Email Interview with The Discount Heroes - PhillyVenues.org -
There’s a balance many rock bands attempt, or sometimes forget to attempt, to achieve, and often they fail. It’s a balance struck between being a musically respectable, rock and roll outfit that can explore creative new ways to turn a hook or harmonize guitars and maintaining a sense of fun and likability. As much as a band wants to explore their ability to build to a climax or challenge themselves with speed-of-sound riffs, there’s still a sizable portion of the audience that just wants to dance. The Discount Heroes gets it. They’re fun and groovy enough to spin while you crack open a Corona and fire up the grill. But they’re still musically clever enough to keep the elites paying attention, especially if you’re a music lover who has a dust covered y100 FEZtival fez in your attic and your teen memory boxes are littered with taped-off-the-radio mixtapes labeled “WDRE, summer 1996.”
Philly Venues: The Discount Heroes have been rocking Philly for years and recently released a new E.P. How has the band changed over time and how does that show on this new collection?
Discount Heroes: The new E.P. really shows how diverse we have become from a songwriting standpoint. Finally finding the right mix of musicians to work with has a great deal to do with that, as well as our collaboration with sine studios. The DH have done a lot over the past four years. A lot of it has been great; sometimes things sucked. In the end, we are very emotional, heart-felt guys and that comes through in the music.
PV: Between snarling guitar riffs, Weezer chord progressions and Dave-Grohl-esque howls, you guys seem to owe a lot to the 90’s, do you have a special love for that era? Can you believe we’re rounding the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind?’
DH: Being teenagers in the 90’s probably has more to do with that than anything, but our musical influences are all over the place. I’ve been listening to classical music every morning for the last six months. Rob Ogus (rhythm guitar; vocals) listens to anything from old Motown to Brian Jonestown Massacre. Angelo Tartaglia, our bassist is a metal-head at heart. Joe Blakely (drums and percussion) knows everything and really loves the funky stuff. We are huge Weezer fans, as well as Foo Fighters; especially me [Ron] and Frank (Lead Vocals). I really admire what Rivers Coumo and Dave Grohl have been able to accomplish and their ability to stay relevant.
Nirvana set the table, along with bands like Pearl Jam. Nevermind was epic. I see Foo Fighters as an extension of what Nirvana could have become, had Kurt Cobain not died. It seems like yesterday. It’s amazing how time flies anymore.
PV: Is songwriting a collaborative effort for Discount Heroes or is there a songwriter who brings in a mostly formed idea?
DH: It’s mostly collaborative, but usually starts with an idea, or something just happens in band when we’re jamming around, be it a chord progression, or riff or simply something that Frankie just starts singing. Our newest song, “Rough” was born of a songwriting activity that Frankie thought of, where we split up the band into two different rooms and gave ourselves 30 minutes to write a brand new song and then present to the other half of the band. We ended up with two great songs, but “Rough” just came naturally to everyone and by the next formal rehearsal we had a completely finished song. We’ll be debuting it at the Playlist Android + Music Festival at The Blockley.
PV: “Imaginary Girlfriend” sounds like a hit to me. Has it gotten any radio play yet, perhaps on the Princeton or Drexel stations? Are you even interested in getting radio play?
DH: Thank you, that seems to be most people’s thought as well. We haven’t made the push to get it on the radio just yet, but we’re about to. Although we did more of a “soft” release of the E.P., we did that because everything was just about done and we were heading to Los Angeles for a few shows and wanted Cd’s to go out there with. We didn’t send any to the radio stations because we just did a quick mastering job. When we got back, we layed down banjo on one track, tweaked some mixes and went in for final mastering. We’re working with Sine Entertainment Group (the management extension of Sine Studios) to do a bigger release where we roll out to the radio stations and “Imaginary Girlfriend” will be the lead track. We’ll also be including our previous 5 studio tracks (from the first E.P. done at Sine, “Who Are The Discount Heroes” as a full-length release. We may hold two tracks back as a bonus for digital download, that hasn’t been officially decided. Either way we’re very excited about it.
