sometime in 1979, i went to the whiskey a go go with some friends to see randy hansen, the jimi hendrix impersonator. while i liked music as a kid, but hendrix was the first music i really dug. i can’t remember how many of us were there, maybe 3 or 4 kids, age around 14.
the show was amazing. randy came out in a coffin with purple dry ice, and he did a good job of impersonating hendrix hits. while i’d been to a number of big venue concerts, this was the first club gig i’d ever been to.
a few weeks later, we went back to the whiskey to see another show…
One cold November evening, the rats escaped. My future bandmate and current roommate Claire and I scrambled to get the rats back into their cage, still half asleep. Now that they knew how to get out, though, it was only a matter of time before it happened again. And happen again it did. After a few nights of rude awakenings, I realized that to stop the rats, I would need to become something else. A worthy adversary. And thus Bad Rat was born.
I’m a 26-year-old Electronic Rock musician from the New River Valley in southwest Virginia. X-P38 started as a form of experimental techno mixed with a little bit of hip hop and a dash of rock. There are currently 40 self-produced albums and releases on my Bandcamp, and I’m still working almost every day to write music because I love to express my feelings through any kind of sound that I can make.
photo by Elle DioGuardi (http://elledioguardi.com/)
One of my favorite things about science fiction is how a creator can project their vision of the future. However, as it is a projection, and we only have our own experience to draw from, often we color this future vision with bits and pieces from our now. Like having characters that exist 200 years from now conversing in vernacular from our time. Or having an alien race appear humanoid. One of the best examples of this is the famous “Cantina Band” from Star Wars playing “alien” music that sounds a lot like jazz.
If there is one thing as a musician and composer that I hate, it’s being asked the question, “So what kinds of music do you like/listen to?” Not only is it an unfair and biased leading question. But when folks like myself answer, “Oh, I like everything,” usually that is met with a smile and nod combo or total silence. Nobody seems to know how to react to the fact that … dear lord … he probably likes classical and jazz too. And yes, this is a very true fact. I’ll even throw in new age for the hell of it! Here, I’m going to talk about another aspect of these different listening habits, though. More in the vein of how many genres and artists have and continue to influence me up to this very stage in my composing career.
For a one-man band like myself, it could easily be perceived that collaboration is not of interest to me. When you produce and record your own material, the singularity of that can become very comfortable and sometimes it’s easy to forget that working with collaborators can give you new perspectives and angles on your own music. While I’ve only worked with a handful over the years, each has made their fitsindelible mark on my music, and for this I am forever grateful. Here I will give a short overview of each of my four primary collaborators and their contributions.
When somebody says, “I’m a songwriter” or “I compose music,” what most ordinary people think is that they are Mozart-incarnate and all of a sudden want to be their best friend. Either that or they become insanely jealous of them, and they never hear from those folks again. In my case, neither of these occurrences have actually happened but has nevertheless been a stressful journey. Here I will tell you, from my humblest beginnings, how I grew to be the songwriter I am today and the process I have undergone to get there.