Friday, May 20, 2011

Thoughts From May 2011

Does it seem like School for the Dead is not doing as much as we used to?  Hmm.  That's my fault.  I'm not writing here as much as I used to.  Twitter and Facebook have kind of taken over.  The short bursts of information that often result in immediate responses by readers are very alluring compared to this Living Rockumentary's often longer pieces that usually garner no comments.  I've been spoiled by those outlets.

Last night, though, during my weekly trivia tournament, a conversation turned to our show long ago at the Valley Grand Band Slam weekend in Springfield, MA.  I didn't remember much from that night, but I pulled out my trusted future-machine and within seconds I pulled up a nice long description of the event from one of our old gig diaries.  Concerts nowadays are much less likely to have that kind of detail preserved. Though, pictures these days are certainly more prevalent.  It's a trade-off I guess. 

I am aware that people have this Rockumentary listed in their feeds and readers.  Every time that I post something, the hits go up.  If I post something and link to it on Facebook and Twitter, they go up even more.  But, do I really need to know that people are reading in order for me to write?  I didn't used to.  I used to write here for myself as a way of documenting the goings on of my life.  Way back when we started, we ALL used to write here.  Jump down to our archives there and check out the first year.  You'll see daily posts from all five of us.  I knew that couldn't last forever.  In fact, it lasted for longer than I ever expected.  When I first introduced the idea of this blog, I didn't even know if anyone in the band would be into it or not.  Well, I figured Brian would, since we already had been doing the gig diary for years before.  Turns out they all played along.

Anyway, maybe you are reading, maybe not.  Should that effect me?  I make music whether I know anyone will hear it or not.  I always have.  I certainly do get motivated to make more when I know people will hear it.  I get a real thrill every time someone purchases one of our albums or downloads a song or watches a video or, even better, mentions a tune or a particular lyric.  I've always maintained that if I had an audience for sure, like if I had a following the size of, say, Robyn Hitchcock's or Freedy Johnston's, that I would be inclined to write more music and release more music more quickly.  I'll make music regardless but knowing that someone will seek it out and really listen, well that would make a big difference wouldn't it?  Yes it would.

But, either way, School for the Dead is doing quite a bit, in fact.  We've been having pretty intensive weekly practices in which the band is learning a collection of new songs.  In a few weeks we'll be taking a road trip out of state and heading into a studio to begin work on a new record.  It's very exciting for me to be recording somewhere other than the Rub Wrongways Studio.  I'm looking forward to being a musician more so than a recording engineer.  We're working hard on trying to get these songs down as confidently as possible before recording.  It's difficult to all get together to practice.  Everyone has very busy schedules.  But, we've managed to practice piece-meal and the new songs are starting to form into something really nice.  It'll be our best record yet, I'm sure of it.

At the same time, I've finished a new solo album.  Max and I are currently putting together the artwork for it, which is a fun and creative adventure on its own.  We've gone on a few funny photo-shoots and spent some hours in front of the designing machine.  I'm quite excited about this new record, too.  It's a concept album of sorts.  I'll get you the details soon.  I just want to introduce it to the world the right way.  I want it all in place.

At the same time, Lesa and I have been working on a set of songs to be performed as a duo.  We did one show a week or so ago and it went ok.  It's been nice to spend a few evenings turning off the TV and picking up the instruments and working out a new approach to old songs and to learn some new duets.  Guitars must always be within arms reach, friends.  You have to make it as easy as possible to turn a fleeting moment of inspiration or motivation into a session of creativity.

At the same time, I've been having on-and-off again recording sessions with Mark Mulcahy.  These are full days of nothing but fun creativity.  Various musicians are invited in and we try to bring a song to life.  I'll not divulge much on this.  It's not my place to do so.  But, I look forward to our next session.

At the same time, I am about to embark on scoring some music for an independent documentary.  All the paper work has been sorted out and work should begin within the next few weeks.  I'll save the details for the future when I have more to say about the process.  But, it looks like it'll be another fun adventure for me and my instruments.

Unfortunately, this past week, the sound card for my recording hardware seems to have died.  I'm still working on seeing if it is fixable, but I may have to finally give up on my, until recently, trusted Echo Layla 24.  There's an expense and problem that I hadn't budgeted for, money-wise and time-wise.

Still, I'm not worried.  It's just a thing.  I'll need to get something new maybe.  Big deal.  I'll need to learn how to use it and how to set it up.  Big deal.  It's worth it, if it means I can keep creating music.

I've got a few other projects up my sleeves, folks.  Things I'm pondering.  Ideas I'm simmering.  I'll keep you posted.  Thank you for reading, if you exist.  Or hell, even if you don't.


Dennis said...

I posted a comment yesterday but I think it didn't go through. Anyway, to recap, just wanted to let you know that I definitely check this blog just about every day and always enjoy it, and always enjoy hearing about your process, writing, recording, performing, thoughts.... and I totally agree that knowing people will read/listen encourages one (well, me) to write/record more. I often think of how great it would be to have a really active music & idea sharing thing going online.... I think it's fair to want people to respond to things you write or record, who doesn't? Maybe people just need instruction, like, "hey! if you listen to this, tell me 1 thing you loved or hated about it, really."

So, write and record, SFTD and anybody else reading, and I'll be listening and responding. Will you?

Henning said...

Thanks for reading, Dennis. I always appreciate your comments. Perhaps you've inspired me to post a video of anew song here.

Dennis said...

that'd be great!

Maya said...

can you put theese in spanish i dont understand nothing