Today I tried joesparks.com from my phone, wanting to play “Bat Wings” for my niece. This wordpress template performed so poorly on my mobile phone, I decided to make this post just to put some links on top of my front page for now.
I keep hearing the my latest video is fun, playful, and positive (despite the subject). I also hear “The music has been in my head all day!” and “You two are Adorbs.” I also do pretty good Shaggy and Scooby Doo voices near the end.
Take a musical peek inside of our San Francisco lives during the Great Global Shutdown of Spring 2020.
I had the idea for this song within a day or two of our San Francisco Mayor’s “Shelter in Place” announcement. The first thing I noticed were all the families biking, skating, jogging, and having outdoor fun all over our Great SAN FRANCISCO. I also found that the busiest business parts of San Francisco (including by my old Google office on the embarcadero) were nearly deserted. Super Creepy!
I made this song and video happen just in time for the Global Re-opening. Best wishes to everyone who is ready to get their hopes and dreams moving again — fast!
Thank you all for watching, and please say hello in the comments! Stay safe and healthy, and remember to get out there and shelter in places every day!
See what i did there? I redefined “sheltering.” You will not forget the song.
“Sheltering in Places” Original Song & Music Video Composed, written, and performed by Joe Sparks Featuring JJ Sparks (A.K.A. Jo Sparks) Shot by Joe & Jo Sparks in San Francisco in Spring of 2020, during the big honkin’ shut down. Copyright (C) 2020 Joe Sparks joesparks.com San Francisco California USA = ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
“Sheltering in Places” LYRICS Sheltering in Places, Sheltering in in Places, Sheltering in in Places with you. (It’s all that I want to do)
Shut down, means we get around to the places that make us smile Lock down, means we hit the town and see all the places we haven’t seen in a while (that’s right, ha ha, sheltering in places)
Venturing out and sheltering in places with you Venturing out and sheltering in COOL places with you
It’s like we all answered the call to be extras on the set of a disaster movie and we all, have a part to play in this masquerade
It’s like we all answered the call to be actors on a dystopian sitcom and we all, have a price to pay in this masquerade
Venturing out and sheltering in places with you Venturing out and sheltering in COOL places with you
It’s all that I want to do!
Copyright (C) 2020 Joe Sparks, of joesparks.com San Francisco California USA = ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
AM/PM was the highest-paying sponsor of my Radiskull & Devil Doll show, back in its early days. I made a special commercial just for them as part of the deal. In this video you will see it “remastered” to 1080p and much higher quality sound (of course I made some punky music to go along with it). I include the original at the end for Q comparison.
And never seen/heard before: an alternate “#evil” script that I recorded at the same time. I wrote it quickly as kind of “joke” that nobody shared with AM/PM or any of my other sponsors! In this little skit, Devil Doll tries to convince #Radiskull that they should go into advertising “for big #corporations.” Little did I know at the time, that I would soon spend many years as a creative in advertising, at #agencies and at #Google. I talk about my transition into #advertising in “The Making of Dicky & Jackie“
Part 1 of 3: AM/PM Commercial Remastered 2019 Part 2 of 3: Alternative Evil Script. Devil Doll sells Radiskull on Advertising Part 3 of 3: The original AM/PM advertisement from 2001 (for comparison)
Radiskull & Devil Doll animation/song “Coffee with Friends”
I’m searching for those millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans from 2001. If you know one, please let them know about my YouTube channel. I really appreciate your help! I will need to bring that audience back in order to finish episode 9 and continue this work.
Radiskull & Devil Doll Live A Dramatic Reading of Radiskull and Devil Doll Episodes
If you are interested in making animation and music video, please visit my tools page
Thank you so much for your likes, subscribes, and comments (I read every single one)!
Joe Sparks 2019 @joesparks on Twitter and Instagram
Please support my work as an artist: buy my recent song “Chief Disco Investigator” for your library, or simply stream it often (for your friends!) on any streaming music service you subscribe to. And THANK YOU!
CHIEF DISCO INVESTIGATOR on AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Chief-Disco-Investigator-Joe-Sparks/dp/B07ZRYK6KZ/
CHIEF DISCO INVESTIGATOR on Spotify
CHIEF DISCO INVESTIGATOR on iTunes
CHIEF DISCO INVESTIGATOR on GOOGLE https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=B5lw7g2i3ioypoqfloteh3jljpa&tid=song-Te5irwcalra37k37npbdcal7wai
CHIEF DISCO INVESTIGATOR on TIDAL
For the first time ever, a song of mine is available on all major music streaming services and online music vendors. JoeSparks.com is a music publisher. URLs for streaming & downloading are posted below or simply search for “Chief Disco Investigator” on your favorite music services.