PV: Some local bands aspire to be the best band in their city when others aspire to break into a national scene. What are The Discount Heroes’ aspirations?
DH: We wanted to be the best on the 1100 block of South 9th Street, and we’ve accomplished that. Whether we’re the best in South Philly is debatable but we may just be. So we’ll conquer Philly and by extension everything within city limits. Breaking into the national scene would be the tits, but our main priority is making great music that people enjoy. If we keep doing that, everything that’s supposed to happen will happen.
PV: Am I right to think you’ve been able to get a lot of attention through the internet? Are you guys pros at working those social networks? Have you been able to book a lot of shows that way?
DH: The DH have always had a relatively strong online presence, going alllll the way back to Myspace days of 2007. Facebook has been a great tool to get exposure, and now Reverbnation is my new favorite. We’ll see what happens with Google+ but i think that all the advertising and promotion is what’s going to make people leave FB for Google+, just like Myspace. It’s really a double-edged sword. I work in marketing communications so I’m all over that stuff. It’s definitely helped with booking as well as we frequently get requests through these sites.
PV: What’s your connection to the Upright Citizen Brigade?
DH: Frankie used to work at the UCB theatre in NYC back in the day and was able to get co-founder Matt Besser to do his one man show at Connie’s Ric Rac (Frankie is part owner). We were hanging out with him afterward and he asked what the story of the place was, and the DH are part of that history. Frank ended up giving him a CD, very innocuously. Surprising we got an e-mail through our Website that said he been listening to it a lot and loved it and wanted us to be the musical guest at the UCB-Los Angeles theatre for their weekly improv show asssscat. We went out beginning of April and turned that town upside down!
PV: What’s next for the Heroes? Are you touring? Recording?
DH: The Blockley tonight, The Fire on Tuesday. Dave and Busters Dockside in August. We’re also looking to do a Weezer ‘Blue Album’ tribute show. But most importantly the real E.P. release. Need to decide on the right venue. Do we go traditional and do it at The Northstar or something, or go hipster route and have it in a bookstore? Probably won’t do any recording anytime soon, as it feels like we’ve been in a constant state of recording for two years. But we’ll do a fall tour in the Northeast, through NYC, Boston and other stops in New England. Then go down South in the winter. We’ll jam, write, drink and do all the other things we do. Hang out at the Ric Rac….
- Billy Kekevian (Philly Venues Contributor)
Penny-Pinching Mom Shares Low-Budget Summer Fun Secrets - Cinnaminson, NJ Patch -
A Cinnaminson woman’s blog exposes parents to affordable family events.
Watching a juggling act in a local park with her two children Wednesday, Maureen Schoenberger was shocked, but not surprised, to see Kyle, her rambunctious 3-year-old, climb onto the stage, tossing a couple rocks into the air, ready to join the act.
His rocks plunked to the ground, but, to the amusement of performers and attendants, the boy stole the show.
Kyle may not be a stage-ready juggler, but, as a teacher, wife, mother and successful blogger, his mom may be.
Like many parents, Schoenberger’s summer is filled with moments like this. She’s in a constant battle to keep Kyle and his sister Madeleine, 4, active and entertained through a recession summer without breaking the bank. But, while other parents are spending buckets full of cash at Jersey Shore arcades or trips to out-of-state theme parks, Schoenberger never spends more than $10, and rarely even spends that much, to quell her kids’ summertime blues.
And her forays into frugality have helped more than just her own family. Chronicling her exploits on the Family Penny Pincher blog (familypennypincher.blogspot.com), she’s garnered a sizeable following in only a few weeks. The blog, and its sister Facebook page, is designed by a busy mom for busy moms (and dads) looking for economical ways to keep their children entertained and active.
“I guess I’m the budget mom,” she says, reflecting on her newfound Web popularity. “There are a lot of ‘mom groups’ out there listing events and telling you what’s coming up, but they don’t specifically list the free or under $10 range. I’m hitting that specific area.”
