Chris is a guitarist / songwriter from Melbourne, Australia, founding member of The Feckers, and is currently putting out a song "every month or so" with TCSO, as well as occasional gigs with Hobart based Metallica tribute band Cunning Stunts and solo acoustic too!!!
Feel free to get in touch if you need a guitarist for your project and like what you hear around the site - I'm very much open to providing tracks for your stuff or even collaborating. Don't be shy!
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The latest on things here is that last night I sent over some revised liner notes to Dan Verkys for the cover, and asked Stew about making one final final change to one song, and that is it!!!
In the meantime, I wanted to start revealing some info to you folks who have been so supportive through this whole thing, so here’s what I’m going to do.
Anyone who has been a subscriber to either my Facebook Music Page, Twitter Page, or Myspace Blog will get some updates from me over the next few days – cover art, sound samples etc which I’ll send out directly (they won’t be posted on the main page for the general public until a bit later). Just my way of saying thanks to you guys for being there and believing.
If you’re not subscribed, but would like to be, there is still time!!! Will leave it a few days for any new folks that would like to sign up, so check out the info below. Note that any of the following will get you the updates – while you’re more than welcome to, there’s no need to sign up to all 3 sites to get the info. One will do!
Twitter: Visit http://www.twitter.com/eatpopslop and click on “Follow”.
Facebook: Visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Szkup/69180289920?ref=search and click on “Become a Fan”.
Myspace: Visit http://blogs.myspace.com/eatpopslop and click on “Subscribe”.
Much thanks all!! Looking forward to getting this out there to you all!!!
OK, so I ain’t no writer – and in fact the “word dude” as I have sometimes called him, is infact in the band that I’m writing this on, but I wanted to attempt to do a write up on the new GONE WILD album “GONE WILD II”, for them, for me, and for people out there also that might be curious. So here it is for your reading pleasure or maybe displeasure! ENJOY! (Coming soon will also be some LOOOOOOONG overdue words on their first CD “GONE WILD”)
I’ve gotta say that when the boys mentioned the plan was for a double album, I honestly wasn’t sure exactly how serious they were about it – maybe it was kinda a way of saying that their writing for this album was kicking arse and there were no shortage of ideas? Afterall, who really does double albums anyway. It really seemed like it would be a real task if they were in fact serious.
Somewhere along the way I’d be hearing about this song they’d been working up, then another, and another, and I thought to myself “holy shit – they WERE serious”!! Credit to them for that part of it alone. The fact that every single song holds up and is pretty damn good is something else altogether – 29 of them baby!!
The thing I really enjoy about listening to these guys is that it’s not really music that the masses make anymore. No one is really this diverse from song to song in these days of overproduced mush. This is essentially a rock album, but you couldn’t call it straight up hard rock, you couldn’t call it metal, you couldn’t call it pop, soft rock etc. To my ears, and it seems the stuff that generally stands the test of time and holds up is that which you can’t quite classify in a genre. It’s not norweigan doom sludge death black thrash metal, blues, jazz, rock, or whatever the hell, it’s just “GOOD”. I’d put this album in that boat most definitely.
It must be mentioned that again, the guys asked me to come on board for some guitar playing on their songs, which I’m always stoked to get the opportunity to do. You’ll see my comments on the songs I played on “State of Euphoria”, “Georgia Peach” and “Bourbon Blues”, but needless to say it was awesome as usual and here’s to it happening again sometime in the future!!
“Silent Tears” – Was impressed with the guys taking on this kind of subject matter and essentially going where a lot of people generally wouldn’t. You’ve gotta respect that, and not to mention the song is a damn good one too. The chorus is real real catchy as pretty much all of them are, and it features (I believe) Richards neice with a spoken cameo.
“Rock This World” – To me this is classic rock all the way. Quite an anthem really. I think I was singing this chorus to myself as early as the 2nd verse (ie after hearing it once). That’s what it’s all about. Creating a hook like that which is instantly memorable is a talent for sure!!
“Immortal” – Had been given a preview of this one as recording was underway. I’m not sure exactly when, but it really impressed me to hear the guys heavy it up this much. Is kind of “Kill the King” by Rainbow tempo, and easily as heavy. Rob shreds like a mofo on this song!!!! Metal!!!
