Castlevania on Netflix

Castlevania on Netflix

It wasn’t supposed to be good.

Instead, it’s great, and I’m late to the party.

Are you??

Many people I know have been saying how great it is, but they’ve oversold and overhyped things before, so I took it with a grain of salt.

And most video-game-based movies and TV shows are not good, and vice-versa.

So I started watching Castlevania reluctantly, expecting the hype to be overblown.

But it’s not! Before the title screen in the first episode, you’re hooked!

The Hook

Let me set the scene…

Dracula, alone in his castle, receives an unexpected guest — Lisa, a headstrong woman seeking forbidden knowledge in order to become a doctor and aid the weak and helpless throughout the land.

Dracula mistakes her for another would-be witch trying to fool the peasants, to which Lisa scoffs, saying everybody else already does that, but she believes in science, not superstition.

He sneaks up behind her, whispering in her ear, seductively asking what she has to “trade” for access to his knowledge. Lisa pulls away from him and says perhaps she could help him relearn some manners.

Dracula warms to her, and takes her into his laboratory. Lisa is awed at what she sees inside.

“They won’t be peasants anymore if you teach them. They won’t live such short, scared lives if they have real medicine. They won’t be superstitious if they learn how the world really works,” says Lisa.

With a slight laugh, Dracula says, “Why should I do that??”

“To make the world better,” replies Lisa as a matter of fact. (If Castlevania was set in 2017, Lisa would have added a “Duh!” at the end — it’s set in 15th century Wallachia, a town in Romania.)

She adds, “Start with me, and I’ll start with you.”

The Narrative

Do you see what’s happening here???

First, it doesn’t get more ‘white, male oligarch’ than Dracula.

Second, Lisa values science above superstition and ignorance, and isn’t afraid to walk right up to the door of the most powerful man in the world, and ask for the keys to his secrets in the name of the greater good — when he tries to grab-her-by-the-…neck, she calls him rude and says she’ll help him relearn how to be a better human being!

Dracula reforms. He falls in love with Lisa. They marry.

Fast-forward twenty years, and a corrupt bishop has Lisa burned at the stake as a witch.

This is all before the title screen!

So, there’s the setup, and the plot develops over the four episodes in the first season, and centers around ensuring Dracula doesn’t wipe out humanity in a vengeful rage.

But then there’s the underlying narrative.

Feminism…religious ignorance…science deniers…oppression…war…

Even Big Data is a subject: without giving anything important away, there is a certain group of people who place great value on speaking and saying things to each other and remembering what was said, passing it down through generations, rather than writing it down for posterity. (It’s a commentary on our bureaucracy- and social media-driven culture, and how we feel compelled to document everything.)

But the biggest narrative is that of oligarchs in power suppressing the populace by withholding knowledge and information, and using violence to extinguish any would-be agents of change, of progress.

As the fire engulfs Lisa, the mayor of Wallachia approaches the bishop, revealing that he too has dabbled in some minor science studies from time to time — but just studies; he assures the bishop he would never think to actually practice such things.

The bishop looks at the mayor sternly and says, “The Archbishop would prefer that life in Wallachia be kept simple, Mayor,” as Lisa screams in agony.


The Verdict

The show is a referendum on the rich and powerful’s attempt to keep the world in the dark, to keep wisdom from people lest they use it to make their lives better, to make the world better.

And it’s a referendum on religious ignorance.

Both are relevant now, and you can finish the whole season in less than two hours…

Watch it!

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Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.


What I’ll Bring Up at Therapy Today

What I’ll Bring Up at Therapy Today

I am very confused right now.

A band that I gave my blood sweat and tears to is calling it quits. I found out on Facebook when I saw a post from one of the members about a farewell show.

I put a great deal of trust and faith in this band. We made great music together for a few years, then we had a falling out. We reconnected nearly ten years later, and we started making new music, and it was well received.

But then I told them I wanted the band to grow, and they said, ‘No, we’re not trying to grow, we’re just trying to have fun,’ and I said ‘Well, I can’t be a part of that. I’m trying to always grow. Growing is fun to me.’

That’s actually the same reason that things didn’t work out with Koffin Kats. I wanted to grow more than they wanted to grow. Our ambitions did not align. That’s been the story of every band I’ve been in. I’m tired of it.

I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last 10 months. I started seeing a therapist because I wanted someone in my life who I knew was intelligent and would ask me questions that no one else in my life would think to ask me, who is professionally certified to ask me these questions, and has my best interests totally at heart. A stranger, someone unbiased, to whom I can talk about the things that concern me most and get to the root of the issue.

Frankly, what concerns me most are my relationships with other people.

If it isn’t obvious by listening to my songs, I care about people. I care about making them happy. I care about being and doing my best.

When I first joined the band which is now having a farewell show, I knew that I was going to make them happy with my drumming. But I also looked at where they were at and asked ‘How can this band be better?’ and instantly it was obvious that the quality of their recordings needed to be better. The songwriting was on point, it always was, but they needed a better presentation of those songs.

So I talk everyone into driving to Indiana to record at a legitimate recording studio, with a producer who had worked on albums that we all loved.

Out of that recording experience came opportunities for pretty much everyone in the band: I got offered (and turned down) the drumming job for Rise Against, who at the time was first forming. Our guitarist went on to be guitar technician for bands like Queens Of The Stone Age. Our other guitarist ended up touring in a band with the producer. Our singer ended up joining a band and touring with them, and this particular band was the reason we recorded with this particular producer.

We all got to see our dreams starting to come true, and then we had the falling out, and we didn’t talk for years.

We reconnected in 2011 and recorded in my home studio an EP of songs that we had played live but had never recorded, plus a brand-new song that summed up our journey as a band. Things looked promising. It seemed as though we were going to start doing it again for real. We all seemed excited.

But everyone in the band had wives and children and lives and responsibilities, like we all do (well, I have an ex-wife and no kids, but definitely a life and responsibilities). For the other guys, the band was more about having fun and letting loose and relieving pressure from their lives than it was about moving forward, creating new things, picking up where we left off.

But we could have.

It’s easy to write new music. I do it often. And I know that one of the guitarists of the band does it often as well. He even formed another band which performs from time to time, and he’s the principal songwriter for the band, but he’s complained to me and shared with me his frustrations about working with that band. He wants more from them.

I think he wants, deep down, what I want. But I don’t think he believes that he is allowed. I wanted him to be part of the new band that I’ve been putting together, a band that is excited about where we’re going to be in 10 years, not just in 10 days or in 10 hours.

There’s part of me that regrets certain things that were said or done within the context of the dissolving band, but ultimately we are all where we are today because of the decisions that we made yesterday. It really pains me to see that a band that I put so much faith in is calling it quits, and not only am I not a part of the last hurrah, it’s not even a conversation that the rest of the band felt needed to happen with me, and that makes me sad, because some of the best memories I have as a musician involve being in this band.

I love these guys like brothers. I’m very confused.


John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /therealjohnkay

Drake on SNL and Spotify

Drake on SNL and Spotify

Drake hosted and was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live last night.

I keep hearing about this guy.  Drake is everywhere.  He’s courtside at NBA games, dropping singles regularly which get tons of streams online, doing bit parts in movies; even Taylor Swift is falling for him.

He used to be on Degrassi Junior High.  I was of the Saved By The Bell generation, already living in the adult world, salary and benefits.  Plus, sitcoms were usually too watered-down and fake to appeal to me.

You never saw an episode where the kid’s still grounded from last week: “Nope, Jimmy’s still banished to his room, doing homework.  No high jinks this week.  Say, come help me stain my deck…”  They always get out of trouble, and never stay grounded.

Life’s real problems aren’t resolved in 30 minutes or less.  That’s the pizza guy’s territory.

So, I don’t know no whatnot about any Drake, just his brief performance in Anchorman 2 (which I’ve only seen a couple of times, because anytime I try to watch it, if anyone else is in the room, I’m told to turn it off because it’s so bad).

I was impressed with Drake’s acting.  The guy is good.  He was funny throughout the night, demonstrated a broad range, and there were scenes where he held it together for the rest of the cast.  He was the anchor last night, as opposed to other times when the host just can’t seem to find their rhythm.

Some of the sketches fell flat, the way SNL has always been.  But the show has created and housed so many icons that I feel compelled to tune in from time to time, when there’s a host or musical guest who piques my interest.  Because I want to see what the culture’s up to.

It’s had its ups and downs, but Saturday Night Live has undeniably remained a cultural beacon for over four decades.  The show pays attention to modern American culture, then butchers it, skewers it, throws it on the grill, and feeds it back to us.  It mirrors what the majority is talking about.

Plus, the cast and crew work hard on that show.  Really REALLY hard.  Because Lorne Michaels runs an incredibly tight ship.

