Thursday, June 25, 2009

Practice Space

I was very happy to have our inaugural practice at my old home, henceforth referred to as our "practice space." You'd think that if three of four dudes in a band each have houses that of course we'd have a regular practice space, but no. Kelly's and Daniel's houses have been the popular places, but we always have to set up and tear down because we're in high traffic areas of the house. My house wasn't good because of Josh's cat allergy. Now that I'm married and living in another house in Inglewood, my house is vacant until I sell it. With eleven songs written for the history record and plenty more work to be done, I have been excited about getting a place where we can leave everything set up and have plenty of room to set up and play. Better still, my ever intrepid brother walked around while we were playing last night and deterined that playing underground in the basement won't really disturb the neighbors, so we can practice much later than the other places, where 8:30 was pushing it (even though Daniel's neighbors always had good things to say about us, going so far as to invite us to play their 4th of July party for 2010--guess they already had this year booked).

Still, all this is good. I was in a hurry yesterday to get it ready, so I made some cosmetic changes after everyone left and adjusted things with the drums and PA and amps all in place. I think it'll help to expediate the process of completing this project, which is taking more shape and becoming much more interesting than I had ever really imagined.

Now if we can only align four schedules to practice...


Everyone is back!!!

Saturday's show was great. I was veyr well received and the rest of the band came out. We had a good time chilling afterwards, discussing all the things to come.

Last night we all got together for a practice. It was great. You couldn't even tell we have not played in nearly 3 weeks. We ran through every thing with little to no hiccups. After a break we worked on the new song "Gold Rush" and the forever sitting song "Commodity." Both came together almost immediately. Another practice, it will be perfect. For real!

We have been selected to be Chris Freeman's back up band for a show on July 25th @ The Boro. This is going to be a lot of fun for us because we love Chris Freeman's music and feel honored he even thought of us.

More plans to record but nothing in stone. We have the two new(er) tunes to work up before we head back. That gives us 5 songs that are "ready" and just need practice. That has been the nice thing about the two forementioned songs, not a lot of work is needed on the actual song, just practice to make it tight. Hopefully we can get it together with all that we have coming up. If not, there is always August, but no one is standing above us begging, getting it right the first time is the key, plus, we want to enjoy our time in the studio and not feel rushed to be somewhere before or after.

More new tunes coming. Everyone is thinking up stuff for Dear Abby. In a few more days, I should have the last few more songs finished. There may be more after, but I think the 14 we will have will be enough to work with. I am certainly not going to stop, just back off.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's Been Kinda Lonely

Peach gets back from Italy today. Josh is coming over to record demos, and Tha D will be back from NC. What a day.

It's been a lonely week. For the last month we've been hard at work as a band, and all this week, I;ve been at work alone. This is good, but with Josh's work schedule and the other two out of town, the communication has been minimal or non-existant. It makes a musician feel lonely. But thats ok. Everyone will be back today.

I guess I feel that way because we've been hitting practice hard lately. Even during the wedding rehearsals, we managed to get some band stuff worked on. From April to June 6th we were playing together alot. I want more of that. Especially now Ive got close to 5 new songs to bring to the table and we have Commodity sitting in the queue.

The more I listen to the Commodity demo, the more I think it will be easy to do. It could be longer (as I mentioned before) but its a very basic song. For some reason, I'm not sweating it. Plus, I realized, that song is kinda depressing....seriously....Not in a "sad bastard" way, just in a sort of "reality" kind of way......

Come out to Blue Coast Burrito to hear me play all Tito Puente covers, and maybe a few history songs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Track

It's Thursday and only two more shopping days until my guest appearance at Blue Coast Burrito.

I have been hard at work on all these new songs. So hard at work, I came home yesterday and passed out. I made dinner, watched a movie, and passed out again. My brain couldn't function.

Not all has been wasted. I recently got a new music program for my MAC called Ableton Live. This is a multi-track recording thing but I have not been using it for that. I have been creating some beats and instrumental tracks. My computer is a Mac, which means it does not come with an input, and like all Apple products, they make you buy something. So I can record any live tracks yet, but as soon as I can get a USB thing to bring in audio from an alternate source, it's on! I have a ton of 4 track stuff to mix down and it's a pain getting with Peach to use the mini-disc because we are both on polar opposite schedules, or we both often forget. This will solve some problems.

I added an extra vocal track to "Dear Abby." This is my feeble attempt at doing harmonies with myself. I also found the old "Bring Out Yr Dead" and recorded myself playing the "new" verison. It's funny I refer to it as new when we've been doing it that way for well over a year now. I also cleaned up the "Know It All" demo I made in Feb/March. Since that one is practically done for the record, I just removed the really bad organ part. It sounds better without.

Josh will be here tomorrow to make demos of "Gold Rush" and possibly "Observe and Report." This will be fun because we will have the mixer from Josh's PA and multiple microphones running into the 4 track. I think we're just going to jam it out for a bit and then hit the record button and see what happens. Sounds like a good friday night ahead.

We had plans to be in the studio this saturday but it's not going to happen. Tha D ended up having to go to North Carolina for work and Josh couldn't get off work. Plus Peach is getting home from Italy the day before. Bad timing. More plans to return to Gravity Boots are currently underway.

