Facts Of Music® Productions is NOT producing as much/enough – at the present time – because of the current full-plate of learning curve activities.

It’s important to keep producing, while in the midst of learning new things, but it’s not always possible to do a lot of both AT THE SAME TIME. So, what’s being learned? And for that matter, what else is…UP?

Glad you asked (again April Fool’s – a day late, of course). Seriously, the new MacBook Pro 17″ is in the air. You say, “hey, wait a minute, you already have one of those!” TRUE. This is another one, a new one (yes, the 3rd!), and it’s in Anchorage, AK right now – going through customs. It should arrive at my doorstep on Monday morning (a bit of a late PRESENT from the Easter Bunny!).

There have been some repeated technical issues, and as a result, APPLE keeps sending me a new one (usually bigger, better and faster!) every month, lately. This is one reason for the slowdown in productivity. Never fear, the projects keep on being “cranked out” with the 8-core studio computer. So, as soon as I can get the new machine loaded with over 160 GBs of software…the real productivity will continue – at the screaming pace of…all things “APPLE FAST!”

Back to the question…”What’s being learned?”

Speaking of APPLE, on top of the other activities, FOM Productions is adding APPLE’s LOGIC PRO to the roster of offerings, and Philippe is hands-full/hands-on at the computer getting the feet wet with all the plug-ins and parameters of the highly acclaimed music recording Monster APP. The new Logic Pro is really something, and yes, DP (Digital Performer, by MOTU) is still in full swing at the studio. Now, we’ll be offering the best of both worlds…and that will be an advantage to all who care to partake!

That’s all for now (back to work)…remember to keep on playing, plugging, and plodding. To be continued…

Musically, Philippe Willems :-)

Well, it’s Monday, it’s March 1st, and there’s a lot of water under the bridge (and everywhere in general, actually)! It’s been a while since my last post…very busy, yet lots of time to work on extraneous details and PLAY. YES, some of that meant playing (as in MUSIC!), as well as playing around.

I hope life has been similarly good to you in those ways, and I encourage you to keep on attempting/attacking toward that end. CARPE DIEM is the catch phrase most often used to describe that effort.

HOW CAN WE DO OR ACHIEVE THIS? I’ve noticed that by rotating my interests (switching back and forth from one type of activity to another…), I have been able to integrate various disciplines and continue to GROW in more areas.

We are in this “intense information age” of everything coming at us at once…and it can be so overwhelming, so we need to get a GOOD PERSPECTIVE on it! Let me illustrate my idea:

In a sentence…I’ve got musical instruments to play, computers and programs to work on and figure out, magazines and books to read…and music and videos to listen and watch. Then, …what (…I need to get a part for my car?!!!)…

TRY THIS…write down 5 things you want to do in the next 8 hours…allot time-frames for each, and then ATTACK! It’s amazing how much you can accomplish (thanks to that “little plan!”). AMERICA can become great again…maybe. But, it will take this kind of efficiency and efficacious attention to detail to get us there…and most definitely the GRACE OF GOD!

Check it out, and GO FOR IT (I always encourage you – knowing you CAN!)… :-) All the best to you until…….

Well, it’s time for the University of North Texas’s GRAMMY NOMINEES (Steve and the One O’clock Lab Band, BOTH!) to show up…with the hopes of walking away with the coveted prize, but as Lab Band director Steve Wiest put it…he felt like he won already!


Neil Slater & Philippe Willems

Even if neither he nor the band “takes one home tonight” (each is nominated for best jazz composition, and best large jazz ensemble, respectively) – the awesomeness of the nominations are as UNT’s President Bataille stated – (paraphrased) “it puts them in the enviable position held by UNT alone, of being the only Music College in America (and the world!) to have ANY Grammy nominations” – they have 6 – COUNT ‘EM…that’s 1975, 1976…then again in 1989 and 1991…and now 2 in one year!!! CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER TO EVERYONE INVOLVED!

It was pleasure this morning to re-connect with several people I’ve known and played with over the years, and make some new friends…and share the excitement with everyone – of hearing the band live in the intimate Gold Room at the Biltmore Millennium Hotel. It was quite a spectacle to behold. WOW! The band was on fire, and they’re off to the races (I hope you win one this time…now that would be a singularly spectacular highlight of it all – and if not, well…back to what Steve said!).

You guys are all going to have incredible careers…and already do! KUDOS, again, and thanks for having me be a part of it! Cheers to everyone at UNT!

I hope some of you reading this had the opportunity to see the show…or at least attend some of the concert events and parties in the area! The energy was infectious, and it was a good sign that some exciting things are coming to our industry this year. If you are optimistic about your music/work…then being at NAMM was quite an encouragement even above that!

Anyone who believes in their project(s) should be reassured that 2010 is going to present some great opportunities. Also, if you wonder what you can do to make it a great year…something I saw over and over again, and had the occasion to hear from others…is that we have more going for us now than ever before. The reality that technology has brought us to a new independent “know-how” and “capability” is already a done-deal. JUST DO IT. If you don’t have a “rig” yet, put one together, and GET IT TOGETHER. Produce to your heart’s content, and get the content out there! There is no excuse (not to), just apathy (laziness)! Let’s GO (or as was said on 9-11…let’s roll) – and to borrow and further that idea, in our case: LET’S ROCK ‘N ROLL – and all other styles, of course :-)

Hope to cross paths with you soon, …and keep modulating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.