for what he would play during the actual recording sessions but without trying to micromanage his every move. We wanted Matt to have room to ebb and flow while recording. And that mindset paid off in spades where those drums are concerned. The drum tracks are stunning. (Just wait until you hear this one folks...) So once those drums were finished, the challenge then went from Matt's shoulders over to Jake's shoulders. Again, Jake's bass parts were merely roughed out in general ideas during the pre-production/song-writing stage. The plan was to have Jake then play off of Matt's recorded parts, which means the details for Jake's parts now need to be worked out under the microscope for the recording process. It sounds easy, but in reality every little kick, snare, tom, and cymbal accent that Matt did 'on the fly' needs to be learned and memorized by Jake in order for him to sync up his bass parts properly. And that takes a lot of hard work and focus and especially time. But as they say, 'that's what separates the men from the boys'...

2) 'Marigolds' is slowly getting finished, with an emphasis on 'slowly'. I just don't have the time or brain to plow away at it at a breakneck pace, at least not without compromising the end results. This, much to the chagrin of our detractors and naysayers, is the supreme advantage of being self-produced, and we love the freedom that comes from doing everything ourselves. Love it or hate it, the waiting between each song is part of the process for us, at least at this point in the game. Granted, for our listeners, getting to listen to a finished song is the best part, but for us the whole creation process is king...

3) Matt's wife Brittany is expecting their first baby any day now. They are naming her Willow, and everything has been going smoothly for Brittany and the baby. And of course, many of us are expectantly waiting for the mass text from Matt telling us 'It is time'....

4) Jake is getting married in the fall. I'll likely make mention of this from time to time as things develop, but currently he and his fiancé Sarah are in the planning stages of everything, so not only does Jake have a lot on his plate with his work, side-job gigs as a freelance news photographer, and being a bass player extraordinaire in an upcoming rock band, but he's tying the knot in a matter of a few short months. Lots going on with Jake....

5) I'm in the process of making some significant gear changes over the next couple of months. To start off, as I've mentioned in previous updates, Vibrance Guitars builder Craig Collins is building me two custom handmade guitars. Initially I had plans of buying just one guitar, but as his first run of seven guitars has evolved and progressed, I made the decision a couple of months ago to actually buy two guitars from Craig. Likely there will be more down the road as more designs become available....(it never ends for gear hounds). But Craig has graciously asked for my input and suggestions throughout the entire building and designing process and I have been more than happy to oblige. Craig thinks that these two guitars will be finished in the next 4-6 weeks (give or take of course), much of that time being needed to properly apply the oil finish to his liking. And then there will be a ton of pictures....

Secondly, I've recently been heading towards smaller wattage guitar amp designs. I own a pair of 100 watt Line6 tube 1/2-stacks which I have done pretty well with thus far for recording and rehearsals, but I keep feeling unsatisfied with the clean tones I've been getting with those rigs. So I have been on the prowl for a while now to remedy that situation by acquiring a better-suited amp design. As it turns out, what I ended up buying was a small one-speaker, 20 watt amp combo made by Swart Amplifiers. It's called a Swart Atomic Space Tone (AST for short) and it is quite an amp. The clean tones are what I've been looking for, and inadvertently I've also found some of the best sounding 'crunch' tones I've ever heard, simply by cranking this little amp up to around 7 (it goes to '11'). It's a simple design, all hand-made here in the States by Michael Swart himself, and it just sounds fabulous. Small but mighty.

And then of course I've added a few pedals to my arsenal. If you know anything about most guitar players you're already aware that the only things that we like more than guitars, amps, and gadgets is even more guitars, amps, and gadgets. Especially effects pedals. Pedals are a (relatively) cheap fix for finding new sounds and ideas, and some of the most sought after effects pedals are overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals. And lately I've been on a pedal spree. I just picked up a Fulltone PlimSoul, an Xotic EP Booster, and a used Seymour Duncan TweakFuzz, all of which fall into the OD/dist/fuzz categories. Talk about good times! A guy like me could just shut himself in a room for a while and get lost in the different tones that are possible. Some folks may be bored with this sort of gear info, but trust me when I say that these toys (er...'tools') will inspire a lot of new FP material and will help take my performances up a few notches. These new guitars, amps, pedals, etc are all a new direction for me, kind of like if a Formula One race car driver switched over to NASCAR. To some people a race is just a race, but to the driver the car changes everything. I'm not sure which race car category my new gear would fall into (metaphorically speaking of course), but whichever it is, I like it...

That's all for now. I actually made a new post within a week of the last one! (Yesssss....) Will post more as things develop!

Thanks for checking in....