Schoenberger, 36, of Cinnaminson, is a computer teacher at Milton H. Allen Elementary School in Medford. As a teacher, she’s got the summer to spend with her children, but doesn’t earn a paycheck. Two days after school let out, she says, she began logging an online journal of “free or nearly free” events. From there, she says, “it caught on like wildfire.”
A few friends noticed Schoenberger’s tips and forwarded it to their friends. Before she knew it, Schoenberger had more than 200 followers on Facebook and an influx of emails from public relations representatives begging her to feature their park or movie night or concert series. Despite their requests, Schoenberger isn’t interested in sacrificing her ideals.
“It’s $10 or less. People tell me ‘but this is such a good deal,’” she says. “I like free better, but I’ll compromise on 10 bucks.”
No surprise, coming from a computer teacher, the blog is expertly designed. The layout features slick flash animation and pictures that intentionally serve not as art, but to inform parents of the specific size and scope of venues.
Family Penny Pincher posts are quick reads. They’re reviews of parks, playgrounds, museums and play places wrapped in entertaining anecdotes and with a keen awareness of parenting issues. Most posts feature a breakdown of details explaining everything from the bathroom situation to eating areas. One even warns potential visitors of a misstep in Google Maps’ directions.
Schoenberger thinks her blog is just what parents need in this era of economic hardships and with more than 2,500 hits since June, it looks like she’s not alone.
“There are so many great affordable events out there. They’re not usually very highly advertised, but they’re there if you really look hard, the deals are there,” she says, “I started with parks and playgrounds and just started stumbling upon other free events. We’ve done a lot this summer spending very little money. You wouldn’t believe how many award-winning events we’ve been to on very little money.”
As the economy worsens, Schoenberger has been noticing a trend of kid-friendly outlets reaching out to parents on a budget. She cites the Garden State Discovery Museum’s “$5 after 5” discount as well as the Franklin Institute’s free community night every third Wednesday after 5 p.m.
In addition to parks and playgrounds, Family Penny Pincher turns its attention toward swim clubs, cultural events and educational opportunities from events at libraries for teens and tweens to movie nights in the park just for mom and dad.
“When I say family events, I’m talking about every member of the family,” she explains.
With the blog constantly on her mind, even her children are learning from her penny-wise ways.
“A lot of these places have great gift shops,” she says, “but I tell them their budget is $1 or less. Some people don’t like to talk to their children about it, but it’s OK to tell your kids you don’t have the money for everything. It makes them responsible.”
As for Congress, she has some advice for them too.
“They all better start packing their bags,” she says. “My biggest problem is they’re slashing a lot of programs like the libraries and the nonprofits that are holding events for free. Where are those who are really suffering going to expose their kids to culture?”
Schoenberger’s listings and reviews can be found at FamilyPennyPincher.blogspot.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/familypennypincher.
Fallacies About Cause and Effect | eHow.com -
By Billy Kekevian, eHow
Contributor updated: April 30, 2011
In a formal debate or in written opinion piece, relying on a logical fallacy can let the air out of your argument pretty quickly. Common lapses in reason include errors concerning cause and effect. There are several ways to unintentionally suggest an irrational cause/effect relationship. Being aware of these rules can help you avoid embarrassing flaws and help you secure an airtight argument.
Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
This might sound like a mouthful in Latin, but in English it’s pretty simple: Correlation does not imply causation. Just because two events often occur together, one does not necessarily influence the other. For example, you’d be relying on this fallacy if you were to say: “There is a correlation between the cost of the damage of a house fire and the number of firefighters who show up to fight the fire. Therefore, many firefighters cause much damage.”
You can see, with an example like this, that it’s unreasonable to assign the cause to the firefighters. The only reason for a correlation between firefighters and damage is that both of these numbers rise with a larger fire.
