My First Music Placement and Homelessness

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Hopefully, this is something that I won’t forget. It took me 39 years, but I finally had a piece of music picked for use in either a tv show, or a movie (forgive me for not knowing which it is). It’s an independent production called “House Broken.”

From what I am told, they are in the post production side of things, but I have been paid a synchronization fee for the song, so, it’s a done deal in terms of their interest in using the song. They are pitching it to festivals and networks as soon as they complete the project.

Naturally, my hope is that anyone who works hard on their creative project, finds success with it.

It’s a project that deals with the subject of homelessness. The main character is based off of a real life person by the name of Fred Smoot. Fred was a stand up comedian in the 70’s who found success in his career and made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. This was a big deal for standup comedians in the 70’s.

Later in life, Fred developed dementia and eventually became homeless, living out of his car with his dog. He became a man of few possessions. Literally, he had a trophy, his car, and his puppy.

Fred’s circumstances are far from unusual. A friend of mine and I were watching a documentary called “Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home” that came out in 2010, regarding Skid Row and it’s homeless population. Many of the people that call downtown LA their home, have preexisting mental conditions—Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and dementia being several of many.

“House Broken” will be a project that addresses the homeless crisis we see here in Southern California. I see it in my own neighborhood of Eagle Rock. If you are a Los Angeles or Orange County resident, I am sure you do as well.

The song that is being used is my most recent. It’s called “The Incredible Shrinking Brain.”

Here is a private link to check it out if you feel so inclined:

The Incredible Shrinking Brain

words and music by Mike Vitale

I feel like a mime with a painted on sad face touching an invisible wall

And it’s a crime I can’t see this behind my shit talk fueled by jealousy and alcohol

Sure, I’m overly critical, but by now I should know better

Maybe I’m just too hard on myself and it doesn’t really matter

The longer I live the less I know for sure

When I was a younger man my certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations I could conjure up in vain

But I’m the man with the incredible shrinking brain

Do you feel like an actor dressed up in black face

We’re really just canaries in a coal mine

Carried out the shaft like a suitcase, soot trace, smeared across our face and brow

The war on race, preference, sex, and creed are indelible

and noxious as the fumes

And right before we lose our consciousness collective conscience looms

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Our incredible shrinking brains

Create the fertile furrows from a farmer’s plough

“Two fathoms deep” shouted across the bow

“Anger and hatred are caustic to the vessel in which it’s stored

Far more than to anything on which its poured”

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brain

We’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Don't Tell Our Friends About Me

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Today is a bit of a rarity for me—in so much as I have had the whole day to myself... and I have no gig this evening—so I thought, what the hell, I'll make one more cover video for y'all.  This one is by singer/songwriter and guitarist pyrotechnician mad scientist: Blake Mills.

He's a hell of a songwriter, and a damn fine guitarist as well.  The guy can play.  You'll see what I mean if you go down the Blake Mills Youtube rabbit hole one night while eating frozen yogurt on the sofa in your pajamas at 2am.  No one's judging you. Do your thing.

I've had a marvelous day practicing this song and trying to learn it to the best of my ability.  I did get one line in the song wrong.  I'll give myself 100 lashings for this musical sin like a sad character from a Dan Brown novel, after I eat some more frozen yogurt (in reality I haven’t had frozen yogurt in months). Sad face.

Did everyone have a good Christmas?  I hope so.

I'm going to go shop for some more flannel right now, because suddenly it got really cold here in southern California.  Please excuse my brevity.  I hope this finds everyone smiling and well, eating frozen yogurt, shopping for their own flannel, going down Youtube rabbit holes, and listening to some Blake Mills.

Ta ta,

Mike

PS

Help me share this video if you like it

PSS

This video has expletives in it, so beware.

PSSS

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel: http://youtube.com/mikevitalemusic

Empty Circle (Live From My Living Room)

Here is a live video of me performing a tune about being dumped right after Christmas.  Hey, there is never a good time to get dumped.  It might as well be after Christmas.

I am very proud of this song.  It's a piece of my life.  Perhaps you might relate to it.  Perhaps not.  It is without a doubt, one of my favorite songs that I have written.

As always, thank you so very much for making this such a special year for me.  

I am working very diligently on my social media presence at the moment.  Namely Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so if you feel like connecting on any of those formats, I would be thrilled. Links can be found at the very bottom of this message.  Also, if any of this stuff that I am posting is good, please share.  I would be honored.  Word of mouth.  On social media.  Whatever you fancy.  Sharing is the biggest and best thing you can ever do for me.

