KEN TIZZARD

30+ YEARS IN MUSIC

NEWFOUNDLAND MUSICIAN

 

BASSIST FOR THE WATCHMEN

SINGER/SONGWRITER

PRODUCER

 

IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR:

THORNLEY

RON HYNES

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WHISKEY WEDNESDAYRestream.io

​What am I doing here?  

When I think about this it is clear that there is a certain sense of "being lost" that comes with this time of life.

 Fifty years old.

 Life long musician.  

Married with a wife who is in a serious battle with MS and all that entails.  

Caught up at the tail end of a failing industry of the music business.  

But still getting up every day and making music, sharing life, caring for my family and looking into the future with the same hope and dream that I had as a teenager.  

The ability to play and create to the fullest every day of my life has been my passion.  I have had an amazing life of working a job which I love.  It took me years to refer to being a musician as a job.  However, it is the thing that I do which helps to support my existence.  Gas, food, bills - all have a due date.  And to be lucky enough to make records with such great bands and during a time when the labels still had big budgets - I have been blessed.

And.... now we are here.  I am helping full-time with my wife's recovery and we are already over a year in isolation. Now the world has stopped around me and we are all in the same boat (sorry that is lazy writing) and somehow this is for me a time of serious contemplation and observation.  I love all that my friends and fans have done to give me a life in music.  I love all the musicians and crews that I have had the honour of knowing.  Thousands of shows and so much fun.  

Sooooo.... for the next year and possibly beyond I will be focussing on music from the studio in my house.  I will create, write, broadcast, record and create a place where we can all hang out and enjoy some time together.  I will do my best to bring us all together and navigate the new waters (more lazy words) into the years ahead.  

Thanks for having a look.  Hope to see you inside...

If you feel like supporting via a donation please click on the link below.  I will do my best to provide you all with interesting bits and pieces of stuff.  If you have any requests or suggestions please send me an e-mail.

Cheers

Ken

 

DROP YOUR E-MAIL IN THE BOX ABOVE AND I WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED WHEN NEW CONTENT IS ADDED.  

There And Back Again -------------------------------------------------------------------Are You Sitting Comfortably ------------------------------------------ - I Have A Storey To Tell------------

Fan - what is in a word? 

What is a ‘fan’? 

I have spent a fair bit of time debating the word “fan” and trying to understand my relationship with this word.  I think the first time I considered myself a ‘fan’ was with the musician Ozzy Osbourne.  I was in grade 7 and myself Rick Rouah and Steve Hussey were all incredibly into Ozzy.  Other friends in our school social circle were into AC/DC and RUSH but the three of us were All Ozzy All The Time.  Over the next few years I discovered other music that I liked but did not again become a fan until I discovered punk rock music.  Bands like Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Husker Du and Motorhead became the bands whose shirts I would wear, whose stickers I would buy to put on everything I owned, whose music I listened to and played with my bands.  These were bands that I was a fan of.  I loved the music, I loved the attitude, I loved the designs and the culture that surrounded their music.  Eventually I moved into other styles of music including Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Smiths, Ron Hynes.  Once again these artists had something to say which inspired me or helped me through tough times. Again I was a fan. 

In the early years of the Watchmen I discovered what it was like to have ‘fans’.  I would always shy away from the term when addressing these folks.  I would always remind people (and myself) that I was no different that any other worker in the world.  I was just doing a job.  I was simply doing what I do.  And it was that simple.  We were all equal.  People going through this world doing what they do. 

These days I am not sure of the use of the word ‘fan’ and as well am not sure how to address folks who have liked, been inspired by, or helped by any of the music I have been a part of creating.  I understand what it is to be a fan.  I also understand that I have been extremely lucky to have created art that has been exposed to enough of the masses to have build a career upon.  But still I am coming to terms with the word fan. 

A few years back I was at a show with a very good old friend.  There was another person at the show who I had known from years of coming to gigs.  I introduced him and my friend later said to me “so whats up with super fan?”  I replied that we were friends from years of meets.  She asked what I knew about his life and I admitted nothing really.  She then pointed out that this person had, in the short time she was in his proximity, mentioned many events and personal details from my life and family.  She corrected me and told me that this person was indeed a ‘fan’ and not a “friend.” 

I have wanted to be a musician since as long as I can remember.  I have left a restless trail of sacrifices to achieve every single element of what is considered a success.  I have fought and loved every phase of my musical existence.  No matter if it was The Watchmen, Ron Hynes, WAFUT, Thornley, Audio Playground or my solo tunes - none of it exists outside of my vacuum without “fans.”  Without folks who enjoy the music, support the tours and purchase memorabilia - who knows what I would be doing? 

