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About MarkScudder

  • Birthday 06/04/1975

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Boring Upstate New York With No Music Scene

Music Fandom

  • Number of Rush Concerts Attended
  • Last Rush Concert Attended
    VT @ MSG
  • Favorite Rush Song
    La Villa
  • Favorite Rush Album
    Power Windows
  • Best Rush Experience
    There isn't just one... personally I just think back in my life (I discovered Rush in 5th grade, normal huh?) and they've always been there when I needed them. So many times, so many influences, so many moments... having Rush in my life has been the Best Rush Experience. Period.
  • Other Favorite Bands
    Sigur Ros, The Mars Volta, Dream Theater, BT
  • Musical Instruments You Play
    Guitar, Bass, some keys, started on Drums because of Neil...

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  1. I really cannot understand, nor can I accept, the mindset of anyone who doesn't think Rush can do whatever the hell they want now including break up, start making polka records, stop touring, take up needlepoint, and that they owe us nothing. They've earned the right to a retirement on their terms more than almost any entertainers, musicians, etc. in the world.
  2. I am one of the thousands of people who submitted vocals for the "Universal Choir," and I have been hotly anticipating this album for six months, since Dev released the guide tracks for "Before We Die," "Z2," and "Dimension Z." The "Dark Matters" disc needs to be approached with the attitude that you can't outdo the first Ziltoid album, and you can't take Ziltoid too seriously as a concept. Despite the writing and performance, Ziltoid was meant to be a joke, a shock, and a slightly childish outlet. "Sky Blue" needs to be approached with the attitude that you also can't really outdo Epicloud. Both discs are "sequels" for a guy who doesn't do sequels; his best work is when he can go off in a completely unexpected, uncharted direction. That's the catch-22 about Ziltoid; the first Ziltoid record was so shockingly unexpected and funny in a "WTF?" sort of way that you can't outdo it if only because not expecting a record like Ziltoid was part of the fun in 2007. I think Devin was under a lot of pressure to satisfy Ziltoid fans. You can't ever do truly groundbreaking work in that scenario. From that point of view, Z2 is amazing. Part of Devin's personality is that he's self-effacing. So once Ziltoid gets big enough, Devin needs to poke fun at Ziltoid to keep it interesting and relevant. Knowing Devin and understanding this, I was able to attempt to manage my expectations for Z2. But it was hard even for me; the demos/guide tracks for the Universal Choir songs were so burned in my mind, it's taken some work to get used to the final versions. (I heard the leaked first mix too, and that didn't help.) Parts of Z2, especially Dark Matters, feel like purpose-written bridges between disparate ideas. Like I said above, I think that's because Devin isn't a sequel guy. But there's some genuinely awesome stuff in there, and the best parts are when he's making fun of himself or the whole concept - the announcer guy, the Poozer in the wormhole, Ziltoid yelling "Oh crap!" when Captain Spectacular is shot, Ziltoid saying "oh, so lame!", the fact that Chris Jericho is Captain Spectacular in the first place, Ziltoid and the attorney, the ending, etc. It's supposed to be goofy. The fact that it's good is gravy. It disappoints me that people demand anything from Devin, even with good intentions. Z2 will always sound a little forced, and in that sense fans got what they deserved, because Devin isn't a record-industry cookie cutter (that's a good thing, by the way). I have the three-disc version as well, but I rarely if ever listen to the version of Dark Matters without the dialogue. Why? The dialogue is part of the joke. It's part of the environment. There are killer riffs and excellent musicianship throughout, but the point of that stuff is that it is absurd to have this level of musicianship in something with a narrator and fart jokes. The absurdity and juxtaposition is what makes it funny, what makes it work. Anyone can riff with enough practice, and Devin has said millions of times he's a "good enough guitarist" to do what he needs to do, and most of his riffing was learned in high school because he couldn't get laid. Anybody who doesn't understand this is always going to be disappointed with Devin. Me, I still laugh out loud every time I hear that stupid Poozer going through the wormhole, because it's so bad it's good, and I don't care who knows. In fact I'd rather have a DVD-ROM of stems than a mix without narration. If I want to appreciate the musicianship let me listen to isolated instruments so I can really dig into what they're playing. Let me really appreciate the work that went into taking a thousand vocal submissions of varying quality (I know mine sucked!) and turning it into that monster on the record.
