Wake Up!

•February 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So, Jim and I have been working on our old song “Him” for a while now.  We also started working on another song, “Awake,” a few months back.  I can’t wait to let you all in on the re-write.  It sounds really great in my opinion.  The old version repeated quite a bit (kind of like refried beans — yummy, but gives you gas after a while).

I added an epilogue to the song to break up the end a bit.  The song now stops and kicks into a breakdown, jam style chord progression toward the end (think the heavy part of Stairway – not that this song is anywhere near the classic masterpiece that is any Led Zeppelin tune).  It’s a good spot for a quick solo or an all out guitar battle.  Jim, not being content to leave the rest repetitive, changed up the chord progression for the verse.  Oddly enough, the new progression fits right in nicely with the original melody.  I think we’ve awakened “Awake” quite a bit. It’ll be a while until we can sit down to record this one.

For now, here’s the old rendition.  Again, like the “Him” track I posted earlier, it’s rough.  I found this on a 15 year-old cassette tape copied from the already rough original four track recording.  I hope you enjoy it for what it is.  I think it’s a great song even if the recording quality is not so good.

(Mobile Users, Listen at Soundcloud: Click Here!)


Belgrade Opening for The Jealous Sound This Week!

•February 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Hey, just a quick heads up.  Remember my buddy Matt that I wrote about last month?  His band Belgrade plays their first show ever this Thursday.  They open for The Jealous Sound.  It’s at Milkboy Philly.  They go on first.  This is going to be fun!  Be there to support Belgrade and see The Jealous Sound and Farewell Continental, two of the best bands on the indie scene.


See you there,


A Personal Influence

•February 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When a lot of musicians or bands discuss influences, they’re usually talking about other bands, songs, and sounds that they enjoy. Those influences in turn help shape their own sound. Consider though that they have other types of influences that go beyond shaping tonality, but aren’t as easily discernible as the sonic makeup of a song. Perhaps there are other motivational forces that keep these musicians or bands creating music in the first place.

I met Matt Hanemann in May-ish 2008. We met at, of all places, a small vintage BMX bicycle collectors gathering in north New Jersey, a hobby we both enjoy. Matt has a highly honed eye for detail and the incredible talent to put chromoly and rubber components together into two-wheeled creations that are nothing short of art. He’s not a half bad freestyle rider either.

Other than that one thing in common, we have very different lifestyles. Matt’s a bachelor (though he has a wonderful, fun loving, extremely supportive, long time girlfriend) living in the heart of Philly, and I’m a husband and father of 3 living in suburbia. Despite our lifestyle differences, I’ve somehow managed to become good friends with Matt over the last four years. I don’t remember exactly when I discovered that Matt played guitar, but I know it’s a big part of the reason we have become friends. It helps that I met Matt at a time when I was just starting to reconnect with Jimmy Cass and starting to get serious about playing guitar after a very long time of not being serious about it.

Matt, whether he realizes it or not, has been a big influence on me these past few years that Jim and I have been working on the old Fortress music. His work ethic is inspirational. He works hard at his day job in the graphical arts world, and plays even harder at his extracurriculars. He just doesn’t quit and goes balls out in everything that he does.

He’s almost single-handedly opened my eyes to new worlds of sound – particularly the worlds on the outer edges of the realm of grunge. I missed most of the hardcore movement of the late 80’s (I was actually big into East Coast Hip Hop at the time), and had my blinders on when I was yanked into grunge fan-dom by the likes of Alice In Chains and Nirvana. He’s pushed me headstrong into the sounds of Sonic Youth, Bob Mould, and Dinosaur Jr, bands and artists who I had vague knowledge of, but never really paid any mind to. I’d certainly not really pay much attention to modern indie if it wasn’t for Matt and the sonic bliss that is his long time band Metroplex.

Matt told me about a new project he was working on about five or six months ago. Through an acquaintance he had made in the Philly club scene, he began writing with a drummer while Metroplex was on a brief hiatus. It was in just a matter of weeks that Matt was giving me sneak peeks of rough cuts of his soon to be new band’s music. It wasn’t too much longer after those initial cuts that it was all starting to take shape. He started sending me rehearsal recordings that damn near could have been considered complete demos created entirely by him and his new drummer.

