Awesome-sauce Rocking The Dead Milkmen Uncategorized World Domination collaboration cool projects videos

STUDIO DOCUMENTARY: January 17 & 18: The Dead Milkmen + Hot Breakfast! = Shaking Through

Behind Joe's head! That's no moon... that's a space stati... Wait. It's actually a giant boob. (Photo by Kyle Cassidy.)
Look! Behind Joe’s head! That’s no moon… that’s a space stati–   wait. No, it’s actually a giant boob. (Photo by Kyle Cassidy.)

A few weeks ago, our pal Rodney emailed me and asked me to put some vocals down on a new song of theirs called “Prisoner’s Cinema.” He said that The Dead Milkmen were going to be recording this song as a part of Weathervane Music’s  Shaking Through documentary series. These “Shaking Through” documentaries are really fascinating to watch, because you see amazingly talented musicians, engineers and producers working together to record a song at Weathervane’s gorgeous Miner Street Recording Studios. The whole thing just unfolds in front of you, and it’s just inspiring to see how other people work.

Rodney sent me a ruff of the track and told me where my vocals should go, but he didn’t write out any actual parts for me. I asked him if he had something specific in mind for me to sing or did he want me to come up with something, so he said (I paraphrase), “Make it yours! Have fun with it! We want this section to be something totally different than the rest of the song, hence female vocals. It’s kinda Irish-y in feel. Go for it!”

So I wrote this chorus-breakdown thing (using his lyrics and their chord changes) with a sorta Irish-sounding melody, and then arranged some lush double-tracked block harmonies, which pretty much nails the whole “something totally different than the rest of the song” requirement. (I love writing and recording layers of harmonies more than you could possibly know, so it was fun. Choir geek and all.)

I sent them a proof-of-concept quick-and-dirty thing just to make sure I was headed in the right direction and Rodney dug it. I recorded another cleaned-up version and all four guys unanimously loved it, so, woot!

I honestly thought that was the end of it. Like, I initially assumed that I was going to make studio-quality .wavs here at Knappshack Studios and email them to the guys to have them plunk into their ProTools session at Weathervane… I just naturally assumed I wouldn’t be part of the video, because nobody’s interested in me particularly… they want The Milkmen, and that’s totally reasonable. But Rodney assured me that they wanted me along for the videoshoot and to record it live, so YAY!

In the beginning, there wasn’t really anything for Matt to do, but once the guys rehearsed the song more, they agreed it made sense to have an acoustic guitar filling things out a bit… so yay, the gang’s all here!

So… we’re headed into the studio with The Dead Milkmen this weekend. I’m really, really excited! The Dead Milkmen are musical heroes of mine, and it’s crazy to think that almost 30 years after I first listened to their music I’m going to be collaborating with them in one of the best studios in Philadelphia as part of a documentary series about musical creativity and collaboration. PINCH ME!

I’m not going to explain the whole Weathervane and Shaking Through ethos here… you can visit their websites and get the story yourselves. (And if you’re looking for a wonderful charity to support, Weathervane is VERY worthy of your dollars.) But in a nutshell, “Shaking Through is a non-profit, community-produced documentary series about the vision and process of recording music.” (That’s a quote from the Shaking Through website.) So at the end of this weekend, we’ll have a new song recorded and mixed, and the whole process will be captured on video as well. There will also be enough footage collected so the Shaking Through people can put together a lush documentary about how the song was recorded. There’ll be interviews, chats with band members, footage of everyone actually playing and cutting tracks, and thoughts from the engineers, producers, and executive producers, too. But what’s EVEN COOLER is that while the cameras are rolling this weekend, you can actually watch the live stream! So anytime this weekend you can click a link and peek in and see how we’re doing in the studio. It’s not a performance– we’ll be working– but you’ll get to be a fly on the wall.

There will also be a chat window, so if you want to say hello, if you have questions for anyone in the studio (band members, engineers, producers, pizza guy, etc.) just type your question in! You can also chat with other people watching, too. It’s a very interactive, collaborative experience. You are absolutely encouraged to interact via the chat window while you’re watching, so please do!

