Monday July 07
A quiet night of logistics and homework. Much paper work to do underneath
the process of making CDs. Much of it involves writing checks.
Making the music is the easy part.
Most of the graphics 'leg work' is done now for the SBBS (Steve Ball Box Set)
project. In a way, this is like saying 'all the tracking is done' -- on the
outside, it seems like all the music is recorded, but graphically speaking, the
graphics remain un-mixed, un-sequenced, and un-mastered. So,
although there is now light at the end of the tunnel, this is still only the
beginning of the end.
Given current pressures and pace, I'm hopeful that this will be out to
manufacturing by the end of the month.
But please don't hold your breath.
* * *
Tuesday July 08
Rehearsal with TM at HQ - early preparation for our up-coming shows. Good
to be back in live rehearsal mode again. Missing playing as a trio, but
the duo is still pretty strong.
For me, playing with three guitars means I can play less and still be assured
that there is sufficient weaving going on in the fabric of the accompaniment.
If I am expected to be a weaver and singer at the same time, some of my energy
goes into both back and foreground, and less goes out to the audience.
It's not that I can't do it - it is just harder. It also means
writing, playing, working, eating, and all of the thousands of unspoken mundane
things that musicians do between songs more interesting.
Hence, a long history of trios.
As an audient, I also believe there is something something far more compelling
about seeing three people interact than two on stage. Three people means
there are at least seven relationships to both observe and listen to:
1. relationship between guitarist 1's guitar playing and singing
2. relationship between guitarist 2's guitar playing and singing
3. relationship between guitarist 3's guitar playing and singing
4. relationship between guitarist 1 and 2
5. relationship between guitarist 2 and 3
6. relationship between guitarist 1 and 3
7. relationship between guitarist 1 and 2 and 3
All of this is not even mentioning the raw power of three harmonizing voices.
But for now, looks like Travis and I will hold down the fort as a duo.
* * *
Wednesday July 09
Found a link to a radio show by old League of Crafty Guitarists fan and DJ, John
Schaeffer. Theme of this show was a review of Leagu-spin-off bands like
the California Guitar Trio, Los Gauchos Alemanes, Gitbox Rebellion, etc.
The show is archived on the WNYC web site:
* * *
Thursday July 10
Ongoing discussion with Amy and Bill in the DGM office in LA about a potential
project for the fall: a compilation of music from former League and Guitar Craft
There seems to be a need for this for both audience and musicians.
I remember speaking with Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe Music Editor in 1989
about the fact that over the next 4-20 years he was likely to see an entire
generation of musicians sprout up all over the world full of former members of
the League of Crafty Guitarists. He had just see the League
play the Paradise and was intrigued by these strange musicians and their odd
tuning and practices.
Fourteen years later, Jim would likely be surprised by the list of current and
former "League" and Guitar Craft musicians who are soon to receive an invitation
to participate in a compilation. The draft list of invitees is impressive.
Perhaps later this month or next, I'll have the gumption to share this list...
For now, best to get the project planned and launched first.
* * *
Friday July 11
Been a very busy and stressful week.
* * *
Saturday July 12
Nice email from HoracioP of
morning. Some short words of comfort about our previous relations with MG.
Looking fwd to hearing the new BigTime CD.
* * *
Saturday evening party at friends house.
* * *
Sunday July 13
Mail from RichardW today, former band-mate, and constant long-distance-brother.
A warm reminder of the thread that has run through our once overlapping, now
very-at-a-distance lives. Always great to hear from him. Taking a
leap and sharing a poem he wrote and sent me:
In This Poem
In this poem I try to express the feeling I have
When I get into bed, late at night, next to my sleeping partner:
The feeling of intruding in my own home,
Of wading through darkness thick about my legs,
In this poem I try to use clever metaphors for things
Everybody already knows,
So you will all feel comforted by this poem
And, at the same time, be impressed by my wit or originality.
In this poem I try to have you think about your mother's hands
Or the moment you knew you were no longer a child.
I want you to hear the "peoop!" sound phoebes make
As they flit about.