Lorne Michaels has had the same job for over 40 years, and he does it at the highest level, week in and week out.  And he demands the highest level of everyone who works for him, every single week, because it’s live TV.  It goes out there in an instant, and it has to work.  It has to play to the audience, gain wide appeal.

And last night, he casually drops a “Drizzy, how’s it goin’?” like he and Drake are old friends.


Regarding Drake’s musical performances…

The first thing I notice is that his voice is unabashedly dripping with AutoTune.  Beyond that, he simply goes out there and essentially does a one-man karaoke thing; not a ton of flash, no controversy, just his songs, his way.  And people love it.

But why??  Intrigued, I went on the Spotify US Top 50 playlist today and listened to all 50 songs — of which Drake has 17 — and was blown away.

Not necessarily by the quality of the music, but just how all incredibly similar it sounds.

A lot of people complain “the stuff on the radio all sounds the same,” or “they always play the same songs,” or whatever.

But this isn’t the radio, it’s Spotify.  It’s also how the majority of people I ask prefer to listen to music.

Drake is dominating one third of Spotify’s US Top 50 songs.  One person, and his people, creating their sound, their songs, their way, and it’s resonating with the majority of the country.  The number one song in the country — Drake’s “One Dance” — gets over 2 million plays a day in the United States.

2 million plays a day.  That’s insane.  Is that not impressive?

Some may be defiant, claiming that the majority of music listeners are ignorant.  But are the listeners, in fact, stupid?  Or is this just what the majority actually prefers to listen to now?

Have YOU listened to “One Dance”?

I’ve been mostly tuned out on what’s going on in the current musical culture, and what drives it, for so long.

It seems the path to success in today’s musical culture is to just continually create and create until something breaks through into one of these “discovery” playlists on Spotify.  Then, take that viral attention, partner up with another artist of some repute, collaborate on a song in order to cross-promote, and continue creating songs, ultimately routing a tour around where the fans are.

Because on Spotify, you can see exactly where people are playing your music.  It shows you in the artist’s “About” section.

This is a completely new world for me.  I’ve avoided Spotify for too long, and I’ve closed myself off to new music which doesn’t involve having a band.

Great artists, many of whom have left us in just this short year, listen to everything for inspiration.  And the best artists stay current.

“The old musicians stay where they are and become like museum pieces under glass, safe, easy to understand, still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.” – Miles Davis

Am I going to change who I am because this is what people are listening to?  Hell no.  But I’m not going to remain ignorant of it.  I’m going to dive in and see what it’s about.  Like a trip to a modern art museum.

And I’m not saying I like this US Top 50 stuff more, I’m not even saying I like it at all.

I’m simply drifting outside of my comfort zone, and it intrigues me.

I like a lot of different things.  Doesn’t everyone??

John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
InstaGram: @therealjohnkay

On Becoming a Jerk

When do you just become a jerk?

When do you finally say to musician friends whom you respect for their hustle, but you can’t sing or name one of their songs…

“Look, I appreciate that you keep inviting me to your ‘events’, but I don’t want to go see you perform at such and such dive bar….”

When is the last time the “next big thing” was discovered in a dive bar???  Only Leon Bridges comes to mind.

“I want to see you on a good stage with lights, surrounded by other undeniably talented musicians, not just you and a bunch of pretenders that I’ve never heard of and will never hear of again, who got the gig because they know someone who is someone or know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is someone…”

And that’s how it always works, until the talent shines through. And when the talent shines through, people know. They get it, because it has the quality of being undeniable.  And they tell everyone who will listen.

“That’s why I won’t be at your event that you’re inviting me to on Facebook.  I know you are talented, but I’m not going to go. Because I know I’m gonna have to sit through a bunch of garbage in order to get to you, and my time is worth more than that. Most everyone’s time is worth more than that, especially yours. Yet you continue to do what you think you’re supposed to be doing in order to ‘make it’.”

It makes me sad, but it’s understandable. Because it’s what we’ve been fed all our lives: do this, do this, do this, do this, do this.  Ad nauseam.

What about going your own way? What about finding your own people? What about simply discovering who you are and making the art that you want to make?

“Here’s the deal: I want you. Not in a sexual way. I’m saying I want You. I want to know who you really ARE.  Not the selfies, but the actual Self.”

It’s not about image. It’s not about branding. It’s about who you are and your story. If all we know of you are the pictures we’ve seen and the posts we’ve read on social media, then we don’t really know YOU, now DO we?

Where does this unique voice come from? Who shaped you? Who influenced you…before They got to you?  Before the ones who you thought knew better than you told you that they knew better, and told you you could do better than who you actually truly are?