For the musicians in the audience, a still-even-cooler-cooler-cooler byproduct of this Shaking Through session (in addition to the documentary and the finished song) will be the individual tracks of the songs for you to grab! So if anyone is interested in remixing or rearranging the song, they can take the parts we recorded, dump them into your favorite audio-manipulation-tool, and make a new song out of our ingredients. The Shaking Through website has a place for you to upload your new mixes so we can all hear them and collaborate further. It’s such an exciting time to be a musician.

Bottom line: Weathervane is remarkable, and Shaking Through is really something special. Weathervane’s people are thought leaders in the music industry, and we are absolutely honored that we get to be in a room with these folks and learn from them. We’re so grateful to The Dead Milkmen for their generosity in letting us be a part of this recording and experience. We can learn from this. “We can make famous friends, or we can make our friends famous.”

Musicians, there are so many opportunities for growth, sharing, and interacting out there, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Music isn’t a competition. It’s a connection. Let’s do this.


Ji11 & the Suburban Legend
(aka Jill & Matt)


WHO: The Dead Milkmen, with Hot Breakfast! tagging along and helping a bit
WHAT: Recording a new Milkmen song, “Prisoner’s Cinema,” as part of Weathervane Music Collective’s Shaking Through documentary series. You’ll get to watch the recording and mixing live, and also interact with everyone via the chat window once you fire up YouTube
WHERE: We’ll be in Philly. You’ll be watching it streaming live via YouTube via these links: Saturday’s Link. Sunday’s Link.
WHEN: Saturday, January 17, from 11am – 8pm, and more studio goodness on Sunday, January 18 from 10:30 – 6pm.
TICKETS: There are no tickets! You just fire up your browser (or your phone’s YouTube app) and watch!
FACEBOOK EVENT: Here ya go. (Note: We’re not mentioned on the Facebook invite. It’s The Dead Milkmen’s song, not ours. We are merely guests.)

Learn more about Shaking Through:
Become a member of the Weathervane Music Non-Profit:



Hey all!
We’ve been given permission to post the schedule for how the weekend is going to play out, who is recording what and when, etc. This schedule is only a guideline and may very well change a bit on the fly. Ya gotta be flexible in the studio, ya know. 🙂

For studio nerds: Here’s a link to the TRACK LISTING SPREADSHEET so you can see what instruments are on what tracks. Follow along at home! This will be used both days.



Video Crew, band members, Executive Producers, recording crew will all arrive at the studio.

11:15 – 11:45: Pre-Session Meeting
Brian, Gabe, Jason and Karen, Matt Schimelfenig will talk about the schedule for the weekend. Light Fare – bagels, coffee, juice, etc.

11:45 – 1:45: Set-up
The band will set up their instruments and Engineer Matt Schimelfenig will set up all drums, bass, scratch guitar, keyboard and scratch vocal mic’s and set levels in preparation for recording the basic track.

1:45 – 2:30: Record Basic Track
The band will record the “basic track” of the song (scratch track). At this stage we prioritize getting a solid drum and bass take of the song, although sometimes the other scratch tracks will also contain “keeper” elements, as well.

2:30 – 3:30: Record Joe’s Guitars
Set-up Joe’s guitar amps in the live room. Re-record Joe’s scratch guitar, along with any additional electric guitar tracks by Joe. (We may switch Joe and Rodney’s times.)

3:30 – 4:00: Rodney’s keys
Set-up Rodney’s keyboards in the live room. Record a “double track” of Rodney’s basic keyboard take. Depending on how well the basic is performed, this track will either replace or serve as a double of the basic keyboard. (Note: We may switch Joe and Rodney’s times.)

4:00 – 5:00: LUNCH
TBD. All crew, production staff, band and Executive Producers will break to EAT.

Sunset @ 5:02 PM

5:00 – 5:45: Record Matt’s Guitars
Set up and record Matt Casarino’s (from Hot Breakfast!) acoustic guitar onto the the final basic track.

5:45 – 6:45: Jill’s Vocals
Record Jill Knapp’s (from Hot Breakfast!) vocals, harmonies, etc.

6:45 – 7:30: Bells + any odd overdubs
Record bells, percussion, oddball samples or effects. This will complete the recording of any instrumental parts for the song.

7:30 – 8:30 Rodney’s Vocals
Record Rodney’s final vocals. We’ll replace Rodney’s scratch vocal from earlier in the day. Rodney will run through the song 3 to 5 times, from which we will compile a final vocal track. This will complete the final tracking for the recording.




