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Time Takes Over…25 years later October 24, 2013

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, Christian Beach, links, Music, New Jersey, NJ, SoundCloud, TMC, video, YouTube.
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When I was a teenager in the late 1980s and still had dreams of becoming a professional songwriter/musician, I wrote and recorded a song I called “Time Takes Over” in October 1988.  It was probably the first complete song (with words and music) I ever wrote.

The subject matter was based on sentiments expressed by a former co-worker of mine who was describing how he visited a girl at college after having a summer fling with her. He thought it was more than that, but she didn’t see it that way. Anyway, that was the basis of the lyrics, which—for the first time in my musical life—flowed out practically simultaneously with the music.

The original 1988 version below, written when I was 17, does not include the vocals, but you will hear them later on in this post in other forms. Please note that I transferred this from an old cassette tape so that accounts for the audio artifacts.

In 1989/1990, I was in an ill-fated techno-rap outfit called TMC+The New Generation and—after a few arrangement tweaks by my friend and then-bandmate Christian Beach—we performed “Time Takes Over” during a very poorly structured live show at the ol’ Green Parrot Rock Club in Neptune, N.J., which you can see below.

Finally, a few years ago, I recorded an updated version in GarageBand on my MacBook that includes vocals. In 2012, I re-recorded the vocals and made some additional tweaks. That is the version you can hear below. Enjoy.

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A blast from my musical past March 15, 2012

Posted by Brian in artist, Asbury Park, Brian Kelley, Christian Beach, Music, New Jersey, NJ, TMC.
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If you search “TMC” or select the “TMC” category on this blog, you’ll find a bunch of posts about a music group I was part of back in 1988-90 called TMC + The New Generation (although, shortly before I left the group, we informally changed our name to Interläken Pröbe to reflect a shift to a more industrial hip-hop sound). The group consisted of me and my friend Christian Beach—who went on to become very talented singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist—on keyboards, samplers, sequencers and drum machines…and a rapper from Asbury Park, N.J., named Tariq Mohammed.

Christian’s father, Gorgo, also a musician, put us in touch with Tariq, who was a rapper looking to work with a band rather than using backing tracks or a DJ. Knowing that Christian and I had recently started working on electronic “new age” music together, Gorgo suggested to Tariq that the three of us should get together and see if we could combine rap with electronic music.

The full story of TMC + The New Generation can be read here, but the short story is we obviously didn’t get anywhere as a band.

Looking back, though, you could say that we were very ambitious—actually, TOO ambitious. But what we were trying to do—combine rap with electronic music AND multiple pop/rock genres—wasn’t very common in those days. And here we were, three teenagers along the Jersey Shore (and not one of us drunk or with a stupid nickname) to create this type of music with an array of electronic instruments we didn’t fully understand. As you would expect, we just were not experienced or mature enough to properly turn our musical visions into reality. But there were moments that still exist on old recordings and videos in which a glimpse of brilliance shines through. One such moment was a song that started out as something we nicknamed “Reggae Rap.” Tariq had the idea of rapping over a reggae-style song so we started playing a preset reggae rhythm pattern on Christian’s Roland R-8 drum machine and improvised some keyboard parts over it.

Eventually, we added a three-part harmony to the chorus and the song became known as “You’re That Kind of Girl.”

We performed the song a couple of times, including once at The Green Parrot—the long-gone rock club that used to be on Route 33 in Neptune, N.J. Someone videotaped that show for us so, despite the poor quality of the audio and video, it  provided us with a recording of a lot of our material. Unfortunately, videotape doesn’t last forever and the quality continues to get worse over time. My copy of the tape, which I believe is the only one still around, actually broke near the beginning of “You’re That Kind of Girl” and I had to repair it to salvage a partial version of the song.

Anyway, I’m rambling so here’s the deal…after a few years of being in and out of touch with each other after our TMC days, Christian and I have been reconnected since 2005 and I have even performed and recorded with him a few times over the past few years. More recently, a virtual TMC reunion took place when Christian and I became friends with Tariq on Facebook.

Tariq and I have since exchanged messages via Facebook and an audio excerpt of the live version of “You’re That Kind of Girl” popped up unexpectedly on my iPod while driving a few days ago. It got me thinking that I should record a decent version of the song…so that’s what I did. Of course, since I never knew the lyrics rapped by Tariq in the verses (and the lone surviving recording is mostly unintelligible), I rewrote the verse lyrics while retaining the spirit and melody of the original version (and, yes, I rhymed “me” with itself at one point…I wasn’t spending THAT much time on this). I also tweaked the arrangement a bit.

