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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 End of the Year Clearance...FP-Style

Howdy Everyone...

I thought I'd better check in on the FP Blog and say hello. I've been so swamped busy that I have completely forgotten to post anything since mid-October. My bad!

Here's the latest...

1) Hopefully a lot more practices and more live shows will happen after 2013 gets here. I have some new song ideas, we have a semi-obscure cover song in mind for live shows, we need to button up our live performance of 'Sycamore' and start adding it to the set-list, and I need to streamline my live equipment for quicker set-ups and tear-downs. Sounds simple right?

2) I have 2-3 weeks worth of demo videos to wrap up for some freelance work I've been doing for Vibrance Guitars. Then once those demos are finished, all things being equal, I want to really buckle down and finish up the 'Rabbit Hole' and 'Getting Away' recordings and get those out ASAP. They've been entirely too long in the making, and I bear the responsibility on the long wait. I wish I could say that I've been working on them, but honestly I haven't had the time to even think about them. Seems like time has been in short supply of late...

3) For those of you who are 'super-fans' and don't mind video-camera quality audio, here's some videos of our Oct 20th appearance that our friend Gail Collins posted on YouTube. A few disclaimers here: 1) This was our first public appearance...hehe 2) It was freezing outside and all of us were chilled to the bone 3) My voice was giving-out accordingly, especially by time we got to the last song ('Marigolds') 4) and the stage lights were behind us, which made it near impossible to see what we were playing....a SNAFU on our part but a good lesson learned... :-)

In the order that we performed that night:

So that's it in a nutshell. I'll report back soon and give everyone the latest...

Until then...

~ Todd

Sunday, September 30, 2012

FP Live Debut: 10-20-2012

Hello Race Fans! Just a quick FP announcement: We have officially scheduled our first live gig for Oct 20! This initial live appearance will be a private debut (as a gesture of thanks to our families and loved ones) and this will be our FP kick-off to future public gigs. Good things are about to happen! Stay tuned! ~ Todd

Sunday, September 2, 2012

FP Quickie: 9-2-2012

Hello! Hello! Not much news to tell right now but I wanted to break the radio silence to let people know that we are all still alive. We had been having some pretty productive rehearsals up until a couple weeks ago when a major storm system came through the area and Matt and Brittany's house took a direct hit from a lightning bolt. They lost several appliances, a new computer, and some other stuff and they've been trying to resolve issues with their ouse's wiring ever since. Needless to say we have not wanted to risk frying any band equipment until the electrical problems are safely fixed. So, that's where things stand at the moment and we'll just scoot back some of our plans accordingly. No biggie. Stuff happens and this has been a rough year for pushing the band stuff forward. Of course we're not throwing in the towel...Just allowing it to hang out and dry as needed. Things could be worse! But everyone is doing well in spite of the few curve balls that get thrown our way... Stay tuned and thanks for checking in! ~ Todd

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FP Update: 7-27-2012

Howdy All! Sorry for the long radio silence of late (seems like I start every post along those lines yes?) The little FP gnomes have had their plates full but we do have some good news... 1) Rehearsals for the entire year of 2012 have just been hard to come by. As such it's still reassuring when we reconvene after a month-long hiatus and yet are able to pick things up right where we left off. That being said, we've been having some very productive rehearsals lately. We are reworking 'Some Other Year' just a little bit to make room for two guitar players (which means I sing more and play slightly less guitar, which in turn works out really well for our live sound). Also, we'll likely retool 'Sycamore' in a similar fashion to pull it off live. I'm not real keen on both guitar players playing the exact same parts on top of each other...Makes for a very cluttered mix. So we are especially trying to be mindful of how we divvy up guitar chores. But honestly Robert is the perfect collaborator for this as he thinks and plays differently than I do and he really takes FP to a new level. And for my part I'm not territorial about playing certain things versus other parts. Usually it just comes down to 'What parts can Robert take care of that makes it easier for Todd to sing?'...That and 'Who's amp and guitar rig works best for whatever parts need played?'  I'd say those decisions are made more on practicality than anything else. And Robert can handle whatever gets thrown at him... 2) On a tech note, I'm moving to an in-ear monitoring system to help fix a few live performance issues. Eventually I'd like to go wireless with the in-ear stuff (it's on my radar)...less cables and all...And I think I'll be modding a guitar strap (or two) to have my ear-bud cables securely attached inside them to keep the headphones from getting yanked out mid-performance. I'm also needing to put together some sort of hold-me-over pedalboard for my guitar pedals and such (until I can afford the nice cabling I want for my 'big board')...The tech stuff never ends...Tools of the trade! And I also have another custom Vibrance guitar in the works (a Bubinga Double-Cut that will excel at warmer/mellower tones). Got to love gear! 3) So as for the 'news' I mentioned above, we are likely just a month and a half away from our first live debut. We have a place in mind (probably not where people would expect) and it will likely be a semi-private show mainly for friends and family. We've put 'late-Aug/early-Sept' in our sights, hence the push on rehearsals. But we're feeling ready for it and once we have a couple 'low-key' gigs under our belt then we'll likely start playing out on a (hopefully) regular basis. Also, just as soon as our live set is tight to our liking we'll start back in on writing/recording new material. I'm especially ready for that! Lots of ideas that have been getting stockpiled as we have focused on our live stuff lately... 4) 'Rabbit Hole' and 'Getting Away' are still going at a snail's pace but only because of other obligations as well as work-related stuff needing to be done first. I wish they were ready to share but they've taken a backseat lately and I'd rather postpone Greatness than rush Mediocre. But they will get done eventually. It's all about Artistic Priorities... So that's the latest FP News... We'll be in touch! ~ Todd

