We now have 8/13 mixed tracks completed and just received updated mixes (at various stages of mixing completion) of the other five completed tracks while our mixer extraordinaire Daniel Rice is in New Zealand until February. This has given us enough to really get a feel for what the record is going to sound like, and we now have enough of it to begin to play it for close friends.
Daniel said that he will be happy with this record if only his longtime friend and collaborator likes it. Said friend was rather pleased with what he heard. I wanted my dad to like what he heard, and he immediately went on and on about how much more listenable it is than the last record and how good everything is.
Kelly was at a party over Christmas where they asked about it, and since he had it in the car, he played the completed mixes. Their response was positive, adding alongside it that it sounded like R.E.M. With all the styles we've flirted with on the record, that one is the most consistent. I pointed out that the 7 he had were the ones that most exemplified our R.E.M.-ness. The comparison between Michael Stipe's voice and Kelly Kerr is always more apparent on our records than live, and I think that is the other grounds for their comparison. Musically, we did little that sounds like R.E.M., but his voice is what carries that image the most. Kelly's responses: 1) "There are worse bands to sound like." 2) "They're due for a revival."
We got feedback of a different sort last night at our show. I was looking forward to playing the venue for the first time since the sound guy there was once at another venue where I saw some great shows. His working relationship with Mike Watt and Fluid Ounces and other bands was enough to make him someone I was hoping we could impress and turn into another ally in town. Well, he completey pissed us off first thing, and that didn't help. As the show was ending and he was helping to un-mic the drums, he told Josh, "You had me until Eli Whitney." Three songs in. It left a bad taste in my mouth since I was hoping he'd receive us like the guy at the French Quarter. It was also interesting because it was the first time we really got hit by negative feedback, especially bluntly, in any real form. Plenty of people come to see us and tell us how great we are after the show. Plenty of people clap and all, but we never get much in the way of criticism, good or bad. Some work friends of Kelly's have some problems with some technical aspects of our show, but it was the first time we faced anyone who either treated us like an asshole in a show setting or gave us negative feedback. I guess it shows that we're all going to have to develop some mighty thick skin if we're going to play more shows and try and push this record out to the far ends of the earth.