Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simplicity Way

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness" - Henry David Thoreau

This weekend was nothing short of remarkable for me. As we traveled up the coast of the northeast to the simple lands of Maine, through the fog and visions of to-the-point store front signs like "DINER" and "PIZZA", I realized that this is what life is all about. Sure, I am from a small town with no stop light and the closest place to buy a pair of socks is 45 minutes away...but something about our journey made me see the beauty in all of that once more. It's no secret that the contrast of different aspects in our lives makes us see things differently; city skylines against mountain rises, bright blue skies versus rainy days...bad days followed by happy days. Everything has an opposite that when looked at at the same time can tell us a lot about what we really want. You can say you'd prefer to have 365 days of sun in a year but without a rainy day, would you even stop to appreciate when you DO have the sun?

I think that's how I often feel when I take weekend trips to small towns and simpler lifestyles; I take it all in and appreciate every little moment because I know that at some point I'll be returning to the hustle and bustle of city life, routine and plans.

But does it really have to be like that?

On our journey, Melissa and I talked a great deal about being trapped in a life of things expected of us. How we all have bills that hold us down from taking random trips across the world, how our 9 to 5 existences keep us always tethered to one place and to one frame of mind. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Are we really that robotic? What if any of us had the courage to just let it all go? But the questions remain...

"What will you do about money?" "How would you pay your bills on time?" "That just isn't realistic at all."

But what is realistic? What is reality and how have we all fallen so hard into such a drone like world? Why do you have to have millions of dollars to do what you really want to do? Why can't life just be simple?

Those are the questions that we should ask ourselves...not ones that discourage us from following our dreams and making us happier than the way we may find ourselves now. As we discussed these things on a foggy mountain road, I happened to glance up at a sign (and it really did seem to be a sign of something much greater) that read "Simplicity Way". With no hesitation I turned the car around and Melissa and I stopped on the road that seemed to lead to anywhere we wanted. The fog filled the rows of trees on either side while the dirt road lead straight back into white...holding behind it so many secrets and possibilities. We took pictures and appreciated every second of being there. It was a very important moment that I think we'll both carry close with us for a long time.

The weekend that followed was filled with deep discussions, generous innkeepers, happy canines, roaring fireplaces and a sad spring rain that somehow made us all feel happy and alive.

I checked my bank balance this morning and it is at $0.00. And I could care less.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 24th Recording: Horzions

Some great shots by Mr. Marcin Kuc.












Confusing Our Days

This whole process has definitely made us forget what day we're in! It really was the 24th. haha

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"My Bone Just Cracked!"

Gettin' old there, buddy. haha

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Punched?

"Wanna punch it in?" haha this is a question I have grown to appreciate and be thankful for during this entire recording process so far. Basically, if we mess up a part in a song that is pretty much a good take, Dave is able to have us record that one part along with the original take and simply replace it. This is definitely a recording standard procedure but me being so new to this process, it's exciting for me!

Here is Marcin punching in a part in the end of Horizons.

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E Chord Troubles!

My guitar has been having a very hard time sounding pretty when strumming an E chord. It's a tad frustrating! Here is Marcin trying to figure out what is wrong...

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stand Glitch! Horizons so close!

Recently I made a post containing a video of Stand. I have watched it on the blog and it appears to stop dead in the middle of the feed and doesn't recover. I apologize for this and I'll hopefully either fix it or put up a new version down the road.

Last night Marcin and I finished up our parts for Horizons and he did the bass work for In the End. My guitar is having some tuning issues and so I didn't feel confident recording my guitar part for the song just yet. Everything's sounding great.

More photos/video to come soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Musicians, March 22, 2009

In between songs I like to go around and get pictures of the band. I'm sneaky like that.







"Red lights are on your face again...."

But we're runnin' them all! :)

It's hard to imagine not working with these guys on What To Keep & Let Go. They have such amazing input and this album is going to shine even brighter because of them. Below is a take of Stand from Sunday's practice. This song has taken many different roads to get to where I think it has arrived at. Marcin, Cullen and I worked hard to figure out the best way to close up the song as far as when to stop and come back in strong with all instruments. I think we have come up with something good there. And Chad's riff at the end puts chills on my neck.

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"This Amy thing...it's not gonna get you..."

Marcin said some nice things that will always stay with me. As we started in on playing Hello, Amy, he expressed how much he didn't want the disease to take me and is staying positive that it won't. Right before these encouraging words, we were goofing around with some funny voices and monster sounds that, because of the nature of the song, could be taken the wrong way. I didn't even realize how it sounded until he pointed it out. Regardless of the silly humor we sometimes have, this topic is of course extremely sensitive to me and I was glad that it was to Marcin as well.