Another example: Murder rates and ice cream sales rise in the summer. But that doesn’t mean you can logically conclude that ice cream makes people prone to being murdered.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Directly translated, this Latin phrase means “After this, therefore because of this.” This fallacy implies that because one event always follows another event, the first event causes the second. Examples of this occur in ballparks across America. It is the thinking that “Every time I turn my hat inside out the batter swings and misses, therefore, turning my hat inside out causes the batter to miss.” The batter is not actually influenced by the “lucky rally cap.”
Confirmation bias is to inductively seek information that supports a presumed outcome and to ignore information that challenges the bias. This logical fallacy is frequently employed by those seeking to confirm the supernatural. For instance, person attempting to investigate paranormal phenomena might say that audio imprints of ghosts can be faintly heard on an audio tape. Playing back the tape — which is bound to contain some faint sounds — and then claiming proof of ghosts is confirmation bias. A ghost was not the cause of the noise; the noise was the cause of suspecting a ghost.
Non Causa Pro Causa
This fallacy is nicknamed the Texas-sharpshooter fallacy, based on a joke: A Texan sprays bullets across the side of a barn. Where there is the highest concentration of hits, he paints a target and announces that he is a sharpshooter. This fallacy is frequently employed by those looking to prove prophecies and predictions. They point first to the result and then apply a vague “prophecy” that matches it.
Gamblers who believe they are due for a win should beware. They’re committing the gambler’s fallacy. Implying that, for instance, a coin must come up tails, statistically, just because it’s come up heads the last 10 flips is an incorrect assessment of the way statistics cause an effect. The coin has a 50-50 chance on each flip, not on a series of flips. Likewise, assuming that a roulette wheel is likely to land on red, based on its previous black lands, is equally fallacious. In games of chance, past outcomes do not effect future results.
How to Troubleshoot a Nintendo NES | eHow.com -
May 02, 2011updated:
Nintendo stopped making the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994, nine years after its successful introduction to the U.S. transformed the struggling business of home video games into a billion-dollar industry. Children of the 80’s and 90’s still value the original NES games as a childhood toy that can continue to bring joy. However, the old technology can present a plethora of problems. Some require a simple cleaning, while others may call for parts replacements.
Read more: How to Troubleshoot a Nintendo NES | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8340211_troubleshoot-nintendo-nes.html#ixzz1MAvUD6ov
Guitar Maintenance Tips | eHow.com -
updated: April 17, 2011This bass guitarist has a whole workbench dedicated to keeping his instrument in top shape.
Like a car or any other piece of major equipment, guitars require constant care if they’re to sound their best. Also, like cars, there are varying levels of maintenance ranging from standard cleaning to upgrading parts. Although there are an infinite number of possible guitar improvements, there are some basic maintenance techniques every guitarist should know.
While some players insist on changing their strings every month, experience will show you that there’s no expiration date on strings. Sometimes letting strings “settle” can even improve your sound. But once you start to notice that bright, brilliant sound fade into a muddy sludge, it’s time for new strings.
If your strings tend to buzz on certain frets, it may be time to consider a truss rod adjustment. This can occur from wear, weather changes or changing the gauge of strings you use. The truss rod can be accessed at the headstock and adjusted with specifically designed tools. You may have to break out a ruler to determine just how tight or loose your adjustment needs to be and getting it just right can be a specific science. For beginners, it’s best to take your guitar to a technician who can do the job in a matter of minutes. Just be prepared to buy new strings once it’s set.
Your fingers are covered in oils and dirt that can build up on your fret board. This can cause a scummy substance to deaden your sound. Prevent this by regularly cleaning between every fret and especially closer to the frets themselves as that’s where dirt and grime tends to settle. Instrument dealers usually stock cleaners that are specifically formulated to the sensitive wood of your guitars. Treat your instrument and make this purchase, rather than using furniture cleaners or ammonia-based sprays that may damage the wood.,
While changing strings, it is a good time to check if your tuners are properly tightened. If the screw holding them in place start to loosen, it could make your playing flat and needlessly difficult. It’s an easy job that requires only a screwdriver and a sensitive hand and it’ll do wonders for keeping your guitar in tune.