They’ve said it to me too, and they’re full of it.

“Do I want to come see you perform?? Absolutely. I want to see you perform your heart out and mean it. But I know you don’t mean it tonight, at the place you’re inviting me to on a Tuesday with one-dollar Budweisers. When you’re waiting for the opportunity to leave without losing face or standing with your fans, the “venue”.  I want to see you under the hot lights, on the quality stage, with someone running sound who knows what the hell they are actually doing, within the crowd that knows all the words to your songs, in front of the ones in back who are only there to judge you and hate on you later, and behind the ones in the middle who want to hear the song that’s going to make them rush to the front. That’s when I want to see you. I want to see you where your fans want to see you.”

There is nothing wrong with doing your own thing .  There is absolutely something wrong with doing everyone else’s thing because you’re afraid to do your own thing.

“So…where are you performing next???”

John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
InstaGram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /therealjohnkay

Greg Proops, Drums, and the Men Behind The Beatles

Greg Proops, Drums, and the Men Behind The Beatles

If I said the name Greg Proops to you, would you know who I mean..?

He’s the guy from Whose Line Is It, Anyway? who looks like Buddy Holly and Charles Nelson Reilly had a baby and gave it good fashion sense, rapacious wit, and an appreciation for all humanity has to offer (save violence, oppression, bigotry, misogyny, racism…).

Anyway, he hosts a weekly podcast called The Smartest Man in the World, and it is absolutely fantastic.

For anywhere from 1-2 hours, Proops rants, informs, and educates on topics ranging from pop culture and current events to vodka, sports, social issues, more vodka, politics, music, movies, and a bunch more vodka.  He does so in front of a live audience, with whom he engages throughout the show (interrupters, beware!).

As I sit here, watching my beloved Red Wings collapse on the ice against the Penguins, I’m enjoying a “vodka-flavored vodka drink”, which reminds me of earlier this week, when I listened to the latest Proopcast, “Fountains”.

Toward the end, Proops pays honor to Sir George Martin, the longtime producer of The Beatles, who basically worked on every Beatles recording except Let It Be (Phil Spector).

Martin died three weeks ago.

To celebrate his contributions, Proops plays a few exceptional Beatles tunes which span the breadth of their career, and goes on to essentially say that without George Martin, the band wouldn’t have achieved the level of musical greatness which they did.

It’s true, and his glowing praise for Sir George is absolutely warranted.  Martin was an undeniably important part of helping the Beatles achieve the impact — the true potential — of their music upon the world.

Greg says, of George Martin’s approach to working with the Fab Five, “Always yield to people who are geniuses, and try to support them in every way.”

The Beatles helped shift cultural consciousness, and even though haters may shout “MONEY GRAB!!!!” every time there is another reissue, the music resonates decades beyond the band’s breakup because the songs transcend all genres and acknowledge myriad aspects of humanity.

The Beatles appealed to our better selves as human beings, and they were silly at times.  They weren’t afraid to be themselves, to follow their muse.  The best example of a band who does those things today would be Ween, and they broke up years ago, too.

But Proops also mentioned the “…aural magnitude that George Martin was able to create…”.  And that means people need to know about Geoff Emerick…especially if you don’t know about Geoff Emerick.

When Geoff was 15, he interviewed for a job at EMI Studios, which ultimately became Abbey Road.  He was hired promptly, and happened to luck out doing assisting work on the first Beatles demo.  The rule back then was that if the band got signed to the label, they were assigned the same staff who cut the demo to make the album.

So, Geoff Emerick assisted on most of the earliest Beatles recordings, and at 18 years old, George Martin promoted him to head audio engineer, because their original engineer, Norman Smith, decided he’d rather produce Pink Floyd than record the Beatles.

The first album Geoff engineered was Revolver, and that’s when their sound really changed.

Geoff Emerick broke the rules at EMI.  They used to have technicians with lab coats checking in on sessions and recording the levels of the equipment to make sure they weren’t being overloaded.

When the white coats had their backs turned, he placed some really expensive microphones up close to Ringo’s drums, which was tantamount to being fired.  Emerick even overloaded the expensive compressors used to control the volume and dynamic range of loud recordings; another terminable offense.

Of course it all started with the drums! Everything starts with drums.  Drums speak to every human being.

Drum.  Drum NOW!  Drum with your fists on your belly, your hands on your lap, your fingers on the table.  Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, just stop reading for a moment and DRUM!

