So I decided (by suggestion of my amazing wife) to do a Music Monday post either here, or my social media accounts because music is what drives me every day (and honestly I am just learning to write). I wake up with music and go to sleep with songs in my head. I even have dreams where I write songs, and wake up the next day and record them...Or at least bits and pieces of them until they are stored away to be reawakened at a later time. Music has always been a comfort to me and a go-to when things get painful. Basically, music is woven into every part of my being.
When I was a kid, and still to this day, my favorite band was The Beatles. My mom had a cassette tape of The White Album and it felt like I was being let in on a secret world that no one else in my circle knew about, or maybe it was the copious amount of drugs I was on, either way I was sold. I loved music. Her old tape player reeled out Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and classic Elton John to name a few. I couldn't press fast forward to skip over unfavored songs, or the string would unwind like unravelled paper streamers all over the floor. So, I'd get high, press play and listen start to finish on both sides...all day long (with small amounts of school in-between).
Even more than listening to music, making and creating it was one of my main coping mechanisms. I could create to make up for what I lacked in self-worth. I would mask feelings in notes, that way they didn't show themselves through my outward insecurities.
In the early nineties my oldest brother had a guitar with lots of effect processors. I was barely double digits but I remember getting so high while he was at work and just strumming the strings as loud and obnoxiously as I could. The vibrations that bounced their way through the air and into my ears, gave me the sensation that the notes were alive. These terrible, clanging, high-pitched rings, were tangible feelings that I could contort and shape, even though they made no sense to anyone else.
After about a year of learning to make different piercing sounds the noise got to be too much for my brother and he finally taught me how to read guitar tabs. Once I got the hang of it I read through all of his old Def Leppard and Metallica books and learned every riff, scale, and solo in there until I starting becoming a halfway decent player. But the technical metal stuff was never my thing. It was when I discovered Punk Rock and Grunge that I gained a whole new world of playing and writing skills. Dinosaur Jr, Nirvana, The Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth--these guys played with those same terrible clanging high pitched rings that I was making in my room. But they wove them into powerful music too overwhelming and exciting for my little brain to even take in. I was inspired and I began writing songs and tapping into a creative place that would eventually become a full time obsession.
My step-dad dj'ed for KMOO, an old country radio station and they were tossing out an old tape-recorder. That day, my recording "career", if you will, began. There is still a tape floating around of a stoned 10 year-old-me. My two first singles were "Oprah Winfrey" and "Peed on the Floor". If found, you could hear these pre-pubescent gems of me screeching about my love for Oprah, and the 9 minute jam about my hatred for the little kid who peed on my floor. *spoiler alert: the little kid was me
From that used 80's cassette tape-recorder, to my digital 4-track, and now my professional home studio...I've been recording ever since. For years I only put out the "joke" songs and kept the "for real" ones tucked away. It was a lot easier for me to cover real emotions with mockery and jokes than to expose my true hurting-core. The past few years I think I've finally become comfortable enough in my own skin to share the "for reals". These are the ones that have my heart and emotions on full display. These are the ones that represent my history, where I've come from and where I am going.
Now, one of my favorite music pastimes is recording with my wife. Her voice is a dreamy mix of honesty and soul that I could (and get to) listen to every single day of my life. Going back to that magical, The White Album that I grew up with...the song that we are releasing today, is a cover off that record called "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". With technology today when we record a song, I can compress sound, tune vocals, equalize instruments, and add in all kinds of things to make it sound more "technically" perfect. Sometimes that is cool, but sometimes you can lose the spirit and rawness of the song. We decided for this one, to mostly let the words and guitar speak for themselves. Please enjoy our stripped down, chilled out version below.