All posts by Vince

Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. At any given point in time, he’s proud to be a father, husband, son, brother, cousin and friend to the people who mean the world to him. He is the author of the novels: “Escalation”, “Family Rules”, “Karaoke Criminals” and “Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?”, as well as the 2010 poetry collection, “Garbled Glittering Glamours”. His screenplays are “Team Building” and the screen adaptation of Family Rules, “Inventing Kenny”.

Song clash: Phillip Phillips and U2

It may just be me, this weird musical reference work that spins in my head, but I can’t think of the Phillip Phillips song Home

without it blurring into U2’s You’re So Cruel

[note: an earlier version of this post said Love Is Blindness, I was wrong, it’s You’re So Cruel, sorry :) ]

 Like I say, it may just be me.

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

Talking of things I’d forgotten…

Taking of things I’d forgotten I’d put out there, while I was looking for vids for the previous post, this was in the listing at YouTube

This is the Combine The Victorious remix of my demo of Subside – a song yet to make it to a record – that I filmed while rehearsing for my solo show. Mark and Isabelle

[who also join me as part of the gang vocals on Sheep (One Of Those Days) from Grope]

really fleshed out my original version – both vocally and instrumentally – when I finally do a full release version of the song, it’ll have many of their tracks carried through.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the baldy Brit wailing in his basement :)

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

Wait… I’m actually writing something down?!!

When I was a

[much]

younger song-writer, I wrote reams and reams of lyrics. I still have all my books downstairs – little ones, big ones, scraps of paper inserted in some – and remember very clearly the sensation of sitting, writing, editing, scribbling, doodling, just filling pages with lots and lots of words.

When I worked retail for my first job, in quiet moments, you would find me ripping open little paper bags and writing lyrics on the inside.

Somewhere in the past 10 years or so, though, I stopped writing lyrics for songs long-form – this coincided with my building out the studio, and my working practice changed. Instead of wood-shedding songs on guitar and paper, I was able to cut a reasonable upfront demo of a track, then listen to it

[a LOT – mostly while driving in the car]

and see what emotions and words the music called forth. The first time I became aware of this totally was writing Open And Here, the lyrics arriving as I pulled into a Starbucks parking lot.

Alongside this shift, I’ve become very much more about creativity in the moment, for example my Live Poetry

[which I haven’t done for a while, but really should get back to :) ]

or the performance of Be Still from the first Good Sponge CD Release Party

a song written in the days leading up to the show. I’ve written and performed at least 5 songs this past year at Common Ground Open Mic which I’ve forgotten, both musically and lyrically

[those that are keepers stick around though, like She Says She’s, which is brewing very nicely]

As I start work on the next record, I’m working on several new tunes, and have arrived at a process somewhere between these two extremes. I’ve been noodling on the guitar, cutting initial demos, seeing what emotion comes through, what words speak to me, and I’m now actually writing lyrics before recording the vocals.

It’s been surprising how this feels to me – it’s a halfway process between young and old me

[maybe because I’m fast forwarding from the Grope days?]

and I’m liking it, though for the first time in a long time, experiencing a little bit of my inner critic’s voice. Something about committing words to paper, I guess. Or maybe because my songs are getting noticed more now, and I’m carrying some weight of audience expectations on my shoulders?

[people seem to like what I write, and find meaning in my words – often that I didn’t hold myself]

Luckily, I’ve been living in my process long enough to know how to put my inner critic on hold long enough for spark to become flame, idea to drive craft to become art.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even post some of the lyrics here as I work them up!

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

 

Rock Poems

Vince:

A quite lovely review and discussion of Grope at Pat Daddona’s songwriting blog.

Originally posted on Pat Daddona's Songwriting Blog:

Imagery and themes of fragility and pain might get lost in Vince Tuckwood’s newest CD, “Grope,” beneath the electric, hard-edged rock. Except that the voice is so clear, the messages resonate and slip through, purposefully.

Vince on Electric

“Don’t ask me how I’m feeling,” he sings in “Centre of My World;” “you might get the truth.”

To understand the vibe, give a listen to “Walking in Circles,” the last track and one that sums up the feeling implied in the title of searching uncertainly for touch, contact and connection.

