We here at FRED 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.
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 FRED to be voted on by you, the audience.
At the end of the 3rd Challenge, the two Challengers with the most votes will face off, mano a mano for the title of…
MASTER OF SONG FU
However, there may yet be one final challenge for this newly crowned Master - for they very well might (if the stars align and schedules permit) face off against one of the LEGENDARY MASTERS - artists like Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, Neil Innes, Doc Hammer, & The RiffTones. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu - one of which may or may not be revealed as your ultimate challenge. Only the wheel of uncertainty can predict (and even then, not).
So what was the first Challenge?
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
Write a song that is about (or at least has key to the central narrative) RAIN (the meteorological phenomena). At some point (or throughout) the song, you must utilize an instrument (or vocals) that represent the rain. 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 30 seconds.
And then our Challengers were given their Round 2 Challenge…
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Write a song that does not rhyme.
CLARIFICATION: Your song can be in any style, but must not contain any rhymes of 2 dissimilar words within a traditional verse structure. Exact repetition of a phrase or word is permitted. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds..
If you want some inspiration, here’s a number song from The Muppets…
You’ll find the Round 1 and Round 2 songs from each of our Challengers below, as well as the results of the Round 1 voting. More importantly, though, you’ll find the voting form for the Round 2 Challenge tunes!
Mike Lombardo is a piano-playing geek-pop-rock singer-songwriter who likes to use hyphens when describing his occupation. He has been known to write songs about just about anything, including rocks and SAW 4. When not banging on a piano, Mike spends most of his time playing way too many video games or teaching small children how to bang on pianos. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Mike is currently finishing up his second album with his piano rock band, the Mike Lombardo Trio.
Official Website: www.mikelombardomusic.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Sit And Watch The Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “I Found You”
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
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: godzpoodlz.bandcamp.com
Spencer is trying to do things. Music is one of those things. It is painfully obvious to him, if not others, that he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. In the past he has been musically inclined with a guitar and occasionally with a piano. He is trying to be musically active once again, but this time he is attempting to do so while on the Internets. Creating music is a large part of his 40×40 list and he thinks this competition seems like “a Super Mega Happy Fun way” to rekindle his musical desires.
Official Website: www.spencersokol.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Reservations”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Minus”
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. Now I thankfully have a violin to add to my arsenal, and I’m armed and ready for my second go at song fu!
Official Website: NONE
Caleb is a software engineer who pretends to be a musician on the internet. Self-taught in music theory, he is more comfortable writing a four-part instrumental fugue than he is writing a verse-chorus-bridge song. His favorite style of music went out of style at the end of the 18th century, but after discovering the likes of Weird Al, Dr. Horrible, and especially Jonathan Coulton, he realized that “omodern 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 guitar, and most recently, bass. He also uses virtual instruments because a real orchestra costs too much.
BOFFO YUX DUDES
The Boffo Yux Dudes began in the 80’s and 90’s doing radio comedy, and promptly fell asleep for the next 15 years. Tom Giarrosso and Allan Morgan (Pop Machine) continue the tradition of trying to recreate their lost youth with exceedingly torturous music, instead of spending the money on therapy like normal people having a midlife crisis. Tom blames Mike Lombardo for showing him the Fu way of doing things, and now he has to listen to the voices and write songs instead of doing his actual day job.
Official Website: www.boffoyux.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Reign of the King”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Al’s Blues”
Denise Hudson is a musician of non-determined hair-color from Austin, Texas who is married to an musicaphile Australian. She hopes that she typed up her bio correctly (alas, she cannot spell!); and additionally hopes she amuses you, but she is done apologizing now. If she happens to make you slightly uncomfortable, she supposes there’s nothing to be done for it…
Official Website: denisehudson.bandcamp.com
“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.
Official Website: www.buckethatbobby.randomsociety.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Forget About The Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “I’m Fine (Could Be Worse)”
IAN “TWO SHADES” JOHNSON
Ian is a guitarist/singer/pianist/other-stuff-ist. He was a participant of Song-Fu #5, and is a member of Too Much Awesome. His songs have been described (by himself) as “probably not as funny as I think they are.”