But, overall, the 2012 version of “You’re That Kind of Girl” is pretty much just an updated version of the 1989/90 version…and I even included a some faux auto-tune as a nod to the song’s rap origins since I was not about to try rapping.

Enjoy…

“You’re That Kind of Girl (2012)”
[audio http://tandemwiththerandom.com/misc/music/You’re%20That%20Kind%20of%20Girl%20(2012).mp3]

Like the song says, "Time takes over" June 15, 2005

Posted by Brian in TMC, Uncategorized.
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All this looking back at my music “career” that I have been doing lately made realize something…I’m getting old.

I was watching the full TMC + The New Generation video and our performance of “Time Takes Over” came on. Now, TTO was the first, complete song I ever wrote (and, yes, Christian Beach is responsible for the “shoe” sound that was added around 1990). I recorded the earliest version of it on my own in October 1988, and brought it to TMC+TNG shortly thereafter.

When I started thinking about when I wrote TTO, it hit me…THAT WAS 17 FREAKIN’ YEARS AGO. The song is just as old now as I was when I wrote the darn thing.

Man, that is depressing.

What’s that noise? June 9, 2005

Posted by Brian in TMC, Uncategorized.
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I found another TMC + The New Generation moment that made me fall down laughing.

For one reason or another, it seems that at least once during each of our shows a sound came out of one of our keyboards that wasn’t supposed to be there. One time, a menacing bass line in a song called “Death Row” came out as bells.

But on one occasion, which was captured on video and can be seen at the link below (or by clicking on this post’s headline), a saxophone started playing wildly at the end of a song called “Don’t Die Poor.”

Now, I’m not 100-percent sure of this, but I think this is what happened…as “Don’t Die Poor” was coming to an end, Christian wanted to load his sampler with the sounds he needed for the next song — and that included a sax.

Unfortunately, when the sax sound loaded, it was on the same MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) channel as a percussion sound that was still playing. I don’t want to get into a explanation of how MIDI works, so I’ll just say that because the two sounds were on the same channel, the sax sound came out as the percussion part (which was still playing underneath the sax sound in the mix).

Now, it may not be as funny to somebody who doesn’t know the song, but — to me — it sounds pretty obvious that the sax part was not supposed to be there.

As Homer Simpson would say, “Bring on the saxamaphone!”

More TMC + The New Generation memories June 9, 2005

Posted by Brian in TMC, Uncategorized.
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Well, I came across another classic comedy moment of the comprehensive video history of TMC + The New Generation…

…we were playing a show at the ol’ Green Parrot Rock Club in Neptune, NJ, and — as usual — we had a sequencer malfunction. Well, actually, this was more a BK brain cramp…as you will see in the video, we were starting a song called “Stop the Violence!” (featuring a few notes borrowed from the “Hawaii Five-0” theme) and after Christian played some samples and TMC yelled “Stop,” I was supposed to step on a foot switch and start the sequencer to play the background tracks of the song.

One problem…I forgot to switch songs on my Kawai Q-80 sequencer and had to make a quick lunge over to turn the Q-80’s “alpha wheel” to the correct song. As you can see, it took a little bit of time to accomplish that and it resulted in an awkward silence…if you listen hard enough, I think you can hear crickets chirping.

Here is that comedy nugget for all to enjoy…

Stop the Violence…and start the sequencer!

Remembering TMC + The New Generation June 7, 2005

Posted by Brian in TMC, Uncategorized.
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Since I took some time off to take care of some things, I am going back to Ocean County to spend some time at the Jersey Shore (and I picked a great weather week to do it, apparently).

I am hoping to get together with an old friend and music collaborator, Christian Beach, to reminisce about the old days in what may have been the most oddly constructed musical group in history (and that’s including the Polyphonic Spree)…TMC + The New Generation.

Now, TMC+TNG’s execution was pitiful, but what we were trying to do was pretty ambitious at the time, especially for two kids from New Jersey in their mid-to-late teens.

Here’s the story…Christian and I first met around the mid-80s when a one-time mutual friend named Andy Benton invited me to join them in their project, White Noise. But after Andy disappeared following the infamous “Swiss Miss” incident, Christian and I went our separate ways for awhile until I found out that somebody I worked with was in a high school class with Christian. We regained contact and tried doing some synth-based, new age stuff…as you can tell, that went nowhere. However, we soon were told about an Asbury Park-based rapper who went by the name of TMC (and whose real name we were never 100 percent sure of because we couldn’t understand him half the time) and was looking for real musicians to back him up instead of using samples and a DJ.