We are all damaged in some way.  Perhaps deep down it is some sort of twisted self-image that I don’t feel I am worthy of having “fans.”  Perhaps it is a negative association with terms like “fan-girl/boy” which demeans the fan to it’s more base version of “fanatic.”  I guess for now I will stick with “folks.”  I like the sound of the word, the softness and comfort that it evokes when you speak the word. 

To all my ‘folks’ 

Thanks 

The dictionary terms it this way… 

Fan: 

1: an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator 

2: an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit) 

- shortened form of the word fanatic, meaning “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.” 

- “fan” is a shortened version of the word fanatic. Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1550, means "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion". 

pic by Erin O’Mara

Finding inspiration through the doldrums... 

There are days I feel like nothing is happening.  There is no forward momentum and the cycle of the day repeats, almost to the minute, with a terrifying same-ness that leaves me often uninspired.  And I work through, as well all do.  We all have routines and for some of us during this CoVid time the routines have become so accurately repetitive that the movie “Groundhog Day” seems like a mirror on our existence. 

With almost 500 days of varying degrees of isolation under my belt, I am starting to believe that I have become accustomed to creating and moving forward even when I feel like nothing is happening.  Since the beginning of 2020 I have recorded, mixed and released a live record “Living The Dream”, I have recorded a compilation record “All Together Now” with 40+ musicians across Canada and the US, I have demo’d and finished writing on the new record “still untitled”, and have developed a new online presence based on the inability to continue Whiskey Wednesday in my live environment.  I can add to this the care for my wife and managing a household, but the list seems full. 

Somehow we adapt, we adjust, we complain, we find silver linings and we move on.  We ‘keep on keeping on’ as Dylan would say. Part of keeping on is the addition of more cameras to the Whiskey Wednesday show.  Broadcasting through Re Stream and Switcher Studio has, after the first trial, been positive.  There are a few things to address for example: broadcasting to multiple spots splits the audience up and the conversation is less - I will work on that.  Also, I need to figure a few things out with lighting now as we are using multiple angles.  As it develops there is more care to be taken in the fine details.  I like this kind of work and look forward to making things shine a little brighter moving forward. 

As promised here is a little glimpse of late night in the studio…. it is not always exciting…

 

 

 

Broadening the horizon... 

I want to say thanks from the bottom of my heart for the folks who have helped to sustain my life in music for so many years.  There used to be a time when the Record Companies covered a lot of upfront costs and gave the artists time to develop and prove ourselves to all the music lovers and in turn you would attend shows and buy cd's.  We al know that has changed.  And we all know we cannot go back to a time before digital distribution changed everything. 

I have no crystal ball to see wha the future of live events will look like. We can see the obvious upswing in virtual concert experiences. From large bands performing at drive in style concerts across multiple continents simultaneously to thousands of folks to solo artists performing from their couch to a handful of listeners - this will become a more normal part of the fabric.

In my unique circumstance this means that digital concerts are going to be a part of my future.  Not at all saying I won't go back on the road when the time comes but for now... Home is where the heart (and all my gear) is.  Without ticket sales for live shows and the addition of folks buying merch at in-person events this leaves me with a deficit.  And lets not forget that I am not alone.  The world is closed down and so many people are facing financial pressures way beyond mine and I am hesitant to charge a fee for what I have been doing on Whiskey Wednesday.  So many positive messages and thanks have come our way in recent months that I genuinely believe that this is for now my intended niche.

  

Recently I did add a Tip Jar.  And the response has been amazing.  From folks sending in $5 to $200 per Wednesday, some setting up recurring monthly donations - I am amazed at the support.  Thanks so much.  And it is always appreciated. Never required or expected, but definitely appreciated.

As I said when I set up the donation link - I will put proceeds into developing the show and making it better for everybody who has been so supportive.  This week I spent a lot of time researching ways to broadcast to multiple platforms and make the show flow a little more.  I have settled into a combination of Switcer Studio and ReStream to meet these requirements.  Switcher Stream will help me to use multiple cameras and set up and as well add some neat features that I hoep to learn how to use properly.  ReStream is a company that takes your broadcast and redistributes it simultaneously to multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pages, Twitch and Youtube.

Starting this week you can watch the broadcast as always at www.facebook.com/kentizzard 

in addition you should be able to watch and comment through:

www.facebook.com/kentizzardmusic

Twitter - www.twitter.com/ktizzard

YouTube - www.youtube.com/kentizzard

Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/kentizzard

Fall 2020 Allison Update... baby steps still 

For those of you who have been hanging around for the last few years, I assume you're up to speed.  For those of you newcomers, thanks for coming by and I will bring you up to speed on a journey with my wife's health and out journey over the last few years.  

Allison at day 100 post transplant...

