Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Track One: "Waking the Sun"

On a frigid Thursday night in late December, I sat with two of my best friends in a nearly empty pub. We ate wings. (Well -- two of us. The other has a wheat issue. Something about the breading. I dunno.) We drank some good brown beer. (Well -- two of us. The other with the wheat issue...I think he had Scotch or something.) Anyway, we talked about many things: philosophy, psychology, Specifically, the music that Mark (the one without the wheat issue, but plenty of others, let me assure you) and I had created some months before. We talked about doing more.

Mark tends to stomp when he plays.
This is a problem with open mic's in the room,
so, one needs to be resourceful with solutions.
We discussed everything from doing a Christmas record, to pass down to our future generations, to putting together a totally conceptual, avante garde "sound tapestry" of studio magic. In truth, we didn't set a musical direction at all, really. But we did, at Joe's urging (the wheat guy), set a date to get together and write some music: January 11. If Joe hadn't been there, Mark and I probably would have drifted off into our usual vague existences. Thanks to Joe, we had a date on the calendar.

January 11th, a Saturday, came, and Mark showed up bearing coffee and donuts (and blackberry brandy, which he claims enables him to sing anything at any time of day, which appears to be true) and I threw a chord progression at him. In about twenty minutes, we had the backbone of a pretty good song.

My wife popped her head into the studio: "If you guys don't get together and do this one a month, I will kill you." (This meant, in Karenese, that she was pleased with what she had heard.)

Well, that settled that; I think she was serious. But we took Karen's lethal threat so seriously, Mark and I started getting together every weekend, almost -- if only for two or three hours at a time. Sometimes, between kids' activities (Mark coaches; we both have kids) and sometimes even after late nights playing in clubs, for both of us.

(Weird, how I can get up early the night after playing if it is for music...)

Well, we worked on our first tune from January 11th through March 30th: writing, recording, texting, mixing, re-recording, texting, re-mixing... (A transcript of those texts would be good reading.)

I said, in the post about our first collaboration (the first since, like, 1988) that Mark and I have similar tastes in music: we both love complicated progressive and instrumental stuff and we both love a good, melodic pop/rock song, too. So it might not be a surprise that this is both ambitious and...what?...catchy? We may actually have invented the genre of progressive pop/rock, the way I see it.
Mark with the singer's panacea: blackberry brandy.
(He's convinced.)

The process for this one involves a lot of planning and quite a few happy accidents, as it usually does for us. But this one is really quite a complicated track. As I said to Mark, it felt a lot like opening the door of a stuffed closet -- things tumbled out all over the place. I hope, at any rate, we cleaned up the mess well, in the end. We do intend to simplify for some of the subsequent songs (and maybe take less than three months on each), but this was a blast to sculpt into shape.

This is the first track on the full CD that is to come. There. I have put it in writing, so now we have a promise to keep. (Or, depending on what you think of the music, a threat to carry out.) (For those in the know: this is a straight mix from my studio; no mastering until the CD stage.) You will also hear, in the introduction, the voice of the acclaimed Italian tenor, Enzo DiFettucini. We were lucky to get him for the project.

Mark played guitars and bass and did the vocals; I played drums and keys and we co-wrote music and lyrics. Hope you dig. You will need approximately 6:49 of free time and some loudish speakers or headphones. I give you, "Waking the Sun":

The workplace.

The closest a musician/psychologist and a musician/teacher
get to "Behind the Music" tales of rock star debauchery:
Donuts and a sip of blackberry brandy at the dining room table
on a Sunday morning. We both thought about really mixing things
up and having a second donut, but...look, leave us alone with your stereotypes!


  1. Who is this Joe of which you speak? And where did he get this forbidden knowledge of wheat and calendars?