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Katy Perry’s “Cozy Little Christmas” | Covered by the Gashlers (A Capella)

We covered a brand new song by Katy Perry (not our usual cup of tea). Following the advice of a famous Youtuber in our neighborhood, the goal was to create something that people are actually searching for. Brilliant, right? So we did a little research and found something so new, it doesn’t appear that anyone has covered it. There’s not even an official music video yet. At the same time, we’re not exactly trendy people, and we wanted to do something unique, so we tried our hand at a capella. Perhaps we were inspired by the BYU Vocal Point concert we attended a few weeks ago.

After I made the video of Teresa and I in our studio, something seemed lacking. I thought of shooting some B roll, but as I listened to the lyrics, I realized I already had all the footage I needed in our previous music videos. It was a perfect opportunity to resurrect Evil Robot Santa, me falling in the snow, Teresa standing in fire, and a love scene between clowns.

It’s too early to say, but since I released the video last night, it’s performed about 4 times better than our usual videos. Neat. Also, in order to stay in line with our cheesy values, we committed a faux pas and changed the lyrics for one phrase. Can you guess where?

At the end of the video, I thank the Katy Perry corporation. I felt inclined to do this after learning more about how the pop music industry works. Without disrespecting any chart-topping artist (as I do love this song and think Katy Perry is talented), the truth is that it takes large corporations and massive amounts of money to make them what they are. Seldom are they self-made, and seldom do they write their own songs. Knowing this makes me feel better about being an underdog. Instead of being dwarfed by superstars with all the talent, independent artists are really up against a bourgeois of music tycoons. Just a few decades ago, it wasn’t this way, but it seems that the proliferation of music through iPods and the Internet was so threatening that it caused a struggling music industry to turn in the opposite direction, scrapping the democracy of the free market and becoming the sole arbiters of what is hot and what is not. In the process, creativity has been stifled, and what’s popular has only gotten harder, louder, more predictable, and less … musical.

Thus it may appear that I’m selling out by covering popular music. In my defense, I’ve created so many videos with original songs that have gotten virtually no traction, that I see no harm in riding a wave in order to gain some momentum. In other words, if the proletariat is to make any advances against the bourgeois, first they must learn to play their game. If projects like this are successful, my other projects will naturally gain more exposure. At the same time, I’ll continue to create original works whether or not they see the light of day. For the most part, what I create is for me and my family.

For example, with our last video, Jump Up Superstar, I knew that we were a year behind the wave, and, not surprisingly, though we poured and our hearts and souls into the video, it’s gotten few hits. But that’s okay. We primarily created this video to record our family’s parkour, gymnastics, and singing skills that we’ve been working on this year, and we’re proud of it.

I create because I have music and stories bubbling inside of me, and I have to get them out. I create in order help my family up their skills and record priceless memories. And I create because it’s fun.

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Timpanogos Storytelling Hauntings 2018 and the Scythe of Sinister Intentions

Oh yeah … I won first place at the Timpanogos Storytelling Hauntings contest on Monday, the spookiest event of the year. The prize was this beautiful work of art, “The Scythe of Sinister Intentions,” which has been great to lug around town. Not only is it a good conversation starter, it gave me an instant Halloween costume without even realizing it. I put on a poncho, because I was cold, and soon people were identifying me as the Grim Reaper.

 

This was the best and fiercest scary storytelling contest I’ve been a part of. Everyone did a bone-chilling job, and I did not envy the predicament of the judges. It was an honor to rub shoulders with so many talented artists, and Mikaela Hansen did a wonderful job in organizing the event.

My story, “Queen of the Flies”, was based on the following premise: what if everything you’ve ever killed were to come back? According to one audience member, as I described a girl’s horrific encounters with bugs, people all over were subconsciously scratching their bodies (the best compliment I could have hoped for). If you’re afraid of spiders or creepy crawlies, then you definitely don’t want to hear my story:

Believe it or not, the story has a strong element of truth. When I was about eight or nine, I was writing in my journal one night when a spider crawled onto it. My older brother happened to be in the room, and he promptly slammed the book shut. Then he wrote around the slimy remains: “Rest in Pieces.” For years (four or five, if I remember correctly), I didn’t want to touch the book. When, as a teenager, I finally confronted my fear, I opened the book, and a spider actually leaped out. I swear it happened. I know what I saw.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may recall that “Queen of the Flies” is a recurring theme of mine. Years ago, I, Teresa, and my brother Eric made this silly movie for my sister Deanna’ birthday (Deanna had a fear of flies, which fear the protagonist confronts):

Teresa also performed a modern twist on the spooky Mexican folk tale, La llrona, the deranged ghost-woman who will drag your children to watery graves. As I’ve said in previous posts, my wife is scary. And beautiful.

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Come Little Children (From the Movie Hocus Pocus)

My wife is scary.

A week and a half ago, Teresa proposed the concept for this project, and I was sold immediately. But there was a problem: how could we possibly add to Jame’s Horner’s brilliant melody or make a better cover than other artists have made, such as Kate Covington? I wanted something unique, dark, even a little scary, and I’m proud of what came together. Kudos to whoever can identify what the witch is chanting.

The children add a lot, Teresa is bewitching, and Heather Peavler did a great job on her makeup. I love including the whole family in projects like this. Though I’ll add one word to the wise: if you value your sanity: don’t work with children 🙂

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Half-eaten Burger | The Gashlers

I decided it was time to dust off the old camera, so, on Saturday, Teresa and I resurrected an old tradition and made a music video for our date night. This one is from our musical BUMS! By our own design, we’re currently on a tight budget, so for dinner, we were hoping to cash in on a gift card after the shoot, but then we realized that the place was closed. So it turned out that the “half-eaten burger” (a $3.79 veggie burger from Burger King) was our only dinner that night. After the burger was held, squeezed, twirled around, and stuffed into Teresa’s pocket many times, it was quite the goopy mess to share between the two of us, but in the spirit of true bums, we were grateful for it.

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We’ll Take Your Treasure Away

For your viewing pleasure, the Gashler Family song and dance troupe will now present an epic clash between Vikings and Christians (another piece from VALHALLA – A NORDIC ROCK OPERA), featuring the vocal talent of Jenni Goodman, Bridger Beal, and (of course), Teresa and I. One of these days we’re going to get a real studio. This is all getting a bit tight in our master bedroom.