One of the best things you can do to keep your guitar playing right is to store it properly. Ideally, everyone would keep their guitar in a case on a rack positioned upright. However, a guitar stand or even a wall hanger are decent alternatives. Don’t just lean your guitar up against an amp or the corner of the room and never store it laying flat. This can destroy your instruments ability to stay in tune. Also, try to keep your guitar away from windows, doors and vents as the constant temperature changes can warp your wood.
Information on Black History Inventions | eHow.com -
updated: March 27, 2011
People of African descent have contributed many well-known products to the market. Most people are aware of George Washington Carver’s peanut-based innovations, but there are many Black inventors throughout history and in every field whose creations have changed the world. Their stories are inspirational and, like other great inventors, their imaginations seem limitless, showing, to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., what matters is not the color of a person’s skin, but the content of a person’s character.
Before indoor plumbing was standard, daily hair washing was unheard of. Unfortunately, the result was early hair loss for men and women alike, due to scalp infections. A victim of hair loss at a mere 37 years old, C.J. Walker began experimenting with both home remedies and products on the market, finally coming up with an ointment containing sulfur that actually helped re-grow hair. Walker later claimed the exact recipe came to her in a dream. Whatever the truth is, “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” made Walker the first African-American millionaire.
The precursor to the modern day gas mask, the safety hood was invented by Garrett Morgan in 1912 with firefighters in mind. Morgan, who had already had success with an earlier invention (the hair-straightener), saw that, in a fire, the cleaner air was lower to the ground. He attached a hose lined with a series of filters reaching toward the ground to a hood. The invention was a success that saved many lives, including several saved by Morgan himself. When a tunnel exploded in Cleveland, Morgan, who was supplying safety hoods to the rescue crew, joined the efforts to pull trapped workers out as the tunnel filled with noxious gases and smoke.
The origin of the phrase “the real McCoy” stems from an invention by African-Canadian inventor Elijah McCoy. In 1873, McCoy created a system by which locomotives could self-lubricate while moving, eliminating the need for frequent oiling stops. Unable to find an equal to the original invention’s reliability among its competitors, engineers began demanding their machines be outfitted with “the real McCoy.” The concept was later adjusted to automatically oil any machine.
The “.com” following websites is already an invention we take for granted. In 1979, African-American computer programmer Emmit McHenry created the easy shorthand for a complex computer code while working for a company called Network Solutions under a U.S. government contract. McHenry’s code was a step in developing the Internet and changing the course of history.
List of Electric Bass Guitars | eHow.com -
updated: April 08, 2011This punktress is playing a bass made by Fender. Leo Fender created the first mass-marketed bass guitar when he invented the Fender Precision Bass.
Whether you’re playing jazz, rock, pop, dance, funk, soul or country, the bass is the backbone of a song. The bass drives the groove and ties the rhythm section to the melody. Folk, classical, jazz and early rock records featured an upright double bass, but when the electric bass guitar’s popularity grew, the face of music changed. Today there are scores of electric bass guitar manufacturers in the world and each produces several different models. However, musicians in the know seem to gravitate toward the same few choices, often depending on their musical styles.
The Fender Precision, designed by Leo Fender himself, was the first mass-produced electric bass guitar. Fender was committed to the idea of creating a fretted bass with tones more “precise” (hence the name) than fretless, upright basses. This model has been embraced by some of the biggest names in the industry. James Jamerson, the session bassist credited with helping to create “The Motown Sound,” favored one, as did Stax Records’ bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn. Even punk rockers like The Pixies’ Kim Deal rely on this industry standard. The Precision features one single-coil pickup with a two-saddle bridge and a maple neck.
The Fender Jazz Bass, affectionately known as the J Bass, was introduced in 1960 as a deluxe version of Fender’s Precision Bass. It was an attempt to sell electric basses to jazz musicians. Although many stuck to their upright basses, the Jazz Bass was a hit. There are now several models, each with its own specifications, but the standard Jazz Bass features a narrower neck than the Precision, two single-coil pickups and a rosewood fretboard. Notable players include Les Claypool, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weather Report bass legend Jaco Pastorius and Rush’s Geddy Lee, the last two of whom have their own modified models.
