Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Low End Theory

Hey Soul Mates,
spent the last two days at Karma Frog Studios with my producer Adam. I put down bass tracks on five of the new songs. We decided that the first takes on two songs that were pre-tracked were solid enough for release. So that brings us to seven done as far as the low end goes. It was exciting putting down the bass riff for "So Sophisticated." Adam gave me time to be creative in the studio, while keeping focused on the grooves. The second song we worked on today was a bit more challenging. The song has been so dramatically rearranged, and put into a different key, that I was exhausted by the time we wrapped. I may want to revisit that track, but we'll see how it sounds to my ears in a week.

That leaves three songs for bass. In the meantime, Adam has been tracking piano parts. Some of them are incredibly evocative. You are going to be amazed by his handiwork. One song is going "sans drums" for the time being, so I'm looking forward to what Adam cooks up for that one. Dates in July are set for more recording. It has been a busy June for me, so it has been nice to be able to get sessions in.

What else is new? I found out that (at least) one of my songs was utilized on "Parks & Recreation." Placements are always a fun development; especially knowing more new music is on the way.

Last week, I got to see ABC for the fifth time (thanks, JT). Martin Fry and his band always do it up properly. They rocked the House of Blues on Sunset. The set leaned heavily on the new material from "Traffic" and "Lexicon of Love." The sax/keyboard player was amazing, as was the bass player. Much to be admired the way ABC have outpaced their peers. Although, I am really excited about the Stateside return of Duran Duran. The openers, Chain Gang of 1974 are ones to watch out for. A young group from Denver, their sound fuses Tears for Fears and Haircut 100. Don't be surprised if these guys become darlings of the KCRW/SXSW/Coachella crowd.

Thanks to all of you who expressed condolences for the loss of my father-in-law this month. He was a superdude and will be missed. Bryan and I performed the Beatles' "Blackbird" at his memorial this week. The two of us did that song the first time Rush Hour Soul really did its thing in 2005; and I recorded it with my high school band back in 198mmphm...ahem. It was a fitting and lovely tribute that accompanied the release of 65 white doves.

That's all for now. Keep four-on-the-floor, and keep reaching for the stars!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The First Twenty Years

This week, June 1 precisely, marked the 20th anniversary of my arrival in Los Angeles. Hard to fathom, so much time has passed. There were plenty of times I felt like packing up and returning East, but I never did and I am thankful I made a go of it. I have had a fulfilling musical career thus far, and I haven't even peaked!

June 1 turned out to be a big day in music history as the legendary David Ruffin passed from an overdose. I didn't hear about it for a few days after the fact. I arrived from Florida via Orlando and Memphis. The drive from LAX to Pasadena was sensory overload. A special thanks to my friend Cara and her family for giving me an opportunity/start in Tinsel Town. The first 10 years were full of fits and starts. It truly took 15 years to figure out what I was doing and how to write a decent song.

I have played with several amazing bands and iterations thereof. I've collaborated with some very creative people. Been able to play all of the famous clubs in L.A. The city and the music scene have evolved dramatically since I got here. Almost none of the smaller venues exist anymore. A handful of my peers continue to pursue musical careers, too. I don't feel so old. Better still, I have made plenty of new musical friends through the Americana scene.

I will say this: the records people are making now are far superior to what was out in the Summer of '91. Not a lot of enduring music, but I have distinct memories of hearing "It Ain't Over Til It's Over" everywhere I went that first week in town. (Fortunately, artists have returned to using real instruments.) Hollywood Blvd. was a real hole then and Old Town Pasadena was years away from its renaissance; but Melrose Ave and Sunset provided lots of hangouts. My buddy Portner and I wasted many nights at the old Tower records on Sunset; singing karaoke at Clancy's in Glendale, etc.

I love L.A. It has provided me with a fun career, a great family and a multitude of memories and blessings. Here's to the next 20, City of Angels.

Peace & Disco Beats