Gone Wrong

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Here’s my latest song. Gone Wrong. My usual cheery perspective on the world. I have to say, issues of moodiness aside, writing and recording music is just about the most enjoyable thing. Much more fun than base-jumping off the Empire State World.

Anyway, Gone Wrong is part of my Skypilot project. Typical guitars, bass, drums, layered vocals. A good friend of mine, Rene Astorga, added the synthesizer.


Echo

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Echo is my latest song. It’s about death (of course). Our shadows in this life are already stretching across the divide, waiting for us with all of their implications and consequences and echoes. What we do here will last. Or not.

I hope you consider your own mortality every once in a while. Not in a morbid way, but in careful consideration of what it might mean.

Echo is typical of my usual approach to songwriting and recording: seat-of-the-pants. I have some pretty rough tracks, clipping, mixing pop and rock and a little bit of punk anger. Considering death does make me angry at times, the supposed casualness of it, the loss of what-could-have-been, the supposed lack of meaning. I have to be careful to use that word “supposed” as a qualifier, because I think we’ll find out a lot of what we’re not understanding here, once on the other side. Things our forward-reaching shadows have already figured out.

Death is a drearily common fixture of our world, whether its a drunk-driving accident from last night on tonight’s news (if it bleeds, it leads), cancer, a gang-shooting (all too common in my town), ISIS beheading Christians in Iraq (wtf is up with US foreign policy?), or Planned Parenthood offing mini-humans in their dark Satanic mills (wtf America?). Sorry, some death is needless and evil. Some death is pushing the boat off from shore and sailing away into that good night with a brisk west wind.


Little Zombies

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Latest tune, courtesy of me, my guitar, Garageband, some midi and a little time. Time. That’s the most valuable part. Time. I’ve been realizing more and more that we have limited time. Hardly any at all. And we don’t know how much.

Time is kind of like a wrapped Christmas present that we don’t get to open until the millisecond before our death. We get whacked by the drunk in his car and–bam–we open the present as we sail through the air, check inside the box and think, “Hmm. Okay. I get 48 years, 3 months, 16 days, 2 hours and 37 seconds. This is the last second.” And then we hit the pavement.

Or we open the box while in bed at the cancer center. Tubes and monitors hooked up everywhere. The monsignor or pastor or rabbi just gave you the last rites. Your heart monitor begins to flatline as your disease has the last say, and…we get to open the box, peer inside and remark “Aha. I get 82 years, 5 months, 29 days, 1 hour and 12 seconds. And this is the last second.” Flatline.

So where am I going with this? Nowhere, really. Just that…well, be careful with your time. Don’t presume.

Speaking of presumption, this song, Little Zombies, is about the presumption of life. Some people feel entitled to it. Some don’t even get to be part of the discussion, whether they’re alive and enslaved somehow (sex trade, human trafficking out of Africa and into Muslim countries, kids in sweatshops, little baby humans who haven’t been born yet, whatever and whomever). This one is for all the little zombies who never really got a shot at life.


Man in the Mirror

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¬†Here’s the latest song. Man in the Mirror. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals upon vocals. Lots of fiddling around and having fun. The verses were particularly fun, as I kept on layering harmonies. Hopefully you can tell that the third verse has more harmonies in it than the 1st and 2nd (and the 2nd more than the 1st). I wish I had more time to write and record songs. Very therapeutic.


Various yarns that weave into one

Whether you subscribe to the chaos theory approach to life, the universe, etc., or a more theistic approach, both philosophies are comfortable with the idea that life is made up of various yarns that tend to come together into one rope.

Sure, they might wander off in random directions, intersect, diverge, re-route, whatever and whichever and however you might imagine, but they tend to converge. The road in the yellow wood that split into two will one day emerge from that wood as one road again.

That said, we’ve all our various yarns weaving together into the tapestry of our lives. For me, that includes the Rangers film having had its first screening last week in Virginia. Next, it’s off to Fandom Fest, August 7-9, in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as at Gen Con in Indianapolis, July 31. Rangers is the second script I’ve written that’s actually been made into film (Rise of the Fellows Hip was the first–same production company: OAP); I’m not expecting it to be the last.

