Welcome to the sounds of Frank Blank Moriarty, generated over the years in an array of tones and styles. As my musical interests have expanded,
my guitar playing has followed, so what appears on this page ranges from punk rock to ambience, acoustic to electric, short to long. For more on where
I've come from, just click on the "About..." link above. To hear the sounds, simply click the arrow found on the audio player associated with each image below.
As Jimi Hendrix often said, "Dig these sounds as you hear them!" I hope you will...
Like many people around the world, in early 2022 my thoughts were of Ukraine and its citizens. As a musician I try to translate my thoughts to sounds, and so I created this piece: THE CHIMES OF KYIV. It's a picture in sounds - a performance rather than a song. I can't say I hope you will enjoy, but I do hope it resonates with you.
At its heart are sounds recorded in Kyiv by webcams on the nights of February 28 and March 1, 2022. The microphones sound as though they were installed right where people live, even capturing snippets of conversations. And the sound of wind chimes - ringing above the siren's call - were hung by someone, somewhere in Kyiz to try to bring some beauty into the world.
The anthem of Ukraine also plays a part in this piece. The melody heard is that of its opening lines:
Nay, thou art not dead, Ukraine - see, thy glory's born again! And the skies, O brothers, upon us smile once more...
May those words ring true again soon and long into the future. And may the sound that closes this piece - the defiant slam of a screen door in the face of air raid sirens, captured by a webcam microphone somewhere in Kyiv the night of March 1, 2022 - symbolize the courageous resolve of a people unjustly and brutally attacked.
"LUCY COMM" (recorded 2021)
Backing track recorded in a singular numerical phase of 2021 occurring 02/20, 02/21, 02/22.
On October 16, 2021 a launch window opened on an extraordinarily ambitious new mission of NASA exploration. The bold adventure of Lucy - named after the fossilized human ancestor, called "Lucy" by her discoverers, whose skeleton provided unique insight into human evolution - is planned to last for 12 years. This amazing vehicle was successfully launched and will visit and explore eight of the Trojan Asteroids, remote bodies the Southwest Research Institute describes as "effectively the fossils of planet formation." The goal: to open a window on the very creation of our solar system.
To commemorate this mission, NASA has requested that composers and musicians around the world envision the Lucy mission through sound, incorporating a simple, three-note musical theme that represents Lucy. Today I offer my contribution, "Lucy Comm." In this piece my goal is to sonically depict the loneliness of Lucy's voyage and the spacecraft's vital dialog with her home planet, beginning with a call across the unimaginable distance from Earth prompting Lucy's response.
"COVID LOCKDOWN BLUES" (recorded 2020)
Early in the COVID lockdown. Bored with tutorials on how to wipe groceries with disinfectant. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. This killed a minute or so...
Frank Blank: "Exile 3" (recorded 2015)
One of my current musical interests is the application of textures and tones with approaches I've picked up studying music
theory (it only took a couple of decades). That mixture is applied in the creation of ambient and ambient-influenced live performances
and studio recordings. This track, "Exile 3," combines both - passing through my three main effects paths, it's a live improvisation that
was recorded in my studio as it happened, hitting "record" at zero and "stop" about 5:30 later.
Frank Blank: "Downhill" (recorded 2010)
While involved in all of my band projects, there have always been "those songs" - ones that don't come into focus under the magnification
of the current effort, but are still good or interesting songs (hopefully both!). Gathering those songs and re-recording them as a compilation
is another near-imminent endeavor. "Downhill" has been gathering momentum in the back of my mind for quite a while... Pardon that slight timing slip
toward the front end - hey, it's a demo!
Frank Blank: "The Story of My Life" (recorded 2014)
Some songs need the full instrumentation treatment, while some don't. Presenting the third area of current development: the stark, acoustic guitar
and vocals project. Hang a mic, do the song. Here's a candidate, the demo pulled right off the iPhone's GarageBand app, called "The Story of My Life."
Hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe this song wants instruments? Decisions, decisions...
Informed Sources: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (recorded 1982)
Informed Sources headlined in the northeast and played with bands that are now seen as influential, groundbreaking American punk musicians:
Black Flag, X, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, and many more. How were they seen at the time? Well, it was a bit more chaotic. Aside from the track here,
the link that follows will take you to a website dedicated to Informed Sources upon the release of the 2012 retrospective CD Fun Under the Sun. More
than just a promo site for the recording, you'll find music to listen to, dozens of photos, and a detailed PDF that depicts musical life in that
turbulent scene. >Click here for Informed Sources website< (this link opens in a new browser window)
Bunnydrums: "Holy Moly" (recorded 1984)
Following the demise of Informed Sources in 1983, I was asked to join one of my favorite bands: Bunnydrums. The band had well established
itself by the time I came aboard, with rave reviews in the alternative press and extensive US and European tours. Already friends, we created
a dense, three-guitar (or two-and-a-synth) sound that roared in strange ways. This version of the song "Holy Moly" was recorded in late 1984
for release by Warner UK before our scheduled 1984 European tour.
