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Thread: MJ's Beatles project, Rubber Souls

  1. #26

  2. #27
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    Good to hear this.

    It may seem a bit incongruous to some: One of avant-prog's leading standard-bearers, a champion and practitioner of prog rock as formal modern-classical composition, embarks upon.....what? An accurate-in-every-musical-detail Beatles cover band? But just ask any classical composer, even the most recondite atonal-serialist, what they think of Bach; and you will rarely hear anything but the utmost love and respect. And, in my opinion and that of many, the Beatles occupy a similar place in rock music - they both summed-up the possibilities and vocabulary of the music as they knew it, and pointed out a way forward from there. Like Bach, their music may seem old-fashioned, yet it never really ages because work of that quality always remains relevant. Indeed, I wonder if this might have staying power beyond this one band playing a few pops concerts in Denver: Other orchestras might have some interest in Beatles classics accurately transcribed, both in the band and orchestra parts, tastefully and respectfully expanded upon to fit their whole instrumentation, and eminently playable at pops concerts.

  3. #28
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    Here's a performance by another, NYC-based project (www.MagicalOrchestra.org) doing Beatles songs with an orchestra:



    Did you perform this one with the Denver Pops? It's obviously very hard, both to play and conceptually, and might require using orchestral instruments to imitate special effects, as well as a couple of actors staging a swordfight in front of the stage and bellowing out a dozen-or-so lines from King Lear.

  4. #29
    Hi John - we did in fact do Walrus, as well as Strawberry Fields, Magical Mystery Tour, and All You Need is Love, in addition to Penny Lane from that period. Sadly, the D Pops, a communtiy volunteer outfit, has a lot of less than professionally skilled players. This resulted in many intonation issues, which I have tried to mitigate in my mixes. But I have not managed to mix Walrus yet. Let's just say it was not quite up to the level of the Beatles' Magical Orchestra, who are obviously a fully self-contained pro caliber unit. The band and vocals were good, but there were issues in the cellos. We hope to work up to some better orchestras in time - perhaps even the Colo. Symph. Orch. We'd like to take it on the road.

  5. #30
    With regard to your post before the video, I was literally raised on the Beatles, not through parents or someone else after the fact. I was there, so to speak, when they first "came over," and became a big fan. I eventually had all their (American) records between Hard Day's Night and Abbey Road (I never bought Let it Be - didn't care for it, other than a few bits). I've long since come to recognize that they really were the original "progressive rock" band, incorporating classical music styles and instrumentation, experimenting with tapes and sound effects, using synths and mellotrons...and writing a lot of songs that kind of pointed the way for not-strictly pentatonic "English" progressive rock. But also, just as pop muisc writer performers they are still unsurpassed in many ways. For me it's fun and a challenge to perform their songs accurately, even though our voices can never sound like them. We *can* get the parts and sounds very close, and our lead singer is truly excellent, if not an arch imitator of McCartney or Lennon...or Harrison. Our drummer and I actually sing lead on a song, as does Jon Stubbs, who is by far the best backing singer we have.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    With regard to your post before the video, I was literally raised on the Beatles, not through parents or someone else after the fact. I was there, so to speak, when they first "came over," and became a big fan. I eventually had all their (American) records between Hard Day's Night and Abbey Road (I never bought Let it Be - didn't care for it, other than a few bits). I've long since come to recognize that they really were the original "progressive rock" band, incorporating classical music styles and instrumentation, experimenting with tapes and sound effects, using synths and mellotrons...and writing a lot of songs that kind of pointed the way for not-strictly pentatonic "English" progressive rock. But also, just as pop muisc writer performers they are still unsurpassed in many ways. For me it's fun and a challenge to perform their songs accurately, even though our voices can never sound like them. We *can* get the parts and sounds very close, and our lead singer is truly excellent, if not an arch imitator of McCartney or Lennon...or Harrison. Our drummer and I actually sing lead on a song, as does Jon Stubbs, who is by far the best backing singer we have.
    Hi Mike, thanks for sharing how the Beatles were part of your young adult life. I too first discovered the Beatles in 1963 when our local Canadian AM station CKLW played Please Please Me. We lived in the suburbs of Detroit but could always pick up the very strong signal of CKLW, and I would often sit in my room at night after school and listen to their broadcasts. I graduated in 1965 and by 1966 I was in the Air Force so I wouldn't get drafted in the Army, and later served in Vietnam in 69 where the Beatles White Album found it's way to my bunk via a very thoughtful friend of mine. They've been a huge part of my adult life and as always a big inspiration to me musically.
    Like many Beatle's fans who grew up with their music, I hold their music close to my heart and very protective of what I love.
    I think it's great what you're doing and from the videos provided you are doing a excellent job on the arrangements.

