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 your 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 your final Challenge - or perhaps it could be a brand new Master. Only the Challenger who garners the most cumulative votes in all of the Challenges will move on to the Final and face that Master, mano a mano.
So what was the first Challenge?
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
This is a bit of a fun one. Your first task is based upon the work of Friend-of-the-Stop John Hodgman - specifically, the “700 MOLE MEN” listed in his second book, More Information Than You Require. You’ll find the full list of “700 Mole Men” - and their descriptions - HERE. Your task is to choose one (1) and write a song about that Mole Man, based on the description provided by Hodgman. The title of your song will be the name of the Mole Man you’ve chosen, and its corresponding number on the list. You are free to write your song in any style that you choose.
That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute.
You’ll find the Round 1 songs from each of our Challengers below, as well as the results of the Round 1 voting (As some competitors did not make their Round 2 submission in time, you’ll find those missing songs in the ROUND 1 ZIP FILE, which you can download below).
So what was the 2nd Challenge?
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Write a song about a number.
That’s right - a song about a number. It can be any number, and it can be describing or representing anything. The number you choose will be the title of your song. The song can be in any style you’d like. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute.
If you want some inspiration, here’s a number song from Harry Nilsson…
You’ll find the Round 2 songs from each of our Challengers below, as well as the STILL ONGOING Round 2 voting (it ends on December 6th, so be sure to vote!). More importantly, though, you’ll also discover what the Round 3 Challenge is!
I suppose I am what you could call a “Multi-Instrumentalist”. That is a nice way of saying “Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none”. I began playing drums as a teenager and spent a great deal of energy during my 20’s trying to “make it” in the music biz. As a drummer, I have had the opportunity to play with some pretty incredible musicians, garnering literally DOZENS of fans over the years. In 2004 I joined the band Celestial Static, and spent several years melting some face with good friends Jeremy and Julie Elzerman. Once that ran its course, I decided to spend more time locked away in my studio, writing my own songs and learning to play guitar, bass and sing. It doesn’t pay the bills, but I have a good time doing it.
Edric is a returning veteran of the Masters of Song Fu competition. He 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. Also - feel free to check out (and add to!) the “Happiness Board” on his web pages!
Official Website: happinessboard.com/Edric_Haleen.html
“BUCKETHAT” BOBBY MATHESON
I’m “BucketHat” Bobby Matheson. I used to make cartoons for the internet, and sometimes still do, but mostly focus on my music right now. I write and record my songs solo, in my little make-shift studio, and when I play live, I often get some help from friends. Some of my music is funny, and some isn’t. More often than not, the humour is unintentional. My Influences range from Klezmer to folk, to punk and back again, which ends up sounding more like Zydeco than anything else (who’d have guessed?). I’ve been described as a “Cajun Buddy Holly” and an “Optimistic Elvis Costello”. It’s been said that I sound like “That guy from the Barenaked Ladies” and a “Nasaly Bob Dylan”. One of these days, I hope to have a description that is accurate.
Legends foretell of a mighty duo, born in the frozen North. Two neighbors and friends will unite to form “Godz Poodlz” and battle the Mazters or Song Fu for glory and bragging rights! Godz Poodlz are Rüss Rogers and Rod Durre. Russ Rogers was once a member of “Kit and Kaboodle” (still available on iTunes) and currently performs in “Rusty’s Rocking Jamboree!” Rhod Durre was in the Goth Rock Band, “Sear!” Beware the Godz Poodlz Ear Worm! Godz Poodlz songs are bright, funny and tenaciously catchy. Come join Godz Poodlz Legionz of Fanz!
Official Website: www.myspace.com/godzpoodlz
Bram Tant is a Belgian coputer science student with a distinct love for music. Ever since going to music school as a kid, he’s enjoyed singing and playing the guitar, and has been writing songs for some years now. While he’s still learning to play the guitar, sing and write songs better, he improves with each attempt, and he makes up for it (and the lack of proper recording equipment) with his passion and enthusiasm. He would like to become a professional musician someday, but for now he’s satisfied with writing and performing for friends, family, and strangers on the internet.
Manitcess are Susanne Wolff (Lupa) on vocals and Johannes Schult (Jutze) on guitar. The duo plays melodic song somewhere between pop, folk and rock. Melodies are more important than trends. The band has already played various gigs in Germany and Switzerland and is eager to entertain - or better to enchant their audience with their musical tales.
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.
Official Website: jalapenojabaneros.blogspot.com
Hi, my name is Timothy. I like me. I like my school, I like my friends. I like to play the music. I very much enjoy the peoples. Thank you.
They are not some traveling country hillbilly act. They are celebrating the year of Jubilee in the form of ukulele based indie pop. They are Akiva Misto and Eliana Bartimeus and they are prepared to rock your yarmulkes!
Official Website: NONE
Peter is a person of sorts. Since his birth he has consistently occupied himself with a variety of time consuming and completely un-noteworthy activities. Despite this breadth of experience he remains untalented in the ways of writing all encompassing 600 word essays. He does, however, greatly enjoy the rare treat that is writing about oneself in the third person, especially when such a gift should be presented to him at the wonderful time of 4AM. Peter now supposes that since this a musical competition he is entering, he might want to include something about that in his bio. At the way too old age of 18, Peter first attempted to play music. His guitar teacher warned him that he was much to old to begin training, and that he would probably be an emotionally unstable musician that would eventually turn to the dark side. Peter took no heed to this warning, and indeed dropped out of guitar lessons fairly quickly, realizing that he enjoyed learning much more when done alone. In the year and a half since then, Peter has been on a steady rise and will no doubt be taking the musical world by storm in the coming year. Perhaps his greatest musical moment came in December of 2008, when his Christmas caroling band, The Sizzle, took his small hick town by storm with a door to door tour through the suburbs, melting the figurative face of listeners with a funk/rap cover of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. In 2009 Peter has become active in the youtube community, known not for his music but for his notorious use of stop-motion eating scenes and a DIY laugh track. Hoping to hone his barely existing musical skills through the pressure of competition, Peter joins Round 5 of Song Fu. He sincerely hopes that rewriting this bio at a later date will be an option. The Peter Is Competing.
