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learn: 33 in Buffalo

By Anthony Garone

How the mighty Seahag wrote and performed his epic song 33 in Buffalo.

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Some Context

After I posted the Steve Vai interview, MWM started getting a lot of attention. I got an email from Robbie while he was in Europe traveling with Banned from Utopia in October 2015. We ended up having a lot in common and connected via Facebook. He sent me a copy of his wonderful record and some YouTube videos and I knew we had to chat. So, we met on a rooftop in Manhattan while I was traveling for work and we made some MWM content. And here we are!

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Soundslice Notation and Tablature

Living sheet music brought to you by Soundslice . Wanna know more? Check out our interview with Soundslice co-creator, Adrian Holovaty

Interview Audio (Podcast)

(NOTE: hitting the “play” button requires a hefty download of the entire audio file!).

Or, download an mp3 .

Video Transcript

Ant: This is Anthony with Make Weird Music and I’m here with Robbie Seahag Mangano.

Robbie: Hi.

A: And, Robbie, why don’t you tell us about what you’re going to show us from your album, Full Moon Fever .

R: Okay. As you’ve requested to see about 33 in Buffalo… The number 33 actually has to do with the time signature of that whole riff. So it’s 10 notes, then another 10, then another 10, and then 3. So we got 33.

A: Is that in standard tuning?

R: It’s in standard tuning. A friend of mine thought it was without open strings, but that sounds a little too hard to figure out. This was actually pretty hard to figure out because of this little move right there [hiding the middle finger under the others to slide on the high e string].

A: Ahhh… I was trying to slide with my pinky on the B string when I was figuring it out, but the fingering was too big.

R: And that last note, I pick with the middle finger [on the right hand] because I’m never going to get the pick there in time.

A: Where did the song come from? What inspired it?

R: I play all day at home. Not all day, but there’s a guitar in a stand and the rest of them in cases all over the place. But, I pick it up and if I come across something I’ve never played before and try to get good at it. Especially if there’s a mistake. So that one came out as–maybe the notes came one at a time. And I wanted these notes instead of something easy like [plays an alternate phrase with open strings].

A: Oh, that’s cool.

R: And also, it has a lot to do with the Close Encounters theme . It’s also influenced by a Jaco Pastorius  song.

A: Oh, which one?

R: It’s off his first solo record . It’s the one with the harmonics. I can’t remember the name.

A: It’s a girl’s name, right?

R: No, that’s Portrait of Tracy. This ostinato thing and he has a horn going and that sounds like my thing. So that’s where I think that kind of comes from, loving those melodies.

A: Right! Those intervals. Did you intend to write something in 10 + 10 + 10 + 3.

R: Yes. At that point, I was thinking about the number 33 a lot.

A: Interesting. Why’s that?

R: I’m into numbers. I’m not really sure why. Percentage is an interesting thing when there’s 3 people and there’s a split-up of something and it’s 33 1/3. If you’re going to split anything up it’s that 33 thing. That 33.333333. And they say that Jesus died at 33. It’s not like they would really know, but maybe there’s this secretive 33 thing.

A: Right. The freemasons and the 33rd degree.

R: Right! I don’t know much about it, but if you do, let me know.

A: And what about the next part of the song? What about that? How do you play that?

R: I wanted to make 100, so I added one more note. Something about 33.33333 makes me unstable.

A: It’s unsettling.

R: So when I got to the last note, it’s 99 when I do it 3 times. So when I hit this last one, it’s 100.

A: If you get paid by the note on this song, then you know exactly how much to charge.

R: Exactly. First verse is $100. There’s overdubs on the next section [plays harmonies].

Then we start talking through the chords and intervals. And we wrap it up.

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