I want you to feel the sanguine shock of a bitter February wind
Blowing over the diamond snow.
In this poem I try to make you talk about me.
I try to set up a monument with my name on its base
So I will be remembered years later.
I try to be the fat kid cannonballing into the pool:
When you get splashed, you know who did it.
In this poem I try to examine my ambivalence toward talking about poetry.
Is there any real reason to do it?
Is it any better than appearing on Sally Jesse Raphael or Geraldo,
Trading my tawdry privacy for Andy Warhol fame?
Is it any different from the cry of a killdeer in the night,
Distracting a coyote from the nest?
In this poem I try to give you this feeling:
You have just woken up on your little barque, dipping and rolling on the ocean.
Something has passed by in the night and you scan the sea in the moonlight,
Looking for signs.
Perhaps it was a great frigate, sails flapping in the night wind,
Kerosene lights fore and aft leaving their bitter smell,
The helmsman singing quietly to the stars.
Perhaps a whale has risen sleepily to surface beside your craft,
And the fleshy sound of its breath pierced your dream,
Or the waters sliding off its back
Altered the wave-driven rhythm of your rocking boat.
Perhaps a school of flying fish has passed by, dancing between water and air
Ahead of some midnight predator. Even now, one lies on your deck,
Finny wings folding and unfolding, mouth gaping and closing,
Eyes pondering the moon.
In this poem I try to make sure that at least
One person in the audience, of the appropriate sex,
Is looking at me with eyes not quite focused,
Chin raised dreamily, lips parted.
In this poem I try to attack my life's purpose with passive-aggressive
I try to settle my outward confusion
Enough to lay bare my inward confusion.
In this poem I try to pose the question of a certain space in the sky after
Below it, the clouds are dark and the sky is light;
Above it, the sky is dark and the clouds are light.
How do our eyes give us this gift?
Does any language have a name for this borderline of air?
It is a question. It is its own question.
~ Richard West
* * *
Spent much of the day debugging a nasty, intermittent hardware problem and
re-bouncing out the last of the final masters of the last batch of SBBS songs.
So much energy has been put into this project over the past year -- being
careful to keep the energy up in the final final stages. Cutting corners
and rushing at this time could undo much of the original care, energy and
intensity that went in at the earlier (read: easier) stages of this
* * *
Monday July 14
Missing the "Drawing of the Day" pictures that have been peppering this page for
the past few months?
More Box Set Teasing:
I've decided to make the box set artwork reflective of (and available to house)
my past catalog. Pretty interesting to see each of these projects set next
to each other. Working chronologically backwards:
SB (phase 2): Roadshow, Naive Melodies, Knotwork
SB (phase 1): Ballistic, Breathing Field, Greenthumb
Electric Gauchos 96-98
Los Gauchos Alemanes 94-97
Quite a body of work.
* * *
Tuesday July 15
Dinner with PatR at Machiavelli's, an old BTV dinner HQ. 2+ hours of
inspiring conversation, great company, and excellent food quality/price ratio.
Interesting to see how much like thinking is going on about time-based browsing
Also beginning to discuss performing at a wedding of an old MS friend in
* * *
Wednesday July 16
Have you discovered 'exploding dog' yet?
* * *
Thursday July 17
Weekend plans coming together, but many potential conflicts loom. How to
finish mastering AND play a couple of shows?
* * *
Friday July 18
Official letter (email actually) sent from DavidS to RF regarding the potential
"Plague of Crafty Guitarists" compilation idea.... Orville, I think
this thing might just fly.
* * *
Saturday July 19
Spent all day today and late into the evening over at SteveT's studio working on
mastering. I'm too spent now to be objective about whether what we
did is any good.
This is hard.
In the process of 'getting this done' I'm also blowing off a show in Portland
(playing a birthday party for TravisM -- sorry Travis!) Also caused SteveT
to miss a party/show at John Henning's house.
* * *
Sunday July 20
Recovering from the mastering session yesterday.
Day off - hardly.
* * *