November 26, 2011

Snapshot Button Camera

I thought this was pretty cool.

Posted by Selby Evans at Virtual Outworlding.

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November 25, 2011

Black Friday event at Ground Zero

If you read my previous post, Thanksgiving Gift, you can probably understand that I was a bit nervous about being able to perform today. Thea and G Metal, both fiends and long time supporters of my live music performances in Second Life, are the owners of this fairly new Second Life Live Music Venue.

Kalli/Brandy and I had booked this event a few months back and I SO hate having to cancel last minute. The truth is, I had been looking forward to performing an afternoon show for some time, as my daily schedule doesn't allow for them as much as it used to. I've seen great support and friendship from fellow SL'ers across the pond. So much so that the "Friends of Mankind" group in SL banded together not once, but twice, to fly me out to Amsterdam to perform shows in Summer of both 2008 and 2009. So when I call the group "Family", I really do mean it.

Anyways, this morning I woke up feeling much much better and was really happy thinking I was going to be able to do this gig. Brandy and I got on the marketing at about 12PM SLT, and spread it out as we always do, to many different social sites, emails, SL notices, etc. I decided today, and this isn't an every day thing, to actually "MAKE" a set list for this show. Why? Well, as we all probably feel, we like to go that extra mile for people in our lives closer to us. Thea and G have been so amazingly supportive of me, of SL music and of fellow musicians, Brandy and I both felt that we really needed to pump it up for them.

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At the gig, I was SO happy to see a lot of overseas friends and fans, I've missed you guys. Frankee, Renee, even Roos came in to the event along with about 60 others. An amazing turnout and not only because I was playing, but because I believe people in general will be more supportive of those that support others. Case in point: Thea and G. As I said earlier they are long time supporters of my own music but they work diligently to keep their venue booked with some of SL's best live artists. Further, I see them out there at other artists' performances as well.

So hat's off to you both and of course to Brandy for her amazing efforts and skills in marketing and promoting for our friends' venue. I really enjoyed performing at <<Ground Zero>> and hope to be invited back soon.

On a side note, I saw many new faces as well. It's good to see the music community growing with more people going to shows lately. The main thing is I saw a lot of audience interaction, not only to me and my show but moreover, with EACH OTHER"! I really love seeing people making friends and if it happens because of my show being the meeting place, then I'm truly flattered that much more.

Very large thanks to all who came out. It was a great time!

Thanksgiving Gift 2011

The day started off like many, getting Aden up, cleaned up, feed, dressed... you know. While he was still half asleep, I wanted to take a look at last year's pictures of Thanksgiving, just to see how much he'd changed.

I can say right off the bat he has definitely grown; not just in the physical sense but his mental state, the way he expresses himself, words, his reading at 3.5 years old, and overall emotional stability as well. It's really a gift for a parent to see their child progress, knowing that it is because of their combined efforts that the child develops into the beautiful person they are. OK I'm gonna stop there before I get all weepy :-P

Aden on Thanksgiving 2010
But look at him from last year... man he was CHOWIN' down that turkey. This year, I don't think he ate anything at all, except maybe some of the pie and some apple juice. Maybe I should have taken a cue from him... might have avoided what came later!

Aden on Thanksgiving 2011

I even watched some of the videos from last year, seeing how different even his walking is today. I'll admit, I'm crazy about taking pictures of him, those of you who are my friends on Facebook can likely attest to THAT!!! He is just constantly impressing me, ya know?

So the day progresses, we leave the house off to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. I carved that baby like there was no tomorrow, found some amazing apple juice to compliment this bird... all goes well till about an hour after we eat. I start feeling this gurgling in my belly. UH OH!!! No one else was having any cramping or feeling anything similar to this dagger I was feeling churning and grinding my insides. OMG it was harsh! I don't know if I just ate too fast, or some spec of "I KEEL YOU" landed specifically on MY turkey but I'll just tell you, it was bad. SO bad in fact that I had to cancel my SL show slated for 9PM. I don't recall EVER feeling thissick from eating in my entire life. To you women who are thinking, "we go through that every month.." NO NO!! NO WAY! This was WAAAAY above and beyond that! So what felt like a few hundred trips to the can and then this morning, thankfully... POOF I feel much better.

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So I would like to thank this year's Thanksgiving for the gift of YEEEOUCH... and cudos to that amazing tasting bird that fooled me into eating too much of him. To you I say TOUCHÉ and well played... heck maybe it was one of the 5 casseroles or the banana cream pie, hell I don't know.

Anyways...  hope you all had a wonderful day with your family and friends. After all was said and done, I am very thankful for my son being in the world. He was smart to choose me as his daddy cuz NO one would ver love him as much as I do! I did enjoy the meal and the company and I know I am very blessed.


