Saturday, February 23, 2008


Went to the day job on a Saturday... however, I cannot complain about being paid to get my days ahead all set while minding the store for a film shoot. Easy money and making greater strides at being comfortable and running smoothly with my new position. The P.R. life is a good one--and that's the gospel truth. Even had a chance to have a quick walk and chat with my wife as I went out to get some lunch (and air) and she was having a spa day.

That said, it's been all business with the layout for the album (just too tired to record), which is only awaiting my patience (!) to have my photos taken for the last panel. Everything else is done, sized, layered and ready. I can't be any prouder of how this package looks (and when the final, printed product is in my hands, I'm sure a wave of emotion will hit me then). Once my own pictures are done, they just need to be selected and popped in. All the templates are set and I can send this off to the printer. It's only a guess, but I'm hoping by July this will be finished and ready for release. I don't know if that's premature, but at least I'm trying to adhere to a target.

While today is a wash, tomorrow is "cram everything in" day--Starbucks, groceries, Target, visit Dad, etc. I can only hope I can get up early enough to haul ass to the gym! Otherwise, (boo-hoo), I'll have to go Monday night after work.

Things have been quiet and yes, as a few friends have pointed out, this blog seems somewhat subdued, but I think it's only natural. There is no drama in my life and subsequently, I feel (all in all) good. If being tired is the worst thing, that's pretty great. Catching up with old friends last weekend; working and making more money this weekend--an idyllic existence, I'd say.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Around and around

Another grueling week closes in the daily life, but it's been a busy and satisfying musical weekend to this point. The transfer of all the old demos, etc. has been completed and I'm able to now carefully evaluate a fair portion of the songs I might want to use for "...Arlington Line". Listening to these demos brought back a near tidal wave of memories as to the circumstances surrounding the writing and recording of these songs. Truthfully, some of these songs (and the rough demos) are great and some are just God-awful in the sense of being both funny (unintentionally) and "what was I thinking?", but there you go. The plan for late(r) today is to start recording the track I'd like to contribute to "Have You Seen My Hero", if time allows. Once that's completed, the formal/focused sessions for the album will commence. This is not going to be an easy task, and I'm not fooling anyone (least of all myself), but I think once the choices for tracks are solidified, I can make some serious in-roads.

A friend of mine asked if I was planning on transferring the demos that made up " get to the other side"; I'm sure I will later on. These songs are interesting in their demo form; there are a few versions of the tracks and the great thing about demos is that they're a pure road map of a song's genesis. Admittedly, some of the first versions of these songs are absolute shit, but that's the point of a demo. Have an idea; get a structure together and commit it to tape (or whatever) so you have a point of reference and you don't forget it later on. There are at least 3 and 4 versions of two of the album's cuts; the very first demo of "Inside" made me crack up (in no uncertain terms) with hysterics and horror at how terrible it was. Or the 3rd demo of "Second Time Around", which is actually better than the album version and the 2nd demo of "Bitter Sweet", which also has a better feel than the band's (albeit still needing horns). I think the most poignant demo found was the original May, 1987 recording of "Train Of Thought", which was recorded at the Treboschi house by bouncing between two tape decks (hence the obvious pitch shifts) and singing the vocals in the bathroom. Regardless, I'll get around to committing these to mp.3 when time allows, but yes, I wouldn't abandon the demos simply because the album is done.

Now with the morning moving forward, it's time to get things going. A few errands, visit Dad (and thank you to everyone who has been e-mailing and calling to check on his progress--you have no idea how much it means to us) and then meeting old friends for coffee this afternoon. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I've been here before...

A good night, last night. Seeing Brian during this weekend has been great, which goes without saying. Had a wonderful time going out for drinks and dinner Friday and a fun lunch yesterday afternoon. Played him some of the demos and the old, rediscovered gems and headed into the city to see the "From The Jam" show, which was more than I'd anticipated. Hugh Cornwell was a great opener--I still love hearing Stranglers songs (even stripped down, minus the keyboards) and From The Jam were tight and gave the audience everything they could have asked for and wanted. The sound was full and my reservations were negated quickly. The band also seemed to feed off the audience's vibe, which was very loving and appreciative. Saw so many old friends there, which was very warming; ran into my local buds and all in all, enjoyed every bit. It also doesn't hurt the fact that we had done a bit of drinking (which I don't usually do) and we were sitting very comfortably in the balcony seats--able to avoid the crowd swelter and the aural assault down on the floor.

