27 March 2007

my fingers smell like metal

for the first time in i-don't-know-how-long, i just spent two straight hours playing the guitar. it had been so long, in fact, that i spent the two hours in question trying to relearn how to play all the songs on they're more afriad of you than you are of them. so now i can play them again, slightly less well than i could a year ago. i'm a schmuck.

i'm removed enough from it now to admit to you that i've never been happy with the way a lot of things on that record came out. bits and pieces of songs, mostly. but basically all of a viking's funeral drives me crazy. i got overzealous and i got carried away trying to make a song rock hard with a programmed rhythm section and a lot of compression and reverb. but truthfully (and you're just going to have to take my word for it for now) it sounds much much nicer on an acoustic guitar. maybe with a real piano, too.

which brings me to some exciting, albeit slightly speculative, news. rob, the ivory tickling of whom you can hear in i spin forever and scutigera coleoptrata is moving to new york city from san francisco in june. i can't promise much since we've only talked a little bit about it, but i'd be lying if i said i wasn't excited at the chance to play again alongside one of the most talented, intuitive musicians i've ever had the pleasure of knowing. allow me to elaborate: both the keyboard parts mentioned above were recorded in about three takes. i brought a portable recorder out to the piano rehearsal rooms back at brown university, told him what chords to play and slapped some headphones on him, and the rest is history.

so, if he can find any time for me when he's not engrossed in his theoretical physics phd program (show off), well, it'll be pretty cool. i'd love to record some songs with him in which the piano is more than a pretty afterthought. stay tuned.

also. it's the time of year now on new york where the sun is right in my eyes as i make my way home from work on long island back to brooklyn. it's probably for the best that everybody slows way down since nobody can see, but it also means it takes me forever to get home and i have a lot of time to think about things. this evening a lyric from a song sean was working on a while back kept popping into my head: "the sun's in my eyes, interstate 95..." i should make him play that for me again. we can make something of that.

if you can't tell, i'm really thinking seriously again about playing music. it's about time.

oh shit! i almost forgot the whole reason i started writing this post, which was to tell you that if you're around new york, endless mike and the beagle club are playing on thursday (that's the 29th) at a really cool bar in bushwick called goodbye blue monday. sean and i will be there.

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11 August 2006

brooklyn bound

so we found a place. it's got a washer and dryer. and a balcony. and a huge kitchen with a ton of cabinets that we will never be able to fill with actual foodstuffs. we'll be signing the lease tomorrow morning, and moving in the first wave of what will be many many waves of carloads of our shit.

i haven't been myself lately being so worried about not finding a place. now that we've found one and locked it down, i'm hoping i'll snap back to normal. i just took a nap on friday afternoon, and i'm sitting here writing in my boxer shorts before i get dressed to go drink beer in the east village, so i guess i'm off to a good start.

it's been about a year since i cut my hair.

i am amazed aviator shades ever went out of style. i want mine permanently attached to my face with surgery.

james, who played bass and electric guitar on the recording of "i spin forever," is coming to new york tomorrow night. which is a big deal since he lives in switzerland. we're going to see the format. i'm tittering.

by this time next week you'll have "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" in high quality mp3 on your hard drive and perhaps your ipod or competing portable media device. maybe if you can ever pry yourself away from the new hellogoodbye record (i never thought i could love something that reminded me of cher so much, god damn) you can listen to it once in a while.

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17 December 2005

were they all just lost in the flood?

i've spent all day so far today listening to old vinyl records. i have a totally sweet turntable that i never use and a really warm sounding old hi-fi amp that i probably paid about $10 for at a yardsale because some yahoo got himself an alpine. old speakers, etc.

the point is that everyone who says rock and roll sounds best on vinyl is 100% right. i have all these records on cd and vinyl. and they all sound better on vinyl. and if it totally doesn't break my bank, i am going to make some vinyl versions of "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" when i finally finish it. from what i hear vinyl is a specialty thing, but is affordable in small quantities. of course i haven't really done much homework on it yet.

but let's talk a bit about the record, since i don't feel like i do much of that anymore and as i've been recently reminded, that is why i started all this writing in the first place.

it's coming along. not without its share of frustration (i just shitcanned all but the drums for "a viking's funeral" so i can redo it in a different key that i can sing better), but it's coming. a song is done when i am still proud of it 2 weeks after the last time i tweaked it. and by that measure, 4/8 songs are done. of course one of those is the centipede song and it doesn't even belong on the album and it's been done for years and it'll probably just be a hidden track but who the f cares? the other three that are done are "if these walls could talk," "i spin forever," and "new york city." i haven't even started "doctor, these headaches" or "triple deke" yet. that leaves "the loudest man on the laugh track" which is the one i earlier intimated might end up sounding like a william shatner song. at this point that is still possibly the case.

in a drawer here at my desk i have about 10 rolls of undeveloped film dating as far back as my sophomore year in college (which is like 5 years ago) and some recent introspection has made me decide to get them developed. for all i know they've expired or something, but they've all been in lightproof cases and all that so i'm just going to hope for the best. the point is, there's going to be a lot on there that's going to hurt to see. but probably a lot also that'll be really nice. and since none of them are labeled, everytime i do one it'll be a surprise. i hope whether nice or not they'll move me forward with this record and with life in general. not that i'm living in the past or anything (not that far in the past anyway) but these film rolls represent to me a lot of shit i've avoided confronting for a long time. i guess i'll keep you posted.

lastly, i know i've linked you to the ex-girlfriend project about a million times by now, but he mentioned the other day how "mary, queen of arkansas" always reminded him of "kara" (who so far is unquestionably the most interesting of his ex's) and that just came on while i was typing all this. on vinyl the way it should be.

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10 November 2005

this one got away from me. sorry.

follow up to yesterday. not the highway mayhem part, the part about the drums. i already heard a demo of his initial thoughts and my fears are quelled. it's great and something i never would've been able to do myself. and at the same time, it sounds more like it sounded in my head when i wrote it than i was able to do myself. crazy. i can't wait to hear his finished product. i can't wait for you to hear it either. he does drum and bass stuff. i know about 3 chords and can't sing very well. great things are afoot. right.

the thing is, with the notable exceptions of james and rob on a couple songs (wait until you hear "i spin forever"), watched pots has been a solo project. but not because i've necessarily wanted it to be.

i spoke to chris (the guy who hears everything first) today and he told me how badly he wants to be in a band with people he "trusts." this is not a small thing, although it seems to be. i always regret writing about music and musicianship as if i'm a real artist afterwards, but whatever. if you're planning on pouring your heart into something as a songwriter, or a guitarist, or a drummer, you'd damn well better trust the people you're doing it with. otherwise you might wake up one morning and be in a nickelback cover band.

i've played with guys i trust before and it's unreal. i'm totally amped to be working with this guy andrew (i'll link you to some other things he's done sometime) on this one song. maybe this will be the push i need to actually put a real, permanent band together and get out to some clubs. stay tuned...


here's something i'm not proud of: tonight watching 'the oc' (yeah so what?) i got so emo i slammed my beer down on the coffee table during a commercial and said the f-word out loud. to everybody (nobody) in my apartment. make of that what you will.