As in most of these songs, Vince’s voice retains a trademark sweetness, reminiscent of the vocals in his acoustic folk CD “Sparse,” never ranting loudly to make a point. No, the piercing leads on electric guitar, the heavy power chords and driving drumbeats make the point for him. Lyrics are repetitive and deceptively plain. This could be any bewildered voice — groping for meaning…

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About a song: Walking In Circles from Grope

Walking In Circles is the last song on my new record, Grope

and among my favourite original songs. It’s always been fun to play live with the band, and sometimes as a solo acoustic version

[though I feel it misses the intensity of the solo section]

I’ve always loved the lyrics to Walking In Circles

[my little song about geometry]

from the

Round and a-round / up and down / in and out

of the verses, to the

Circles / Triangles / Squares

of the chorus, I treated the writing as an exercise in simplicity and symbology

[during the mid-90s I was heavily influenced by the simplicity and repetition of nursery rhymes, and how they ease into the subconscious mind]

and still remember channeling the three hook lines in the chorus

Walking in circles, never finding each other
Walking in triangles, we’ve come to this point
Walking in squares, we’re backed into this corner
Walking in circles, round and a-round

A lyrical conceit, for sure, but still right where I want it to be; while there’s a germ of experience somewhere in there, it’s lifted to the universal  here – I think we all experience the futility of cyclic patterns in relationships, and those points where you choose to go around the loop again, or break the pattern. The narrator in Walking In Circles is at that inflection point once again.

Musically, as with many of the Grope-era songs, the main rhythm guitar part owes much to my lost hands, with drone strings aplenty.

[get ready, those few of you fascinated by my playing :) ]

There are the 6th-fret C-shape F-maj chord, which drops down to a 1st-fret F-maj chord sans-barre, which in turn slides down to an E-min. Then in the lift into the chorus, the C and A of a 1st fret A-min sliding up and back down in a chromatic pattern.

The intro melody, and solo refrain, is a simple line hooked out of the Steve Cropper school of classic soul guitar, wistful, hurt and hopeful at the same time.

Vocally, once again, I had the memory of Scott’s harmonies to draw upon, and hope I’ve done them justice on the record. The other thing of note is that it’s really hard to breathe in the bridge to the solo

[that’s a lot of round-and-a-rounds!]

So, there you have it, my little song about geometry, Walking In Circles.

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

 

WALKING IN CIRCLES – VINCENT TUCKWOOD

Round and around and around and around
And never finding each other
Up and down and up and down
And never passing each other
In and out and in and out
And never touching each other

Walking in circles
We’re never finding each other
Walking in triangles
We’ve come to this point
Walking in squares
We’re backed into this corner
Walking in circles
Around and around and around

Round and around and around and around
And always getting dizzy
Up and down and up and down
And I feel like falling
In and out and in and out
And I’m claustrophobic

Walking in circles
We’re never finding each other
Walking in triangles
We’ve come to this point
Walking in squares
We’re backed into this corner
Walking in circles
Around and around and around

Copyright 2014, Vincent Tuckwood

Guitar Stuff | 5 pedals I keep coming back to

Well, in the interest of maintaining my guitar geek cred, I thought I’d do a short list of 5 pedals that I keep coming back to, even though they may stray from my board every now and then.

1. Xotic EP Booster

EP Booster

After the tuner (TC Electronic Polytune Mini is my favourite), the EP Booster is the first pedal in my chain and ALWAYS ON at unity volume. While it’s not boosting the signal, there are subtle effects on the EQ curve. The best way to describe it is that, with the EP on, there is more of your guitar than when you switch it off.

2. MXR Phase 90

Phase90-11

A classic pedal and, despite trying others with more controls and options, this is the one that comes back on the board every time. I control the rate/depth with my foot a lot, so the single big knob and simple tonality works for me.  Mostly, I’ll use it at the lower end of its sweep, often all the way down – so it’s really acting as an EQ shaper more so than a modulation – for this reason, I have it ahead of my gain pedals, never really warmed to it after (or in the loop). Every so often, I’ll head up into  more warbly territory, but only for specific songs.

3. Fulltone Plimsoul

fulltone-plimsoul-white-gp-pick-hd

I have several Fulltone gain pedals, and they’re each great at what they do – but the Plimsoul is something else completely. As a straight overdrive, it goes from glassy to crunchy, and the hi-cut feels very Vox AC30-like, able to warm things up or slice through. But the Plimsoul has a little extra in the form of the Stage 2 blend mini-pot, this begins to pull in a more Marshall-esque drive – between either end of this mini-pot lies most every classic rock/blues gain you could want. Between those three pots Gain/Hi-cut/Stage 2 pretty much everything is possible. Add in the fact that it reacts/cleans-up beautifully to the guitar controls and this becomes my go-to drive/distortion.

