A New Romance

Sitting here drinking a beer listening to Exile on Main Street on my record player.  Loving it.  Down and dirty… I just love the pure, raw ‘atmosphere’ of these old albums.  This is something that I think we pulled off relatively well with the Eleventh Hour Initiative album that Bill and I recorded.  There’s an element of falsehood involved in that it’s hard to truly recreate a hot , cramped, groupie-filled, heroin swimming studio session.  But authenticity is still achievable if you record what’s in your heart.  We weren’t trying to produce a ‘club banger’. We weren’t trying to blow the roof off the music world with sheer innovation.  Others are far better at leading the world by the hand with new techniques.  We simply wrote a collection of songs that MEANT something.  A collection of songs that ended up being just that.  A collection.  A collective that became more than the sum of its parts. A cliché, but a cliché I can live with.  If you haven’t yet experienced the Eleventh Hour Initiative album I suggest you go and carry out that action before reading any further.  (You’ll find it at iTunes or Amazon… or even at the right side of this very page)  … I suppose you didn’t read that anyway because I told you to read no further.  Stop taking me so literally!!!

I watched a few documentaries on the Beatles last night.  I’ve seen them all before… well, I’ve seen everything Beatles related before.  But these documentaries always inspire me.  The most interesting one last night was the footage from the Beatles’ first trip to the US.  Kind of hand-held camera stuff.  Behind the scenes.  You just see the four of them ‘hanging out’ together… and you get a feel for the absolute mayhem that followed them everywhere.  It basically centres on the Ed Sullivan appearances.  It’s hard to imagine now that 70 million people could watch a single TV show.  In fact that will probably never happen again.  For everything the Beatles did was a first.  In the current era of a million TV channels and a trillion bands it’s difficult to imagine how different things were back then.  The Beatles were the greatest band of all time… but they also existed in the right decade.  It is now impossible for anyone to have anywhere near the same impact.  Never.  Ever. Again. Will. It. Happen.

Really enjoying this album!  Ha ha!  What was also interesting about that era (I’m talking about the British invasion of America in the ’60s) was the number of truly ugly bands! (and I’m excluding the Beatles there!).  Honestly… I was shocked by the looks of some of these guys.  Wow…  The Animals, The Stones, Peter and Gordon.  The list goes on and on.  These bands should thank their lucky stars that they were around in an era where people listened first and looked second.  Ha ha!  Oh well… they made their money and changed the world.  And I’m not exactly a stunner myself!  Ha ha!

Just had to flip the record there.  The downside of vinyl… /but I actually quite like it!  🙂  Beautiful song too.  Record 1, side 2, track 1. It’s amazing how fulfilling listening to a classic album and having a beer is.  It should be a ‘waste of time’.  But sod that.  It’s my choice and I like it.

With regard to new product from Confession of the Whole School I gotta say that I am on hold.  I’ve put myself on hold.  I am basking in music again, something I have not done for a long, long time.  And you know what?  I am enjoying it.  I’m remembering why I fell in love with music in the first place – because don’t let anyone kid you, music can become a chore.  It can become a habit.  And before you know it you’re lost.  You’ve forgotten where you are and how you ever got there.  I was a little burned out.  I created music, and I enjoyed the creative process… but I was a little tired of ‘music’.  I am relaxing now and I am happy to accept that sometimes you need to be revitalised.  I’m just sitting back and enjoying the ride.  I’m listening to some great music and having a few drinks.  And I shall do this until I feel the urge to write another song.  I can’t say how long that will be.  But in the meantime I am working on my project with Bill Ryan again.  I know it’s still ‘song writing’… but it feels separate.  It’s not all about me.  I don’t write the lyrics so I don’t need to have anything to say.  That’s not to say I don’t speak through the instrumentation… but right now it’s real nice to just be able to make sound.  I’m listening to great music and I think I’m being inspired again like I was when I was 16.  I’m on the road to recovery.  One day I will listen to my albums in a row.  I’m sure they will tell a story.  Alexi in Winter, All Monsters and Dust, Escapism, The Galton Detail.  A diary of who I am today.  The most important reinvention now is to create an album that does not ride a bandwagon.  To record an album that tells a story I want to tell in a way only I can tell it.  Perhaps the next Eleventh Hour Initiative project will be this album.  Or perhaps I will have to wait until I feel the time is right to press record on a new Confession album.  Either way… I am enjoying this new romance with music.  Bring it on!

an appetite for destruction

I’m sitting here listening to a mix of a new song and something strikes me.  The music industry now exists in the internet age.  Now, there are plenty of topics that I could write about with regard to the changes that the music industry and all those involved have had to endure, but I want to bang on about the one that I am playing out today.

So I’m sitting here in my little studio listening to the new song – and I have to say it sounds great – but there’s a problem.  I grew up watching documentaries about the recording sessions for great albums.  There’s a film out there about the recording of Imagine, any of the Beatles behind the scenes clips, in fact any of those great grimy old clips about old hoary rock bands recording classic albums in the midst of pure, unadulterated self-destruction.  I love watching the atmosphere in those old recording studios.  The intensity of everyone clashing.  In fact you can even see it as recently as Some Kind Of Monster.  It was very rarely a bad thing… okay, some bands split… but on the whole you’ve got a lot great music to thank that old studio system for!

So what have we got now?  Well, now there are a trillion more bands/artists – and they can pretty much all own a studio.  Seriously, when it comes to the recording of music, we have never had it so good.  I have more ‘power’ in my little studio than anything the Beatles ever had at their disposal.  By a factor of hundreds!  So why do I hanker after what I see on these documentaries?  To see John Lennon leaning back in his chair with a drink and shouting at someone who’s played a wrong note.  And what was Jim Morrison up to in that vocal booth during the recording of Touch Me? I think the fact that it was originally titled Suck Me might be a giveaway.  But the point is that music used to be such a communal activity.  Everyone would get together and play the song they had been practicing – together.  And then they would sit together and dissect it – and then smack each other in the teeth and quit the band.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for multi-track recording.  We wouldn’t have any modern music without it.  But I just yearn for the sights, the smells, the sounds of a hard-working rock and roll band.  Ha ha.

So, I’m sitting here in my little microcosm.  No cigarettes.  No cigars.  No hookers.  I have been drinking Pepsi though!  I’m off the JD in the studio.  It’s banned!!!  I just wish I had a Producer to kick in the bollocks when he messes up my tune.  And I want someone filming it.  Oh and I want to go to India and hang out with the Maharishi – but, hey, that can be a story for another day!