“Miracle” (Foo Fighters Cover)

Originally posted 2009-10-29 23:00:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff:

Good evening and welcome to Thumpin’ Thursday!  I hope you are well and looking forward to a nice weekend.

Today I bring a song by the Foo Fighters called “Miracle”.  The song is among their more soft and acoustic album cuts of late.  It really shows off their instrumentation skills as well as Dave Grohl’s versatile vocal abilities.

I feel sad saying it, but I do have to let you know what’s going on.  First good news – whether you knew it or not but in a couple of weeks my life is going to change forever.  Sadly, it is this reason that I am going to have to downgrade myself to “contributer” (which is kind of what I am already anyway).  I won’t be able to post every Thursday, and there is no way of telling when Thursday comes around in the future whether I can post or not.  When I can I will, but to be honest, there will be a handful of things that can prevent me from posting.  I don’t want to be specific, but those who know me know what i’m talking about.

I have enjoyed being a regular contributor to the site for nearly 2 years now, and have recorded over 160 videos and amassed 170k in views (and rising at about 300-350 views/day).  I know that this number won’t stop increasing even if my production of videos slows down.

I want to thank everyone that has visited this blog regularly in the past 2 years, and I want to thank Chris and Jim for bringing me along for the ride.  It is amazing to look back at where we were when this blog started, and what our mission was.  I’d say we have done a pretty good job of getting a following, and I hope you bring nothing but support and joy when you read our blog.

With that said, I will see you next week ideally with another video.  If you have things you wish to pass along to me, please send me a private message or comment here.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and original music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!

“Development of a writer” – A retrospective by Jeff Copperthite (Part 2/3)

Originally posted 2009-04-02 22:40:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

One of the things that anybody who knows me well is that I am into a very special type of music.

No, it isn’t anything mainstream.  In fact, I can think of only 3 other people who enjoy this type of music as much as I do.

Quite simply, it is soundtracks from video games.   Especially Role Playing Games.

I have what I feel is a very impressive collection of OST (Original Soundtrack) from a variety of games.  One reason I think I enjoy the music so much is because I did grow up listening to the music from these games almost entirely.  When it comes to my favorite activity both now and then, it certainly is video games.

More so than any of my other hobbies.  It even surpasses the playing and writing of music.

So I have an ingrained affinity to the music.  I always had a great auditory memory as well.  I can still hum music from old Nintendo games I haven’t played in over 15 years.  If you say “Flash Man from Mega Man 2”, I will hum it in tune and on key.  You may even get some of that terrible synth drum channel that NES was notorious for.

But the ones I latched onto immediately are the Final Fantasy series’ OSTs.  I have them all.  And not just some remixed versions or user-generated remixes.  Just like I was playing the original version of the game.

Why do I enjoy listening to the music so much?  Plain and simple – it is something for me to listen too, and I can do almost any regular task while I listen.  Simply put, many papers got written while I listened to “Dancing Mad”, the final boss music from Final Fantasy 6, and other songs from those series.

As I discovered the fact that some more uncommon OSTs existed, I found as many of them as I could and got them.  I have the OSTs for such obscure games as Emperor: Battle for Dune (a favorite actually), Dune 2000, StarFox, Perfect Dark, Super Mario RPG, Secret of Mana (and all of it’s prequels and sequels), Ogre Battle (and it’s derivatives), and the F-Zero series.  Simply put, there’s a soundtrack for all kinds of moods.

Actually, now that I mention the “Emperor” soundtrack, it reminds me of a story.

About a year ago, I did something that I was always a bit afraid of, but knew I had to do – I donated blood.  I’ve always been a bit squeamish about things like this, but I knew it was the right thing to do.  To get me through it, however, I popped up the Emperor Soundtrack because the music had such a driving beat to it, and the tunes are so engrossing overall (I even asked the Phlebotomist to cover the donation bags so I couldn’t watch my blood being drawn).  I looked up at the ceiling of Sacred Heart’s Field House for a while and enjoyed it.  Hey, it got me through it.  I may even do it again in the future.

Well anyway, point is I have always enjoyed VG music.   I downloaded MIDI tracks as well.  But then I found a game that had a great soundtrack, but very few MIDI files for its music.

And so, I began the Final Fantasy Tactics Battle Music Project, which at the time was a regularly updated website with the files that I created using various implements, most notably a program called Noteworthy Composer.  My methods were this easy.  I used an audio recorder to tape the particular song of interest off of the TV while the game was playing.  Then I systematically tried to pick out the different instruments and parts, then try to transcribe them on the keyboard.  Once I had figured out one or two instruments, usually the rest were easy to pick out as well.  This method certainly wasn’t the best, but at the time I was very mad that these files didn’t exist, and I wanted to change that.

I ended up transcribing quite a few of the songs from the game, and within the next two years, I noticed lots of fan sites posting my MIDI files.  I also got lots of great comments, emails, and requests.  I did the majority of the work for files in this game within those two years, but I would go back periodically until I was done in college to update some of the songs that I knew better.

I also at one point in college (~2000 I think) did a similar site for Final Fantasy 9 called (how original) the FF9 MIDI Project.  Similar to FFT, I transcribed select songs due to not many being transcribed at the time.  I still find both of the MIDI files from these games around the internet.

It wasn’t long after this that I began composing music similar in style.  There will be more on that in the next edition of this series.  Stay tuned for that next month!

Ask the Musician: “Do You Record Video & Audio Together on Your Acoustic Music Videos?”

Originally posted 2009-01-30 01:07:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, back earlier than expected for another edition of “Ask the Musician” with me, Jim Fusco!  If you’ve never seen this column before, let me give you a brief introduction.  I’m Jim Fusco of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs and original music video series on YouTube and on our blog here at LaptopSessions.com.  Every day, I get thousands of views on my cover songs and original music videos on YouTube.  With that popularity comes some great questions from people all around the world.  They want to know technical questions, music theory, and other great general music tidbits.  I’ve completely submerged myself into making music these past few years and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned- hundreds and hundreds of hours reading, researching, playing, writing, singing, and recording.  I’m glad to answer these questions here on “Ask the Musician”!

Tonight, we have an email from christianamagic on YouTube.  She writes:

Hi.  Just wanna ask. So when you record song, do you only record the audio? or record both audio and video??
and what did you use to edit it all together? Thanks

Well, that’s a good question.  She’s asking about the acoustic music videos I perform on YouTube.  You know, sometimes I’ve considered going back and recording the audio over the video to make a better take, but I can never bring myself to do it.  To answer your question: I record the audio and video at the same time!

That’s not to say that I don’t have to tinker with it sometimes.  I remember on a Ben Folds song, “Time”, I recorded the video with the microphone facing backwards!  So, you could hear a LOT of piano and a little of my voice.  Well, I had recorded this in a remote location, so I couldn’t go back and re-record the video.  My solution was to work some EQ magic.  I brought out the vocals in the mix.  It’s not perfect, but it made due for the video.  I guess I could’ve gone back and re-did the audio, but believe me, that would be much more of a burden than it seems.  Imagine syncing the vocals up perfectly to a live performance like that?

For hardware, I use a ZOOM H2 microphone that plugs into USB.  This thing is great.  I used to use the built-in microphone on my Macbook laptop.  It’s actually a pretty decent condenser microphone, but my computer’s fan would run so much (and SO loudly), that I had to think of a better solution.  Sometimes, you’d hear more fan than song!  So now, I keep the microphone close to me (and only turn the front mics on as to not hear the fan noise behind it) and record on the laptop.  For ease of production, I use iMovie to edit the video and audio.  If I didn’t do so many videos, I might use Final Cut Pro, but even still, it’s nice to have a simple solution to get the song out there in a nice neat package.

I hope this helps and answers your question.  Just like Peter Griffin’s advice on Family Guy is “To grow a beard,” my advice to you here is, “To get a Mac!”  It’ll make your life a lot easier when putting music videos on YouTube.

Submit your question to [email protected] and comment below to tell us how you record your videos!


“Searching For A Heart” (Warren Zevon Cover)

Originally posted 2008-10-18 23:47:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

**I hit 120,000 YouTube video views today!  It’s another milestone and another testament to the popularity and success of the Laptop Sessions!**

Sorry for the late post tonight, but the video has been up on YouTube now for over 24 hours.  I had to record the video late last night and publish it because I had a very, very busy day today.  At least it wasn’t work!  I had my usual “Luncho Marx”, followed by a trip to Becky’s house, a trip to my cousin Louie’s house, a trip to get my cousin Sarah (and see my cousin Gerry, of course), and then finally a trip up to Mohegan Sun casino for shopping, gambling, and a concert with one of my favorite bands: America!  I got to get a t-shirt signed by Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley- always exciting!

I had fun playing on the new Star Trek slot machines, but not nearly as much fun as Chris “I win at everything I try except for PS2 baseball” Moore, who won big.  I then had the task of dropping everyone off and am finally home.  We had a great dinner tonight, too, at Sol Toro restaurant, which is a great authentic Mexican place.  They have the best guacamole you’ll ever taste.  The lime and the cilantro made it for me.

Tonight’s song is a great, albeit sad, one from Warren Zevon.  Unless you’re a fan of his “Best Of” compilations and some of his albums, you’ve probably never heard of this song.  It’s my favorite from him.  I truly only listened to the “Best Of” CD, but I listened to it a lot.  This song stood out the most.

One thing that I DON’T like about the song is one line in the chorus.  He says, “Searching for a heart…searching everyone…they say love conquers all…you can’t start it like a *****…you can’t stop it with a gun.”

Okay, I bleeped out the word (don’t worry- it’s not a swear).  Now, you would think by reading that line that the words “everyone” and “gun” would rhyme.  They do!  Now, that would leave the other two lines to rhyme: “conquers all” and the word in asterisks.

For me, I always thought that word was “call”.  The idea I had was that love isn’t just something you can start up instantly like making a phone call.  “Call” rhymes with “all”, so I thought it made sense.

As usual, I’m wrong, but I can’t understand why.

Instead, Zevon says, “You can’t start it like a car”.  Same sentiment as mine, right?  You can’t just turn love on like a light switch…or like starting a car…or like picking up the phone.

But it doesn’t rhyme!  Since when does “all” rhyme with “car”?  So, when I found that out, I was a little disappointed.  But, it doesn’t take away the fact that I love this song and that it’s got a great message to it.  Yes, I may have rhymed differently, but no one ever said Zevon was an “ordinary” guy like I’d like to think I am when it comes to matters like this.

Okay, I think I’m making less and less sense now, seeing that it’s 4 am.  It’s time for bed and I have to just pray that tomorrow’s lunch meeting (our usual Burger King lunch today was halted by the fact that they LITERALLY had a sign on the door that read, “No beef or grilled chicken”) doesn’t begin with a call from Stuffy D. Bear at 10:30 am saying, “I’m hungry” over and over again! :-)  See you folks on Tuesday for another great acoustic cover song from yours truly, Jim Fusco.