Friday, May 18, 2012

FP Update: 5-18-2012

"A One...And a Two...And a One, Two, Three...Go!" My how times flies! Another month and we've been quiet here at the FP Blog. Not for lack of excitement. Quite the opposite actually. Here's a quick rundown of FP Current Events.  1) We've been rehearsing again and it has been very productive. As I have stated in recent posts, the goal is to start playing live shows in the not-so-distant future. A few kinks still need to be worked out but we're not sounding half-bad for only being able to rehearse once a week. The muscle-memory is kicking in and we're not thinking about things as much as we are just doing things. That's always a good sign! 2) We currently have "Rabbit Hole" on hold until we can get a couple people scheduled in to sing some backing vocals for certain parts. Most of everything else is tracked, edited, and ready for mixdown. We just feel the recording itself needs a bit more 'lift' by way of extra vocal layering.  3) "Getting Away" is still in queue for guitars and vocals. We just haven't had time to get to it all. Would be nice if Robert and I could have a week off from our jobs/routines to really nail down our guitar tracks...  :-) 4) I've been heavily involved with an upcoming boutique guitar maker to produce and perform all of their multimedia content for some national advertising they are planning. This includes photography (Jake handled the actual camera work), tons of photo editing (me and Jake), demo video filming (again Jake's camera work), demo audio clips, logo design, advertisement concepts and design, etc etc..  That all being said, I just got done editing the roughly 300-ish photos that made the final cut (we took over 5000 pictures over the course of two weekends). I put in the request with everyone involved for one more photo shoot for some specific angles and close-ups (glamour shots of the guitars) that I need for the demo videos. We also attempted our first demo video(s) filming session a couple of weeks ago but we plan on trying again in the very near future to get better content. The first attempt is always rough but now we all 'have our feet wet' so to speak, and I anticipate much better results on the second time around (I am the consummate perfectionist visionary about stuff like this...).  One of the big perks in doing this body of work is partly the pseudo-endorsement arrangement I have going on with this company. Another big benefit is that FP will be getting free national advertising by way of the company adverts. Plus a few other perks. So this is definitely a 'dream job' for a guitarist such as myself....  :-) 5) Fifthly, (and I will be playing certain details of this one close-to-the-chest for the time being) we have been approached by a NYC-based Film/TV/Media placement company to use our songs in their roster, and I am also being courted by this same company to come on board via a composer deal, which would in turn mean that I would have an open door with them to contribute more work as I see fit, plus I'll be in consideration for freelance scoring, sound designing, song production, etc.. They have sent me the initial round of contracts and the remaining documents will be sent next week sometime. There is a lot to look over and take into consideration here, and we have a lawyer-friend handy if the legal-speak gets too deep, but we are interested in their offers and they have excellent credentials and a rather heavy-hitting clientele base. Again, until we get through the contract stage of things, I will steer clear of naming names and certain specifics. But I'm happy for the chance to do future freelance work-for-hire doing the very things I love the most! Another dream job for a guy like me to say the least! 6) And lastly...As if all of that weren't enough excitement, I've been slowly picking up more and more freelance work (in addition to my 'day-job' doing guitar lessons). A couple weeks ago I took on a short stint as a music notation transcriptionist for a Bollywood-genre company based over in India. That was intense and fun all at the same time, and they've left the door open for me to do more work for them as my schedule allows. Also beyond all of this, I am in pursuit of another 'freelance opportunity' that has the potential to eclipse everything I mentioned above work-wise. Will keep everyone posted if that develops favorably... So that's that. Lots going on behind the scenes. Hope to have our next song released soon for everyone. Patience is a virtue!  :-) ~ Todd

