Covering "Call Me" (Blondie)

Got a call for a gig and I need to cover Blondie’s “Call Me”. After a bunch of investigation I found out that it was actually Giorgio Moroder, not Blondies band who played on the track (and apparently Harold Faltermeyer played the solo).

Giorgio probably triggered his Moog to do this part (similar to what they did in Beat It by MJ, which I also have to program for this same gig).

I played the triplet ostinato part in a band years ago by playing it with the same patch in a multi in octaves (e.g., MIDI notes 26 and 38).
I’ve also tried to do it with a delay, but the bands have never been consistent enough to make this NOT a train wreck at some point during the song.

I need to be able to alter the tempo slightly to stay in sync, and I’d like to be smarter about it this time and use the power of VST’s and Cantabile to do it (and not have my hand fall off - those triplets are tough, and then I have to drop out for the synth solo because I’m not very coordinated anyway :slight_smile: ).

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Use the Arturia 2600 emulator
  • Setup a sequence repeating the notes in a triplet tempo that follows the keyboard.
  • Live I’ll actually play quarter notes instead of the triplets, and then let the tap tempo feature in Cantabile keep the sync pretty close with the rest of the band.

Before I spend a huge amount of time, does anyone think this is a crazy idea?


We do this one with an arp doing the triplets, drummer has my click in IEM (we run a silent stage). We do this on a few songs. If your band isn’t used to clicks I wouldn’t bother - the song stands up fine without.

Not at all crazy!

I use arpeggiators for this kind of stuff (e.g. Queen’s Radio GaGa) - there’s a wide range of VST synths that have this kind of simple arpeggiator (e.g. Hive). I rarely bother with tap tempo syncing - I set the tempo of the song to what we aim to play the song in and as long as I re-start the arpeggiator every quarter or half note, the deviations aren’t so bad.

Just holding the note and letting the arp do its stuff for multiple bars is a non-starter though, unless you play to a click.



Thanks. I’ll try the simplest approach then, and since they don’t want to play to a click (heathens :slight_smile: ), I’ll get close enough with the arpeggiator and just retrigger quarter notes.


Perish the thought of getting a drummer to play in time to a reference! :slight_smile:

Seriously, Torsten gives good advice if you are clickless. Personally I am so used to playing to click now since 2008 it doesn’t both me in the slightest!

Tempo follower works well with my Yamaha Montage. Ableton has the same if you use it like a vst player, or even for backing tracks. I know it’s expensive, but I never have to worry about tap tempo, a click or drift from a live drummer for the purist clickless bands that sound like crap (JK!). It stays on beat even if the tempo strays significantly. I’ve played Call Me live many times. Never heard a drummer do it right LOL! Call Me doesn’t fill the dance floor as expected strangely enough. But then again, it could be the crappy keyboardist (that would be me). I hope Cantabile develops a tempo follower. That would be amazing! Maybe it already has it! I don’t know.