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 tune. 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

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.

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

Moon

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Oh, why hello there.  Good to have you here.

So, in tandem with my last post, I'm balancing my time a lot more efficiently.

I began using a spreadsheet yesterday to help keep track of how long I work on things.  It's allowing me to do a whole bunch of different tasks all in one day—and, Presto:

Here is a mix I was working on this morning in my three hour window.  It's for a song I wrote called Moon.

The first lines of the song came from a story that my friend told me.

He was visiting an animal sanctuary populated by former circus animals who were rescued once their tenure with the circus had ended.  One animal in particular captured my interest and my sympathy.  It was an elephant.

My friend Josh told me that the elephant would take three steps forward, and then three steps back, repeatedly, for an indefinite amount of time, which was very peculiar—so much so, that he asked the person who was giving them a tour of grounds, why the elephant was behaving that way.

The tour guide said that the elephant was chained to a pole for most of its young and adult life.  The chain would allow for enough slack to take three steps forward, and then three steps back.

Three steps forward.  Three steps back.

Three steps forward.  Three steps back.

That was life for that elephant—an intelligent and beautiful creature.

While there are many elements to this song, this is one of them—and we all deserve to be free.

It is amazing how powerful a habit is.

However, outside of the context of this song, I had a lot of fun putting this together.  My friend Tom Bremer played lead guitar.  I sang and played rhythm guitar.  I also mixed the song.  I engineered this one myself too.  For audio nerds (like me), it was recorded through a Universal Audio preAMP that I've never tried before called a Twin Finity 710.  I used an AKG C414 on the lead guitar and used my AT4033 on the rhythm guitar.  Vocals were through the AT4033 as well.

It probably sounds like amateur work, but I do the best I can—and I'm learning.

I hope this finds you all smiling and well and that perhaps you my find something to like in this tune.  It has deep sentimental value to me and my life.

- Mike