Speaking of film, I’m trying my hand at shooting a music video for a song called Little Zombies (local band called Skypilot, from their upcoming Galactic Holler album). Should be interesting to see what happens with no budget. Could be a trainwreck or could be awesome (as in: eliciting some awe). I think I’m going to go for a horror film approach, plus kids on bicycles.

Other yarns? Slowly (see: glacial) chipping away at another Tormay book. I refuse to divulge information about it right now, as that would be akin to opening the oven door to look at a cheese soufflé mid-bake. Never a good thing.

What are your threads these days?


Love Song!

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Yes, you read that correctly. I just wrote and recorded a genuine love song. For my wife (who patiently puts up with me, etc). The song is a bit on the messy side, but who cares? I don’t. I just enjoy the creative process. I tend to forget the bouquets of roses and the Hallmark cards and the trips to Tahiti, but I guess I can write a song every now and then.

So. Man up. What’s the last creative thing you did for your spouse? You don’t have to write her a book or build the Taj Mahal or conquer Persia, but, hey…the creative impulse is one of the few things that sets us apart from the raccoons and the moray eels. Even those little wiener dogs. They don’t have a creative bone in their wiener-like bodies.

Get going. Even if it only consists of toothpicks and superglue. It’s still creative.


song sketch Life or Yes, Death is Fairly Imminent

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More musical psychotherapy. This one has the rather bland name of Life. I was going to call it something a bit more snappy, such as Yes, Death is Fairly Imminent For You (yes, you there), but that doesn’t have a real musical ring to it. So, it’ll be Life for now, but I reserve the right to change the title.

I was going to do more with this song, but my computer started choking on the file. This one has multiple layers of guitars and even more of voice. I think there’s a five-part harmony on the very last vocal line. Bit overboard there, but that’s psychology for you (or psychotherapy is–what’s the difference between those two?).

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that I worked the IRS, Pakistan, the Russians, drugs, drinking, pets, and the contemplation of mortality into this one.

In other mildly related news (related in that it has to do with music), I did a little impromptu song and dance for my two-year-old this evening. In the kitchen, of course, because that’s where we bond (over food). He stared at me for a puzzled moment, and then started imitating me. So, there is hope.


song sketch: clock shout

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This one took about three hours from start to finish: writing through recording and mixing. Yeah, yeah…I can hear some of the smart Alecs out there already (3 hours? it sounds like 3 hours). Anyway, this is therapy for me. Much cheaper than paying some guy with a psychology degree to sit and listen to me not say anything and then scribble expensive things in his notepad.

There’s a lot of messy stuff going on in this arrangement (clipping meters, typically sloppy guitar playing, clueless drums, etc), but I think the shambling whole works with the sum of its parts.

And…instead of writing epic fantasy like I should, on to the next song. Though, I do need to do an edit on the short-form Rangers script. Shooting starts in August, and there’s some cleanup necessary, plus one long scene that needs to be savagely shortened.


Did You or Did You Not (insert whatever here)

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Yes, I should probably be writing some kind of epic fantasy or science fiction instead of writing and recording music, but that’s life. Instead of penning the next Game of Thrones (minus the depression and killing off all the interesting characters), I’ve been testing out my new MXL V67 mic. Not bad for a hundred bucks. I think I’ll keep it.

I was trying to go for a dissonant chorus harmony a la Lane Staley and Alice in Chains, but I didn’t quite get there. At any rate, had some fun.

Okay, now I’m off to write some more Tormay epic fantasy. Or maybe some kind of political humor novel about life in Monterey County. What a bunch of lunatics. Actually, anyone who gets into politics is pretty much a lunatic, hands-down, regardless of which party. There are a few stand-outs, yeah, but they’re not par for the course. They’re kind of like Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones. If you know what I mean.


new music: The Fury Clock

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In honor of the universal clock, which is counting down, regardless of our 401ks. I realize that every one has their own personal fury clock, but the universal one is much more intriguing on a global (no, universal) catastrophic scale. Highly alarming (pun intended).

Anyway, I haven’t written and recorded any music in a long time. This really isn’t a proper song as, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out a chorus. This is only a verse and some instrumental bits. Still, it amused me for a few hours, so…well worth it. Please listen with headphones, otherwise you’ll miss the bass line. I recently blew up my Rode NT1 microphone, so the vocals were recorded on a terrible Shure. Need to save up for a new Rode!