Hey everybody…go to this site: http://music.unt.edu/ – and you’ll learn that UNT has been nominated for 2 GRAMMYs in 2009!!! Time to update my “about” page – that’s 6 grammy nominations for North Texas, all other schools: 0. Yikes! Congratulations to all the players and the school itself…KUDOS!!!

WOW! It’s late Monday night (after midnight) – so on to the 15th of December!!! You’ve got 10 shopping days (inclusive!!!) left until Christmas…and if you’re celebrating Channukah…you’ve only got a couple of days left!!!

Now, what about shopping and gifts…everything is on sale. WHO CARES (?) …most everything is on sale all of the time! Well, that’s true – EXCEPT FOR ALL THE COOLEST STUFF YOU WANT…it’s NEVER on sale. What’s up with that? I’m “allergic to retail” – so, whatever I buy (all year round) is on sale anyway! Beyond that…what really matters, and from me and the Facts Of Music® folks to you…is…

“We wish you a Merry Christmas…We wish you a Merry Christmas…We wish you a Merry Christmas, – and a Happy New Year!”

It might sound “dated,” but IT’S TRUE! And, it’s the reason for the season (well, New Year’s is another, more “secondary reason,” but…)! Hey, I’m not even going to get into the discussion about Christmas music….and “what’s legit and what isn’t!!!

ANYWAY, I sincerely hope you get what you NEED…and need what you get. I have for years (decades, even) the most important thing I could want…and that has been my FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ (it’s a Christian and Jewish thing…remember, the Messiah?). Before Christianity (proper), there was the “old story” – and that is what my faith is predicated on. THAT old story is what happened before all the history leading to our “Christmas and New Year’s holidays” (that just about everyone alive today knows (and so many of us celebrate)!

Everything else in my life seems related to what I know and think ABOUT THAT. Most my close friends are “hip” to my thoughts in that area (not that they know a whole lot about some of the details about what I think in my theology – it depends on HOW WELL they know me…and HOW LONG!!!).

One more thing…most of you who frequent this site play and/or sing. I hope you will do so with gusto during this FANTASTIC SEASON and time of celebration and reflection. It’s “year end” and I hope you will look back at all the things you’ve hopefully accomplished, and all the things you didn’t that are important to you – that you’ll put that/those HIGH on your list and LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING THOSE GOALS SOON! Plan and DO! Have a great one, and until the next time…KEEP ON LEARNING AND PLAYING… PW :-)

O.K. then, so what am I talking about?

Well, have any of you seen 2012 yet? As long as you don’t mind losing your “willful suspension of disbelief” at times during a movie…it’s fairly entertaining – especially if you like suspense/action-type drama with lots of “first class” special effects. The production values are quite good, actually. The writing seems “pretty good” (again, as long as you can be gracious about details that were somehow missed – like the fact that freezing water is not something you can avoid hypothermia in after very few, precious minutes). If I’m a bit too “intense about this,” it might be because my Navy training immediately kicks in when confronted with a “survival situation” (instinctively – now that’s good training!).

The story pace moves along at a good clip, so you don’t get bored – at least I didn’t. The only issue to consider is the movie’s length – 2 hrs 38 mins. – which means you might want to see it at the right time of day, I guess. Anyway, if you believe the Mayan calendar…this movie might be a cause of concern about the near future for you. Of course, I put my faith in the only place I know to be reliable…historically and exegetically.

I have put a considerable investment of time and money (as well as my faith – before I had any empirical or rational experience with “the facts,” AND SINCE) in the Holy Scriptures. The entire body of OT and NT (or Tanak and Berit Hadashah – for those who would prefer their “older designations”) explicitly refute the Mayan “account” – again, if you go by that calendar and the “date” set forthwith!

That is NOT possible according to all Scriptural accounts. SO, don’t sweat it, know that Dec. 21, 2012 is DEFINITELY WRONG (if you don’t believe me…let me know, and let’s plan a “date” to meet/talk about it on Dec. 22, 2012!!!). If you want specific documentation from me (i.e. citing chapter and verse), just ASK and I will be more than happy to accommodate such a request!!!  Are you REALLY interested?

