Thursday, March 26, 2009

a day off... wah?

got a full night's sleep last night after watching 'black snake moan' (which was a good movie- i like it). i really liked the music in it- good stuff. it's gotten me back on my whole old-timey blues kick. that could only be good. all roads are leading to skip james at the moment. i used to always get him confused with skip spence for some reason. they probably couldn't be more different (although after being in moby grape skip spence would go on to do solo acoustic blues stuff).
i got the crystal stilts full-length in the mail yesterday. i am really loving ordering vinyl from insound- they are really fast with the shipping. i also got 'whip it on' by the raveonettes in the mail last week as well. i have another raveonettes album on its way in the mail at some point as well- hopefully that shows up soon. probably better that it's taking a bit longer so that i have sufficient time to soak in the first one.
the first strings practice was a good one. katelyn and chris were totally on point- not a surprise as i've worked with them a bunch of times now. aleksa was good too- i felt kind of bad for her because i think she was probably a bit overwhelmed. the other two knew what to expect and had even played a few of the songs before but aleksa had never even met us. she also didn't have a music stand so she was having problems. plus i wrote some of her sheet music out wrong- yay tyler! for a first practice we got a lot done. i pretty much know what the setlist is going to be at the show- great stuff! i also know what we're going to do for the wnur show as well- i have a big cluster set all ready to go and we're going to do the thing where we bleed songs together. i figured out a way for us to play about five songs back to back. of course we also have a batch of new songs that are just begging to be played live already. it's going to require some tricky maneouvering but i think we can get the requisite three practices going before the show and i think it should work out fine. i'm not worried really. the time to worry will be if there are any problems by the third practice but i am 99% sure that it's going to be just fine by then. plus we aren't going to play for too long either- which was a bit of a concern for me. i am trying to work in 'sleep now...' again, naturally because it sounded so awesome at the record bar show and i'd like to do a better job on that one, but i already have two really big set-enders so i don't know where i'd fit it in- it really should only come at the end of a set. i suspect that the second practice will be much tighter. one of my favourite things about string players is that they get it together really quickly- even last night we'd play through a song the first time and it'd be a bit rickety but the second time it would sound really really nice. i think it's going to be a pretty cool show. i'm excited.
i've already sent out press releases. i hope i've done it early enough to get some decent press. i waited until the last minute because i just got the message last week about the first group that's been added, so i wanted to include them in the press release (as well as nick). i've only emailed 'time out' and a few people at the reader (miles is one of them of course). i've already got a press release all written up for the 'all hope is blind' album. woot!
then of course there's the impending recording trip. once the show is done with it'll be nice to get back to work on chipping away at tracks for the album. we've still got lots to do. lots and lots and lots. and lots. i might try to get stefanie to do some more live tracks soon- probably once the insanity dies down (or is supposed to). i guess that would make it practically may by then. yipes. i should probably look for megabus fares soon so i can do more tracks with billy later on in the summer before the tour. around june/july is probably going to be crunch time as the deadline rushes towards us to complete the album and get it sent off for mastering and pressing. yikes again... i'm glad i got a date book. i've actually started to use it just so that i can remember things.
i shall sign off for now then. eleni mandell is tonight, brian jonestown massacre is on saturday. tomorrow i have work, but i think it might be an okay thing.

