Nov 2, 2017

Book Review 11: Star Wars: A Certain Point of View

Star Wars: A Certain Point of View
This a collection of short stories by multiple authors from the perspectives of background characters during Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Writing quality varies, but overall it's interesting for fans. Plots range from painfully obvious to insightful.


Available at Amazon.

Sep 21, 2017

Book Review 10: The Armageddon Rag by George R. R. Martin

The Armageddon Rag by George R. R. Martin

Martin's forgotten novel from 1983 is like Big Chill meets Spinal Tap, with a tough version of George as brash detective. Reading this in strife-ridden Saint Louis echoes surprisingly well, with helicopters hovering*, daily street protests, and repeated unpunished murder. The ghosts of the past keep coming back to life.


* When the helicopter was flying over, there was indeed a demonstration happening just a couple blocks away.

Aug 30, 2017

The Last Great Rolling Stones Album

Tattoo You is the last great Rolling Stones album. I say this not out of nostalgia, for that year kinda sucked for me personally. However, 1981 was filled with many interminable classics, both good and bad: Journey's Escape ("Don't Stop Believin'", "Open Arms", etc.), REO Speed wagon's Hi Infidelity ("Take It On The Run", "Keep On Lovin' You"), and Foreigner 4 ("Urgent", "Waiting For A Girl Like You", "Jukebox Hero"), among others.

This is great album, rocking uniquely and exploring interesting slow textures as well. It may sound silly, but the Stones rock subtly.

Side one opens with "Start Me Up", which needs no introduction. Like the other hits above, it was overplayed to death, and is their last mega-hit. (They had more hits, but none this big again.) Then a quick drum fill from Charlie, and "Hang Fire" continues the rocking. "Slave" rests on a funky bass line that so embedded itself into my head that I used it in my own song, "Flick The Switch" (from World Famous In Chapel Hill). Keith sings lead on "Little T&A", as he celebrates his lady's physical features with salty language. "Black Limousine" and "Neighbors" wrap up side one with more uptempo attitude.


Side two is the mellow side, with lots of interesting textures. "Worried About You" and
"Tops" show that even Mick and Keith have compassion, those softies. "Heaven" is my favorite from side two. It's kind of a swirly haunting track, rather trippy.


They return to their usual rock n roll personas with "No Use In Crying" -- stay away from me. The album closes with their other big hit, "Waiting On A Friend". Not only was the message of the song a positive message of simple happiness in the moment, but video also made an impression on me. This was, once again, a crappy year for me, being in eighth grade. This was just the point where this fourteen year old had concluded that appearing mean and tough was the secret to success. Or at least prevented defeat.  To see members of the Rolling Stones, well understood and bad-ass and cool, greet each other and their friends with hugs on a New York City stoop was a revelation, breaking my mind out of the oppressive macho world in which I found myself. If it weren't for Tattoo You, I'd still be trying to impress ladies by gritting my teeth and scowling.

Jul 7, 2017

Demo: That's Your Mama

I discovered a new website for music creation, SoundTrap. I like it!
I used this little ditty as a test. "That's Your Mama" philosophizes about Mother Nature.
The moral: don't mess.



Someday it may appear on a polished recording. I imagine the arrangement and performance will be different by then, with a more gradual layering in the orchestration.

That's Your Mama
© 2017 Billy Dechand
||: G | D | Bm | A | F#m :|| G | D |

There's always someone round to take you down  
Always someone smaller to help the tall fall 
Whether it's rain or stars
The cool unsmooths your plume 
The rest is jest 
Mother nature mocks her flock 
But she owns it 

That crack in your back as you fall from a tree? 
That's your mama 
The feeling in your gut when you're in love, or drink too much? 
That's your mama 
The wind in your hair as you cross the tarmac? 
That's your mama 
When you smell a flower, get a nosebleed, erupt from a mountain fire?
That's your mama 

Don't mess with Mother Nature

Jul 2, 2017

Book Review: Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Similar to Star Wars: Tarkin, this tells the story of the rise to power of an Imperial badass.

Jun 18, 2017

Score: The Longest Darkest night

Here's a demo of a relatively new song.

Soundcloud Audio



The Noteflight Score
Listen to the song as you read along wth the notes and words. Or print it out and learn it!
(All you pros out there, I don't wanna hear about imperfections and inconsistencies. Just the genius!)

I tried to evoke light in the darkness, amidst the sadness unique to Christmas Eve 2016. In its original form, I ended up joking that I tried to write Christmas song, and ended up writing a Christian song. I tweaked it a little further, and now it has that universal message I like.
My motto: "Vague but true."