Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jerkatorium wins the "High School Safety Pin Parade" Song Fight, and how to download Jerkatorium music for free.

Jerkatorium won the "High School Safety Pin Parade" Song Fight, and Chumpy deserves all the credit for his excellent songwriting, performing and mixing skills.  You can hear the song here:

As most of you probably already know, you can download all of Jerkatorium's Song Fight entries for free at  Here's how:

1.  Click the "Jerkatorium SongFight archive" link at the upper right under the Many Jerkatorium Songs heading (or you can click anywhere on this line) to get our list of songs at

2.  Pick a song from the list to download.  For this example, we're downloading the song "Fashion".  Right-click the little speaker symbol 🔊  next to the song.  If you have a mac mouse without a right click option, hold down the Control key on your keyboard and click the speaker symbol.

3.  Right- or Ctrl-clicking will bring up a menu.  Click on "Download Linked File As...".

4.  Choose which folder you want to download the song to (I usually save to my Desktop and then move it later if desired) and click Save.  

Repeat for as many songs as you like.  Most of the downloaded files will have names like "jerkatorium_hsspp.mp3" (for High School Safety Pin Parade) or "jerkatorium_aitc.mp3" (for Adele In The Car), but almost all of the songs have proper ID tags so they should file themselves correctly in iTunes and/or your mp3 player.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New Jerkatorium song "High School Safety Pin Parade" posted at

Jerkatorium got third place in the "Do You Have A Plan" Song Fight.  I think we would have placed better, but we were up against a collaboration between a couple of other great Song Fight regulars (Pepper Jane and Berkeley Social Scene submitting together as "Brisbane Social Scene"), and it's hard to win against a collab - the votes from their respective fans combine and overwhelm the competitors.  Jerkatorium probably benefited from that sort of dynamic in our win for the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" fight due to our collaboration with the extremely talented Micah Sommersmith.

Now we have a new song for the "High School Safety Pin Parade" Song Fight, please listen (and vote if you like it) at:

They also used our art for this Fight.  This cover art is Chumpy's idea, and I just tweaked it a little to make it easier to submit to the website:

The version of the cover art on the front page is missing the graffiti because it didn't show up very well at 150x150 pixels, but the version above (400x400 pixels) is at the main song page and at the Song Fight Art Archive.  I included doodles for each band that had mentioned on the boards that they were submitting, and only two are missing (Skadaddle and The Semolina Pilchards) because they hadn't spoken up by the time I'd submitted the art.

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Song "Do You Have A Plan?" Posted At

Jerkatorium's submission for the "Do You Have A Plan?" Song Fight is currently posted at:

Listen, and if you like it please vote for it.  The song was composed during a time period that comedic inspiration was hard to come by, so we didn't try for any laughs in this one.  The song is on the aggressive side, and probably political, but the lyrics are nonspecific so it could be interpreted to fit a variety of situations.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jerkatorium wins the "Forty Three Hours" Song Fight

Jerkatorium won the "Forty Three Hours" Song Fight by a good margin, with over 50% more votes than our closest competitors.  You can hear and/or download the song here:

This brings our 'win statistic' back up to 33.33% (35.7% if you count the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" win), so we're still pulling in one win out of three, which is a pretty strong showing:

Also:  We did not submit a song for the current "Pitchfork Nation" Song Fight, but my cover art was chosen for it:

Friday, October 28, 2016

New Jerkatorium song "Forty Three Hours" posted at

Our submission for the "Forty Three Hours" Song Fight is posted at:

Check it out, and if you like the song please vote for it.  Chumpy and I had a rare opportunity to work together in person on this one, if only for a few hours.  I am extremely happy with the song, but I can't help but think that the song could have been even better if we'd had more time together to work on it some more.

I don't have any topical photos for this post, so here's a huge metal fish I saw last weekend:

Monday, October 17, 2016

New song "Crustacean Stretch Receptor"! And Jerkatorium won the "Super Creepy" Song Fight!

Holy moly it has been a month already and somehow I forgot to mention the song we completed in mid-September:  Crustacean Stretch Receptor.  It is not a Song Fight entry.  Instead it was born of an inspiration Chumpy had, which is sort of peripherally related to a previous "Side Fight" (but never meant for submission to a Song Fight or Side Fight).  Chumpy wrote most of the song last year, and we would tinker with it a little here and there every few months between Song Fights.  Last month we decided to put the final touches on it and send it out into the world for your enjoyment.  I'm wild about it.  You can hear it here:

Jerkatorium won the "Super Creepy" Song Fight with 19 votes (5 more votes than our nearest competitor).  I am very happy with this win because it was a strong fight, and I enjoyed most of our competitors' song submissions.  If you haven't already heard them you can check out all of the creeptastic entries at:

