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Archive for July, 2009

At least it’s something

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Sometimes things happen that make you more determined than ever. I guess I’m searching for a feeling of accomplishment to act as a sort of buffer between myself and some of the lunacy around me. This may be selfishness. Actually, deep down I know it is. With this recent batch of songs I’m trying to heal myself with guitar hooks and a steady back-beat. What I should be doing is directly diving into the lunacy (read: suffering) itself (especially as it hits so close to home), trying to ease it. In other words, I should stop taking the easy way out.

But this is all I know how to do, and in truth it’s not that easy. I can’t do the other thing. I’m not strong enough. Or brave enough maybe….for what is strength other than courage? And so I tell myself….at least this is something. Right? Maybe this is a form of courage as well. Laying it on the line. Popping your head above the crowd for a bit, inviting the rock throwers.

When people I love are hurting I hurt. It’s a big ‘ol shitty world and it ain’t fair in the least. Bad things keep happening to good people, and some of the most extreme assholes I know continue to skate through life like Snoopy on ice.

So….turn it up. Back to it.

In a bit….

–tf

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The why of it all

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Up until 3am listening the The Drams and reading Sebastian Barry’s “A Long Long Way”. Perhaps an odd combination. Actually, I’d bet my life there was nobody else in the entire world doing these 2 things at that same time. When you start thinking this way it makes the world seem charmingly smaller. Or it has you reaching for the pills.

I don’t sleep much so I spend most of my wee wee hours with music and books. I’ve left all my vices behind and replaced them with an unquenchable thirst for diet coke, and the need to order at least 5 used books from Amazon.com every week. Without my books, I have very few possessions. I could carry them all in the backseat of my car. With my books, however, the walls of my house bulge. I am addicted to the written word. “Word Hungry” is the phrase one once used to describe the Irish in general. I subscribe to that theory.

This carries over, of course, to music. But for this project I’m trying to focus less on words and more on hooks and guitar riffs and possible harmony vocals and how loud we can make the drums. I’m thinking less like a songwriter and more like the member of a band…..trying to find something that might get the asses out of the seats. It’s an odd position to be in, especially for someone who once wrote a 16 verse dirge about a mining disaster.

But it takes all kinds eh? So what if I’m old. I still love loud guitars and snarled vocals and the lift a great rock song can give you….like springing off a trampoline. And is there a better feeling in the world than coming home, fighting exhaustion and tractor trailers and the dark of night, and hearing something like “You Really Got Me” or “Surrender” or “Born to Run” on the radio? Who needs speed when you’ve got volume?

I want that feeling.

That’s why I’m doing this. And if I die (figuratively of course), at least I’ll die with my Doc Martens on and distorted guitars ringing in my ears.

In a bit…

–tf

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Demo-d it…and….

July 16, 2009 Leave a comment

I hate it. It sucks donkey balls. Sounds like some fucking long lost Joan Baez song recorded in the midst of a massive withdrawal from downers. If I tried to teach this to a rock and roll band I’d get my ass kicked.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Onward we go. If I have to, I’ll watch Spinal Tap for the 57th time. I swear I will.

On the plus side, I have dug up a song I wrote about 10 days ago called “Rock Record”, which is about as straightforward as the title suggests (sample lyric, “gonna make it rock!”….no I’m not kidding). Methinks cutting this will get the gunk out of my system.

In a bit…

–tf

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State of the Union

July 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, I finished it. And before the post-lunch whistle blew. Just slipped in under the wire. The last verse sums it all up…

So as I stand here and address you today
not knowing where my baby lay
rest assured my will is strong
to cry out loud and all night long
I realize this may not inspire
men to reach for something higher
but then every man is on his own
when his baby’s heart turns to stone

Such is the State of the Union

Need to demo it now to see if it’s any good. Looks alright on paper but the ears don’t have much in common with the eyes.

I used to write all my lyrics at the keyboard. Now, I do everything by hand with legal pads. Not sure what prompted me to go all retro, but there’s something about the feeling of pen to paper….it’s like bleeding. Much more personal than tapping away like the average cubicle dweller.

Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

In a bit…

–tf

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Lunch hour

July 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Gotta use time wisely. Have a song title. “State of the Union”. Just jotted down two verses. Need two more. Then a rousing chorus of some sort…with a short mid-section to break up the monotony. And then….well…..music would be nice. I do have a guitar in the office though. Imagine that?

Must hurry. No time for food at a time like this. And the clock is ticking. Jobs are hell on songwriters.

In a bit….

–tf

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No shortage of ideas….

July 14, 2009 Leave a comment

No shortage of ideas. The difficulty is in maintaining the discipline (and the brains) to weed out the really bad ones. Easier said that done….especially when you possess the attention span of a 5 pound bag of fertilizer. I get extremely bored extremely easy, so I rarely, if ever, will not write a song in one sitting. If I can’t complete it in one go, I usually ball it up and throw it away. This is an astonishingly dense thing to do, of course. I know that some quality stuff has been shredded along with the dreck, but I still can’t force myself to pick up today what I left off yesterday.

This goes for recording as well. The thought of doing ten takes of the same song fills me with Kurtzian-like horror. Actually, the thought of doing two takes of the same song fills me with Kurtzian-like horror. But recording with a full band….I know this one-take attitude has to change…..especially with my penchant for making up arrangements and/or lyrics on the spot, while tape is running. Drummers and bass players are notoriously touchy about such unscripted detours. I’ll change keys. I’ll change tempos. I’ll add an extra few bars here and there. I’ll add a line. I’ll delete a line. In other words, I’ll behave like a folk singer.

Must change. At least this once.

In a bit…

–tf

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Time…or the lack thereof

July 13, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the problems with making records is that it costs money most guitar players do not have. That’s a given, but then our homes cost money we don’t have too. Why should making records be any different? The trick is to find a studio that accepts credit cards. Simple. Problem solved.

But the lack of time is even thornier. I have to work for a living, poor sod that I am, so all this pretending-I’m-Noel-Gallagher stuff needs to happen after-hours. When the bars are closed as it were. And sometimes you get so tired that what you think is a bolt of insanely catchy inspirational lightning is instead, in the brutal light of day, simply the regurgitation of a riff found deep in the bowels of “Exile on Main St”.

It can ruin your day, quite frankly.

But, alas, we push forward. Hell, even Keith Richards regurgitates riffs found deep in the bowels of “Exile on Main St”, which is why the Stones are today about as relevant as Romper Room.

In a bit….

–tf

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Back again….sorta

July 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The plan is to use this blog to document (for myself anyway) these next few months, as I write and record demos and try to get ready to record the new album.

Recording a full band record this time, so the songs are a bit different than the usual solo-acoustic gloom and doom from the tomb variety. Actually, I’m trying to write songs that sound like Oasis getting into a street fight with the Ramones and being saved by the members of Cheap Trick. No small feat….but then my idol has always been Pete Townshend and my current favorite band is Slobberbone/The Drams.

So as I write and ruminate and second-guess the living shit out of myself, I’m gonna jot it all down here. Right now I got 12 songs written and demo-d, but I keep wavering on all but a few of them, which is sorta a red flag. Or at least should be.

I once described this new record as trying to re-write “Can’t Explain” 10 times without getting sued.

In a bit…

-tf

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