About a week or so ago, I was made privvy to the new band’s name. I can now only describe Belgrade’s beginnings as bluntly intentional. The band will open their first show in just a few short weeks for the likes of The Jealous Sound. Matt does nothing half-assed. I hope the rest of the band is ready for the ride!

I will be in that audience on February 16th and guarantee you, I will be driven to write something new or dive headstrong into a recording in dire need of completion the very next day. Well, I may need to wait until the hangover subsides, but after that, I’ll be amped to pick up my guitar and throw down some music. Thanks Matt.


Metroplex – www.metroplex3.com

Belgrade – www.facebook.com/pages/Belgrade/245344428838305

**Quick update (3/1/12) – Belgrade is working on a new website to be hosted here: http://www.belgradeband.com/. The track playing on site placeholder as of today is “Warehouse Cassette.” This is one of the “sneak peek” recordings that I mentioned in the article that Matt sent me very early on. Have a listen. Lo-fi awesomeness.

No Apologies

•January 11, 2012 • 3 Comments

Ever wake up with a song stuck in your head that you just can’t get out? It’s crazy when it’s something you haven’t heard for ages. Even crazier when it’s something you don’t even like.

If it is something you like, you just can’t wait to grab your iPod, or throw the CD on in the car on the way to work. I woke up this morning with this one stuck in my head. I haven’t listened to it lately, but was talking about it a week or so ago with someone.

Those that know me know that I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan. I make no apologies for that. Take it for what you will. Too mainstream? I don’t care. My thoughts — any aspiring musician should read about DG’s work ethic. Either it’s going to make you realize that maybe the music biz isn’t for you or it’s going to inspire you to get shit done.

Anyway, enough of that. Hope you get this one stuck in your head too…

No, I’m Not Him

•January 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When Fortress was full force as a band, we were good, at least we thought we were. However, our best stuff probably came when we weren’t a full complement as a group. We could never hang on to a drummer. Every time we took a step forward as a band, we took two steps back.

We became complacent on the prospect of completing a band and playing gigs.  We instead turned our eyes towards recording a demo.  After Tom, our bassist left, Jimmy, Danny, and I forged forward.  We were going to get this done. Over the course of a few weekends in the Summer of 94, we rented a 4-track cassette recorder, got a hold of some mics, set it all up in our friend Kevin’s basement and went to work.

Soon after however, we all started to drift apart.  I heard the tapes from the 4-track demo maybe once or twice.  Then lost them… or so I thought.

Fast forward to January 2009.  I’m digging through an old box of cassettes I had in my closet.  A bunch were unmarked, so I was playing them on the only cassette player I had left in the house (that has also since died).  I found one with a lot of dead air on it.  I fast forwarded through and stopped occasionally to see if anything at all was there.

That was when I heard it.  A song I hadn’t heard played as a group in 15 years.  All told, there were 5 tracks from that session in tact.  Although it wasn’t the master, it was still gold.

Here’s the track “Him” that Jim and I are currently working on re-recording.  The quality isn’t great, but the music is so sweet to my ears after laying dormant for 15 years.

I hope you enjoy.

(Mobile readers, listen at Soundcloud: Click Here!)

A Brief Introduction to Fortress Radio

•December 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In the 1990’s, Fortress was a Philadelphia-based band trying to break out of the mold of the post-grunge sound. They fused that early 1990’s Seattle-sound with classic rock overtones and a lot of sweat. Though they never truly made it out of the starting gate, their music is still relevant today to those who were fortunate enough to hear it back in the day.

After losing touch for nearly 15 years, guitarists Jimmy Cass and Lee Boorse have reunited and have been working to revive the original works of the band and forge into the future. They’ve worked with the band’s original lead singer, Danny Cook over the past few months to solidify those early tunes and have begun the recording process of modern renditions of their originals.

New ideas have been swirling around and continue to grow. We’re going to give you a look into the process of re-writing old and creating new by sharing the influences, the rough drafts, the hard work, the hard play, and the finished works of the band. Hit play, sit back, and delve into the creative endeavors inside these Four Walls.