- Info About the Visa Waiver program
- Rules for Passport Photos to go to England
- In case you want to check out the Evernote software I talk about on the video, here is the website, and you can sign-up for free.
This is one of my favorite songs of all time.
The music and the lyrics are very touching; even though they weren’t meant to talk about Freddie’s life, they suit amazingly well his story. Maybe that’s why he sings it with such passion. It was originally recorded in 1986, and he was the only one who knew that he had contracted AIDS at the time.
The good thing is that, in the end, it worked out and I could get something nice, so I was tired, but ultimately happy. I think the take that made it for the video was filmed at around 2am. It was crazy!
This is “Welcome To The Show” by Adam Lambert, featuring Laleh.
At the time I made this cover, it was a brand new song. I was deeply encouraged to do it by a friend, who happens to be a big Glambert.The story goes a little like this: after doing “Ghost Town” and having a quite nice reception, especially among Glamberts, my friend asked me if I could do one of Adam’s songs for my next cover. Originally, I wanted to do another one from The Original High Album. But at that time, it was announced on social media that a new song was about to get released which wasn’t featured on any previous albums. So, I thought this was a perfect chance to do something that hasn’t been done before, and the idea was that I could make the first ever piano cover of this brand new song (And hopefully Glamberts would like it!)
So my goal was set, and as soon as the song was released, I started listening to it several times a day and transcribing the chords and melody to do a piano arrangement. But, like most things in life, very few work exactly as you expect them to.I had my summer vacation scheduled just one week after I started working on the song, and I wanted to have it recorded and uploaded to Youtube before leaving the city. I wouldn’t have my gear on my vacation, so the options were: 1) doing the song in 5 days or 2) doing it after I came back home about 2 weeks later.
At the same time, my friend came up with a whole “marketing” plan for my rendition of this song. She would help me share it with friends and fellow Glamberts over Twitter and Facebook, and thought that we should take the advantage of all the excitement that a new song always brings to Adam’s fans.
As Adam was just starting his U.S. and European tour, she thought it was just the perfect timing to do it.And, she was already attending a Meet and Greet at Adam’s concert in Amsterdam, and she came up with the idea that she could give Adam, himself, a flashdrive with my “Ghost Town” and the “Welcome To The Show” videos! She bought a “Hello Kitty” flashdrive, which she thought would “stand out” to honor the occasion.
It was the perfect plan aimed to get my work known, but as you might imagine, it put a lot of pressure on me. The timing had to be just right, and I had to do this thing before leaving the city.
So, as bad luck would have it, the song was in the key of Bbm and I found it wasn’t as easy as I would hope for. It has some technical difficulties I had to overcome between the right and left hand, not the usual “one chord per bar” like lots of pop songs, and overall, the Bbm key is always a nightmare for every pianist.I’m used to playing songs in any key. I learned a lot playing in bands with singers that would say “Can we play this just a little higher???”, so the band decided to play the song a half key up. Ok, the guitar player puts his capotasto one “square” high –no problem. The bass player just plays the same thing as before but also half “square” up — no problem. But the keyboard player gets completely fucked up in that process — BIG PROBLEM.
You see, you were playing mostly on white keys and a very common key, and now you have to deal with all the black keys at the same time. That is a nightmare for any pianist or keyboard player who has to play songs “on the fly”. So, that would make an easily relaxed key like Dm, converted to the hellish nightmare that is Ebm, or an easy song on Am converted to Bbm.
And what does the rest of the band say about it?? DEAL WITH IT!, or “heey! I thought you were a professional musician”…… So, that way, I learned to play anything, even if in the most difficult keys. But it’s always a challenge, and you always curse the “genius” who said: “Hey, let’s make this song in Bbm instead of Am”, or “Let’s change the key from Cm to C#m instead of Cm to Dm which would almost be the same for any singer”.
Anyway, this song was in Bbm and I already decided that I would make all my videos in the same key as the original songs. As I wrote before, I know very well how to play in any key, but it definitely adds a lot more challenge to anything you are attempting to perform, adding to all the technical challenges that any song has.
I noticed that this was a very time consuming task. I could play the song from start to finish, but I definitely was not ready to record it by the end of the week……. so I failed meeting the deadline… and I had to leave the city before finishing the song….I was beat up miserably by “Welcome To The Show.”
