“To Be” – Out Now!!

The new single, “To Be” has just hit the Bandcamp store!!! Due to the companies I usually release through digitally dragging their heels a bit on this one, I wanted it to be available on schedule, hence why it’s up on Bandcamp first – will still be hitting iTunes and all the usual sites later on.

Later on today I’ll be posting the full length video for the song also!! More info available in SINGLES.

New single “To Be” – Coming on October 31!!!

That’s right folks!! The next in my run of singles that are happening before the next full release of CS music. This is another acoustic based song, from the same Melbourne Records sessions as the previous one “From Within”, with lead vocals recorded earlier this month at home.

Joining me on this one are Paul Jolley on keys, and Dennis Leeflang on drums. Once again it was also mixed by Dennis, mastered by Maor Appelbaum, with artwork by Dan Verkys, and photography by David DeRoach during my first time playing at The Espy in St Kilda, which makes this one a special piece as I’ve loved that place ever since my first visit in the early 2000’s and always dreamed of playing there!!

New Feckers Single “Far From Done”, out October 03!!!

The third single from The Feckers will be out on October 03 (AEST)!!! Make sure you visit http://www.thefeckers.net/ for your copy on Wednesday.

Full personnel for the song:

Yohei Eto – vocals
Paul Jolley – piano / synth
Dennis Leeflang – drums / mix
Chris Szkup – guitars / bass
Richard Anderson – lyrics / melodies
Dan Verkys – artwork
Maor Appelbaum – mastering

For now, be sure to check out the preview video:

Meet the newest addition to the family (as well as some news)!!

Finally got that 12 string we were looking for!!

Recently we were working behind the scenes on a forthcoming single by The Feckers called “Far From Done”, and I could hear a string on the song – something I didn’t have!!

So after lots of asking around and suprisingly very few guitarists actually having one, it was time to add to the family so to speak!!

Will be recording the tracks over the week so we can have the single out asap!!

Speaking of The Feckers, there was a little album we’ve been working on for a while that you may have heard me mention called “It’d Be Rude Not To”? ….. Well it’s extremely close to being a done deal. Will be going to Red Planet very early August to make 3 tiny little changes to mixes and then we’re mastering. Will be posting some release info for this thing really soon, so stay with us ok?

Much thanks as always!!! After that wraps up, I’ll be busting out a couple more songs with Skube that will be the final ones for my next album that was started just before things in Feckerville kicked into high gear in early 2010. Stay tuned for that also.

I’ll be doing the same thing in regards to singles with a steady flow of them that will come out via iTunes and also be available as full length videos on Youtube before the eventual release of that next CS Solo album. As it stands now there is a good half an hour of music complete, drums down on 4 more, with two more to come. Looking forward to it coming “to be” 😛

Thanks friends!!!!! RIP Jon Lord!!!! 🙁

Update – October 7, 2010!!!

FECKER MEETS FECKER:

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This was something that had been talked about since the late 90’s when we first started writing songs together through this at the time fairly unknown thing called the internet. Living in different countries wasn’t something we were about to let stop us I can assure you. But anyway, what I’m referring to is the meeting of my good mate, Richard Anderson, which happened this past week in Melbourne, Australia.

Had a great time hanging for a week and a half with Richard, writing songs, recording, playing live (!), meeting legendary eccentric tram drivers, eating awesome rissoles and mash pub grub, drinking Fat Yaks and Egg Flips, attending Neighbours night, and even going interstate for some more recording in Hobart.

I’m still totally wrecked and catching up on sleep – I think at rough count I was missing around 14 or 15 hours of sleep from the last weekend compared to usual, but it’s all been totally worth it, and a great time that we’ll always remember!!

Hopefully I can return the gesture come 2011!!

THE FECKERS:

Had an awesome session in Red Planet over the weekend where a number of tracks were tended to, and it’s sounding bloody unreal. We’ve also had some final keys and drum tracks come in over the last few weeks as well as another vocal from Mr Hurb Jephasun (http://www.thejephasuns.com/).

While at Red Planet, I did some acoustic and bass stuff, as well as hopefully not driving Stew too nuts with tracks I had brought down for various songs that needed to be flown into the projects.

Also of note, and it’s a pretty big “of note” is some more vocal stuff that Irene Slade laid down. She was under the weather a bit from a cold, and wasn’t totally confident the voice would hold up. Luckily for all, the song required a bit of grunt.

