April 9th, 2009 by lo-budge

lo-budge pin

lo-budge pin

BIO: lo-budge is my solo project that has been active since 1998, but any songs I recorded by myself up until that time are being given this name also. After recording a bunch of songs in San Francisco while concurrently playing with Halo, Nick Campbell suggested I send them to SPAM! Records after I moved to Seattle. His band at the time, the Blast Rocks!!!, had already released their album “You’re Fired” with them. A few phone calls and e-mails to SPAM! after having them press the CD and listen to it led to the release of my self-titled (and so far only) album. I still have plenty of copies of the original pressing, so e-mail me if you would like one for free.  I am very sporadically recording in Durham while playing in other bands.

Band Members: Sergio Chavez (bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards, drum programming, drums, percussion, melodica, banjo), and special guests on various instruments and vocals.

Years of Operation: 1992 – present

Location: Albuquerque, NM, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Durham, NC

Song List:

The following songs were recorded in Albuquerque (1992 – 1997):

Practicing Bass (I think I was trying to remember some ideas for a possible Random or Mulligan Stump song)

First Acoustic Song (I distinctly remember recording this in my room at my parent’s house.  It was using one pre-recorded rhythm track on a boom box that I played the “lead” over while recording on a tape recorder in the cheapest of all possible 2-track recording scenarios.  The acoustic guitar was given to me by my aunt)

Another Acoustic Song (This is in C sharp flat major and then moves to a P flat minor – pretty fucking tricky)

Yet Another Acoustic Song (Using the same advanced technology as in the other acoustical gems above, this song features some seriously incompatible chord changes and blistering two-note leads)

Mobile Home (Nothing but practice amp feedback and a pseudo metal bass line)

TV Song (One night when my parents were out of town, I drank some Miller High Life’s from their refrigerator and recorded David Letterman’s Late Night show using a delay pedal.  Then I added the drum machine and a bass track or two and couldn’t believe how awesome the results were.  I ran to my friend Todd Pope’s house with the recording fresh from the 4-track, and I’m sure he was just absolutely floored with this song.  This officially started me on being fascinated with solo experimental recording)

The following songs were recorded in San Francisco (mostly on my Tascam 4-track between 1997 and 2000):

Arizona (This song was recorded by Lisa Shane and I shortly before I bought the GrooveBox and right after we moved to San Francisco from Albuquerque.  We tried to capture the lonely feeling of driving through Arizona.  A sample of Billie Holiday’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” bookends this oppressive tune)

12-Bar Techno (A GrooveBox-only song in a 12-bar blues pattern that uses as many different built-in drumkit sounds as possible, including “laser”)

4-Track Bass Song (The precursor to “Again w/ Francie”.  This one has no piano and is instead four separate bass tracks)

Typical 80’s Electronic Song (Version 1 – That’s my voice at the beginning and throughout the song using some very heavy distortion, and the rest is typical electronic music with a middle-era New Order type of piano part)

80’s Techno (Version 1 – A jam with Nathan Petty on keys and drum machine and me on bass.  Recorded on a tape recorder)

80’s Techno (Version 2 – a much better recording.  Nathan and I’s endurance on this recording is pretty impressive)

Charlatans-esque Jam (Another jam with Nathan Petty that ends abruptly)

Manchester Street (Another song of Nathan’s that I play bass on)

Another Jam with Nathan (Another song Nathan and I did together.  We should have had a band together.  I’m playing keys, tambourine, drum programming, and one of the guitar parts.  Nathan is playing bass, shaker, and lead guitar)

Amusement Park (This is Nick Campbell, his friend Regina, and I recording on my 4-track while I messed around with the pitch control while she sang.  She thought that recording a pop song would be very easy and I did everything in my power to make it not so easy)

Carnival (This version didn’t make the album, but I like it about as much as the one that did.  Featuring Gavin Rhodes on guitar)

Carz (An early GrooveBox song where I was still learning how to sequence it properly)

Circus Surprise (I don’t know what inspired this weird GrooveBox song, but I like it a lot and wish I had put it on the album.  The circus-like scales on the keyboard, the weird synth bass line, and the beating heart all remind me of scary clowns)

