In July 2015, I discovered two things: (1) About a third of the songs I had laid down during My April Recording Blitz were not good enough and (2), my electric lead guitar style has not, as I had expected, mellowed over decades of acoustic playing.
Instead, it has gotten big and crass. For example:
“The Priestess of Love” (DNL) from Nobody of Venus by WatThe? [in production]
From such humble inklings grew My August Recording Marathon. (How wonderful that it should take place during a month with the same name.)
Our apartment in Yreka faces a somewhat busy street. My home studio needed sound proofing. This, gita accomplished by hanging an Oriental [Asian?] rug over the window. It blocks out the sound of all but the biggest trucks and the largest biker gangs. By no means perfect, but very manageable. It is now a very cosy place in which to make music.
Working at not such a breakneck speed as I had in April, I rerecorded the songs that had not passed muster and by mid month I had completed production on both Ballads and Blues and Star Thistle. Twelve songs each.
Post production (overdubs of other instruments and singers, mixing, mastering, graphic design and manufacturing) will probably begin in late October [it did] and will be kept to a minimum. Quite a few of the songs are fine as they are with just a voice and an instrument. I don’t anticipate a full production on anything.
Some cross-pollination from one project to another was inevitable. An acoustic version of one of the rockers from Nobody of Venus has settled into Star Thistle, for example.
“How First I Saw Venus” (DNL) from Star Thistle [in production]
Next, me and my big and crass electric guitar had to go back 40 years to my proto-new wave project [explained in: My April Recording Blitz]. I had thought the tracks needed only vocals and bass guitar. Quite a few, however, needed extra guitar parts. And that’s when I discovered that my natural inclination in electric guitar playing is towards fat distortion and what we used to derisively call: screaming lead guitar. Mea culpa. Go figure.
The astonishing trio of Patrick Meehan (drums from the past), myself (guitars and vocals spanning both the past and the present) and Richard d’Andrea (remembered from the past but playing bass in the very near future) is called Wat The? The project has broken into two distinct albums.
The first consists of twelve songs that are, you may be happy to know, a lot more folkier than I recall. Think of the not-so-traditional songs I do nowadays and imagine them on electric guitar with drums. It’s working title is Wat On Earth because the working title of the second album is Wat On Venus. It’s more formal title is Nobody of Venus: a meta-sci fi op rockaretta. [The working mix of “The Priestess of Love” can be heard near the top of this blog-post.]
More akin to Preservation Act Two by the Kinks than to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by Bowie, Nobody of Venus includes a host of peripheral characters who reside in Los Angeles in the mid 1970s and . . . uh . . . on . . . Venus; and all of whom speak in iambic pentameter. Bear in mind that if meta-blues is blues about the blues, then meta-science fiction is science fiction about science fiction.
In my My ARB-itration: April Recording Blitz blog, I had mentioned five projects. Those of you with expertise in higher mathematics counted only four, however. The fifth is only 20 years old and assembles various live, home and garage recordings of My Mojave Desert Ceilidh Band v2.0 and v2.1. Some of you may recall the critically acclaimed album An Age of Fable by me and my MDCB V1.0. As DNL & His MDCB V2.0 [Brandon “Straitjacket” Curtis (1953- 2011) —fiddle, Dave “Ashley Planxty” Beltanovich III —bass, and John “Jughead” MacAdams —drums], we became LA’s only Celtic folk rock band. Or as the LA Weekly put it, “Some serious traditional fun.” Our last performance was at the Lord Buckley Memorial Celebration III in the mountains of Santa Barbara County. Joined by Nancy MacAdams —vocals, and Jerry Strull —lead guitar, we became V2.1.
How’s this for a title: The Ghost of Old Lord August?Additional recording for this project was quite minimal: one octar, one lead vocal and one screaming lead guitar (but only one). The rest is a matter of mixing, sequencing etc. etc. Dave Soyars, (née Beltanovich) bassist of all versions of the MDCB, is working on this with me. Here’s a rough mix of our version of Sir Walter Scott’s “Jock of Hazeldean:”
“Jock of Hazeldean” (trad/Scott) from the Ghost of Old Lord August in production]
I like to keep costs way down, but I’m thinking there might have be some crowd-funding coming up. What do you, Dear Reader, think?
While I was flexing my ARM, somebody from England introduced himself via Facebook. He wrote, “If I’m not mistaken, you are the only artist to bridge both the New Wave and Robin Williamson. “Very much so,” I commented. “Like,” he clicked.