Posted below is a take of Hello, Amy from Sunday's practice. The idea is to record this song all live and to finalize the best version we come up with. Because the disease is so real and not at all sugar-coated, a very real approach to recording the song is needed. Whatever happens happens....whatever little inconsitencies or mistakes we make should be accepted and taken as is. This is how I see the song. Because in life, there really are no mute buttons, compression filters or autotunes. We are who we are and we must take what happens to us in stride...and make it into a beautiful melody.

Hello, Amy.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

You'll see, we'll make it right tonight.

Here is an old clip of Circles that I dug up for Cullen to review what he did with the percussion. I really love where he comes in strong and how the drums sound. This song is going to take some work but I believe it will be my favorite on the album. I apologize for the quality of this video...

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Passing into August Bass

More work at figuring out Passing into August. It's going to have a real driving bass sound and lead piano melody I'm thinking. I'm so excited about the transition from Horizons into this song. I hum it in the beginning so you can get an idea of what I'm thinking..

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Circles

Marcin and I are working out some of the parts in Circles, the song that I'm hoping will be one of the more emotional pieces on the album. Check it out.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

More stupid pre-practice intros

Well at least I stopped the car before I video taped myself talking to the camera.
(Marcin hates me, as you can see by his expression at the end...haha)

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Passing into August Prechorus work

Marcin stole my Breedlove from me (haha, kidding) to work on some Passing into August chord structures. We have an idea to make the prechorus a little better than it is now. Take a look:

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Quick funny clip

I wasn't going to post this but Marcin makes a great face at the end. hahaha classic.

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Gotta love midi keyboards

Figuring out some piano melodies for Passing into August.

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Passing Into....deliriousness

Things definitely seem sillier than ever lately. good stuff. keeps us havin fun!

Here is some melody work on Passing Into August. "slick"

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Cullen Corley Session

Check out some photos of Cullen doing his thing on March 17th




On the way to the studio..

Yeah...probably shouldn't be doing this while driving... haha

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What a trooper

Had a chance to get some good footage of Cullen in all of his pre-recording glory. Bang. Bang. Bang. What a good dude to stay inside all afternoon to do drum sound tests. haha

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Talking Vocals

In between drum takes I had a chance to talk to Dave a bit about vocals and how to handle back-ups and things like that. Here is an excerpt- one of the more serious video clips. haha

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"Baby's First Xylophone"

Dave busted out the xylophone kit to play around with some end-of-chorus melodies to lead into the final part on Bicycle on the Ice. What a colorful set!

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Hello. What's Up? Hi.

What a fantastic exchange of greetings.

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Workin out some confusion

Usually a good technique is for me to sit with Dave and play along to Cullen as he's recording his parts. That way we can make sure the tempo is good and everything. Sometimes there is some confusion and MOSTLY on my end. hahaha

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kissing lips of ambition

I worked with Chad up in Marblehead recently on Stand. His guitar part is really coming together nicely with some nice ambient sounds and slide work. Check it out.

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Stand work with Chad

Chad has some sweet ideas or the end of Stand. We'll see how it all comes together!

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Colors fade. And I fall asleep. haha

Only a few photos were taken on the 12th so I decided to do something visually interesting with them. As you can see, the fading colors seem to fit nicely with my physical activity as the night progressed.



Oreo sits in on practice. Again!

On March 12th, we worked on the Bicycle on the Ice string sections and piano parts. Oreo (apparently NOT Cookie Monster) made a cameo.

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It's a little long

Figuring out the strings for Bicycle on the Ice.... They sound lovely and make grown men cry. (You know who you are. haha)

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Happy accidents are the best

This was an experiment on the transition between the end of City Lights and Bicycle on the Ice. This song order has been planned for a while but it was to my surprise and joy to hear how the last chord matches up with the string section in Bicycle. "It's exactly where it's supposed to go! Peace out!" haha I got a little excited.

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We Just Drink Beer

Thursdays really ARE my favorite part of this entire project. And NOT because we drink beer. haha

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March 11th Recording Photos

Here is a collection of photos from our recording session in Weston on March 11th. I'm really starting to dig the black and white photo look.





Amp and gain talk.



Sharing a moment before the session.


Chugging water. Singing voice sucked this night.

Breedlove, baby

Dave has us take off our shoes to avoid creaks in the floor!

Marcin is smelling his bass. Or so I thought..

I'm always so hyper before we begin playing! haha I guess that's a good thing.

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"No shoes in the house!!"

Just some goofy antics behind the scenes before a take of City Lights.