Monday, March 23, 2009


...yikes... i am so done for the week and i still have two more days of work to go and only day off before the insanity kicks into overdrive. i didn't really realise this before i accepted but now that i am working on friday the 27th i am signing up to start a 6-day workweek on only five hours of sleep which was already going to be strained by the fact my saturday night sleeping in night (i don't have to be at work until 9:30am on sundays) was already going to be sacrificed. we're seeing the brian jonestown massacre on saturday night in addition to spending some time with my folks who will be in town as well. i'd totally forgotten we were going and that it was so soon until a day or so ago. bjm shows tend to run very very very late. the first time we saw them was on a week night and i don't think that the show ended until almost 2am. i had to drag my worthless carcass to work the next day at 7am on only three hours of sleep. even though i don't have to be up until 8:30am on that sunday morning the chances that we're home before 2am are really really really slim. there is only one opening band, but still- bjm shows can run the gamut from 2 hours and 15 minutes all the way to three and a half hours (i think that the second time we saw them was at least three hours- real hard to remember).
anyway, today was kind of bumpy- i am definitely heading towards a wall at break-neck speed. i anticipate hitting it full stop in a week and a half when i am headed back to kc for a recording trip. fortunately i will have a few days to completely crash when i'm at my parents' place. i've found that, if nothing else, trips to kc provide me with ample and complete crash-time. i can stretch out over the longer visits and get back to my natural sleeping-until-noon self. that person is still in there somewhere- it just takes a lot to get it to come out.
so the primal scream show- i was a bit cavalier about it at the beginning. i wasn't even that impressed during 'kill all hippies' (and i do love 'xtrmntr' too) so i figured 'eh, this show isn't going to be very good.' fortunately i was proven wrong. they ran quite the gamut of their stuff (which itself runs a ridiculous gamut all the way from 60's psych to electronic rave music as well something that could be described as disco and then too many dazzling cross-pollenations to even begin to list). they played a few of their really early songs confirming in me the desire to check out their earliest stuff. i only have 'velocity girl' as an mp3- but it's a really amazing song that's under 2 minutes long. i just have the two big albums- 'screamadelica' and 'xtrmntr.' they did play a few things i wasn't entirely expecting to hear that were quite phenomenal- namely 'higher than the sun' (which doesn't sound like it could be done live), 'movin' on up' and pretty much any of the 'xtrmntr' tracks that they did- 'kill all hippies,' 'swastika eyes,' 'shoot speed/kill light,' 'accelerator' and one other one i can't remember the title of- the one where he keeps chanting 'civil disobedience.' they also played 'rocks' and i believe one called 'suicide bomb' (which was fucking fantastic). i'd heard they'd been doing 'damaged' and they didn't play it and i was a bit bummed about that one. i also wasn't impressed at all by any of the tracks from their new album- just way too fluffy and light poppy. they can do better. that's kind of their constant curse with pretty much anything they don't pull off. bobby gillespie was completely zoned out (or incredibly bored- i'm not sure which). the band was really good too except i can't help wishing i'd been able to see them when kevin shields was tagging along. plus throb was gone, who was the other longtime guitarist. the girl standing in front of me danced a ton and kept running into me but it wasn't as annoying as that usually is. they had an amazing light show including a green multi-lazer one that would spurt out weird patterns and the lazers would emit smoke of some kind- quite hypnotic. i got really zoned out at one point during a song i wasn't familiar with (but very impressed by) that was super trippy and the girl caught me in my zoned-out state. she said something to me that i didn't understand but i'd imagine it was something along the lines of 'enjoying yourself?' it was a good night. i'm glad i went. i'm a bit bummed that so many free tickets were offered to me- especially since i'd payed $27.50 for one way back in january. if the same doesn't happen for the bjm show then that would be nice- although i'd probably taken the offers and just bring a bunch of friends along.
we have our first full practice with all of the string players tomorrow night at our apartment. i'm hoping i get a good night's sleep tonight so that i am not completely worthless as i need to be real with-it considering i'm the one with the grand artistic vision for this thing. i am really hoping jay and diana don't get delayed (which means they probably will be). if i can be home and in bed by 10:30 i think i'll be just fine. 11:30 is okay too. anything beyond that is going to be a real problem and i will be a total basket-case tomorrow.
until then i'm stuck here for the night until they get back. stefanie has a full night of clients, so the burden falls to me. i have sheet music to write, so i kind of welcome the loafing time. speaking of which i think i might end this entry and get to some of that loafing time. good night and good luck.