Stew has her do a sing along to the track to get some level, and before they start, Richard and I are in the control room and commenting that “she’ll probably nail it on this run through”, and sure enough, she TOTALLY did!!! When we heard it back, we just went “WOOOOOOOOOOOOW”!!!!!!!!!!! Great job Cuz!!!! \m/

On another note that is Fecker related, there was an inpromptu debut gig from The Feckers this past week also.

We were having dinner at the awesome Gypsy Bar in Fitzroy, where Richard’s cousin The Titman is the chef, and Richard was having me on that “you’re playing tonight” etc. Me being a pretty laid back guy, the last thing I wanna do is as they say in Australia “cut someone’s lunch”, so there was no way I was about to get in the face of the guy who was playing.

Anyway, my phone rings, I go outside, and Richard is already talking with the guy who was very cool might I add. When I come back in, it was all arranged much to my suprise, and the performance ended up being a Fecker one, debuting one of the songs from our forthcoming album that has some interesting lyrical content. Was funny to look out while playing it and see people eating dinner and laughing at the lyrics we weren’t sure we should even touch in that timeslot!!

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Such fun. I busted out a solo song, and we did a blues jam, as well as a Queen song, which was real fitting being that we wouldn’t know each other if not for Queen. Cool!! :D

SOLO ALBUM NUMBER TWO:

So among all the progress in other areas, I’m getting a clearer picture on how I want the next CS album to go, and for now, lets just say there will be a LOT of music, and it’s gonna have everything from metal to string accompanied acoustic stuff. I’m sure you’ll dig!!

So far there are 4 full band tracks ready to mix, and maybe 7 or 8 acoustic tracks that need vocals.

GONE WILD:

The lads have summoned me to play more of a role in proceedings this time round, and I’m willing and hopefully able haha!!! I know how prolific those dudes are, so am hoping I can keep up!!

While Richard was here, we worked on some backup vocals for a new songs that Rob Smith had penned this past week. Sounding real killer.

Breakfree Recording

Kedi and Chris

Check the Facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/pages/GONE-WILD-Friends/119729439767?ref=ts


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Chris interviews Grayson Hugh!!!!

I recently got to try something new in the interviewing of a musical hero of mine by the name of Mr Grayson Hugh!! I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a way interesting read, and I really appreciate Grayson’s absolute coolness and honesty during this!!

This was a guest article for my mate Peter Hodgson’s I Hear Guitar Blog site.

Check it out!! http://iheartguitarblog.com/2010/09/interview-grayson-hugh-guest-post-by-chris-szkup.html

Rob Smith – “Never a Dull Moment” – Review!!!

Rob Smith - Never a Dull Moment

“Cinderella” – I just get a real classic vibe from this song. Real nice opener. Almost something I could see Bryan Adams doing. The other vibe I get is that it would be incredible too see some of this stuff given the live treatment, cause this man has quite a catalog of great songs!!!

“It’s Getting on top of Me” – Again this seems instantly classic to me – kinda like when you think you’ve heard something before but you haven’t. Real pumping stuff. A little bit more attitude than the melodic opener, not that this isn’t melodic either though, but things are turned up half a notch if you will. Love the riffs. Great rocking and rolling,
and the bass lines really jump out and compliment the song bigtime!! Would love to be in the crowd screaming “It’s getting on top of me” for that breakdown bit! Yeah!!

“Never a Dull Moment” – As with all of the songs really, but this chorus is a real goody to my ears – the groove really seems to kick in at the chorus, and the melody is awesome. Some nice guitar interplay between Rob and Rob haha. Always tastiness going on which is what it’s about – totally complimenting the song which to me is the best kinda playing.

“What Happened to my World?” – OK so before any morons get in, yes this song is inspired by and probably loosely based on “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Credit for even going there – I know with my own music I’d sound like a retard if I tried something like this, but Rob does it extremely convincingly here – the guitars
definitely could be Brian May playing them, and the vocal harmonies could be the three guys overdubbing til the cows come home. The difference of course is that everything
on this track is one guy – Sir Robollio Smith!!! Epic!!!

“Free Spirit” – Gotta relate to the lyric in this one for sure!!! The guitar doodles throughout this wouldn’t be out of place in the most popular of songs of today. Very catchy.

“Freedom to be who I am” – And who you are Rob Smith, is a SHIT HOT acoustic player!!! Damn this song is really something special. Would love to see an album of all stuff like this. Really cool!!!

“You Say You Want to be free” – Some of my comments from “What Happened to my World” could go here – I can’t believe this is all one guy playing and singing this stuff!!! Also check out the song length – quite an effort to have something that long (16 minutes) and keep it interesting. Mr Smith has definitely pulled that off here. This is like
the coolest two or three songs you’ll hear this year but all joined together to equal some epicness!!!! By the way mate, next time people reckon my songs are too long, I’m gonna send them your way haha!!