Allison has MS.  She was diagnosed just over five years ago when she began developing some weird numbness in her hand and leg.  It took nine months to get her a diagnoses and just as many doctors as well.  We took a year to deal with understanding the disease and treatments.  There are several tiers of treatment and they are quite costly (lucky for being in Canada and as well her health plan at work has been great).  Within a few years, it was apparent that the treatments were not working for her and the MS attacks were getting more aggressive and more frequent.  At 49 years old we were looking at permanent and continuing disabilities which if left to continue could have left her totally unable to function on her own. 

Lucky for us in Jan of 2019 we were accepted for a still in trial procedure that has been showing significant positive results in stopping the MS attacks from further destroying her nervous system. You can read back through the blog for day by day details of our 7 month life in Ottawa as she undertook a Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant.  We were informed that there would be a two year recovery and the chance of complications was high. 

The treatment was intense and left Allison at under 100lbs and bedridden for months on end.  Once leaving the hospital she and I entered a isolation bubble (due to her no longer having an immune system and needing time to regenerate) and still to this day remain here.  Every day is different.  Some days she is still in a lot of pain and others she is somewhat pain-free.  She has been in bed now for almost two years (this November).  She is learning to use her muscles again and retrain neural pathways to get back to walking and such.  We do exercises every day and sometimes something as slight as a wiggle of a toe can bring excitement. 

One of the side-effects of the treatment was the possibility of osteoporosis.  In February after just starting to get back on her feet, Allison turned and broke a hip.  She had surgery and once again began healing.  This has been a significant setback, but we push ahead once again.

Recently we have had some home care physiotherapy and she has worked her way to standing for ten seconds at a time.  She is moving forward.  Her mind is strong and her will is incredible.  Being able to share this journey with all of you has been amazing and we thank you all for every note and good energy we have received.   

This week she got her first haircut in a few years.... the cat has adapted to sleeping with her and stealing her pillow... and she keeps on smiling.

    

The Storey House Project - Welcome....  

OK folks.  I have made a decision.  Welcome to the “Storey House Project” where I will share the creation of this upcoming album in various stages. I had hoped, as I began typing, that the words and the strategy for the “Storey House Project” would suddenly and easily appear.  I had hoped the muse would visit and lay it all out for me… but no. 

The reality is that I am not sure how deep into this I will get.  I am not sure how much I can share without feeling weird.  I have no idea how interested you all might be. 

As with most of my writing staring at the empty page it the most daunting part of the process.  It happens to us all, we sit with our guitar (or piano etc) and a notebook opened to a fresh page, a pen and a guitar pick.  And go….. this part of the process reminds me of a huge wall. And as the first word appear - the wall loses some height.  The next line and into a pre-chorus, oh yeah that is a nice chord… and slowly the wall disappears to reveal the song or the story for which you are searching. 

In my experience there are several factors that can interfere with this process and for those of you who are not songwriters I will share this point.  The biggest thing for me that makes the wall grow instead of shrink is when your mind starts asking questions about the viability of the song. Will people like this? will it offend? is it too sad? is it too pop? and the question that kills all creativity - will this make money? Keeping the creative process genuine, authentic and real is not easy and hugely important for me. 

These are all huge parts of the process and I hope that I can work to share this new record as it develops.  Now that I have some words down on paper the process is starting to reveal itself as the wall disappears I will share my current vision… 

-demos from the day a song was first conceived. 

-demo made by me for the purposes of sharing with the band. 

-demo with the band. 

-the first time performing it. 

-the bed tracks as we start the final project. 

-a single to be released periodically throughout the project. 

…and finally… 

-an album combined of the finished product of these tunes. 

Let's start with a tune called "I Like to get High" which I am currently considering changing to "Pain Free Living'.  Here is the video of the band playing it recently on a Whiskey Wednesday. Below there is an audio file for the night it was conceived.  When I write and find a thread to follow I usually just hit record on my phone.  Here is where it begins.... ENJOY!!!

I will direct light into the writing process, the recording process and the full development of songs and the album as a concept. 

I have always been a fan of sharing the story of the recordings.  I remember when the Watchmen were recording in the mid-nineties and I would write a storyline for events and then using an old telephone receiver modern I would dial up and upload words to a message board. Now, years later I can act in realtime and various other mediums to get the story out. 

I will be using the following to get this our: 

-social media for blurbs 

-the website to house blog updates, MP3 downloads and videos 

-my e-mail list for letting people know when there is new stuff available 

I hope you are onboard.  I do ask that you comment or participate in some way that helps me to stay focussed.  And I will commit to running this “Storey House Project” until the end of the year.  At this point I will evaluate how much it is helping me creatively and how much time it is consuming.   I am looking forward to this folks… stay well. 

Ken

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