Bill Berends - In My Dreams I Can Fly
I'm really excited about this record! I've worked on it for quite some time now and in some ways I think it may be the best recording I've ever made, but I need YOUR help to get it released. Rather than deal with labels I am going to release it on my own StellarVox label and go directly to the people, but only YOU can make it happen! So I'm asking for a little help from my friends.
The big stuff is already covered... recording, artwork, etc., so the $2,000 I am asking for will cover disc pressing, printing, shipping, postage, and Kickstarter fees, hopefully leaving a little left over for some promotion. I am asking you to help get the CD pressed and in return, I have some cool music for you!
That's the main blurb! Read on if you like...
Now in the funded zone!! THANK YOU!!! Stretch goal video update #1
(check out the original video at the bottom for more info & music samples)
Post superstorm final video update #2...
Please sign up to the email list here: http://billberends.com/list/signup.html
My bigger goal is to get the StellarVox* label going again so I have a steady, reliable channel for releasing this and future recordings into the world. If together we reach the $2K mark and successfully fund this release, I'd like to encourage going as far beyond that as possible and here's why...
In the 21st Century, income from album royalties took a huge hit so I haven't been reinvesting as much back into production as I'd like. Record labels are also less willing to take a risk on niche artists like myself which slowed my output as can be seen from my discography. Establishing my own label will streamline the process of getting stuff out there, because I've been making music all along! So anything beyond the target goal will be plowed right back into recording and the infrastructure to get it released and distributed.
In reality, this is as much about my future as a musician and recording artist as it is about getting this one album released.
* (the StellarVox label est. in 2001 to release a Mastermind live recording)
Let's talk about the music! This is a driving, upbeat, all instrumental ROCK guitar record! It started out as a test project, really. I wanted to try out some guitars to see how they record, so I laid out some basic drum machine beats and just played whatever came to mind. After about 4 or 5 tracks I thought.. 'this is really starting to sound like a record', so I wrote a few more tunes and finished it off fairly quickly, most of the guitar solos are one or two takes. Then things got busy with live gigs and releasing the Mastermind Insomnia album, so I ended up setting the whole thing aside for awhile.
After living with the drum machine tracks for a while I decided it really needed real drums to flesh it out and started thinking, who can I get? My brother Rich (Mastermind drummer) is a busy guy, so I want to save his available time for Mastermind stuff. So putzing around Facebook one day I saw a band video and commented that the drummer was awesome (because he was) and "HAHA.. DUDE IT'S ME!!" was the response I got. That was unexpected!
It was my pal Jason Gianni. Jason and I go way back some 20 years or so when one of his early bands was recording demos in my studio. He was really just a kid back then. I turned him on to Mastermind and we sort of became brothers in prog and stayed loosely in touch over the years. This felt like fate was beckoning, so I invited him to come play and his response was very enthusiastic (you have to know Jason, he's a very upbeat, positive kind of guy). He made the trek from down from NYC and we worked out the tunes together in my studio which was great. Jason's contribution to this record is tremendous. He played just what I had written, but added his own zest and flare to everything which really makes the tracks come alive. Awesome!
All the music in the videos is from this new album.
Jason teaches at the Drummer's Collective in NYC, is a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine, and co-authored The Drummer's Bible, a respected and popular drummer's reference book. He also recently joined Neal Morse's new band, filling Mike Portnoy's drum throne, so you know he has his act together! He adds very tight and precise, modern drumming to all the tunes with real drive and purpose. I couldn't be happier.
Stylistically speaking this isn't a prog-rock or fusion album (but don't worry, there is plenty of that still left in me), nor is it a typical guitar 'shredder' affair. I would classify it as melodic rock, basically - I don't know what else to call it - with my stream of consciousness guitar leading the way. Like conversation, or a story perhaps, it goes somewhere. Not lots of gratuitous shredding, though it does get intense in spots. There's nothing too obtuse or out there, I am not trying to invent a new language or break new ground here, I'm just telling my stories with my one true voice: the electric guitar.
This is me. Bill Berends: electric guitarist.
You can definitely tell it's me and most Mastermind fans will find something to like I think, but fans of my blusey rock with the Berends Brothers will enjoy it too. It goes over well in mixed company so to speak - you don't have to be a musician to appreciate it - but there's also a depth and intensity that should engage the musically minded. It moves people which is really the whole idea.
I arranged the album in two halves like vinyl LP sides, but it flows well as a complete hour long journey and it's great driving music! For an hour trip or 30 min's each way, pop it in and take off! You'll end up somewhere in no time, I assure you! It's also good for working around the house, I've found, as it has an upbeat push that makes me wanna get up and clean something! lol... I can even see using some tracks in a workout video. Dance along with it for an hour every morning and you'll be in shape in no time. I promise!