With a background that was mostly in jazz, new age, and progressive and alternative rock, Christian and I started working on some songs we thought could be considered rap. We did this by “borrowing” pieces of mainstream rap songs of the time, but we inevitably added some advanced layers to the rap foundations. Some of the first stuff we worked on actually sounded pretty cool, but the only time we used any of it was at an open mic night at the now-departed Green Parrot Rock Club in Neptune, NJ.

We played behind TMC that night as kind of an audition and we wound up sticking together despite the fact that the performance was one of several in a series of Spinal Tap-like disasters that would plague us during TMC+TNG’s existence. We were using the basic, 8-track sequencer in my Ensoniq ESQ-1 at the time and when I turned it on at the club, somehow every sequence except for one had been deleted. Now, this was one sequence of a song, so it was basically just a verse. Instead of playing two or three songs, we were reduced to playing over the same eight bars or so for what seemed like 10 minutes…with TMC rapping the whole time and waiting for the music to change. It was a nightmare, but it pales in comparison to things that would happen to us later.

That being said, as Christian and I discussed recently, some of the things we tried doing back then were ahead of their time. It’s just that we weren’t experienced or focused enough, perhaps, to pull it off. After a couple of years, I started doubting myself and my place in the music world and decided to leave TMC+TNG, giving Christian the rights to everything we had worked on together. I also felt like I was holding Christian back because he was the musical force behind the band with tons of talent and creativity, but I could tell it wasn’t all coming out. A couple of years later, Christian started getting airplay on WHTG 106.3 with his band, Slave of Id. I was listening to G 106.3 one day in late ’92, I believe, when they ran a promo for a benefit show in Long Branch, NJ. Instead of just saying “Slave of Id” was playing, the promo said “Christian Beach’s Slave of Id.” I always felt that was some cosmic signal to try to get back in touch with Christian, which I did by showing up at the gig.

Anyway, Slave of Id’s first single was “What Does It Mean to You?” — a song that featured a few lines of lyrics I had written during the waning days of TMC+TNG (actually, by that time, Christian and I started getting into industrial music and we changed the name of the band to Interläken Pröbe, since nearby Interlaken, NJ, had a European-looking name and I was driving a Ford Probe at the time…plus, it sounded somewhat experimental).

So, thanks to Christian and Slave of Id, I was able to hear words that I wrote on the radio, which I still find rather cool.

OK…so the purpose of this post. Well, one of the funnier moments in TMC+TNG history was a local cable TV appearance during a Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon. When I set up the gig, I thought it would be cool to get on television…boy, was I wrong! First of all, TMC had his numerous brothers and sisters dance on stage during our performances. I had told him that we were going to be in a small room and that we should probably leave the TV gig to just the three of us. He seemed to acknowledge that fact, but we get to the studio and he tells us that his brothers and sisters are on the way. Fortunately, only his brothers made it because the car the sisters were in broke down and didn’t get there until after we performed.

Anyway, here is the funny sequence of events leading up to our actual performance…the production guys in the room were under the impression that we were going on after the hosts finished up something in the lobby of the studios. I seem to recall they even started a countdown, but instead of cutting to us we heard one of the hosts on a nearby monitor say, “We have two clowns.” As the production guys tell us to relax, Christian’s dad — hiding behind a keyboard case on the floor to take care of any musical problems for us — says to me and Christian, “That must be you two!”

OK…that’s phase 1 of the sequence of events…after the clowns do their thing in the lobby, the host — a guy named Johnny Cal — comes into the room to introduce us and finally get the show on the road. Well, he left the door open a bit and when I went to hit the sequencer to start the first song, I notice out of the corner of my eye the two freakin’ clowns peeking through the crack of the door…clown hair, clown face, clown shoes and all. I almost lost it right there. The look on these clowns faces was priceless and I think they felt threatened by us, thinking we would be funnier than they were.

Well, they had every reason to fear us because we were damned funny. I took a short clip of our intro onto my .Mac site for all to enjoy. I edited the intro to give it more comedic value, but it gives you the sense of how ridiculous the whole thing was.

Enjoy…Send in the clowns…and TMC + The New Generation

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