And I know I shouldn't really care about this, but I'm also happy about this win because we hadn't won a Song Fight since the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" fight in April.  It seems like an extra-long time and a lot of work since that April victory, but it probably only felt that way because we've generated so many non-competition, non-Fight songs in the interim (Real Reel To Reel, Trash Panda, Bedsheet Ghosts, Crustacean Stretch Receptor, and our cover version of Raised By Wolves's song "It's Invisible") in addition to the three non-winning Song Fight entries since then (Change Is Coming, Good Luck Charm, and Turn Off Your TV).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Jerkatorium song "Super Creepy" posted at

Jerkatorium has a new song in the current Song Fight for the title "Super Creepy".  You can hear the song (and vote for it, if you like it) at the Song Fight website at: 

Our "Super Creepy" is yet another love song about CHUDs, and I feel confident in saying that it is one of the very best love songs about CHUDs that I have ever heard.

They also picked my cover art for the fight:

Regular readers might recognize it as a re-worked version of the art for the "Fever Dream" Song Fight from March 2015 (I'd finished the drawing too late to submit it for that fight):

Saturday, September 3, 2016

FOUR new Jerkatorium songs and a music video? Really?

It has been over a month since the last Jerkatorium blog update.  Very sorry about that delay, we've been busy making music.  Yes, four new songs, one music video, and a super cool poster.

We did okay in the "Good Luck Charm" Song Fight (mentioned in the previous post), getting third place out of 13 bands.  I'm a big fan of that song, and I'm a little surprised we didn't win that fight.  You can hear our "Good Luck Charm" here:

Shortly afterwards, Chumpy submitted the Jerkatorium song "Trash Panda" to the July 2016 Commuter Challenge as a part of the "art, writing, and music" challenge.  That can be heard here:

And here is his epic poster for the same project:

For the record, Jerkatorium did not play live at the "Student Union Hall" on Friday, July 13.  Unless there's something Chumpy isn't telling me...

Then we submitted a song for the "Turn Off Your TV" Song Fight.  Reviews were not kind on the Song Fight Bulletin Board:  my choice of guitar tone was bad (I insisted we use that guitar tone despite Chumpy's better judgment and his relentless calls for me change it), and there were some problems with the mix that I still don't understand.  The song didn't do so poorly in the competition though, tying for fourth place out of ten bands.  You can hear the song here:

Then on August 31, 2016 at midnight the Commuter Challenge came to an end after ten years of poetry, prose, jokes, cartoons, drawings, paintings, photography, calligraphy, games, puzzles, music, recipes, and several other creative exploits that defy easy categorization.  The final Commuter Challenge was to re-visit and re-do any Challenge (or Challenges) from the past.  I decided to go back and do submissions the 5 Commuter Challenges between 2007 and 2010 that I'd completely flaked out on.

One of the Challenges that I'd never submitted anything for was the October 2008 Commuter Challenge to submit one to three minutes of spooky music, so last month I recorded the Jerkatorium song "Bedsheet Ghosts".  I didn't do it alone: Chumpy provided vital help with the mixing and mastering.  The song can be heard here:

Lastly, for the final Commuter Challenge I also needed to do the July 2007 Commuter Challenge to generate an original accompaniment to a something in the public domain.  I had recently discovered the joys of the website, and I was planning on doing some sort of Bad Lip Reading-type project, but then I found a section of the movie "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (now in the public domain) that had these two guys silently listening to a reel-to-reel tape player for 99 seconds.  So I wrote a 98-second song about a reel-to-reel tape player and popped it into the clip using iMovie. You can see the video here:

Sure it's pretty random, and the song is a little manic, and the video is uneventful, but I like it.  Chumpy's lead vocal work is great, especially considering how the pace just doesn't let up.  Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jerkatorium's "Good Luck Charm" Song Fight entry posted at

Quick update:  Jerkatorium has new song posted for the Song Fight "Good Luck Charm" Fight at, check it out and vote for it if you like it.  It's a good 'un.  More soon...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Jerkatorium's Cover Of Rasied By Wolves's "It's Invisible"

An excellent Song Fighter from way back who songfought under the band name Raised By Wolves had some pretty bad medical issues recently, so a bunch of Song Fighters came together for a Hxaro (a tribute, or love fest) of Raised By Wolves cover songs.  Jerkatorium did a cover version of "It's Invisible" for the Hxaro.  You can hear the original at:

and you can hear our cover version (and all the other entries) at:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It's noticeably different from the original, but still essentially faithful to it.  Raised By Wolves has a lot of great, great music, and I highly recommend checking out his back catalog at:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jerkatorium's "Change Is Coming" Song Fight entry posted at

Chumpy and I skipped the last three Song Fights, but now Jerkatorium's entry for the "Change is Coming" Song Fight has been posted at the Song Fight website (  It's a less-frivolous-than-usual effort from us, with excellent lyrics by Breadbox.  It is also our first intercontinental effort: Chumpy composed the tune and recorded the lead vocals in Europe while Breadbox wrote lyrics in the Pacific Northwest and I recorded the backing music in southern California.

Lately I've been thinking about how I've been using this blog almost exclusively as an 'announcement' blog lately instead of a 'commentary' blog, when it was originally an outlet for my thoughts on making music.  I'm planning on doing more entries (when time permits) about various aspects of songwriting in order to make this blog more bloggy.

I still don't want to bore everyone with a bunch of all-text posts though, so here's a pic of an Ampeg speaker cab that I saw in a Jeff Rosenstock video:

Okay yeah so that's still text, but at least it's somewhat more colorful.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith wins the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" Song Fight

Jerkatorium featuring Micah Sommersmith won the "Baked Out Of My Gourd" Song Fight, tying for first place with Berkeley Social Scene.  It was a pleasant surprise how the song came together, and a pleasant surprise to win.

Jerkatorium did not submit a song to the current "Safe Harbor" Song Fight, and it's likely that we won't submit anything to the upcoming "House Red" Fight either.  I will be sure to post an announcement here when we have another song.

In the meantime, here's another pic from the Italy trip (it's an odd section of an ancient fresco from Pompeii or Naples):

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jerkatorium's collaboration with Micah Sommersmith: "Baked Out Of My Gourd"

Quick update:  Jerkatorium worked with Micah Sommersmith (another SongFighter) for our entry in the most recent Song Fight for "Baked Out Of My Gourd", and that song is currently posted at

It probably won't be posted there for much longer, but you can listen (and vote if you like it) for the next couple of days anyway.  Afterwards it will probably be archived at this link:

There were a couple of technical snafus with the collaboration.  Originally there was supposed to be a third collaborating band, but the files didn't work so that part had to be scrapped at the last minute.  We were using different and incompatible music software, so Chumpy had to give each iteration of the song some extra attention.  I left for a vacation in Italy after just a few days into the project, so the chorus vocal harmonies just didn't get done.

Still, I consider it a success.  I composed the chord progression and did all of the instrument work except the accordion.  Chumpy and Micah each wrote and sang their own verses.  Micah wrote the chorus words/melody.  Micah's accordion work is fantastic and Chumpy's vocal delivery is wonderfully Pogues-ish - I think those two aspects are the best parts of the song.  Upon my return from Italy I added some background vocal harmonies for the chorus and solo sections, but that was long after the deadline date for song submission so those harmonies didn't make it into the Song Fight version.  Maybe at some point that version will be posted somewhere else and if so, I'll put the link in this blog.

In the interest of gratuitous visual stimulation, here are some pics I took on my trip to Italy:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jerkatorium's "Praying Mantis" posted at

Jerkatorium's entry for the "Praying Mantis" Song Fight is posted at, check it out there (and vote if you like it).

The title for the next fight is "Baked Out Of My Gourd" and we are currently working with two other Song Fighters to collaborate on a song.  Stay tuned to the website for that entry, I suspect that those songs might be posted on April 20th for some reason or another...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Jerkatorium at the Original Flava Cover Fight

I'd mentioned in earlier posts how we were covering someone else's song in a 'secret Santa'-type thing, and those songs were finally posted.  You can hear our cover of Heuristics Inc's "Control Yourself" at:

Except for the lyrics, our cover of the song does not resemble the original Heuristics Inc version (at mostly because the melody of the original tends towards the monotone (as does much of Heuristics Inc's back catalog).  We put a very Jerkatoriummy spin on our cover version, and I think it turned out better than we'd expected.

Jerkatorium did not submit an entry for the "Incandescent" Song Fight after all, but sister group Margret Benson & the Cheese Trio did submit an entry.  You can hear their song (and vote for it, if you like it) at

Jerkatorium is on schedule to submit an entry for the "Praying Mantis" fight.  With any luck the Praying Mantis fight entries will be posted at this weekend - I will put another notice in this blog when the songs are posted.

I promised more visuals for this blog, so...