So…go ahead and enjoy the movie, anyway. I DID. It had some very “fun” parts, and I will even see it again – there’s plenty of “good stuff” to watch and study (forget all the erroneous details – IT’S JUST A MOVIE!!!) :-)

NOW, onto one thing of musical import (the real purpose for this blog/site!)…

I hope you are getting plenty of practice these days – even if we are in the throes of “The Holidays.” It’s also hard for me to stay on track with the normal priorities at this time, and it always seems to take longer to do the normal things during this season – with traffic and all. But I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU WITH THE FOLLOWING THOUGHTS…

I DO still manage to get many things done despite the holiday mania. HOW? I rearrange my “hours” to later in the evening, so I can concentrate on things I can’t do during the day while all the “interruptions” occur. My friend, Earl Buffington mentioned (as we were having a very philosophical and “down to earth” discussion about the important things in life), that Michael Jackson commented in an interview…when asked, “If you had a chance to do it all over again…what would you do differently?”

Michael’s answer: “I would practice more.”

How’s that for “professional attitude” and unfortunately… “hind-sight?” One of the greatest entertainers of modern history (and maybe even all of history…definitely one of the greats…) had the “big picture” right…the thought that makes anyone GREAT…What matters, at all times and all seasons? “KEEP ON KEEPING ON.”

And with those sage words, I will now leave you to do the same as I am suggesting and following…it’s back to work for me…from the blog to the drawing board. It’s 1:30AM, and I will accomplish another thing or two before catching a good night’s REST!

I look forward to any comments from you and hope this finds you in PRIME CONDITION – making the most of another GREAT DAY in this whacky season, though maybe the “coolest” season (literally AND figuratively!). CARPE DIEM. Make the most of it and ENJOY!!! We’ll be in touch…PW

O.K. Well, it’s late in the evening on Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the long weekend is HISTORY.

Even though there are lots of “issues” to deal with at this time (the holidays are HERE, AGAIN, ALREADY!!!)…it is also still the time to reflect on all the things we have been given – and how to responsibly manage our many blessings. I have been very stretched these past 3 weeks or so (another “reason/excuse” why I haven’t blogged since right after the TAXI Road Rally!). During that 3-week period, I did try to constantly review my assets and resources. WHY? I’ve been trying to keep them all at the forefront of my thoughts in order to manage and prioritize all the tasks, as well as APPRECIATE HOW MANY INCREDIBLE THINGS THERE ARE TO DO, AND HOW WONDERFUL IT IS TO BE ABLE TO DO/WORK ON THEM!

Do you ever get to the point where you have so many “plans” (or “coals on the fire”) that you don’t remember them all? Do you write lists, and then it seems like there are piles of paper or notes with lists on them…AND YOU FORGET HOW MANY TASKS YOU HAVE PUT ON THESE LISTS?

That’s how it seems to be for me. If ever someone wished they could have clones of themselves to run around and accomplish all the errands and tasks…that’s been me FOR YEARS. So, what am I doing to balance it all? I am learning to organize my “goals and priorities” on a 3-tier roster.

The top tier is the immediate list – by chronological order/necessity (= DUE IMMEDIATELY) – also translates to “DO IMMEDIATELY!!!”

The #2 tier is “Do ASAP.”

The #3 tier is the “Wish List” (aka – how soon can I get to this?!!!).

Of course, what happens in between is LIFE, and that usually modifies everything!!!

But, at least for now, I keep having a cool “listing” of all the things I am interested in, and approximately when and how I can get to them! TRY IT, or ask me more about how it looks…if you still aren’t sure about how to make it happen.

I’m just finishing a couple projects that have been brewing in the past 3 weeks, one of which is basically done as of yesterday – one song in particular. On this one, I’m featured on what has been a pretty new instrument for me…the pedal steel guitar. Actually, I have played it a couple of times on some of my television background cues for Telepictures/WB – for use on shows like “TMZ,” “EXTRA,” and such (cues that called for “Country”). Those were usually just “snippets” (60 sec. cues, and by the time the editors got to them…).

But on this song, the pedal steel is really much more of a central role because of its character for this “country/crossover power ballad.” I also played electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, and the string pads. Check out the track (below), and if you have a minute – drop me a note and let me know how you like it, PLEASE!

Until next time, remember to be grateful for all the freedom and blessings you have (and have had) until now! Musically, PW :-)God’s Little Plan (H. Richman/A. Scott)

Lead Vocal: Rick Jarrett

Piano: Howard Richman

Drums: Henry Newmark

All other instruments (Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Electric 6-string Bass, Pedal Steel Guitar, String Pads): Philippe Willems

Recorded at: Facts Of Music® Productions, Woodland Hills, CA; and Henry’s Studio, West Hills, CA., November 23-28, 2009.

