Michael “Mike” Braga 86’d from 2017 Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corps ….

*Breaking* LATER ASSHOLE! Space Park Management to violent coward: Thanks but NO THANKS -or- Wife-Beater Takes Beat-Down
Part I.

Around about every five years; the most consistently prgressive, entertaining, competitive and downright bad-ass drum & bugle corps* in the kh2own universe puts together an Alumni Corps….for fun, for old times sake, cuz life starts to suck after age 21, cuz playingin a large group of talented men & women is better than (sex * drugs + rockNroll) ….. to get easily-explainable time off from work/family/friends/poker/kids/your dog/home [all the things that society INSISTS you take part in and enjoy……So we’re all cut out on what-the-world-expects-of-us and why not? If that’s all we did, [musicians especially] it would make for a rough world. (did you know Hitler was a band-geek? yeah-Basson —God I would knock him out just for THAT! AAAAANYHoooooo……)

WHO IS MIKE BRAGA?

I’ll tell the story as it unfolded for this writer in 2007. The timeline is quite jagged; so put on your “Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul/Star Wars/Pulp Fiction/Memento style plot hats cuz the timeline here zigs, zags and jumps…
That year I ran two assembly lines for Metagenics (fmr. makers of professional quality dietary supplements, protein powders & functional foods; my lines always packed that finished-goods, and pills from horse tablets to the barely visible. I digress. I’m running line 4– the phone rings. It’s Joe Rybus, a heavy in Kingsmen Organization and a head-hunter for the hornline. Someone fronted me off to the guy — he knew my name & cell….at least it was a welcome call.

“Am I interrupting” (he is; but…take a guess how many fucks I gave…)
“No….”
“This is Joe Rybus, did you know The Anaheim Kingmen are putting togther an Alumni Corps this year? This is the first time DCI will be held at the Rose Bowl to commerate our innaugural victory at Whitewater in 1971…anyway you wanna join?”
“I never marched Kingsmen”
“Yeah … well see we want to have as big a hornline as possible; so we waved that requirement; in fact; so far most of the members are alums from up north; like yourself!”
“Are you guys gonna play cool shit?”
“Yeah, Mambo, Folk Song Suite, So Very Hard To Go….Firebird...”
“That sounds cool…cant go wrong with Mambo, Williams, ToP or Stravinsky…. how many horns?”
“We have nearly 80; shooting for 120….” (now my crew knows im , not evem trying to work so they take over; a good crew…)
“So you wanna fill the rest with ringers right?”
“Yeah Chris; get it now?”
“….Practice? How do we not get the cops called?”
“One of the members is a principal at school in Anaslime [Joe didnt really say that, but u get the idea] He says we can use the band room and that no one will call for noise if we pack it in by sundown…and its just 30 miles north.”
“Joe I wanna do this, but $ is tight, I can’t tale time off work …..”
“We’re camping at Long Beach State for about 3 weeks before Semis [our last show] all you need is 1 weekend a month till summer, then every weekend, then get most of august.”
–NOTE: Joe’d made this call in 2006 so I had plenty of time to arrange this; plus my work OWED me a decent VAYCAY; I’d never taken even a sick day three years in ….
“$ is tight Joe….I can squeeze the time but I need rides, a uniform, theres no way I can pay fees. I want to help…really is th-
“[cutting me off] “look it’s free; if you need a ride ill get you one….
“I can drive dude; just one more thing; now that im older? 2nd Barry? Lower Lead? ….my chops are in pro-condition so …”
“Got it; Upper Lead Baritione, comped…the next camp is at….”

The rest is history. Sops like legendary sops like Ralphie, Jim Sobacki, Phil Norris and a few other (not Ray!) along with many Big Bore idols, Carl Allison (Freelancers), Doug “Pooh Bear” Kenyon (BD, Colts), Tony Pon (SCV), Charlie Groh(1st Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Item Company, WWI/WW2/Korea)…..they really made it all worth it. Ther all could mop the floor with me; talent-wisae especially. *Fun Fact* – It would be Pooh’s last DC performance – he joined to surpise his daughter at DCI who was in the Colts – a rookie CG (coolest dad ever – RIP ol’ buddy!)
There were about 200 people in the Kingsmen that year; we rocked an honor guard with a full Color Presentation so of those 200, lets say 140 were holding an instrument. Here is a rough estimate of how they broke down:

