ARTIST NAME: Bing Futch
SONG TITLE: Put You Down
ALBUM TITLE: The Beauty and the Terror
RELEASE DATE: March 31st, 2021
PUT YOU DOWN
What makes you think
You can get away
With the mess you pulled
And the stuff you say?
You may be fine
The most beautiful in town
But that don’t matter a sniff to me
I’m ‘bout to put you down
Go ’head, get ’em on
Them old walkin’ shoes
Well baby since I found ya
I’ve had nothing but the blues
There’s the door, get steppin’
I don’t want you around
Everything is gonna be cool
When I put you down
My best friend Bobby
Says he’s heard from you
Victor, George, and Tommy
All tell me I’m a fool
Is that how you see me
Like I’m some kind of clown?
Well I suppose the joke’s on you
I’m ‘bout to put you down
Don’t let the door hit ya
You fed me b.s. and nonsense
And this is just why I quit ya
Walk away from here
I don’t care where you’re bound
Let someone else deal with your drama
I’m ‘bout to put you down
Using Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele, and a board full of stomp-boxes, Bing Futch celebrates traditional and modern Americana music with passion, humor, and boundless energy. Known for his musical shape-shifting, Bing switches the channels on style and tone with every new song, from his roots-rock and blues originals to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Disney covers.
As a nationally touring solo performer, he’s headlined at such events as The Walnut Valley Festival, The Florida Folk Festival, Old Songs Festival, Indiana Fiddlers Gathering, The Big Muddy, and Common Ground On The Hill.
Bing has enjoyed a career as both folkie and rocker, first with post-punk act Crazed Bunnyz in 1986 and much later in 1999 as co-founder of Mohave on mountain dulcimer. That band, with bassist Mike Burney and drummer McGyver, made their debut performance at the House of Blues at Walt Disney World and would go on to open for Molly Hatchet, St. Somewhere, and The Crests.
In 2006, Bing began performing solo at festivals and music venues across the country. Since then, he has recorded a number of albums and published several music-education books including the best-selling Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101.
In 2014, Bing won the Solo/Duo Artist award in the Central Florida Blues Challenge competition, earning a coveted entry into the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, where he advanced to the semifinals. Several months later, Bing competed in the 2015 Central Florida Blues Challenge and won his category for the second year in a row, which led him back to Memphis to compete in the 2016 International Blues Challenge. There, he advanced all the way to the finals and was given the award for “Best Guitarist” in the Solo/Duo category, despite competing solely on the mountain dulcimer.
Bing’s music has been featured in film, video, on stage, and in exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. He was composer and musical director for “The Jungle Book: A Musical Adaptation” at Stage Left Theater in Orlando, Florida. He also contributed music to the soundtrack of The Castle of Miracles at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.
In 2008, Bing became the first endorsing artist for Folkcraft Instruments and has written a number of books for them, including the best-selling Method For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer. Around that same time, he worked with V-Picks to develop a pick specifically for mountain dulcimers. This collaboration resulted in both the “Bing” Lite and “Bing” Ultra-Lite models.
Typically traveling over 35,000 miles a year in a 32’ Jayco Greyhawk named Marahute, Bing keeps a busy schedule of performances, workshops, and production that includes shooting episodes of Dulcimerica, a video series on YouTube that’s been viewed by millions of people worldwide and is currently in its 14th year. Since the spring of 2020, when coronavirus began to make its presence widely known, he’s been producing music and video from his home in Orlando, Florida, and spending lots of time with his wife, Jae, and a menagerie of rescued critters.
Tell us what your fans are saying about your music.
One of the biggest comments I get is about “The Question” and how it plays out like a modern-day protest song from the 60s. A lot of folks also say that they can relate to “Undertow” regarding the oversaturation of mainstream media and its effects on our day-to-day experiences.
Tell us the factors you consider when writing a song.
Generally, the idea or emotion comes first and that’s usually inspired by some incident or event that resonates with me and sticks for a while. If the feeling fades, then it doesn’t tend to end up as something worth writing about. Once I’m sure of the subject matter, I let the lyrics direct me towards the best musical form for expression. Does it want to be a blues song? Does it want to be light-hearted or heavy? Should it be a country song? Is the singer angry or elated? This is why I can never settle on a single genre because the stories I write determine the style of music.
Discuss the production of the song.
Most of the time, I either work with the melody and chord progression using mountain dulcimer or piano, because I like being able to play through it without any production at all. Makes it easier to perform solo in concert. I use Logic Pro X to record and will usually lay down a temp rhythm track in Drummer as a click, then record the mountain dulcimer or piano all the way through. Depending on the availability of studio musicians, I’ll either write parts, and hand them off to players, or I’ll use software instruments or Band-In-A-Box to generate parts. During this phase, I’ll begin to shape the arrangement and re-edit the drum tracks to be more dynamic. Once the track has begun to settle into its final form, I add vocals and begin tweaking the mix a bit, getting all elements to play nice with one another. The final stretch is all about adding and editing details, smoothing transitions, and second-guessing everything that I’ve worked up thus far. Then it all gets a series of mixes, sometimes starting over from scratch until I arrive at a final mix that more or less matches what I’d imagined all along. I use Izotope Ozone 9 for mastering.
