Saturday, June 23, 2007

Organization Man

Hey Soul Mates,
I've spent the past week deconstructing and reconstructing my office space. It's actually an office and there's actually space. Amazing. I'm becoming addicted to a place called the Container Store. Thanks to the help of Star Hansen (see
Simplified Spaces), I'm getting hecka organized. Years of paperwork and lyrics filed into archives. The music collection actually looks like one, rather than a bunch of moving boxes filled with CDs. My basses are going to have a real home. It's like clearing clutter from your brain. You don't realize how much junk you own until a third party says, "Hey, what are you keeping that for?" I'm quite excited about it, because I'll be able to get back to writing music after this project is done.

While doing all of this cleaning however, I've been listening to two more very good new LPs that are out. The White Stripes doing more of their dirty blues on Icky Thump and Paul McCartney giving the people what they want on Memory Almost Full. I'm not as enamored of Icky Thump as I was of the Stripes previous barnburner Get Behind Me Satan, but it's compelling. Especially the last 5 numbers. On the other hand, Macca's MAF is superior to his previous disc Chaos and Creation. But both of these new CDs are highly recommended. This is shaping up to be the best year for new music of the decade. The Arctic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse are still in heavy rotation on my iPod. There are a lot of really good singles out there, too. I'm truly grooving to Justice's
D.A.N.C.E. Dig that video.

Back to work!
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where U Been?

Well, you might ask.

Hey Soul Mates,

I took a week off. Went to see friends from high school in Jacksonville last weekend. Which was great. Hung out with the best of the lot. Fantastic to see all of you. Especially my old band mates from my first group (well, I see Mike and Mark all the time, but drummer Sherman - not so much).


Fellow Duranie, Deb, an avid reader of this blog (HI, DEB!) with whom I discussed the few half-decent concerts that rolled through town back in the day. Not like L.A., if a decent act came within the county everyone went. But hey, I saw Duran Duran (!), The Jacksons, Teena Marie and Tom Petty back when. She also reminded me of our first dance in Middle School. Ha ha. Love ya, Deb.


My buddy Jeff, whose wife brought a recipe for hoecakes. Yes, hoecakes. It's a long story and it involves a bus ride to Tallahassee. 'Nuff said. Jeff now designs golfcourses, and you thought I was living the dream!


And of course, this is the crew at the microbrew. Including my old comic book raider, Jim and his wife Laura (far right) and Mike's fiancee Amanda (center). And let me tell you, it is hot in Jacksonville. Thank the Lord, Ragtime had A/C.


On the music front, RHS has been making some executive decisions about the mixes we received last week. Getting used to hearing the recorded versions of our songs is exhilarating, but can take a little time. We've narrowed down our choices for the album, though. We'll start sending advance copies to our industry peeps this week and see who's for real!

Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Have 11 Songs To Sing You

Hey Soul Mates,
the session wrapped around 3 a.m. Rub and Reveal, Steve! Haven't been to bed. One track is a redo already, but c'est la vie. The LP is right!
TGIF!

Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One To Go

Hey Soul Mates,

we are one song away ("Down By Love") from finishing our debut album. This is quite exciting. The mixing process has been a long, but rewarding journey. Last night, the midnight lamp nearly ran outta oil as the session wrapped around 3 a.m. again. Four songs were completed and in a few short days, I'll post the CD's track listing in its running order.

Hard to fathom, but one year ago today, RHS was at the Bedford in London shooting our first video for "A Talent For Loving." I'm celebrating the anniversary by watching the clip again. As we have another session for mixing and the Cavaliers are playing their first ever NBA Finals game, I won't have time to post any new pics or our superboot today. But I will have plenty of new photos next week.

It's also Prince's birthday and as he is one of my MAJOR influences: Happy Birthday, Prince!!

Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

#401

Hey Soul Mates,
I didn't realize yesterday's early a.m. blog was number 400 for me. Wow, that's not shabby.

Dear Lord, it's late/early. I'm just in from the studio. The long drive along with the long hours is making me dizzy. BUT! Sucka and I Can't Cry For You are in the can. Sucka thumps like nobody's beezwax and I Can't Cry For You has really grown. The first time Bryan played me the riff was last year in Wales and I learnt it up while we were shooting our video in London. The guitar on Cry is spectacular. Lots going on. I listened to it against the live versions on the iPod and the difference is light years apart. The studio version is going to rock your world. We're halfway to an album.

All right. I'm done. Done! (That's for Portner)
Love, Power, Peace, Sleep

Monday, June 04, 2007

Educating Rush Hour Soul

Hey Soul Mates,
Just downing a bit of Twining's Everyday and a few Lotus biscuits as I type.

We got a bit of an edjumacation tonight at the studio. First off, the LP tracks are slamming! Mixing was completed on Everything My Heart Desires, Done Lost My Mind and U Had The $. You won't be disappointed. Those three are worth the price of admission alone. But wait there's more! Ha ha. We'll be back at the Lounge for more mixing action later tonight, as it is 2 a.m. Monday.

As for the schooling? Seems we get more learning with every session. We made the executive decision to mix on the analog console rather strictly on the computer. I wasn't sure what I had gotten the band into as it turns out, the aforementioned songs are D.O.N.E. Finished. Over. The analog mixes are ours to keep, i.e. that's it! Which at first caught me off guard, but after conversation, debate and rebuttal, backed up our original (although guessed at) choice, which our co-producer Adam and engineer deluxe, Steve recommended. And as I said, trust me, these tracks are slamming. There's no way the drums and vox would sound this hott otherwise.