In this post, I write about my current music tools and remember the horns in my computer game hits “Spaceship Warlock Theme” and “You Are Dead.”
“Chief Disco Investigator” sounds like disco 70’s, synthpop 80’s, and typical Joe Sparks.
I love the horns in my new music “Put Your Headphones On.“ I thought “horns are pretty new for me” but then I remembered that sweet sax solo I played in the “You Are Dead” song in Total Distortion. I also used horns in my theme song for Spaceship Warlock. (more on that, below)
Presonus Studio One Professional is my DAW since 2017 (DAW = music recording software/UI where I make music), and I highly recommend it (Previously: Apple Logic Pro and many others). For the actual horns, I used the Presence XT brass instruments (bundled with S1): “Trumpet Full” and “Golden Trombone” instruments, unmodified. All the string instruments are also from Presence XT.
Read more of my musical tool notes after this:
Hear “Chief Disco” Everywhere Online
This is the first time I published a song to all commercial music streaming & downloaders. If this goes well, I will release my entire catalog (that I can find or recreate), from Radiskull to my Game Music, and all of my new songs. Click & Listen to my song on the links below and help make this experiment worthwhile:
Click & Listen Above! It’s an easy way to support my work. Buy for 99 cents, or simply stream it often (While you have Coffee with Friends!) on any streaming music service you subscribe to. And THANK YOU!
More Music Production notes for “CDI”
For my very punchy main synth BASS (easy to hear throughout) I used Studio One instrument Mojito. I started with the Gummi bass preset and modified it thusly:
Later in the song I bring in an Upright Bass, just like I used to do on Radiskull & Devil Doll. The drums are mostly played by me on my own custom drum machine (Built in Impact XT, including samples I recorded from the Alesis SR-16), and also, the “Natural Kit” on Presense XT. With some faint disco RX library loops recorded in the 70’s.
My favorite bunch of synths on the planet these days is: Arturia V-Series https://www.arturia.com/products/analog-classics/v-collection/overview I used the VOX organ and the CMI Fairlight Taped Pad.
Total Distortion “U-R-DED” Saxophone
Melt into my “totally realistic” saxophone (video queued up to the sax solo) from “You Are Dead” song in Total Distortion:
My main instruments on my Total Distortion music: Korg O1, Korg M1, Roland D110, Roland Juno 2, Yamaha DX11, G&L SC-1 Electric Guitar, Chorus, Distortion, & Octaver Pedals. Kent Carmical had another set of instruments) for his songs, but both of us had an O1!
Here’s a great Total Distortion walkthrough by Jerma985
Another great Total Distortion walkthrough by Vinesauce Joel on Vargskelethor Uncut: Full Joel Streams
Spaceship Warlock Theme Song with Horns
I also used horns in thetheme song I made for my first game SPACESHIP WARLOCK. When someone talks about Spaceship Warlock, they often sing it: “AAAAH.. AAAHHH… SPAAAAAAACE SHIIIIIP… WARLOCK!.”
I used my rack-mount Roland D110 synth for the theme song’s military horns & drums. Horns preset instrument). I used all 3 synths I bought in 1988 on Warlock music: the Roland D-110 and Juno 2 (I still have both instruments in my office) and the Yamaha DX11 (after 3rd key broke I gave it away). The DX was great for making robot noises for the game’s robot characters.
While looking around for Spaceship Warlock Theme Song mentions, I came across this music featuring a sample of the them song: NegaRen – Spaceship Warlock
Two young guys (including me) came up with this hugely-influential smash-hit Spaceship Warlock in just 9 months with 2 computers and not much money. I gave an interview about it in 2015 to Phil “Shadsy” Salvador at The Obscuritory:
Obscurity walkthrough of Spaceship Warlock
A word about Daft Punk
My recent “Computery” songs remind people of Daft Punk. It is a compliment – I love Daft Punk. Just remember, I’ve been using the same chord progressions since the 80’s and I did Vocoder voices (like hundreds of other musicians), long before the GREAT Daft Punk arrived.
Thanks for reading my article about my song “Chief Disco Investigator”
I recently returned to France and Basque Country for 2nd time this year. I brought my sons Max & Sam this time. I also took a little red friend named Devil Doll. He stayed hidden in my backpack for most of the trip, but he came out for a few photos along the way!
