Everything is a Progression

Consider your favorite songs.   How much better they could have been if maybe the artist had cut one more take of this or that, or if the engineer had gone one mix further?  All music is dynamic and the static snapshots we have are just one possible version.  Here are some examples of some songs I am working on.  They will all be different given time because I am getting better at drums, and constantly learning more about recording, and acquiring new gear.  I want to share these now anyway, perhaps because everything else I have to offer on here is very dated.  Two new songs and one remake of “Get Some” from 2010 Mach II.

Refoaming 8″ Woofers Project

I just finished my refoam project and the glue is drying on the speakers as I type.

When I first played my Acoustic Research Rock Partner speakers I noticed they were underwhelming in the bass dept. Upon inspection of the speaker surrounds I found tears in the flimsy material big enough to poke a finger through.  They were pretty disintegrated even though just looking at them they seemed fine.   When I took the speakers out of the cabinets they looked like the originals and therefore at least 20 years old.

These cabinets have to be airtight – they are not ported – to generate a bass sound and the bad surrounds were killing them.

I researched doing the refoam myself and here’s some things I learned along the way.  First, get the right foams surrounds – not just the cheapest ones.  The angle of the paper speaker cone is important to consider – is it a flat mating surface or sloped?

This guy – Rick Cobb has a eBay store though he strongly prefers you contact him directly and pay through PayPal: rcobb@tampabay.rr.com – He has the good stuff at a good price.

Second, use decent glue.  You do not have to get the $10 or $20 glue from online – as I found out by reading forums Aleena’s Tacky ($3 Wallmart) is great for this job.  Third, dissolve the old surround foam off of the old cone with isopropyl alcohol and a Q tip, this way you don’t hurt the paper cone when cleaning and preparing the speaker cone for the new surround.

This was a set of 8 inch speakers so I made the decision of refoaming without removing the dust cap and shimming the voice coil – I used a free 30 Hz sample of the web and played it on a loop while I check the cone for rubbing against the frame.  If you glue the surround to the frame off center you will ruin the speaker by allowing it to rub and destroy itself.  Larger speakers are probably more difficult.


Take the speakers out of the cabinet. Peel off the old surrounds. First speaker I did this on I tried rubbing and scraping the old surround material off the cone with my thumb (as per youtube tutorials) but found this was a little harsh on the paper of the cone.  I used the alcohol and a Q tip on the second and it made a cleaner job.  Next I cleaned off the frame aka the basket –  I did this with a screw driver and more thumb rubbing and alcohol swabbing.  Next I went down the street to my old house where PayPal told the supplier to deliver the surrounds, they were under a block to keep them from getting blown away by the wind which was thoughtful of the deliveryman. Then I glued the underside of the inside edge of the surround and the paper cone and held them to the speaker until tacky.  After letting the glue dry I glued the metal frame and did the same thing while intermittently checking the speaker for correct position by touching the speaker wires from my amp to the leads on the speaker – volume set to low.  If out of position it will make a clacking sound.

God this is long.  I’m going to drink a little tea.

Then after it was all put back together and sounding healthy I glued the cosmetic fascia foam pieces back on.

Not that tricky, but I was pretty careful the entire time. Looking forward to install and test in a couple hours.

Put some new life back into these old speakers and looking forward to hearing them.

Refoaming Speaker Surrounds. 30 Hz sample on loop in the background.
Refoaming Speaker Surrounds. 30 Hz sample on loop in the background.

That Time When I got Caught in a Rip Last Summer

Last summer I indulged myself with yet another state park lifeguarding job where I got to run and swim at a beautiful beach every day.  Some of the NC locals might know that last summer (2018) was pretty rough for the waters between Morehead and Wilmington.  Actually a lot of the East Coast got its butt kicked by an angry ocean for about six weeks straight.  There were 13 fatalities within 50 miles of where I was guarding during this period of time (16 total for NC).

I would begin my day at Hammock’s Beach State Park with some PT and part of this was a ten minute ocean swim.  I would head out into the waves with my lifeguard buoy and start the timer on my watch and go until ten minutes was up.  Sometimes it was like swimming in a washing machine, sometimes as flat as a lake.

