Sound Advice

Before you start a song, ask yourself WWRD (What Would Rob Do?).  Then play at 20-30 bpm faster than your answer.


I’ve been working on my set, rehearsing, and driving myself nuts.  Rob, he of the slowest damn song I’ve ever heard, offered sage-like advice. 

Come see me play the Songwriter’s Showcase in Damascus, MD this Saturday Night.  And if you do, remind me, WWRD?


Played 189 times


Live songwriting experiment - COMPLETE! Lyrics and chords exist in this post

At first I was all 

Why am I doing this? What if I fail? Oh man oh man oh man oh man… Why am I worried? I don’t even have that many followers…

Then I was all 

Why won’t the lyrics just COME already?! Why do I keep stuffing up?! Where is *that* stupid harmony coming from? Are you for serious brain?!

But, now it’s exported, uploaded and about to go on to my fiftyninety page. I can’t decide it I like it or not. I’m just

Done like a done thing. 

Kahiwa, a fell 50/90 and FAWMer, recently chronicled the writing of a new song.  Unlike the disasters attempts Rob and I have showcased here, she recorded snippets of the song during the writing phase and posted them, along with the lyrics and chord progression.  Following on her blog under the tag ‘live blogging’, it’s a fascinating insight into another musician’s writing process. 

It’s also an amazing decent into gif-madness.

Well done, Kahiwa!



You may have heard me, and others, go on about 50/90 and thought - why would you want to write 50 songs in 90 days? They’re not going to be any good. And, besides, I can’t write that quickly. Or at all. 

This video is why. 

Because (I like to think anyway) I have good taste in music. I know what I want to make. I know how I want it to sound. I have an idea of what “good” for me sounds like, but I’m not there yet. 

50/90 is how I do “a lot of work”. It forces me to write. It forces me to change and adapt and be influenced and collaborate and connect with others. It forces me to be critical of what I’m creating and others. It forces me to look for the next level between where I am and where I want to be. 

And it’s a lot of fun. 

So, watch the video. Then come over and join us. There’s still time. 

This is brilliant.  First, the actual video itself is wonderful typography in motion.  But the content is absolutely 100% spot on.  If you’re employed in creative work, if you’re a hobbyist, if you’re working a day-job to support your night time artistic endeavors, this thought is simple but apt.  

It takes hard work to make things look easy.  Most overnight successes have spent an awful number hours trying but not quite getting there.  But that’s okay.  That’s part of it all.

And that’s usually the hardest lesson to learn.

More Musical Happenings

While half of the band was off nerding it up with nerds in the nerdy West Coast (I’M SO JEALOUS!!!1!1!!ELEVEN!!!), the band has still been moving forward with new music!

First, 50/90. Yes, Rob and I are shambling forward on this lunatic’s march toward 50 songs. We’d both promised ourselves that we’d keep it to a dull roar this year and not aim for 50 songs. Rob ‘won’ last year with 51 tracks. I was within shouting distance at 42. This year, we figured we’d focus on staying sane, finishing Rob’s Solo CD, and the upcoming RGPR album. Yadda yadda yadda… we have 10 songs between us already (one of which was my twee / pop / ukulele track ‘Here and Now' we posted here last week). You'll see some of those posted in the coming days / weeks.

Secondly, Rob’s solo disc. Seriously, be jealous of me, because I can listen to most of this now, and you can’t. We’re in the final weeks of mixing, and it’s coming along really well. I think there are about 3 or 4 more tracks to mix, then we work on sequencing. We’ll be posting some tracks here soon, so look out, peeps.

Finally, We’re still aiming to have a new album together by the holidays this year. We’ve planned a session in August to write new tracks and mix old ones. And drink. Maybe some yelling. Then drinks. Be on the look out for some liquid encouragement songs, and possibly a 50/90 Podcast recorded live while drinking. What could possibly go wrong?

Don’t answer that.


Played 10 times

Here and Now - Mark

While some people we know are enjoying ComiCon, we’re still working on new music.  The Fifty-Ninety Songwriting Challenge is underway, and Rob and I are headlong into writing.  We’ll both be posting new music here on the blog (as well as tracks from Rob’s upcoming solo CD!) throughout the summer.

This song is called ‘Here and Now’.  I reblogged a post earlier from Kahiwa (a fellow 50/90 and FAWM musician) about this track, but thought I’d post the song itself to the blog.  The song is a ukulele driven twee/pop song.  It’s a rough demo, because you don’t have time for polished products in 50/90.  

