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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Well I Wonder

This one is for my dear friend Carina M!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nowhere Fast

Sometimes the arrangements for these songs happen easier than others. This one started fast-paced with lots of ba-da-da-das but it ended up sounding way to silly for the lyrics. I ditched everything but the base line and a few harmony tracks. I chopped a bunch of each track out randomly, added new backing vocals, drizzled a little olive oil, and baked it at 350 degrees until golden brown delicious.

A rebel song deserves a picture of a the legendary rebel, James Dean.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Headmaster Ritual

Several people have pointed out that I didn't do an official posting of The Headmasters Ritual. I started an unsuccessful studio version but then started practicing a live version for the LA shows with the Hooligans. I decided to make that one the "official" version. I included the song in my Thank You to Jose Maldonado, Thomas Lennon and Simon Goddard- and then went back to my regularly scheduled program without saying anything more. OOPS! Well, here is the official post!

This project is taking it's toll in interesting ways. Mostly, it's making me a total scatterbrain. If you are following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I am often unable to form complete sentences. This is largely due to the fact that there are about ten billion things fighting for attention in my brain, and they are all being annihilated by the mental arrangement and planning of Smiths songs. Most days, I'm just happy happy if I remember to brush my hair. Today: mismatched socks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Soon Is Now

This one took me a while. Johnny's famous guitar rhythm was very tricky to duplicate with voice without sounding totally obnoxious. I ended up creating a steady bass note beat of voice dropped down an octave, mixed in a layer of the same track reversed, and panned everything hard left and right. I built the rest of the song on top of that.

If you've ever listened to the original track with headphones a bunch of times in a row, you'll be able to kind of simulate the same vertigo feeling I kept getting while working on this for hours at a time. There were a few days I had to stop early for the day because my equilibrium was so out of whack and I felt literally nauseous the rest of the day. I can only imagine what it was like to mix down the original!

Here is a random picture of my son and heir of... something?

photo by Josh Cadwising

Friday, June 18, 2010

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

Backstage at the Key Club in Hollywood, CA. Photo by Josh Cadwising

Monday, June 14, 2010

What She Said

I went out on a limb on this one and probably used more effects on my voice than ever before- mostly all distortion. I used to think to myself, "Man, it would be so awesome if My Bloody Valentine did a cover of this song!" So, Kevin Shields, if you're out there, it goes something like THIS...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Want The One I Can't Have

Ok, Simon Goddard may have a point when he said, "Grab that microphone and get moo-ing!" After all, it's already June and I'm more than 10 songs from the half way point. So! The new goal is two songs per week to help me get caught up.

I have many songs nearly done or just waiting to be mixed down. Waiting patiently. I don't know if you realize this but these songs are taking me an average of 20 hours each to complete. My recording time is spread out over any available moment that I am not commuting 3-4 hours a day, working 9 hours a day, parenting a toddler, making dinner, grocery shopping, entertaining family, sleeping, etc... You know, all those pesky things.

I have essentially given myself a part-time job's worth of a task. Without pay! What on earth was I thinking! I was thinking that I was sick of not having music in my life. I was mad at myself for giving up on my dreams. I was tired of feeling like my best days were all memories. What will I be thinking at midnight tonight when I'm editing my music? I'll be thinking that I'm tired as hell- and this is the BEST THING I have ever done for myself. It's been the most unexpected and amazing 6 months of my life.

Thank you to everyone for listening and supporting me. It means more than you will ever know.

P.S. Send coffee.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rusholme Ruffians

Grubby Days!

The neighboring town to my home town of Joshua Tree,CA still holds their annual carnival called Grubstakes Days and it makes me shudder to this very day. It's supposed to celebrate the early high desert settler's "rich mining heritage" but all I remember is that every year of high school I would put on the wool marching band uniform, hoist the marching bells or snare drum harness over my shoulders and march in 100 degree weather down HWY 62- praying I didn't step in horse shit. Nervous parents would jog along side us with water at the ready. Every year the "concussion section" had a bet going on which flute player would be the first to pass out from heat stroke.

The dirt lot behind some bank became a dusty carnival for the weekend. A shady crew would roll into town, hire the local weirdos to operate the rides and everyone would come out for this exciting event!

One particular year (strangely, my LAST visit to Grubby Days), I went with my friends to hang out on a Friday night. Upon seeing that one of the carnival ride operators was a known crack addict (a guy who once held a knife to my brother's throat while IN CHURCH), I decided to not ride the rides. So I left my friends standing in line to walk around by myself. A totally smart and well-thought-out idea. Some guy I recognized from school came up to me and asked if we could walk around together. And then he had to use the pay phone across the street... in the big parking lot... and before you know it, he forced me up against the side of a van, held me down and was covering my mouth with his to keep me from screaming. Out of nowhere, a member of the cult-ish church called "The Door" appeared and said, "COME TO OUR CHURCH!" The street preacher handed my "friend" a bible tract and the asshole ran off.

A few months later that same kid was expelled from school for beating someone with a baseball bat- and it turns out he was really the TWIN BROTHER of the guy we all thought he was. At some point in the school year the brothers had traded places.

Moral of the story- Don't go to carnivals. Wait, um.. don't walk around by yourself? Don't trust twins? I don't know. Pretty much just do the opposite of everything I did.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jam Session with Thomas Lennon

Many of you know that Thomas Lennon is a talented actor/writer (Lt. Dangle on Reno 911! and member of The State) and fabulous guitarist. He is also a huge Smiths fan! We planned to get together and record I Won't Share You while I was in LA for the Sweet and Tender Hooligans concerts. We spent a good three hours on Morrissey's birthday recording and ended up with four songs- and one guitar crash. He used his Casio DG20 which is a really wacky-looking electric synth guitar for the drum beats/organ sounds and then an acoustic for everything else. I brought my trusty laptop and microphone, as well as my boyfriend and brother. Everything was record in one or two takes. We had a great, great time.

A big thank you to Tom for everything, I had a blast!

Here's the song we originally got together to record.

And then in honor of that day being Morrissey's birthday, we recorded a disco version of Reel Around The Fountain.

Since we were on a roll, my boyfriend said "Do Cemetry Gates!" Tom had never played in on guitar so he printed out the chords from the internet and a few minutes later we recorded it, without practicing or anything. I was blown away that he learned it so quickly. I'd never really sung it before except in the car so we were both really winging it. This was our first and only take!

This was Tom's request- and probably my favorite of the day.

And of course, there has to be a guitar crash at some point, right? Tom had his casio guitar set up on a chair and well... it didn't say there.

Photos by my boyfriend, Josh Cadwising

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thank You to Jose Maldonado, Thomas Lennon and Simon Goddard

There are three people who have really gone out of their way to support me and I don't know how to thank them enough. Last week I sang three songs live at the Sweet and Tender Hooligans shows and if you are wondering why I picked these particular songs, it was partly because their chord structures worked well for live-looping. Most importantly, the songs were my way of saying thank you to these three wonderful guys.

Handsome Devil for Jose Maldonado by blackpiano

For Thomas Lennon:

For Simon Goddard: