Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog #3 - Coheed and Cambria - "When Skeletons Live"

It's been a long time since my last blog, I know. I got quite busy getting ready for and then playing some shows with Annihilator. They were great shows. Specially since it was the first time the band had played a show in North America in about 17 years!

This time I decided to play a Coheed and Cambria song in honour of their great bass player Mic Todd. No he is not dead, thankfully, but it seems that he has been going through some difficult times. I wish him all the best. Here is me playing Coheed and Cambria's "When Skeletons Live" from their last album "Year of the Black Rainbow"

Coheed and Cambria - When Skeletons Live (BASS guitar cover) from Alberto Campuzano on Vimeo.

This is one of my favourite songs from this album, and I think this album is one of the best Coheed has put out (but they're all awesome). It's very characteristic of their material: lots of catchy melodies, harmonized vocal parts, busy guitars, and a wicked team of Mic Todd and Chris Pennie on bass and drums that grooves very hard; they make it difficult not to listen to just them throughout the whole tune. The whole song is full of great interactions between the rhythm section. Mic plays every pass of each verse differently, getting busier and busier, but always locked in with the drums. It is very refreshing to hear that they have opted to not just copy and paste sections like too many bands do nowadays. It's no wonder they are categorized as Prog Rockers.

There is so much more syncopated rhythms in here than in most average rock tunes. I had to pull a trick I wouldn't normally use: plucking ghost notes. Which is when i use my right hand finger(s) to pluck a string while I dampen that string with my left hand, creating a thumping muted sound. Its more percussive than anything, and its not very noticeable at first, but when you listen carefully it helps to connect the bass and drum parts together, and makes the groove tighter, or more in sync. The most obvious place to catch the ghost notes is during the chorus (first time at 1:14) where I play a set of eight-notes grouped in threes, with the first one being played and the other two being muted. However, there are a lot of other little spots where you can hear the "thud" of a note, but without a pitch. Its a technique used mostly for Funk or R&B bass parts, but its used very well here.

Another favourite part of mine in this song is the end of the pre-choruses (1:02 and 2:08) because each one is slightly different. The difference is so minute that before i started learning how to play the song I did not even notice it. Both of them have a two-eight-note shot that both Mic and Chris play together, but it happens from the "and" of beat 1 to beat 2 the first time (and Chris plays it with the floor toms), and then from the "and" of beat 3 to beat 4 the second time (and Chris plays it on the snare). So the whole thing is displaced by two beats the second time around. Its the little subtle things like that that keep me really excited about a song haha. Last but not least, even though the song is mostly pretty upbeat and energetic, the band really balances the vibe with that half-time groove at the end that just makes you wanna headbang. Great stuff!

Ok that's it from me for now. I will try to get another entry going for next week. Any suggestions for what i should tackle next? See ya next time. Thanks for checking this out \m/

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