4. TC Electronic Flashback Delay

Flashback_Delay_front

This is a fairly recent purchase, after a long-line of delays on my board – all of which were able to do one or two things very well. Shout outs to T-Rex Replica and MXR Carbon Copy – both of which gave me more than usable analogue delay. The beauty of the Flashback resides in 1) multiple modes, very carefully modelled; 2) Toneprint, amazing functionality; 3) the BEST tap tempo functionality ever – a momentary switch and then play the guitar, it’ll pick up the temp – so much better than my unruly foot.

5. TC Electronic Ditto Looper

ditto-looper-front

I use this pedal so much for practice and song-writing. Simplicity itself. I’d previously had a much larger Boss loop station, and found it over-engineered and counter-intuitive. As soon as the Ditto was announced, I knew it’d work for me, and it does. The only downside is the double-tap to stop the loop, which doesn’t work so well when I’m singing/playing counter-tempo to the loop. For what I need though, the Ditto is as close-to-perfect as loopers get.

Set love to auto-renew?

I don’t often listen to radio or streaming because of the ad breaks

[I like my music long and unbroken – there’s a smutty innuendo in there somewhere]

however since the girls have got big enough to sit in the front seat of the car, I find my masterful control of the sonic landscape subverted at the most inconvenient times

“Buttons, Daddy, I like pressing buttons!”

So it was that I climbed in ye olde jalopy yesterday

[yes, that WAS a combination of medieval English and down-home American]

and was treated to an unwelcome dose of advertising. As I navigated the car park, I let the ads play and suddenly found myself confronted by a puzzling existential challenge.

We’re a few days off the marketing-frenzy known as Valentine’s Day, when millions of people buy meaningless

[pink]

tat for the person, because they’re told this is the day to do it, because spending money is obviosuly an act of love, because it’ll totally restore all faith that they truly, madly, deeply love their significant other.

“Look! It’s a candy elephant holding a love-heart! And I didn’t even secretly nibble the candy!”

Ah well, each to their own.

But here’s where this particular ad caught me. It was from a local florist, offering a Valentine’s Day All Year package. Wherein, for a small subscription fee and regular payment, your significant other receives a bouquet of flowers the 14th of every month. Delivered direct.

I was aghast.

“It’s like putting love on auto-renew!”

I seethed as I navigated the parking lot. The notion that an automatic transaction between credit card company and florist, delivers a token to my significant other without my having to be involved, or even remember it’s happening…

“Look! Even though I’ve reinforced that I’m completely ignoring you, see how I love you!”

Immediately, my brain started that thing it does when I meet a question

[the voices! Oh, the voices!]

arguing point and counter-point, trying to work out what this means to me; my opinion of it. Trying, trying, trying to see both sides.

In truth, I’m still wrestling with it, even though my gut is SCREAMING

“It’s a bad thing!”

The best I can get to is, like everything, if this offer is taken up by someone who will confer meaning on those flowers every month, moving it from automated transaction – i.e. if there is a pattern of love and care that is reinforced by those flowers – then I guess it’s harmless

[and maybe even beneficial]

at least the significant other gets 12 bouquets of flowers, even if they’re not chosen directly by the supposed lover.

Like I say, it’s the best I can get to.

Because the advert was playing on the

“Never forget to say I love you”

meme a little too much, selling to the person who is too busy

[earning]

to get to the florist, to buy the thing that tells someone else that they love them, rather than just saying

“I love you”

It really was that base of a sell, and that’s what got me hooked. There’s so much wrong with the notion of putting love on auto-renew, in effect distancing oneself even further from the gift of love

[twue wuv!]

it just gives me chills.

Of course, the florist is just offering a service it perceives could be profitable – who knows whether it will be or not.

All I know is that, as someone who is already pretty insulted to be told by marketing that I must symbolically demonstrate my love

[which I feel and act upon every day]

on one particular day of the year, putting my love on auto-renew is the very LAST thing I’d consider doing. Ugh!

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89