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Next month around this time is California Extreme. It’s the best arcade show I’ve ever been to — tons of pinball and arcade collectors bringing their prized possessions out of their basements and home game rooms, only to set them on free play for everyone to enjoy for a weekend. Jude and I have gone every year we’ve been able to for the past several years; one year, Jude brought his Gauntlet and gave a little something back. It’s well worth the price of admission, and the show has recently moved to an even better location.

Now it’s tougher for us both to make it to CAX — Jude’s on the east coast, I’m in SoCal — but we’re still planning to attend this year. And we are going to make the most of it. We are not doing a live concert (sorry), but we are doing something special beyond just enjoying the expo — and, depending on how crazy you are, you may be invited to participate. Remember how we solicited for people to sing along on “Learn to Spell?” I think this is cooler.

If you have any desire to be involved, buy your tickets now and comment below when you do.

TalkRadar — the internet’s filthiest, ramblingest, drinkiest podcast — hit its centennial episode recently and they named us one of the 100 things that makes the show special. And that’s “special” as in “unique and awesome,” not “special” as in “Olympics” — but nobody would blame you for making the mistake, because, come on — it’s TalkRadar.

Anyway, we debuted “Wii Christmastime” on episode 29, and the whole TalkRadar crew has been very supportive of us, playing our songs and giving us exposure to all their perverted little fans. And we really, really appreciate that.

So the very least we can do is return the favor. Go listen to TalkRadar 100. It’s only six hours long.

First, thanks to everybody for feedback on Arcade Gaming Shrine. It really seems to have gone over quite well, and we are both proud of it. We suspect there will be some interesting fan videos using MAME footage before too long.

The lyrics are posted at YouTube and Entertonement but I’m trying to figure out how to best post them here too — with the song, on their own page, just in the blog? Dunno. But I did realize that there were some lines that didn’t make it that you might find interesting.
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Palette-Swap Ninja is proud to announce the availability of our latest song, “Arcade Gaming Shrine,” a loving parody of “1985″ by Bowling For Soup. You can download it here — just right-click the link and select Save File As or Save Target As or whatever your browser tells you to do.

For details on this track, click the link below.
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One of the questions we frequently get is “when will I be able to play Palette-Swap Ninja songs in Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Insert Music Videogame Franchise Here?”

The answer is both “never” and “now.” It’s never for the same reason that we do not charge for our songs: we only own partial copyright. The recording, the lyrics — those are definitely ours. However, the music/songwriting? Clearly the work of the original band. We pay a licensing fee for each song we record, but we do not have the rights to give our masters to the Rock Band Network or the Guitar Hero team and say “Thanks, have fun.” If we ever write an original song, then we’ll have the rights to do with it as we see fit, and we could approach the games about it. But until that time, the nature of what we do is derivative, and therefore we must respect the people who created the original works.

However…the answer is also now. All you need is a copy of the lyrics and you can sing whatever you like when you play the original songs by the original artists. So, here’s what we know is available so far:

ROCK BAND FRANCHISE
“Halo (All I Play-Oh”) – “Snow ((Hey-Oh))” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, as Rock Band DLC
“Vista Drivers” – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, on the Rock Band 2 disc
“Learn to Spell” – “Gives You Hell” by All-American Rejects, as Rock Band DLC

GUITAR HERO FRANCHISE
“Vista Drivers” – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, on the Guitar Hero World Tour disc
“Learn to Spell” – “Gives You Hell” by All-American Rejects, as Guitar Hero DLC

As long as you hit the right pitches, the games do not care what words you sing. Have a few drinks and try singing the words “fruitcake” and “pants” to every song; as long as you are still hitting the notes, you’ll do well.

If you have ever wanted some Zazzle merchandise, now is your chance. I think we’re going to be parting ways very soon.

I personally had an issue with Zazzle a few months ago when they told me that photos we’d taken for a calendar infringed on copyright. I lost that battle and had the calendar made elsewhere, but vowed I would find a new place for PSwap swag too.