10:00am – 2:00pm: Interview
The video crew will interview the members of the band downstairs in the “black box”. (Note: at this time of year, the Black Box room is *cold*. Dress warmly!!!) This will likely include interviews with one person at a time, though there might be some sections of the interview that will include everyone in the band. The interview supplies the story / basic dialog arc for the episode which are edited together with the footage from Day 1.

12:00am – 2:30pm: “Quiet” Mixing
Engineer Matt Schimelfenig will begin mixing the song from Day 1. Because the Black Box room is beneath the studio’s control room, the general volume for mixing earlier in the day will be on the quiet side, so as to not disturb the interview that is happening below.

2:00pm: Hot Breakfast! arrives

2:30pm – 4:30pm: “Loud” Mixing
With the interviews completed downstairs, Matt will now work with any of the louder elements of mixing, which may include “re-amping” (ie. sending recorded elements from the day before through guitar amplifiers in the live room), or simply listening to the mix at louder volumes in order to put the finishing touches on the mix for presentation at the listening party.

4:30pm – 6:00pm: Wrap Party
All artists, video crew, production crew and Executive producers are invited to hear the final recording. We’re also inviting artists, crew and donors from previous and upcoming sessions this month to meet and celebrate the completion of another Shaking Through recording.

Uncategorized spreading the love videos

Spreading the love: Two bands need extras for their video shoots!

Zombies and Pierrots and mimes: OH MYIt’s video-makin’ season for some of Wilmington’s most innovative artists. They need extras, so here’s your chance to be involved! These aren’t our videos– we’re just going to be extras, and you can be too. We don’t have any additional info other than what we’re posting here, so if you’re interested, please follow up directly with the artist, not us. 🙂

Saturday, July 26th, Noelle Picara is shooting a video for her song Alone With All of You at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, from 12 (noon) to 7:00pm. you don’t have to be there all day, so stop in when you can. If you can only come for a portion, come between 4pm and 7pm, because that’s when they need the most extras. Come dressed as you normally look– no zombies or anything this time. 🙂 (Wow, that timing is super-convenient! You can get a bite to eat and then come see our show at World Cafe Live a short walk away!) Here’s info on that video shoot: You don’t need a Facebook account to view that link. For more info, respond via Facebook, or contact Noelle via her website or social media.

Tuesday, July 29th at 11:00am, Angela Sheik is filming a portion of her video which features a slow-motion fight between Pierrot-style clowns and mimes. There will be costumes and makeup involved, so an RSVP would be appreciated. Angela’s words: “I am working with a team to shoot a music video during the day on Tuesday, 7/29. The concept is a little out there – basically it is a slow motion fight between Pierrot style clowns (and eventually some French mimes). I’ll add some pics to this email so you know what I’m talking about. I am in the process of looking for volunteer actors (especially those with any clown/mime or circus skills), as well as a makeup assistant and camera crew help. We’re hoping to shoot that Tuesday starting late morning. I will happily provide pizza and drinks. The video will be shot by Jay Walker, one of the guys who helped create the beautiful floating instrument album cover. I know he will make it dreamy and wonderful (not toooo creepy).” Here’s the Facebook invite. For more information and to RSVP, contact Angela via her website.

See you there!

Your pal,


39 Summers Awards Rocking Uncategorized World Domination videos

HOLY CRAP: A zillion thank yous! (Homey Awards nominations are in!)

I have no witty caption. It's almost 5:30am.
I have no witty caption. It’s almost 5:30am.
Folks, we owe you BIG. We asked you to send an email nominating us for some Homey Awards, and you all stepped up! Your efforts got us on the ballot, and thanks to you, judges are currently voting on who will win the 2014 Homey Awards… and we are on the list.

We are just flabbergasted and overwhelmed and overjoyed, all thanks to you!


