News Archive 2010
Recording at Bryan Adam's Studio, December 29, 2010
Yesterday I had the opportunity to record a song at Bryan Adam's studio in downtown Vancouver. The Warehouse is a three-storey state-of-the-art facility complete with a full kitchen (and an espresso bar that puts Starbuck's to shame). It's in a converted 1890s grocer's warehouse, hence the name. The list of people who have recorded here is impressive. From Elvis Costello to AC/DC, to Shakira, and beyond. And of course Bryan too (I think we're on a first name basis now that we've shared the same mic).
1) The mic on the bottom is a vintage Neumann M 49. I was using it to record my guitar but Bryan uses it for his vocals. The mic I'm using for my vocals is a Neumann U 47. 2) Producer Adam Bailie sitting in front of the board that was made for Beatles' producer, George Martin 3) George Martin played with these buttons! 4) Getting ready to sing one of my newest songs, "I Dreamed About Muddy Waters Last Night". 5) Yah baby! I am SO recording at Bry's place!
Four Star Review in Uptown Magazine, December 23, 2010
Needless to say, I was really happy to get this glowing review by Jeff Monk in Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg's version of our Georgia Straight for my album, "Born A Genius". Can't buy that kind of promotion!
Quick Update on What's Happening, December 3, 2010
What's top-of-mind in John's world you might ask? Well I'm thinking about The Railway gig in early January. I want a good turnout, so I can keep putting triple bills together there on a semi-regular basis. Jeff Buckley, k.d. lang, and so many others have played this small, funky venue. Also, I'm putting together a triple bill at The Billy Bishop legion on Feb. 12th.... A couple more January shows with my musical partner, EV... Also just about got everything locked in place for a three-show mini tour with Ivan Boudreau in the Okanagan in March... Working on the same thing for Vancouver Island. Early March, again with Ivan... Going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks. The Big Island. Getting off the grid. Moving into Island mode. Leaving on Tuesday. Aloha....
A Sunny, Cold Tuesday Morning, November 23, 2010
I've got my one and only guitar student coming for her lesson at 4PM. A highlight of my week. She loves learning what I can show her, so naturally I love teaching her just that. Then I'm rehearsing tonight with the band that will be joining me at The Yale on Thursday. And again on Friday night at The Pit Pub at UBC.
Last time I played at UBC was 43 years ago. It was a sunny autumn day, as I recall. My buddy Paul Baker (died last year from cancer) on drums, and me on guitar and vocals. Playing on an outdoor stage in front of the old library. Hundreds of people all around. I think we must have been awful. Probably did a Yardbirds song, a Stones song, maybe a Who song. What a rush though for a couple of young guys in their first band.
So the band I'm playing with this week consists of four other singer/songwriters who have come on board as my sidemen just for these gigs. Neal Ryan (lead guitar), Rob Fillo (bass), Marq DeSouza (drums), Pat Covernton (keyboards), and Ev Yngveson (vocals and percussion). How sweet is that? And me on guitar and vocals of course. Only a total of two rehearsals, so we'll be winging it pretty much. Good thing it's only rock and roll, and not say, brain surgery!
Just got word that I've charted on the Canadian Roots Report. Only at #78, but I'm on a chart that includes Neil Young's new album, "Le Noise" and a whole lot of other heavyweights. So who can complain? Particularly on a bright sunny day like this one.
Hot Off The Press! November 12, 2010
Just sent out my latest Pippus Newsletter. Issue #16. Curious? Sign up on my "Connect" page and you'll get a copy. Info on the radio play I've been getting, my new performing duo, a digital-only album release called "Orphans and Singles" and more.
On The Air Waves, Oct. 28, 2010
There is still something magical about hearing yourself on the radio. Maybe it goes back to the early days before streaming on the internet, when radio really was the only place to get your songs out there. And you pretty much had to be signed to a big record label before you could ever hope to hear your own songs on those enticing air waves.
So I get a kick out of knowing that - just this past week - WQLN (Erie, Pennslyvania) played the title track from the new album. And Bay FM in Byron Bay, Australia played three cuts on their morning show. And CFBX in Kamloops has the album in rotation there (currently, I'm at #8 on the Roots chart). Also "Jack Knives and Cannonballs" (track 9) was played on a syndicated show called "Canadian Voices" which is carried by about 40 stations across Canada.
On Tuesday, I was on CITR radio playing three songs live in studio, along with my producer Adam Bailie. The show host, Oswaldo Perez also played a few cuts from the album during our 90 minute visit on his show, "The Morning After". You can hear the podcast HERE. Move the slider along about half an inch. That's where Oswalda introduces me by playing "Shopping Cart Joe" (track 7).
