Sunday, January 18, 2009

the house concert

i played my first house concert last night
at michael and mary's
gavin and i got there around 6
and set up the P.A. in the living room
a big comfy room with really high ceilings
that sort of wraps around into an open kitchen
it was the perfect setting to play in
they'd set up candles and had the lights
on a dimmer
so the ambiance was really nice
about 15 minutes before "doors" we sat
down and had some great pasta
and G had granola cereal which he proclaimed was
the guests started arriving around 7
and by the time i was ready to start it looked like
we had a full house
i stood in front of the fireplace
and everyone gathered round on chairs
and sofas
i'd put a bunch of song titles (28 to be exact)
on slips of paper in a hat to be passed around
and drawn
instead of making a traditional set list
i thought it would be fun to try something random
that i'd never done before
i sometimes find myself going to certain "safe"
songs over and over again
so it felt liberating to give in to the randomness
of michael's magic hat
the first song drawn was "she'd walk a mile"
with instructions for "percussion from the audience"
so we distributed the tub of percussion
i'd brought with me
a kazoo (which gavin found - of course)
almost everyone in the room had something
and then we all played "she'd walk a mile"
the whole experience ended up being one of the best i've ever
had playing music
2 and a half hours flew by
it seemed like 10 minutes
i ended up doing 2 sets and about 20 songs all
when "snowing in my heart" was drawn we all went to the front room
and i hacked my way through a piano version of it
this was in fact my piano performing debut
as i'd never touched the instrument in front of a room full of
people before
(next time i will practice!!)
it was interesting to see what the magic hat delivered
the pacing of both sets ended up being really nice
and more importantly
something i would have never done if i'd been in charge of the song order
there was even one intriguing trifecta of
"it's lonely when you're all alone"
"it's ok to be sad"
which are 3 songs very much related to each other
and all about the same subject
the last song drawn was "stranger in my own skin"
which was a fitting song to end the night on
it reminded me that i no longer feel the way i used to about
in front of a silent group of people
all watching and listening to everything i do intently
i feel safe, loved and happy
not uncomfortable or judged
yes, it's taken me many years to get to this place
but i really appreciate it now
that i've arrived here

thank you michael and mary (and the rest of the gang!)
for a very special night
i will always fondly remember



Thursday, January 15, 2009

the sorcerer and his magic axe

i thought it would fun to run billy through
the songs in the same order we had tackled them
the previous week
"refusing temptation" was up first
he worked on it for about 3 hours
i think it turned out beautifully
particularly the acoustic guitar part he ran through his amplifier
with a delay effect on
after that rhett took us for some indian food
it was nice to get out of the studio
even though i love the studio
"like love" was on the agenda when we got back
and i've got to admit
it's kind of a bear
meaning - it's difficult!!!!!
billy worked on it for almost as long as it took us
to nail down the drums and bass
about 6 hours
we tried some tack piano on the chorus
slide guitar
fuzz guitar
clanky guitar
heavy guitar
piano piano
then rip came in around 7 and i could tell he wasn't buying it
so we worked some more on it with his helpful guidance
it's good to have a team of people you trust
it's not all fun and games making these records
sometimes it's like trying to crack a code on a safe
and the damn thing just won't budge
around 8 we took a rest from "love" and worked on "lashes"
billy immediately opened up a beautiful world for this song to live in
with his gorgeous and haunting soundscapes
we ran my bass through the fender deluxe
put some delay on it and billy put down some bass
you know he's not bad at that either...(see "be here now")
at 9:30 back to "like love"
rip and billy tightened up the verse guitar part
everyone seemed satisfied that we'd gotten it right
so we said goodnight to the sorcerer and his magic axe
(pancho too!)
then rhett and i went off to barley house to see the OHs

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

good times at pleasantry lane

on monday
there were more drum tracks to do
we tackled "if it's not love"
dufilho played this crazy "i fought the law"
meets buddy holly tom beat
which re-defined the song
then we sent him home for the day
and rhett cut acoustic guitars
that night jayme and i watched
"the dark knight"
on tuesday we did two more
"happy birthday (don't die)"
which rocked
then "caroline"
jason garner from deathray davies/i love math
showed up with john
i asked him to play bass on "caroline"
i'm glad i did because he came up with a great
it sounded kinda like bruce thomas from the attractions
who is one of my all-time favorite bass players
around 5 i dropped G off to play with max
then came back to the studio
john jason and rip were working on drums for a drd song
which they're gonna mix thursday in kentucky
billy showed up and dropped off his gear around 5:15
then right after he left and they finished their song
we started in on putting drums and bass
to my song "don't mind me"
tapete wants to use it as the first single but felt like
it would be better suited for radio with some
kick snare bass
jason played bass on this too
they sounded great right outta the gate
after the first take winslow showed up
with jason janik her publicist and carmen b.
they were going to shoot some photos for her feature
in Quick
we continued to work on don't mind me while a photoshoot
took place behind us with winslow in a bouffant pink dress on the brown '70s
it was pretty over the top
the click and flash of the camera while john and jason
raced through 3 or 4 takes of "don't mind me"
with me calling out the chord changes to jason
after take 4 we all decided it was awesome
and then let the photoshoot take over the rest of the studio
i went to go pick up G
raced home
ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner
sat with jayme for a bit (she wasn't feeling good)
and then went back out to the studio
for 3 more hours with rhett
we had him sing and play the 2 acoustic numbers
"bonfire" and "sometimes"

at midnight i collapsed in a heap
and went to sleep!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

happy birthday (don't die)

i spent the week working on rhett's record
with dufilho and rip
we put in some long hours
laying the foundation
it's been a lot of fun
things are going really well so far
the time is flying by
like it does when you're on a roll
we have 7 tracks started right now
in order of appearance:
"refusing temptation"
"like love"
"nobody says i love you (anymore)"
"another girlfriend"
"i need to know where i stand"
highlights include:
dufilho's machine gun snare on "like love"
tracking "girlfriend" live billy harvey style
playing roberto some of the songs for the 1st time
sitting on the couch singing "haphazardly"
laughing about ice cream cakes and the butt bruise story
watching gavin play the tack piano
my goal is to help rhett make a great, classic record
he certainly has the songs
with a seemingly endless supply of brilliant material
which runs the gamut of emotions
thought provoking
always intelligent
always melodic
i've spent most of my life
wanting to be involved in records like this one
literate rock'n'roll with a heart
the excitement is like a surge of electricity rushing through
my body
we're going to spend the next 5 weeks
working on the music until we get it as good
as we think it can be
i'm already restless at night
going over and over all the ideas i have
for each song
this weekend we'll take a little break
i'm gonna play some songs with chris holt
up at opening bell mosaic tomorrow night
and try and spend as much time with j and G
as possible
we're gonna hang our new house numbers
go grocery shopping
watch some spongebob and be as domestic as possible

on monday morning we'll get back to it
billy harvey is coming to town
"happy birthday (don't die)"
and who knows what else
or what we'll achieve