  1. Our May 2013 release 39 Summers is up for Album of The Year. We are so proud of our little album; we think it represents where we are as a band and what we’re about. The nominees in this category are out of this world though, and we don’t blame anyone for voting for John & Brittany or Angela Sheik. Their albums are absolutely fantastic.
  2. We’re also up for Best Band — how is this possible for a teeny duo? (Thank you!)
  3. Jill is up again for Best Lead Singer— HOLY CRAP! (Wow, I would absolutely love to win this again, but everyone else on the list is just fantastic. There’s no need to win it twice in a row. Gotta spread the love around!)
  4. Matt is up for Best Songwriter— I’ve always loved Matt’s songwriting, waaay before we were ever Hot Breakfast!. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s a playwright; but he just understands lyrics like nobody else (and how I loooove a good internal rhyme!). His jazz and classic rock influences really shine through his sense of melody, harmony, and mood. It’s such an honor to sing his songs; I mean it. His song “You Were a Spider” is about redemption, but with the twist at the end, it just KILLS me, and I can’t get through it half the time without crying… but then we’ve got the funny stuff like “It Only Takes Two to Rock” and “The Garden of Bad Metaphors,” and that song that will haunt us for all eternity, “Hole in Your Pants.” Sometimes I worry that people just write us off as a novelty act, but hey… at least that meant they listened. 🙂
  5. Not helping our “silly band” case, our techno parody This is Our Hit Song is up for not only Best Pop Song (how is that possible?!) but it’s…
  6. also up for Best Collaboration thanks to our brother-from-another-mother Todd Chappelle giving us some, er, hip-hop cred. 🙂
  7. We’re also up for Best Live Act (This nomination makes makes us the most excited, we’ve gotta say)
  8. And our video, An Idiot for Christmas is up for Best Video thanks to mastermind Kevin Regan.

Wanna see all of the nominations? Here’s a link to the complete list of nominees.

Music competitions are very strange to me; I don’t know how to quantify how music is “better” than something else. I really don’t care if we win anything… I’m just so genuinely honored to have even crossed anyone’s mind long enough to be nominated. 2013 was a very good year for us; it feels really nice that people noticed. 🙂

Thank you so much. Really. Thank you. We’re just floored. <3 <3 The 8th Annual Homey Awards Ceremony and Concert is being held on Friday, March 7th at World Cafe Live at the Queen. We will be in attendance, and we might even be presenting an award, who knows? Here's a link to the Facebook Invite — keep checking there to see who will be performing that night at the ceremony!
And here’s the tickets link. Only ten bucks!

See you there?

See you there!

Your pal,

ps: Here’s what some of the music community was saying when I said something similar on Facebook… and even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still (likely) read the comments.

Awesome-sauce Uncategorized videos

The Christmas Video is done! WOOT!

I'm totally shopping, I swear.
I’m totally shopping, I swear.

With loads of gratitude to Kevin Regan, Georgie Staley, Julie Snow-Regan, and YOU, our zillions of patient extras… we are thrilled to announce that the video is complete and we’ll be releasing it on Sunday, December 1st! (That’s today! So here it is!)


We are SO excited about this video! It took us a year to make since it had to span three seasons: Summer, Fall and Winter. (Nuts to you, Spring!)

A brief timeline:

  • December 6 2012: Kevin Regan left us a voicemail pitching the idea of shooting a video for our song “An Idiot for Christmas.” He envisioned it being shot over the course of a year, with the shots corresponding to the seasonal lyrics.
  • December 2012: Brainstorming, planning, storyboarding
  • January 2013: Waiting patiently for snow!
  • Early February 2013: We had a snowstorm finally, so we grabbed the shots about scraping off the windshield and heading to the mall while we had snow on the ground. Snow angels happened, hot cocoa was sipped while staring wistfully out the window, and light-up Santa hats and glittery eyeliner were donned.
  • July 28: We shot our outdoor baseball game scenes at Brandywine High School
  • August 3-4: We headed to Rehoboth Beach, where the wonderful Georgie Staley taught a bunch of wonderfully talented and gung-ho people a 16-bar dance routine. We were SUPER-excited that our filming day just happened to coincide with the annual sandcastle contest at Rehoboth Beach, so Matt was able to steal a shot in front of one of the award-winning sandcastles! We also grabbed shots of skee-ball, bumper cars, ice cream eating, Gravitron barfing, and beaming kids with beach balls.
  • August 21: Uncle Henry’s Creepy BBQ in Media PA. Kevin Niemi played a delightfully creepy Uncle Henry… that shot of Kevin staring into the camera cracks me up.
  • August 24: We shot the swimming pool scenes at Kevin’s folks’ place. (Thanks, Momma Regan!)
  • September 16: We shot some concert footage at 1984 in Wilmington, recruiting Jeff Dement on drums and Randy America on bass. We also begged some friends to come watch us play through the song a few times to make it seem like people like us. 🙂
  • October 12: We grabbed some autumnal shots at Linvilla Orchards, and some Halloween footage (featuring a horrifying Guy Fieri and Phantom of the Opera) in West Chester
  • November 24 2013: We wrapped it all up on November 24th at the Christiana Mall, just as soon as the Christmas decorations went up.

