PCLinuxOS: The Band & Their Song

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

What happens when some of the musicians in the PCLinuxOS forum, scattered around the globe, want to record a song together? After all, they are scattered around quite a bit: North Carolina, Oklahoma, New England, Texas, Mississippi and South Africa. Well, thanks to the Internet, they are able to pull it off.

That’s exactly what six of the musically inclined forum members did. With Rudge on the drums, horusfalcon on the bass, longtom on the acoustic guitar, BubbaBlues on the electric guitar and organ, and joechimp doing vocals, they each laid down the tracks to a bluesy ballad. With lyrics written by resident PCLinuxOS songstress ms_meme, they put together a finished product. They called their song “Goodbye Windows.” They posted it to the forum on May 16, 2012, as an 8.6 MiB MP3 file.

Originally, Rudge proposed the idea in the PCLinuxOS forum on February 22, 2012. As the discussion continued, there were more musicians lurking in the forum than originally thought. After five days of discussions and 135 replies to the initial forum post, Rudge pulled the plug on the idea. He was reluctant to have anyone feel left out of the endeavor.

Rudge on the drums.

A few days later, the idea was reborn, but this time with a little less fanfare – again, so no one would feel left out of this initial effort. The obstacles to making this come to fruition were monumental. The “members of the band” were separated, geographically, by hundreds, if not thousands of miles, time zones, continents, and wide expanses of ocean. But thanks to the tenacity of the group, they got the results they were seeking – nearly three months after the initial proposal.

“Well, at first it was an idea in a previously mentioned post that quickly snowballed out of control to the point where I simply had to delete the post because of the flood of conflicting ideas and arguments that it spawned,” said Rudge.

“By this time however, I had received a select few sane ideas that had some intriguing promise. Mostly from BubbaBlues and horusfalcon.

“The details of how the music came about are a bit sketchy even to me but the band itself came together once I realized that BubbaBlues was the man that had a talent I did not possess. That is the talent to take charge and get people to do something.

“I know music, but I suck at organization and delegation. Once I saw that BubbaBlues had those skills, I asked him to take charge of the group and he did. He did indeed, and he did it very well. So, while it may be generally assumed that this was mostly MY doing, it was not. It was mostly BubbaBlues that pulled all this together,” Rudge continued.

Although Rudge had originally proposed the idea, BubbaBlues had the most experience with these types of collaborations, so BubbaBlues “drove the bus,” so to speak.

“After Rudge mentioned in the forum that he wanted to do this, I offered my help because I had done these collaborations before and knew what to do,” said BubbaBlues. “I basically had the other players record their parts at home and send them to me, then I did all of the mixing and mastering, and added my guitar part and waved a magic wand and we had a complete song.

BubbaBlues on the electric guitar and organ.

“You just have to start with a beat and a basic idea of what you want. I used a drum machine and the base organ part. Then you add a bass line, and I also added longtom's acoustic guitar part. Next, I replaced the canned drum beat with Rudge on live drums. Then we need the vocals, so that's where joechimp stepped up. Once all of that was mixed, all it needed was some fill-in riffs and some guitar solos, so I laid that track down, mixed, added some compression and reverb where it was needed, waved the magic wand and there it was,” said BubbaBlues about the process of putting this whole thing together.

Horusfalcon on the bass.

When asked about his role in helping to make this song come about, horusfalcon responded, “Simple.  I'm just a bass player. When the call went out for musicians, I was there to fill the last part needed.

“A bass player generally just lays the foundation for the rest of the music, working with the drummer to drive the beat.  I got the chance to develop my own bass part for this, though, and that was really fun.

“I saw a post on the fora from Rudge asking for folks to participate in a musical project. By the time I had seen it, the only position still open was for a bass player. Things went through a few changes, and Rudge, BubbaBlues, and I worked together to lay down the underpinnings of this tune. Frankly, after that, it seemed like a long time went by without hearing anything about it, and, then I saw today where the tune was finished. Surprising, really.”

BubbaBlues added, “I just want to say how impressed I was with horusfalcon's bass line. When Rudge and I heard the bass part the first time, it was by itself, without the other music. Man, he was all over the place with obscure runs and stuff. Rudge told me, "Dude that's the strangest thing I ever heard." Then I picked up my guitar and started playing along with it. Sure enough, it was brilliant! Bass guys sometimes don't get the credit they deserve, but nothing is more valuable to another musician than a solid bass line to play to. Cool. Thanks horusfalcon, hats off to you, bud!”

Longtom on acoustic guitar.

Longtom added his acoustic guitar talents to the project.

“I was just a guitar player who was asked by BubbaBlues to record a track for the project.  So I did and loved it,” said longtom.

“In the beginning I was intrigued by the idea and didn't quite know how recordings can be done and mixed in PCLinuxOS. When I did my last professional recording we used a 16-track tape recorder, huge mixers and amps etc. Old people might remember.