I guess I got kind of cocky about it because there was one day during those weeks when even though I knew it was pretty rough I decided to go out anyway.  It isn’t like I can sink with my buoy but I might not be able to get back in – hell I might end up miles off shore singing chipper campfire songs to keep my spirits up.  “Tom Dooley” comes to mind.

Lifeguarding 2018 Lifeguarding 2018

So even though I was alone and no one knew I was going in, I decided to get my swim in.

I head out – get about 30 yards offshore and set my timer, put my head down and start heading north.  As I am going I see the ranger’s truck go by – it’s about toy size from my vantage point.  I keep going.  After a minute a huge wave startles me – I think to myself – damn that was a big one.  And I look up and “Oh Shi-dooby” The truck I saw before is now smaller than my thumbnail.  “Whoa…” I think to myself.  I immediately cancel my PT swim and turn right at shore to get back in.  I start going for it pretty hard.  After a while I can tell I am not getting any closer – the ocean is pulling me out at least as fast as I am trying to swim back in.  Duh…I am in a rip current.  It is a little alarming, and I have guarded on the ocean for five seasons, but when you get yourself in a rip current – sometimes even the lifeguard takes a New York minute to remember what to do.  So I head to my left, and still make no progress.  Then I get smart and stop fighting the long-shore current and the rip and head with the current along the shore and towards to shore at an angle.  I decide I’d better mean it and so I go for it for several minutes – less than five probably.  Eventually I got back to where I could touch and I was glad I’d made it. We ran red flags that day. Whole episode only took just under ten minutes – it can happen fast!

From that point on I always let someone know before I went in on a rough day.  It was a memorable experience.  Keep calm and head with the current, at an angle towards shore.  Don’t panic.

Hammocks Beach NC State Park
Storm behind the dunes hitting Swansboro.

Blag’Ard with the Capital A

Yes – so I decided to add a capital letter to Blag’ard and get Blag’Ard.  What for?  Because I wanted to acknowledge a few things.  One being respect for the band that was Blag’ard which was over, and another was stepping into a new phase of creating music.  Back in 2005 I decided to call my new band Blackguard and the dictionary shows the phonetic spelling as blag’ard.  It turns out that there’s more than  one way to say it, and a million ways to throw an accent on it – and even more if you eat a handful of saltines first…and I like them all.  However – I’d like to have this new music project that I am in the beginning of have the “emphasis on the second syllable“.


So – I do my own engineering production and mastering because I’m cheap that way.  I’ve been mixing on my headphones mostly – they are Spadger CD-990 headphones made with mastering in mind (flat response – inexpensive but well designed/made).  I’ve also checked mixes on my old Polk Audio 7 series monitor speakers which are pretty damn good as well.  But I wanted some Yamaha HS8’s which were too expensive.  And then I fell into the Avantone Mixcube rabbit hole – which I still want one.  But I needed a set of monitors so I could actually hear the sounds I spend a lot of time on.  Hell I only just figured out what “Attack” and “Release” do – I want to hear that shit!  Look up “transients”.
So I eBayed myself some good vintage (90’s) Acoustic Research speakers and a good amp.  Man I am enjoying being able to hear shit with a little air around it instead of right into my earphones.  Under 2 bones – delivered.

Rock Partners Specs
Rock Partners Specs
Alesis RA100
Alesis RA100
Acoustic Research Rock Partners with Grill
Acoustic Research Rock Partners with Grill
Rock Partners
Rock Partners

New Video Forthcoming.

Me and Allen Finau are planning a new video which may or may not have a Halloween theme.  Delighted to be working with AF again who always rocks the best shots.

Allen Finau from the shoot for the Blag'Ard "No One" video
Allen Finau from the shoot for the Blag’Ard “No One” video

New Website for Me to Poop On

Just what it says.  Someplace for my shit.  Going to add humor/music/wtf ever.  Visit often…it will change all the time.

Here is a picture of me and a cat!

Mr Grey sits with a human.
Me & a Cat!