The Joy of Collaboration

For the past several hours, I have been listening to something that is giving me great joy. The narcissistic fact about this is that it is one of my own songs: “Pulling Nails”. The reason it’s making me so happy is that I am hearing it in ways that I have not been able to realize until now.

I think I’ve shared here that I am in the process of putting together a collection that will be released as an EP sometime in the coming months. I don’t have the timeline quite yet, but I know what songs are going to be on it, I know what order they’re going to go in, and I’m already starting to put together the artwork for the collection.  All of the basic recording has been done (I think — I am prepared to be wrong). What needs to be done now is the mixing and mastering.

In the past, I would’ve done all of the mixing myself, and then used an online provider to do the mastering. As I’ve also mentioned before, this time Terrance Reeves has been working with me on the mixing. And it’s been a revelation!

As a musician and a recording engineer, I am not without some degree of chops. I don’t know everything, I am constantly learning, and it’s not what I do all the time, so I don’t necessarily have all of the skills that I would want to have.   However, and more importantly in recording my own music, there is one fundamental necessity that I lack – and that’s objectivity and perspective. 

(“Two! Our two weapons are surprise and…”)

As I’ve been listening to the various mixes Terrance has sent me of “In A Minor Key”, “Clouds”, and “Pulling Nails”, I’m noticing he has found things not just in the recordings but in the songs themselves that either I had given up on unconsciously, or never even realized were there. He has been able to give them groove and flow and narrative. 

He’s also been able to listen to the songs from the outside and ask questions about what I think the song is about, the emotions it should inspire, and how I’d like the listener to hear this song. And since he hasn’t been with it from conception through arrangement and recording, he can put forth ideas that I don’t have the perspective to think of. 

It’s important to remember that collaboration provides a chance to enhance your art. In no way is it about sacrificing your vision: in fact, it is the chance to be able to know that your vision is getting through to your audience in the way you want it to.

Collaboration also makes the act of creation much less lonely. And in the present day, that has a tremendous value all its own. 

So, here’s a little sneak peek – but only a peek. Stay tuned and I am so looking forward to sharing the finished product with you really, really soon.

2020 Can Go Suck It

2020 Can Go Suck It 

So far, 2020 is a year when I can’t see people I love, when I can’t hear the music live that I want to hear, when the world is falling apart at the seams, and when tyranny has become the rule of the day. 

A year when the resurgence from winter into spring was stymied because we were stuck inside to keep ourselves from dying or from spreading a virus to others who might die. A year when summer has been spent behind window glass glancing outside – not a baseball game to be seen, not a swim club to be enjoyed.

It is a year in which a man tinted Easter-egg-dye-orange tries to define reality through the warped lens of his own imagination. And his imagination wants to take us to a dark, dark world.

It is a year in which pandemic has become a word that is part of our everyday lives. 

It has become a year in which I have memorial services to attend, and I don’t know when those memorial services will take place, or if they even ever will. People who were dearly close to me are gone, and I don’t know when or if we will ever have the opportunity to come together to celebrate their lives.

Here’s my tally-

  • An icon taken by glioblastoma 
  • A mentor taken by Covid
  • A friend taken – again – by glioblastoma 
  • Another friend (and boss), taken by a tragedy I don’t and likely won’t understand 

A year of mortality. 

A year of confronting the temporary nature of everything. 

A year of learning how each moment is a gift, and the next cannot be taken for granted. 

A Farewell to Kings

Today, right now, is August 1, 2020.  That’s five years since Rush played their final concert ever at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Tonight we’re watching Time Stand Still, the documentary from that tour and of its final shows. 

It’s a good thing to do. A worthy thing to do. It brings back good memories of years gone by – of getting together with dear friends and going to see and hear great music together.  

And I hope that it’s also a reminder that we will do so again, and that there are friendships yet to be forged and memories yet to be made.