~ Todd

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deep thoughts with FP: 2-27-11

...And now back to our regularly scheduled program:

Yeah yeah I know...I've been slacking on these Blog/FaceBook updates lately. Well over a month since the last post. Dang. So as I'm laying here in bed getting ready to call it a day, I felt like writing a few lines. Of first importance is the current status of 'Marigolds'. I've been wrapping things up with it but I've also allowed myself the luxury of taking my sweet time on it. I think some of my personal insecurities about singing have caused me to hide this song's status a bit more than usual. And honestly I just don't know how people will respond to this song. In spite of everyone's vote of confidence (at least from those who have heard it thus far), there's always that little nagging doubt in my mind about how well I sang on it. Granted, the drums are awesome, as are the guitar and bass tracks, but perhaps I'm feeling a 'studio' variation of stage fright concerning my vocals? Actually, that makes me chuckle when I think about...

At 39 years old, vocals are a bit of a new direction that I am yet to feel completely confident about. Of course I've sung all of my life in church, in the car ride to work, at concerts, in the shower when no one else is home, etc, but that's all different right? Shouldn't guys like me who are in bands be cocksure of everything they are doing? Isn't that part of the mystique and allure of the bands and performers we idolize? And yet the biggest part of me feels at odds with the whole 'rock-star' image/mindset. Honestly, I just want to write and record and perform good music that everyone will connect and identify with, and I think that if there are deeper insecurities and fears buried within me that I struggle with, then I need to be open and transparent about those things with friends, family and fans. I know that I am a talented and inspired person, as are Matt and Jake, but I can't fathom trying to create an illusion with people that I've got it all together. I can sing decently on a good day. I can play guitar pretty well. I'm driven in most of the important areas of my life, including my music (though there are other areas in life that I deem of much greater value). And I'm a good music producer in most situations. But on the flip side to all of that, I suck at singing on my bad days, I never feel like my guitar playing is 'as good as so and so', and my recordings never sound quite as good as I think they should. And in direct opposition to my drive in life, I frequently get tired, frustrated, bored, impatient, or burned out and I often feel like throwing in the towel and quitting everything. Sound familiar?

And...if anything...I think I've also struggled with falling into the trap of only painting the brighter side of things, especially how I let others see my life. After all, in regards to my music, who wants to be a fan of someone who isn't at the top of their game all of the time? Funny that.

Now here's the crux of the matter: All of the above introspective ramblings over a guy's insecurities about singing in a band? Yes. And...No. If you know me at all, then you'll know that I have way more issues than just being insecure about singing. Like most other people, I worry about my weight, my blood pressure, "will I go bald someday?", "do I look old?", and other trivialities. And then there are the big important issues in life: "Am I a good person?"; "What do others think of me?"; "Am I a good dad?" and "Will my sons turn out to be good godly men once they grow up and go out on their own?"..."Am I a good husband and friend?"..."Is God happy with how I'm living my life?"

Perhaps the fears of not singing well (or of not making good-enough-sounding music) are the symptoms of the bigger complex issues that lurk beneath the surface. Don't get me wrong, many of the superficial things in life like our weight, appearance, age, etc have a profound influence on who we are. But truthfully isn't it easier to talk about the superficial crap with a total stranger rather than confide our innermost being to someone we know and trust?

Your mileage may vary from mine, but I tend to want to talk of the deep stuff but in the end I usually wind up simply 'talking about the weather'. And so that's where (hopefully) my music pursuits will help out. Maybe I can split the difference between the two extremes via addressing the bigger things in life by way of metaphors and art and melody. After all, words alone often fall short of conveying how life really is going, right? At least I tend to be that way. But hopefully my artistry and musical pursuits will point to the deeper personal things that are happening in my life. And maybe you'll be able to relate on some level and be encouraged or inspired by it in some way.

Of course not every song will have a deep, profound meaning behind it, nor will we constantly try to use our songs for cathartic reasons. Sometimes a song is just a song, just a story with a melody. Sometimes the real emotion is in the guitar parts or the way the drums pound or how the bass flows in and out of everything else going on around it. We could all make analogies of every little detail and come to a myriad of conclusions (and I'm sure some people will do just that), but hopefully the listeners who need something on a deeper level will find it and those who just need a melody to hum along with will also find what they are looking for. It's fun being a song-writer and musician in that I realize so many people will receive things differently and on so many different levels. And honestly we'll never know the extent of the influence our songs may have on our listeners. First and foremost our songs suit us as a band and give us a platform to be ourselves with. If all else fails, hopefully our listeners will at least get that.

Wow. I'm so long-winded. Hope everyone who reads this is doing well and enjoying life.... :-)

All the Best...

~ Todd

Friday, January 21, 2011

FP Update: 1-21-11

Howdy Howdy Howdy!