Test listeners and focus groups (j/k) have shown it to be well received with both the non-musician public and music aficionados alike. You can just groove to it, but if you stop and pay attention, there is also something deeper to offer musically. Especially for guitar enthusiasts! Speaking of guitar....
Gibson guitars and Marshall amplifiers !!
I am in love with the classic Gibson-Marshall sound, so from a guitarist or gear head perspective this is a Gibson and Marshall extravaganza (!) and I approached the performances as simply as possible. That was the whole point: to capture the essence of the guitars and just play. From the most intimate - I wanted to hear skin cells touching and caressing the strings - to a soaring call to the heavens, totally unencumbered by modern technology.
I play only Gibson guitars on this album, plugged straight into a Marshall JCM800 amplifier & cabinet. No pedals or effects are used anywhere on this recording. Just me -> guitar -> amp -> mic -> YOU. Some ambiance was added sparingly in the mix, but otherwise it is as direct a connection as I can possibly make with a guitar. I didn't want anything getting in the way. I want to hear the wood of each guitar and smell ozone from cooking EL-34 Marshall amplifier tubes when I listen back. I want to take you there with me too!
I arranged everything for five piece band: rhythm guitar, drums and bass, Hammond organ, and moi, your soloist-slash-musical narrator. Just having the organ in there gives it a certain vintage sound which should appeal to prog and blues fans alike, but with Jason's drumming it also has a very crisp, contemporary sound. OK, enough of the hard sell. Hopefully you get the idea. You will have to decide for yourself once we get this funded.
I am sincerely grateful to everyone who has followed my music over the years. Considering the many thousands of CD's Mastermind has sold in its history, this shouldn't be a problem. 134 basic CD pledges will cover my modest goal of $2,000 and any additional boost from patrons I will consider a true blessing.
But... I am still a bit nervous about the whole affair - the economy is weak and money is tight - purchasing music isn't everyone's top priority, I know. Vying for attention on the internet isn't really my forte, plus I would hate to flop in such a public forum - but if for some reason I don't reach the target goal, I will see this album released sooner or later. It needs to be heard, of that I have no doubt. So I have faith. I humbly thank you in advance for your contribution and assure you, once this gets rolling there will be more music coming and soon!
And please, share this with your friends and folks who you think may have an interest in this kind of music. I know they're out there! I just don't know who they all are (yet). Your help in reaching everyone is greatly appreciated!!
For Contributors outside of the USA I ask if you can to help with the considerable additional shipping costs: International orders for physical merchandise, please add $5 USD if you can. I won't hold you too it though. The exception is the basic CD pledge which has add'l shipping added in.
Check out the long spiel video (with many more album samples).....
Postscript: I tried to lay out an even tiered series of rewards, but if there is something else you might like since some folks may already have all the Mastermind albums, get in touch and see what we can work out. Thanks!
PSS: Hopefully I can get all pre-release pledge awards out before the end of Nov. 2012, but I have listed them as Dec. just to be safe. The official release date if funding is successful will be December 18th, 2012 - my birthday!
Thanks for reading this far! Let's do it!! ---->........................................................
Risks and challenges
There isn't a whole lot of risk involved with a project like this. The master recording is finished, the artwork well underway. I have personally overseen the CD mfg process top to bottom quite a few times, dealt with mfg. problems etc., so I have plenty of experience doing this.
The biggest risks are a) some problem with disc manufacturing. I intend to use a reputable local disc manufacturer, so if there is a problem, it can be resolved quickly. b) the internet might go down, delaying my response time, but I'm not too worried about that. c) being a one man operation I could fall ill or have an accident or something - heaven forbid - but if that were to happen, I will get the music to you somehow. Get a friend to help out, something.
Beyond that I suppose there could be an overwhelming response which I am not anticipating, but if that were to be the case, I would also have add'l funds to hire help or job out shipping. I have been selling and shipping Mastermind discs worldwide for over 20 years and haven't had many complaints. Once in a blue moon a shipment overseas goes missing and if that were the case, I have been happy to supply a replacement.
The worst case scenario in any event is there may be a delay in getting finished product to you. Otherwise, it's a pretty safe bet. I don't have any plans to run away to South America. ;) I really want you to enjoy the music!
One challenge might be with offering Mastermind CD's as rewards. Some folks may already have the discs being offered (thank you) so I am willing to entertain alternates to complete your Mastermind collection. However, I have few-to-none of several Mastermind titles left on CD, so it will have to be on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, let's stick to what is being offered.
Thanks again for your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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