Josh was born in Canada, which probably explains more about him than anything else he could put in a bio. He plays the accordion, is self-taught on the piano, and highly enjoys playing and writing for both - though he rarely finishes anything without a deadline. With this grueling contest, he hopes to push himself to unleash the best Fu he possibly can… and hell, maybe even some he impossibly can. YARRR!
Official Website: www.youtube.com/user/PossessedRaccoon
Many folks say that Aaron Z is a pretty cool guy. He plays too many instruments, but mostly piano & guitar. He wastes too much of his free time writing and performing music, which has been known to make people laugh, tough men cry, and ladies melt in his arms. His current projects include Orange Box: The Musical! and A Tribute to the Letter E. He likes food cooked with mushrooms and his favorite ice-creams are vanilla-based, not chocolate-based. Check out his music, including his previously-weekly but now faux-weekly music project on his website, plus his other cool music.
Official Website: aaronz.bandcamp.com
JOE “COVENANT” LAMB
I’m Joe Covenant. I’m Scottish. And never have enough time to do everything I wanna! Been singing and perfoming for over 40 years… (yes, I am 46.)… and I’ve nearly learned a 6th chord! Everything I do. I do for Song Fu. (If not for this ‘contest’ I would have never met and collaborated with so many talented people.)
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.
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, baroque flute, ukulele, melodica, pretends to play keyboard, and most recently, guitar. He also uses virtual MIDI instruments because a real orchestra costs too much.
Sometimes two people get together who are destined to make history. Sometimes they are born into the same family. zer0guy is the musical/life-partnership of Jon and Dan Kelly, long time musicians looking forward to placing notes in your head.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/zer0guyband
My current project is writing A Song a Day (Rock Cookie Bottom), and my former projects include The Last Nympho Leprechaun, a rock opera, The Mario Opera, a rock opera, GameJew, a web show, and The Mushroom Singdom, singing old school video game reviews.
Official Website: www.rockcookiebottom.com
Sara Parsons is a twenty-year-old music composition student from northern California. She participated in Masters of Song Fu #4 and had a blast and met a ton of great people. She hopes she’s better at writing songs than she is at writing her own biography.
Official Website: www.youtube.com/user/sargeantketchup
Chas Lilly is a man that needs introduction. He is geeky but hopefully without being boring. He has been known to write songs about Pluto, Tim Allen, funerals, and everything in between. People often describe his music as “music”.
My name is Kylie, and I’m your everyday 17-year-old girl with a passion for music. I’ve been writing my own songs since I was ten years old, and nothing is more fun for me than to sit down with my guitar and unwind. I’d like to use Masters of Song Fu to really challenge myself, and hopefully grow as a musical artist.
Official Website: NONE
I am a young musician who plays trombone, guitar, ukulele, piano, melodica, and a little bit of harmonica. I play everything from rock songs with distortion pedals on ukulele, to rap medleys on piano, to sappy love songs and songs about the internet crashing on guitar. This is my first time in Song Fu.
Official Website: NONE
I’m just a kid with a guitar. Sometimes I even play it.
Official Website: NONE
Simmbiosis - three part band. Defies the usual type or brand. A combo bred, in this strange head. The obscene voice the unseen hand. Terpsichore and muse imbued. Perverse perhaps a little rude. Music composed, a life exposed. Giving you all I can exude. Studio C where I compose. Club Bed where I take my repose. Iniquity, safe haven for me. The rest you’ll just have to suppose. To be among this crowd, auspicious. An honor bordering on delicious. Thanks to View Askew, I’ll whip out my Song Fu. And work not to be repetitious, repetitious, repetitious.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/simmbiosis
Denise Hudson is doing Song Fu again because last time the contest gave her a rush that she’d never had before. She is thinking this contest will help her further her career in the frightening world, the scary internet (ack!), and in Austin - a city in which there are many Live Music Capitalists of the World. She’s hoping to avoid mixdown mixups, to master her mastering, and hopefully… not become a twittasaurus rex. She’d like to thank her friends - local, national, international, intergalactic, and those from the beyond. Peace, Love, and Grapenuts.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/denisehudson
ROUND 2 SONG: “Four 5ths”
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 2 songs, CLICK HERE.
To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 1 songs, CLICK HERE.
ROUND 3 CHALLENGE
Write a winter holiday song that is not about the holidays.
Your song can reference the holidays, but must not be explicitly about them. However, it should incorporate instruments and/or a style that evokes the holidays. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds.
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 Sunday, December 13th, 2009.
Voting on Round 3 submissions will commence on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009.
If you want some inspiration, here’s a song from Jona Lewie, “Stop The Cavalry”…
ROUND 2 VOTING
And now, it’s time for the voting. For this round, you can choose your TOP 5 FAVORITE Challenger songs. Be sure to choose carefully. VOTING CLOSES AT 11:59pm EST on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6th. If you are having trouble voting, CLEAR YOUR BROWSER’S CACHE and try again. PLEASE NOTE: This voting system bases voting eligibility on your IP Address. If there are other computers on a home or business network that share the same IP address through a router, it may say you’ve already voted. Unfortunately, there is no way around this, and still be able to prevent ballot stuffing. It’s just the nature of the online voting beast.
ROUND 2 VOTING - THE CHALLENGERS
ROUND 1 VOTING - THE CHALLENGERS RESULTS
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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