Monday, December 7, 2009

What's new?!

I've been busy with work, being a husband and trying to relax through it all. I have been playing games and have certainly been playing some guitar. As a matter of fact, I picked up (no pun intended) some new guitar pickups for my ESP M-207! The ones I got installed in my 7-string guitar are the John Petrucci series from DiMarzio called the CrunchLab 7 and LiquiFire 7. These produce some really great tones ranging from metal/thrash chunk (on the crunchlab pickup especially) to warm, melodic, sustaining flows. I took a little time to poorly improvise in the studio to show off these pickups, the results of which you can find below. Enjoy!

I have also been trying to learn and perfect the rhythms (so far) of one of my favorite Dream Theater songs - The Dark Eternal Night. Here's a short video of how "well" I can play the introduction. It is actually pretty good, but in a few weeks I should have a much better performance!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dream Theater pix + 1 video 8/9/09

Went to see Dream Theater at the Beacon Theatre August 9th. They headlined the tour with Zappa Plays Zappa and it was a phenomenal performance. I was absolutely blown away. I wish I could have captured more video, but the security was tight down there. Enjoy!

Dream Theater 08-09-09

Monday, August 3, 2009


Yes, it's been a few months. A quick update of my life since the end of May:

* I got married on 7/18 (yes!)
* I turned 29 years old on 7/20
* Rocafuerte had two shows on the streets of Queens and Brooklyn on 6/21

Speaking of that last bullet point, here's a video from one of the shows. This is one of our harder edge songs, entitled "El Gran Escape." I like the groove of it and it's standard but non-standard structure: it has "no" chorus! Technically it does but there are no vocals, just a guitar melody of sorts.

It also started raining as we did this song, visually telling the story and making it feel even more epic!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A May update! I play guitar! I finish games!

I finally found some time to play guitar at home again. I made some videos, but a lot of them were just of me screwing around with a new solo I'm writing for the Rocafuerte song, "Para Todo Hay Remedio." That would be our instrumental. Below, though, is a song I wrote that was never recorded during the Soulstream era. Actually, I never got around to teaching it to the guys before we disbanded. I really like the hectic pace of the song and will one day want to fully arrange and record this song. The lyrics are based in a fictional word where an "angel" is sent to purify the souls of evil men, mounted on his gigantic, flying, blessed holy gun.

Side note: I finally finished Xenogears, clocking in at 66 hours roughly. I enjoyed the game, but some of the dialogue near the end was just nonsensical filler. Lots of big technical words that could easily confuse someone who isn't quite tech savvy. There are also loads of psychology terms that were easily confusing. I got the gist of the story, which really sums up to what most RPGs lean toward - defending against the world's annihilation.

But I digress.

Here's me fooling around with some improv soloing and mindless strumming!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Endurance: Viewtiful Joe 2, Guitar Hero Metallica + RocaFuerte news

Sorry about the long gap between posts. It's tough living my life and having relevant things to post. This blog ain't exactly about my personal life, you know!

Recently, I finished Viewtiful Joe 2, a tough, exciting and cute beat 'em up on Nintendo Gamecube. This game starts out manageable and fun. As the player gets further into the game, the difficulty ramps up and some pretty lofty challenges are presented. Below is a set of three videos comprising about 25 minutes of the final challenge before the end boss to the game. It's just the pinnacle of Clover Studios' (the developer) expectations of the player. I am not sure I've seen such a massive requirement to finish a stage in a while, and I've been playing some very difficult games! The content provided in the 3 videos below must all be completed in one set of lives and you start out with three; if you lose a life you will have to start at the beginning of the section, which equates to the beginning of the video. At the end, the game clocks me in as taking 12 minutes to finish the level, but you will see for yourself how long it took based on these videos. I assume it took 12 minutes outside of traveling between challenges and the ratings but I'm not sure.

