Thursday, January 28, 2010

Solo @ San Fran 27/01/2010

Dog with a bone
Over you
How do I live (without you) ?
Foolish man
Was it something I said?
Jesus & the man
Not my best show, but focusing on the positives. 'Intro' is always an arresting way to start so I had people's attention. The next track was a new one 'Dog with a bone'. It's a good song but has some intricate guitar work that needs to be heard properly to be appreciated. I didn't think the guitar was loud enough & it felt like it was being missed & sure enough, the people I'd grabbed with the opening track started to drift away. You can always tell when an audience has shifted focus & it definately happened during this track. You can't let it throw you though so I played through, the song got stronger in it's second half but by then I'd lost half of the audience. Literally. They walked out! 'Over you' suffered from the lack of momentum from the previous song & it wasn't till I slowed right down with 'How do I live?' that I started to feel reconnected to the audience. It's a lovely slow number about a friend of mine who fell in love with a women while he was on holiday. It has one of my favourite lyrics in it:
"I'd paint your picture/but what good would colour be to me?"
'Was it something I said?' is another song I enjoy playing which isn't particularly suited to the band so it was nice to break that out. I'm planning on visiting the above mentioned friend later this year & recording a solo record. These tracks will all be recorded then. I finished with 'Jesus & the man' which is a song based on the film 'Apocalypse now'. It's quite a confronting song with the film character Kurtz renamed 'Jesus'. For those unfamiliar with the film Colonel Kurtz is killed by another soldier, Captain Willard (renamed 'the man' in the song) after he locates Kurtz in his compound in Cambodia. It's a surreal, vivid & confronting film about madness & the hypocrisy of war. It's also a stunning film & I wrote this song within a day of seeing it, it came very easily. I love playing it but it's not the easiest song to listen to & if you didn't know the back story to the song you'd just be hearing about Jesus being killed. Definately open to mis-interpretation. But I was determined to play it because as a piece of art/music it's a powerful piece that deserves to be heard. & the point of art isn't always to be nice & safe, sometimes it's uncomfortable & confronting so I definately put this track in that category. But it doesn't make it any less valid.

Colonel Walter.E.Kurtz

Anyway, enough justifying my song choices, overall it was good to be playing again, my voice got through ok, it took a few songs to warm up but it was fine by the end.

Next up is a slot with my friend Caleb as 'The late greats'. We play covers, he does most of the singing so I get to sit back & work on my guitar playing & backing vocals. It's nice to just be the support guy sometimes. : )
Till then..

Monday, January 4, 2010

Recording 2: Lordy, Lordy, Lordy

Here's some pics of our recording day last year:

This first one is, from left, Allan, myself & Graeme. Allan is the vocalist/songwriter/main man of Graeme's other band the Rodrigoe Brothers. He's built himself a studio in his basement. Quite cool to be there recording..

This is the band, the main thing we recorded on the day were Mikes drums. He's on the left there.

Finally, this is the equpiment it all gets recorded on. That's the reel to reel tape in the middle of the picture with the mixing desks in front of it. I'm helping myself to the complimentary toast & coffee during a short break in recording. We pretty much blasted through the tracks in order to get as many as we could get done in the one day. I think we only did three double takes the whole time otherwise the rest of the songs where recorded in one take. It was a great effort for Mike to get 10 tracks done in one session. Hopefully it'll lend the final sound a 'live' quality.

I went back in on the 23rd Dec & did guitar, vocal & harmonica for 'Portrait', I used a 12 string guitar which was lying around (you can see the neck of it behind my arm in the last photo above). It lends itself quite nicely to the song. I've always been a fan of 12 strings they just have that awesome ringing tone to them. It was quite difficult though because we only started using click tracks to count in from the fourth song we did so I had to try to time the early part of the song before the drums start. I think I got the speed wrong so it sounds a bit funny. I'll listen to it again the next time I'm there, if the spirit of the song has been captured I won't worry about it.

I've been toying with the name 'Lordy, lordy, lordy' for the record. It an expression that has a kind of blues feel/connotation to it. I'll run with it for now & see if anything else inspires me.

I have a good feeling about this recording, if we get it right it's gonna souond awesome.