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So much to "gain!"

I don't understand this amp talk but I thought they looked pretty productive! Video capture! WA HA!

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"I wanna see some slide"

Here is a silly video clip from March 11th at Fat Dave's. I was intrigued by Marcin's fretless bass guitar.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Some stuff and things..."

Visited Mr. Macomber last night night and we had the chance to run over some details for the lead guitar parts on some of the songs. He has come up with a pretty awesome solo for City Lights and the outro part is gettin' there. Horizons is sounding good as well. After a little bit more work on my album, we shifted gears and worked on a song he is writing. It's very "Legend of Zelda meets U2's Boy" as Chad put it. It's really fun trying to come up with a vocal melody for it!

Tonight, Cullen is heading into the studio to work some more on Horizons and In the End. I will be meeting him and Dave sometime after 6 to make sure everything is falling into place nicely. If all goes well, I'll be heading into the studio tomorrow to lay down the acoustic parts for these songs.

Photo and video updates soon! I haven't been home...haha

Monday, March 16, 2009

Frisbee!

Yesterday was so gorgeous out and before practice we all threw the disc around the front yard of Cullen's parents home in Weston. It was definitely a great thing to do before playing inside for a couple of hours. Spring is almost here!!!

We worked on In the End and Horizons, warming up with a little City Lights. Everything is sounding great. Cullen and I go in tomorrow to work on the drums for these songs and hopefully Wednesday I can lay down my parts.

I will post video and photos soon! I'm way behind...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tat-Two

Here is a modified version of my planned tattoo design....the other one was too big and bulky! It's gettin there....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Tina! Come Get Some Ham!"

hahaha Last night was a great night of Napoleon Dynamite quotes, stories about recording without clothes and good tea & beer. Marcin and I got the take we wanted for City Lights after some attempts with me singing at the same time. My voice wasn't as good as it could be - hence all the tea drinking - so we did just the instrumentation at the same time. The guitar and bass came out great and I'll go in and do the vocals sometime in the near future after I have worked through some of Brian's exercises. I'll be sure to post photos and video from last night very soon.

"Peace out..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"And Where We Are Going...

....the toilet bowl is over flowing....."

haha I recall Marcin singing this in the City Lights tune. haha Dave's place had a little plumbing issue I guess last week. haha (Sorry Dave)

So anyways! We're headin back into the studio tonight to record the acoustic and bass for City Lights! Exciting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nothing Lasts Forever...

...save the memory of you.

I'm working on a tattoo idea for myself that involves an image of my mom with her long black hair. To break up the solid shape, I want to have the lyrics "Nothing Lasts Forever, Save The Memory of You", flowing through it. This is a lyric for a song that is yet to be fully realized but I hope to finish it up soon. The design needs some work but this is what I'm thinking so far. Her hair is starting to look like fire...

There are signs everywhere.

Ever find things in your every day life that just seem to be telling you something? ...That mean a little more to you than maybe the other passersby?

Well I read into everything. I look for signs, hints, messages that seem to be saying "yeah, you're on the right track". Usually this comes in the form of numerology. But yesterday, I found something chipped away at the wall of a Boston subway station that I just had to take a photo of. Whether or not it was a "sign" is really yet to be determined in my mind; I just think it was cool.



Does this not look like the body of a guitar? Pretty cool. It was about an inch in diameter and spotted when waiting for a train that wouldn't come for a while...

I still haven't found what I'm looking for....

I got pulled up on stage at the Harpoonfest on Saturday to sing a song for u2 cover band The Joshua Tree! The lead singer, Mike, had laryngitis and needed some help on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Well I tell ya what I was lookin' for - some help from my budddy Chad!! haha Tried to get him to join me up there but the bouncer wouldn't let him follow. Coulda used his awesome harmonies! No worries...we'll share the stage again soon enough.

Here are a couple of photos from this random and remarkable event. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Decide to stand right here."

It's Friday. Not much to post as we didn't have practice last night due to my desire to step away from it all for an evening.

But to keep things goin' for you readers, here is a clipping from my lyrics book. Featured here is the outro lyric for Stand. This is definitely old as some of the lines have changed a bit...Still fun to see tho, yea?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

u2 Craze!!

We're in the release week of U2's new album No Line on the Horizon and in honor of it, Chad decided to rework my logo for my own album! hahah check it out


Haha! Looks pretty cool but I think I'll avoid a lawsuit and stick with the bicycle. ;)

This bicycle wants to be free...

hmm..I see no chain holding it down.. It should move to where we can't find it...:)

Spotted and photographed by Melissa Ann Xenakis

March 3, 2009. So fine!