Friday, May 19, 2017

Three New Jerkatorium Songs! And Jerkatorium Loses! Twice!

Jerkatorium tied for second place on the Ocean of Blood Song Fight.  It's fine that we didn't win that one, Flaming Tiger had a great song that deserved to win.  We had also won six out of the previous seven fights we'd entered, so it was good to have one in the loss column to keep us grounded.

Jerkatorium also continued to compete in Nur Ein XII with three new songs: Tired of Talking, Regime Change, and A Sense of the Absurd, all of which can be heard and/or downloaded at this link:

As I'd mentioned in previous posts, extra non-optional requirements are imposed on the Nur Ein title assignments:

The lyrics for Tired of Talking had to be limited to one sentence.  The rules stated that run-on sentences were fair game, and that the sentence could be repeated any number of times in the song.  Brian Raiter wrote our sentence for us, and I really liked how that song turned out.  Some of the judges didn't like our approach, but we still made it through to the next round.

Regime Change had the added requirement of two guest singers, plus the added constraint that none of those guest singers could be current or former Nur Ein participants.  Song Fight semi-regular Jeff DeSantis was one of our guest singers, and wow, he did a great job.  Our other guest singer was Sheri Hinshaw, who also did a great job, but the recording quality was sub-par because her lines were recorded on her phone.  We hope to revise the song with a cleaner take in the future.  Regardless, the judges enjoyed the song and I really enjoy listening to it.

The lyrics for A Sense of the Absurd had to be written around a mondegreen (a misheard lyric).  We struggled with this one a bit, working on and subsequently discarding three distinctly different approaches before settling on a direction.  We were still writing parts of the song within two hours of the submission deadline.  In my opinion A Sense of the Absurd was our weakest Nur Ein composition (my fault, not Chumpy's).  We were eliminated from the competition that round by the slightest margin imaginable:  We tied with another band for third-to-last place so the judges voted between us two tied bands, and we lost by one point.  That other band was 73 Keep It Beautiful, and I thought their song was one of the best from that round, so I'm only surprised we didn't lose to them by a wider margin... though I do think a couple of the bands who scored better than either of us had songs that were considerably worse.

So we were eliminated from Nur Ein after five songs.  The way I look at it, we generated five great songs in five weeks, and that's a good thing.  So now it's back to the Song Fights - I'll keep you posted on our upcoming songs.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two New Jerkatorium Songs: "Fingers Crossed" and "After You"

As I'd mentioned in the last two posts, Jerkatorium is competing in Nur Ein this year.  Much like Song Fight, Nur Ein assigns a title for all competitors.  Nur Ein goes a couple of extra steps by imposing an extra non-optional challenge or constraint on each assignment, and by having a 7-day deadline (which is tougher than Song Fight's 10-day deadline).  Another difference is that Song Fight competitors win if they get the most votes from the public, while Nur Ein is an elimination competition decided by a pre-selected panel of 5 judges.

So far we have done pretty well.  Our first entry was in a 4-way tie for 8th place (out of 20 bands) for the "Fingers Crossed" title, which had the added requirement of including some backwards singing or instrumentation in the song.  We did even better with our third-place showing for the "After You" title, which had the added requirement of a countermelody.

All of our Nur Ein submissions can be heard (and downloaded for free) at this link:

A new Jerkatorium song will pop up there every week until we get eliminated.

Oh yeah, and take a look at what I found on YouTube:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Jerkatorium Song "Ocean Of Blood" Posted At

Jerkatorium submitted an entry for the current "Ocean Of Blood" Song Fight, and you can hear it (and vote for it if you like it) at the following link:

This song is just acoustic guitar and voice, which is a bit of a departure from our typical style.  Other than the vocal layering, this is a "no-frills" effort from us.  A couple hours prior to submission Chumpy found a neat new trick in Logic Pro X that helped us clean up the song, and we were at it right up until the deadline.  There are some timing issues during the second verse that I'm sure we would have noticed and cleaned up prior to submission if we'd had more time and fresh ears, but I'm still very happy with how it turned out.  The lyrics are darker than usual, but with title like "Ocean Of Blood" you'd have to expect some darkness.

I might post another update as soon as tomorrow, depending on how soon the Nur Ein songs are posted.  Jerkatorium is on track to submit our song for the "Fingers Crossed" round today.