Third Stone Invasion: "Human Agent" (recorded 1998)
I formed the metallic band Third Stone Invasion in 1998, and we were soon signed to J-Bird Records where we shared a diverse roster with The Who's
John Entwistle, Billy Squier, and Andrew Gold. Our self-titled concept album was based on the idea of alien intervention on Earth, surveyed from
the beginnings of civilization to today. We had wonderful reviews comparing us to bands ranging from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath, but J-Bird's
Internet sales and marketing concepts were on the bleeding edge, implemented a handful of months before music buyers were ready to accept them.
For your listening pleasure: "Human Agent," a bristling slice of ET paranoia anchored by Bill Wooley's bass and Doug Mosko's drums, with an extended
outro by Rick Farnkopf on guitar.
Third Stone Invasion: "Third Stone From the Sun" (recorded 1998)
The Third Stone Invasion CD ended with one of my proudest musical moments, a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun." Jimi's song depicts
an alien visiting Earth and deciding to do away with it thanks to annoyances like "surf music" - though the alien does find a "cackling hen" to be
interesting. We mixed this on-the-fly in the old-fashioned, pre-mixing-automation manner - engineer Rick Statkus, guitarist Rick Farnkopf, and yours truly all reaching around
each other to ride the faders on 24 tracks at once. It was a complex mix and putting it together was a lot of fun - but exhausting! I've been asked
about the alien ship landing and takeoff sounds at the track's inception, pulsing away under effects maestro Mitchell Mercurio's recitation of Jimi's
words - that's just guitar effects with no instrument input being run through a fully-flat-out 5150 amplifier half-stack. Even with no guitar in that
effect chain, it was about loud enough to kill ya...
Hollerin' Goat: "Forsaken" (recorded 2001)
Straight from the thorny metal of 3SI, guitarist Rick Farnkopf and drummer Doug Mosko joined me in an abrupt directional change, welcoming the year
2000 by recruiting vocalist Freddie Pompeii for Hollerin' Goat, a no-bass, brushed-drums blues band focusing on sparse, atmospheric arrangements.
"Forsaken" was one of the first songs I wrote for this band.
What would happen if Dwight Yoakam played with Frank Blank? A common question, of course - right??? With a 16-track home studio in place early
in the 2000s, it was time to experiment. I was always a fan of Yoakam, and when he released the dwightyoakamacoustic.net CD - Dwight stripping
his songs to their most bare element of voice and acoustic guitar - I couldn't resist the opportunity. Though Pete Anderson was already in place
as soloist on this version of "Little Sister," I check in with additional acoustic guitar, electric guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums.
Renegade Frequency: "Coming Down" (recorded 2007)
After Hollerin' Goat, the same three core members decided to fire up the amps again in pursuit of Renegade Frequency, joined by John Lang on bass.
At least partially inspired by the roar of modern Crazy Horse, we rode the notes hard with material ranging from a cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl"
to this original song, "Coming Down" - a look at the opportunities presented by the California hippie scene, as viewed through the predatory eyes of
Black Blank: "Treehouse" (recorded 2008)
And from the roar of the Frequency came another big change of direction - Farnkopf and Blank as a duo, with one acoustic guitar played by Rick and
yours truly on electric. We released the live-in-the-studio Live at Skunkworks CD in 2008, and this song is one of mine from that collection, "Treehouse."
Third Stone Invasion promotional video: "Lazar" (recorded 1998)
In 1998, when Third Stone Invasion was signed to J-Bird Records, part of the marketing campaign was to shoot a video
to accompany our concept album about the alien intervention on Earth. The video was released on the CD itself and had
to be viewed with some long-gone technology, the proprietary "CDK Player." Recently I spent some time with software called
Freemake Video Converter and was able to crack the source file on the CD, and successfully converted it to MP4. It's
definitely not High Definition, but the fact that the quality is kind of fuzzy works artistically, giving it something of a
manic, conspiracy theory feel. The video illustrates the tale of Bob Lazar, who claimed to have worked at Areas 51 and S4 reverse
engineering alien technology. With typical attention to detail (or OCD), sound effects maestro Mitchell Mercurio and I flew
to Nevada and actually shot location video around Area 51. This Herculean effort included renting an AWD vehicle and driving
off-road to reach a trail head leading to the top of Tikaboo Peak, where, after a somewhat dangerous multi-hour climb, you
reach the last public area that provides a distant view into Area 51. Hauling an overload of video gear, various props, and
food and water to the top of the mountain was certainly an adventure. No doubt we could have pulled off similar footage in a less
threatening location, but authenticity rules, so up the mountain we went. The performance video was later shot digitally using what was
at the time leading-edge technology. With Mitchell joining me in the Nevada footage, the performance video features Rick Farnkopf
on guitar, Doug Mosko on drums, and Bill Woolley on bass, along with yours truly on guitar and lead paranoia. Enjoy!