Red Cat Records, October 3, 2010
Quoting from their website: "Dave Gowans and Lasse Lutick, both former members of Vancouver-based indie band the Buttless Chaps, co-own the store. They bought the store from original owners Andrew Pearson and Amy Honey in February 2007. Red Cat takes it name from Buddy the cat, an enormous and cantankerous feline that ruled the store with an iron paw until his demise in '06. Though the store smells better now, he's missed by many (though not by the children he attacked). He even inspired a full concept album by Ry Cooder: My Name Is Buddy."
Five Favorite Things, September 30, 2010
Tom Harrison, the music critic at The Province newspaper, asked me to send him my "five favorite things". So I did. You can read 'em here.
And speaking of media exposure - a good thing when you're out there trying to get your music noticed - I'll be on CBC radio's "On The Coast" in early November. They're interviewing me about my other role as a booker. I book the music nights atTrees Organic Coffee House, in case you didn't know. Been doing it for over four years. Every Thursday and Friday.
A Two-Line Review at ExploreMusic, September 27, 2010
Alan Cross is a pretty big deal in the Canadian indie music scene. So I was happy to see he liked what he heard from the new album enough to give it a quick review at his ExploreMusic site.
Kinda cool to get compared to Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Jack Jackson though? Not so much. Oh, and getting noticed without paying a high-priced publicist? Priceless.
Songwriters Association of Canada Is My New Best Friend, September 20, 2010
Check out this interview the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) did with me recently.
And they put my video for "Born A Genius" on their homepage. This little video was shot for zero budget on my handy little $200 movie camera.
Nice to get some pay back for all the slogging I've been doing getting this new album of mine noticed in a sea of albums.
New Album Getting Noticed, September 18, 2010
The new album, "Born A Genius" gets a (mostly) great review over at Earshot. Earshot is a hub for Canada's college radio stations.
And I got an email from Terry David Mulligan saying he's playing a cut from the album on today's show, "Mulligan Stew". "Right after Elvis Costello, in the first hour," he tells me. Check out CKUA radio. TDM's show is on Saturdays between 5 and 7PM (Alberta time). Great playlists. I'm delighted and proud to be included.
A Sweet Tweet, September 5, 2010
Nice to see this message on Twitter today: Wearing my "Born a Genius" shirt from @johnpippus today. Many many pleasant comments from total strangers, doctor, and bus driver.
New Song "Follow The River", August 27, 2010
I was walking along the Red River this summer, talking to my wife Pam about what makes a good spiritual song. We were talking about Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" as being a classic example of a song that fits this genre. It turned into a long walk and Pam said, "I hope we don't get lost". I said, "We can't go wrong if we follow the river. It'll take us back home". Pause. And then, stating the obvious: "Hey that would make a good line for a song".
When I got home, I found some music for it and the song wrote itself pretty quickly. This week I recorded it at Adam Bailie's home studio. And after the session, we did this live version for You Tube.
First Review For The Album, August 20, 2010
What do I have in common with John Mellencamp, George Thorogood, and Hawksley Workman? Answer: We all get the same "C+" rating for our new albums. The Province's Tom Harrison posted a review online today.
Tom says I'm "earthy without being retro" and notes the "touch, just a touch, of hip hop" in some of the tunes, but I was hoping for more, to be honest. The C+ rating won't butter your turnips, as Jem Rolls once told me (about getting less than a 4 star review for his fringe play), but I'm glad to get a review at all. Many albums don't even get that.
"Born A Genius" on TuneCore, August 3, 2010
If you like what you hear, you can support my music-making habit by clicking on the "music/store" page(on the right) and downloading the album for only $7.99. Or order a CD for $10 plus shipping.
"Born A Genius" Video August 1, 2010
Check out this video of "Born A Genius". Starring Nadia Von Hahn as the "femme fatale". Thanks to the Rio Theatre for letting us shoot there. Get the album here. Preview and download. Or order a CD for only $10 plus shipping.
"Born A Genius" T-Shirt July 29, 2010
Here's my friend Nat Jay sporting the new and highly prized "Born A Genius" t-shirt.
You can order your very own "BAG" Tshirt here. Same place you can check out the new album!
Hear Previews of the New Album! July 3, 2010
Getting real close now, folks. Just fine tuning the mastering. Meanwhile you can hear short clips from the almost-finished tracks. All twelve of them.
For a quick listen, go to THIS PAGE. I'd love to know your response. I'm going to try and get 100 preview copies that I can take to the Winnipeg Fringe Fest. We leave a week from Monday.
Say "Hi" To Kickstarter Backer, Sean McKenna July 2, 2010
Back in the 1960s, I used to babysit. One of my regular customers was the McKenna family. The McKennas lived two doors down from us in the Delbrook area in North Vancouver. Charlie and Frank McKenna had three boys: Sean, Peter, and Casey. Here's a picture of Sean, his Mum (Charlie, yes that's her official name) and his 'Grand Mere'. This photo must have been taken back in the 70s.