All my love,

Mike

If I Only Had a Brain - Harry Connick Jr., Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg

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I just got done taking a master class from a young Harry Connick Jr.. I’ve been working on transcribing his version of “If I Only Had a Brain” from the album 20. In my own humble opinion, it’s a masterpiece, and I cried the first time I accidentally listened to it. I was so moved by its grace, that I knew I needed to learn it and sing it.

It’s a beautiful piece of music to begin with, but Connick’s use of chord substitution is pretty cool and sophisticated—he also creates some beautiful tension in his chord voicings, using many terse intervals such as m2 and M2 in his chord inversions, which are my favorite. Lots of suspensions. I learned a lot. I learned too much. Still trying to absorb the information. Bottom line, it just sounds boss (in a very touching and emotional manner), despite all the bullshit jargon I just prattled off: that’s what I’m after. That’s what I got.

I did my own thing with it and deviated from his arrangement as I saw fit.

I recorded the vocals using an AT4033 and SM57 on the guitar amp. If you dig it, please like the video and subscribe to my Youtube Channel. The support is invaluable and deeply appreciated.

Most importantly, thank you to everyone on Patreon for helping me to make these videos

Between the Bars by Elliott Smith

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I had a friend and guitar student many years ago that first introduced me to Elliott Smith. I had heard of Elliott and his music several times from different people, and this friend was the one I finally listened to, caved, and bought everything that he had released at that point.

You know come to think of it, I look back on a lot of my friend’s recommendations, and smile, because they all have remained in a special location of my own heart. He turned me on to D’Angelo too.

However it was immediately apparent listening to Elliott’s music that he was a wounded and struggling soul, who carried around so much burden—but he did what makes any artist truly special: he/she become the voice of those who can not quite eloquently articulate his/her emotions or feelings.

The man struggled with addiction, and this song, from as far as I can tell, is about being an addict, seduced by a bottle of alcohol, like a lover. Powerful words and heart in this tune. He reduced me to tears the first time I heard it back in 1998 or so, having no idea what the song was about.

As always, thank you to all of the Patreon supporters who are helping and allowing for me to make videos such as this one, along with all the material I have released this year. 2018 has been the best year yet in terms of the amount of music I released. I will try to do better for 2019.

If you are an active Youtube user, please feel to give me a like and subscribe to my channel, if you dig what you’re hearing. The support means a great deal to me.

Live at The Hotel Cafe on September 20th 2018

Hey Friends!

Tom Bremer and I are going to be playing an acoustic duo set on the Hotel Cafe main stage this Thursday September 20th 2018 at 7pm. We’re playing in support of the incomparable Matt Andersen who is out on tour. We would be thrilled to have you there.

Advanced tickets are available on the Hotel Cafe website. Here is a link to purchase:

https://www.hotelcafe.com/tickets/?s=events_view&id=7958

If you have never had the opportunity to hear Tom and I play together, this would be the perfect opportunity for you to do so. We have been playing together now for several years and used to play quite frequently together at LAX, in the Bradley Terminal for international travel passengers.

Tom is the second guitar player on most of my acoustic album I released in May of this year called EMPTY CIRCLE:

http://smarturl.it/lvmdy2

Here is a video we did last week together. It’s a cover of The Grateful Dead classic “Friend of the Devil.”

I hope this finds you all in good spirits (I’m personally in pajamas) and that we might be able to share some vibes with you on Thursday night at 7pm.

- Mike

Side-Tracked

I am the master of getting side-tracked.

I was doing something else (learning a song)—and now I’m doing this. I accidentally slipped and fell into my blog.

You may be thinking: “this dude has a short attention span.” But, then again, I just wrote that in quotations, so you must have said it out loud. I’d fix it—but I’m not the boss of you. None of this is really the case, anyway.

I blame my smart phone, and in that sense, I take full responsibility for the rest of this.

I’m a cyborg in 2018 with an augmented intelligence, collectively referencing the world wide web on a whim, or more to the point, interrupted by reminders set on my calendar, because at some point, I thought it was important to be reminded. That’s how I ended up here.

I was working on “Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams, and then my phone got all nosey about what I should be doing (paying bills) versus what I am/was doing (fun stuff). The fear associated with late fees took me by the hand and walked me over to my computer, and the rest, is written

(Xzibit A):

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Not as much as you think Xzibit. I drive a Honda Civic—but I like the way you think, moreover, I like how you overthink thoughts. We’re like ships passing in the night… with cars on it.

My bills are paid on time. And I got a blog out of it. I also found some pictures of Xzibit. If you would have asked me yesterday, what I was doing right now, I never would have guessed it. I wonder what Xzibit is doing right now. I hope he is putting cars inside of cars, if it makes him happy. Sure, it’s a meme, but why not just take it at face value?

Good morning! (I made it just in time for noon).