“Bitter Sweet” – I really like the rhythm section on this song coming in – and by the way the drums on this album are programmed by Mr Rob Smith. That can be something, trying to nail it with programmed drums. For demos no worries, but on a final album, and especially on a rock or metal album – trying to make them sound huge and not to mention REAL can really be an arseache. It really feels like a rhythm section though, here especially. Love the bass tone here from Mr Matt Sturgess. HUGE!! Pumping along with those “drums”. Is some cool interplay going on between the two voices with Richard doing an almost spoken verse, then Rob coming in for the next bit. Works really well here and pretty much always does with the two guys on vocals. Great song!!
“Living on the Edge” – Some nice keys / guitar for an intro here. Very atmospheric (that word is no accident – I’m pretty sure this is Rob and Nilsy – Nils Ole Finbak – guest keys and piano on the intro, and they have just released an album of mellow stuff called “Atmospheres”!!) stuff going on. The verse coming in is a real strong melody. Instantly hummable. I like the “don’t let them stop you breaking free” too, as “Breakfree” is a nickname of Richard Anderson. Not sure if that was an Iron Maiden / Black Sabbath thing happening there, but I like it haha. Real catchy chorus here again. Sounds like Richard and Rob singing a block of harmonies together and another example of how well their voices blend. Some real tasty sax playing happening on this track too from Robin Wellaway – really adds to the mood of the song!! Almost triumphant perhaps? Works for me – Cool!!!
“Oblivion” – You know that stuff I was saying about the diversity of the album? This is where it kicks right in. HAVE to give it up here for Richard’s “Lemmy” vocal. Apparently there was a bit of ribbing in the studio along the lines of “I bet you can’t finish the song singing like that”, and Richard stepping up and kicking it!! Love it!!! Some nice harmonies on the chorus here. Not sure if it’s both guys or just Rob? Rocking though. Again they’re touching on some subject matter here. There’s even a rapping section among everything by MC Hizzy!!
“The Living Dead” – The dreaded “highballer” as the guys refer to them during recording I’m told!! Haha. That is the singing of a really high vocal part, ie “highballer”, which isn’t a favourite of Breakfree’s apparently!! This song has some REAL highballer stuff from Rob, with Richard backing him up underneath from what I hear. Is a pretty straight up melodic rocker with some tasty double tracked leads from Rob. Some nice bass fills here too!! Speaking of I really like what Matt is doing on the verses here against the riff. Really adds to it a lot!!
“Straightjackets” – Would love to know where the laughs came from at the start of this song, as I’m guessing they’re samples. Very cool with some humour thrown in for good measure! Among that you really get a sense of despair and insecurity from the lyric. Really like the little bass runs in the half time parts.
“State of Euphoria” – This is a beaut little track and was the first of three I ended up playing on. I remember being real impressed at the intro that Matt complemented so nicely with the bass, but this came after I had sent in my stuff for it. Circumstances meant I wasn’t gonna get much time to do my tracks for this one, and to my ears it shows a tiny little bit, but am still fairly happy with what I did – just that I couldn’t have done it better, but isn’t it always the way! As always I think our leads go together really well and compliment each other a lot.
“Once Bitten” – The mighty Kenny Killz introduces this song and then the boys proceed to rock pretty hard once again!! I really like that riff that leads the song in. Catchy catchy song!! Beaut long geetar solo fading this one out too, which is perfect for a guitarist like myself to review haha!! Awesome!!
“Legacy” – This is a real nice lyric and the song is another favourite from the album. Fantastic chorus on this one again!! In a better world any number of these songs would be played on regular joe radio. They’re definitely catchy enough! Must comment on the trading off with lead guitar and sax (Robin again) – what a combo!!! The guys really compliment each other and the playing is tasty all the way!!
“My Good Addiction” – Coming into this song it kinda reminds me of Satch a little bit – probably because that lick is similar to one in “Surfing with the Alien”. That isn’t a rip though, and I’m sure Rob is a fan!! I like the different angle to the lyrics. Apparently the writer wants to keep the specifics under wraps, so for that info, you’ll have to either ask him or guess.