Tell us your best mood to create a song.
I find that I write the best when I’m upset about something. I’m a pretty positive guy, so happiness, contentment, and joy are all sort of my default setting. But when I get pissed about something, or frustrated, it seems like the songs write themselves in the heat of the moment. They don’t always come off as angry songs, but they sure do get written down in bloody red ink.
Tell us the names of artists or musicians you have worked with, in the past.
As far as recording goes, Roger Zimish was the guitarist in my old band, Mohave, and he’s well regarded as one of the best ax-slingers in Nashville. I really miss jamming with him. I recorded with Cajun artist Gina Forsyth on her album Copper Rooster and Other Tunes and Tales, which was a blast. Probably my favorite experience was producing an EP and a full-length album for Wendy Songe, who started as a student of mine and went on to become the National mountain dulcimer champion in 2018. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I’m in Orlando, Florida, so we both drove to Mississippi, met in the middle, and produced the records using my motorhome as a recording studio.
Tell us about your experience performing on stage for the first time or recording in the studio for the first time.
Ha, my first stage performance was atrocious, just terrible. I was using a Suzuki Omnichord and a Roland SH-101 bass synthesizer. My songs were half-baked, my stage presence was needy and I had cooked up this cringe-inducing intro using pre-recorded music from “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” I got paid $50 and felt bad accepting it. First time in the studio was with a band called Teacher’s Aide, I played bass, and I recall the engineer, Duane Evarts, saying: “the bass player’s vocals are particularly egregious.” Other than that, it was a pretty decent start to a recording career.
Tell us how you approach songwriting.
I think it’s fair to say that songwriting approaches me. I think I’m a lazy songwriter, no patience for crafting a song over a period of time. If it doesn’t leap out of the box nearly fully formed, I can’t be bothered with it. I’ve gotten better about it in recent years and I’ve learned to manage my ADHD, which is what I can conveniently blame for anything that sucks about my process.
Tell us your opinion on blending genres or experimenting with sound.
Because I have a wide variety of tastes and interests, but not the dedication to master a number of instruments, I’ve always been a fan of synthesis and I use keyboards a lot to fill out my soundscapes. I’m a big fan of the band, Sparks, and am probably most influenced by Ronald Mael’s use of piano and synthesizers. Sometimes he plays it pretty straight and other times, he gets these really amazing textures that supply so much atmosphere to the song. Again, my patience levels are wanting, so I often use stock patches when I play, but I think it was Peter Gabriel who argued that a song deserved a unique sonic fingerprint that couldn’t be found in any of your other tracks. That usually requires working with a sampler and actually creating a sound specifically for the tune. I think my approach to mashing together styles is in using the mountain dulcimer, because it’s such a unique texture, for one. And those that are familiar with it aren’t used to hearing it dispatched in the way that I do, often layering it both acoustically and effected with distortion or envelopes.
Elaborate on what compels you to go into music.
A high school friend once said about being a musician, “it’s not a question of wanting to.” Ironically, he wasn’t really a musician but I think he really wanted to be. But I agree with him. It’s just in me – and even when I didn’t feel that I was ready for prime time, I was still trying to book gigs and get out in front of people. I’ve never known why, it’s just a matter of having to do it without question. Yeah, I mean, I could say that I’m doing it because I love to be in front of people, or that I’m a born entertainer, but there are much easier ways of going about that. I do truly love music and I guess it’s the only thing that I’ve applied any amount of effort to that actually worked!
Discuss how you record your vocals.
I’m firmly in the comping camp for most songs. Lately, I’ve been using an Electro-Voice RE-20 for vocals, even though it’s primarily a broadcast mic. It’s got a really rich proximity effect and I love to work the chest voice because it’s where I’m most comfortable. Once I set it up, I run through the song several times until I’ve collected what I feel to be a decent amount of takes in each area of the song. Then, I audition the takes line by line and assemble a comped version of the best readings. Interestingly enough, when I listen to the final track over and over, the comped vocal actually helps me ride the pitch center a bit better, and, yes; I do use Melodyne when needed.
Tell us the software you use mostly for recording.
I use Logic Pro X for my DAW.
Elaborate on the song.
“Put You Down” is your basic “oh no, honey, you got to go” blues tune. I wrote it about a girl that I was pretty frustrated with and she did something like blow me off to go hang with some other guy, and that was the last straw for me.
Elaborate on your artist’s name and the title of the album.
My real name is Michael Futch, but the nickname “Bing” was bestowed upon me by an Australian guy named Ian while we were training to be tour guides at Universal Studios Hollywood back in 1989. It stuck and I’ve used it as a professional name ever since. “The Beauty and the Terror” is a line from “The Question”, but it refers to the dichotomy of life, not only in what we observe outside of us, but also within. It’s endlessly fascinating to me that something can be absolutely beautiful at the same time that it’s incredibly terrifying.