Gibson is mostly known for their guitar lines, but in 1961 the company introduced its first successful bass model. The company made an unsuccessful attempt to challenge the Fender Precision in 1953 with the EB-1, but it wasn’t until a later model that musicians started to take Gibson’s basses seriously. Based on the popular “SG” guitar, the SG Standard Bass, also known as the EB-3, was a hit with several popular musicians in the ’60s and ’70s including Cream’s Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Rolling Stone’s Bill Wyman. The EB-3 features a solid mahogany neck and two humbucking pickups with a four-tone selector switch.
When Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to America, he also did a huge favor for the German instrument manufacturer Hofner. That’s because the little-known company’s 500/1 model was in the hands of Paul McCartney. The popularity of The Beatles and the instrument McCartney played throughout his career, helped keep Hofner in business. Today it offers the 500/1, 500/2 and 500/3 along with a popular model known as the Club Bass (which Wilco bassist John Stirratt can be seen playing in the documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”). Hofners are known for their unique violin-style body. They’re available with either two single-coil or twin humbucking pickups.
Rickenbacker is another company that owes its success to The Beatles. Both their 6- and 12-string guitars are the jangly tone heard on many mid-period Beatles as well as on records by The Byrds, Tom Petty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In addition to guitars the company manufactures basses, including the 4001 model. This bass was played Paul McCartney, John Entwistle of The Who, Paul Simonon of The Clash and even Metallica’s original bassist, Cliff Burton. The 4001 features the Rick-O-Sound feature which allows you to split the output of the instrument’s two pickups and is known for its sustain.
Ibanez’s sleek design makes this 5-string bass one of the most sought-after among aficionados. Two humbucking Bartolini pickups and a relatively narrow neck make this a favorite of jazz cats and metal heads.
How to Sell Music for Free | eHow.com -
For songwriters looking to get their material noticed and make a little cash in the process, there are more outlets than ever. Recording costs have been all but eliminated with the advent and constant improvements of home recording technologies. And if you’re willing to design and print your own packaging, the cost of blank CDs and jewel cases is negligible. Even the approval of record labels is becoming a thing of the past as more and more musicians are making better headway by self-publishing on the Internet. Many sites are cheap or free and reach a wider audience than a local label might be able.
Record your original music using home recording machines or software. Many computers now offer free recording software.
Decide if you’re satisfied selling CD-Rs or if you prefer to pay a company to press your music onto professional discs. Alternatively, you may consider uploading your music to flash drive and selling that as many listeners are now storing music digitally.
Design your disc or drive’s packaging.
Create a social networking account exclusively for your music project. Try to pick the current most popular social networking site.
Research the available third party applications that allow you to sell music. There is a variety out there and they’re designed to be compatible with the most popular social networking sites. Just be sure they don’t charge a registration fee.
Connect the application of your choice to your social networking site and make an effort to spread the word about your project.
Register an account with Bandcamp.com for your music project. It’s free.
Upload your original music. This site allows you to set your own price so you can charge nothing, charge a ‘per-track’ fee, or even allow listeners to set their own price.
Promote you Bandcamp account by publishing links to any other social networking accounts or websites you administer. Be sure to also connect with other artists through Bandcamp itself.
Tips & Warnings * Befriend other struggling musicians in your area. Social networking is a key component of self-promotion both on and off the Internet. * Never try to sell music that you did not write without first obtaining an agreement from the publisher. Recording unoriginal material and then trying to sell it is plagiarism and constitutes a copyright infringement, which leaves you open to expensive lawsuits.
How to Control Rats & Mice | DailyPuppy.com - By Billy Kekevian
Things You’ll Need:
Keep the Floors and Counter Tops Clean
Block Access Points
Driving Rodents Out
Tips & Warnings