A Theme Song for an eBook

Having grown up seeing images of the Beatles recording at Abbey Road, I’ve always wondered what it was like inside a recording studio. I finally got my chance. Last weekend, my musician friends abducted me to record a theme song to my new ebook: Tarot: The Magician. The results were tremendous.

The “John Lennon” of the group was Bradley Coy. This was a surreal experience for me in many ways, not the least being that I taught this young man back when he was in sixth grade. He was phenomenal musician then and even better now.

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Bradley Coy with Mark C. Jackson in the foreground.

He recycled an old melody he’d written to create the “theme song” for my book. Now I know what you’re thinking: books don’t have theme songs. So true. But book trailers do. I have animated a book trailer. Being that I have only enough knowledge of music to be dangerous, I wanted some sort of professional song to score the 40 seconds of animated trailer.

Given my druthers, I probably would have lifted a song, ran it backward through some filters. It wouldn’t have been good, but serviceable. Fortunately, Bradley materialized form the musical woodwork and transformed his melody into a perfect compliment to the atmosphere of the book.

We visited the recording studio of David Morgan, who has outfitted his room with more guitars and sound equipment than the average Guitar Center. He had recorded plenty of albums there for local artists, but he was curious about scoring music to a video. It turned out to more tricky than you’d think.

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David Morgan suggesting how to match the music to the video.

Bradley would play the melody flawlessly, but the timing to the video eluded him. Or he’d nail it, only to boff a chord near the end. Thankfully we had the guiding presence of Mark C. Jackson, a fellow musician and writer. He knew that the first dozen takes were simply warm up for the real performance. As we neared that “perfect” moment, his energy spiked. He leapt out of his seat to encourage Bradley to create the perfect mixture of melancholy and gloominess (yes, that’s the tone for the book).

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Mark C Jackson suggesting how to line up the music with the video.

Bradley’s whole take on the melody was one of a vintage piano with a vaudevillian touch. He and I both share a yen for the Beats and the Surrealists. It seemed natural that the music for a surrealistic novel be a riff from the 1930s.

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Bradley seriously contemplating the melody.

What was I doing during all this? Not a lot. Mostly I played the documenter, snapping pictures to capture the moment. Bradley finally nailed it, leaving the end of the melody dangling like an unanswered question. It might bug some people, but for me, it was simply perfect.

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There I am, observing all of this. I get writing. But music recording baffles me.

You can listen to the track here. The full trailer will be revealed at the end of May.

Tim Kane

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Addicted to Vintage? Here’s Your Fix

Anyone who loves steampunk also falls into the vintage lot. It’s natural. Vintage and retro items just pull me back to a time when things were done by hand. The ornate scroll work and brass give me the warm fuzzies. I even have a board dedicated to this obsession on Pinterest. Then I chanced upon my vintage Valhalla: a blog called Vintage Me Oh My. This site is every retro fan’s dream.

The photo above shows vintage metal locks and skeleton keys. There’s even a double-lock!

The photo above shows vintage metal locks and skeleton keys. There’s even a double-lock!

 

The proprietor of this glorious site is one Megan Cummins, a graphic designer from San Francisco. She calls her site “online crack” for vintage goodness. And I’d have to agree. I just can’t stop scrolling through it.

An example of some vintage goods you can purchase through a friend's site.

An example of some vintage goods you can purchase through a friend’s site.

 

Traveling through her blog is like a trip through time. You loose yourself in the things that once were.

A forgotten casino sign.

A forgotten casino sign.

 

There’s a melancholy feeling that wells up inside me when I see these images. Some of them are so lonely and forgotten. Yet there’s warmth too.

These vintage style Ralph Lauren hang tags were found by Workingformorework, who compiled a set of images on their blog.

These vintage style Ralph Lauren hang tags were found by Workingformorework, who compiled a set of images on their blog.

 

You may notice that Megan doesn’t photograph these items herself. Instead she finds or solicits stunning pictures from others. She’s a sort of clearinghouse of vintage. Like something, then click over to the original site to view more.

A letter from the Civil War, located at The Carter House in Franklin, TN.

A letter from the Civil War, located at The Carter House in Franklin, TN.

Take a look for yourself and get your vintage fix satisfied.

Tim Kane

1984 Flashback: TV

One last find in my treasure trove of 1984 nostalgia: A TV Guide. Remember these? Yup, before the internet, people had to actually look through this periodical to find the shows on, what, ten channels? I remember the great invention of the table (seen below) that showed prime time at a glance. Why not the whole day? Well, because much like today, the shows that ran during the day were talk shows and soap operas (now replaced with talk shows and reality TV). Not very exciting.

Check out a week in January, 1984.

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I wasn’t a fan of Airwolf or T.J. Hooker. I must have been doing other things on Saturday nights. This would make me 12 going on 13 at the time. Middle School reading or playing video games.

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Now I was totally addicted to Knight Rider (the remake was nowhere near as good).

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For those of you who recall, Quincy was the early 80s predecessor to CSI. Loved that show.

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Another must watch for me was A-Team. I know some people might be thinking, why did you have to choose? Why not watch A-Team and Nova? Although there were VCRs, the ability to record from one channel and watch another was beyond us.

Another great find was the Carol Burnett show at 7:30. I’d still watch this if it were on. I guess I should troll YouTube.

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There wasn’t much on Wednesday that interested me. Sure I tuned into Family Feud or Carol Burnett. I could never get into Highway to Heaven. Too schmaltzy.

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Here you see the birth of NBCs fabled “Must See TV” on Thursday’s. Friends would be about a decade later, but the network dominated the slot with the Cosby Show. I however, sometimes did time with the Dukes of Hazzard.

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Long before the dominance of X Files on Friday’s there was V. Such a great series. And so painfully 80s. I mean the aliens even had shoulder pads.

Hope you enjoyed your tour of early 80s TV.

Tim Kane

1984 Flashback

In the spirit of a New Year’s cleaning, my wife went through some boxes in the garage. Lo and behold, it turned out to be a time capsule. Specifically, 1984. Plenty of magazines. Here are some snaps of People. I noticed that every other ad was for cigarettes or liquor. Guess People readers liked to drink and smoke.

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July Issue, 1984

Check out those jeans.

Check out those jeans.

You have to love the totally “natural” poses they put this Wrangler lady in. I especially like how she’s calling the little leaguers out.

Apple did not invent the multicolored appliance

Apple did not invent the multicolored appliance

I guess we can thank Quasar for the idea of having electronics in multiple colors.

One of many cigarette ads. Mostly aimed at women.

One of many cigarette ads. Mostly aimed at women.

And plenty of hard liquor

And plenty of hard liquor

My guess, People must have had a target audience of bars.

I had to include this. A pic of Ozzy Osborne in make up.

This was actually from Life, but I had to include it. A pic of Ozzy Osborne in make up.

This kind of puts the whole 80s in perspective. Lots of things to miss, but plenty I can do without. Like those Wrangler jeans.

Tim Kane