Coming Out of the Musical Closet

Back in the craziness of 1989, I started a band with two roommates. We found a scorching blues guitarist who liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers (this was well before Blood Sugar Sex Magik), Living Colour and Fishbone. For a bass player, we decided to hit the music department of BYU. The lead singer approached the pre-eminent bassist, but he wasn’t interested in a “rock” gig. He mentioned a freshman who might be into what we were trying to do. Back then, if you wanted, your class schedule was public information. Great for stalking. The lead singer did a schedule search and went to one of the classes of the would be bass player. We auditioned him and within a month we played one of our blistering three live gigs. The first one was a success, but the last two were room-clearers. After the semester ended, we all parted and went our separate ways (just like Journey sings about, people). The bass player, Kent, went on a mission for the LDS church and the next semester me and the drummer started a ska band, Swim Herschel Swim with a bass player (from two bands prior) along with a singer and guitar guy we knew peripherally.

Fast forward to 1992 and Kent was back from his mission, the ska band in the middle of yet another lineup change, bringing Kent on bass after awhile. In 1991, we auditioned the man who would be the third drummer for Herschel, the venerable Pat Campbell (whose brother steered us towards Kent!) aka patatomic. After that band broke up, Kent and I worked together again (along with patatomic) in a jazz/punk band as well as some odd tracks and bits. Kent and Pat have had successful runs with music, most recently they have collaborated on a couple of loop collections, Brush Artistry and Toolshed Percussion. I can’t recommend these enough. If you are a music maker, these two collections are worth having, especially the latter. Imagine percussion tracks from a Tom Waits album. Lovely, crazy noise.

However, this blurb is meant to be more Kent than Pat. In late 2002/early 2003, I did some logo work and a website (this was in the middle of my pure CSS migration, so cut me some slack) for Kent. He’s got a successful business doing music and sound design. But more recently, he’s launched a business were he sells his and others’ loops. It’s called Beat Hive. You buy loops and song sets to use in Acid and Garage Band, Logic and whatever else will read Apple or Acid audio. It has inspired me to do some music and share a few tracks. As a side note, one of the partners is a guy I worked with at Red Herring as well. Small world.

Yes, I know the site is done in Flash, but being able to preview sounds before you buy is pretty damn cool. If you make music and want to sell loops, BeatHive can set you up. It’s a small operation right now, so it’s not flickr or MySpace or Odeo in terms of budget or staff. But they have sweet sweet audio for an instant compositional crack hit. The info you get as you preview is wonderful if you’re in a pinch and need a certain tempo or key. Plus, I’m proud as hell of the little buggers and happy to see Kent go after something like this.

If you want to hear the amazing patatomic, click here for his store on BeatHive. Kent’s store is here. If you want to sell your loops, click here to find out how.

I’ve made some tracks in Garage Band (mixed in Logic Express) and they use a bunch of loops from BeatHive as well as from the standard Garage Band loops. The best part is that I get to work with Kent and Pat without expensive studio time or trying to schedule trips. You should be able to listen to the tracks I’ve done below. If you can’t see the players or hear the audio, let me know (contact info is in the rightmost sidebar at the bottom) and we’ll try to sort you out. Music is fun again. For me.

1978 (yes, the distortion on the keyboard tracks is intentional and this was almost called “Heist” with apologies to David Holmes and Steven Soderbergh)
Drums by Pat, weird squidgy synth bits by Kent, other sounds are me and Apple.

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Drums by Pat (I think), most of the other stuff is from Shiraz on BeatHive

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To Chill
This one is mostly Apple sounds, but I wanted to include it, because I like it.

powered by ODEO

Be nice.

  • merkley???

    not bad faggot.

  • jv

    Great music- especially enjoyed, “To Chill.” Appreciate you taking the time to explain how they were created as I’m clueless. Would love to hear more!

  • choice

    Thank you for sharing these with us, Jon, and for passing on the info about BeatHive. I get a real sense that creating music has been a dormant passion for you. So I can understand how vulnerable it can be to take the result of awakening that passion and exposing it on the internet, naked and raw. GarageBand has helped several of my friends (who like you are passionate about creating music, but will never make their living from it) get back in touch with that sacred, creative side. It’s the unsung hero of iLife when it comes to expressing oneself. As for the tracks, loved To Chill, but their is something about Desert that just haunted me. Please keep on creating (whether you choose to share it with us or not).

  • cindezio

    My worlds are colliding… Bohemian by Swim Herschel Swim was one of my favorite songs from the SkArmageddon CD I bought in high school (I’m 26)… my brother played the trumpet for the Checkered Cabs, also featured on the compilation CD.

  • jon deal

    My SHS tape was lost/then found/dropped and then finally melted in my car a while ago. I miss it still. *sniff* The SHS version of “Ring of Fire”… LOVE that one!

    And I do like this new stuff as well. Especially “1978” Very nice. Keep it up!