The one funny moment of the night was as we waited outside the venue, some guy in a "Mod" get-up was handing out (what do you call them?) flyer-type cards for a d.j. night in New Jersey. He was asking the concert goers if anyone was from New Jersey and Brian piped up with "should anyone be from Jersey?"; he handed the cards to us, even though we weren't extending our hands. One of my friends looked at him as he kept loping along, looked at the card and tore it up, saying "I can think of better things to do in the rain". A few of my friends were laughing at the fact that the dude looked to be in our age range and was playing dress-up. I found it a little silly--if (in fact) the guy is in our age range, it's embarrassing--if he wasn't, you know--fine. But the whole Mod thing is just ecch. It was pretty funny; the poor guy getting soggy, looking like he was either trying to impress that he was a "Mod" or trying desperately to get people interested in some dance club in N.J. Ah, the folly of middle-age. But that added on to the good time vibe. Premium pre-show entertainment. A group slap-up breakfast out this morning, drop B. off at the train in Metropark (aagh! New Jersey again!), grocery shop and see Dad--thus my weekend is over.

Now with everything wrapped up, it's back to listening to more demos and transferring what I need and to get the Cope tribute tracks off for Volume 4 of Interpreters.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Been a hectic week. Trying to get back in the older (but preferred) routine of regular workouts. Busy at the day job. And now, with the arrival of that sweet little converter, I've been able to put the cassette archives onto iTunes and start to sift through the demos. The biggest kick I got out of going through these was hearing the old Two Minutes Hate e.p., "Seconds, Time Signatures and Strings", which I may put up on my website for the sake of change. God, I was 19 when we recorded it...

The other important find was the tracks recorded in 2000 for the third installment of the Julian Cope/Teardrop Explodes tribute series, Interpreters. The cassette I'd sent to be used was lost and subsequently missed the album, but these four tracks will see the light of day on the next edition. All in all, the musical muscle is definitely beginning to be built up quite nicely (and without strain). Throw in the artwork for ..."Arlington Line" really shining and the inner packaging taking shape (different ideas = anything is possible) and it's a good period.

Aside from all that, Brother B. is in town this weekend as we (along with some of my other close friends) head out to see (I really hate calling them this, but...) From The Jam, tomorrow night. I have my reservations--and the truth is, I don't enjoy going to shows as it is--but having Brian around for the weekend is the greatest feeling. Paid a nice size of the credit card and am feeling pretty pleased in general.

Time to begin the 3 hour wind down now, then it's off to Penn Station.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Anticipating the days ahead

Gym tomorrow morning and the usual chores. I'm wiped out on a positively crappy Friday night! Nonetheless, things are moving along nicely.

More tweaking to the web site and my own MySpace music page, which I hope you visit. It's early goings, but it seems the few who've visited it, have liked what they've heard. Even though I'm using "Train Of Thought", it's a good way to keep chugging ahead. If I sound restrained, it's only because I want to deliver a good piece of work in total, rather than a build up like I'd done with my former band's album.

Reading back through the posts, especially the early ones, I realized that much of it was trying to convince myself (which, in turn, meant anyone who read this blog at the time) that " get to the other side" was going to live up to the self-induced "myth" status we'd given to it. I was wrong on so many levels and I don't intend to do that again. My goal is to make sure that once I do complete "...Arlington Line", I can say, "yes, this is what I wanted it to be"; not forcing myself to say "oh, this is perfect, etc.", which I did with the band's album when it was quite the opposite.

I will say this much: nearly four years after its' recording: " get to the other side" is an okay album; it has some very good songs that unfortunately fell short of the standards and quality I'd wanted for them or hoped for. Some of it is the fault of the budgetary constraints and studio limitations ("Bitter Sweet" needed horns--it should never have been recorded without them and the end result sounds empty and tinny; "Second Time Around" aches for proper pedal steel guitar, etc.); some of the songs needed to be refined by taking more time with them instead of "let's just get this done" ("Inside", "Puppet Master", "Someone") and some fell short due to musical mis-steps (the bass lines on "Train Of Thought" [being inconsistent on the choruses] and "Bitter Sweet" [the James Jamerson-styled "walk" on the middle 8 not being done as the melody in tandem with the keyboard, which was mapped out on the demo]). I really made a mistake by letting it conclude; my frustration led me to wash my hands of the process when I should have said "either we get it right or we don't release it". Julian Cope once said "a first album should be a culmination of all your ideas, not a sense of loss when you're done" (see last post) and I have to admit, the album was an overall letdown for me. At the same time, it was also 17 years too late to truly mean something, so you have to put it in perspective. The passing of the last few years has made me see this album as a good exercise in what not to do and I won't make the same mistake twice.

I would hate to think anyone would interpret what I said above as sour grapes or dumping on the band; it isn't by any means. I say the same thing for many of my favorite artists who have released less-than-stellar product. Never give anything less than your best to a recorded project. You owe it to yourself (and if you're famous/successful, you certainly owe it to your fans).

The quiet of the night; the rain and the time to think allows me for this kind of rational thinking. Seeing Gary's show tomorrow is well-anticipated.

Here's a final plug--go read Clementine's Folly; LeFig is back with a vengeance and she kills me. She'll bring a bulge to your funny bone.