Anyway, I enjoyed my vacation, tried not to remember my miserable attempt at doing the song, and arrived home with just 3 days left before the Meet and Greet. There wasn’t going to be any flashdrive at all if I didn’t make it, and it was the only chance to get my piano version of the song directly to Adam.I practiced the song many, many times and completed it just one day before the deadline. But I still had to record it! So that night I stayed up pretty much until 5am recording and editing the video. I slept like two hours, and tried to get the video to my friend, who was already in Amsterdam and had given up on me by then, following several angry exchanges that only friends as close as we are can both engage in and endure.
Luckily another miracle happened: the Wifi on both ends worked okay and she received the video file with just one hour left before the Meet and Greet. I was just about to quit and forget about the song altogether!
But now, at this very moment, thanks to a lot of effort and the right timing, this video is on a Hello Kitty flashdrive, hopefully still with Adam. And after getting both my friend and I very upset, everything turned out just fine!Adam responded with a smile, a giggle, and interest to my friend’s mention of the flashdrive and my songs. My friend, one of those obsessed Glamberts, was thrilled with her part in this story.
And now, after 14 takes, here is the finished product
This is the 2nd Piano cover I’ve made for my web series.
I’m a big Queen fan, and I was very surprised to hear a new approach to the original Adam Lambert song created by Brian May and Roger Taylor. They performed a very “Queenie” version of this pop-dance song during the Queen + Adam Lambert South American tour in 2015. It was a big rocker, and it featured an amazing Brian May guitar solo. I was very amazed about their version, I liked it so much that I instantly wanted it to be on my next Piano Cover video.
This time, I took a different approach and made, from scratch, a backing track based on the Queen version. Originally, I wanted it to be ready before the Queen + Adam Lambert concert in Chile (September 30th). But due to a full time shitty job I had at the time, it could only be completed in 2016.
This was a full music production work: I transcribed all the instruments and sequenced them on Cubase 8.5, using Kontakt VST instruments running through Midi. Then, I had the backing track mixed and mastered before recording my Piano performance live in front of the camera. I recorded about 10 takes before getting the one I was happy about.
Finally, the whole track was mixed and mastered again with the live piano performance, and synced with the video footage.
Enjoy my rendition of Ghost Town by Adam Lambert (based on the Queen + Adam Lambert live version).
Katy Perry – Circle The Drain Piano Cover
Back in the beginning of 2015 I was inspired by many musicians who made covers of rock and pop songs in different styles and using different instruments to give songs a different approach.
So I decided to start my own series of rock and pop piano covers. This is the first video I made, and for several reasons I had to stop working on this project for most of 2015. But starting in 2016, I brought back to life the series, and since then I’ve been working non-stop on it.
So this is the song that kicked off the series, and the grand opening for my Youtube channel “Germán Hace Música” (Germán Does Music).
I absolutely love the melody and chord changes of this one because it has a pretty interesting chromatic approach on a few bars of the chorus.
The original song also features very harsh lyrics. You can listen and buy it from the Teenage Dream album.
I hope you enjoy listening to my Piano rendition of this Katy Perry song.
Today I’m starting a new video VLOG series. l’m a musician, so I’ll be mostly be writing about music-related things.
But something really wonderful is going to happen in June! The highlight of these series of video blogs will be my upcoming trip to the USA, England and Belgium.
In the USA, I’ll be going to Los Angeles, walking through Universal Studios, visiting Hollywood, and many other things. Then I’ll travel to England to see the Isle of Wight Festival. And finally, I will be heading to Belgium to see a QUEEN + Adam Lambert concert.
So I expect to have a great time and document everything. So I guess for a little while, this blog will turn into a Travel Blog. So watch the video below and stick around for more news!
After the night of 2008, when I saw Queen performing in Chile, I thought that was it, I’d never see Brian May and Roger Taylor perform again. But another miracle happened: in the year 2012, Queen started touring again with another singer. This time it was a young man named Adam Lambert. So, as you can expect, I started again to daydream about seeing Brian and Roger once again perform in my country. And I waited…… and I waited…….. and I waited……..
|yeah, just like this|
until finally in the year 2015, the band announced a brand new South American tour, and included Chile again. The new heavenly date was set for September 30th and the tickets started selling at the end of March.
So “what should I do?”, I said to myself. Meanwhile, on the professional career side of my life, nothing was much improved. I was working on a shitty job and I had more
debts. Of course, I wanted to see them again as close as possible, but 7 years later, was I still the same irresponsible human being??
