Roberts Ramblings

What's your reality?  

Sitting here in front of a computer screen on a sunny, seems to be a fall like weather day glancing out of the window blinds of the Section 8 apartment one bedroom that I share with my wife here in Carson City that is in a continual state of renovation inside & outside and, who knows when it will be completed? Or, what it will look like when it's finally completed. Retiree , retiree, fixed income, trying to stretch a dollar until it snaps back into your face.  I entered the janitorial field in 1978 and bounced around from Kansas City, Mo to California Sonoma County & back to South Lake Tahoe & then on to Sparks, Nv & to Reno, NV and finally back to South Lake. Worked in Casinos, hospitals, Federal Courthouses, Restaurants, and grocery stores and finally, finally, officially, retired in 2019. That's a long stretch for anybody considering that was my legitimate profession. Now, on the other hand, I began playing music professionally, that is to say that I was paid for my services & even joined the Musicians Union starting in1969. The world of bars, truck stops, music festivals, touring, traveling round in a van for short money. All that ended around 1978 but I still wrote songs, recorded, put music out there. And now, here in 2021, sixty nine years old, I'm still here. Never be a house hold name, not really in the game, no fortune, no fame, but it's all the same cause I like a good story as much as the next guy. How about you?





New Project. 

I just started a new recording project revisiting the music of the band, " Whiffenpuf". Some background. After the break up of Sounds Unlimited in 1969 when Jorge Santana left to form Malo, the three remaining members, Tom Lazaneo, Fred Pratt, and myself set out to form a new group that would be very different from Sounds Unlimited. We went from a loose, flashy jam band based in blues & r & b with long solos to a tight song focused, short solos, with the emphasis on vocals. The music ideas were mostly coming from Tom with he and I writing these new songs together at the house we rented in Daly City along with Fred & my sister Yvonne. The music influences we were following at the time were: The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, early Beatles. Along with David Lonie on drums, we rehearsed & performed some of these songs from 1970-1971 but I always wished we had spent more time on getting the vocals just right. After reviewing the old material, I think most of the songs were really good but they didn't always get the recorded performance that they could have at the time. So, I started the first tune & will keep everyone posted on the progress & probably share some of the rough tracks with everyone.

Wood shedding? Practice? Rehearsal! 

So, you go into a club, dance hall, concert setting, because you want to hear live music and the band on the stage is great! Sound balanced, tight arrangements, great presentation that is completely professional quality and you are entertained! You're dancing' or moving' clapping along, or moved by a emotional ballad that hits close to home. You're ready to give your approval with applause and cries of, " More! More! "     Do you think about the hours of practice that went into that performance? The seemingly endless repetition that the band goes through to prepare itself for that one moment. Each person trying to refine their parts to achieve either the perfect replication of a well known " cover" or an original song that no one has ever heard before until now. Arguments, clashes of egos, breaking the parts down and rebuilding them back to finally settle on what the song should be. And, hardest of all, to make it look easy up there on the stage. There is a lot of preparation that goes into a live presentation because, the musicians want to be at their best. They owe it to the audience and to themselves. So, practice, practice, you'll be glad you did.

On Songwriting   

I wrote my first song when I was thirteen. It had all the four chords that I knew at that time, G A D Em Am. It was titled, Listen to my Story. And that is how I think of songs, as a story just like a play or a film that tries to entertain and move people emotionally. What you say in the lyric is often compressed to make the melody flow but sometimes that's a good thing because you shed a lot of filler and say exactly what needs to be said. Where do the ideas come from? Pete Townsend of The Who said that for him, it always starts with the title. When Fats Domino & Dave Bartholomew who wrote the lyrics for his songs were on tour, they would stop in a town to get something to eat. They would hear the local people talking and hear a phrase that the locals would use and Fats would say, " Dave, you should write that down. Be a good idea for a song." I think that's how Blue Monday came about. Ideas. Sometimes a melody will just form in your head and you just have to pick up the guitar because you won't be able to think of anything else until you do. Sometimes another person comes up with the music and you hear it and that inspires the lyric and together you write a song. Each contributing a part and the blend is more than you might have done on your own. Just jammin', just messing around, making something up out of the blue.

What it is.  

Hello,  I haven't used a website for my music for about three years. In the past, it didn't seem like I was getting much interest from anyone, so I stopped. I got a prompt from Bandzoogle that if I wanted to keep it, I should decide or it would be gone. This is what motivated me to re-tool the theme a little, add some new content, and I thought, " Ya know, what would be better than having one place where all the music is available, bio, pictures, for anyone to access instead of only people with a Spotify, Itunes, or Apple accounts?"   So, I hope to grow an audience of people who are looking for music that is original but very accessible.   Here is this 68 year old guy with a long history of performing music, recording, and my perspective will be different than someone in their twenties which is to say, I don't think what I do is nostalgia but I would prefer to think of the sounds that you hear as fresh, the way an old jazz album or a blues recording that was released decades ago can, when you drop the needle on the vinyl lp or slip the cd into the player or shuffle it into your I Pad will just come across with some honest emotion, dance, laugh, sing, cry. The whole human feeling ball of wax.  Ambitious?  Maybe.