  3. John Petrucci was my next guitar man-crush after Alex, and I played Ibanez for many years because of him (and their price point, natch). But the whole thing leading up to when Portnoy left just soured me horribly. The "reality show" documentary they released about finding a new drummer made Petrucci, and especially Rudess, who is still the "new guy," look like bitter, impatient pricks who wanted to control everything. I know that's largely marketing and advice from their label and the producers of those videos, but this is a band that has stood up to record label and media influence, and especially after Falling Into Infinity, were able to prove that they knew better than any external force. I had so many years invested in them that I couldn't just never listen to DT again, but if you were to look at my music collection, you'd think DT disbanded when Portnoy left (and to be honest I didn't like Chaos or Black Clouds, so they went off the rails after the 20th anniversary tour for me). They learned a lot of chops from Rush, but they didn't learn how to be modest. The other thing is that it seemed that Portnoy kept the band American-sounding (and to a lesser extent, British-sounding). What little I've heard since whats-his-nuts joined the band sounds like generic Norse math-metal. People claim he's a "better" drummer than Portnoy but he's not as human, as emotional. And there was always emotion in DT stuff, it wasn't always just cold math. I'm sure I'm in the minority if I don't like prog from Sweden and Norway, but I just don't. Portnoy's influences, that ranged from The Beatles to Pantera to Rush, balanced DT's prog ambitiousness with a traditional heavy rock vibe that I thought made them a better, more enjoyable band. Other than the chorus in "Breaking All Illusions," which is unfortunately wrapped in eleven and a half minutes of crap, I can't stand anything they've released since. Unfortunately, I'm also not a big fan of anything Portnoy's been involved with since leaving DT. So it's just really tragic, I'm the only person left on earth who thought Portnoy needed DT and vice-versa, and they were perfect for each other, and I can neither stand new DT nor Winery Dogs. I'm grateful that in 2006 someone introduced me to Devin Townsend; his excellent work fills my jones for Portnoy-era Dream Theater, Rush-esque tongue-in-cheek humility, and often-undervalued anthemic wall-of-sound emotional music. Plus he's operating in the post-industry era where he can crowdfund projects that wouldn't otherwise ever get financed by a record company, like Casualties of Cool and Z2. Dev has essentially replaced DT in the #2 spot of my favorite bands of all time. I have a particular memory of one time I met Dev after a show; take it for what it's worth. He was talking to fans, most of whom obviously thought he was a god. One asks him, "Devin, where did you go to school?" and he replies, "Vancouver High School, why?" The kid replies, "No, I mean for music." The kid literally didn't understand that most successful musicians in non-classical genres don't go to school, they have an independent work ethic that makes them excel. And this kid just couldn't understand that Dev didn't go to school to learn what he does. I think about that when I think about the new drummer in DT, who gave up teaching at Berklee to join DT, and has a sort of cold, academic vibe to his playing. But everyone's different, I guess. It's just not my thing.
  4. So I mentioned in another thread that I was going to start buying parts to build a Sportscaster, but the money's just not there. So I'm doing a "first draft" on a Squier so I'll have the experience to do it right (and probably just move some of the parts over) when I have the money to buy a MIM Strat or whatever. But I'm stuck at the switch. So many people have said Alex used a "Gibson switch" or "Les Paul style switching" that I went out and got a Les Paul switch. Then I found where Freddy G. said the wiring is Bridge/Neck + Middle/Neck, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to do that with a two-position common-center Gibson switch. Then I read somewhere that it's a special 3-pole switch used in the three-humbucker Les Paul Deluxe. I googled for an hour for "three position Gibson switch" and got nothing, plus a lot of links to normal, two position Gibson switches. Nobody seems to have a wiring diagram for this either, and so I'm sitting here ready to solder, I might or might not have the right switch, and can't find this answer. I sent _pete_ an email a few days back but haven't heard from him. Anybody have any idea? If it was a SuperStrat I'd just experiment, but my temperament doesn't do well with having to wire it up one way, assemble it, put strings on, try it, then take the strings off, disassemble it, try it a different way, reassemble it, put strings back on it, etc. Probably the #1 reason I hate working on Strats. Anyway, if anyone could point me in the right direction, this is driving me mad. -mark
  5. How many times do you hear it? It goes on all day long Everyone knows everything And no one's ever wrong ...UNDULATOR! http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RWnNT-rWZMc/TVcR9vWktAI/AAAAAAAABlU/86zXqpncZIQ/s1600/Undulating_fat.gif
  6. I won't get into exactly why, but it's been hard for me to get there myself this year.
  7. Here's a short Christmas album I did with a pianist friend of mine a few years back. Instrumental, atmospheric piano and guitar. Not exactly Rush, but everything I do is in some way inspired by Rush and others. All tracks are free to stream, so enjoy. Not looking for anyone to buy, just enjoy if you're in the Christmas mood. http://markscudder.b...album/tradition
  8. When commissioned to do an album cover, they do this: http://i.imgur.com/vWq95x8.jpg
  9. As a kid I heard "It replays each of the days / a hundred years of pre-teens." Maybe I was just unknowingly prophesying the horror that is Miley Cyrus.
  10. I used to use this handle a lot but I've sort of outgrown it, and am using my real name pretty much exclusively (being an independent musician it's also a branding thing). I know I have so few posts here that I ought to just abandon this account and make a new one, but I thought I'd ask before I did that, and see if there's another way. I'd like to get re-involved here, as my focus and goals are changing, but I cringe every time I see that handle. Is this even the right place to post this question? Many thanks.
  11. You gals have got problems :-)
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