  • Kingsmen Alumni = 22 percent
  • Freelancers Alumni = eight percent
  • VK Alumni = 10 percent
  • Concord Alumni = 25 percent
  • Santa Clara Alumni = 25 percent
  • Other or band-geeks living out their childhood fantasies 10 percent

Note there would be LOTS of crossover here: SCV/BD, VK/BD, Freelancers/BD, Kmen/BD …etc. Only Marty Jo Basset, Bill Varju and Tim Meehan having marched “the cycle” (VK, Freelancers, SCV & BD; with ho iarble mention that Tim SOLOED in ALL FOUR, Marty “The One Man Party” played upper lead sop in all four; and Bill Marched Contra, Barry (@VK in 95), Mello (BD, yr unknown) and Soprano – A DOUBLE CYCLE!!!!! Credit to Scott Steward as well for marching, though in just two that I know of; check out his 1990 semis solo when he’s like….a fucking 13 year old. (will add YT link if it still exists) Credit also to Jack M. for TEACHING VK/SCV/BD/Troopers and possibly Sac.
*sigh* better get to the meat here …. so we’re camping at LBSU and it’s like a biunch of adults with families/jobs/responsibilities are kids again (we were; well we felt like it; my room Anthony; whom partied 1000th as muvh as I did at that time – we got along famously and are still friends; having marched Renegades & Kingsmen Alumni together (links to follow). Each day we hit a practice field about 500 yrds from the dorms. Stretch. chat, plan, apply sunblock and Gold Bond, sectionals, lunch, ensemble, dinner, then either a show or more ensemble….then party, pass out, rinse & repeat. For us age-outs WE ARE ON CLOUD NINE; praying September never comes.
One week before Our final show (sniff…) at DCI I hear a rumbling that the cymbal section wants to quit en masse. Why? Apparently [to paraphrase] – WE CANT TAKE ONE MORE SECOND OF [MIKE’S] ABUSIVE BULLSHIT. CHOOSE. HIM. OR US. Our Fearless leader and DM Gary Kean investoigated, to find that Braga was running the cymbal line as though this were 1987 and THIS was the 1987 SCV Cymbal line. Lets start with some definitions.
A drum corps cymbal line – an extremely physical job from high school level up to division one (World Class) the cymbal line marches, attempts crazy difficult drill, accentuates the visual feel of the program. Musically all sorts of sounds can be made via scrapes, crashes, “shings” and tastefully marching in front of the battery so they have a crash or ride or (???) cymbal to use on the fly. Cyms are part expert dancers, military-precesion-marchers, elegant musicians and marching masters.
The SCV Cymbal Line – These guys are famous for being “so far over the top as to be obscene. Every time I saw them; they did everything together: they sit together on the drum bus. When the direcgtor (or any staff address them) they stand in a perfect rank, side-toe-contact. They rarely if ever make mistakes. Holes in this line are filled by an audition of 1000 competing for one spot. They eat togther – yes, in a rank. At night, they stack their bunks adjacent, in a rank. Every SCV member busts their ass; but NO ONE works as hard as the cyms. Finally; no one in their right mind would mess with them while on tour; they are tougher than any d-line for any college football team and were they soldiers? They’d return from combat HEAVILY decorated …. pardon the expression but you ever met a group of guys so tight they’s “eat each others’ sh!%?” —ok that’s the SCV Cymbal line for the past 30 years at least.
So Braga, even though, this ostensibly laid-back “Senior Corps” that only rehearses weekends (9-5 in stead of 9-sunup the next day, ‘EIGHT days a week’) and will not receive a score (Sr. Corps are usually exhibition at DCI shows) …Braga is not only acting like he is back in an SCV-hardcore-as-fuck-hand-me-that-bowl-of-shit Cymbal line….he is making threats, making some of his fellow Cym CRY. Doing the opposite of why we took off work and pissed off our kids & significant others – to make visually pleasing, aethetically beutiful, sonically sonorous, loud music – for us, for the fans, for everyone. The sxn reported; AND BRAGA (on the field of honor**) says [PARAPHRASED]

NO, FUCK YOU GARY IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE

 

WIP 1/30

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…again WIP this mess is about a quarter done. Sorry to put you blast Mike….no I’m not sorry….You suck….I’m ashamed to call my self any sort of “alumni” list that beats both our names. You are a disgrace to the Silver Star, The Green Shield and the memory of Gail & Myron. Start my NEVER HITTING ANOTHER WOMAN EVER. If you eant to hit someone….the comment section is below. -c