Diablo (Featuring the deft DJ scratchings of a vinyl  “Introduction to Spanish” album I found somewhere)

Downtown (This was the first song I recorded in SF, probably two days after showing up there and before looking for a job or probably leaving the apartment that Nick, Lisa, and I shared.  It features the drum machine built into our organ we had at the time, Lisa and I talking about the neighbors, and some distorted bass guitar leads, and a phone call to Nick while he was at work in the Health Club of the Hilton in downtown SF.  It reminds me of that time very much, even though it’s a stretch to call it a song)

Drumz (I’m not too sure what I was trying to accomplish with this little recording – it was probably just an exercise in creating beats.  I hate synth record-scratches as they sound so fake, but I used them here anyway)

Dust Devil Girls (Before the album version below, we had this working instrumental version)

First Canned GrooveBox Song (Even though the GrooveBox can be a good supplemental instrument that I have lately not used at all, I pride myself on the fact that I hardly ever used the pre-programmed keyboard loops or beats as I tried to write my own.  However, I must have recorded this the day I bought it.  This is using only pre-programmed tracks.  This recording was shortened from a much longer and more tedious recording)

Second Canned GrooveBox Song (Lucky for you, I shortened this terrible demo-only track quite a bit.  It must have been recorded the same day as the one above.  It sounds like someone pushed their way through the aspiring shredding guitarists and drummers practicing their chopz at Guitar Center, asked for a demo of this piece of equipment, and sent everyone running and screaming out the exit to escape the boredom)

First GrooveBox Song That I Wrote (Yes, that’s the name of the song.  Unlike the ones above, I wrote the looped parts.  It sounds suspiciously like the theme music to PaperBoy, but all of my solo stuff sounds like 80’s video games)

Second GrooveBox Song That I Wrote (Thank goodness I snapped out of this style of naming songs or I’d be up to “The four hundred and fifty-second GrooveBox Song That I Wrote”.  I can tell this is an early one because the drum beat is not on time at all, and is so ridiculously simple, as if I was playing real drums for the first time.  The pan-flute setting didn’t make it into many other lo-budge songs, thankfully.  Anyone who can sit through this whole recording deserves a medal. The “I listened to the Second GrooveBox Song That I Wrote” Medal of Honor)

Third GrooveBox Song That I Wrote (This is the last song with this type of title, I promise.  This is actually a very early version of “Rain Grate”, which I re-recorded in Portland years later)

Fuzz (A lo-fi combination of sub bass and white noise static)

Ghosts (Version 1 – With Lisa Shane on vocals.  This later became a Halo song)

Ghosts (Version 2 – A much better mix than the one above)

Hassid (This is the version that does not have my first land lord in San Francisco, Albert Hassid, on it.  That one is on the album version below)

In My Live (Version 1 – Featuring samples of “In My Life” by The Beatles and the sounds of the audience cheering from the album Rank by The Smiths.  Together at last)

In My Live (Version 2)

Jungle (This song was recorded around the same time as “Diablo” above, and incorporates the same Spanish Language instructional album)

Me Solo (Featuring dueling bass guitar leads (a trademark of mine), new age waves breaking on a beach, “magic” glitter sounds, and a beat with a missing snare hit that I was too lazy to punch in)

Message Service (The messages featured in this song are:  My roommate Derek leaving himself a message to remind himself to call his grandma, Derek reminding himself to call AAA, and AAA calling my then-girlfriend Francie Chu regarding a car problem she had, and our actual answering machine message that all callers would hear (which consisted of Derek whistling something that sounds like the Andy Griffith Show theme song, but is not quite it))

New (The only reason I didn’t put this on the lo-budge album is because it didn’t fit.  It was the song that used to play automagically on my old lo-budge web page.  I had several incarnations of the lo-budge website that used Flash-heavy graphics and were fun to make at the time, but ultimately were more about cartoons and graphics than content)

Question Mark


Scene From A Western (Version 1 – I guess I thought if you had gun shot sounds in a song, it could be a song for a Western.  The laser sounds make it sound like a Western set in outer space, though)