Sean found me not too long ago on Facebook. During my recent Kickstarter pledge campaign he donated generously to help me offset the cost of making my latest album. I don't remember a whole hell of a lot from the babysitting days. I mean they were kids, I just wanted them to go to bed, so I could get on with eating snacks and watching TV and having the place to myself. I was a pretty good sitter though, as I recall. I mean if you want repeat business, you have to make sure the kids tell their parents the next day, "Oh he's just the BEST! Can we have him babysit next time!". So you do what you gotta do. Charlie, BTW, is a dear old soul. She was hip back in the 60s. Too hip for the 'burbs. And she's still feisty as ever, living in an assisted care home in North Van.
Kickstarter Latest, June 12, 2010
The Kickstarter campaign was a success! I'm proud and humbled all at the same time. In the end, 65 backers (plus another 4 or 5 who pledged outside of Kickstarter) anted up over $3,000 by the deadline of June 6th to help me complete my new album, "Born A Genius". One of the backers is Sean Benbow. He came to my play last year and here's what he has to say:
"My support for Born a Genius is dedicated to my four year old son Zachary. Zach loves singing and dancing, and talks endlessly about playing the guitar and becoming a 'rock star'. John Pippus' one-man show Oh Winnipeg resonated with me as a parent. Regardless of where Zach's love of music takes him, it's my job as his Dad to both encourage every opportunity and stay well out of his way. Thanks John. Zach and I are looking forward to listening to your new CD."
The best way for kids to get turned on to music is let them come to it themselves. I know what you mean, Sean, about "staying well out of his way". Forced music lessons because "it's good for them" will just be a tearful exercise for all involved. Right now, I teach a 14 year old girl, the daughter of a friend of mine. Teaching her is one of the highlights of my week because she is such an eager student. She just soaks it all in. From John Lee Hooker grooves, to U-2 covers, to old Johnny Cash tunes. Passing along what I've learned to someone so keen is a real joy. I wish you all the best with Zach and his musical journey. He's sure got the rock star killer looks, and we all know that can't hurt.
New Video, "Born A Genius", June 3, 2010
Here is a video featuring the title track from my soon-to-be-completed new album, "Born A Genius". I play the world-weary-but-still-hopeful male role; Nadia Von Hahn is the "femme fatale". Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it:
Three days left in my KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN. About 90% there. Just need to get that last $300+ pledged. I can't tell you how great it feels, knowing I have about 60 backers who want to see this project reach its goal.
Pledge Campaign at Kickstarter Launched, May 5, 2010
Two Publishing Deals on the Same Day! May 3, 2010
I got word today that K & W Publishing in L.A. have selected me for their roster of artists. The company signed me to a non-exclusive deal to place my songs on TV, in movies, commercials, as well as video games. K & W Publishing is a self-described small company but they've had placements on MTV (The Real World, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and more), CW (Melrose Place, Smallville), and CBS (Ghost Whisperer). Maybe I'll be next?
And over on the other coast, in NYC, Jingle Punks emailed me a contract today as well. When it rains it pours, as the adage goes. I read about them in a story in the National Post a few weeks ago. (Interesting to read about how a couple of young guys have grown a company, fast.) Their clients include A&E, the History Channel, and all the major networks.
Yesterday was a Typical Day, April 28, 2010
Up at 7:45AM, had breakfast and read the paper. Went to the gym for an hour (it's in our apartment complex, so that's convenient). Then two hours on the internet checking email, updating my various networking sites, carrying on the business of booking for Trees Coffee House (which I've been hosting for four years almost). I found out my application to showcase at the 2nd Annual Vancouver Island Music Conference was accepted. So I emailed the organizers to get details on that. It's a four day conference in June, held in the town of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, has all sorts of workshops for songwriters, and an impressive panel of presenters. And thirty selected acts (including me, apparently) are invited to showcase and attend the events during the day. A couple of friends went last year so I'll email them and see what to expect.
In and around the net surfing I practised some songs that a friend of mine, Ev will be performing at Trees in a couple of weeks. I'm playing lead guitar and singing back up for her. Singing harmony doesn't come naturally to me, so it takes some work to get it right. And I was fine tuning my effects pedal, programming some spacey delay sounds so they're easy to trigger when I'm performing live. Also went over "Born A Genius" because in the afternoon I was going over to Saga Recording to re-record my vocal on the title track from my new album.
Gulped down a quick lunch and went over to Saga in East Van, about a 15 minute drive from downtown. Tried out three mics to see which one suited my voice best. Michael had quick mixed the tracks to the song, that had been recorded at Adam Bailie's (he's producing my album) aka Ronii Wata. It was easy to sing with all those supporting sounds in my head phones. A real treat in fact.