Wow what a couple of weeks we've had in FP Land! One nice thing about the winter months is that we all stay inside more and get more recordings going. As I mentioned in the last post, I am (for all intents and purposes) done tracking the guitars for 'Marigolds'. And now this week I think I conquered the main chorus vocals to 'Marigolds' as well! I still need to record some backing vocal layers (as does Jakeman), but having the primary chorus parts finished is a big deal in my mind. I still need to sing and record the Pre-Choruses but I can't fathom those being as tough as the choruses were (nothing like stretching our limits). So vocals are on my plate at the moment.

Jake on the other hand has a lot on his to-do list. Backing vocals for 'Marigolds'. Rerecord a small bass section in Verse 2 of 'Marigolds' (no biggie there). Record all of the bass tracks for 'Rabbit Hole'. And write lyrics for the final verse and chorus of his new song. The working title for the new song is 'Getting Away' and he and I have spent quite a bit of time figuring out guitar and bass and vocal melody parts to it. My son Tyler thinks this new song will be his favorite FP song thus far. He also made some good suggestions to Jake and I about the lyric content/story for this new song. At any rate it is taking form quickly and all of our gears are turning nicely. I cannot think of anything I enjoy more about music than the process of writing and crafting and performing new songs. It all just works...

Per Matt...he's waiting on Jake and I to sort out our parts for Jake's song before he worries about his drum parts. Past that he's off the hook for a short bit (which works out well since he and his wife Brittany are only a few weeks away from having their first child).

So that's the latest bit of FP News. Short and sweet. Been so busy recording that I haven't had much time to post updates or make new teaser videos. But that's a good thing! Our next recording will be released soon!

Until then...

~ Todd

Sunday, January 9, 2011

FP Update: 1-10-11

Happy New Year Everyone!

We're very excited about some things we have planned for this year...New songs, new recording sessions, new boundaries being pushed, new ideas! And for the first time in years I feel rejuvenated as I head into the new year. No resolutions mind you. No delusions of grandeur either. Just a sense of gratitude and excitement knowing that FP is alive and well and that we love what we are doing. That being said, here's the latest Current Events:

1) 'Marigolds' has come leaps and bounds since my last post. With the help of Craig and Lucas Collins of Vibrance Guitars, I recorded all of my guitar tracks to 'Marigolds' over the holiday break. Craig loaned me their #003 Double Cut prototype (see first pic below) for several days for me to test it out in a recording context. Lucas sat in on most of the guitar sessions as a second set of ears and assistant producer. Lucas' ears and ideas helped shape my guitar parts and my guitar tones, and his input was invaluable. Funny what a difference it can make when someone sits in on a session. There's more energy, more focus, more intention. And Lucas was able to make suggestions whenever I would make a mistake or needed to make decisions about amp settings, which pickups to use, etc.. It all ended up yielding very very good sounding guitar tracks that I am very happy about. Also, I had previously recorded several tracks with my beloved '05 Les Paul and Dean Z guitars, however I opted to replace all of those original tracks with new ones using the Vibrance #003. The Vibrance just sounded like it was in a league of its own when compared to all of my other guitars....


Past that, I am now ready to finish up the main vocal parts on the pre-choruses and choruses. I've been trying to keep my voice in good shape and have been trying to ward off the occasional cold or sore throat. (You gotta love the winter months!) Hopefully I'll nail my parts in short order and then we can start to wrap 'Marigolds' up. Once the main vocals are ready, Jake and I will go back and drop in a few backing vocal parts as needed. Then perhaps a couple of sessions of background guitar layers? Then it should be ready to mix and release. Will be here before you know it so stay tuned! (Below is a pic of the amp/mic set-up I used for 'Marigolds')


2) We have begun to flesh out some of the basic guitar parts for a new song written by Jake. (I'm actually listening to a mock-up demo of it as I write this post!) No name has been set for the new song yet, but it is mostly in the key of G minor and is about 115 beats per minute. Fairly mellow and deep. Reminds me a bit of old U2 stuff from the Joshua Tree album (which is a very high compliment in my book). Can't wait to see where this one goes as it develops!

3) The drums are finished on 'Rabbit Hole' (and even rough mixed for the time being). We'll be covering a lot of musical territory over the course of the next several songs, so fasten your seat belts. Jake will begin bass sessions soon on this one and then it will be left to me to track guitars and vocals. We've probably had the most fun when writing this one and working out the parts, and it will likely be one of our favorites to perform live once we start doing shows. It's dark but also very fun, if that makes any sense. Perhaps like a good Coen Brothers film?

So that's it for now. More pics and posts to come so keep checking back! We'll be busy in the background!

Peace...

Todd