Friday, April 13, 2012

FP Update 4-13-2012

Hello All...

Todd here. Just another quick mini-update:

1) I've started hitting the vocals again on 'Rabbit Hole' and they are coming along nicely. I'm picky. And a bit of an amateur. Your patience is appreciated... :-)

2) We actually resumed band practice this week after a nearly 6 week hiatus. For whatever reasons (and they have all been legitimate reasons mind you) we have not had much luck finding time to rehearse this winter. (Yeah I know...that sucks...we feel your pain.) It hasn't been for lack of wanting to practice obviously. Just seems like 'everything under the sun' came up that nixed our weekly sessions. Grrr. And so naturally last night's practice was rough as we were all a bit rusty. But it was fun! And we all know what we need to do to make things sound better. It never ends really...

3) We're still working on recording all of Jake's bass parts for 'Getting Away'. I'd say he's halfway finished. We had a bass recording session last week but Jake blistered-up his fret hand ring finger while doing repeated takes of a tough sliding maneuver he does in the song. So we tried to bandage it up so that he could go on and keep recording but the bandage kept coming off and so we stopped before the blister actually burst (it was about 1/2" wide and ready to pop...TMI right?) Jake's finger has since healed and we are now back in business...Good times!

4) I've started writing new material again and have been trying to capture song ideas as I go. Rhyming has been easy for me these last few days for some reason (caffeine related?) And for some reason my guitar playing has been more fluid (and maybe more aggressive?) than normal lately and that always makes me a happy camper. I'm a bona fide perfectionist (which isn't always a good thing) so when my playing feels 'on' it is a very big deal to me. Hopefully it'll stay that way for a good long while.

So that's it for now. I'm tired (it's 2:20 am) and my brain is slowly turning off. Looks like I had just enough time to get a blog post done...Nice!

Until next time...

~ Todd

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FP Update: 3-24-2012


Don't you just love it when your favorite bands go silent and vanish from the radar for a bit? :-) That's usually a good indicator that they are working hard in the background (or perhaps hardly working?) or else they are all way distracted in their lives. For us it's all of the above. We've whittled away at finishing up 'Rabbit Hole', we've almost started recording again on 'Getting Away' (several times), and we've had to cancel a ton of our weekly rehearsals of late because our schedules have all been topsy-turvy.

The Life and Times of FP...

But fear not FP fans...all is not lost. Just delayed a little bit. Fortunately (and this is one of the many benefits of being in an unsigned band with good friends) we aren't real stressed about it. It's better to relax than try to 'force' things. Some of you may remember when we kept talking about how 'Sycamore' was 'getting closer to being done'...yada yada yada. Well, same goes for our next two songs. Your patience is appreciated!

So that's my mini-update. This one is slim on the details by intention. More news to come in the next couple of months...

Hang in there...

~ Todd

Monday, February 20, 2012

FP Update: 2-20-12

Hello Everyone...Todd here. First off thanks to everyone for checking in on us. We can see our FaceBook stats and we're slowly getting more traffic. It means the world to us that we actually have fans and that there are people out there who are into what we are doing. That being said we are working the most right now on finishing up 'Rabbit Hole' as well as rehearsing our five primary songs to play out live (hopefully soon). That being said we won't put anything out or perform anywhere until we feel we are really solid and at the top of our game. Things don't have to be perfect to be 'right' but we are all collectively picky and pseudo-perfectionists. Also we are currently limited to once-a-week rehearsals so it all takes time to get our live game to our liking. Hang in there...