The answer is no. I couldn’t spend again all my money on a VIP ticket again. So with sadness, I had to convince myself that there was no need of seeing them again close to the stage, as in 2008. I’d already seen them once! Why would I’ve ever want to see them again that close??. That said, I bought the cheapest ticket. It was in the balcony, which I was sure would get only a partial view of the stage, and would be very far away (at least I would still see Brian’s white wig right?). So I had my ticket, and I was
overly happy again! I was going to see, once again, Brian and Roger perform with this young singer.
For the next months, I jumped on the social networks, and started joining on Facebook fan pages of both Queen, and the singer Adam Lambert. By that time I started looking seriously at Twitter, too. I did that mainly to get more information as close to the original source. The fun thing is that I found that the people on Adam Lambert fan pages had much more accurate information than people on Queen pages. Their love for that young singer is enormous! They call themselves “Glamberts” and are like the fan base that every musician wishes he could have. I’ve never been that active on any site, I think, but I learned lots and lots of things by just reading.
At one point, I thought that it would be a great idea if I tried to meet one of these people if they came to see the South American concerts. I thought I could be a great tour guide, and I could get a little practice speaking English. I started looking on both Queen and Glambert sites to see if anyone mentioned anything about South America.
One day, someone asked if anybody was going to Brazil in September to see one of the shows. That thread had many replies; some people were going to Argentina, others to Brazil, and many of them were wishing they could travel at all.
One of the replies was from a lady who claimed that she was going to both the Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile) shows all the way from the USA, and she had gotten VIP tickets. I thought that would be a great opportunity to use my English skills, and hopefully to meet some nice people.
Then like a creep, I sent her a private message out of nowhere, introducing myself as a Queen fan, going to the Chile concert. Then, we started talking. She proved to be a very nice person and I was proving to myself that I could follow a conversation completely in English without using Google Translator. She told me she had problems getting her tickets, so I offered my help. I also helped her to get a safe transportation from the airport to the hotel. She didn’t speak Spanish at all, so I was happy to be useful, helping with all those scary things to solve if you don’t speak the native language of a place.
|lady: I just wanna be your friend and help you|
By September, we were already cyber-friends. So we set up a date to meet in person. She was traveling with her husband and a friend, so I’d get to meet 3 people, and speak only in English. I was terrified! How would I know if they would actually understand my pronunciation??? What If she was nice on the chat but not in real life?? I was scared, but was so curious how would this work out that I just had to do it.
And the day of the meeting arrived! It was September 29th, the day before the Queen + Adam Lambert concert, and she had invited me to the hotel in which she was staying to meet her husband, the friend, and have a meal together.
And it turned out really well! I met the 3 people. They were the nicest people ever, and I spoke in English and they actually understood what I was saying. And suprisingly for me: they were Glamberts! not Queen fans.
At one point in the conversation, I offered to go with them to a mall nearby to help them pick up their tickets. Then something that I’d never imagined happened: she said that they wanted me to help them to get through the line at the stadium, and then to the front of the stage. I replied that I could help them through the line, and then point out to them out where the VIP section was. But my tickets were for the balcony.
And then she told me that, what if they give me a VIP ticket so I could join them at the concert?? And then I think I fainted…… again……….. much like in 2008. Seriously,
I refused at first; I’d already had my balcony tickets, and plus I didn’t want it to look like I wanted to meet her only to get a better ticket. She insisted that they wanted my help! But I knew she was being nice, and wanted me to be with them, enjoying being near the stage. So finally, I accepted the blessing and gave my balcony tickets to my dad and my brother so they could go to the concert too. Then I realized: I was going to see Queen again!! Just like in 2008!! And now with these nice people that I had
just met, and that was a big improvement! I was so happy and crazy that I even lost my wallet in the taxi back home. Those were some crazy couple of days!
So the next day, I invited them to a tourist site in my city, Santiago. We went up to the “San Cristobal” hill, which has a giant sculture of the Virgin Mary (yes, my country is very Catholic). I had them try the most typical snack here: the “empanada“, and have a typical drink: “mote con huesillos“.
It was all fun, and I was being a tourist guide, just like I wanted to be. Later in the afternoon, I picked up my new friends in a taxi, and gave them a couple of bottles of Chilean wine. Then we went to the concert, where we had to do a long and messy line to get into the stadium. Then, finding the VIP location was crazy too. Lucky I was with them, or they would still be lost now!
Then the concert happened; it was all wonderful. Adam Lambert is a kickass singer!
