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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The diversity of Zorch Boomhauer in Second Life-Sandy Demina reporting

Diversity, intensity, reverence and heresy with a breath drawn long sometimes stretched tense as silvered steel over wood and bone with the power of his evocative and thought provoking lyrics- That's Zorch Boomhauer. His music has a sometimes painful directness and honesty rarely found even in earthy folk, and his tales tell themselves as elegantly in melody as in his sometimes brutal words.


SANDY:First of all some words about you:where are you from?

Zorch: I was born in Dublin Ireland as a young man and immigrated to the US of A when I was two years old. I don't really have an accent, but my parent had one so... basically I speak like my Mom and Dad.

I think I Should mention, I'M NOT SCOTTISH. Not that there is anything wrong with being Scottish... I'm just not.

SANDY:How long have you been playing music?

ZORCH: When I was 3 years old my Grandfather started giving me Piano lessons on the sly. My Dad was sure all musicians where heroin addicts and didn't want his son involved in any narcotic driven shenanigans, so Grand Pa had to keep the ivory tickling on the down low. Grand Pa use to get pretty miffed at my lack of concentration, and I really don't think you can teach a 3 year old to play the piano. But oddly, at 4 I started to get a handle on it. By the time I was 5, and placed in Kindergarten, I was seriously screwed. I was sure the Alphabet started at "C" and there were no letters beyond the letter "G". I knew all to well, there was no Key of "H", and why would you need to count beyond 8?

I feel I should mention the musicians reading this are probably getting the jokes and I didn't know about chromatic scales until I was 7, bringing the need to count up to 12.

SANDY:What instruments do you play?

ZORCH: Well let's just limit this answer to instruments I've be paid to play. Piano (thanks Gramps) Random keyboard instuments, Guitar, Bass, Banjo, Dobro, Fiddle and Concertina. I've spent most of my checkered career in music being a "Band Guy". Hired mostly because I can play a lot of instruments and sing harmony as well.

In case anybody is interested, I won awards playing Banjo, Dobro, and Guitar.

In Second Life I only play guitar because it suits what I'm doing. However, I do play in 4 different tunings. Standard tuning, Vestapol tuning, Drop D tuning and DADGAD tuning. Basically four different dialects of Guitar.

SANDY:How would you describe your style?

ZORCH: Single word answer... "Iconic". When I say that, I'm implying my music does not fit into a comfortable genre, but in spite of itself has it's own signature sound.

A more wordy answer would be, consider my childhood, I had a Grandfather who was a jazz pianist, and a father who insisted on listening to traditional Irish music. Both sounds filled the air in my formative years, and have probably colored my perceptions of music ever since. Layer upon that foundation, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, The Clash, The Who, and just about anything else wicked cool, and you have the kind of sonic stock pile that leads to interesting musical conclusions.

But when all is said and done, everything gets filtered though the "Green". I play a sad song, some hear "The Blues". But it's not the blues it's the place where blues come from. A music tradition over 2,000 years old called "A Lament". There is a subtle difference between the Blues and a Lament. The Blues is, "I wish I was dead" and a Lament is, "I wish I was never born".

SANDY:You are a composer too,how long does it take to write a song/piece of music? 
ZORCH: For the Record, I'm primarily a songwriter. My show are almost always 100% original music. On the rare instance when I do play a cover, my supporters have a strange reaction to it. It's kind of like witnessing a full solar Eclipse.

How long does it take to write a song? Your whole life up to that point. Of course that is the Zen riddle answer.

The last song I wrote, "I wasn't missing you at all", I got the idea for the song standing in the bed room. On the way to my studio to work on it, I stopped to make a pot of coffee. I sat down at the computer and started transcribing the song, and before the pot of coffee was brewed it was finished.

SANDY:How prolific are you?

ZORCH: I'm ridiculously prolific.

I've kind of prolific'ed myself in to a corner. Most people book you for an hour show, and simply stated I've got too many great songs to squeeze into an hour. I don't spend the hour trying to figure out what to play, but rather, what I'm not going to play this show. My supporters are great, and many of them have been listening to me for well over a year. I have a good idea what songs they Love and make a point to play them during the course of the show. Sometimes with a 60 minute time limit, some request don't get played and I hate to dissapoint my supporters.