- Mike

New Single "The Needle of the Human Race" on August 30th 2018

My latest single "The Needle of the Human Race" will be available at all digital distribution locations on August 30th 2018.  You know the drill:  Spotify, Apple Music. iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Soundcloud, Bandcamp—all the places.

This was one of the first mixes I had completed from Patreon backers.  A special thank you to all of these people for whom of which this is all happening, because of you and your belief: Erik Gomez, Fernando Gallegos, Heather Renz, Amy Armitage, Austin, Bob Emerson, Bridget Mackiewicz, Carey Brown, Carson Fonseca, Fern Rouintree,  Brenda Matea, Ashley Thom, Jake, Janet Woodward, JayPee, John Sinambal, Joshua Jon Day, Judy and Jody Timmerman, Kelly McDonald, Lex, Matt Vitale, Megan Kaplinsky, Ron Feldman, Sarah Lim, The Luna Eclipse, Tim Grobaty, Yeggi Watts.

The song was mixed by Jon O'Brien at Music Box Studios in Fullerton, CA.  I recently had it mastered by Mark Chalecki and his amazing attention to detail that I admire a great deal.

A big thank you to all of my friends that played on this song.  Frank Reina on drums and Scott Dibble on Keys.  Most of all, thank you my friend Dave Gonzalez who played bass on this tune.  God bless him.  He passed away before having the opportunity to ever hear this song, completed—it breaks my heart to say that—it hurts even more to know that he is gone.  Then again, perhaps people such as Dave never really die, or are gone—they simply become music.  I will lean in that direction with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

A big thank you to my friend Ryan C Jones for the cover photo of this song.  If I remember correctly, he shot this photo on his phone.  You are such a gift Ryan and I am deeply appreciative of you, your talent, and your kindness. 

For anyone interested in Pre-Saving the song on Spotify, simply click the image above and it will put you in a place to do that.

Most of all, thank YOU (the person reading this) for finding interest in me and the music I'm making.  You validate my life and efforts.

OC Weekly Write-Up on Me

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Oh shit, I'm in the newspaper, mom.

Nate Jackson with OC Weekly and OC Weekly Music, did a write up on me and it goes to press next week.  However, it was released today, online.

Here is a link to read the full article if you're interested in doing such:

https://www.ocweekly.com/mike-vitales-life-hacks-as-a-working-musician-are-starting-to-pay-off/

The article explores my recent activities using the live streaming app Periscope to broadcast my shows from home and from gigs that I am playing around town.

I also talk about how I am using Patreon to crowdsource my music releases.  I've had a steady stream of new music releases since May of this year.  My new single No Vacancy is available everywhere you listen to music, so feel free to check it out.

Dune, Absurd Dating Advice, and Paypal

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How to get all the ladies:

Step 1:  Strike up conversation about the book Dune.  

How to not get frustrated being on hold with Paypal due to fraudulent account activity:

Step 1: Write non-detailed blogs regarding absurd dating advice while being on hold for two hours in order to redirect your attention to something other than your frustration with someone hacking into your Paypal account and reeking havoc on other people's lives (namely mine)—not to mention being on hold for an absurd amount of time with Paypal.

On-Hold Music:

"With Paypal you can send money from your checking, savings, and..."

"Did you know you can get 2% cash back..."

"Did you know you can now complete your purchases with one click..."

I hope that your morning is far more exciting than mine.

New Single NO VACANCY released today!

Hey Everyone,

I just released a new full band single today called "No Vacancy."

Here is a link to find the song on your favorite listening platform:

http://smarturl.it/tx0xoc

It is available everywhere.  You name it.  You can listen to it there.

 

For your convenience, you can also just visit my NEW SINGLE page here on this website:

https://mikevitalemusic.com/new-single/

You can also click the album cover and it will take you to a landing page for several of the popular haunts to listen to new music (i.e. Spotify, Apple Music, etc).

Thank you to Frank Reina, Brad Cummings, Tom Bremer, Scott Dibble, Ryan Lipman, and Mark Chalecki for making art with me.

THANK YOU to everyone on Patreon for your help in releasing this new material.  I mean this with all my heart:  I can't do it without you (I tried).  This is working: what we are dong together.  I am more prolific as an artist than I have been in years because of your financial help. I have been releasing something constant and consistent every month since May 2018, because of you.

I want to take a second to thank all of these individuals especially for their continued contributions and help:  Erik Gomez, Amy Armitage, Fernando Gallegos, Heather Renz, Brandi, Bob Emerson, Joshua Jon Day, Carey Brown, and Tim Grobaty.

If you like this song, thank you.  It came from my heart.  It is my life.