All this experience was very different from the one I had in 2008! This time, the concert was pretty much embelished by meeting these 3 new friends, and that’s something I’ll always remember with a big smile on my face.
This is the 2nd part of my story with Queen. You can read the first part HERE
Back to my Queen-related story… I’m gonna jump right to 2008. The band was touring with the Rock singer Paul Rodgers since 2005. So I spent a lot of time dreaming about the band coming back to South America. The last time the band was near here was in 1985 for the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil. So, once the band started touring again with Paul Rodgers, all I had in my mind was them coming to South America again, and hopefully, this time including my country. (They had only included Argentina and Brazil on their 80s touring in South America.)
By the 2008 era, I can say that my life was pretty much a disaster. I was still struggling with my artistry and was not happy at all with what was going on in general here. So, then a miracle happened! After a long tour across Europe, and recording a brand new album (The Cosmos Rocks), the band confirmed they were returning to South America, and this time including Chile!. The heavenly date was set for November 19th.
The tour was announced in August and the tickets started selling in September. My life was exciting again! It was the one and only opportunity to see Brian May and Roger Taylor performing with my very own eyes. As every fan would do, I spent all September working my ass off, playing several shitty gigs, and saving all the money I could. So instead of paying bills, I irresponsibly spent all the money I had buying a VIP ticket. They were in a seated position, so I chose a place very near the catwalk, where hopefully I’d see Brian and Roger very close.
With the ticket in my hand, I started daydreaming and getting awfully excited.
The band arrived several days before the big concert. The fans started gathering around their hotel, and started to create a big buzz over social networks. It was finally happening!
For some reason, I thought I would have a better chance of meeting them by getting to the venue the day before; hopefully, they would be doing soundcheck. So I went to the soccer stadium, San Carlos de Apoquindo, told the security guards that I wanted to subscribe to the stadium soccer team, and I sneaked in.
The band was not there, but I got to see for the first time the big screen, the catwalk, and all the things that I had only seen over Youtube videos. It was heaven! And no other fans around. I can’t describe how excited I was seeing with my own eyes something that was pretty much unlikely a few months before. I even recorded a small video of my experience there:
But I missed the chance to see Brian and Roger at the hotel… By that time, many fans were claiming and bragging that they met them, showing their pictures and autographs. So, I realized it wasn’t my most clever move to get to the venue instead of going to the hotel.
Anyway, the next day was the concert, I couldn’t sleep that night and woke up very early to go to the venue and try to sneak in again. I was hoping the band would do soundcheck in the morning. I passed through the security guards, saying the same fake lie like the day before. But this time, I found that the gates to the stadium were closed. So I started walking around like I was a member of the soccer club, doing some jogging. I was quickly discovered by the security guards and kicked out with the promise that if I went back, they would call the police.
So I failed, for the second time in just two days, to meet Brian May and Roger Taylor.
It it didn’t matter; the concert was that night, so I had no choice but to go back home and get ready for the big night.
I still have fresh in my mind every detail I lived that day. I could make another entire post just dedicated to that concert. It was one of the most special days of my life. I couldn’t believe what my eyes and ears were feeling. Finally, I got to see how these people were in real life. I heard the Red Special, and Roger’s drums, in real time!
That night was close to perfection, but some people there tried to ruin it. Mostly security guards who were assholes the whole concert, and the fact that I was completely by myself and had nobody to hug while I was almost fainting there.
Still, for me, this was one of the few opportunities where the positive side was so big, that it overshadowed all the bad things that happened during those days, and even the entire year!
In the next few years, I became obsesed with that concert. And I tried to get everything that would remind me of something from that experience…..
So I started my new hobby: collecting things from the under-rated album with Paul Rodgers “The Cosmos Rocks”. The funny thing is that it was an album despised both by fans and music critics. But for me, it is one of the most special Queen albums ever…. well…. the most special Brian and Roger recording.
Stay tuned for the final episode of this story!. Click here for part 3
It all started around 1993. I was 8 years old, and my dad came home with a brand new copy of the 1974 album “Queen II” on cassette. He didn’t like the album at all. He was expecting to hear Bohemian Rhapsody, and that album had almost nothing to do with Rhapsody or other beloved hits. He was scammed by the cover, which shows the band exactly as they were later on, in the Bohemian Rhapsody video.
So instead of throwing it into the garbage, he gave it to me.
By that time, my relationship with music was recording cartoon themes from TV, holding up an old radio, and listening to kids songs from a famous Chilean TV show.