Drumming is, at its core, a human being flailing their extremities in a controlled and musical fashion.  Drums are the first instrument, before the voice.  Before we all were birthed into this world and coerced to cry, we were drumming inside of our mothers.

Drums are primal.  Drums are spiritual.  Drums are the universal instrument. Drums are energy.  Drums unite people.  Tribes used drums to communicate across great distances, to signal and coordinate battle efforts, to dance.

In today’s music, we remember the vocal, but the drums are the driver. They, along with the bass, move the air that supplies the groove.  Most of the best bands have great rhythm sections.  If your band has a great drummer, you just may become a great band.

No Dave Grohl, no Nirvana, at least not as the world experienced them.

So when Emerick played back the drum take for the first song recorded for Revolver, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, Ringo was astounded.  He had never heard drums recorded like that before — big, with attack and body.

Geoff made the drums pump and breathe.  He gave Ringo a new life, and showed the Beatles a new sonic landscape.

Inspired by Geoff’s innovative approach, John Lennon told him, “I want my vocal to sound like the Dalai Lama shouting from a mountaintop.”

What??  In a studio where suits a ties are required, who talks like that??

Again, geniuses.

Geoff thought for a few moments about what that meant, and how to create the texture John had in his mind.  He finally decided to take a Leslie rotating speaker cabinet, generally reserved for Hammond organs, and record Lennon’s vocal through it.

Listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and pay attention to the drums and the vocal: the drums are in your face, present; the vocal is swirling, ethereal.

Geoff Emerick and his approach to audio engineering empowered the Beatles to take creative leaps further than the sterile, rule-based EMI studio would generally allow, and it paid off in Revolver.  So much so, that it revolutionized the recording industry.

Geoff has gone on to enjoy an amazing career as a producer and engineer for Paul McCartneyElvis Costello, Badfinger, Art Garfunkel, America, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and so many more.

So, while everyone is giving love to George Martin, and he certainly does deserve it, my behind-the-Beatles hero is Geoff Emerick.  Because while George Martin was arranging beautiful strings and horns, and playing piano and coaching vocal harmonies with the boys in the live room, Geoff was sweating bullets in the control room, scared to death of being found disobeying orders, while bearing the ultimate accountability for recording THE BEATLES.

But he knew he was right.  He believed in his decisions, and those decisions ultimately made the Beatles’ music better for them.

He was the unknown, who risked it all, for the greater good of music.  And it paid off.

Don’t confuse a risk with a gamble.  Gambling is foolish.  Risking is smart.

Trust your instincts, take the risk.

Because tomorrow never knows.


P.S. I actually sent this to Greg Proops…and he responded:


So awesome


I loved when you were mistaken for the guy from Steppenwolf


John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
InstaGram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /therealjohnkay

Kick in the Butt


You know, the universe never ceases to amaze me….

I ordered some monitor stands for the studio in the new house so I can migrate my operations here.  Along with the stands, I bought a few books, which have all since arrived.  Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work was delivered this morning and I’ve just completed it.  At a mere 98 pages, it was easily the shortest book I ordered.

The main theme in Do the Work is getting out of your own way by overcoming Resistance (Pressfield purposely capitalizes this word), and allowing Assistance to aid you in your efforts.

Pressfield essentially says that in order to succeed at effecting a change in one’s life, one needs to:

1. Stay stupid

2. Trust the soup

3. Start before you are ready

When it comes to being creative, to “stay stupid” means to not over-think and just act — without simultaneous self-criticism.

Just begin.  Get after it.  Don’t worry about the results yet.  Just follow your muse and allow it to take you wherever it goes.  You can sand off the rough edges later, just get started and engage in the work.

To “trust the soup” is to let go of the need to control, and put your faith in something bigger than you.  Not necessarily God, but the “Big Mystery” or “The Source” or just the universe itself.

The goal is to remove any preconceptions or held-fast rules or judgement and simply allow ideas to come to you naturally, organically.  There are no right or wrong ideas, only ways of thinking which make them so.  Don’t think.  Just write your ideas down.  Record voice memos.  Capture your thoughts as swiftly as possible, or they may leave before you get a chance.

“Start before you are ready” is a theme I find common throughout my studies.  It’s good to be prepared, but if you prepare too much and your plan is too rigid, you leave no room for maneuvering should problems arise.  And problems will always arise!

If you begin before you are ready, you know you are unprepared, and therefore, you will have to be more focused and attentive to the matters at hand.

You are naked, you are alone, and you are scared.  You must do something.  So DO something.  Place yourself on what author Robert Greene calls “death ground” — if you are in a position in which you absolutely cannot fail, in which you either live or die, your focus and energy will rise to meet the challenge.