Friday, March 20, 2009

playing catch-up

i used the extra money in my account to buy a few records i've been after for a spell. i bought the first two raveonettes albums. they are always available used for super cheap and i've been on a raveonettes kick lately- don't really know what that's about. i know that people go on about how much they sound like the jesus and mary chain- and it is true that the mary chain are obviously a big influence but it's also true that anyone who's taking 60's and 50's style rock 'n roll and putting it through a blender of squealing feedback and harsh distortion is going to be compared to them. i just think of it as an indication of just how ridiculously influential, original and ahead of their time the mary chain actually were. they are still criminally overlooked and underrated. i love it when people accuse them of having made the same album 10 times. i also love it when people hate on the later albums or the b-sides. i avoided the raveonettes for a long time because of what people were saying and finally got 'lust lust lust' and i'm really glad i did- it's enough of its own thing to justify their existence. i love their harmonies and i think that they are more committed to updating older music and making it their own- plus i love the way that their albums sound.
the other record i bought was the crystal stilts 'alight of night' on vinyl. woohoo! love the self-titled ep and need more. they used to have it at reckless in lakeview but i waited too long to buy and someone else beat me to the punch. i was going to buy some more records, but i think that i'll hold off for a bit as i'll have more extra money soon enough. my payment schedules have gotten ahead of themselves again over time and i have an extra paycheck coming my way next month (this is how i plan to buy the new condenser mics for the strings show).
so i'm feeling pretty good today- i got home from driving stefanie to work and crashed for about two hours and slept really hard (had some really intense, wacked-out dreams). i feel pretty good finally- not as tired. i get to sleep at our apartment tonight as well- which i'm really looking forward to. we do this so that stefanie doesn't have to get up at 6am on one of her only days off (of course she still has to get up then to feed the cats- but she hasn't been having much trouble falling back asleep once they wake her up) and drive me to work. now during the week she drives me to the purple line station so i can catch the express train to belmont. it gets me to work in the same amount of time as when i leave from here.
for some reason every time i first get here the internet never works for me. i always end up writing out some sheet music and then having less time to mess around on the internets. i guess it's a good thing for my reading public because then i have less time to kill. speaking of which i need to go and run some errands before i drop by stefanie's work early.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

o man. a reason to throw caution to the wind...

stefanie wanted to take a trip to celebrate her 30th birthday. at first i was thinking that we couldn't possibly do it, but now i am beginning to think that i should order the tickets to the show anyway. it isn't for seven months- that gives us some time to save some money for a trip. i have a jar full of change and i have been working on it since we got back from tour- specifically for such an occasion. there isn't a ton of money in it, but there is some. we can get a round trip flight on virgin atlantic and 3 nights in a hotel for $800. that's a good deal. an excuse to go to london? you don't need to tell me twice- hell no! i'm beginning to think that this might be something that would be worthwhile. i couldn't think of anywhere to go. stefanie not got much of a chance to experience london the time that she came to visit. it is kind of hilarious that i have been to london more than once and haven't been hardly anywhere else in europe and here i am wanting to go a 3rd time. i think i'm doing a coin-toss when i get home. i figure the worst case scenario would be that i buy the tickets, can't get a flight and end up having to sell them off for what i paid for them. i could think of worse things...
other than that things have been a bit crazy over the past week- yikes. meghan and reggie came to visit us for st. patrick's day (or weekend as it is here in chicago). they came in on saturday night and they left yesterday morning. i got a full night's sleep only one of the three nights. yesterday we had a really hastily set-up practice fall through after we'd lugged all of our junk (well, most of it) up to evanston because we are housesitting for jay and diana right now until the 23rd. primal scream is on the 22nd. i'm working on the 27th, which will start a six-day week during which my parents will visit for that weekend and then the week will culminate with me taking the megabus to kansas city for a recording trip that i will return from on sunday the 5th early in the morning and then head to work after dropping my stuff off at home (if i have time to that is). at least that week will be a short one and the insanity will die down for a week or so. after that is the strings show on the 18th and we also have an offer to play live on wnur (which i need to email about). anyway that's how it's going right now. we went to sleep really early last night and i only woke up once at 2am before their cats woke us up to feed them at 6:30am. they normally don't let us sleep that first night- waking us up over and over from as early as 3:30 am until 6.
as if all of this weren't enough i am in the harsh grip of my allergies. my nose is dry as a bone right now and i get random headaches a lot. both of us are just a touch irritable. we might have bit off more than we could chew. things keep piling on too. next week we are going to try and get everyone together for the first practice with the strings. i need to find a cellist stat. hannah was up for it, but has something scheduled on the night of the show. billy can't come up, which i'm not surprised about (it's asking quite a bit of him to drive all the way up here to play a show).
i have some extra money on my paycheck that i must pick up and cash later today before i go to pick up stefanie. i think i might just let it get eaten up by the unexpected expenses of the next few days (i.e. dinners, cat litter, etc.). very nice indeed. i have given my bicycle tire to will to repair so that i can start riding my bike to work everyday starting at the beginning of april (that's when my 30 day pass expires and switches back to a pay-as-you-go kind of arrangement). again, i'd like to try and use the money to either save or pay down my credit card balance. i do also still have about $500 to raise before i can get the 'dandelions' record out. i did a mixdown (i need to do a backup, but i can do that later- it'll be easy), i have the $300 i need to master the album now (with my paypal balance from selling a bunch of guitar pedals on ebay- i sold my spare tremolo pedal, my fender blender and my vintage big muff). dammit i'm going to get there! where am i going to get the money for the 'all hope is blind' record? not sure- we're praying for a grant for that one. if that doesn't work i have to figure something else out but i am determined to get the record out so that i can pay down my credit card balance and live like a normal person in 2010. if i didn't have to scrounge nearly every penny together or pay my credit cards every month then i could live more comfortably than i ever have in my entire life. i think we could buy a place if this were the case (of course i am still about 2 years away from the possibility of this). we'll see what happens. we'll just see what happens... *positive waves* *positive waves*
it will be my goal to do all of this successfully this year. i think it can be done- i do think it will come at a bit of a price... not sure what that will be...
yipes... will it work? i certainly hope so.
fun anecdote- on saturday after i got home from work stefanie and i recorded some vocals and i schlepped all of my equipment into the stairwell to try to record some reverb and i heard someone walking around in there and they found my mic, started talking into it ('check one, two- we are on a shure mic, a shure mic. give it up for my first album- my first album. this one goes out to my moms for putting me through military school...' etc. etc.) and i braced myself a bit hoping they'd just leave but then, naturally, they picked up the mic and tried to walk off with it, so i just tugged on the chord and looked up at them from where i was two floors down and said 'sorry' and they just smiled at me and walked away. so i'm a bit nervous about the idea of going back in there to record again- it was kind of unnerving and upsetting and also probably a bit overdue. it is encouraging to know and have actually seen someone who lives in the building who doesn't have a problem stealing from his neighbors. i'm only going to assume that this is the same person who steals packages that don't belong to him (yes, there is a package thief in my building). i didn't get the best look at him- he was a bit non-descript looking (plus i'm terrible at describing people as it is) and i saw him from two-floors down through a few stairs. so now i'm not sure what to do about all of the reverb i need for the album. i am beginning to think i might ditch the reverb altogether. the vocals we did sounded quite nice and it would probably be a bold move that would be very fitting for the album- a lot of the sounds on it are incredibly dry and the general plan is to keep them that way. it is possible that the vocals don't need reverb- they are turning out very nicely so far, plus it really is a pain in the ass to lug all of my shit down there to record reverbs. we are exploring some other options- stefanie was going to talk to the landlord at the warehouse where lorna's laces is about a time we could come in to try and do them there. in that case it might not be until the very end of the process that this occurs. i suppose i could also just use reverbs off of the spx90, but the plan for this record has always been to keep it organic- so i should probably just stick with that and stay as true to that as i can which again begs the question of whether or not to even bother with reverb in the first place? there's a ton on the guitars as it is. the album is definitely coming along very nicely- it is working very nicely as more of a group effort- which i am very pleased about. it might be fairly easy to keep it going without getting burned-out.
i think that's about all i have to say for today...