Part II

Braga decided (at some point) that as de facto Cym section leader of Kingmen Alumni; the best way to run the line was to act like a fascist white-power-prison-gang “grand-intimidator – thinking that excellence could be achieved via anger, cursing, threats, yelling and general douchery. If you’ve been incarverated or not; pictire that Napoleonic psychopath you pray never crosses your path. “I just want to do my time & get out with most of my teeth. Then you meet Braga. He wants to know “who you are, where youre from, what your deal is….are you a narc? He makes comments about your manhood to compensate for his lack of. I mean, what kind of man has two violent strikes for beating his wife? Usually the kind to scared to hit a dude.
Braga created an atmosphere of misery for the other Cymbal players in 2007, thinking this was the right thing to do …. One afternoon at Long Beach State; the Cyms had a meeting w/o their fear[full] leader; they decided marching in the Kmen Alumni no longer fell into the “fun” category. It would be fun if not for Braga; so they took the issue to Kean and said “Him or us.”
Simple, lose the douche. That’s where the story should end. With lightning-strike exceptions; an SCV member or alum obeys on0field orders from staff, section leaders, the Horn Sgt., all techs, consultants, caption heads and the director without question, so with my 1991 Kanstul 3v G Baritone at a pistol; I was shocked to hear Braga ARGUING with the fucking Drum Major!!! He was refusing to leave, saying he did nothing wrong. Kean is a smart, shrewd and peaceful man. He was not about to risk a figth with this hulking ,ass clearly looking for a violent outlet for his maniacy. The KAC rented dorms, a parking structire and a practice field; making the field (thank God) corps property. Member or no; the director/DM asks you to leave its not up for discyssion. NEVER on the field of honor. Before Kean could finish rationalizing “leave no you sciopath. Please leave and dont ever come back.” —several members hit 911 on their cells. The LBSU PD and LBPD showed up quickly. Braga was dragged off the field by them snarling and shooting red daggers out of his eyes, blaming the staff, the corps, the Cyms, Kean, the members, using words I woulnt place in a artice ABOUT the field of honor.
Not Familiar? Any field is a sacred place. Treat it that way if you ever want to march on Game (Saturday) Night. Since the 70s (60s?) Guards say a prayer to field before entering it. Batteries & Hornlines dress as nice as weather allows on the Field of Honor, they don’t swear on it, the NEVER sit on it, They use G-rated language on the field, they act professional; because they ARE. Only the teachers, leaders and technicians talk betweenn takes. Rehearsals are done with a purpose, memberws run back to their sets. Breaks only exist to keep memebers hydrated. We keep out ears open and our eyes up. We treat a painted field better than a board room in our chosen professions. To disobey chain of command, to shout vilent threats, to force law enforcement to drag you pff the field and worst of all; to stalk the corps after like a NeckBeard whose My Little Pony collection came to life…is deplorable.
—–next—–part III. Deep Background & Diane Feinstein….

Style and Code is under construction + Advertiser Audit is in process….

please note that this site may look strange until I have time to tear up the code and test it. in the short-term we wanted all multimedia files to be accessible; in my efforts to customize the footer.php file, the site became deprecated and robbed me of my ability to post certain content, especially music. I noted a bit of renewed interest in the 2007 Kingsmen Alumni Corps, of which I recently located a rare recording, so I cut up “Mambo” (feat. my boys Phil Norris on Soprano and Carl Allison on Baritone). I’ve sacrificed “pretty-looking-and-the-way-I-like-it” for “It works.”—–cant be posting links to music that you cannot see, click or listen too! in the meantime plz bear with the weak-sauce styles, colors, frames…all that good stuff I will spruce up asap. In the meantime I banned two questionable advertisers. No offense but if you want to “spread the word of” *ahem* “JeBus” you can do it somewhere else <------not misspelled see "the simpsons go to [some 3rd world country]" We don't want your money. This is a Los Angeles Jewish-controlled-Media site, as it should be. We are slightly left-of-center. To correct speakers at the RNC 2016 we are not atheists, nor do we “worship Lucifer.” We believe in God. we look at it quite differently from all Christians, this does not mean we have anything against any religion, it just means that this site is primarily a news/tech/commentary blog with an emphasis on design, art, music and editorials. It is not a place to hand out church fliers. The web is a big place….ostensibly, please consider 99 percent of the content to be secular in nature. thx -the publisher, Los Angeles, July 2016
*UPDATE* NUCIFIC.COM also banned – reason – asynchronous multimedia ad featured the truncated backside of an overweight woman in a white “bikini” (…..) bottom. It offended my delicate sensibilities and I wonder who would find the mystery product and/or service appealing BASED on the unappetizing image. Sorry but images of big fat asses (not even my own) are as red flag, especially on a site devoted to aesthetically-pleasing images, media, art, design, code, logic, prose …. and music. apologies if you saw that ad.
Four separate Christianity-based advertisers got banned along with “dookie bootie” on 7/21 & 7/22/2016 for poor taste and misalignment with the design and ethical standards of The SoCal Pic

