We here at Quick Stop Entertainment are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.
To that end, we launched a unique form of creative combat here at the Stop.
In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.
Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…
Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, the competitors will be presented with a very specific songwriting challenge. They’ll be given one week to complete their songs - however they see fit, within the parameters set forth - after which time the entries will be uploaded to Quick Stop to be voted on by you, the audience.
Oh, and what do we call this competition?
MASTERS OF SONG FU
Let us not forget the very special Masters of MASTERS OF SONG FU. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu - one of which will be revealed as the ultimate challenger in THE FINAL CHALLENGE. Past Masters have included Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, Neil Innes, The RiffTones, and Garfunkel & Oates. Any one of them could be the Master in the final Challenge - or perhaps it could be a brand new Master. Only the Challenger who garners the most cumulative votes in all 3 Challenges will move on to the Final and face that Master, mano a mano.
As with the last edition of Song Fu, all of the Challengers will be able to compete in every Challenge, and the Challenger with the most cumulative votes after the 3 Challenges will be the one that takes on the Master in the Final Round. So what was the first Challenge?
Write a song from the perspective of an inanimate object. This inanimate object must have no moving parts. Also no computers, no objects that look like living things, either human or animal (i.e. a statue, an action figure, etc.), and no celestial objects (i.e. the sun or the moon). Your song can be in any style you choose.
That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
You’ll find the Round 1 songs from each of our Challengers below (for those Challengers that did not progress to Round 2, you’ll find those songs HERE), as well as the results of the Round 1 voting. The Challengers were then issued their Round 2 Challenge…
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Write a march.
A march is “a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to” - and that is your challenge. You can write on any topic. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 15 seconds.
You’ll find the Round 2 songs from each of our Challengers below, as well as the results of the Round 2 voting. More importantly, though, you’ll also discover what the Round 3 Challenge is!
Edric has been writing music (off and on) since the early nineties. He wrote and directed a musical, The Pushcart War, based on Jean Merrill’s wonderful novel. He has written and/or arranged a number of songs for various friends - some commissioned, some as surprises. He loves acting in community theatre, and is inspired by the music of Stephen Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. He is also happy to finally return his Happiness Board to the Internet. Check out the link on his web pages.
Legendz foretell of a mighty duo, born in the frozen North. Two neighborz and friendz will unite to form “Gödz Pöödlz” and battle the Mazterz or Song Fu for glory and bragging rightz! Gödz Pöödlz are Rüss Rögers and Röd Dürre. Rüss Rögers was once a member of “Kit and Kaboodle” (still available on iTunes) and currently performs in “Rusty’s Rocking Jamboree!” Röd Dürre wrote and performed with the Goth Rock Godz “Sear”, and last year Röd won the Coor’s Light “Take the 4:53 to Happy Hour” songwriting contest! Remember, the heaviest of metals are soft!
Hi, my name is Steve Chatterton, the quintessential one-man-band singer/songwriter net-based recording project. Mom always said I marched to the sound of a different drummer, but she never mentioned which one. Dad had a fondness for bagpipes. Fortunately, neither of them have any direct influence on my music. Specializing in quirky little guitar-oriented pop songs about bugs, the Scooby gang, pirates, palindromes, superheroes, old movies, infectious diseases, imaginary friends and sideshow freaks, I guess you could say I pretty much write love songs. I’m a cheesy bastard at heart. I’m a stay-at-home dad who’s looking to find more time in the studio when my youngest starts school in September. I have an ever-expanding back catalog (at least 3 albums worth & counting) I’m dying to share with the world one download at a time.
Johannes “Jutze” Schult (from Germany) likes to live in a dream world where there has been no Grunge and where he is a talented singer. Sometimes his little folky pop songs find their way into the real world. Here they suffer from his hoarse voice and the do-it-yourself home recording production, struggling to appeal off and on beaten musical paths.
