Archive for August, 2008



I am telling you. Seriously. Don’t activate Windows Media Player, don’t download the new crazy version, don’t waste your time.  Believe me. It’s a media player for lawyers.

Real and Quicktime are nightmares too. Try to steer clear, honest. There IS a better way!

Look, I have played around with loads of these things, I loved Musicmatch Jukebox (from yahoo!) about 10 years ago, and then went off it when new versions started to get too fancy.

I still have an old (verison 1) Applian FLV player to hand for stuff downloaded from YouTube, but my main videoplayer is  VLC — and I have a portable apps version of VLC for use on-the-go from my USB flash drive.

For audio, the winner, though, HAS to be MEDIAMONKEY download from

It allows for the most flexibility — even to the point of renaming of file names as well as tags.  It’s robust and comprehensive. Unlike Windows, it can handle any picture file of any name and any dimension and use it as the album art — no weird hidden file in three sizes downloaded in secret!  No DRM — you can rip and burn and organise your collection the way you want it.

I like the way it fades in and out; it gives it a more solid, professional feel — it’s easy to use (easier than WMP and jukebox) and just works!  I hate the way WMP for example, spends ages going through your system cataloguing everything (slowly at that).  It’s basically grassing you up for being a media pirate ah-harrr!

Media monkey, Applian FLV player and VLC are all FREE of Charge! result.




Way back in the day, I noticed the name Steve Gadd among the credits listings on far too many of my LP records.

The name Steve Gadd seemed to be everywhere, man.  He began to achieve legendary status (with me and my muckers anyways) for his work on Steely Dan’s “Aja”.

The other thing he may be bestest known for is Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover” which is for girls, but we forgive Gadd, for he has to earn a crust same as us all.

Anyhoo, here’s an interesting link to Steve Gadd doing what-made-him-famous — courtesy of  Check it out, man — isn’t that kool?

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You know what is sooo good about the clip is that you get it all over again halfways through, but in s-l-o-w motion — and that is really what drives home what is going on – what he’s doing.  Pretty enlightening, but if (like me) you craved more information, why not check out the reply posted on YouTube by “Prof” Jeff Indyke, where he teaches the Steve Gadd paradiddle — informative AND entertaining.

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Here is Steve Gadd himself playing “50 ways”:

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Oh! and amazingly, I came across a RECENT videoclip — just uploaded in July (2008) where Steve shows the drum fills he used in “Aja” — no kidding!  Ain’t Youtube the dawgz?

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I have always clicked with Steve Gadd’s work; it’s free, but still tight and he’s always interesting.  I guess the thing I admire most about Steve Gadd is that he gets away with doing what he does almost unnoticed!  Let’s face it, much of the work on “Aja” is a drum solo, yet people don’t even think of it that way!

In “Aja” and in “50 ways” you see the side of Gadd that pushes the drums into a new place — somewhere kinda equal to the other instruments, do you know what I mean? it’s no longer merely a beat or percussive feature, but as strong in the memory of the piece as the melody.  I would guess that most folk who know the song would recognise “50 ways” as soon as Gadd’s drum line is heard!

The drum lines in these tunes are intrinsic — without the Steve Gadd drum lines, these tunes would be radically altered (and much lessened).  The drumming is very much part and parcel of the tune and the arrangement, and in that respect Gadd was part of that movement from the late 1970s to elevate drumming to new heights.

In that, he was probably in the same movement (for want of a better word) as the likes of Billy Cobham, Lenny White, and Bill Bruford.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these clips of a truly great musician as much as I did.




Western Spaghetti by PES on YouTube.  This is stop-motion animation at it’s best.  I just love the creativity behind this; it’s perfect, and great fun.

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