 

 

Periscope Schedule

Don't let the title fool you. This post has nothing to do with my Periscope live stream schedule for the next three days:

Friday July 27th 2018 - Parker's Lighthouse in Long Beach - 6pm to 9pm

Saturday July 28th 2018 - Lil' Simmzy's in El Segundo - 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Sunday July 29th 2018 - Sol Cocina in Newport Beach - 12pm to 3pm.

https://www.pscp.tv/mikevitalemusic/1YqKDQVZEaoGV

Nope. Let's talk about me doing pushups.

That's right. I do pushups. Now you may be asking yourself, self, why is Mike doing pushups?  It's a valid question—and there could be a lot of answers—like, maybe I'm training to become a male cat model for cat food commercials.  Sure, I might not be attractive enough for human consumption, but—I think I have what it takes to really dominate the cat market in food commercials. I'm gonna have the physique (working on it). I mean, come on. Look at this pushup regimen:

Monday - Lots of pushups

Tuesday - Lots of pushups

Wednesday - even more pushups

Etc.

I hate the taste of cat food, but I'll get used to it.

Glue some whiskers on my face and I'll curl up on your lap.

Meow.

- Mike

Context

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Believe it or not, this picture has plenty of context.  

I'd go so far as to say that the contents of its context either completely disinterest you or you would be off-base in your assumptions, so I'll save you the mental abstraction exercise.

I did it for the beard.

That's right. 

But not in the way you think.

Let's call this picture "Mike Vitale Versus the Tuna Sandwich".

Does that help?  Probably not.

I was mid-bite... and it was a delicious tuna sandwich from Whole Foods on a cibatta—cohabit, chibatta... Seriously?—Ciabatta roll (fuck you auto correct—I win, this time—why is ciabatta such a weird word to spell—okay, fuck you Italians), but that's not the point.

Do you give up?

I was using my cell phone as a mirror to make sure I wasn't storing leftovers in my facial hair.

Win/Win for everyone but the Tuna Fish.  

Hi from Laguna Beach, CA.  We had a lot of fun playing at The Cliff last night.  

New Single NO VACANCY on Tuesday July 31st 2018

Artwork by Joshua Jon Day and Mike Vitale

Artwork by Joshua Jon Day and Mike Vitale

I'd say I'm dropping new music—but it's more like a drip—from a broken water faucet. 

I'm releasing a new full band single called NO VACANCY on Tuesday July 31st 2018.  It will be available for streaming as well as digital purchase that day on all your favorite music streaming haunts: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Youtube, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, etc.  AND if you are a really amazing person who still buys music (bless your heart) you will be able to purchase it as well on iTunes, Bandcamp, Google Play, Amazon, and every other digital retail location that is known to man.

In all honesty, this is one of my favorite songs that I have written and produced with friends.  It turned out really lovely and I am so very thankful to have had such a wonderful cast of musicians who helped to flesh out the arrangement:  Frank Reina on drums, Brad Cummings on bass, Scott Dibble on rhodes piano, and Tom Bremer on electric guitar.  A song is only as good as the people you have playing on it and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by all these beasts of badassery.

The song was mixed by Ryan Lipman and mastered by Mark Chalecki.  Thank you guys for making this sound so beautiful and pristine.  I am in awe of your talent.

Artwork was done by myself and my friend Joshua Jon Day.  I took the photograph and he helped me fashion a fabulous album cover out of it.  I really find these old neon signs to be so beautiful.

I make no allusions of being a phenom when it comes to new releases.  I cross my fingers that songs will connect with people and they will share.  This song is no exception.  However, I do try to do my part to find avenues of exposure for songs such as this.  Spotify recently started a submission process for playlists on unreleased songs, and I submitted this tune for their consideration.  Keep your fingers crossed that the curators find something to like in this song and select it for many a playlist.

Most importantly, thank you to everyone on Patreon who helps me to release this new material.  I mean this with all my heart:  I can't do it without you (I tried).  This is working: what we are dong together.  I am more prolific as an artist than I have been in years because of your financial help.  I want to take a second to thank all of these individuals especially for their continued contributions and help:  Erik Gomez, Amy Armitage, Heather Renz, Brandi, Bob Emerson, Joshua Jon Day, Carey Brown, and Tim Grobaty.

My deep and sincere gratitude for letting me do what I love to do: make music and play it.

Record Store Day Performance - Youtube

Here is a live video of me performing my song TIME MACHINE in Long Beach, CA.  This was an In-Store performance on Record Store Day, April 21st 2018, at Dyzzy on Vinyl.

If you dig it, please help me share the video!  Thanks to our very own Megan from here on Patreon, for capturing the footage and sharing it!  

If you dig this, you can find more by visiting my Youtube Channel here:  http://youtube.com/mikevitalemusic