Friday, March 13, 2009

again. production. yikes.

i am a string scoring machine- the internet connection here at the coffee shop was out when i first got here so i scored a song called 'whisper.' i haven't tested the arrangement at all, but it should work just jim-dandy. we'll find out won't we? stefanie and i are supposed to record the main tracks for it today once she gets home from acupuncture. hopefully this will turn out better than the last recording session we had- it didn't go so smooth. there were tantrums and such. she was having problems playing along to the guide guitar. the idea now is to do the tracks live. i had thought that it wasn't possible to do the aforementioned tracks live, but in retrospect it could've been done very easily (oopsies). she's been a busy lady lately, so it's been hard to set aside time to get some recording done. we really only have a few nights a week to do much work. we need to fit in some vocals at some point. don't know how or when that is ever going to happen because we are now totally booked up clear until the end of the month- stefanie's friend meghan and her boyfriend reggie are coming to town tomorrow night and they're staying for st. patrick's day at which point we are over at jay and diana's from the 18th to the 23rd (i'm going to see primal scream play on the 22nd), by then my work week will have already started up- we're going to see eleni mandell on the 26th and then the brian jonestown massacre on the 28th (at which point another work-week will have started up for me) at which point my parents will be in town for my mom's birthday weekend. after that weekend i am headed back to kansas city to record with billy and return on the 5th. somewhere in there i need to meet with my string players to begin practice for the impending show at elastic arts foundation. i'd hoped that billy would be able to make it up here for the show because i thought it would help a great deal to have someone playing who was more familiar with the songs, but really that's kind of a moot point because katelyn has played most of the songs in the set and i believe so has chris. somehow we need to set aside some time while we are housesitting to practice. this is kind of funny- i hadn't really thought i was that busy up until this particular point in time. i guess that i am insanely busy. so we'll see how that shit goes. ooooh boy... how did i get so busy so quickly?
so basically my schedule is completely full to the brim until mid-april. at that point i'm going to have to get back to work on more recording. i was going to try to get some recording in during these practices namely two tracks that i am hoping we can get down tonight. i might have to draft another person in as well for some recording to make up for some parts that are lagging behind a bit- namely a part on 'ashes ashes' that needs to be redone and a part of 'pale' that we never got to with chris. i had been a bit reticent to bring someone else to record parts in his place, but i don't think he'd mind. string players are awesome. that's all i'll say right now- i wish i'd always been able to work with them- eager to play, learn very quickly, can be tricked easily into playing something insanely quickly in one take and it nearly always works. plus you just put the music in front of them and they play it with next to no explanation and with no back-talk. awesome!
so today i don't have much to do apart from do some planning to try and figure out how to engineer all of this crap. i'm kind of glad i bought a daily planner now- it's actually going to help now- we're usually not busy enough to justify owning one of those.
and so it goes. now that i've thought of all of this stuff it seems like a bit of a waste of time hanging out here typing this so i think i'm going to end this transmission.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