Oh yes! It was that time when I was a little kid with no Internet, and all I did in my free time was watch TV cartoons and listen to kids music. At the time, I was living in a Chilean city called Rancagua, and there was no cable TV in my city yet. So on Saturdays, there were cartoons on TV only in the morning, and the rest of the day I had two choices: I go listen to the radio, or I watch boring tennis matches for the rest of the day on the only cannel that had good TV reception.
So on one of those boring Saturdays, I started to pay attention to the Queen II album. So, I gave a listen to this “awful” tape, and the first thing that came to my mind was that it was so weird. Well, maybe I crapped my pants and peed on the bed for the next 3 weeks, but how could I remember?
Anyway, I found the “B” side of the tape so scary and weird, that I just had to keep listening. Much like people who like to be scared by horror films. I found that the beginning of Ogre Battle came right from hell, and you could really hear Satan´s voice in the choir from The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke.
Soon after that, my dad did his research, and came back home with the “Queen’s Greatest Hits” tape, which actually had Bohemian Rhapsody. And this time, it was a complete joy! No scary songs this time! I found this was such a good album; not a single bad song, everything was entirely catchy. At this point, I had no idea about the English language, so all I could hear was the music. The lyrics made no sense to me.
So since that very day, I stopped paying attention to kids music, and all I did was listen to those two tapes: Queen II to get that excitement of watching a horror movie, and Greatest Hits to get the excitement of catchy tunes. So with those two tapes, I had most of my childhood soundtrack.
I never heard another Queen album until 1997, when I bought, “on the street”, an illegal CD-R copy that had all albums on mp3. Thank God for that illegal and unethical thing I bought (which I don’t support), ‘cause after that, I became officially a Queen fan. It was not until much later that I had the chance to legally get some albums, and much later, I started to collect vinyls too.
I want to spend some time talking to you about my language. Here in Chile, we speak Spanish, like most of the countries in South America. But it’s not just any kind of Spanish. You see, people that come here to stay for a while, usually try to learn at least a little of the language at home, or even sign up for lessons. Then, you learn how to understand and probably speak a little Spanish.
But you may end up ready to go to Spain or Mexico, but not Chile. Most foreigners complain about the same thing when they come here: they don’t understand shit of what we say!!. So welcome to the Chilean-Spanish jungle!
We are considered the worst Spanish speakers in South America by many visitors. (I don’t agree but I’m a local, so what do I know?) I really don’t think it’s that bad, but the thing is, here we speak really fast, most of the time forgetting to add some final syllables to the words, not articulating that much, and overall, just shamelessly inventing words that aren’t used anywhere else, but only we know what they mean.
And by saying “invented” words, I mean 80% of those words are for swearing. yes!, that’s the other wonderful thing here! We swear ALL THE TIME. Especially when you hang out with friends or not formal environments. You see, here the same curse word can be used as an insult, or as a “hello!” It all depends on the context. It can be really aggressive, or a word to break the ice in a conversation.
So if you wanna come here and stay for a while, you better start forgetting your “Spanish” lessons, and start learning “Chilean-Spanish”. Most important: learn how to swear correctly, learn friendly swearing, and try to get used to the dark sense of humour Chileans have.
During my teenage years, I started watching MTV and, saw rock bands that I really liked at the time, like Marilyn Manson and Korn. For some time, I went really crazy
about them too, along with Queen. I remember trying to translate the lyrics of the songs or looking them up on the Internet, where it wasn’t that easy to find them at that time. Especially if you weren’t an English speaker.
So at first, I spent a lot of time reading and researching music- related stuff that was only written in English. Nowadays, you can find most of that kind of thing written in any language, and if you don’t find it, you can always use Google Translator to help yourself. But at that time, I found that the Internet was pretty much an English-speakers tool. There wasn’t much info about the things I was interested in available in Spanish.
So I had no choice. I just started reading and looking for info on the bands I liked, searched for lyrics, pictures, chords and so on. All in the English language. Eventually, I moved from just looking for info and reading it, to starting to look to meet people from other countries. But that’s another story for later…
So ladies and gentlemen, those are some of the things that I have to work with here! I love the small details of my language. I think they are lovely really! You just need a good guide and advice, so you won’t get lost in this “Chilean jungle”.
And so I say to you: every time I write or say something to you, remember that I’m trying my best to translate all those made-up words into the comprehensive English language. (I think my brain is gonna explode any time!) Wanna see me trying harder??.