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In November, I (the little record-nerd that could) will be flying to Prague to create an album with a world-class orchestra!
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124 backers pledged $6,105 to help bring this project to life.

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     In just a little over a month from now, I board a plane and head off to Europe (a continent I have never been to) to record a new album with one of the finest orchestras in the world--the Prague FILMharmonic orchestra. This is a project so huge that I would have a hard time imagining it for myself even two years ago, but here we are. Thanks to the generosity of so many of you music-lovers out there, my last album ('This Betrayal Will Be Our End') made its funding goal and I was given the chance to create the biggest album I could conceive of for myself at that time. It's success has gotten me to a place that I am in awe and humbled every morning when I wake up. With it has come greater opportunities--and even more work. I thought that I put everything that I had into that album, but it turns out that it was just the next step on an increasingly ambitious journey. 

       My decision to push myself led me to Richard Heironymus. He was the string arranger on the stone-cold cult-classic album from 1968 The Grey Life by singer-songwriter Val Stoecklin. He also worked as arranger on the soundtrack music for various films by legendary quintessential and prolific b-movie filmmaker Roger Corman as well as L.A.'s world-renowned The Wrecking Crew (responsible for many of the 60s songs you hum). It took a little sleuthing, but I was able to track down the whereabouts of Mr. Hieronymus to a small island off of the Washington coast. Incredibly, I was able to convince him to do the orchestral arranging for this  new album.

     Next up was finding the orchestra and when I found the Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra (named for their specialization in film soundtracks)--there really wasn't any need for a further search. This orchestra has recorded the scores for films for everyone from Werner Herzog to Quentin Tarantino and bands from Arcade Fire to Septic Flesh. Now, with your help, the once-awkward kid (okay, I am still pretty awkward) that hails originally from Fresno, CA can keep from wasting a plane ticket and join these illustrious names.

     Along with those of you out there that are contributing funds to this campaign, I have had several wonderful people step forward to make these rewards really special. Along with the chance to get the album before anyone else, there is everything from having a song of yours professionally transcribed to signed copies of books by authors Michelle Tea, Tony Dushane, and more! You could have a portrait made, get a super-cool and totally wild t-shirt designed by San Francisco artist Mitsu Okubo, even have a song of yours arranged for you by Richard Hieronymus.

   I am making this happen for anyone out there who ever felt like or were told that their dreams were too big for the circumstances that they came from. It wasn't that long ago that I was giving plasma for fifty bucks a week back in my hometown--now look at what I have the chance to accomplish. This is for all the outsiders, misfits, ne'er-do-wells,--anyone that ever thought that they weren't good enough, that didn't come from rich stock, the best schools, felt oppressed, stuck in their lot. Do not be afraid to dream big and work into making it something real. I can do this. You can do this. We can all do this.