such a production to get here...

the theme at the moment is digital=shit and analog=awesome.
to wit- my 1/4" 2-track works quite well. i did a mixdown last night and spent a long time double-checking every tiny little thing that i did on it. i did the mixdown of the entire record and i am going to do a backup mixdown later on. i am very happy with the tracks on the record- the wimpy track is 'willows.' every other track is quite sublime. 'willows' has all sorts of problems- when the guitars were recorded i was having problems with the mixer and some of the inputs were going dead and then coming back to life while i was recording. i evidently got so fed up with it doing this and was so thrilled with the take that i got that i just left it as it was since it didn't seem to really affect the sound levels which was okay with me. the drums sound like elephants. it's a very heavy track. stefanie seems to be really happy with it. i keep wanting to take it off of the record and put something else in its place, but really i think that every record has to have its weak track and if that's the one that i have to live with being the weak link then so be it. i have thought about subbing something else in in its place ('christmas song revisited' for exampled) but when i tried to sub anything in it seems like it's not going to fit in with the rest of the album. it's going to be one of three hidden tracks anyway- so it's kind of optional. the other seven songs have all turned out so beautifully it seems to kind of be a moot point this late in the game. every time i think of taking it off of the record i try to think of something to sub-in in its place and i just figure i should leave it the fuck alone. the analog mixdown is really working for these songs as well might i add- everything sounded very nice through that machine. i even did some editing before mixdown and it decreased the crackling problems i often have with my 8-track. the wiring inside it is loose so occasionally if i don't touch the faders just so a horrible crackling noise makes itself known. i often have to mix the strings in at the beginning of the songs so i tried to just cut the dead air/tape hiss/audible counting by recording silence over them and punching back out with the counter and it works. i thought it would sound real abrupt, but it doesn't so i have just solved a major problem- especially on the newer tracks.
other than that i'm here at the coffee shop and i've been kicked off of the internet about four times- sat here for a good 20 minutes trying to get the damned thing to work to no avail. i've restarted about six times as well. that's just the state of things i guess.
i was thinking of going to see 'watchmen' today after i'm all finished here. my feelings are very mixed- the reviews are a total mixed bag. i've only talked to one person who's seen it too and they didn't really say it was good or bad- just that it's basically three hours of brutal violence. i'd guess that that's a bad thing.
more analog points- had a really nice haul the last time i went to reckless. i was in search of that dion record- 'born to be with you' (which is real scarce on vinyl it turns out and thus very expensive) to absolutely no avail. when i was at reckless i did find some good stuff- 'tepid peppermint wonderland vol. 1' on red vinyl (which i believe is out of print now and it was only $14), 'turn turn turn' by the byrds (i have no byrds records at all) and 'the head on the door' on vinyl (i've been looking for this for years). i have a lot of stuff to convert now, of course. busy busy busy.
the latest in the case of soundboard bootleg recordings not necessarily being better than audience recordings- a spiritualized recording taken from a streaming video of their entire show in sydney from a site called the sound is full on soundboard (no room mic at all) and sounds quite nice, but for some idiotic reason the performance levels were not maintained- example- 'oh baby' starts out during the quiet section (it gets super-loud in the middle- a very nice effect) and once the loud section comes the volume is lowered significantly so they match- why?! obnoxious. i have the whole thing on my ipod and i've listened to it and there are also gaps between songs that i was thinking about fixing but i am wondering if this would be a worthwhile endeavor or just a total waste of time. digital=shit. analog=awesome. i don't know why this is but people always cream themselves hearing about a soundboard recording and half the time they are incredibly disappointing or ruined by a meddling or ignorant soundman. fair enough because their biggest concern is how the sound in the house is- not their fault. it's like that my bloody valentine soundboard recording- yeah, everything sounds clear but so much of the performance that's so important is totally lacking in the recording. a bunch of the songs just flat out are killed by this. it also seemed to be a bit of an off-night for them- a few songs are marred by some really embarrassing mistakes. then you have something like a really fantastic quality audience recording where the person who's taped it has used really good microphones and finds a good place to stand and really knows what they're doing (this is only me to a certain extent). there's a fantastic spiritualized roundhouse recording that is very near to perfect- you really couldn't ask for a better bootleg. a bit more fidelity and it could be released as a live album. i have a handful of my bloody valentine bootlegs that are audience recordings that i really love the way they sound too- the axis show, 'surround', a few others. i love bootlegs. can you tell?
so i'm not real sure what's going on with the upcoming kansas city trip- it might turn out to be a total bust. i haven't heard a word from billy so far- so i'm not sure if he's up for some recording or not. i am not real sure what the best way to get ahold of him is either- i am guessing he is just mondo busy with school and his job.
i am now just rambling aimlessly so now is about the time i will cut this off.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

