Update – What have I been doing?

I’ve been off this thing for quite a while now but that’s not to say that I have not been busy. Coming soon is a new and more integrated website with all my shenanigans attached to it, if you’re interested of course. My band Supersmall released it’s CD (finally) and the response was above and beyond what we expected. You can check out the shows we are booked for on our website along with all our news and updates at www.supersmallmusic.com

Despite all the band work I’ve managed to keep at the writing whenever I can. A recent trip to Phoenicia upstate meant we were isolated in the woods with no cell phone coverage or Internet. I got stuck into a few chapters of something I’ve been working on while sitting on the balcony listening to the river that ran through our property and occasionally looking up into acres of dark forest around us. It was some long overdue peace and quiet. It was our first vacation in a long time just the two of us. Being married to a writer means we spent a lot of our days in silence tapping out our ideas on our laptops and then celebrating our efforts over cold beers at night. We even spent Sunday with a realtor checking out cabins for a possible future purchase. To be honest, I was afraid I might never want to leave.

Marisa’s illness has pretty much left us and normalcy has returned. It was understandably an incredibly stressful time but I have my wife back and that’s all that matters now. Shock Horror: I lost ten pounds in my latest efforts to get in shape and have even managed to cut back on the beer a little (Phoenicia being a recent exception). I know, it’s a crazy world. Even more insane is that I’ve ran a few 5K’s and have not died!

Family came to visit, I had music and storytelling shows and I even had a short story published online on my favorite comedy website (but I posted about that already). So this year is definitely turning out to be a very productive one. In September two of my favorite folk, Georgina and Rory are coming with us to Montauk. There are no words to explain how much we are looking forward to that.

And that’s that. As I’ve said, I started this blog as a writing exercise so I was feeling guilty about, well, not writing on it. I thought I’d write this on my lunch break at work. I got caught out in the thunder storm just now so I’m typing this with a towel around me trying to dry off.

Soon I’ll set up the new and improved website and mothball this one. I hope you’ll like it, yes you, my legions of fans and army of admirers.

I’ll leave you with a little picture I took on Monday at Jones Beach. I had the day off and drove to the beach and read/wrote/ate peanuts all afternoon. Just looking at it calms me. That’s the thing about writing (music or stories) – you can really make your workspace as beautiful as you like.

Mastering

Wow, where has the time gone? I’ve been trying to keep this up to date but the last few weeks have been very busy. Marisa (my wife) has been incredibly sick, more than I’ve ever seen her in the nine years we’ve been together. She’s on the mend after many, many doctor visits and a trip to the hospital. I’m trying to be a good husband or at least trying not to be as much of a pain in the ass than usual. Anyway, it looks like we are in the clear and even managed a healthy stroll through Central Park on Sunday. Since she returned home after recuperating at her parents (they have access to a pool and other cool stuff) I can get back to writing, music and most importantly, not worrying.

The good news is we are finally in the last stretch.We are scheduled to master the record next Tuesday the 19th at The Engine Room. Our producer said he would come along and lend us an extra pair of ears, nice. All we have to do then is finalize our playlist, get the artist to add it to the E.P. cover and send it to the printers. From start to finish the whole project will have taken a year to complete from starting this band to releasing the record. We had some delays and frustrations along the way but it was overall, a wonderful experience and I look forward to recording more music in the future.

Little did I know starting this project that it would be such a vital distraction during Marisa’s illness, something to focus on and look forward to finishing. I’m especially glad that I included the song I wrote for her.

Update November 4th

Hi, it’s been a while…

The artwork for the E.P. cover is currently being worked on and we’re very excited about it. The tracks are getting filled out a little with some keyboards and it looks like we may have a record before November is over. It was Daniela’s birthday last week and we celebrated by drinking Lagavulin at rehearsal and added three new songs to our set list for future live shows. We now have a total of one whole hour of original music! I promoted the E.P. on a podcast recently which will be out next week. I will post a link when it is up.

The Ten Song (1 Hour) Set List:

1) This Other World (E.P.)
2) Wherever We Are (E.P.)
3) Goodbye Old Friend (E.P.)
4) Everywhere (E.P.)
5) This Grenade Will Love You (E.P.)
6) Haunted House (Acoustic version) (E.P.)
7) Blue Skies (E.P.)
8) She’s Alright (Old song played in a new way)
9) Invisible Ink (New song)
10) The Sky Is Humming (New song)

Oh, and everybody survived Super Storm Sandy unscathed, well…kinda.

Update – June 25th

Sunday is approaching and I have put together Seven tracks I think we can squeeze into a day of recording. Daniela wanted to do the fast version of Haunted House which should be easy enough. Only two of the songs are new (less than a year old) so I hope to breath new life into the others. It will also be interesting playing and recording loud as opposed to quietly in my apartment.

Tonight I focused on the bass lines for ‘Grenade’ and ‘Blue Skies’ which are the toughest as they don’t really need one. I wrote something very basic which I may not even use. There are two ‘fudge’ spots in both songs where the lyrics need changing or revision, as of tonight inspiration has not come and they remain as is. I’ve been stuck/unstuck for the last few months to be honest but if I wait it out it usually breaks.

‘Blue Skies’ was written for a short screenplay I wrote (The Big Day) and is story specific so I’m a little stuck in that respect. I think of it as a piano song, for some reason I can hear it clearly in my head as piano and upright bass, simple and short. This song really grew on me. The first person I played it for while busking together in Central Park hated it, I’m glad I ignored his advise. Years later I still play it live on the increasingly rare times I perform.

‘This Grenade Will Love You’ has a double chorus at the end which needs better lyrics and the whole song in general is a variation on the same structure of chords played at different locations. This is why the bass line is hard to write. I’m not sure how it will work out, I still love the song and won’t give up on it just yet.

We are rehearsing this Thursday 6-9pm to go over all the songs and make sure we are prepared for Sunday. In the last two years I’ve spent so much time at the rehearsal studio I feel like I work there part-time.

I decided to keep a journal of the band as a writing exercise but unfortunately there is not much else doing. I’m sure after Sunday I’ll have something interesting to write about.

Track Listing (so far):

  1. Wherever We Are
  2. This Other World 
  3. Everywhere
  4. Haunted House – Fast version
  5. Goodbye Old Friend
  6. This Grenade Will Love You
  7. Blue Skies
The Big Day/Blue Skies

Studio Visit.

Yesterday I payed a visit to the studio. I met Lane, the Producer/Engineer and liked him immediately because the first thing he pointed out on the studio tour was the ‘artist’s bar’. It was stocked heavily with bourbon & gin, how could you not like his guy? We spoke for well over an hour about the record, the process involved and the possibility of perhaps bringing in other musicians. The main thing was that we got on very well and had a lot in common. Honestly, that was the most important factor.

As luck would have it, Lane is a classically trained jazz pianist and agreed to play on the record. This is a huge relief as I really wanted keyboards on the songs.

So it’s confirmed now for Sunday, July 1st, 11am – 7pm at Moon Lab Studios.

Daniela seemed happy with my findings, all I have to do now is get the music together. I have a feeling it will be fun.