So I'm happy to announce that I finished recording another song today. Of course there are things that I'd like to improve upon, but it does me no good to just hold out forever, hoping that I will lay down that golden track any day now...
Next thing you know, weeks have gone by and you are still working on the same old song. And in fact you've actually started to despise both yourself and the music that you are trying to create. That's what started happening with the last song I was working on.
So in this new track, I'm trying some new techniques as far as recording the drum machine and guitars. I've got a Fender mini amp that I tried playing the drums through to give them a more acoustic presence. For the bass, I just ran it straight into the board. And the guitar is set with a some extra gain through the mini. Vocals are direct in too. The track has minimal effects; I added a splash of reverb and delay to the vox and guitar track for presence and whipped up a little "pan magic" to make it sound a little more live.
Things I'd like to work through include a lot of hissing in the background, figuring out a way to get a clean vocal without overdriving my mic, and getting more than one guitar tone into the song. Enough about what I think, though. Here's the song. Enjoy, "Well".
Alright, so I posted this a little over a week ago, and I'm realizing that I need to put a little more into it than I did. Let's talk about this song, alright? Forget about the technicalities of the recording, and the musicianship or lack thereof (depending on your tastes). As you will be hearing from me quite a bit if you send any amount of time absorbing this blog, there is something of a back story that needs to be observed before I can adequately explain what this song is all about.
It all started with a fellow named Ben. I was fresh out of the army, and working at my first full time civilian office job in Bellevue. I had gotten the job through a very close friend of mine, and was doing pretty well at it when this tall, bouncy guy with tousled and slightly greasy blonde hair, rumpled clothing, and some kind of fire under his ass. He was a temp, and so no one really got on him about his appearance. Besides, his attitude and willingness to work hard more than made up for it.
After he had been working there for about three weeks, I saw him standing by the bus stop after quiting time and so I thought I would give him a ride home. Then rides became a regular occurrence and we eventually started hanging out quite a bit when we found out that we were both really interested in expanding consciousness and spiritualism, meditating, and other soul-related stuff. One SeaFair weekend, we wanted to get to Capitol Hill for something and driving was just not an option, so we decided to walk there.
We had such a good time and felt so good about the whole thing that we made a decision that any time Ben and I were going somewhere together, we would walk and only if necessary would we utilize public transportation. In our prime, we were averaging 50 miles on foot per week with treks that took us from Richmond Beach to Sodo. At one point we covered 75 miles in one weekend. We barely even slept. It became an addiction.
The solitude that comes with being constantly on the move and all of the thoughts that finally had the time to think for themselves led me to figure out what matters to me in this life. Most of the philosophies that I still adhere to were formulated on the road. And though Ben and I would have conversations from time to time, we mostly just gave each other a reason to keep up the pace.
But as lives tend to go, Ben and I started moving in different directions. I was getting saner and saner as I aged (debatable I'm sure) and he was losing grip. I had been fired from my job and he had been hired on as a permanent staff member in my place, and the office environment wasn't kind to his free spirit. He could've been a shaman in a hut and not a dweeb in a cubicle. Should've. But reality is what it will be and times were tough on him. The last time we were together was after a night of music at the Sound Asylum, and he was being extra spacey. He wanted to get on the road, to get moving, and tramp about. Not just in Seattle, but all over. And though I though it was a novel idea, I wasn't about to uproot myself from my band and my life in Seattle. It was all still pretty new to me and I wasn't ready to even consider it. Well, he didn't like that and he went off on a tirade about no one caring what he did with his life, which ended in him slamming his arm in the car door repeatedly to prove that he felt nothing. I don't remember what happened next but I wasn't having any part in his newfound sense of destruction, so I kindly took my leave of his immediate friendship.
After Ben and I stopped hanging out, one thing that remained in my life was the walking. I didn't feel right if a week went by without an inordinately long hike that involved taking the long way around so that I would have a chance to walk down an unfamiliar street. I would be alone in the seediest sections of the CD during the darkest hours of the night just to feel alive. The sounds of the city around me were a constant reminder that I wasn't alone in this world, even if I was in lonely company.
With all of the time I was spending alone on the road, I took up the habit of talking to myself. I was pretty self conscious about it at first, but after a while I stopped caring if I had an audience. But there was this one specific time that I was tramping and I was full on back and forthing with myself in a debate on some incidental or another when this clean cut suburbanite lady crossed my path. As we approached each other, I could see that I was frightening her and that she thought I was going to snap or take her purse or something. I can imagine that from her perspective I looked pretty scary with my frazzled long blonde hair and huge baggy clothing, but I had never really thought about it before then. At first I was in a tizzy about it though. "Who is she to be judging me?" I thought.
When I got home that night I sat down with my Harmony and started riffing out when I came across the chords that I ended up using in this song.
And that, my friends, is the short version. Seriously.
Also, I'd like to add that one of the themes of this song is the internet. It's so strange and beautiful to me that we can express ourselves in a way that can be decoded by people from all walks of life both nw and in to the future.
Here's to Al Gore.