diary 3.2.09- 'feels like i'm slipping away...'

here is my latest diary playlist (mixtape length, as always) just to let you know where i am mentally at the moment-

1. breathe- the cure- join the dots
2. nowhere man- the beatles- rubber soul
3. knife- grizzly bear- yellow house
4. vox humana- deerhunter- weird era cont.
5. just to see you smile- spacemen 3- recurring (sonic boom side)
6. angel (extended mix)- sonic boom- angel 12"
7. the origin of love- brian jonestown massacre- my bloody underground (digital bonus track)
8. surfin' away- vivian girls- surf's up 7"
9. waterfall- the stone roses- the stone roses
10. all a dreams- the telescopes- celeste single
11. man in the moon- grinderman- grinderman
12. baby i'm just a fool- spiritualized- acoustic mainlines bootleg from union chapel show
13. repetition- zaza- cameo ep
14. lights- crystal stilts- crystal stilts
15. make-out king- eleni mandell- miracle of five
16. mary #38- the gris-gris- the gris-gris
17. blue ridge mountains- fleet foxes- fleet foxes
18. middle cyclone- neko case- middle cyclone
19. superstar- nina nastasia- london roundhouse bootleg
20. on a nerve- vetiver- vetiver

Friday, March 6, 2009

all a dreams...