That said hopefully the advert below is appropriate for me, you and all other readers/contributors/supporters of site. contact me at chris.e.welke@gmail.com if you ever see an offensive or questionable advert put BAD AD ON YOUR SITE in subject line–I will review and get back.




Rough draft of 1996 VK Judges tape is ONLINE! (finally!)….

I’ll be cleaning this up A LOT….but here’s a draft for ya’….check out Antii Karvonen (Solo Soprano) and moi (Lead in Small Ens. Swing to end of opener) during “The Jetsons,” ….to quote Antii, “Damn [We’re] Smooth.” This corps unfortunately did NOT peak at Finals…so Stillwater was as good a show as any we did that year. The GE judge certainly enjoyed it, but…whatever-we blew the ROOF of that joint; crowd went s#!t nuts and that’s all that matters. More pics and info about this historic recording coming soon. Credit to 1996 Soprano Plug and 2015 Legit Pro percussionist Chuck Lopez for rescuing this Gem:

I’ll add some anecdotes about the “issues” that preceded the show where we srsly took the Stadium in Stillwatwer DOWN at some point in the near future. We had to FOLLOW The Madison Scouts that night…. That’s right, FOLLLOW “A Drum Corps Fan’s Dream, Part Dos” on THEIR TURF. Good Lord that was one Bad-Ass show…A Mis Abuelos? Fugettaboutit…. (One of the tour buses broke down; hence VK closed the show—f—ing GUMBY*)

*Accchhem*

CVHS Pride. “Capo Yo!”

SoCal Billy Bad Asses!

West is Best.

Nostalgia See-tay!….eh…this is only a rough draft test…enjoy…speaking of Nostalgia City, while working on getting that old tape published on YT & FB for my associate…I’m listening to this rockin recording we made back in 96…then I note that one you treasured readers posted a link to a sick band – Die Antwoord – that’s Afrikans & OR South African-en for “The Answer.” Their breakout hit Umshini Wam – “Bring me my machine gun” was shown to me ages ago…by another treasured friend …one who’s ALIVE and NOT IN JAIL…but we just don’t live all that close anymore…ANYWAY the 1st time I saw it I found it  “f—ing sweet” – it has a rad beat, the blonde chick and the dude are seriously tight rappers and the visuals are original, absurd.
I dug it right away; scope it out: Looking back there are several touching moments….
Let it be known that Tapper misses having a cool chick to hang out with.
…and I got a new bike: OC Craigslist STEAL OF THE YEAR THUS FAR. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo F—ing Bomb.
—————–PIX!————–
townie1

townie2
…I’ll be Back soon kids…. here’s an ad for you, I hope it doesn’t suck. Plz tell me if my ads ever suck I’m ’bout to go back and start banning advertisers again. I saw a few cruddy ones recently whatever u get my drift ….advertisement:
*The Gumby was the Rookie Bus….I rode on the Schmee-the Hornline Vet Bus…No drummers, no rooks..even though I was one, due to my being 1st “chair” Baritone/Upper Lead Bar… 1st part in our award-winning I&E Mixed Ensemble and my solo/small ensemble (2 Barry’s + 2 Flugels) in the swing section of The Jetson’s….I powered through some serious bulls— from the vis staff and stepped up my marching game to rival my chops—it garnered a grip of respect…with that came regular beatings. Only the old school drum corps guys can understand why being talented or even “good” also leads to getting your @$$ thrashed on a semi-regular basis. Meh. It got me ready for what was to come. Made me harder than steel-reinforced concrete. There’s something about learning how to take multiple/repeated shots to the kisser, breadbox and/or balls that only makes a young man tough…+the ladies like it too. —Going back to high school and dating the girl the quarterback dreams about? AS A BAND GEEK? What can I say? I HAD NO COMPLAINTS JR. YR! HaHa!…BD/SCV/VK Vets in Mission Viejo in the 90s…we showed our respective football teams and other “popular” kids how business got DONE. ———->Dedicated to those who inspired and accomplished same: Brian Kettlehut, Jon Goldman, Sean Billings, Antii Karvonen and Travis Larson + many others. I can only pray today that at some high school…somewhere…as it was at MVHS and CVHS…it’s the guy who marches drum corps dating the prom queen/hottest chick in school…while the star quarterback/runinng back’s GF is characterized as “frumpy.” []