November 23, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Show

(Thanks to Butterfly Laa for the picture)

What an amazing night. I performed tonight at Key West, a long time supporter of live music in Second Life. I planned for the show to be an "all request" event and BOY the audience didn't disappoint. There were about 70 people in attendance and requests came in ranging from Train, to Pink Floyd, Live, Radiohead and even a few originals were requested.

The sim held up beautifully thanks likely in part to long time friend and Key West owner, Liz Harley, who wisely did a restart of the sim prior to the show.

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Other Second Life musicians were on hand as well including Noma Falta, Lyndon Heart & Madmax Huet. It warms the bones to see musicians supporting musicians and being on the receiving end is an even bigger thrill.

My thanks of course to Liz and the wonderful SL residents who, after 5 years, still show me amazing support.

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow and among other things, I have you to be thankful for.

November 22, 2011

The Source C-C-C-CRASHHHH!!!

It seems lately that almost everywhere I play in Second Life, the venues are crashing. I'm not saying it's due to ridiculous attendance. No! That was the old days of Second Life. These days, tonight for example, like for the past few months, when 40 or 50 people are on a sim, it crashes.

It may be a matter of the servers, or some other "ghost in the machine", but no matter how you slice it, the problem is here and it doesn't seem like it's being addressed. I've heard from friends, fellow musicians and venue owners alike that this is a repeated occurence so it's not just me and my shows.

I WOULD like to give a hats off to Gargravarr Rau, owner of The Source. He provides Second Life with constant live shows at his venue but more than that, he was prepared with a contingency plan. Tonight, The Source sim crashed about 10 minutes into my show with about 40+ people there and within 10 minutes, we were up and running at Ground Zero, another friend's Second Life venue.

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I would urge all SL venue owners to take a cue from Gar. Have a back up plan ready to go for just such a situation and PLEASE keep an open line of communication open with the performer. Second Life performers do work hard at their craft, setting up, learning new music, writing new music, buying updated equipment, etc. there IS overhead, believe it or not and when a sim crashes and half the crowd doesn't come back, it will more than likely hurt the artists' and venues' revenue for the night.

So venue owners, please be prepared to quickly work together with your performing artists to get the show up and running quickly and I believe this will be somewhat of a bandage for the gash in the SL servers... temporarily at least.

I'm pretty sure Linden Lab is working to resolve the matter as my personal connections have told me but we'll just need to hang tight until we're back up to 100%. Second Life is my home away from home and I don't plan on going ANYWHERE!

Then came Second Life

Another band I had the fortune of touring with was called Mankind. Yes it's true. My initial motivation when starting my live music performances in Second Life over 5 years ago was to continue performing the music we wrote as a band.  Although I wrote the majority of the music and practically all lyrics, I cannot discount the amazing effort put forth by the three other musicians, friends and truly, brothers, who contributed their part. To be clear, when I say I wrote the music, what I mean is I would bring in a piece that I had written on acoustic or electric guitar along with the lyrics I had written. I did not write all the drums, bass, keyboards or lead guitar parts. Chris, JJ and Frank, respectively, did their part and how amazingly indeed they did.

At the end of about 10 years of writing, performing and being the brothers that we had become. I found myself wanting something different. It was the direction that I felt the band was headed, as a whole, that differed from where I felt I was going musically.
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Pretty much at that precise point in time, I found Second Life. For those of you who don't know what Second Life is all about, in a nutshell, it is a 3D Virtual Environment created by Linden Lab. Thikn about a piece of graph paper. Each little box represents a piece of land or a "Sim". On that Sim you can use the built in tools within Second Life to build, model, shape, form, texture, colorize, upload, etc. to create the sim you want to create. There are music venues, shopping (oh yes LOTS of shopping which we'll get to in a later post), fairs, skating... basically anything you can imagine in Real Life is probably on some Sim in Second Life.

So all that being said, when I first discovered Second Life in about August of 2006, I let it slide. Somehow I ended up rediscovering it in November and on November 6, 2006, "Mankind Tracer" was "rezzed".

A few days into it and I found there were DJ's and live performers streaming their live shows into Second Life. I thought "hey.. I can do that!" So I quickly found out it wasn't all that complicated. I bought a new mixer, a couple of pedals and did the door to door thing, looking for gigs. Quite quickly actually I was playing regular weekly shows. Now SLat that time was fairly new. There weren't many of us performing live but as time passed until today, there are now at least 30+ shows every hour. From live performers, to those singing live to backing tracks, to the many many genres available like rock, pop, oldies, country, jazz, you name it. Second Life has an amazingly vibrant and ever growing music scene.

Personally, I have been truly blessed with the global following I've attained. Even with my years of real life touring, I doubt I would have ever had the chance to reach this many people with my music.