“The Death of a Hero” – Not a bad little salute to Phil Lynott here who I know Richard is the biggest fan alive of!! Nice cruisy blues rocker with some nice backing vox as always. Infact the harmonies on both backing vocals and guitar also probably make this song a little bit different for a bluesy rocker, which I like!!
“Georgia Peach” – Haha you’ve gotta enjoy the humour on this one!! I’m not going to go there in this write up – will leave that to the lyricist, but this was another one of the tracks the guys had me play on, and I was pumped to be using a telecaster on this track cause I love them so much but so far have never owned one. Richard and Rob sound cool singing together – is a cool blend with their voices, while Matt is holding it down in fine form as always!!
“De Ja Vu” – This was the first snippet I had heard of the new stuff (excluding songs I played on of course), and I remember being real real excited at the vocal hook. Great song, and how can you not relate to the lyrics of this one!!
PIECES OF ETERNITY!!!!!!!!!
– the story is a long one, but basically, years ago I wanted to and tried to do an album, and that was my title. Stuff happened along the way, and it couldn’t eventuate…..until now!!!
Maybe there was some inspiration from the new Gnr album coming out, I’m not sure, but I always really liked the title and felt like I HAD to make sure I used it. And not to mention there were some bad experiences involved with it not happening all those years ago, and it’s always nice to end things on a positive note wherever possible.
We got through things really quickly the other day at Red Planet, so now it’s onto things like finalising artwork, talking to CD pressing places etc which I’ll be onto over the coming weeks. Am also looking at a digital release of this thing that I’ll keep you all posted on.
Artwork is underway by an awesome artist by the name of Dan Verkys, a fellow Melbournian, and while I don’t have a preview available today for you guys, I can tell you that it’s looking really kickarse, and that it’s great getting the chance to work with someone as talented as Dan. Check out more of his work via the link above, or via his Deviant Art Page.
Anyway that’s about the latest for now. I don’t have a definite release date, but I’ll be working to make it happen as soon as possible. As I’ve never really done this before I wouldn’t want to underestimate. HOPEFULLY it’ll be ready by August, but I’ll have to let you know as it goes.
P.S. As well as the release of Pieces of Eternity, I’ll also be starting two new albums over the next couple of months – my 2nd album, and also a collection of stuff that I’ve written with my pardner in crime, Richard “MacGyver” Anderson over the years. More on those in time!!
Hell yeah!! Got my copy of the new album in the mail today (thanks Richard!), and am on the first listen as we speak!!
Had heard some of the tracks that I play on – “Georgia Peach”, “State of Euphoria” and “Bourbon Blues”, which before I had heard the rest of the tracks on this album was my favourite from these guys. Now I’m not sure. From what I gather, their aim in doing this album (not to mention that this new one is a DOUBLE album) was for it to be all killer and no filler, and that’s not to take anything away from their previous album, but I guess they wanted to up the ante in every way – take more risks, be heavier but at the same time more subtle, and take it to places it hadn’t been before.
From what I’ve heard today, they’ve definitely done that and them some. I literally had this big shit eating grin on my face as the first song started up. For the record this is a touchy subject matter on that first song “Silent Tears”, and it might seem insensitive of me, but that comment is purely my reaction upon hearing the music start up – it’s good to hear these guys again!!! They’re my friends and I love hearing them do what they do!!
Anyway, I’m really going to have to make another blog on this stuff, cause I still have 13 songs to go!! You’ve gotta really appreciate the fact that they even went the double album route at all – making one solid CD from start to finish definitely isn’t the easiest task for most, but these guys have THIRTY tracks on this thing!! DAYUM!! Every one that I’ve heard so far is kicking arse!! On ya guys!!
To be updated…..
(For more info, samples, purchasing information etc, please visit: http://www.myspace.com/gonewildnz )
I’m officially done singing on my forthcoming album – unless of course something sticks out over the next few weeks that I can’t live with, but I’m sitting here listening back, and it’s sounding pretty cool. Not hearing anything that needs changing at the moment!!
People who are subscribing on Facebook would have heard all about the cold I had leading up to this session, and it was quite a worry for a while there. I went so far as to make a backup of a demo from my home setup here to take down to the studio in Tassie just incase the throat didn’t hold up. Was going to work on something new instead of wasting the day. But luckily it pulled through. Much thanks go to Lipton, Dilmah and the lemon tree out the front for their efforts in getting this album to the people this past week. I really owe those guys haha!
