Mark Minassian, aka I Am Winkle Newsletter


I Am Winkle, aka Mark Minassian,

The Winklehead Report

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As I spent the Winter months hunkered down in cozy Rosemill Studio thoughts of summer's warm sun, hot sand, and rolling ocean waves provided the inspiration for my recent divergence into instrumental surf music, a genre popularized by the late Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar, and bands like The Ventures, The Shadows, The Safaris, and The Torquays among many others. Now that Summer is truly on the horizon I'm happy to unveil some new, original surf-guitar songs (nouveau-surf you might say) performed as my surf band alter-ego, Into the Soup. Each of the three songs featured  ---Sea Breeze Serenade, Camel Soup, and Run Sammy Run---has its own origin as you'll learn when you read the accompanying write-ups.

Also featured are two songs performed by classical guitar extraordinaire, Tony D'Addono. One is a beautiful song that he composed called "Sogno" (which means "dream" in Italian). And there's also another in his series of interpretations of classic Beatles songs, a video performance of "I'll Follow the Sun."

I Am Winkle, aka Mark Minassian with Jazzmaster and Fender Champ XD

And speaking of '60's tunes, whether or not you recognize the song title "Itchycoo Park" listed below, I hope you'll enjoy a new version of the classic psychedelic-pop song originally performed by the Small Faces in 1967. Rosemill Studio recently participated in a remix contest sponsored by Eventide Audio where we were provided the raw tracks of a new version of the song recorded by veteran Americana artist James Maddock and his band. Although we had to complete that task in just one week we tackled the project with gusto as the original was always a favorite tune of ours. We didn't stray much from the trippy sound of the original version and would welcome your comments on the song.

If you enjoy any of the music here, please follow the link to the I Am Winkle website where you'll find more of my original songs. I've recorded in many pop music styles throughout the years, so I know you'll find something to like. And if you do, please share with friends and social media. By the time you next hear from me I hope to have completed two more surf-guitar songs (currently in the works) in my instrumental surf sojourn completing my collection of songs to be titled Surf Six. I may even have a new vocal tune to share. It's all a lot of fun and particularly satisfying when a song of mine hits home with someone. Hopefully you'll feel that way about the new version of "Itchycoo Park" and the latest songs from my whimsical surf band, Into the Soup. Enjoy!

Photo by Hannon Calla Fearn

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The latest releases.

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Below are six of my most recent projects. The songs by my alter ego surf band, "Into the Soup" were recorded in my home studio and were produced by sound engineer, Leo Valentino and me. We also mixed Itchycoo Park as performed by veteran Americana artist James Maddock.  The sound recordings and video of Tony D'Addono were recorded and produced by me alone. Just click the pics and enjoy!

Camel Soup

Camel Soup 

Originally it was my intention to use the eponymous Into the Soup as the title of the song. But after my good friend guitarist extraordinaire, Tony D'Addono, heard a demo of the song and said it brought to mind camels and the desert it morphed itself into Camel Soup. Besides his influence on the title special thanks go to Tony for his insightful suggestions on the arrangement of the bridge section of the song and to Carolyn Asti for her whimsical artwork on the soup can that was used for the cover photo.

Sea Breeze Serenade

Sea Breeze Serenade

Homage to the 50s wrapped in a surf song ballad with a touch of Hawaiian guitar style playing, this is the second release of my venture (pun intended) into writing surf music. The leads were performed on a Fender Duo-sonic, rhythm parts on a Fender Jazzmaster, and bass parts on a Fender Mustang bass. Guitars were played through a Fender Super Champ XD and recorded direct using a 50W Weber Minimass (power soak).

Cover artwork by Carolyn Asti.

Run Sammy Run

Run Sammy Run

I was 16 years old in 1968 and my brother John and I were totally absorbed by the current music of the day. My parents were quite used to having music playing nearly all the time when in the house or the car.... at least when we were around. One day while sitting on the front porch with my Mom (one of the funniest people I have ever known) she asked me if I could play "Run Sammy Run". Not knowing any songs with that title and knowing my mother's penchant for twisting the English language a tad (a first generation descendant of immigrant Italian parents) I searched my memory for what song she might be referring to. I answered with a perplexed expression on my face, "Do you mean Walk Don't Run*?" With that typical innocent smile on her face when she knew she hadn't quite gotten something right, she said, "Yeah that one."

So after writing my first surf song all these years later I had it in my mind from the start to write another one and dedicate it to my mother, and what better title than "Run Sammy Run"  performed by my surf band alter ego, Into the Soup. Here's to you Mom, surf on...

Cover artwork by Mark Minassian.

*Walk Don't Run became one of the most well-known instrumental guitar songs ever recorded after its release by The Ventures in 1960. It's considered an important predecessor to the surf rock movement that began in the early 60s. The Ventures went on to release the song four more times including the year 1968.

James Maddock's version of Itchycoo Park originally recorded by the Small Faces. Mixed and mastered by Mark Minassian (aka I Am Winkle) and Leo Valentino.

We completed this mix in just one week faced with the looming deadline for Eventide Audio’s Itchycoo Park Challenge, a remix contest in which hundreds of professional and home studios produced a new take on the classic 1967 psychedelic song by The Small Faces. Veteran Americana artist James Maddock and his band of studio musicians recorded the raw tracks at Hobo Sound Studios in New Jersey. Rosemill Studio in Pennsylvania had the pleasure of molding them into the finished product that you’ve found here. We didn’t stray much from Maddock's version of the original song, making more subtle tweaks except for the addition of the solo vocal opening and acoustic guitar/ukulele tail.

Performances by Tony D'Addono

Sogno (Click song title to play.)

A  wonderful and masterfully performed song called "Sogno". It was recorded and mixed in my home studio and written and performed by classical guitarist, Tony D'Addono. 


I'll Follow the Sun

I recorded and videotaped several of Tony's wonderful transcriptions of classic Beatles tunes earlier this year. I'll Follow the Sun is the second in the series. The silhouette woodburning of the Beatles was done by Carolyn Asti. More songs in this series to come. 

Visit Tony's website for more great classical guitar music.

Visit Carolyn Asti on Facebook for more great artwork.

Click the pic below to play.

I Am Winkle


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