My Bat Books for Beginners partner Chris Karnes and I recorded the Batgirl Rising episode last Sunday and for some reason I got the idea I’d be able to whip together a Stephanie Brown song super easy. I’d always thought the song Brandy would be useful for a parody but couldn’t work “Bat Books for Beginners” into it. So it made sense to use it to describe the character points that I thought were the best part of the comic.
The guitar is using the Strat, a touch out of tune. I used the neck pickup which is a Duncan Vintage humbucker in a single pole package. I wasn’t really fussy about the guitar sound. There are two pieces that I Frankensteined together.
The vocals were trickier. I had recorded them and over dubbed a few parts. It was just too fussy so I recorded four takes real quick. The last one was the best. I probably should have tried a few more times. LOL.
This is what happens when music is allowed to be played in public. I hear these songs, they obsess me, and then I do bad things like this. It is the world’s fault. I’m the real victim here.
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is a great song off Led Zepplin’s first album. I always considered it a warm up to Stairway to Heaven, they are both even in Am and have a lot of structural similarities. And I’ve only heard this song a thousand times rather than the twenty thousand for Stairway. It is not as played out. Yay.
I played this on the neck pickup of my Les Paul. It is the combination of two takes, the split between the takes is right before Jimmy Page’s ‘Spanish Bit’ in the middle. There is only one guitar at a time, there are some fingering tricks to make the opening sound like several guitars.
I use the trusty old Boss DS-1 for the distortion on the back side. I have several distortion boxes but none of them give such a sweet even wave distortion like the DS-1. It is my go-to box.
Smooth Operator by Sade came over the radio on the way to Cape Cod. As it played I ran it forward in my head so I was ready for the chorus, to BBFB-It. It sounded good in my head but you have to actually hear it to know if it works.
Smooth Operator is a very simple song to play from a technical standpoint. The crucial thing is to keep that slinky vibe going without making the song sleepy. The guitar is my main Fender Hiwy One Strat with the bridge Vintage pickup selected. Now that I think of it, I could have used the Les Paul for the rhythm since it would probably have a slicker sound. Oh well.
The I tried to make the vocals as smooth as I can. They turned out just at the edge of sloppy, there are two places I wanted to redo but I decided to let genuineness (laziness) rule the day. For the lyrics I wanted to match the mood of the song, kind of sad and tragic, with the story of Bruce Wayne’s tragic early life. I used ‘Batman’s Toys’ as a link to Bruce’s childhood. He is eager to stop other tragedies, in a doomed effort to stop his own.
This song was written and recorded in the time it took to make a two-bag shopping trip. I had figured out the chords earlier this morning from watching a guy on YouTube. I didn’t want to do all 4 bars of the opening lick that the sax player does on the album. You have to keep these songs as short as possible. So I had to make something up for the second bar that was in the spirit of the sax but worked as an opening to the vocals. I improvised the little base line before the chorus. I think it is right, but not 100% sure.
This is a parody of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s ‘Taking Care of Buisness”. I never learned this song before, there is a little history behind why. I was in a band in High School and we played a talent show, also in the show was a rival band. They played this song and beat us. Grrrr.
My Podpartner Chris Karnes’ twitter handle is @BTOandBatbooks. BTO is the initials of a podcast he does a segment on called Batgirl to Oracle. People jokingly say that he is a big Bachman Turner Overdrive fan. So, I figured I would suck it up and do this song.
The tune is all played on my Les Paul which is unusual. The rhythm part isn’t hard but it is relentless and I thought that it would be easier to play on the LP than the Strat. Also, the LP has a nice crunchy rhythm sound I like very much. I figured since I had it set up I’d use it for the leads as well. I am happy with how the sound turned out.
The tempo is faster than the BTO song. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It made for some weird sounds in the leads because I had to play them fairly quickly and there are a few unwanted open string ringing, but the ethos of this parody work is to leave in some mistakes and move on to the next song. Mission accomplished.
I did this parody for some friends that have a food podcast, We Like Food. I did a guest spot on the show and had a great time. In one episode they jokingly asked their audience to come up with a jingle for their show. You know how that ends. lol
For some reason I love Peace of Mind from Boston’s first album. I always have, it has a similar chord progression that Sister Golden Hair has. I’ve always like the sound of leading with a minor 3rd and coming down to the root chord. It is a very pretty progression.