Bordeaux France is a magical, beautiful city. People just live and have fun in this wonderful place. Very lively, historic, and incredible food, produce, wine, cheese, everywhere!
Gallery of Bordeaux Photos
The 2019 G7 meeting (of the most powerful people in the western world) was held here, just a couple weeks before we arrived. For about a week in Biarritz, France (officially in real Basque Country) I forgot to photo Devil Doll. I know! I gave him a good view though, so he was happy.
Here’s about 10% of the photos I took in Biarritz, Bayonne, and Bidart France:
Donostia * San Sebastian * Cultural Capital Pays Basque
On top of Monte Igeldo is an amusement park build in 1912. Read more. It has a roller coaster and this amazing tower. Here’s some of my photos from there:
Gare Hendaye: to Catch a Train back to Paris!
A Few More Days in Paris
Thanks for looking at my travel photos!
Please join me on YouTube and subscribe to my channel (totally free of course):
I lost the closest thing I had to a Dad in San Francisco for 30 years. Dennis was a good friend and a guiding light to me since April Fools Day 1989. RIP Martin Dennis Fried who passed away yesterday on 24 June 2019 🙁
MEET Dicky, a psi-pilot for the US Space Command! SEE veggies that WANT to be eaten! CRINGE at an over-eager Robot! FEAR an alien plot to conquer Earth!
A fascinating musical cartoon from Joe Sparks (creator of Radiskull & Devil Doll, Total Distortion, and more). Art, story voices, animation, music by Joe Sparks
Pinned YouTube comment: AA writes “Yo Joe It’s me again, I gotta say I’ve never seen my son more engaged into an animation like this one! We are both eagerly awaiting episode 2, and I just know he’ll love R & DD just like his Dad! Haha big ups thanks for the quality animations & Original content!!”
There’s a long long history behind this cartoon I covered in “The Making of Dicky & Jackie”) I made a very rough flash version of this in 2002 and 2004 but I never published it.
In 2018, I began work on a professional, modern production of Dicky and Jackie. I spent most of September and October reworking all of the animation and sound, upgrading everything, fixing things. I recorded some parts over again. It is done, I posted it: http://bit.ly/DickyJackie1
Thank you for viewing Dicky & Jackie. If you do enjoy it, I hope you will leave me a comment on YouTube.
Recorded live at LeapFrog headquarters in Emeryville California. I was an game developer/designer there. I was enlisted (by rad-friendly fans) to perform at the LeapFrog Talent Show + Bring your Kids to Work Day. (!!!) Thank you so much for your likes, subscribes and comments!
Radiskull & Devil Doll Live Video Thumbnail
A Dramatic Reading of Selected Radiskull and Devil Doll Episodes! I wrapped up with some modern commentary and remastered music. I hope you enjoy it! Read the comments: people seem into it!
Joe Sparks performs Radiskull and Devil Doll live at LeapFrog.
While working on a new studio tour video, I started cleaning, organizing, opening old boxes. I came across many old artifacts in the past week or two. I turned this one into a new video on my YouTube channel:
Where are you, Millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans?
I’m searching for those millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans from 2001. (I used to get more than a million unique visitors a month, years before YouTube existed!) If you know some, please let them know that I am BACK AT IT? I really appreciate your help to bring that audience back. An audience will make it possible for me to finish R&DD episode 9 (BIG PLANS!!).
Tiny sample of the amazing Radiskull Devil Doll fan art and tattoos out there!
Special Thanks to Gabriel Turk for giving me the CD-ROM with his edited version of my performance video. Otherwise, I would not be able to share this with you!
From way back: Standing over my work space at LeapFrog in Emeryville California
Just for fun, I’ve included some post-it note art I made at LeapFrog and posted in my cubicle, from back in those days. I was developing my “Dicky & Jackie” enhanced-stick-figure style back in that time zone shortly after shockwave.com collapsed in the great crash.
Return of Radiskull & Devil Doll Coffee mugs available here:
“Coffee with Friends” mugs
NEW: 2018 Radiskull & Devil Doll cameo in the animated music video “Coffee with Friends” http://bit.ly/RadCoffee
If you are interested in making animation and music video, please visit my tools page:
I worked on games that shipped with LeapFrog’s first Leapster device (like a game boy). I made the dancing robot game. I pushed really hard to create new characters for LeapFrog, but they explained it was much safer to invest in their Disney Licenses. What could have been?
While I am best known for Total Distortion and Spaceship Warlock, I also worked on many other games for more companies (stories for another day!)
I used to do this R&DD act at poetry slams, it always worked live! I killed!