PS-RIP Ray Arias (Euphonium) and Jen Lee (Color Guard) …my girl and my boy. Miss youse guyz much. Love, Tapper.

Tapcast Prototype….

Tapper's new podcast logo prototype
Vector graphic created using Apache Open Office Draw

So WP auto-configs the RSS syndication…still more research to do regarding the PHP code …I’m holding off on adding the iTunes URL to the /rss.php file until I know what it DOES or if I’m missing anything or adding the wrong thing…one syntax error on your PHP scripts and it tears the whole f—ing site down (you must confirm the PHP will echo the correct XML file that can be crawled by iTunes’ particular feedreader. This will take some time to figure out, I’ll publish an appropriate how-to once it’s dialed in)…so for now…it’s 1995, hop in the Chevelle with me and let’s blast some rare 90’s tracks…just a test…future episodes will feature more original content…this is mainly music…very little of my stupid voice. If you were alive in the 90s…you’ll enjoy the punk, ska, brass and drum corps I threw together.
technical specs (all open source):
Runtime environment and Developer kit:
feed-rss2.php edit and testing in Netbeans v8.0.2 IDE (JRE 1.8 & JDK v8u25)
Sun Microsystems …uh….I mean “ORACLE”…. yeah….
Audio:
Audacity v2.0
FFmpeg_win v2.2.2
libmp3lame-v3.98.2
Vector Graphics:
Apache OOv4.1.1 -app: Draw
Artists featured:
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
The Toasters
Rancid
Social Distortion

Social DIstortion
Drum Corps????? you’ll just have to give ‘er a listen to see which closer I picked to cap this cavalcade of music goodness. Oh! and happy New Year.

The (Original) Love Theme arrangement….

chris welke with dominique mainon, la,ca

In loving memory. Dominique. Mother, Daughter, Writer, Artist, Creator, Educator, Thinker, Researcher, Philosopher, Colleague, Nurturer and Friend. 1970-2012. RIP Dear Heart.

A better version….//draft located recently avoids FB backlinks…”raw cut”
WIP: Recover chops post-surgery to remake an at-minimum better recording.
This arrangement was created in memory of Dominique….who shined everlasting hope, knowledge, honor, courage and above all LIGHT and happiness into this writers life.
Dear readers – since so many of you listen to me and actually take to heart some of my suggestions and ideas…please visit the blog her loving stepmom created… it will enlighten you, warm your heart and give details as to the best way to help Dominique’s two children.
Mainly, if you go to amazon.com and purchase one of her wonderful nonfiction books on film theory and history, most of that money will support her family. She far out-shined me in writing ability, and if you maniacs find my web junk readable… (you do …why? idk…maybe see a shrink?) you will greatly enjoy her work. There is a great deal of unpublished works and stories and screenplays…even film that is as yet unpublished…how to get that done is a task I promised to complete, but 1000s of pages of notes, scripts, stories, storyboards and tapes are sadly missing (at least to me) we spent years assembling this work…it would be a great shame if this work is staling in a garage or storage unit or worse, in a landfill. All I have is 5 pages of notes (just brainstorm scribble she wrote down) and what I can remember….they are not my stories, Dominique painstakingly wove them over a lifetime…all I did was transcribe, organize, edit and consult. Some of the screenplays would blow your mind…2 or 3 of them I could recreate from memory, but the quality would be reduced and if I sold them? Of course every cent will be donated to her family. Finding the notes? hard. Finishing the work and marketing it? The three I can roughly outline in my head will sell. the rest that my awful STM has lost…same. “10 out of 10 studios WOULD BUY AGAIN.”
Continue reading "The (Original) Love Theme arrangement…."