Forged in the furnace of irony, molded with the hammer of satire, flattened on the anvil of righteousness, and cooled in the water of awesomeness, AudioMohel was thrust upon the world. Named from the lost audio transcripts of ‘09, AudioMohel serves as a public-service backlash against the anti-circumcision trend sweeping the so-called “enlightened parents” crowd, AudioMohel urges their more devoted and impressionable fans to undergo the snip two or even three times. AudioMohel enjoys experimenting with new breakthrough genres like speed blues and death classical even though most of AudioMohel’s tunes reside firmly in the ethereal realm of vapor-ware. Some of AudioMohel’s members admitted to being a bit intimidated by the professed experience and actual musical talent apparently possessed by the Song Fu Masters, but finally it was decided that if the need arose, sabotage would not be out of the question. To be used as a last resort, naturally, but not out of the question.
In the far off land of Chandler, Arizona, where the rivers flow with sand and cacti, our leader and master, the Lord of Our Lady Gwynyth, guitar and microphone in hand, called for the greatest musicians in the land to assemble a rock and roll group like none other. Unfortunately, they were cut off on the road, and the Jalapeño Habañeros made it there first. With The Rogue Bohemian on saxophone and The Boxcar Bassist on bass and keyboards, the Lord was pleased. Now, they roam the streets of Chandler, playing epic songs and rocking faces, much like Bon Jovi. Unfortunately they are paid in change, and often get thrown into the street, also like Bon Jovi. Their lives have intertwined, and the era of the Jalapeño Habañeros has begun. Be prepared.
The Scribbles are one of the most popular ukulele-based trios in their entire 6th grade class. Oh sure, there is the rumor that Peter Choi hates them. Meh. He’s a hater. Ha ha. The Scribbles formed last November when they all agreed on the name. After that they bought some instruments and started writing songs and stuff. So far, they’ve played a handful of shows around their hometown of Springfield, MO. Everyone’s favorite song seems to be “The Robot Song”. Maybe it’s because robots really are taking over the world, or maybe because Connor wears the robot suit during that song and that’s pretty funny. Thanks to MySpace, they are now friends with really cool people like The Beatles and Weezer and Tom. They’ve said some really nice things like “iloveyouguys:D” and “thanx for the add:).” Oh, and by the way, Peter Choi, The Scribbles still luv u.
Gorbzilla is a musician/band teacher in Mid-Michigan. He has been in a few bands over the years, most notably as the bass player/vocalist for the band “Satin Jones” and the guitarist/vocalist for the band “Jimmy Likes Pie”. The proud father of two future rock maniacs, Gorbzilla has been writing music for the past twenty years, and is currently working on his first musical Beer – Finally a Musical for Men based on the Haiku by Patrick “Horkmeister” Sweet entitled, “I Think I Threw Up”. He has been happily married for eight years, and is looking forward to this competition.
Darrell Maclaine has been devouring comedy songs and interesting music ever since he was old enough to know better, and is taking part in this competition essentially as penance for the amount of free music he has obtained via the previous rounds. He plays piano and keyboard bass as one fifth of oddball UK pop group The Directors (another fifth of the group, Mathew Cornah, possesses both more instrumental expertise and a much better home studio than him and will inevitably be press-ganged into contributing to his entries), and has decided to exercise his rusty songwriting muscles in the most embarrassingly public way possible.
BERG AND JERRY
Berg and Jerry are a small suburban acoustic group comprised of Andrew Berg (Lead Vocals, Melodica and, maybe, eventually the Ukulele) and Jerry Geleff (Guitar and Backup Vocals). Mid-summer ‘08, Berg and Jerry began writing songs together and since then… well, basically nothing. As rookies to this competition, these guys hope to at least make one good song, and entertain at least one person (*fingers crossed*). Berg and Jerry have a fun ska/indie/punk acoustic sound and often try to write clever witty lyrics. So listen, laugh, and something else that starts with an “L”, because Berg and Jerry are ready to slightly attempt to be THE MASTERS OF SONG FU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Denise lived in a grey house in the city of Austin. Her favorite pastimes were playing piano, polishing her guitar, and tormenting the geeky programmer boy who lived there. His name was Michael, but she never called him that… Isn’t that a wonderful bio???