When we uploaded the first PSwap designs to Zazzle, we were immediately challenged on ownership — strange, since we had already legally asserted our ownership by uploading, per Zazzle’s own terms of service. But we went through the extra red tape anyway and life went on.

These lyrics belong to us.

Well, today, they told us one of our shirts infringes on Bungie’s copyright. We have a shirt featuring a line from “((Halo)) All I Play-Oh” on the back. A line that we wrote.

We are not using any imagery of Halo or its properties. We are not claiming affiliation with Bungie. We are Halo fans. We used the word Halo. That, says Zazzle, is infringing.

The lyrics are copyright of Palette-Swap Ninja. We wrote them. This is not even open to debate and we have the legal right to put them on a t-shirt and sell that t-shirt. The whole reason we went with a text-based shirt was because we knew we had to use something we truly owned; we did not want some overactive lawyer to make it an issue.

Zazzle’s overactive lawyers have made it an issue.
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The meeting went off without a hitch. We got to have lunch with a handful of our supporters who were able to make it to the show, including JugglerOfGeese, Xiantayne, HeartbreakRidge, SitSamBry, and Kdorff. We took over a section of the food court and LAID WASTE TO IT. Total irresponsible rock and roll behavior. Okay, we really just sat there and talked for a good 90 minutes, and then we bussed our tables politely. But it was great to meet people face to face and talk about stuff. Thanks to everybody who could make it!

More details about what you REALLY missed after the jump, including incriminating photos.
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I am happy to say that Jude and I will be at PAX East 2010 at the end of the month. Specifically, we’ll both be there on Sunday. We’re not performing at or near the show because we didn’t have time to put something together; we aren’t really currently equipped for live performances anyway. I am thinking it might be fun to sing our lyrics over one of the Rock Band editions of the real songs. I might be able to pull of “Padding Your Gamerscore” live, if I can remember the words, and if it exists in a music game…which for some reason I do not think it does.

But even if we don’t perform, we do like pizza.

So the idea is that we say “Hey, Sunday at 1pm, we’re going to get lunch at Regina Pizzeria, which is right outside the convention center; any PSwap fans are encouraged to stop by and say hi.” We don’t have the cash to buy everybody lunch, sorry. But we would like to meet some of you folks and shoot the proverbial breeze.

What do you think? I mean, we’ll be eating pizza at 1pm there whether you come or not, but it’d be nice to see you.

UPDATE: No more “maybe” about this — we’ll be at the Boylston Street Regina Pizzeria at 1pm, telling making-of stories about the tracks and geeking out about PAX itself. Dan will be wearing his burgundy Palette-Swap Ninja shirt. But you probably know what we look like anyway.

UPDATE 2: I have scoped out the joint and the pizzeria in question is actually in the food court at the Prudential Center, which is the mall directly linked to the Convention Center. So you don’t even have to leave the complex to join us, and you are not required to eat pizza — there’s also Chinese, burgers, and many other options. And now we know there will be ample seating. Palette-Swap Ninja: We’re Cheap Dates!

Great, someone else that needs to learn to spell.


In late February, Jude got the “Spawned a Daughter” co-op Achievement with his wife as they welcomed Jacquline Marie Kelley into the world. Mom, dad, baby, and keytars are currently doing fine.

If it was a boy, I feel certain it would have been named Roland.

So you may or may not have heard, but Dan got a new job (again), and it required relocating to Los Angeles. That’s all done now, and the boxes are mostly unpacked. In the course of moving, he sold his Mac (which was used for PSwap recordings) and upgraded to a new machine. Trouble is…not all his old hardware works on the new machine yet. Snow Leopard driver issues. They will be resolved and music will resume.

The second half of 2009 really didn’t go as planned; the two-jobs-in-four-months thing did take up a lot of time and mental energy, and all the while we were hearing “when is the next song coming out?” The fact that you even want one is a compliment, and we will make good on our slackery in 2010.

It did not escape our notice that some of you bought PSwap gear for holiday presents, and we appreciate that too. More than anything, we appreciate your patience, because we know you want to hear new music. We want to make it. We just have to get rid of these pesky real lives first…

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