Also, and I need to word this carefully, I'm currently involved in something (that I am not at liberty to disclose at this time) that will indirectly garner FP some national exposure in the not-so-distant future. So in the meantime we are going to be doing some behind-the-scenes tidying up of our social networking sites in support of the upcoming exposure. I'm juggling several roles right now but they are all interconnected and they all will serve the common good. But that's all I can divulge at this time. Needless to say, we are in a good place as a band and all that is left is hard work and dedication, both of which are not an issue with us.

So there's my quickie FP Update. We hope to tickle your ears soon so keep checking in...

~ Todd

Monday, January 16, 2012

FP Special Update: 1-16-2012

Howdy All...

Today's post is a bit different from the norm. A good friend of the band's, Jeff Nardoni and his wife Tiffany, lost their 5-year old son Thao this past Friday after many months of on-again-off-again illnesses that ultimately surpassed the scope of modern treatment. That being said I wanted to share a short tribute song that I put together and recorded on the night of Thao's passing:

We are very saddened by this loss but at this point all we can do is support, encourage, and most importantly, pray for the Nardoni family as they grieve and adjust to their 'new normal'.

A bit of history between Jeff Nardoni and the band:

Besides being in the same circles as Jake, Matt, and Robert while they were all in high school, Jeff has also played a significant role in my own life as a close friend and fellow artist. A couple years prior to the incarnation of FP, Jeff encouraged me to give a hand at singing. We were working on a song that I wrote called "I Don't Care" and the plan was to have Jeff take care of the main vocals with me doing possible back-ups. As I previewed my scratch demos of the song to him (with my vocals serving as a scratch pad of sorts), Jeff really pushed for me to do the main vocals and for him to do the back-ups. Jeff is definitely a much more gifted vocalist than I but he was pretty adamant about my vocals being at the forefront. The rest is, as they say, history. The song recording went well and it left a good taste in my mouth for me doing vocals more often. And quite frankly, if it were not for Jeff's encouragement, I would not be singing in a band today. In my opinion he single-handedly got me started singing. Here's the song that Jeff and I put together (I played guitars, synths, bass, etc....Jason Landis played the drums....Jeff sang the upper harmony vocals throughout):

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff and Tiffany and their family...

~ Todd

Friday, January 6, 2012

FP Update: January 6, 2012

Happy Post-Holidays Everyone!

And here's the latest:

1) We are now beginning rehearsals on 'Marigolds' for live playing. We have 'Rabbit Hole' and 'Getting Away' both in-the-ballpark of where they want them to be to play them live, and so last night we decided that we are ready to tackle 'Marigolds' again. 'Marigolds' will likely go quick since it is such a basic song and isn't nearly as tricky as say 'Rabbit Hole'. 'Rabbit Hole' pushes the envelope for us as a band...lots of special variations throughout, harmonizing lead guitar solos, crazy funky bass lines, etc.. From a playing perspective I think we all probably enjoy 'Rabbit Hole' the most since it is the most challenging. But it's also likely to be the most impressive song in our arsenal for our live shows. Lots of stuff going on for the listeners. Ear candy for sure...

Then just as soon as we get 'Marigolds' polished up to our liking, we'll only have 'Some Other Year' and 'Sycamore' to get reacquainted with and then we'll start playing out. I'm still not 100% sure we'll start playing live shows but it is definitely approaching. Will keep everyone in the loop...

2) On the recording end of things, we are nearly done tracking parts for 'Rabbit Hole' with just one section remaining for Jake's bass parts and some of my lead vocals (and a few backing layers) still needing to be recorded. Once 'Rabbit Hole' is done with tracking then the mixdown and mastering stage will begin. Hopefully that stage won't take near as long as it normally does. From it's beginning I've approached 'Rabbit Hole' in a completely different way production-wise in hopes that the mixdown will be more simplified. I won't bore everyone with the details and mindset of my newer approach, but all seems to be working much smoother at this point as compared to all previous recordings. And then just as soon as Jake is able to finish up his 'Rabbit Hole' parts then we'll start attacking 'Getting Away' (drums are already done on that one). The good news on 'Getting Away' is that we are already solid on performing our parts so the tracking stage should go much easier and quicker for us.

So that's basically it for now. This one is more short and sweet and to the point. For now we're just Rehearsing and Recording. Two of the basic food groups in the life of a band. Eventually I want to get back into writing new material but for now we are narrowing in on our focus to get us tighter and more polished. Can't wait to see all of you out on a stage somewhere in the not-so-distant future!

Until next time....