Yesterday I purchased (via pre-order) Guitar Hero: Metallica. Being that this is the band that takes half of the credit for me playing guitar in the first place (and 100% of the credit for me being a lead guitarist), I was incredibly interested in this game. There are 25 songs from the band, spanning all the albums. The offerings are a bit uneven between albums, but wisely chosen. The game is touted as being very hard for people who aren't experienced in the world of Guitar Hero, and for them I must agree. I did manage to finish the career mode after having completed 23% of the songs in the list. The songs open up based on how many stars you get, as opposed to how many songs are completed. It's safe to say that I got 5 stars in most of the songs I've played so far. I did play some of the higher tiered stuff, including one of my favorite songs, "Dyer's Eve." The first song I failed in my play through, this is a beast wanting to be tamed. It took me several tries to finish it and I scraped by with 3 stars. Below is a video of me playing it on Expert. I was so happy that I finished the song that I started singing along near the end. Pardon my being off-pitch; this song is very tiring!

I'm disappointed in two things with this game; the first is that the final song in the game is not a difficult one, but it is preceded by some of the toughest songs in the game, including "Dyer's Eve." It did fit with the venue where I performed it, which opened up solely for the final song. The other disappointment is that the Rock Band drum set does not support the double bass functionality. I honestly think it's a software related thing (Activision hatin') since all the hardware connects properly. I'll have to purchase the Guitar Hero World Tour kit on a deal some time in the future, as I just don't have a Benjamin to pony up for extra equipment I won't be using all the time. Anyone wanna donate to the cause? j/k

Finally, some RocaFuerte news: the songs in our demo have been complete for some time, but my singer finally e-mailed them to me in their final form. Enjoy!

1 - Terminara (3:58)
2 - Vuelo Letal (3:50)

We're also working on a new progressive-type song to go with our heavier tunes. I'm pretty excited about what we're working with and hope we come up with an amazing song. More info later!

We have a Facebook page up in addition to our mySpace page. If you've got a Facebook account, search for RocaFuerte and become a fan! We should be playing some gigs soon so if you're in the NYMA come out and see us.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why I'm late on Metallica footage from LAST MONTH...

Been very busy with my unorthodox work and sleep cycle. I moved to my new place in early February and have also been working really hard with band activities. I think we've got a lot of exciting things in store for our opening year and I hope that it garners a respectable success.

Apologies in advance, I suppose: we were sitting kinda far away, in comparison to other shows. It was really dark as well for most of the show. As a result, the images are a bit gritty, blurry or fuzzy. Sue me. The sound on the videos can be easily described as one long fart, but you can figure out what's going on if you're a true Metallica fan (lol).

Metallica 01-29-09

I'm also going to make a video of my sweeping progress (what little of it there is) since the start of this blog. In April, I hope to show some kind of decent improvement; not quite what a year's worth of training should have provided, but better than nothing. If the pressure of my life's daily pains will ever let up, I'll be able to focus more of my time and effort on my guitar work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rocafuerte in the studio... and many more books.

On Tuesday, January 20th, the band entered a studio in the foothills of Harlem, near Washington Heights to record two songs for their debut EP. The recording environment, located in City College and manned by seniors majoring in audio engineering, was a high-tech and excellent quality studio. We recorded drums from a recital hall on the ground floor while watching from a spy camera-like interface in the recording hub. The mixing system was intricate and the band recorded using Pro Tools for Mac. From the hours of (roughly) 6PM to 4AM, we toiled away and successfully laid all the tracks for both songs, "Terminara" and "Vuelo Letal." I'm very proud of the work we've done so far and can't wait for these songs to be mixed and mastered! This will be the first big near-professional job we've done and we ensured that it would be of the best quality. Below, I've got some pictures and videos of the recording in progress for your enjoyment!