After dinner I went to Ivan Boudreau's monthly songwriters' workshop. A small gathering this month, only four of us. We traded off songs, and talked about various aspects of songwriting, the business of marketing songs, and just generally gossiped and had a few laughs. I always enjoy these sessions. Ivan is a great songwriter and has become a good friend over the past few years.
Last Night at the Backstage, April 23, 2010
I woke up and was filled with warm thoughts of the show last night. It was the first time this particular configuration played together and all in all, we sounded pretty damn good. Found the groove and listened to each other more times than not. Neal Ryan (lead guitar, vocals), Ronii Wata (bass, percussion, vocals), Reid Hendry (steel pan, bass, percussion) and me on guitar, harmonica, and vocals.
Ten songs, all but one ("Last Call") from the new CD -- which I'm pretty sure is going to be christened "Born A Genius". Felt good to have the crowd up and dancing at the end, and calling for more. Next gig is a month from now at LIME on Commercial Drive.
My First Video!!! April 17, 2010
Rather late to the game, but better late than never. I just discovered a way to make movies on my PC. I wanted to upload some of my MP3s to Youtube along with a still image while the song was playing. Well low and behold, my computer has this waaaay cool program called Windows Movie Maker (same as everyone with a PC I suppose) and you can see the results of my first effort here:
"One Shot" is a snarly, kick-ass blues tune co-written with Karina Morin last year. We recorded it with Michael Nowak at Saga Recording in East Vancouver. The still pictures of me playing at Trees Organic Coffee House were taken by Don Erhardt, a good friend and stellar musician as well as a straight-shootin' photographer.
Province Newspaper This Week, March 10, 2010
Glad to see my song "Oh Oh Oh" is in the Province newspaper this week. This is part of their ongoing weekly feature of free downloads, done in conjunction with HevyD Music.
Also I spent yesterday in the studio with Adam Bailie aka Roni Wata working on the new album. We re-recorded the vocals on a couple of tracks. Also laid down the vocal and guitar for a new one called "Liberation Day". It's so new, the lyrics weren't finished when it was time to record, so I came up with a few more lines on the spot. I like how Adam works. He knows how to get me to dial down (or up) the vocal delivery.
"This City" the CD is Online, February 26, 2010
I've got my album on a site called BandCamp. It allows you to download individual tracks in various formats. Have a look:
If you click on the double arrow icons (on either side of the play/pause button), you can scroll through all the tracks. Click on the "Download" button to take you to the BandCamp site (don't worry, the download doesn't start yet!). And if you click on the "Share" button it gives you the code to embed the player in various formats or even email it. Alternately, "This City" is also available at CDBaby and iTunes. See my "Songs" page to take you there.
"Le Cadre Photo" Returns to #1 at IAC!!!, February 22, 2010
A French translation of my song "Blurry Photograph" is #1 on the 'world' charts at IAC Music. This is the second time it has reached this position.
Chrystelle Nammour of Paris, France translated "Blurry Photograph" into French (renaming it "Le Cadre Photo") and added her amazing vocal to it. Late last year, "Le Cadre Photo" won third place in an IAC-sponsored song competition. Have a listen to Chrystelle's unique vocal style at my IAC music page.
Got a Song on the Charts in Portugal, February 21, 2010
I co-wrote a song with Jen Hershman a couple of years ago. It's called "Embrace". Recently, we got word The Max Girls from Portugal recorded our song. Translated into Portuguese the song is called "Quero Te Assim":
Music on Reverbnation, February 19, 2010
Railway Show Review, January 15 2010
Lauren Eldridge of Backstage Vancouver came to our show at The Railway Club last week. She posted her REVIEW at the site. There are a couple of pictures there as well.
Next week's show at The Sylvia Hotel will be a different vibe entirely. This will be a cozy lounge setting in this historic venue located on English Bay. Kim Lorene (vocals, percussion)and Pat Covernton (keyboards, vocals) are providing back up.
Winnipeg Fringe Fest is On, January 14 2010
"Oh Winnipeg! A Surprising Musical Memoir" will be at the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre in July as part of the 2010 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Come and see why Vancouver Fringe audiences chose this play to be 'Pick of the Fringe' in '09.
Show Tomorrow Night, January 6 2010
Just finished a rehearsal with Kim Lorene (vocals) and Reid Hendry (percussion). We're stoked for our first show together. Thursday Jan. 7th at The Railway Club. $8 at the door. If you get there around 10PM that should do it. We're on last, preceeded by Mojave and Sam's Falling. See the 'show' page for directions.
Another Year, Another Newsletter, January 1 2010
I've just sent out my latest "Pippus Newsletter". Issue #8. To get your copy, add your name to the mailing list (over there on the right).