“So, longtomjr and I sat and played with several options after Rudge’s post and I mentioned some interest in the thread. I also made a couple of recordings, which I sent to Rudge, BubbaBlues, as well as ms_meme, knowing she would enjoy that.

“Others, like me, showed their interest, first in the initial thread by Rudge, and afterwards, via more personnel exchange. So BubbaBlues stuck up his hand and took it upon himself to coordinate the effort.

“After a while Bubba contacted me and asked me to do a track for the song. I was honoured and did just that with pleasure,” longtom continued.

Joechimp on vocals.

Joechimp’s vocals have been likened to those of the late and legendary Tom Waits by some forum members. He describes his role in helping make “Goodbye Windows” come to life.

“My role was kind of late to the party. Lot’s of hard work was already put in by others before I did my part. I think some of the other band members really wanted me to initially be a part of this so in the end, I was offered this wonderful opportunity. My role was adding the Vocal track to a mix of music, minus the lead part, which BubbaBlues added after he added my vocals. Being in a band, any kind of band is a privilege. I thank them from my heart,” said joechimp.

“At first, when this came up, it was just in a thread Rudge started about doing a song,” continued joechimp. “Lots of people wanted to get involved. Then too many wanted to get involved and I kind of lost interest a bit. Rudge wanted me to play bass, but I have been having trouble with my hands and didn’t think I could give it my best effort, so I bowed out. I had made a post about singing but then forgot about it and the thread sort of died off. Then just recently, I was asked if I would like to do the vocals. I could hardly believe it. After all this time I didn’t think there was any chance of that. I was honored and thrilled to be asked.”

Ms_meme, the lyricist.

Of course, those lyrics that joechimp sang were penned by PCLinuxOS’s own songstress, ms_meme. True to form, she tried to downplay her contribution to the project (and truthfully, didn’t want to be included in this article about “The Band”). However, her “editor” insisted that everyone involved with the project be included.

“I received a PM from BubbaBlues asking me to send him some lyrics. I sent him some that I had been working on,” said ms_meme. “Later got another PM asking if they could use them. He had added a bit more to what I sent. I thought it was very nice that they were going to use what I had written.

“I am happy to see that the group got together and came up with a wonderful sound. I really had no other communication with the group.”

In usual ms_meme style, she also responded in her usual poetic style:

Poems about PCLinuxOS I'm a writin' all the time

BubbaBlues asked, "Would you write the band a rhyme?"

Opened up my KWrite and went right to it

"Thanks," said Bubba "I knew you could do it."

The Band's groovy sound you just gotta love it

I'm so very happy I was a part of it.

Most of the band members laid down their individual tracks at home, with whatever equipment they had, using either the Audacity or Audacious applications from the PCLinuxOS repository. BubbaBlues, however, took a slightly different route.

“I think the other guys probably used Audacity to record their individual parts, but I'm not going to lie to you,” said BubbaBlues. “In my studio I use Cakewalk Sonar on Windows XP. It's professional quality stuff that I've been using since long before I knew anything about Linux. I already have it set up and know how to use it and I'm just not going to spend hours or days trying to learn how to use something else just to avoid using Windows. I hate Windows, but love Sonar.”

There is no argument when you hear the results.

So, one burning question remains: will there be a repeat performance?

“We haven't even discussed it. There is always a possibility,” said BubbaBlues.

“If I have a say in it, that is a resounding YES!” added joechimp. “I would love to do more. It is a lot of work, especially on BubbaBlues. He is doing all the editing and mixing, as well as playing.”

“I have no idea. If folks are game to do some more, sure, I'm there,” said horusfalcon.

“I think this question ventures into guarded territory,” quipped Rudge.

“I am not sure. I would love to. However, I haven't heard from our band leader yet,” added longtom. “But if there is such a performance and I am asked to make a contribution, I will honour that call with great pleasure.”

It sounds like ms_meme’s gonna need to sharpen her quill, get a new bottle of ink and warm up her rhyme … as the rest of the band members warm up their internet connections. Stay tuned, because I don’t think we’ve heard the last of The PCLinuxOS Band.

"Goodbye Windows"

Bought me an OS called Windows

Cost me a whole lot of dough

Fought with that OS called Windows

Just a dog and pony show

Another error message such misery and woe

So into the trash it goes

Waiting for all those Windows Updates

Always coming in slow

Kept my nerves tied up in a knot

But baby what did I know

Laggin' and  defraggin' misery and woe

So into the trash it goes

So I tried out that PCLinuxOS

thought I'd give that one a go

It's got what I need, you see, and everything's free

No more spendin' my dough

Now I'm on the right track and Baby I'll  never go back

Goodbye Windows, you blow!