Studio Session 1/20

In other news, Metallica is playing at Nassau Coliseum tomorrow! I'm so amped about this, as this will be the third time I've seen them live. The new music is great (imo) and I can't wait to hear it in person. The Guitar Hero: Metallica game will be out two months to the date after that, with an amazing set list. This makes me very happy and I can't wait to break my wrists (lol) when the game releases.

On Saturday, I will be moving to a new residence. I hate moving. All the heavy lifting and transporting back and forth is just a big pain to me. Alas, it must be done, and I hope that one day soon I will find a permanent residence (i.e. house or condo or something) so that I won't ever have to move again!

More on the games front, I've been occupied with playing Prince of Persia, the recent release for Xbox 360. I'm really enjoying the game, perhaps because I've never played the Sands of Time trilogy much. I think I put about 3 hours into the original Sands of Time, but never played Warrior Within or Two Thrones. The acrobatics are fun and haven't gotten stale after about 4-5 hours of play. The dialogue is witty; the prince is extremely sarcastic and even cynical at times, which makes his conversations with Elika (his ally) humorous and entertaining. The graphics are wonderful; it's cel-shaded, but the high resolution (I'm playing on 1080p) makes things look Disney-esque. It's a joy on the eyes.

Next month is "Bad Ass Brawlers" month! I will be playing six games (and hopefully finishing them!) in this short month that feature pugilists, ninja and swordsmen of the most high. Ryu Hayabusa will be featured in both his Ninja Gaiden games for Xbox 360. Kratos will have a stab at his fellows in God of War II for PS2, while Gene knocks foes into the sky in God Hand. Sieg Wahrheit battles "hideous monsters" in Chaos Legion. Joe returns to cel-shaded, quirky action in the sequel to the previously completed Viewtiful Joe. Details to come soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

And the new year rolls on

Happy new year, reader(s)! Yes, I'm lazy. Yes, I'm busy. No, I still don't have any videos to post. Eventually, I will. Maybe I'll grab videos from my grandfather who has recorded me play (terribly, in my opinion) at church over the holidays just to sate your appetites. In any case, videos will come one way or another...

Oh, the New York Jets. It looks like the season ended right about in the middle. No 1-15 record, no 15-1 record, but a rather impressive 9-7 record (compared to last year). Maybe the Madden curse took it's toll this year on Brett Favre. He is indeed injured, but not like previous Madden cover artists - he and his torn biceps tendon roughed it out for the entire 17 weeks, really showing some terrible play in the last 5 games, 4 of which were big "L's." Yeah, they should have benched him. I guess that's why Señor Head Coach Mangini got the big "F" right after week 17's loss against the (now Division leader) Dolphins. Who led that team to the playoffs? None other than "Ol' Chaddy Boy" Pennington, the ex-Jet QB who was a part of a 4-12 record last year and who brought the Dolphins from 1-15 in '07 to 10-6 this year. Que será, será.

2009 will hopefully be the year Roca Fuerte comes out of the dark recesses of the studio and rises to the top of the world. I'm working hard along with the other talented members of this group to make this music sound better than anything we've worked on before! We should be recording our EP within one to two month's time and once that is done, I'll have some more content on the blog. Solo takes, anyone? :) Wish us the best!

2009 will also be the year I make some big dents in my gaming backlog. In '08 I finished a grand total of 11 games, starting in July. I finished one game so far since the new year; I had actually been 1 hour or so away from its full completion since about 2004... how shameful! I am going to set up a gadget on the sidebar to show a tally just for kicks. See it? Love it!

So now I'm off to start my new year of music, gaming and makin' that cheddar. I just wanna give a couple of shout-outs before I go, though. All my love goes out to God for making everything possible and blessing us with our talents. Big ups to my fiance E'vy, my mom and dad, local family (grandparents/aunts/uncles), my best friend Sonzer and his wife and twins, the band, MrCHUP0N and NYCShogun. Finally, I wanna give a big shout out to Barack Obama, our new President starting January 20th. I believe that we're all headed for a world of positive change in the coming years.

Until next we meet!