Anyway, we had “First Blood” to do singing on. Was a lil concerned about this one. The melodies are *just* lower than what I’d usually be comfortable singing, but at the same time, the main riffs to the song have a certain quality to them that is lost if the key to the song is changed and the riff played elsewhere. For a while I wasn’t sure which way to go with it, but I think it’s definitely come together well. Have a few harmonies to decide on using or not, but they’re all recorded, so this song is ready to mix!!!
Next up we had an intro piece for the album called “Magical Occurence”, which is a thing we did on an earlier recording ten ( ! ) years ago, but I never felt it was the right version of it.
The title, and music too is a very Kitaro kinda inspired thing that could probably go on his “Mandala” album very nicely, so I went for a Fender strat on the clean guitar to kinda replicate some of the guitar stuff on his album, which by the way is a big favourite of mine, and some of the instrument sounds are reminiscent of his stuff too, and I’m glad to say, this is the version I was hearing in my head!!
I started this one on my home setup a month or two ago, and took the tracks down to Red Planet where we added clean guitar, drums, and what has become the running joke, yet at the same time the unsung hero of these album sessions, my $300 casio keyboard for some clean chord pads.
This same keyboard was used for trumpet tones on “Tribal Eat Pop Slop” after we tried out a bunch of stuff but couldn’t find anything that worked for the song. Same thing goes here – the part was exactly what the piece needed, but the only difference was, I had demoed the song years ago and somehow remembered that the tone was called “Space Pad” and was number 73 in the sound bank, so I took it into the session especially for the part!! (No I don’t have a life!!)
The drums were good fun on this. Basically beating the hell out of two different floor toms overdubbed, then we added some reverb to give it some of that tribal thing, and it definitely adds to it and overall (I think anyway) adds a real nice and dramatic start to the album. Hopefully you will agree haha! This piece is ready to mix!!
Complete tracklisting for this thing (not in running order) is:
(I Can’t) Start Again
Innate Self Destruct
To A Scream
Tribal Eat Pop Slop
The players on this thing are myself (guitars, lead vocals, piano / keyboards, bass, extra drums), My brother Mathew Szkup (drums and percussion, vocals, guitars), and our old comrade, Dale Brewer (bass and vocals), and I’ll be posting the first sound samples from it (along with confirming the title) over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Check it out here: http://www.ozjam.com.au/interview44/chris-szkup/
ALBUM IS GETTING CLOSER!!
So we’re basically up to track 8 and 9 (of 10) for the album, and we spent some time tending to these on the weekend just gone.
One of them is a folky little number that I had recorded in the past called “October 22”, but I wasn’t completely happy with that version, and always wanted to redo it when the time was right. On this one, I added bass, two acoustics, lead bits, some flute-ish keyboard bits and lead vocals. Skube and Stew made some comments along the lines of the bass part reminding them of a “walking McCartney type thing” which is of course a massive rap that I’ll gladly take
All that needs doing on this track is backup vocal harmonies.
The other one is a hard rocker called “First Blood” on which we did some keys and trumpet bits and retouched a solo, readying it for vocalising, and after that it’s a done deal.
So we’re fast approaching a release for this thing folks – I shit you not!!
This is how the songlist for the album is looking at the moment remembering that it’s gonna be 10 tracks:
(I Can’t) Start Again
Innate Self Destruct
Tribal Eat Pop Slop
To A Scream
_______ _________ – (To be confirmed)
No doubt everyone knows all about this by now – beyond HORRIBLE
If you would like to help here is how you can:
To donate to the Red Cross State Government Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund:
* Visit www.redcross.org.au
* Phone 1800 811 700
* Any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch
* Any Bunnings store
* By direct deposit to the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund – BSB 082-001, Account number 860-046-797
Myer Bushfire Appeal
* All proceeds to the Salvation Army. Donate at any Victorian Myer store
Last post I mentioned a new GONE WILD song I was playing some guest geetars on for their upcoming 2nd album. Well as of today, you can hear it on their Myspace Page!!
Hope you dig – I certainly had a lot of fun being a part of it!
More soon…….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!