However, I'm not just a prolific writer. I'm pretty sure I've probably got the most extensive body of available recorded music in Second Life.

The Available Second Life Discography is as follows.

"Songs in the Key of Green"
"The Sound of Red"
"Shades of Blue"
"Song and Story Vol 1"
"Shadow and Light"
"Ashes and Dreams"
"Retrospective Vol 1"
"Me and My Monkey"

All collections are available in world at the ZORCH Center, and I carry a bunch of vendor with me on display at my live shows. Several collections are also available via the web site.

Just a foot note, all the collections listed were recorded in a two year time frame. And there are three collections deleted from the catalog.

SANDY:What do you spend the most time on; music or lyrics?

ZORCH: Well my music from moment one is music and Lyrics together. I write very spontaneously. I actually hear the song in my head. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It keeps the songs from being limited by what I can play. However, it does force me to employ some odd techniques. Songs often have weird time signature, oddball keys, and really freaking difficult bridges. On the other hand, some things are really simple. It cuts both ways. Whatever suits the song.

SANDY:Which acts have most inspired you?

ZORCH: It's not really "Acts" that inspire me, but rather musical moments. There are million of them. The Guitar Jazz band section of Queens, "Keep all good company". The String section of the Beatles "Elenore Rigby", the epic sweep of U2's "Where the streets have no name", the scream in the Who's "Baba O'Riley", and of course, the first time I heard the Chieftains.

Music is the most inspiring thing in the world. When I hear bad music I turn it off, when I hear good music I turn it up.

SANDY:Where do you get ideas for songs/pieces of music?
ZORCH: From the unrelenting crucible of Life. While "Story and Song Vol 1" is my most profound work in many ways, not many people have a copy. Those that do, are waiting for the next volume.

SANDY:Except for other musicians what else inspires you?
ZORCH: The unrelenting crucible of Life. I'm detecting a theme here.

SANDY:What has influenced you to get your to where you are today musically? 
ZORCH: A quirky combination of arrogance and stupidity. I'm sure a more insecure and intelligent man would have chucked it all by now for a promising job selling insurance.

SANDY:Which song would you most like to have written?

ZORCH: Skullcrushers mountain, Johnathan Colton

SANDY:Let's start spending some words about SL : How did you discover it?

ZORCH: Zack Claxton wrote an aritical about playing music live in Second Life. So if the finger of blame must be pointed it's all Zack.

SANDY:what brought you inworld?

ZORCH: Ummmm... a computer. Is this a trick question?

SANDY:Did you ever think to use your real name for what you usually do in Second Life?

ZORCH: One of the cardinal rules of dude-dome is "Never use your real name". I've never used my real name in any of my musical endeavors why start now?

SANDY:What you like to do here in Second Life when you are not playing?

ZORCH: True confessions time. I'm a horrible Second Life resident. I show up a half an hour before a show to drop notice and TP to the venue. The reason I show up early is simply because TPs can be kind of dodgy sometimes and I don't want to be late for a show because Linden Labs dropped the ball.

SANDY:Do you like shopping or going to music concerts or art exhibits?
ZORCH: In world I only spend money on tips and renting a stream. I was a shopper once, but now that I earn my humble crust of bread via my musical adventures in Second Life, I don't really shop.

Since I show up early for all my shows I see all kinds of musical acts. But I don't seek them out. I just stumble across them.

SANDY:Do you think SL can be a valid showcase for your RL works?

ZORCH: I don't see an distinction between real life and second life when it comes to music. When I do play in real life, it's the same songs I play in Second Life. Anybody that checks out my music ends up at the web site.

SANDY:Do you use other kind of digital promotions?

ZORCH: Just my web site I do sell a good deal of my MP3 collections right from the site. While I do have a "MySpace" page, it's not really something I keep after.

SANDY:Where do you see yourself a year from now ?

ZORCH: I have no idea where I'll be a year from now. I'm trying to get the real life music thing going, but maintaining the performance schedule I have in world is pretty time consuming. Time will tell. Not to sound overly pragmatic, I'll do whatever I can do. If I can book more real life shows I'll do it. Real Life pays better. On the other hand, Second Life is pretty easy to stay busy at even if you aren't making much money.


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