Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thanks, Now Please Give Deni a HandIt's been very gratifying to read so many kind comments on the song I posted on MySpace last week. The consensus seems to be that I should perform some of my songs to background tracks from my CD and leave others that would sound find unaccompanied by bass, drums and other instruments. Last night I tried out most of that material without the tracks at a coffee house gig.
After having listened to the studio roughs for two weeks, it was hard to get my head around not having a band behind me. I kept waiting for the nifty little piano and Deni Bonet violin fills. It was a bit distracting and I fumbled through some of it but I'll get used to it.
Deni is going to have her second chance eye surgery Tuesday. She asked on her blog if anybody had recommendations for audio books she could listen to while she recovers. If you have some ideas, please get over there and let her know about it.
Been hearing from a lot of former students who are going back to college or high school this week. While I have adult conversations with them, I still picture them as eleven year olds. The recent pics they post don't help. I'd still never recognize them on the street. But I'm visually challenged that way. The last class I ever taught is entering their junior year in HS. It's about this time of their lives when they start talking to adults again. Sweet. I missed them over the past couple of years.
My daughter is starting a new job teaching Life Sciences (Bio) in the middle school she attended, in the same school district I taught in for most of my career. She's now a colleague to my former colleagues, some of whom I actually taught. She'll be teaching siblings of kids I taught. Kids I knew as babies brought to parent conferences and bounced on a knee while I chatted with their parents.
All this makes me miss my granddaughter, Stella, enormously. West coast girl that she is, I don't get to see her much. But I'll get to spend a little time with her at a wedding in about 21 days. She won't know who the hell I am but I'll pretend she does. We'll have a long conversation that she'll pretend to understand and answer me in a language only she is clear on. She'll remind me that I owe her and her daddy a song. I'll assure her, I've been working on it for a long time. These things are slow to develop.
I did get to spend a few hours with Patrik, my godson, on Friday night. He came for dinner. Brought his parents too. He was quietly but intensely amused by my guitar florescent light. He weighs almost as much now as the weights his mother Jitka, my personal trainer, makes me manipulate while balancing on large rubber balls. I think she's been working him out too. Cathy and I are considering going to Prague for the christening. But they'll accept my witness in absentia if I can find my Baptismal certificate. I think I kept it even though I ditched my comic book collection years ago.
posted by Bud @ 7:54 AM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Basement Tapes, Butterflies, Your Opinion, Please
Couldn't resist posting another shot or two of the recording session. Love this one because Deni let me touch it. Helen is looking very absorbed giving me good tracks. Here is a rare one of me actually working on this CD.
When Cathy and I were teaching elementary school she made it a yearly ritual to hatch a big jar full of monarch butterflies. So she couldn't resist the urge a week or two ago when she discovered some caterpillars on her parsley. She managed to hatch two chrysalis into Baird's Swallowtail Butterflies. As long as I've known Cathy, butterflies have perched on her finger. In the wild! It's like being married to the female version of Uncle Remus. Zippy Friggin' Doo Da! So she paraded into my studio with one of these creatures sitting on her finger like a trained parakeet. I was terrified that it would take off and we'd wind up killing it while trying to free it. Of course that didn't happen. I'm married to an enchanted princess. She showed off in this way for our dinner party last night and we let it go this morning. It went skyward immediately upon leaving Cathy's finger and took off to find some nectar and a mate.
Your Opinion, PleaseBeen working on solo versions of my songs from the new CD. Not easy. When I start selling this thing at gigs, I may use tracks from the CD in the background and just sing and play over them. What would be your reaction to that? Be honest. I take criticism well. The CD is busier than I can do live with one guitar and I want people to get an idea what they're buying. They don't get that with just me and one guitar.
Finally, I'll let you have a listen to a newer pro version of Let Me Go if you'll endure just a bit more explanation and a link to MySpace. Our routine was for Helen and me to work on songs in her basement studio for a day before we took it to NRS for the real production. This way we let Scott hear what we were doing so he could set up a drum loop instead of a click track. It also let him see what audio holes he could fill with his bass and other instruments, like Deni Bonet, for instance. We love the production version of this song with Deni and Chris Carey on drums and some bass and guitar by Scott Petito. But Terry Champlin, Helen's composer husband and classical guitar standout, pointed out that this basement tape was exceptional and that we should find a way to use it. So here's a basement tape version of Let Me Go. Click this link and click the first song when you get to the horror that is MySpace. Actually, it may play automatically. Beats me. I really have to kick somebody's ass over there for putting up some hip hop dude named Bud on my page with his friggin songs. I hate MySpace, I truly do. But...
posted by Bud @ 12:41 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Recording Part 2Back from a very successful recording trip in NY's Woodstock area. What a dope I am for not keeping a journal. So many stories I can only remember out of order and in dribs and drabs.
I can't post any music because it's just not going to happen until I get the copyrights settled. I may post a basement tape or two. Have to consider that. Here are a couple of pics but I truly suck at photography and Cathy didn't come to the studio at all. That's Deni smiling her way through one of six songs she played on for me. Next there's a group shot of me with Deni, Helen and Scott.
There were many highlights for me but the coolest thing was spending a lot of time with Deni Bonet. If you haven't met Deni and you only have an impression of her from her blog and podcast and YouTube and DVD with Cyndi Lauper and her own terrific CD's, Multiply all that by your favorite double digit and that's how much fun Deni is. Working in the studio with her was amazing. She gave us so many terrific tracks that I'm sure my producer Helen Avakian and engineer, Scott Petito are going to have a hard time choosing which to use. I'll eventually own all those tracks and out takes and might have fun doing a remix some day. For now, all I can say is buy Deni's new CD as soon as she releases it. It is So Much Fun. She's Having Too Much Fun, you could say. I plan to buy a bunch of them.
Working with Helen Avakian and her amazing husband Terry Champlin defies description. They endured me for so many 12 hour days I must feel to them like "The Thing Who Came And Wouldn't Leave." I'm pretty damn lucky to have her as a friend and producer. She and Terry play a lot of gorgeous guitar on this CD. Helen made many important suggestions on every song that made them better. She also insisted I use Scott Petito and his NRS studios.
Scott has an impeccable ear and has mixed for a long list of amazing musicians. The Brubecks held down the studio just before I got there. Scott also is an extremely talented bass player who is on every track. Additionally, he added piano, guitar and some B2 organ. Helen is adding some backup vocals as is at least one other vocalist named Beth Reineke who assists Scott and served as my vocal coach. Beth appears on more CD's as a back up singer than I can list.
It was also a treat to have a former student of mine, Laurel Pistey, play Cello on a song I wrote for my daughter. And of course working with my cowriter Kathy Feeney is always inspiring.
That's a quick report for now. I haven't read any blogs in a month. I have to get around to visit my pals in blogland.
posted by Bud @ 7:31 AM