Pressfield’s advice in Do the Work is delivered pointedly and succinctly, with humor sprinkled throughout.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to make a fundamental change in their lifestyle or business.  It’s a good kick in the butt for those who need it.

Don’t we all need a good kick in the butt sometimes??

I got mine today, right after lunch…

My queen left for work, and I sat my happy butt down in my easy chair and settled in for some me time, playing Black Ops 3.  After a few rounds, I cooked a pork chop and warmed up some bacon jalapeño mac and cheese (yes, it’s as good as it sounds; feel free to email me for the recipe!).

As I was eating and playing, I thought of the book I had just read.  And I got upset with myself.

I thought, “Is this Resistance??  Right now?  Me, reclining in a comfortable chair, eating and playing video games instead of working on something?  Should I stop what I’m doing right now and start working?”

[It may seem weird, but I have conversations with myself often.  You see, entrepreneurs have no true barometer for how hard they supposed to be working, at any time.  “I’m my own boss” literally means that I am the one who has to boss me around and hold me accountable.  For each time I think I’m the hardest working person I know, there’s a time I believe I’m the world’s biggest slacker, that people think I’m lazy.  (This is actually very common among entrepreneurs, and can lead to serious bouts of depression.)]

Once I finished eating and cleaning the dishes, I looked outside to see if my monitor stands had arrived yet.  They hadn’t, but the regular mail was in the slot.

Along with the usual ads/junk/bills was a package for me.  Upon opening the mailer, I laughed.  I had received the kick in the butt I needed — The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles, the other Steven Pressfield book I ordered.

Reading is very important to me.  It makes my brain tingle in a very positive and productive way.  When I read, I read with intent to learn.

There was a book I bought once for $70.  My friend laughed at me, thought I was crazy.  “You paid seventy dollars for some old book?!”  I told him that I didn’t just buy some old book, I bought the author’s thoughts.

When I opened The War of Art, I knew this was the universe saying “John, slow down.”  Because I haven’t really read any books since I last toured, which was November of last year.  I’ve been so busy with my fan club, buying and moving into the new house, producing and writing new songs, driving nice people (and a couple crazies) around metro Detroit, blogging, etc.  I haven’t taken time to sit and read, to soak up new insights.

So this weekend, in between moving the studio gear and furniture to the new house, getting everything in its proper place and setting it up, acoustically-treating the mix room, and approving the master of my new album (excitement!), I’m going to be doing as much reading as possible.

As soon as those monitor stands get here…it is ON!

But first a few more rounds of free-for-all in Black Ops 3.  😀

John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
InstaGram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /therealjohnkay

You Always Come Back to the Basics

Let’s step back for a moment and just marvel at the age in which we live: imagine going back one century in time and telling someone “In a hundred years from now, people will be able to listen to any song ever recorded in the history of music, on two tiny speakers which they place in their ears, and they can do this almost anywhere in the world at any time via a device that fits in the palm of their hand.”

It sounds like fantasy.  Yet, here we are today with streaming music, or “freemium”.

We live in an age in which we can easily Google “what is the best ______”, and we want the best, for free or as cheap as possible.

We’ve had over 100 years of recorded music, and it is widely agreed upon that analog audio sounds more natural and less harsh than digital.  And when it comes to exciting the senses, vinyl does the job best.

There’s the unmistakable smell of the cardboard jacket when you first tear off the cellophane; the 12″x12″ canvas for visual art; the delicate touch required to maintain the quality of the record (and turntable); and ultimately, the sound of the music itself.

But digital audio is soooo much more convenient and inexpensive to manufacture and distribute than a vinyl record.

So, how do you offer the best of both worlds when releasing an album??  By inserting a coupon to download the digital version of the album inside the vinyl copy.

That’s what the ‘big’ artists are doing, and that’s what I’m going to do.

My album is currently being mastered.  Once it is finished I will begin taking pre-orders for the vinyl version at $25 each, and all pre-orders will include a download of the digital version.  When the vinyl records are manufactured and shipped, they will all include a download coupon.

My new single is out for mastering as well, and those who subscribe to my mailing list will get a chance to hear it before anyone else.  (Those who are members of my fan club – *wink-wink* – have already heard the unmastered version.)

Mark’s story is the story of our American musical culture — we are quite literally coming to our senses.

If you want to hear the album before it returns from mastering, email me at and I’ll send it to you.  🙂

John Kay

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
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