    It was a whirlwind, and also pretty fun trying to play with the continuity between the shots. (What color is Jill’s hair this week?)

    Like the song? download it for free by clicking here.

    Yes yes, we know it’s hella schmaltzy. From the midi drums and gratuitous jingle bells to Jill’s prissy over-pronouncing of words and loungey delivery, it doesn’t get cheezier than this. The irony of all this is that Jill reeeeaally hates shopping (which also makes her a commie terrorist)… but hey, we’re not above stooping this low in hopes of getting on WXPN’s holiday compilation. 🙂

    So… let’s see how many stupid YouTube Comments we can get. Maybe we can turn it into a drinking game. Everytime someone comments using any of these words, take a drink:

    • OLD
    • LAME
    • DUMB
    • STUPID
    • O_o
    • RON PAUL 2012

    It’ll be a party! 🙂

    No seriously.. we are really proud of the video, and we’re so happy you were all a part of it; whether on camera, in spirit, or even now just by watching it, reading about it, and spreading the word. Many, many, many heartfelt thanks to you all, and especially to Kevin Regan. Now go watch his series of web series: The Clink, The League, OK?

    Your pal,


  • Categories
    Awesoming Uncategorized videos

    Your key to fame and fortune: Be an extra in our video!

    You too can be an idiot with our handy 12-step program.
    You too can be an idiot with our handy 12-step program.

    [NOVEMBER 25 2013 UPDATE: All of our video shoots are done! In fact, the video is done! Stay tuned here for more info re: its release date!]

    The super-talented Kevin Regan is directing/shooting a video for our extremely cheeeezy song “An Idiot for Christmas” with help from the fabulous choreographer Georgianna Staley. It’s a multi-season song/video; we shot a good chunk of the winter stuff when it snowed in January, and now it’s time for the summer scenes. Woot!

    There’s only one more opportunity for you to find fame and fortune through being an extra in a Hot Breakfast video (guaranteed to get at least two views on YouTube and plenty of disparaging and misspelled comments from 13 year olds about how old / lame we are):

    1. Sunday morning, July 28th, 11AM – 12 Noon. Brandywine High School, Foulk Road, Wilmington DE: For this shoot, you’ll be an extra in the stands at a baseball game. This is open to ANY and ALL who can make it, so feel free to spread the word around. Kids are welcome since we’re creating a baseball game atmosphere. We won’t actually need baseball players; we’re all just going to be sitting in the stands watching a fake game. We should knock this out in less than an hour, assuming Jill can catch a ball. 🙂 Please wear red if you can (it’s no biggie if you don’t), but please do not wear anything with a visible logo on it (no Phillies shirts/hats, no Nike swooshes, no Metallica T-shirts, etc.). Thanks!
    2. Saturday August 3rd, two hours in the late morning, Rehoboth Beach, DE: You can be an extra down at our Rehoboth Beach shoot! Everyone will be on the beach, dancing (or moving/walking, shaking towels, throwing beach balls) during a 16-bar sax solo. This all happens on the sand, though we will not be in the ocean. All shapes/sizes/looks/ages/flavors welcome! Wear whatever you would feel comfortable wearing to the beach… you DO NOT have to wear a bathingsuit! Heck, wear a parka, we don’t care. Just come and be your comfortable, wonderful self. This beach shoot will only take an hour or two, because we only need extras for a 16-measure sax solo. (Matt and Jill have a ton of other scenes to shoot by themselves afterwards, so as soon as you’re done with the shoot, you’re free… but Matt and Jill are being whisked off to their next shoot location.) We aren’t putting the times or specific location details of the beach shoot in this post because you MUST RSVP to be in it. We will send you the details when you RSVP. (RSVP by following the instructions in the blue text below.)