Lex Vader was born to a single mother who worked as silicon tycoon’s personal assistant. When she died of poor hygiene, Lex was sent to an orphanage where he showed interest in organizing races and laser fencing. After being recruited into a religious order, he spent the next few years between several of their private schools. In his final year, Lex lost his hand in an argument with a professor over Kryptochlorians. Despite this, Lex was able to achieve a successful business career and even a knighthood. Tragedy struck, however, when a former classmate’s arctic home caught fire during a business lunch, scarring half of Lex’s face. At this point, Lex’s behavior became erratic. When he managed to buy SithCo, the cult that schooled him, he was shunned by the corporate world. No longer taken seriously, Lex started an evil empire and now moonlights with his evil emotronic alternapop band.
Tom Milsom is a musician, writer, artist and videomaker who has had nearly 2,000,000 views of his YouTube videos and has released an album, Awkward Ballads for the Easily Pleased, to murmurs of critical success. Faced with this onslaught of vague acceptance, he plans to release his second album, Painfully Mainstream, later this year, and is thrilled to be a part of this frankly charming and delightful competition.
Caleb became a software engineer instead of a musician because the type of music he likes best went out of style at the end of the 18th century. Self-taught in music theory, he is more comfortable writing a four-part instrumental fugue than he is writing a verse-chorus-bridge song. After discovering the likes of Weird Al, Dr. Horrible, and especially Jonathan Coulton, he realized that “modern music” can be fun too. Now he is on a quest to update, expand, and diversify his musical knowledge and experience. In addition to singing, he plays a whole family of recorders (not usually all at once) and baroque flute, pretends to play keyboard, and most recently, ukulele. He also uses virtual MIDI instruments because a real orchestra costs too much.
MILES FROM NASHVILLE
Miles from Nashville was born in early 2009 when multi-instrumentalist Charlie Wolf and harmonica player Michael Ruhland ran into each-other one day at the Albertson’s supermarket in Hermosa Beach, CA. Miles from Nashville play an eclectic mix of country, folk, rock, blues, pop, indie rock, rap (just kidding), and polka that they like to call “guacamole rock”. They are currently working on their debut album, Songs about November, and have their very own website (though who doesn’t these days?). If you happen to have large sums of money and/or expensive guitars that you don’t need, they’ll be glad to put them to use for you. Miles from Nashville plays shows around Los Angeles, CA every so often, so be sure to check the website for gigs.
Hello. I am singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, filmmaker, writer and activist Andrew Jon Thomson. I am honored to have played, collaborated, performed, and recorded with many outstanding musicians from many fantastic bands including the following current and past collaborators: The Memphis Horns, Dweezil Zappa, Anton Fig, Chuck Rainey, Tom Roady, Charlie Chalmers, Roades Chalmers Roades, Arthur Barrow, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Tommy Mars, Clayton Ivey, Charlie Morgan, Pablo Herrera (Cuba), Richard Nelson (Ireland), Mike Garson, Pat Mastellotto, Marc Muller, Rob Paporozzi, Sammy Merendino, Graham Maby, Paul Robinson (UK), Paul C. Robinson (US), Pete Lockett (UK),Victor Indrizzo, Fima Ephron, Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, Bassy B Brockman, David Gilmore, Victor Damiani, Todd Roper, Greg Brown, and DJ Qbert.
RICHARD CLAYTON SPRING
Hailing from a small town in Southern Minnesota, Richard Clayton Spring has risen above the norm, blossoming into a beautiful butterfly of acoustic guitars, pianos, synths, electronic beats, and vocals ranging from the softest of whispers to the yelp of the Great Wolf. The only style of music Richard can’t write incredibly is generic pop music, or else he would be in a limousine drinking champagne with Lady GaGa. But he has acquired an auto-tuner, so he’s working his way there.