Click here to read more of my liner notes, or to just check out 50/90 in general.  

Be on the look out for more new music from RGPR this summer!


Tumblorchestra: It’s coming…

We’re on the tail end of the disaster we call a Writing/Recording/Mixing process.

Tumblorchestra… it’s coming.

See you next Tuesday…  or sooner.


Tumblorchestra: An Update


It is is a thing.  

It is happening.  

The two of us have sifted through your many ones of contributions, and are writing and recording.  So far, we have a general direction we’re happy with, and have built the first two verses and choruses (chorusi? chorii).  There are guitars, bass, drums, and a small contingent of singers.  But nothing is finished just yet.

So this is a last call for contributions.  Hand Claps, recording your five favorite words (or in Texnessa’s case, her single favorite word, repeated), anything else, send it our way.  Drop us a line in our  Ask Box.

Want to record a solo?  Ask Box us about it, and we can put together an instrumental snippet of our working draft for you to use as recording reference for key and pacing (I think we’re in Dm at around 100 bpm).

Again, last call.  This song may be more ‘House Band’ than ‘Orchestra’, but it’s gonna happen.

There’s always Tumblorchestra 2.0… 


Played 11 times

Building Houses

This was the penultimate song I wrote during FAWM this year.  Completely different from the electronica fiasco that was the rest of my output, this song is a mellow acoustic track.  I threw my acoustic guitar into an odd tuning (C-G-C-G-B-E, if you’re keeping score at home), then built this chord progression around it. 

It’s kind of a sad one, but it’s a song I really enjoyed playing and writing. 

Speaking of writing, the Tumblorchestra still has some vacancies…


Failing Live 4: The Suspenseful Break

The guitars are roughed in.

The drums are mocked up for the first two verses and choruses (chorii?  Choruseseses?)

Bass: Check.

Mandolin: Check.

Vocals… not so much.

Lyrics: Only partially done, but well on their way to inadvertent homo-erotica.

Our wives are finished with their pampering.  This session will be paused until we return from lunch with them.

To Be Continued…

Failing Live 4: The Same Thought

The electric guitars should only come in during the chorus.

We both agree.

This was an accomplishment.

Serious Rob is serious.
I think I have disappointed him with my playing.
Maybe I need my DoomPhones.

Serious Rob is serious.

I think I have disappointed him with my playing.

Maybe I need my DoomPhones.

Failing Live 4: Failing Together

Rob and I are in the same place, at the same time.

Our wives are out getting pampered and otherwise enjoying themselves without our senseless blathering about music.  So Rob and I are doing the only logical thing.

A new Failing Live session. 

We’ve got 90 minutes.

We are go.

OK. Here’s the demo of that track I texted you about. We’ve been talking a lot recently about not sending each other completed songs, but I’ve gone too far in the other direction. I’ve taken a day and half to sketch down a basic thought and then passed it to you. Actually, I’ve thrown the pieces of a disaster at you and yelled, “Here! The fucker’s all yours!” I think it has potential.

Actual text from the email Rob sent me along with the original demo for ‘Run For Your Life’. 

Played 31 times

Run For Your Life - The Really Good Pot Roast

Mark’s Notes: About 2 weeks ago, Rob sent me the music for this song, and I loved it. It had that straight ahead classic rock sound. He asked me to come up with lyrics for it. Piece of cake. I then spent most of the last 2 weeks drawing a complete blank. Then I came up with the chorus, and the rest of the stalker vibe lyrics quickly fell into place 2 days ago.

I’m kinda smitten with this song. Rob put together great music, and all I had to do is sing and some mixing. And this song is one of the first times I just felt really comfortable singing.

Rob’s Notes: This song started off rough. I wrote the intro, verse, and chorus music and then hit a wall. I had no idea where it should go. I slapped on a random title and dumped it on Mark. Literally dumped. I sent him an e-mail,. unannounced, that basically said, “This is the music I started writing and never finished. Good luck with it.” He took this to a new level. Might be my favorite song we’ve ever written together.

We hope you enjoy it!

Played 11 times

Beyond the Friendly Ignorance - Robert Rubin

Here’s the result of today’s episode of Failing Live.  Not bad for my first attempt at it.  Hope you all enjoy!  The song title comes from Titular, the random title generator on the FAWM website.