When I started covering “Wasn’t Me”

By Tyler M. Bryant

I remember it like it was yesterday. In reality, it was just over two years ago.

I sat in my room in Morrison Dorm trying to come up with some cool covers to play at a local bar called Jack Sprat. After watching a video of a dude playing an LMFAO song acoustically, I became inspired to try to come up with my own pop melody that I could get stoked on.

After going on Billboard’s website to see the biggest pop songs of the time, I ran into a problem. I noticed that almost all of them had already been covered by scores and scores of amateurs (as well as famous musicians) on youtube. Noting my lifetime penchant for originality, I decided to take a pop song or two from my childhood – an era before it was popular to post videos of acoustic hiphop/pop covers on the internet.

After failing to initially take on “Ignition” by R. Kelly (however, I eventually started covering it), I decided after some pondering to play “Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy.

Between the ages of 10 and 12, when my mom drove me all over our section of the state so that I could practice my freestyle off-road BMX, she would pump this jam every single time. After a while, it had become my favorite song. For about a year I believe, I made my mom play it in the car every time she drove me somewhere. Some kids grow up listening to the Rolling Stones, The Who, or The Beatles with their parents. I guess I listened to hiphop songs about infidelity.

I have played this song more times than I can count over the years, both with myself, and with my band, Greylock. An holy moly guacamole, our live soundcloud recording has over 2,000 views!

Here is what people likely imagine when I tell them that I cover this song acoustically:

Here is what I actually look like playing it:

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What Ishmael Bishop’s departure from the Daily Tar Heel means for UNC

By Tyler M. Bryant

dailytarheel.com
dailytarheel.com

When I first read this article after it popped up in my Facebook feed, I had hoped this was an April Fools’ joke. Mr. Bishop has written some of the most thought-provoking articles on race, class, gender, and culture that I’ve had the pleasure of reading anywhere (especially in the cultural haven/marketplace of ideas that theoretically is The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

I can understand the defensiveness that white people feel not only to claims that they may exhibit prejudiced behaviors, but also to claims of white privilege and to the perceived non-inclusion of #BlackLivesMatter. After all, believe it or not, I am a white person too, and I like to think that any and all life benefits that I enjoy are purely the fruits of my own labor. Heck, in high school, I though affirmative action just meant that minorities got admissions preference to universities over white students (which, I believed to be unfair, since I had EARNED all the success I had in life, especially academically).

Taking multiple classes on race relations (as well as some of my experiences as an ice cream man) taught me a lesson that I do not intend on forgetting at any point in the future; that being, white people in America simply cannot relate to the experiences of being non-white in America. As promulgated in this article, my experiences in life as a person are HUGELY shaped by the fact that I am not only white, but also a cis-gendered, heteronormative-identifying male.

So, what does Ishmael’s departure say about racial relations and UNC’s general climate of inclusion (or apparently, lack thereof)?

First of all, it entirely repudiates the notion that that UNC (not just America as a whole) has deep seated issues with race and sex. I can personally testify to having talked to several STEM students at our university, students who don’t take classes on humanities or society in general while generally abstaining from participating in public discourse like The Daily Tar Heel, who have openly advocated for the university to allow fewer minorities to attend because they/people they know don’t feel like it is fair that they have to compete with students who they view as essentially having handicaps to get into the university. When students like Mr. Bishop write messages of inclusion, awareness, and sympathy for systematically marginalized groups on campus and around the world, now they may be subject to terroristic threats on their livelihoods.

Also, the nature of the comments that Mr. Bishop has had to endure show a profound degree of social ignorance that has already permeated the collective white psyche, especially at colleges (which is ironic considering the educational nature of such institutions). White people think, “We have it tough, too! I hate when people discriminate against whites, because that is totally just as bad!” Really now? Please, tell me about the history of slavery, lynchings, mob violence, Jim Crow laws, social ostracization, institutionalized racism, unfair loan conditions, cultural stereotypes, and identity-defining prejudices that white Americans have had to endure.

Yeah, I don’t know much about that either. If you have time, I would totally check out some of this young writers’ excellent work!

http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2015/02/column-blacklivesmatter-say-that

My First Gig At Fitzgerald’s

By Tyler M. Bryant

Here is what I did not choose to play.

Not only was this perhaps the funnest show I’ve played in the hill, but my experience at Fitzgerald’s last night showed me what was to become my new favorite bar and place to hear some local acts play (besides The Station, which definitely has the most bumpin’ open mic around).

After breaking out some of my classic hip hop tunes (like “Ignition” and “Wasn’t Me“), I played a slew of original music and even some older covers (like “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band). I was able to get some folks in the audience to join me in singing some choruses as well.