Parsons is a 20-year-old student from California. She can leap small buildings in a few bounds. She fears large fish, but for some reason not sharks or whales. Parsons always makes the same New Year’s resolution: to survive to see the next year. So far, this has worked well for her. Parsons comes from an impressive songwriting pedigree: her older brother wrote the song “Blue Moon” in 1934, managing to overcome his crippling dyslexia and the fact that the song was written 51 years before his birth. Parsons’s songwriting influences include Beethoven, The Beatles, and Weird Al. Her sense of humor comes from The Simpsons, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and her frequent injections of concentrated doses of Vitamin K. Parsons hopes to go far in this competition. If she doesn’t emerge victorious, she will be forced to turn to Operation Omega. Nobody wants that to happen.
IAN & MELISSA
Melissa and Ian are two amateur musicians with a longtime love of composing and performing classical music. Whether this is useful or relevant for a songwriting competition remains to be seen. They are eagerly awaiting the “Write a song in the style of an obscure Baroque composer” round, ’cause somebody totally told them there would be such a round and why would someone lie like that?
Over the twelve years since young-ish midwesterner Travis Norris first picked up a guitar, he has played and written music in a wide variety of genres ranging from rock that a-billies, metal of a medium or heavier weight, “outlaw” country (aka “the good kind”) and “frosty” jazz (not a real subgenre). Left to his own devices, something like “U2 meets Jonny Lang meets various two-to-three-hit-wonder bands of the ’90s indie/alternative scene” is what you’ll usually get. Travis’s instrumental talents range from lead guitar, 2nd lead guitar, rhythm guitar, auxiliary guitar, and bass (sorta). He can also drag and drop drum loops like you wouldn’t believe. He comes to this competition armed with three electric guitars, a neglected bass, an Ebow, and absolutely no fan base or public recognition. So be nice, eh? I hear he’s real sensitive when people that aren’t him make fun of him.
When we’re not turning scrap metal into transportation and weaponry suited to post-apocalyptic life, studying the obsolete sociopolitical establishment of the twenty-first century under the guise of civil service, or scouting subterranean wilds for a suitable base of operations, The Gremlins are dedicated to sabotaging the destructive technological forces that have become your way of life through whatever mischief is at our disposal. Banjos are fun, too.
THE PERFECT PLACE
When two musicians marry one another, it’s a wonderful thing. When a multi-instrumental songwriter marries an amazing vocalist, it’s even better. Bud (oldest of three, one insane sibling of each gender) was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA – a drummer first, guitarist second, and just about everything you could imagine third through last. Christin Joy (youngest of four, with 3 older brothers) was born and raised in beautiful Annapolis, MD – with the voice of an angel and the compassion to match; she is quite a wonderful singer and writer. The Perfect Place is a Husband/Wife duo that enjoys writing and performing music in their spare time. While their main area of expertise is theologically minded, they have been known to get a little silly from time to time. Masters of Song Fu should prove to be an interesting challenge, one we await with eager anticipation. Woot!
HIS NAME IS LEGS
His Name Is Legs is a newly-created rock band comprised of guitarist/vocalist/Song Fu veteran Hazen Nester and bassist Cameron Accola, who collaborated with Nester on two of his previous entries. Born out of a mutual love of Rush and talented musicians in general, His Name Is Legs pledges to provide listeners with an eclectic array of sounds designed to stimulate and elevate. What makes this band unique is that neither Accola nor Nester have ever met each other in person.
ROUND 3 CHALLENGE
For your third challenge, you are to write a standard song. I am defining a “standard song” as one with a definite melody and a chorus that repeats at least once (to clarify: the chorus should appear at least twice in the song). However, your song must run EXACTLY 1 minute in length - no shorter, and no longer. You can write on any topic.
Your song must be submitted in mp3 form (128-192kbps) either via e-mail (to songfu @ asitecalledfred.com - remember to remove the spaces) or a file upload service (like RapidShare or YouSendIt). Deadline for submission is 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 22nd, 2009.
Voting on Round 3 submissions will commence on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009.
ROUND 2 VOTING RESULTS - THE CHALLENGERS
ROUND 1 VOTING RESULTS - THE CHALLENGERS
If you triumph, not only will you win remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, you will also become the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY.
Good luck, and bring on the Fu.
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