I put down a new romantic-inspired synth part on EHMD (think
ABC meets Curtis Mayfield) to go along with Adam's tasteful glockenspiel. And Adam approved of the performance. I think he said "Martin Fry called, he wants his sound back." Which means a lot, since Adam is one bad dude on the keys. Ad's glock playing will also to be heard on Done Lost My Mind. To which Steve said, "Thom Bell called, he wants his arrangement back!" Blue-Eyed Soul. Philly soul. Rush Hour Soul. It's all good for the soul. Anyway, I think we'd be great on a double bill with ABC. Hint, hint.

Alright, I'm minutes from sleep. Gotta be back in the swing in a few hours.
Love, Power, Peace

p.s. Check out "Rocky Balboa" if you haven't already. Inspiring.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Studio Day Two Years In A Row

Hey Soul Mates,

it's a studio day for Rush Hour Soul. And it was a year ago as well. In 2006, we arrived at Monmouth with the rising sun, about 4 a.m. Our recording session for A Talent For Loving began later in the afternoon. Much later. It was hot, as I recall, so we waited to record till after the real heat of the day. But Wales, was so loverly that I simply sat outdoors by the River Monnow, sipping coffee and listening to the water. I did post my first official "blogger" blog that day, as well. I'll have to take a look at it and see what I was thinking on the spot.

OK, here are a slew of photos from an unforgettable stop at Huddersfield. Home to some of our most rabid fans to this day. Hudds was our June 2 date at Bar 120.







Time permitting, I'll get some rare photos from Wales up here shortly. And I still have to post that "Superboot." Our day at the Lincoln Lounge will last about 10 hours, so those may have to wait a few more days.

As for the Cavaliers, I'm beyond excited. Something I'm not sure I'd see in my lifetime, the Cavs in the NBA finals. Of course I wept last night when the game ended. I thought back on the horrendous '80-'83 campaigns when the team seemed to go winless for entire consecutive seasons. Staying up late to hear
Joe Tait call yet another loss on 3WE. Or hearing callers commiserate on the Pete Franklin show about how owner Ted Stepien was Satan. Birthdays spent at the cold, remote Richfield Coliseum watching Cleveland lose to another bottom feeder of the day like the Bulls or the Nets. So, I will be proudly wearing my Cavs jersey all week, so look for me. I'm #7. Like Bingo Smith!
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 01, 2007

Long Live Sgt. Pepper

Hey Soul Mates,
There is no way to underestimate the impact of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. the album turns 40 today. It is a musical and cultural landmark that remains the highpoint of pop music artistry. Only Thriller comes close in importance. I wasn't exaggerating in our documentary when I said I suppose I learned how to read because the lyrics to Pepper were printed on the back of the album. That record played constantly at home. And I was born after its release so even in the 70's and 80's it was a household favorite.

My best friends and I mimed the tracks constantly with our tennis racket guitars. It was a fun rainy day (or sunny day diversion) to put Pepper on the turntable and pretend to be the Beatles or whoever was in the shiny military suits on the front cover. The entire package of Pepper was perfect: the lyrics, the uniforms, the front cover with its who's who. I can remember staring at both sides of the cover, and the smiling Fabs in the gatefold, for long chunks of time.

Now, as a kid, I had no favorite song from the album. I simply disliked George's Within You Without You. I knew the record backward and forward. And as mentioned, I knew all the words. Frequently, in the era before Walkmen, I would trudge to school and sing the entire album to myself. I can still do it. That is a testament to the power of the Beatles' music.

As for Within You Without You, I have a great appreciation for it as an adult. As a kid, the drone and the philosophy were a bit heavy, spooky in fact. Now I realize this is the track that anchors the entire endeavor, keeping it from being too lightweight. The spiritual core of Pepper.

If I had to pick two or three favorites, I might say Getting Better, Lovely Rita (and its amazing bassline) and Good Morning, Good Morning (which Bryan and I sang walking to Abbey Road studios a year ago). Perfect pop songs. Perfect. But I have much respect and love for the title track, it is the epitome of the mounting excitement of a live performance. With A Little Help From My Friends was one I performed with my first band. For me, She's Leaving Home is still the most moving thing on the LP, more so than A Day In The Life, although the latter is monumental in the pop genre. When I'm 64, was a childhood favorite with it's indelible melody and a hook that we used to sing as "When I'm 6'4"." Which I am. Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds were and still are among the most inventive lyrics ever. There is imagery in those songs that helped explode my imagination, at a time the only drug I heard of was St. Joseph's children's aspirin.

Liverpool was such an awesome place to visit, simply to see the childhood neighborhood's from which the Beatles' sprouted. To walk those streets, to touch the buildings, to breathe that air. All of that informed their work, including Pepper. Of course, being in the studio where they made the album was a religious experience, too. I've got it playing now. I highly recommend revisiting it today on this special anniversary. It will make you smile.

I can't even estimate how many times I've listened to Pepper, how many hours I've invested in this disc. Several hundred would be a fair guess. Without the Beatles and specifically Sgt. Pepper, I would not be making the music I make, if any at all. Debt unrepayable. Thanks, boys.

And of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Doug! Quite an auspicious day in history.

Love, Power, Peace