Official Website: ianjohnson.bandcamp.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Downpour”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Two Words”
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.
Official Website: gorbzilla.blogspot.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Freezing Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “A Song About This Song”
Governing Dynamics is the name of Travis Norris’s eternal sideproject, where all the stuff written by him goes when his current band (whatever it may be) refuses to play it. The music has been favorably compared to such bands as Eels, Radiohead, The White Stripes, and other bands that cool people like. It has been unfavorably compared to the tactics used by the FBI against the Branch Dividians at Waco. If he has to describe his music by genre (and refer to himself in third person) Travis calls it “alternative/shoegazer with a liberal dose of Midwestern rock”.
Official Website: governingdynamics.bandcamp.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Rain in Chicago”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Restrictions”
Two brothers from the midwest return to Song Fu with their brand of eclectic musical ideas. They don’t like to stick to a genre, and sometimes they suffer from swarms of bees.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/zer0guyband
ROUND 1 SONG: “Thundercade”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Guitar Tonite”
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.
Official Website: www.jutze.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Kingdom Of Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Communication Removal”
LEIGH & HOOVER
Dave & William have been writing songs together for decades, yet have still managed to avoid finding a clever name for themselves. William writes the words; Dave the music… which is good because it doesn’t really work the other way ’round.
Official Website: www.cratchit.org/music
ROUND 1 SONG: “Summer Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “We Do What We Do”
Common Lisp is the name for the music projects of yours truly, Paul R. Potts, and any collaborators I may be able to drag into participating. I am a middle-aged software engineer with four children, some home recording gear, and too many guitars. I have never written an original song. It’s about time, don’t you think?
Official Website: commonlisp.bandcamp.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Polly Loves the Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “War Criminal”
Glen Raphael is a Manhattan-based software geek, circus performer, and guitarist/singer/songwriter who counts Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm as influences. He has recently written songs that featured killer robots, exploding pants, and the Statue of Liberty having a mid-life crisis. Though not all at once. Yet.
Official Website: youtube.com/glenra
ROUND 1 SONG: “Can’t See The Sky”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Song That Doesn’t Rhyme”
INVERSE T. CLOWN
Inverse T. Clown is a jack of many entertainment trades, songwriting being one of his favorites. He has an album half-ready to be recorded, and is looking forward to garnering the patience to sit down and do it. Even more so, he’s looking forward to Song Fu 6. There is an ongoing series of internet covers of Inverse’s song “Today’s The Day” - and he loves them all - but it would nice to get some steam behind the endless REST of his genius, and Song Fu seems just the place to start it up. He’s funny, he’s clever, his music is synthetic, and he’s champing at the bit to throw everything he’s got to his clamoring fans. Stick around, and see why Salemites everywhere call this musical genius “The Future of Greatness”.
Official Website: toomuchawesome.ning.com/profile/InverseTClown
ROUND 1 SONG: “Sexy In The Rain”
ROUND 2 SONG: “An Angry Rant”
Coming in at twice Mike Lombardo’s age, Jeff MacDougall is back and ready to throw some Fu! When asked about the competition, he had this to say: “Yeah. That’s right. I’m back. *coughs* *mumbles*” This will be a Song Fu for the ages!
Official Website: www.jeffmacdougall.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Beautiful Day”
ROUND 2 SONG: “Ken Plume Is To Blame”
Taryn Miller is an 18-year-old, gluten-intolerant, crazy-hat-wearing guitarist (and other stuff too, but she’s played guitar longest). She hails from Winfield, Kansas - Home of Bluegrass.
Official Website: myspace.com/chellenesuperstar
ROUND 1 SONG: “Crowded And Clouded”
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 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 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, and THE NEXT CHALLENGE WILL BE REVEALED ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26th. 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 RESULTS
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.)
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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