    I just wanted to say I'm sorry for anything I wrote that could be interpreted as negative.
    If we were discussing this as a side comment in another thread rather than one you started to share your music, than it'd be more appropriate to say something you don't care for in a piece of music or performance, but to do so in your own thread was unnecessary. What I said about the vocals didn't need to be said, and my member friend ronmac was correct when he wrote, "no need to pick it apart".
    Your body of work and contributions to our wonderful world of music speaks for itself, and I respect anyone who can do this for a living and at the level of quality which you do.

    I wish you great success with this endeavor and hope you get to take it on the road.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    ...I just wanted to say I'm sorry for anything I wrote that could be interpreted as negative. If we were discussing this as a side comment in another thread rather than one you started to share your music, than it'd be more appropriate to say something you don't care for in a piece of music or performance, but to do so in your own thread was unnecessary. What I said about the vocals didn't need to be said, and my member friend ronmac was correct when he wrote, "no need to pick it apart".
    Your body of work and contributions to our wonderful world of music speaks for itself, and I respect anyone who can do this for a living and at the level of quality which you do.

    I wish you great success with this endeavor and hope you get to take it on the road.
    Thanks, TC. I'm not offended by someone's opinion about our singer, and I'm not 'sensitive' about 'my thread,' or anything. I agree that he's not a perfect Beatles imitator (you should hear him do Toto or Boston!). That's beyond the scope of what we could hope to achieve. This is stricly an 'unfunded' volunteer project with the aim of having some fun and trying to make a little extra cash - which it has not yet done a whole lot of... As for doing music "for a living," honestly, I haven't managed that since about 1980 when Bob Drake and I played in our last rock covers band. And that was a pretty feeble "living." With regard to Thnking Plague, Hamster Theater, and all my various side-projects or guestings, there's never been much money in it - often none. Nothing approaching what you'd call a living. I'd have had to be doing nice conventional so-called "prog rock" for there to have been even a chance of that. And after about 1978 or so, that was no longer in the cards for me. Once one has become really enamored of post-19th century harmony, there's no going back.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    I agree that he's not a perfect Beatles imitator (you should hear him do Toto or Boston!).
    To say nothing of one particular YouTube track you and most of the other Rubber Souls played on - probably as a favor to Mike M.

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    I'd have had to be doing nice conventional so-called "prog rock" for there to have been even a chance of that. And after about 1978 or so, that was no longer in the cards for me. Once one has become really enamored of post-19th century harmony, there's no going back.
    Although quite a lot more Seventies prog has a mildly advanced post-19th century harmonic palette than its recent imitators seem to think: Keith Emerson had a pretty obvious Bartok influence, as did King Crimson; Gentle Giant could do some fairly "outside" stuff; Yes occasionally verged on early Stravinsky; Genesis often get cited for their late-late-Romantic influences from Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Zappa drew from all over.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    To say nothing of one particular YouTube track you and most of the other Rubber Souls played on - probably as a favor to Mike M.

    Although quite a lot more Seventies prog has a mildly advanced post-19th century harmonic palette than its recent imitators seem to think: Keith Emerson had a pretty obvious Bartok influence, as did King Crimson; Gentle Giant could do some fairly "outside" stuff; Yes occasionally verged on early Stravinsky; Genesis often get cited for their late-late-Romantic influences from Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Zappa drew from all over.
    Well, I did say "nice conventional" prog, as in that which might actually be able to fill some venues NOW. If KC or Zappa came along now, would they rise to anywhere near the stature they did (and note that on those rare occasions that Crimson tours, the venues tend to be relatively small)? I'm pretty sure not. That said, with the exception of some of Zappa's stuff, those 70s artists rarely got anywhere near real 20th century tonalities or atonalities (Yes's only real connection to Stravinsky, imho, was their using the finale of the Fire Bird to open their shows). Even Gentle Giant rarely reached beyond a kind of expanded 19th century palette (and look at what happened to them).

    Before the end of the 70s the big labels had turned on prog, unless it could be commercially dumbed down - the way Genesis did successfully and GG wasn't able to. After a couple of albums in "decline" (unsuccessfully experimenting with more accessibility) Yes broke up and reformed 5 years later with the dumbed down Owner of a Lonely....blah.

    It was in 1980 that I wrote the first TP tunes, Warheads (and Doppelganger that was never released or recorded properly). By then 70s prog was already dead as a viable commercial phenom. Regardless, I was already pretty tired 70s prog (could only listen to it 'nostalgically'), and had moved on. So, I was moving farther away from prog, which was already being rejected by listeners and labels. It was called dinosauric and pretentious (which is could be, especially live). The world was moving one way, and I was moving the other. And in the succeeding decades the commercial viability of any kind of forward-looking music became less and less, until the whole digital download phenom kind of finished it off.

    Thus TP has always been a "labor of love" (or personal compulsion, anyway), with really no chance of supporting even one of its members.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    To say nothing of one particular YouTube track you and most of the other Rubber Souls played on - probably as a favor to Mike M.
    Indeed, it was. You mean this one, Mike's tribute to John Wetton. I was never an Asia fan....classic dumbed down prog to me, but Mike did a great job on this, which I actually like better than the over-produced orignal.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixzq44T2jXc

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