as usual at the coffee shop listening to a mix. it's ridiculously warm out. to be honest i'm a bit bummed- i wasn't aware that this was going to happen so quickly- i figured i had at least another month of winter, but it hath been snatched away! we went to evanston to see 'coraline' yesterday and the flip-flops count hit four. these damn chicago people whip those things out at the slightest warmth! grrrr.
tonight is kylie's birthday party. we're going to get a car and drive down there for a few hours. i'm looking forward to it. it'll be fun.
i have gotten zero work done in ages and ages. hopefully we will actually get some recording done tomorrow night in addition to practicing. the plan last week was to do that, but then stefanie got hungry and once she leaves the room it's over and i can't get her back in there. even if i can get her back in there i can't get anything good out of her.
not much else to say honestly. i'm not even sure how long i've been here now. i have a ton of errands to run. i sold my vintage big muff- just by posting about my gear on the mbv message board. i mentioned i was planning to sell it and some dude on there just pm'ed me about and then offered me $70 after i told him i'd sell it for $50. sweet! he already paypalled the money to me, so i figured the least i could do would be to ship it off immediately (read today). i think he's a pink floyd lover because i found out yesterday that the version i am selling is the same version as david gilmour used during the division bell tour in 1994 (remember that one kiddies?). kind of an in-demand article. i bought it for $60 at old town music back in about 2003 or 2004- not real sure because i went in there intending to buy a black russian one, but tried that one out instead. i do actually miss old town music quite a bit because they always had a giant selection of used pedals that they would sell for very cheap and they had some of the weirdest shit i've ever seen and i bet that they had some stuff i'm after right now within my price range. i'm not really looking into buying much more new equipment. i looked into buying another tube amp and checked out a few candidates and discovered a few things about my second amp- a fender princeton chorus that i bought new in 1998 or 99 (possibly even 2000). 1) it is indeed a 100-watt amp. i was always told that you were supposed to half the wattage on the back and when i would pair it up with my twin (which is 100 watts) i would always wonder how it was possible that i could turn the princeton up to the same number and have them be the same amount of loudness. 2) it's a fairly unique and desirable amp at the moment. a few things i already did know were that it is incredibly reliable and much louder than other amps that are the same size. it's a solid-state amp, but i have noticed that when i pair it up with the twin it basically compliments it very nicely and it's almost like having two twins. i would like to have two twins one day but i think that that might still be a ways off. it does fill me with a bit of anxiety having two tube amps- they do actually require some maintenance- whereas a solid state doesn't seem to require any. the princeton chorus has never been serviced or repaired and it works exactly the same as when i first bought it. what's more i bought it with my own money way back then. it's kind of the same reason i would never replace my acoustic guitar. i guess not exactly the same because that acoustic guitar was bought with a check that my grandmother wrote me from a hospital bed. i can't remember the circumstances under which this happened- but i am guessing that it happened in 1995 or 96- probably 1996 for my 17th birthday. she did it in a sneaky way that she used to do- she'd just ask me how my guitar playing was going, if there was anything i had my eye on and she'd get my guard down and i mentioned something about an acoustic guitar i had my eye on and she asked me how much it was and when i said $200 she wrote me a check for $200 right then and there. so despite the problems i've had with that acoustic (i think it needs to be fixed- it's possible that a new nut would amend all of its woes) i refuse to get rid of it. it doesn't sound as clear or bright as a martin (but then what does for god's sake) but it's getting to the point where i just don't care and i love the tones that it makes- a lot of them are fairly flat and dry. when i was thinking about this yesterday it also reminded me that my grandmother is responsible for helping me buy the earliest acquisitions in my little arsenal- i know that i bought my jazzmaster with money that i had saved already and a check that she wrote me for christmas. the same goes for the bass amps that i bought. i used to be really good at haggling when i was a teenager. there was one time when i went to trade in my 50-watt bass amp for a 100-watt one (which i still have and use) and there was a tear in the speaker and mike and i put duct tape on it and painted it the same colour as the speaker so once we put the grill back on you couldn't tell it had been taped at all and i went and haggled and got the 100-watt amp for $200 and the trade-in. nice stuff. where is that skill these days? m.i.a.
basically i normally have such a never-ending drive to buy more and newer stuff all the time, but that desire is starting to dry up as i am realising more and more that i pretty much have everything i 'need.' there are a few pedals i'd like to try and get my mitts on before the tour in september.
i think that's good for right now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

this is not life, goddammit!