The image above is a cover art entry that was automatically generated by the "SongFight Coverbot" created by our own breadbox.  Like I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I don't know enough about computer programming to adequately bore you with the details, but the Coverbot automatically generates Song Fight cover art submissions to the site's exact specifications as soon as a new Song Fight title is announced.  Lately it has been doing an amazing job, and the image above is just one of many excellent examples.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Jerkatorium wins the "Adele in the Car" Song Fight, new "Whiskey Drinker" song posted at

Jerkatorium won the "Adele in the Car" Song Fight by a pretty comfortable margin.  I can't help but agree that we were the best song out of the relatively small number of submissions for this fight (only 7 entries; usually there are a dozen or more).

Our newest Song Fight entry "Whiskey Drinker" is currently posted at, you can hear it there (and vote, if you like the song).

If things go as planned,we will have another two songs out in a week or so: one for the next Song Fight (title "Incandescent") and another for a Song Fight coverfight that I will describe later.  I will keep you posted.

Sorry about the lack of art and photos, I promise something visual to accompany the next post.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jerkatorium's "Adele in the Car" posted at

Jerkatorium's entry for the "Adele in the Car" Song Fight is posted at  You can listen to it and/or download it at  If you enjoy the song please vote for it.

Only seven bands submitted songs for the "Adele in the Car" Song Fight, which is fewer than usual.  Apparently it was a tough title for some to get their heads around.  It was pretty obvious for the Jerks though; Chumpy records some of his vocal takes in his car, so keeping that in mind made writing the song a lot easier.

Jerkatorium tied for third place (out of 16 entries) in the recent "Seems Like A Little Too Much" fight, which sounds about right.  I like the song a lot, but it's not our very best work - maybe top ten but certainly not top three.

We are currently working on two new songs:  one for the upcoming "Whiskey Drinker" Song Fight, and one for the Original Flava Cover Fight.  For Original Flava, we were assigned a different Song Fighter and we have to cover one song from their list of Song Fight entries.  I will put updates and links in this blog when those songs are posted.  One interesting thing about the Original Flava fight is that there is another band out there working on a cover version of one of our songs, and I'm very eager to hear a different take on our music.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jerkatorium's "Seems Like A Little Too Much" posted at, & "Suffragette City" cover

Jerkatorium has submitted a song for the "Seems Like A Little Too Much" Song Fight, please check it out and vote at (  My cover art was also chosen:

It's an original drawing.  I don't have any good graphic design software (just MS Photo and MS Paint), so coloring is a pretty clunky process for me - I draw it on paper, then scan the black and white image into the computer.  Coloring in the empty spaces with the 'paint can' doesn't work because that only fills in the whitest sections, and much of what looks white actually scans as off-white (especially the pixels that are adjacent to the black lines), so I usually end up doing it manually.  This time I took a different approach and adjusted the tint of the scan for each individual color and then superimposed each section back over the original image.  I'm sure the illustrators out there who know what they're doing are cringing (or laughing) at the thought of it.

We also did a cover of David Bowie's "Suffragette City" for the 'Turn And Face The Strange' Song Fight Bowie tribute.  You can hear that at the following link:

It's a pretty faithful cover.  I'd wanted to 'Jerkatoriumize' it more, but it's hard to implement changes on any song that is so iconic.  When you grow up with a song like that, every little deviation seems like a mistake.  So it ended up closer to the original than we'd hoped.  It was fun though.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Jerkatorium covers "Hey! Housebrick" by Hot Club De Paris

A couple of posts ago I mentioned a "secret Santa"-type cover song project we'd committed ourselves to, and the songs have finally been posted.

The Gift of Music project is an annual Song Fight "Sidefight" or "Coverfight".  Each participating band picks four songs that they would like to hear cover versions of, and those songs were posted on the Song Fight bulletin board.  The songs could be anything except other Songfighter songs (there are other Sidefight/Coverfight opportunities to cover Song Fighter songs).  Then the Fightmaster randomly assigns those sets of four songs to other bands, and each band picks one song to cover.  So it's sort of like a secret Santa combined with a gift registry; you know that one of your four picks will get covered, but you don't know which of the four songs will be chosen and you don't know which band is covering it.

We were assigned to cover one of Glenny's song picks.  He gave us a choice between four different young British indie band songs, and out of those four we chose "Hey! Housebrick" by Hot Club De Paris.  Here is the link Glenny gave for the original:

There is also a studio version of the song at

The Jerkatorium cover version can be heard at the link below:

The cover song that we were gifted was "Sing It Out", a Guided By Voices song that was performed for us by the very talented Sockpuppet.  He did a great, soulful version with piano, cello and voice, and that can be heard at
There is some other really good stuff covered by and for our fellow SongFighters at

I have also continued to submit cover art, some of it has been used, some not:

More interesting is what Breadbox did in creating the SongFight Coverbot, a program that automatically generates and submits Song Fight cover art whenever a new title is posted.  It's amazing, and I don't know enough to write about it adequately.