So tonight should be interesting. I'm going to try and finish up my song about Nikola Tesla and then cut it off and start practicing for saturday. I've been hitting the practice hard so I can avoid using a music stand. We will see how all that goes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stuck, but squeezing through

It's been a pretty productive week, and it's only tuesday!

The show on friday night was great. I played "Dear Abby" for the first time. I stumbled through it but it still worked.


Welcome To The Working Week
Bring Out Yr Dead
Eli Whitney
Bob Dole
Know It All
Dear Abby
I Bought The Farm
Outdoor Type (w/Jimmy Australia)
It's A Shame About Ray (by request)
I Only Play for Money (the frogs)
Great Stink
Man VS Cheetah (first half)
Marsha (chris freeman)

All in all is about 32 minutes. This guy named Jimmy Australia joined me for Outdoor Type because he knew the guy who wrote it. He then requested another Lemonheads song, so I played Ray. It was good times.

I have been plugging away long and hard on this thing. I have progressed to the 4 track phase of all this new stuff, which really seals the deal on the lyrics (or the white paper and sharpie phase).  Last night I completed the demo for "Dear Abby" and got started on several others. Josh will be joining me on thursday/friday for the demo recording of "Gold Rush." After this short break and some dinner, I will then proceed to begin working on another tune called "Observe and Report." This song is meant to be about the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Thomas Jefferson, blah blah. It has been given a Lemonheads treatment, and was written in about 10 minutes. I am very proud of that ten minutes because last night as I was finishing up and getting ready for bed, I decided to do a little improv into the 4 track and out this came. The chords were written down and the basic lyrical ideas were noted. I wrote the words at work today. I tell ya, some days it's just too easy.

On the agenda is an instrumental I came up with by layering 4 tracks of casio keys. This one has a future! Plus I need to devote some more time to "Tesla," which is near completion.

For Those coming to the show on saturday night, here is the setlist, no surprises!

Lies (my teacher told me)
Bring Out Yr Dead
Know It All
Great Stink
Eli Whitney
Bob Dole
Dear Abby
Election: 1800
Gold Rush
Whiskey Rebellion
Observe and Report

Order subject to change because I'm experimenting with the track listing. I will not play "Let's Go To War" because it will not be as good solo. Thats how good the band is at playing that one!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Song List Grows

After about two weeks of hard work, I managed to knock two new songs in one night last night.

The months have been busy, but this week was quiet enough for me to concentrate on the record. Most of the week was just me jamming and making notes, but last night, I emptied my big stack of papers onto the floor, forcing myself to sift through everything. After 8-9 piles were made, I picked up the guitar and wrote "Dear Abby."

"Dear Abby" is a song about Abigail Adams. It was supposed to be sung from John's point of view but it is being sung from Abigail's. The title may have to change because of that. I managed to peice together every little note I made for myself, promising myself I would go back later and put it together. This song features a capo on the 4th fret!

Speaking of capos and 4th frets, Election: 1800 is now new and improved from last night, featuring a capo on the 4th fret! It sounds better this way. I also changed the words around and the song flows better than it ever did.

Another tune that pretty much came out and wrote itself is called The Gold Rush. This song has been a jam at band practice that we have been referring to as "typical southern rock song." Like "Whiskey Rebellion", this one just came out. All I had to do was clear my head and concentrate. Took about an hour.

After some clean up and practice for tonight's show, I had to call it a night, so I will tackle the 4-track with these new tunes during the weekend.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Restaurant Tour 2009

I have two solo shows coming up!

The first is next week on June 12th @ Tomato Tomato. The second is on June 20th @ Blue Coast Burrito. I'm calling this my "Restaurant Tour 2009." I will be doing to majority of the material for the new record. I've got many new songs, most of which the band has not heard, so this will be a good time for them, and you, to come out and hear the new songs, and rock out.

I had to break down the music room because we had a show and my brother was staying with me, but now that I'm back from a mini-vacation, I have spent yesterday setting it back up only to realize the microphones I use to record are at the practice space! Oh well. I broke out the old radioshack mic and its a goner! After about 10 years, its about time it died. I was left without a way to capture my sounds, so I plugged my new Casio pt-30 into the four track and dropped some sounds down. I spent some time working out lyrics to prepare for when I can make some more demos.

I've got to catch up on some demos. I never made one for Bring Out Yr Dead, and if I did, I can't find it, or its on a different cassette that went unlabeled. I may just knock it out even though we already recorded it in the studio. I still need to mix down the Know It All demo and remix the Bob Dole demo. I gave it another listen and it could be better. I found the very old Eli Whitney demo I made in January 2008. So, there is plenty of mix-downs to do. Plus I need work on Commodity for both upcoming shows. My only beef with that song is that its too short. I could handle another verse. Maybe Peach will write one. If not, no biggie. Maybe a bridge? Maybe a coda?

Ive made alot of progress for only being back a day. "Tesla" is coming along and needs to be demoed so I can play it live. "Lies My Teacher Told Me" is also ready for live and 4 track treatments.

So if you want to hear what I have been up to...come to the shows!

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