Produced and engineered by Philippe Willems

Facts Of Music® Productions wishes to thank the following companies associated with these instruments: DP6, Mac Pro 8-core, Mackie 624 powered, near-reference monitors, Korg Triton Studio – 88, Goodrich Volume pedal, Hoehner B-six Professional Bass, Fender/Schecter Telecaster, Fender Princeton Reverb amplifier, Ovation Legend Deluxe, MOTU 896 and MidiExpress XT interfaces, MXL microphones, Monster and Core X2 cables.

Wow! Last week was chock-full of great stuff! There was the HD Expo for all of us entertainment technology buffs on Wednesday and Thursday…and then there was the annual TAXI Road Rally for all of us who can’t get enough music/songwriting/artist fixes – what a whirlwind of exciting experiences in just a matter of 5 days!

My goal for this site, in the very near future, is to put up photos and video of some of these kinds of things – so you can actually participate vicariously (or should I say, “VIRTUALLY!”)…Seriously, folks…we can do this, and it is so cool!

I’d like to put in a very heartfelt plug for TAXI and Michael Laskow (who does an amazing job every year) for the success and wonderful community that is brought together at this event. If you are serious about your craft, and you are a contender in the writing world of songs and music…you NEED to get involved with TAXI on various levels. Become a member, hone your songs, and GROW! If your material is already there (on the professional level) – TAXI can get you to the next level (or even…LEVELS!!!). If you’re not “there” YET, then TAXI is one of the few real places you can go to GROW to that point. And, if that wasn’t enough already…you will want to plan to catch/attend this amazing convergence of wonderful and talented artists from the world over…and be a part of the community! It happens every November…for the past 13 years. Don’t miss the next one! If you’re serious, go to www.taxi.com and find out more!

I’ve got to get back into the studio, so I’ll catch up with you again soon. Please contact me whenever you like, and I’ll get right back to you. MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW! Get to it! Talk to you soon, PW :-)

Those of you who are old enough to remember Soupy Sales get a smile on your face (at least it’s not a PIE IN YOUR FACE!) when you even hear the name. Why? Here’s a Wikipedia entry on the man who passed away yesterday:

Soupy Sales (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009) was a Jewish American comedian, actor, and radio-TV personality and host. He was best known for his local and network children’s television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales; a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What’s My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Please Google his name, and find out more about him…he was a gem, and will be missed by all who knew him or knew his unique brand of FUNNY! You will get a kick looking at any videos you can find on him…he made the world a funnier (fun) place!!! Dearest Soupy, R.I.P.

Is the mission really accomplished? YES! What mission you ask? Well…last week I posted for the first time in about a month, and discussed making a plan for success and how to stick to it (see “Fall Has Fallen”). And…I did it! At the end, I mentioned that it was a goal of mine to post another blog entry this week. It has been a busy one, but here it is…another music motivating tip to keep you pushing forward with your career! And, it’s only Wednesday (well, it’s almost Thursday). SO…

Here’s my thought for you this week…

It’s a GOOD THING to take a few minutes and assess how you are doing with your “development.” We are all in a constant state of flux…and so is our environment. What has changed for you lately (?)…this week…this month…this year? How does this affect your talent, your skills, your ability to contribute to your society, trade, family?

I constantly tell people (acquaintances and close family and friends alike) to push themselves to the limit in whatever endeavor they want to…with one caveat: make a plan to focus on that endeavor (or maybe 2-to-3 MAX).

The important thing is to stick with whatever that 1-to-3 things would be for at least a reasonable enough amount of time to see progress in that/those area(s). I know it probably seems silly to state this so plainly, but how many times do we start something…something we really want to try or achieve, only to get discouraged and stop or interrupt our development before any results even have a chance of coming to fruition?!!! It happens all too many times, folks!

Don’t let this be your story/case. STICK WITH IT!

Alright…so, what’s your goal? What is something you can accomplish, with a little consistent effort? Once you pick a worthwhile project/goal/task…figure out what it might take to make it happen!

Please take a moment now to make that plan, and start to execute it immediately. Accomplish your goal. And when you do…LET ME KNOW. I’ll be proud of you and excited for you! GO FOR IT. You will also be pleased with your accomplishment…that’s a great feeling!

Until next time…KEEP ON KEEPING ON! I want to read/hear: Mission Accomplished!

The news is this: NO MORE 100+ DAYS OF INDIAN SUMMER/HEAT…it’s time for the leaves to fall, and soon…set the clocks back! As for a routine, I am hoping we can all get into one now, so we can accomplish much on a REGULAR basis. My life has been filled with various unpredictable distractions, but I have managed to FOCUS ON THE MUSIC.