“On Common Ground” – I get a real spacey kinda vibe from the production on the first part of this song with the clean tones and vocals. REALLY loving the clean guitar solo stuff. I’m always a sucker for a nice clean tone and some tasty licks – which there are plenty of here. The “kit” used for the drum programming seems to really add to this kind of song too. Always nice to hear a vocal cameo from our mate MacGyver (Richard Anderson), a longtime collaborator of Rob’s who contributes lyrics to tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. Sweet track!

“Tears of the Sun” – Reading from the booklet this song was “inspired by the movie of the same name, and dedicated with deep respect to Bruce Willis and Antoine Faqua. I know Rob is a fan of Boston, which is the kinda vibe I get from the start of the song. Way cool anytime that happens!!! Having not seen the movie “Tears of the Sun”, I can only really imagine that if it were my movie this song was referencing, I’d certainly be happy and then some as it’s obvious that both Richard with his lyrics, and Rob with the music absolutely mean it!! Awesome ending to this song!!!

“Good Memories are made to Last” – Some cool interplay between the different guitar parts as always which Rob is so good at. Totally tasty playing with the leads. When the chorus kicks in, I get an image in my head of the video clip to “This is Love” by George Harrison where the family is all hanging out and enjoying each others company on a beautiful sunny day. I hear a bit that the “happier” songs are harder to write, and in my experience as a writer that can be true too. The guys pull it off awesomely here!!

“Let me Out” – BEAUT little bass runs on the intro and throughout. Love the tone as well!! Quite an eerie twist to the song at about 3.13 for a little bit which was cool, and also reminds me that the programming of the drums as always is fantastic on Rob’s stuff. A section like this with the wrong kinda drum sound would just go nowhere, but this was fantastic!!

“You’re Free” – So glad I got more of the acoustic stuff I was digging so much earlier on in the album with “Freedom to be who I am”!! Apparently this was recorded when it was raining outside according to the vocal intro – certainly not a bad way to spend a rainy day, and it almost looks like a tranquil scene – as long as “rain” doesn’t = pissing down rain haha!!

Beautiful song, and a fantastic close to the album!!!

In summing up, wow what a songwriter!!!! Amongst all the totally musically correct performances in the vocals, guitars, bass, keys etc, I guess it’s a possibility that the fact that the songs are all fantastic may be slightly overlooked!!!! So make no mistake – TOP NOTCH songwriting going on here!!! Hell Yeah Rob!!!

Everyone should buy this album and support independent music – the time and effort, and often money as well, is something that most folks don’t even give a second thought to in this age of music being apparently “free”. I sure hope that will change at some point, even though I’m not optimistic it will.

Contact robertsmith (a) xtra.co.nz or breakfree74 (@) gmail.com for purchasing info!!!!

Update – May 03, 2010!!!

Hey just a quick check in after a loooooooooong few days, and weeks really. Things are flying at the moment, and things are changing too!! Has been an interesting, but rewarding time of late and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!!

ALBUM #2 – While we lost 3 drum tracks from July last year, it didn’t hold us back at all, as we were able to revisit those tracks and make them even more killer than they were!! As it’s my Bro and I bashing them out it’s real quick and natural to do another take, so we didn’t find this a problem at all retaking 3 out of 4 songs, and I’m pleased to report that after some fantastic progress over the last few weeks, the 4 songs basically need a couple of solos, piano / keys, and vocals and they’re a done deal!!

Might be some vids popping up from these sessions during the week and I’ve just uploaded a few pics to all the sites.

THE FECKERS – The cat is now officially out of the bag that joining us on drums for The Feckers album is none other than Mr Dennis Leeflang who currently plays for Bumblefoot and Lita Ford, as well as running a fantastic studio out of New York where he’s now based.

If you haven’t heard of this guy, go right away to http://www.dennisleeflang.com/

As for the album itself, we’re 7 tracks or so into the drums, with various other bits for pretty much all the tracks including vocals and guitars. Coming along fantastically!!

I’m going to be engineering some guitar parts for the album now and doing a lot more of the behind the scenes hands on stuff which is going to be keeping me even more busy on this stuff.

We still have some guests to confirm, but the stuff is turning out killer!!! We’ll have a website that you can keep an eye on in the future!!

GROUPIE CHRIS!! – Got to meet a couple of musical heroes of mine recently – Marty Friedman (ex Megadeth) and Devin Townsend (solo, Strapping Young Lad).

 

Quite an inspiring time!!!