oh the shame- i am fully immersed in digital life. why o why? i did have a dream that i was trying to get a gigantic reel-to-reel tape machine working. it was incredibly neglected and left above a dumpster in the side of a warehouse. the tape was about four inches thick. i believe i got the thing working again. it was at least 12 feet high and probably about 10 feet across. i had to use a ladder to work on it. the amount of satisfaction that i got from working on this thing was pretty unreal. a sign perhaps?
i'm sitting in metropolis right now listening to the second silver apples album. i'm a bit reticent to get into the newer albums that were released during the 90's- i am really loving these first two that were made in the 60's though. it's almost painfully advanced. tyler ritter this will be your life in the future.
back to the whole digital-life crisis. my procedure when i get here is kind of unreal- facebook, hotmail, myspace, twitter- god where does it end?! i suppose i could just give up on all of that stuff- honestly if i wasn't working on band stuff i'd probably just give the whole digital life thing up. commit digital suicide- ooh, that'd be a good title for a song. of course then it would solidify my status as a full-blown luddite. ah, modern life is so over-rated anyway- who needs it? i mean, honestly...
a few lps converted- the white album (still need to edit the tracks), the cryan shames- a scratch in the sky (fucking awesome album), laura nyro- new york tendaberry (ditto) and then more more more after that. to say the least the editing of vinyl is at least an opportunity to become more familiar with all of the vinyl that i buy. it is forcing me to listen to it.
this is relating to that new 'sharp darts' about a journalist who is trying to launch a slow music listening movement. kind of a way for people to actually listen to all of the stuff they have in their music libraries/on their ipods. i am getting close to having listened to everything on my ipod. there might be a few things i've never listened to once at all, but they aren't very many and they are getting to be less and less over the years. i'm up to 13000 songs or so now. yipes. it's almost full too. i think it might have a capacity of about 2000 more songs. who knows? of course some of that room is being taken up by videos i never watch. i should probably get rid of the ones i never watch (which is a generous chunk of them).
the weather's really nice right now so it was kind of difficult to find a seat here when i got here. i got here before 11am which usually guarantees a decent seat (read one with an electrical outlet right next to it). so now it begins. *sigh*. i am trying to keep an optimistic view here- at least i'll be able to ride my bike to work now- that'll be nice. less of a strain on the old wallet. i've been thinking lately about how much more money i'll be able to save once i don't have to pay the $86 every month for a 30-day pass, but really i won't save that money- it'll just get spent on other things- but they are good and justifiable things, really. i am hoping i will be able to set aside some of that money to put towards paying down the balance on my credit card (which honestly isn't going so well these days). this is the last month i'm buying a pass though- after that i'm switching back to the pay-as-you-go model. we're also housesitting again. i'd like to be able to use some of my half of that money to pay down some extra things i've been putting on my credit card. i bought a bunch of microphone cables and a few mic stands that i needed to keep the recording going. i was going to try and get some more microphones, but i've accepted the fact that there isn't going to be time or money to do that. i will still chip away at that list as much as i can, but really i've found that a lot of my current methods are working just fine for me. we were recording some drum parts that were played with brushes and i tried to incorporate two of my new mics into the proceedings and i actually found that i had to take them out of the mix and go back to the original way that i mic drums in order to get a better sound. the drums with sticks is more compatible with these new mics, so they are still good to have. the method i have set up for recording guitars is as perfect as i need it to be, really. it's definitely working for this current crop of songs. we'll see what happens next as we start to record some of the tracks live. an ancient song just came together very quickly and almost beyond my own comprehension. i have a song called 'whisper' that i made up about as early on as 2003 or 2004. it's a bit foggy now, but there was a 4-track demo for it that i recorded in our last apartment in portland when i was unemployed and bored. i demoed a ton of songs during that time- another one is on the album and we've almost finished it- the strings and main musical parts are finished, stefanie needs to add a glockenspiel part and her vocal (which she's still kind of struggling with)- but i wrote the song, recorded a demo with an improvised arrangement, never wrote lyrics, gave the demo to stefanie to write lyrics to, we moved, i wrote lyrics one night when i couldn't sleep in kansas city before we moved here, wrote the rest of the lyrics and came up with a chorus melody and fit some words in for it from there and wrote them down in a bit of a haze and recorded the melody late at night half-asleep. a few days ago i tried to find the lyrics- i didn't remember where i'd written them down in the middle of the night during our first christmas home from chicago back in 2005. finally found them squeezed between two lists in my first moleskine diary. wrote them down and arranged the song and figured out a good guitar tone for it. wrote a string arrangement. bang, zoom! ready to record! i think i am waiting on one more microphone stand to start with the live recordings including that song. oh yeah, stefanie has to learn to play and sing it as well. a fire has been lit under my ass since i have an impending weekend in kc coming up in the beginning of april and i'd like to get as much going as possible. i have four songs or so that i need billy to do but it would be nice to get as much as possible done with him so as to have a nice foundation to work from and then hopefully i won't have to go home again to do more work for a few more months (although it's not really a pain to get there anymore). billy has a guitar now too- so all i have to bring home is headphones, a mic and a preamp- everything else is there- an 8-track, guitar, a microphone stand...
i'm now listening to shannon wright's 'let in the light' album- a really beautiful record that i haven't listened to in a really long time. it's a restrained affair- a unique thing in her discography. she pulls it off really beautifully. when we saw her play last too it worked well for her live show too- when she got to the older, brutal stuff she was really able to let loose. entrancing.
no plans for today really- i think just possibly going to a movie- 'coraline.' we've been meaning to see it for ages- i think we were supposed to go on valentine's night. we tried to go again last week when stefanie had last thursday off, but it didn't end up working out because it was in 3d and we didn't want to see it in 3d. now all of the 3d showings are gone, yippee!
with that i think i shall wrap this up in a tight little package. good night and good luck.