So what started out with a desire to play my band's music ended up with me playing my stuff, the band's stuff, covers and making some great friends along the way.

To those of you that think of Second Life as simply a game...WOW!!! very far off. Second Life consists of avatars, and there are real people in real cities on a real planet behind those avatars. Just as in real life, we need to shop for ourselves and that has translated into SL as well. There are those in SL who design clothing for example and the fashion world in SL is a thriving, multimillion dollar annual business. Oh yes, you can earn money in SL too!

Which leads me to what's been happening the past year or so with the music side of things....

There's only a first "first"! A background.

Seth Regan performs as Mankind Tracer in Second Life

As the first post for this new blog, I would like to give a bit of background on my musical journey.

As a little boy growing up in new York, for some reason or another I always took notice in the sounds I was hearing. My parents both loved music and there was always music playing in the house, be it Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Johnny Mathis, or other 40's - 60's popular music. I can remember the record player we had and how my mother would teach me how to use it. I took some piano lessons and all of my teachers were amazed with how I would pick things up by ear. I guess I was lazy and didn't really want to spend the time learning how to actually "read" the music. But I can remember being able to hear a melody and pick out the main notes on piano. I suppose I lost interested in piano until my early adult life but soon after moving and losing my piano teacher, I found the guitar.

My professional music career started in Greenwich Village, NY. I was sixteen years old and I was offered a 3 song set at a place called The Back Fence. A bunch of friends and family came out to support me and I had SUCH a blast. 15 minutes of live performing and I was hooked. I tell you, I've never tried heroin, nor will I, but they say it's very addicting. After 30 years, I can tell you... live performing should be illegal! I'm kidding of course but it's definitely addicting.

Fast forward to post college: One of the bands I toured with was called Route Nine. A couple of guys were looking to form a band. I auditioned and two days later got the call that I was in. So the first step was to compare notes and just jam together, feel each other out and put a solid song list together that we were all comfortable with. Now myself, having come from doing acoustic gigs and maybe toying with a band here or there (Toying: Def: Screwing around, not serious) this was all kind of new to me. There was that sense of "can I rely on these guys during a live performance?" at first. But you know, that quickly vanished. Our first show was at a Lion's Lodge or some place like that. We rented the place out on a Sunday and invited everyone we knew and you know, about 200 people came out to support this new band that their friends and family had put together.

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A few months go by and actually quite quickly, the word was spreading on us. Here are these four guys: One amazing guitarist, one solid bass player with skills and an awesome voice, one drummer who didn't know the meaning of the word "volume" and me, a singer and guitarist more interested in "how quick can I turn this into more women"! But faster than I knew it, we became a very well known cover band touring up and down the eastern USA and we got this stigma as THE rock party band. At the time, I had hair down to my butt and most gig nights consisted of a shot and a beer after setup and as the night progressed, more shots and beers and a topless and pretty buzzed "me" up on the bar with a wireless mic (usually accompanied by one or two similarly clad groupies). I mean who was I to turn down drinks from fans? Holy bat snot that was SO much fun... VEYR hard to do night after night but FUNNNNN!!! But we were young, oh and our drummer was quite DEAFENING! I mean come on Bert! We even tried caging "the animal" in a plexiglass cage but lasted about two weeks.

The problem with drinking and playing live is that the more you drink, the deafer you get and the more the instrumentalists need to turn up (closer to 11)! MY problem is that a singer can only push so much air, even the loudest opera singers have a limit. Also, raising the mixer volume on my vocal channel can only go so high before I blow the speakers... and MANY eardrums! So there I was most nights, coming to the final half of the third set, half deaf, half drunk and half dressed. But you know, I wouldn't change a thing. We had so much fun! I can go on and on with the stories but at the end of the day, after all was said and done and "Last Call" came around, it wasn't so much the fame. I mean let's face it, we weren't Pink Floyd in Madison Square Garden. But we had a tremendous following. No it wasn't the fame. It was the friendship, comradery and brotherhood between these four mid twenties guys who all had common goals and faith in each other. We so enjoyed being on that stage and partying together. It was a brotherhood. Yes. THAT'S what I enjoyed most.

So when you go out to see bands perform, enjoy the music, of course, but also don't take for granted the incredible amount of time and effort that goes on BEFORE the shows... AFTER the shows. Even in Second Life. There's rehearsal and more rehearsal. There's setup time. Beyond the "image" that fans get, there IS work that is done.

But look at the band members, see if they have that chemistry with each other, because I can tell you, Route Nine was ALL about that chemistry (and of course the booze and babes). I think it was that brotherhood that we shared which made our shows so incredible for us to play and put the amazing amount of effort in... to ensure they were the best they could be for our fans.

The brotherhood... I miss that.

Then Came Second Life.... - U.S. All News