Sunday, September 27, 2009


A brief entry. Sick as a dog. I don't know how or what made me ill, but three days of fever, chest pains and coughing and I'm both flustered and going stir crazy. Been in the house since I left work Friday and haven't had the energy for anything. I'd have preferred to go to the gym to try to work this out of my system but I don't have the strength. Even the idea of driving to get more cold remedies, etc. made me shudder.

I need more sleep.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time and age... what a swine

Still not re-adjusted to having to wear glasses again. Mostly for reading and for things up close, but I haven't worn eyeglasses in 13 years. The doctor said it's unfortunately all part of time and age. So be it. Add to that the follow-up with the dentist. Hmmm... finally getting my act together for the good of my health, I suppose.

Seeing a dear friend this week; nothing much going on, as it's been busy (work-wise) and I've begun to stir again musically. Nonetheless, been a pretty inspired period. More later...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Only a memory but some good ones

I recently heard from an old friend who I hadn't seen or spoken to in a while; I'd given her The Punch Line CD the last time I saw her and this was the first time we'd spoken since; she didn't even know that the group had ceased to exist again. She expressed her joy and surprise at what she heard and asked endless questions about the album. The conversation led me to sit down and in a quiet moment, listen to the CD in its' entirety for the first time in years. Here's what I can say afterwards:

a) Given what we had to work with--i.e. no money, a self-built recording studio and precious little time to rehearse and gel as a band when we began the process, it's a great record. Part of the beauty of it is the songs themselves; by and large, they are strong, so it cuts through any questionable elements. I will say that although I am disappointed by some of the songs or the performances; overall, I'm satisfied that it turned out as well as it did.

b) My displeasure is strictly from nuances that only I would hear or know--a bass line that didn't equate what I wanted from the demo; a vocal that could have been better or (in my mind) the fact that "Bitter Sweet" should have been left off the album since the songs needs a horn section and didn't have it--that's as strong a criticism that I can level. It's the perfectionist part of me that hears these things and the desire to get every track "right". Okay, it didn't happen like that, but who ever really gets an album 100% right all of the time?

c) The energy of the performances by the three of us convey pretty heavily--at least I think so. There is some dynamic power and tension that cuts right through and makes the album (dare I say) exciting. Listen to "Wild Skies" or "Beauty Lies"--a musical steamroller. Or the ramshackle, freewheeling vibe of "Someone". The thrust is there.

d) It's like comparing apples to oranges, I know, but this version of The Punch Line seemed to be able to get to work (under the time constraints that we worked with from the outset) and get an album done. The ideas did flow in a team effort and unlike the original line-up, this one completed the album, of which I'm proud of the three members. When it was working, it made for a great atmosphere. In the process of song selection, there were no arguments, only valid discussions on what would fit the tenor of the album, etc.--none of the old tensions that marred the original band.

e) If you put aside the fact of the songs being so old at the time they were finally (re)recorded, they work well together as a "readable" album. And as Chris (I think) once pointed out, it was obviously designed and laid out as an "album" as opposed to a CD, so you can see the thematic unity between the envisioned sides one and two.

So the conversation was a worthwhile moment for me to go back and revisit something that I decried for a long time. I'll be the first to admit I used to talk smack about the album and the band, but no one doesn't talk shit. It's part of life. Sometimes even I get drawn into playing silly kids' games that I shouldn't, especially since I'm smarter/better than that, but I do make mistakes, for which I apologize. But the bottom line is I'm damned proud, three years after it ended, of both that album and the band members. It was a joy to do it, closer to the "right" way. And who knows--if the opportunity ever came up to make music together again, who says it couldn't be even better? I've said many times that a second Punch Line album would have been the right tonic as finally, the songs would have been new, not the "falling back on catalog", but who's responsible for that? Yes, I am. No one's to blame, rather, they're all to be commended for a good job under tight circumstances.

Time does a good job of straightening out sometimes-skewed scenarios.