I do not like to update this blog without pictures, so here is a photo of the sunset I took from the plane to Sacramento on January 9.  It's a pretty photo except for the scratches on the window.  It has nothing to do with Jerkatorium music, but here it is anyway:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Jerkatorium Song "The John Benjamin Band Theme"

As part of a recent "Themesong Fight", Jerkatorium created a theme song for fellow Song Fighter and musical genius The John Benjamin Band:

The song turned out great, and you can hear it here:

The John Benjamin Band is genuinely as fantastic as depicted in the song, and you can hear a bunch of his music at his website, and you can hear a bunch more in his SongFight archive:

We have another new song coming out soon for the "Ocean Of Blood" Song Fight, and I will update this blog as soon as those songs are posted.

In other news, Jerkatorium is competing in Nur Ein this year, which means at least one new song every week from now until we get eliminated from the competition.  Nur Ein is different than Song Fight because it's an elimination competition (like oh so many reality TV competition shows), and there is a set panel of judges instead of voting from the general public.  It started yesterday and lasts until June 5, so there should be new Jerkatorium songs posted every week until we lose.  I will post regular updates and links to the songs on this blog.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Jerkatorium Wins AGAIN for the "Old Friends" Song Fight

Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith won the "Old Friends" Song Fight by a wide margin.  As I'd mentioned in the previous post, Micah did a ton of work to make the song as good as it is.  Extra kudos to Chumpy too for his contributions to the lyrics, for delivering a great vocal performance, and for his mixing mastery.  You can hear the song at this link:

Early on we'd gotten a lot of good reviews for the song, and the host of the YouTube SongFight Listening Party had obviously enjoyed it (use the link below the image to go directly to his reaction):

Anyway that's four wins in a row (or two wins in a row, if you're counting it as Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith instead of Jerkatorium).  We'll have another song posted soon for our ThemeFight entry, I'll post a link as soon as that is up.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jerkatorium Wins The "Ace In The Hole" Song Fight, New "Old Friends" Collab Posted At

Jerkatorium won the "Ace In The Hole" Song Fight by a pretty good margin.  That's three wins in a row for us.

The song evolved a lot over the course of its composition; we had a sketchy original idea that neither of us was really excited about, until Chumpy and I started going back and forth, trading off huge revisions of the content and style until it all came together.  Anyway I hope you liked it, and if you haven't heard it yet you can catch it at:

We also have an entry posted in the current "Old Friends" Song Fight, and for the next week and a half or so you can hear it (and vote for it if you like it) at  This time around we did another collaboration with Micah Sommersmith, the Song Fighter and accordion virtuoso that we worked with on the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" Song Fight almost a year ago.  This time we went for a friendship/rivalry theme modeled on those Bing Crosby/Bob Hope road movie songs, where they are ostensibly singing about their admiration for each other, but end up insulting each other throughout the bulk of the song.

We submitted the song under the name Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith in the interest of consistency (since that was the name we had for our other collaboration), but I should stress that Micah did so much work on the song that he should get equal billing, or maybe even top billing.  It was a true collaboration, with everyone contributing, and Micah did so much work on the song that it seems inaccurate and unfair to present it as if he were a guest musician.  We were considering reversing the order (Micah Sommersmith featuring Jerkatorium), or maybe coming up with a new band name for the collaboration (Micahtorium?), but Micah preferred Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith so we kept that.  Anyway I hope you like it:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jerkatorium Wins The "Dominatrix" Song Fight, & New Song "Ace In The Hole" Posted @

Jerkatorium won the "Dominatrix" Song Fight.  Only five bands submitted songs to that fight, and we won by a good margin.

We also have a song in the current "Ace In The Hole" Song Fight, and you can hear the song (and vote for it, if you like it) at:

Only five bands submitted songs to this fight too.  This is not incredibly unusual - there have been a few Song Fights with over 50 submissions, and there have been several fights with as few as 3 entries, and at least one fight with only 2 bands submitting.  I'm hoping this recent slump is very temporary.  I would rather compete against more bands, even though it would decrease our chances of winning.

We are also participating in a new Themesong Fight, where we write a theme song for a random Song Fighter.  We were assigned The John Benjamin Band, which is great because I have been a huge fan of his work for the past 15 years or so.  The artist assigned to compose a theme song for Jerkatorium is Johnny Cashpoint, an extremely prolific musician who covered our "Watching The Riot" for the 2016 Original Flava Cover Fight.  The theme songs aren't due until April 1, and they probably won't be posted until mid-April at the earliest, but I will put an announcement in this blog as soon as the songs are available.