Risks and challenges

Recording with the orchestra is just the first step in a lengthy process to get this album finished and ready for release. My goal is to have this album out by summer of 2015, but it is possible it could take longer. After the work with the orchestra, there will still be more recording to be done back home as well as then mixing and mastering. I have grand plans to independently have this album released physically in several countries around the world at once, which could take several months of planning. I anticipate the bumps in the road ahead and will keep you updated on progress without fail.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A glorious digital download of the MERCH orchestral album is coming your way!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    EXCLUSIVE PRINT: You get an exclusive print of an image photographed at the orchestral session in Prague. This will only be available to Kickstarter backers. Perhaps it could go up on your wall to encourage chasing the big dreams that you have too! You also get the digital download of the new MERCH orchestral album.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Daaaaaaaaang....you are getting a spiffy vinyl of the new as-yet-untitled orchestral MERCH album along with the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and a digital download of the orchestral MERCH album.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    The WAIT, THIS ISN'T YOUR FIRST ALBUM? pledge--you get one of the last copies of the 'This Betrayal Will Be Our End' first pressing, the new as-yet-untitled orchestral vinyl, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and the digital download.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES PLEDGE Did you folks know that one of my first jobs out of high school was as a professional swing-dance-instructor? It's true! It's been awhile since I did this for hours upon hours a day, but I am confident I can still teach you a few moves. For your pledge, I will give you and a partner an introductory 90 minute swing-dance lesson (East Coast & Charleston). If you are in the Bay Area, I can do this in-person--otherwise I can do it over Skype. You also receive a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Let's call this the IMMORTALITY pledge. For this level and above, you get your name in the THANK YOUs of this and any future pressings of the new album. You also get the new orchestral vinyl, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and the digital download.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE COMPLETIST: Here you get a copy of MERCH's very first record--a super-limited 7-inch single from way back in 2005ish that has the songs 'The Modern Hunter (Luck Song)'/Short Stint'. You also get your name in the credits of the new album, the vinyl of the new album, one of the last of the first pressing of the previous album 'This Betrayal Will Be Our End', the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and the digital download of the new album.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SUPER SICK T-SHIRT--You get one of my buddy Mitsu Okubo's rad t-shirts. They're a little crazy and probably not-safe-for-work (unless your work is really cool or you work from home). He does super-cool work and has even been interviewed by Juxtapoz magazine because he is legit. So, along with the shirt, you get your name in the credits, the vinyl of the new orchestral album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and the digital download of the new album.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    PORTRAIT: At this level, my childhood friend Jessica Lynn Stuart has offered to do a charcoal portrait of you or someone you care about. Her charcoal portraits can go for a couple hundred by themselves and at this level you get a portrait, your name in the credits of the album, a vinyl copy of the new record, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and a digital download of the album.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SAN FRANCISCO BOOK CLUB REWARD: I am super lucky to live in a city rich with great authors. A few of those authors have stepped forward to help me on this project. For your pledge you will get SIGNED copies of Michelle Tea's MERMAID IN CHELSEA CREEK, Tony Dushane's CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE JESUS JERK, and Ian Kahls's ANXIETY IS A RAMBLING DAGGER. How cool is that?! You also get your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the new album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    TWO PORTRAITS: Here you get TWO charcoal portraits of you or someone you care about by Jessica Lynn Stuart, you get your name in the album credits, you get the vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    GET YOUR SONG TRANSCRIBED: Maybe you have a ballad you wrote for your sweetheart that you want on sheet music like one of the 'ol Rodgers & Hammerstein standards or perhaps you want to add a little legitimacy to your work by singing it in notation. Whatever the reason, I can have your song professionally transcribed! Songs should be standard-length and shouldn't take up more than four pages of notation. Along with this reward, you get your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the orchestral album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    SONG TRANSCRIPTION & PORTRAIT: I can have a lead sheet for your song professionally transcribed, you get a charcoal portrait or you or someone you care about, you get the vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SONG TRANSCRIPTION, AND TWO PORTRAITS: I can have your song professionally transcribed, Jessica Lynn Stuart does TWO charcoal portraits of you or someone you care about, you get your name in the album credits, you get the vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    TEST PRESSING & SONG TRANSCRIBED! There will only be six test pressing copies of the album and I get one of them! You can have one of the other five though! You get a test pressing copy of the orchestral album, the song transcription of YOUR song, TWO charcoal portraits of you or someone you care about, your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    STRING ARRANGEMENT!: Richard Hieronymus (orchestral arranger on the new MERCH album along with about 50 years of experience) will write a string quartet arrangement to go with YOUR song. You can also have your song professionally transcribed, your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    RECORD PLAYER & PORTRAITS! If you aren't a songwriter, but still have a voracious appetite for music, you can get an Audio Technica turntable along with TWO charcoal portraits of you or someone you care about, your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    GET YOUR SONG RECORDED W/ STRING QUARTET: YOUR song will be recorded with a string quartet! Along with this reward you have the arrangement written by Richard Hieronymus, You also have your song professionally transcribed by a professional music transcription service, your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    SUPREME VINYL PACKAGE: Not only do you get an Audio Technica turntable, but you also get a receiver, phono preamp, and speakers! You also get your name in the album credits, a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    ORCHESTRAL ARRANGEMENT! Richard Hieronymus (orchestral arranger for the new MERCH album) will arrange a full orchestral arrangement for YOUR song. Also, your name gets in the album credits, you receive a vinyl copy of the album, the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    YOUR SONG RECORDED W/ THE PRAGUE FILMHARMONIC ORCHESTRA!: We would have to piggy-back on the end of a recording session to make this doable, so it might take several months of coordinating or you would have to have it ready to go by the November session in Prague, BUT you can have your song recorded by a world-class orchestra! It is the SAME one working on the new MERCH album and many, many way more impressive credits. You also get the orchestral arrangement written by Richard Hieronymus, your song professionally transcribed, two charcoal portraits of you or someone you care about, your name gets in the album credits, you receive a vinyl copy of the album, you receive the Kickstarter-exclusive print taken at the orchestral session in Prague, and you get a digital download of the album

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Funding period

- (30 days)