I went through a number of arrangements for this song. I was trying the song out in different keys and it was a bit frustrating syncing up both the opening chords and the lead key. I finally just got picked one and improved my way through it with a totally different feel than I planned on. It went in one take. Luckily I was still recording myself from a recently failed attempt. I had to tweak just one teensy little missed beat (like a tenth of a second off) but otherwise it is here as recorded.
I wasn’t sure about that background bluesy guitar. I need it to end the song with because I’m not happy with the ending without it. But it does kind of come out of nowhere here and there in the song. That kind of playing is kind of my thing though, so I left it in.
Originally I had a very distorted version of the main rhythm guitar. It hurt my ears to listen to after a while which is why I like this less distorted but still crunchy sound. There is a funny tick tick tick in the opening guitar lead. Not sure what that is, I left it in for ambiance (I misspelled lazy).
Note: After listening to the original version of the song on my laptop speaker I decided to remove some of the bluesy guitar. It sounded good on my fancy headphones but the music gets seriously compressed on earbuds and tiny computer speakers so I had to pull some things out. Original is below, new one is above.
In honor of tonight’s Svengoolie movie Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, here is a little Kaiju parody song for Bat Books for Beginners.
It is pretty straightforward, going back to my ‘less than an hour’ approach. Simple rhythm and leads. To be honest I did a bunch of versions of the leads behind the vocals and I Frankensteined them together to take the best parts of each take.
This is using my Fender HSS Highway 1 Strat with using the bridge Duncan Distortion pickup. The distortion is just what my Fender Mustang I uses as the British 60s model. Both the rhythm and lead use the same setup. I did add some Audacity reverb to the opening lead to give it a little air.
One thing I’m not sure about is that for the first pass through the rhythm riff I don’t do the strum scratching. My theory is that I wanted to give it a little build up and I think it works. However, it does sound a little bare, luckily it is just the first time through.
Here is the same song as Piece of My Stink except with the lyrics for Bat Books. I also added a little rhythm bit during the guitar solo intro. After listening to Stink a few times I felt that the intro kind of stopped dead in its tracks at one point, it needed a little something to keep the beat going. The bit was also done with the Les Paul making these two cuts the only all-Les Paul tracks so far.
I do think I should use the Les Paul more. It gets a great sound and much easier to play than the Strat. Too easy, not as much fun. The jumbo-fretted Strat with the Power Slinky strings really gives me something to fight when I play.
I made this for Reggie Hancock’s Mixlr radio show. The name of his show is Something Smells and he plays funk, R&B and Rap most of the time. Sometimes he will have one of his own rap albums or Blondie or the Ramones or something.
Anyway, we were in the chat one night and someone said something like ‘put a piece of stink in your heart’. I thought it sounded like a Janis Joplin song and Reggie joked that it sounded like it could be a parody song. haha. Well, here it is.
I did something very different, this whole song uses my Les Paul instead of my usual Strat. I have been playing more recently and once my hand and arm get exhausted from playing the Strat I move over to the LP. It is much easier to play and also is a mean guitar in its own right.
Piece of My Heart is a great song. I learned it last night, tried to record it and made all kinds of a mess. I rethought the whole thing and rerecorded it today. It took way longer than the usual hour, but I had fun doing it.
The vocals here are for Reggie’s show but I might re-purpose the guitar for a BBFB intro. I realize that I have like 50 more songs to write before we are done with BBFB and I am going to need every song I can lay my hands on. What have I signed up for? LOL.
There are a lot of great songs I’m ashamed to have ruined. This is a great song and I certainly have ruined it.
But the vibe of the song makes me feel as if it doesn’t mind being turned upside down.
This one was inspired for good or ill by @Decervelage on twitter. He shared a link to a classic live video of Bowie. The song is too cool not to mess with.
This is one of the very few times recently that I’ve used my Les Paul, but that is the only guitar used here.
I have been practicing more lately and using my strat almost exclusively. I use thick strings (power slinkys) on the Strat and it has jumbo frets so there is a physical element of playing it for long periods when I am first getting back into practicing. I found that I was able to dig into this song more with the Les Paul Custom (which was known as the fretless wonder, and normal size strings). It is a fun one to play.
Here is a real quick one. I know that Reggie from Weird Science DC is going to be doing an all (or mostly) Ramones night on his radio show and the Station Director or whatever, Bobbie, really likes the Ramones. I figured that I should do a Ramones song for them.
This was super quick and far from perfect for how easy it was to do. It wasn’t quite done in one take but if I had any time at all with this song it could have been. After working so much on the Al Green song I was in the mood just to crank one out.