However, perhaps the most glorious part of the night, despite what I had said earlier about finding trouble getting moolah, I GOT PAID!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!one!!!!!

Here was my reaction:

This Love (Every Time I Walk Away)

By Tyler Bryant

My experience in my ENGL 490 songwriting class at UNC has been tremendously rewarding thus far not only in terms of learning how to collaborate with my peers to create the best music possible, but particularly in the context of networking with local college musicians. Our professor, Bland Simpson, has been teaching English at UNC for decades; our songwriting class, as far as I understand, is a somewhat recent conception. His band, The Red Clay Ramblers, has enjoyed numerous successes, including Tony awards!

On this song, I collaborated with my talented classmate, Carson McKee. Per our class-assigned roles, I took a predominantly composition role while he assumed the lyricist role. He had some nice riffage to contribute though (being one of the tighter guitarists in our class), so I decided to throw in a bunch of punky octaves (which you may or may not be able to hear in the chorus). Chords like these, which Professor Simpson noted sounded reminiscent of country-pop to him, are a staple in pop-punk music, which was my exclusive genre of choice for a while in high school. Bands like Fall Out Boy and A Day to Remember use these chords on the reg.

For some reference, here are the lyrics, as penned by Carson.

490+This+Love+1+-+LYRIC

490+This+Love+2+-+LYRIC

I don’t listen to Fall Out Boy anymore

By Tyler M. Bryant

When eighth grade me asked my dad if I could go to a concert for my favorite band, I didn’t imagine that he would want to chaperon my excursion. Fall Out Boy had just come out with their seminal album, From Under The Cork Tree, and I knew the Chicago-based band would likely not return to the state of North Carolina for years to come.

Having convinced one of my friends (who was wholly unfamiliar with the band in question) to accompany me to the show, I trembled with excitement as our car neared the coliseum. I did not expect my dad to park the car in a nearby lot, and I certainly did not expect him to walk in the concert venue with us. When you’re in the eighth grade, nothing is more uncool that acknowledging the fact that you have parents.

My dad ended up standing with my friend and I for the entirety of the evening. He handed us both earplugs, and we laughed at him for being a geezer. Then, the music started. Turns out the earplugs weren’t such a bad idea after all.

We watched opening bands The All American Rejects, Hawthorne Heights, and From First to Last (whose lead singer eventually quit to pursue a solo dubstep career under the moniker, Skrillex) before Fall Out Boy took the stage. Despite the fact that the tickets said the show was for “all ages,” my eighth grade homie and I got an earful from the frontman Pete Wentz (who doesn’t even sing, just writes lyrics), who dropped the F-bomb every other word. What I found to be more uncomfortable than the profane language, however, was the fact that my father was making a big show out of how much he disapproved of the language. In the eighth grade, the real cool kids don’t care about bad words, so naturally, I was worried about my street cred.

What broke my heart the most about the performance was the live performance from vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stumph, whose voice cracked severely and consistently throughout the whole show. I never wanted to believe that I could be duped into liking a band whose talent was more studio-crafted than genuine.

Although today, I would say that I have a tangible appreciation for the group’s songwriting abilities (as demonstrated in the attached Youtube video), their departure from organic/raw pop punk in order to pursue more generic pop-rock with pop/hip hop influences strikes me as less endearing and more artificial.

Davidson (a.k.a “Hey, Steve!”)

By Tyler M. Bryant

reddit.com
reddit.com

My good friend, Fountain Penn, is a staple of the music scene for the town of Davidson, which, for all intents and purposes, is Davidson College. I’ve been watching him play at Summit Coffee for years now. His songwriting is infectious, and he is one of the coolest dudes I know (relax ladies, he’s engaged now and off the market).

He told me a story a couple years ago about a party he had at his house when he was younger. A Center on the Davidson Basketball team was living with his family for some strange reason (foreign exchange, maybe), and at the time, Steph Curry was on the team. My buddy saw Steph in his living room, and overheard some folks talking about him and how he was a basketball hot-shot (that pun was absolutely intended). Realizing that his opportunity to forge a bond was short (while not realizing how his lack of sports background knowledge may make him come off), he proceeded to yell to the athlete,

“Hey, Steve! Steve! STEVE!”

Apparently, Mr. Curry did not respond warmly.

Despite this incident, I have found conversation with Mr. Penn to be particularly engaging. I went to a bar with him in Davidson for the first time last Christmas break – there, we discussed our mutual interest in ufology. For some insight, look into these fellows:

Bob Lazar

John Lear

Bob Dean

Clifford Stone

Steven Greer