I guess I should add that my bearings have been kept on mark by my spiritual life priority of spending plenty of time (daily) with my nose to the grindstone (that means daily intake of Doctrine from the Scriptures – in their original languages, as well as the historical context in which they are/were written). I SAY ALL OF THIS, BECAUSE YOU NEED TO KNOW THERE IS A DIFFERENCE WITH BEING THEOLOGICAL AND/VERSUS BEING RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL. In other words… “don’t try this at home.” Why do I say this? Because most people are not trained or prepared to make informed “critical decisions/conclusions” – and that is why we have so much confusion and misinformation with regard to this “spiritual” topic.
Now, back to the MUSICAL SEGMENT of this blog…

The way to stay on track/target in our musical lives is by planning carefully what we want to (need to!) accomplish. Secondly, we need to execute that plan…however challenging we make it. I suggest a light load to begin with, one or two tasks – that you feel you might be able to easily accomplish. This is GREAT because you have the sense of accomplishment and SUCCESS in doing so. If you don’t succeed, then you can re-evaluate, or try the same load again.

Plan on a week’s work, and try to accomplish it. My goal this week includes getting another blog up next week. That will also signal the change in season…summer’s over, and “THE ROUTINE CONTINUES (resumes, actually!). Be well, and if you have a question, please shoot it over to me. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks, Philippe :-)

Hard to believe it’s been about 6 weeks since I last posted, but they whizzed by, and here it is…September 1st! I hope you enjoyed the last of your summer, and had some great MUSICAL MOMENTS. I know I did. Now, it’s time to get the Fall schedule going…which will include my most recent upgrades and experiments to see if all my software and hardware will work. My short-term goals will be to have the music studio and video capabilities (recording and editing) up and running. I think the rest of 2009 will be a blur, and we will all be ushering-in the New Year! I was in Costco the other day, and (still August…), they already had artificial, lighted Christmas trees…ready to go!!!

One of my current projects this week is the Hamish and Andy show (two whacky dudes from Australia), who will be shooting at the L.A. (Pomona) County Fair – look them up on YouTube or their own website ( – just Google “Hamish and Andy”). Let’s keep in touch. Please blog on here if you have any questions…musical or otherwise! – PW :-)

"On The Road Again" - Again (still)!

"On The Road Again" - Again (still)!

Well, yes indeed…it’s time to be writing some “hot-stuff” and lots of different types of music! This week, it’s been great writing and recording with producer/bassist extraordinaire LOU CASTRO. I remember the fun time he and I met, sitting-in at the famed “Baked Potato,” in North Hollywood. We were playing with the Screaming Cocktail Hour (a great, jamming band)…and afterwards, introduced ourselves and asked each other the usual questions about recent gigs and various types of work we both did. At that moment, we found out we had both been playing on the same album…one that in fact HE was producing (for Emyna Starshine), and it was so funny that we had never met or known that we were in fact playing together on that project.

See…this is what happens on a regular basis (it seems) in this town! Ever since the advent of electronic transfer of media, it’s ever more common that we can send tracks to various artists/studios and bring them all together…and, VOILÀ! A hit is made!!! Check out shows like: TMZ, EXTRA, TYRA BANKS, THE BONNIE HUNT SHOW…you may be hearing some “FACTS OF MUSIC® tracks of mine, and other co-writing partners like LOU CASTRO and JAY BOLAN.

Well, I guess it’s time to get back to doing just that. Tomorrow, Lou and I are getting together to work on two tracks we hope you’ll be hearing somewhere out there soon! Keep coming back here to the FACTS OF MUSIC® site whenever you get a minute, and keep working on your musical life. Get in touch when you can, I’d love to hear from you and find out what you’re doing, too!!!

P.S. I hope to be adding more video and audio tracks to the site soon…I’d like you to see and hear what we’re doing over here. If you get a chance to be in the area, be sure and let me know. Let’s get together and make some music! I’ve worked with artists from practically all over the world, and am talking now with a promising artist from Senegal: “Sauce Kid” – who is planning to come to the U.S. in August. Hopefully I can connect him with another friend from Sierra Leone (both in West Africa)…”Sulaimon Fofana.” It’s great working with folks from all over the world, and knowing that right here, in the entertainment capital, we have a”melting-pot” of talent unlike any other place on earth! KEEP ON CRAFTING YOUR ART…musically, PW :-)