Saturday, February 28, 2009

More updates on Mr. Tim

Turns out all six of Tim's new vocal groups got into the regional competitions for the Harmony Sweepstakes this year. There was some concern and a couple of calls with the organizer of the contest as people tried to make sure it was allowed for one man to run that many groups and have them all compete. Fortunately, all six groups are distinct from one another, so they were given the green light. Tim did have to explain to one regional why it would not be okay for two of his groups to compete and another one to judge the same competition. So now we are running rounds of rehearsals (Tim is; I'm running around the rehearsals trying not to interrupt) intermixed with rounds of arranging songs for the groups, recording stuff for a project he is doing for NBC/Universal, brainstorming sessions about costuming and staging, reviewing videos of rehearsals, answering emails, shipping merchandise (all over the world, lately!) and watching the odd episode of "Psych", "Chuck", or various other shows Tim follows when things just get too complex and we need a breath. Even Tim, with his seemingly boundless energy, can't work more than 16 hours a day without some down time.

I count myself lucky that Tim actually put a rocking chair in his office and welcomes me to sit in there while he's working (except during rehearsals and recording, when the kids coming in would be a problem). He even lets me speak my mind about his projects, which is fun for me. I love reviewing his business card mock-ups and making suggestions, or commenting on the latest rehearsal video or draft of a recording or song ("why doesn't that song mention Specter?" and "Peter makes you look short on stage" or "I love the emotional contrast between Tainted Love and Fred Jones in that set" or "I really liked the blue cards first, but the black and white have grown on me. Why don't you shrink this picture and put it here, and use this picture on the back?" or "Do you ever think that the original group to write and record a song isn't really the best performers of it? Like that one Beattles song...."). He really lets me get involved, and I deeply value that connection we have with each other and the time we get to spend together now, while he's working from home. (I remember feeling a lot the same way when my Dad started working from home when I was a kid. It's not that I went in there a lot; it's just that I liked knowing I could and he would be there.)

I can't remember which groups are going to which regional competitions, despite the fact that Tim has told me multiple times. But this is what to watch for, especially if you live where one of these shows will be taking place.

In Denver, LA, Olympia (WA), or San Francisco, watch for:

The King 4--a four-man group that sings a cappella arrangements of Elvis songs. They'll be in LA (I remember this one).

Throat--an all-vocal rock band that sings all original music. They'll be in LA, too.

Wonder Voice--a mixed quintet a cappella cover band. I think they might be competing in Denver.

Essence of Larynx--a mixed a cappella comedy group. More sophisticated than moosebutter. Think "Capitol Steps" but not only about political stuff. I think they're going to San Francisco.

Mouthbeats--a vocal percussion ensemble. I think they're competing in Denver.

Plumbers of Rome--a 'deconstructionist unaccompanied male trio'. They take familiar songs and do altogether new interpretations of them that make you see the songs in a new light (for example, in their mouths, that old shallow '80s club tune, "Tainted Love," becomes an emotional exploration of the nature of young love and the maturing process people go through that changes how they approach love). It's pretty cool. I think they're going Olympia way. They've won Audience Favorite and Best Stage Presentation in Denver in the past 3 years, so I'm interested to see what happens in a different state.

You notice moosebutter isn't on the list? We thought moosebutter had retired....

I'm actually really excited about the competitions. They are a great way for groups to get out there and test the waters, see how crowds react, and get to know other musicians. I hope they all win some kind of awards. I wish I could go see them all, but, once again, I'll be waiting for a 1:00 am phone call with the results (which I usually get while Tim is between the competition venue and the after party, so I've heard the sounds of freeway in the middle of the night in the background from several states now).

Anyway, the other news is that one of Tim's songs, "Old Turkey," was nominated for a CARA (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award) for 2009 for Best Comedy Song. It beat out others of Tim's songs, "Decepticon Woman" and "Cupcakes" which I think, personally, are superior songs. It's not the first CARA he's been nominated for. moosebutter's first album won Best Comedy Song and Best comedy Album in years past, and they've been nominated at least once more (I can't remember if they won that time or not).