Scene From A Western (Version 2 – A little more structured than the one above)

Shark Island U.K. (When I found out there used to be a band in L.A. called Shark Island, I couldn’t stop laughing about it.  I imagined how funny it would be if some other band happened to give themselves this same stupid name and the “real” Shark Island took them to court, forcing the other band to add “U.K.” or “Jr.” to the end of their name.  If someone has any mp3’s of the original Shark Island, I’d love to hear them, especially as they get compared to Van Halen and Mötley Crüe.  UPDATE:  I love the internet.  A simple search brought up this kick-ass video.  They are everything I expected and more, especially the assertion that Axl Rose stole his stage moves from Shark Island’s singer)

Sick (Part 1 – As the name implies, I was very sick during the recording of this song.  I split up this long ambient recording into two parts.  It features samples from Vince Guaraldi’s album “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”, which plays on the left speaker for most of the song)

Sick (Part 2)

Solo Song (A very original title)

Song (OK, I hit the absolute nadir of originality when I titled this belige mess)

Test (Lisa Shane and I testing out the panning and recording capabilites of my 4-track)

Weightless (This recording that Lisa Shane sings on reminds me of some low-rent Madonna song)

Whoosh (A very simple short loop)

Wind Tunnel (The non-album version)

The lo-budge album (released 2001), plus other gallery images:

Grandma’s House


Snow Wrist

Skateboard Sliders (This song was named for this movie, which I have never seen but love the title of.  I doubt Netflix carries it)

My Country Song

Hassid w/ Hassid (Featuring my land lord Albert Hassid’s voice mail telling me to can it with the loud music late at night)

Wind Tunnel

Dream Sequence


Halloween Contact

Carnival (Featuring Gavin Rhodes on guitar)

Again w/ Francie (featuring Francie Chu on piano)

Cracker Jack


Cotton Balls

Dust Devil Girls (This was the “hidden track” on the album and was written by Nick Campbell, who also sings and plays guitar on this recording)

The following songs were recorded in Seattle (2001 – 2004):

End Days (This was my demo version of the song by the same name that Greg Golden and I did in Tram Tower)

Freeze (A collaboration with Adam McCormick (who wrote the lyrics and does all vocals), and probably the best-produced lo-budge song ever recorded.  Adam and I keep talking about collaborating again but have yet to do so)

Maggie Dayton’s House (Nick Campbell came to Seattle for Christmas in 2003 and we found time to record this song of his while he was there)

Oh No I Can’t (Kevin Fullerton, Ian LaFountain, and I briefly ran an independent label in Seattle called Smooth Excavator that this song was on the first (and only) compilation for)

Sacks (The other lo-budge song on the compilation above)

Sad Little Ditty

Without Me (Eminem had a contest when “Without Me” came out which allowed people to download the vocals and place them to their own music.  Since I was using a 4-track and not a computer, I couldn’t get the beats per minute to match up correctly and this hilariously off-time recording was the result.  Needless to say, it didn’t even get entered into the contest, and I knew it would be a mess before I even laid down the second track)

The following songs were recorded in Portland (2004 – 2007):

Agreed Number One (I was trying to make one song per month for as long as I could (yes, that’s not much of a goal, but I’m lazy when it comes to recording), based on a theme from my wife.  She picked “Agreed Number One” for this song and I got a sample of Captain Picard from Start Trek saying it and built up the rest around that)

Purse Full of Peanuts (Featuring a sample of Charlie Brown saying “Oh Brother” and a beat programmed by Chris Chavez that had been stored on my GrooveBox for many years)

Rain Grate (Contains a sample of rain falling off the gutters at our house in Portland)

Dripz (This song was never quite finished, but I doubt I’ll ever go back and finish the job.  No lo-budge song is ever really finished)

Banjo (This became “Proceed to the Exit” with Knife and Son, and features me playing a banjo I got from Ian LaFountain in Seattle.  Very badly playing it.)

Toys (Toys used in this recording from my wife’s collection:  Two Mattel Talk-Up Dolls, a toy typewriter, and a Fisher Price Shake ‘n Chime ball)

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