  • Kevin Worthington

    Very cool tunes, Jon. “To Chill” made me think of a scene in a movie where a guy has to break into a huge medical lab and sneak through the duct work in order to find and diffuse that bomb with the huge LCD clock ticking down closer and closer to zero. (sorry it’s early.)
    Shameless plug alert: If you’d like to check out some of my band’s stuff, go to
    I’d also ask you to be kind…
    (please ignore my email Jon. I think the problem was related to TypeKey, not blurbomat.)

  • chickalicious

    Hey Jon,

    I know you’re a metafilter reader, and I’m sure you’ve seen the new Music section, so post them there and let everyone enjoy!

  • golexx

    To Chill was my favorite track. I liked certain components of the others, though.

  • gordon

    If I ever the talent to start up a band (which I don’t), I would call it one of two names:

    Spouses of Dead Docents


    Smack Talking Ducks

  • Lauren


    i liked all three .. but, the second one – desert – made me want to get up and belly dance.

    i even turned off my steely dan playlist to listen to them.

    ps.. don’t tell heather about the steely dan thing. i want her to like me.

  • monkey

    I absolutely love Desert.
    But..umm…what does one do with loops, exactly?

  • bellybuttonbugs

    Really liked the second one, Desert. The drums reminded me alot of Autolux.

  • jlf

    outstanding, dude. I definitiely like the first best, then the third- Gracias.

  • Kenny D

    Hey Jon, thanks for the plug!

    Here’s a posting about my relationship with Jon and our first band, Scubabus:

  • mzhummina

    Ska bands always have the best names. For example: Fat Kids on Mopeds, Jeffery’s Fan Club, etc.

    I like the same tracks everyone else likes…mostly because I am a follower.

  • PhilipN

    Hi Jon

    Loved To Chill, Can I download it from somewhere?


  • Tiggerlane

    LOVE these tracks! And I’m terribly jealous!

    Bought a phat Alesis digi piano a few years back, with the idea of hooking it up and learning how to computerize tracks, etc. Hubby’s got my dining room walls lined with guitars, amps and his digi recording stuff. Unfortunately, still haven’t had the time (or the bravery) to sit down and really figure out what else to buy to go with my machine, so it’s a glorified piano with monitors.

    Keep on, dude! The tracks are good! (Especially 1978 and To Chill) Love to see folks really taking the time and energy to learn to do this stuff right!

  • deafblind

    “Desert” and “To Chill” are my faves. “To Chill” reminds me of some laid back Massive Attack vibe, although, I’d wind the perc back just a tad, compress it a little more to give it that smoke filled room vibe. Nice selection of sounds though, complement each other well.

    Welcome to the world of digital music making – I’m slowly converting my “real world” music making friends to the benefits of doing it digitally. Keep it up.

  • Laurie

    Not a comment about the blurb, but, am I the only one that the CRYO Kennel ad in the top corner of the page is freaking out! Is this for real????????

  • Coelecanth

    As someone who’s old, er, I mean old school about music making I’m constantly astounded by the quality of the sounds these digital machines produce. Very tasty indeed.

    I like the way these tracks have a sense of progression. A lot of this kind of stuff never overcomes the monotony of the basic rythmn track.

    I wonder a bit about the compostional process with this tech. How much is random poking through loops and such to find something that fits and how much is searching for something specific? And if you are looking for specifics how hard is it? The one and only time I tried to assemble something out of other peoples clips it drove me crazy. I couldn’t for the life of me find the guitar part I thought the piece needed and gave up before I pitched the computer off the balcony.

  • leahkay

    I like the groove in the first one. Fun stuff, Jon. Thanks!

  • Diana Schnuth

    These are great! They sound exactly like the kind of thing I’d play between segments on my podcast ( Are these Creative Commons licensed? Or could they be? I’d love to use these tunes on my podcast. And put them on my iPod by themselves. And groove to them in general.

  • 6degrees

    Duuuude!… nice Rhodes and B3 samples!!! Very impressed (and ashamed), considering I was under the assumption that as a Techno-Demi-God, you were a poser, per-se, musically… I stand (or in this case sit) corrected! White boy got rhythm!

  • mcd


    That was really fun… I can relate somewhat. I had this lovely little PowerBook and bought a GarageBand sound pack back in 2003 and soon after the PowerBook died and hasn’t been replaced.

    Using loops makes it pretty easy to build grooves but having said that… You’re playing over the grooves is very tasty… I’m reminded of a lot of hip jazz fusion players in your choices: Joe Sample, Zawinul, etc.

    Sharing music to a random audience is a lot like blogging, I suppose… someone is bound to share a reaction that makes you wonder if it was with the exposure/risk.

    So far it looks like people are being nice and your talents are being honored. It might be cool if you could blog more about home studio computer music making… there’s bound to be interest and your could give some younger aspiring talent a leg up.

    Blog the average reader through loops and maybe post some sound samples to illustrate the concepts.

    I’ll be coming back to see what’s up… I stumbled here from Heather’s sidebar link.

  • Magpyeone

    I liked The Desert. Mystical and… sandy.

  • Magpyeone

    …And if I ever had the talent for a band, it would be called ‘Burnin’ Fergus’ or ‘Penis Envy and the Snap-On Tools’.

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