    4. Monday September 16, 7:30 – 9:30PM: We’ll record some concert footage at 1984 in Wilmington. We’ll need people to pretend to like our music (haha), and we’ll also need people to drink the tasty beer and play the amazing classic 1980s arcade games they have at 1984. You’ll likely need to bring a change of shirt, since this is a multi-season video. RSVP to to RSVP and so we can give you more details. We are intentionally not giving a lot of details on the site here to force people to RSVP. We don’t want anyone showing up unprepared. Since this one’s happening at a bar, ages 21+ please.

    6. Sunday, November 24th, time TBD: We will have one super-fast (and stealthy) holiday-shopping scene at Christiana Mall. We won’t need any extras for this shot, since we need to sneak in and steal the shot in one take, and coordinating extras for this tight shot won’t be do-able.

    ** If you are interested in being in one (or all!) of these shoots, please send an email to our special video address ( and let us know which date(s) you’re interested in attending, if you have any special skills you’re willing to showcase (e.g., juggling fire, hula hooping, dancing), and please give us a reliable email address so we can get back to you. Spelling counts. 🙂   **

    The Fine Print: I know you know this stuff already, but we have to say it anyway: This is all volunteer work… meaning, unpaid. In exchange for donating your time, gas, and parking money, you will have our undying love and gratitude, and hopefully a really fun and interesting experience! We will need everyone (kids, too) to go with the flow, to be patient (“hurry up and wait” is common during video shoots), and to pleeeeeeease be on time. Let’s have a ball while we make good, silly, dorky art!

    We’ll give you more specifics re: what to bring, what to wear, where to be, etc. once you send us an email to We are being intentionally vague here.

    We are excited about this video! The footage we have so far came out super-cute, and we’re hoping with the addition of your sexy arses it’ll be super-awesome.
    Wanna hear the song before you agree to hearing it 73,000 times during the shoot? This may change your mind. 😉
    [soundcloud url=”″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

    Mobile users can click this link here: Hot Breakfast! – An Idiot for Christmas.

    Yes yes, we know it’s hella schmaltzy. From the midi drums and gratuitous jingle bells to Jill’s prissy over-pronouncing of words and loungey delivery, it doesn’t get cheezier than this. The irony of all this is that Jill reeeeaally hates shopping (which also makes her a commie terrorist)… but hey, we’re not above stooping this low in hopes of getting on WXPN’s holiday compilation. 🙂

    AN IDIOT FOR CHRISTMAS (Written by Matt Casarino. (c) 2012 Suburban Legends Music, ASCAP.)

    All the leaves are nice and green
    The air conditioner’s cool
    And hear the sound of happy children
    Playing in the pool
    It’s 92 degrees outside
    But don’t you get me wrong
    Cause even though it’s summertime
    This is still a Christmas song…

    Cause I’m not gonna be an idiot this Christmas
    This year I’ll start buying gifts real soon
    You think I’m over-dramatic, but I’m avoiding panic
    I won’t be shopping in the snow, I’m kickin’ it off in June
    I’m making up a list down on the boardwalk
    And stopping at the outlets on the way
    I’m not gonna be an idiot this Christmas-time
    I’ll have my shopping done by Labor Day

    (take the sax solo, Matt! This is what we’re shooting at the beach…)

    So, okay, I bought no one gifts this summer
    Shopping in the heat is hard to do
    Besides, who can think of Santa, when you’re still chugging Mylanta
    Cause you ate too many chili dogs at Uncle Henry’s Barbeque
    I still have lots of time to look for bargains
    I’ll buy the finest gifts you’ve ever seen
    I’m not gonna be an idiot this Christmas-time
    I’ll have my shopping done by Halloween

    Well now December’s almost gone
    The time just disappeared
    And it’s too late for Amazon
    To get a package here
    So I’m scraping off the windshield
    Wrap a scarf around my ears
    Cause it turns out I’m an idiot this Christmas
    I never did that shopping after all
    It turns out I’m an idiot this Christmas-time
    I’m spending Christmas Eve at Christiana Mall!

    See you soon!

    Your pal,