The NAMM Experience

You might be asking yourself, why the hell hasn’t Jody posted anything about the last four songs?!? It’s a very valid question and my response would be: The NAMM Experience.

In January of each year there’s a rather large convention that happens in Anaheim California (a majority of the time). That convention is known to the outside world as: NAMM. To us musicians it’s known as “The Giant Candy Store.” Meaning it’s like being a kid in the world’s largest candy store of musical gear. It’s a great place to geek out. If you’re into musical gear stuff that is. I am.

The other plus to NAMM is it’s a bit like a huge family reunion. Where many of us who are busy creating music often don’t get to see each other until NAMM. Yikes. My buddy Robert Navarro said in passing this year: “I know a lot of people. But Jody seems to know everyone.” It’s a bit of an overstatement. However it was funny to hear.

Let’s dive in to a little picture recount of some of it.

A great performance The pic is from a solo performance by a Doobie Brothers member doing great renditions of their songs in the Taylor Booth.

Rockin at NAMM The show can’t be complete without posing with the BadCat freak of the year.

trem king This is by far the greatest tremolo system ever invented for guitar. I’m not kidding – it’s perfect.

badge The mandatory badge shot…

raven For the inner child of mixing engineers everywhere: The Raven by Slate Audio. The coolest touchscreen mixing console.

quartet Wanna know where audio recording is heading? To smaller devices. Namely iOS devices. Apogee is leading the charge with their mobile lines and the new king of that is: The Quartet.

A Wheel Harp The award for most unique instrument of the show is: The Wheel Harp. I can’t even explain it. But it’s very cool, with a very distinct sound.

Tired at NAMM Essentially we all hit it. The NAMM wall. Wherein you’re tired and somehow I managed to get a shot where there were relatively few people around. Feet hurt from being walked on for hours on end.

There is the little slice of what has kept me from getting to the rest of the songs. I will be diving right back in extremely soon after I finish up another interim song and a couple of things for some placements. Stay tuned.

Here’s my parting shot:

glasses

Fourteenth Song Finalized Is "Things We Left Unsaid"

Gandolf the White has struck! Apparently the Weather Channel decided to start naming winter snow storms. The humor is, this one hasn’t been all that insane and yet it has a name, Gandolf. I didn’t even get to see the start of the snowing as I was holed up in the den working so I could write this: the fourteenth song finalized is “Things We Left Unsaid”. That’s right, another song into the fire from the frying pan.

This song is one of those songs that underwent a rather strong amount of changes, comparatively speaking. It got a major facelift on the lyrics so that the words were more focused. Especially the Verses. The tone of it changed from a protagonist and antagonist switch in the Verses to simply a one point of view – that really helped the focus. The Pre Chorus then got a rewrite to make that transition work going into the slightly tweaked Chorus. Mostly because the Chorus had to reflect the change coming from the verse. The other change in the Chorus came from a slight rewrite of the title. Coming from “Things Left Unsaid” going to “Things We Left Unsaid”.

Musically speaking, I decided to down-step the song a full two semitones. What brought this part of the rewrite? Well… The Verses stayed the same melodically. The Pre Chorus stayed nearly the same, there was a slight adjustment to the melody and rhythm based on the new words and wanted a better swing into the Chorus. The Chorus ended up getting an entire facelift melodically. The main reason for it was two fold. One, I wanted a way for it to stand out more from the Verses. The original version had some interesting lines but they didn’t stand too far apart from the Verses rhythmically. Now, the melody is fashioned to have a much much stronger hook. Not only rhythmically but also melodically. This is where the key change had to happen for the song. Where I took the Chorus melodically was becoming a tad to straining to sound powerful in a full voice fashion. Thus stepping the song down two semitones put it back into a range that gives the Chorus full power.

The added bonus of bringing the key down of the song is that now the guitar parts sound beefier! That helps the vibe of the groove too. I can’t explain why, but it feels way better now. Thus the fact that people liked it enough before to vote the song into the final round, now it’s become a real contender to make the final cut and be a bonafide hit.

I’m much happier with the overall state of the song. Arrangement-wise the song a way more traditional in it’s situation. However, I think once in the studio it will get a little extra window dressing. Though that comes down to how it’s reflecting once it’s finally re-recorded.

To close out for this update, I’d like to happily send you on a merry way – hopefully you’ll be one of the people to enjoy the snow, especially if you’re headed to Sundance! Until the next update (coming soon) be in-the-know that the fourteenth song to get finalized is “Things We Left Unsaid”.

Thirteenth Song Finalized Is "Jupiter Bowl"

Cue the twilight zone theme… Cause if you’re superstitious, then today is the kind of announcement you might not want to hear. However, I am not superstitious. Thus I’m A. O.K. with writing that the thirteenth song finalized is “Jupiter Bowl”.

The song is my first co-write with a musician by the name of Mark Luna. An absolutely fantastic singer and amazing writer. When we first met and chatted on the phone Mark wanted to hear some of my music before agreeing to pen a song with me. After hearing some of my original work his response was: “We could do some serious musical damage together.” That phrase sticks with me. What a compliment coming from such a talent like him.

Jupiter Bowl is not about the planet. Nor is it about a bowling alley. No. It’s about the place located atop the Park City Ski Resort.

The goal in writing the song was to capture the vibe of Jupiter in the summer. The off-season. What strikes me about this song is that Mark and I discussed every detail in the lyrics, the tempo, and the concept of the arrangement. Way more so than any other co-write I’ve ever done. It was magical. Much like my early memories of hiking up to Jupiter Bowl.

For the most part I’m sticking pretty strong to the original demo version we did. It’s so powerful despite it’s lazy acoustic nature. Then again, isn’t that what nature is? Powerful with such beauty. Again it’s another song that I can’t wait to fully realize in the studio with a group of players. Anticipation is the word!

One funny thing I can think of right now, is there there is going to be that “What the hell did he sing?” type of thing that will happen with this song. Much Like “Blinded By The Light” where people think it’s saying wrapped up like a douche, when it’s actually deuce. I know this because a couple of peeps have already said it. While I understand where they’re coming from – I do believe it’s going to be alright and I’m going to let it slide. Create the controversy!

Rounding out the beginning of the teens is the thirteenth song finalized, “Jupiter Bowl”. Until tomorrow or the next day – Stay tuned.

Twelfth Song Finalized Is "Vaporize Your Heart"

Yesterday. Monday. Odd day. Good day. Full day. Was the day where I got some more time in on this impending release… The short announcement is that the twelfth song finalized is “Vaporize Your Heart”.

One would love to envision that musicians/rockstars sit around all day long lollygaggin until they get to making some sort of brilliant music. Not this one. After a hearty workout, it was on the phone making calls for meetings with networks. The alternate ‘N’ word. Then I spent several hours taking my dog to the vet to get his shots updated. Glamorous shit right there!

Once I was back from the vet I beelined for the studio to get to work on tweaking the arrangement of this song. Make some serious structural changes that give the song a bit more drive. Not only more drive but also more ebb and flow too. It had a nice swing to it before. Nice don’t cut it. Now it pumps my blood and gets me moving. Which is what it was supposed to do before and it did. Only it’s got ‘Tude now!

It will be exciting to see what the players bring to it in the studio based off my fleshed out sketches of the music. I can’t wait. The anticipation on it has me feeling some tension with how close all the songs are to being totally ready and with how much they’re really nailing emotions, vibes and ‘tudes.

Six more songs are lined up to get some more tweaks. But for those in the know right now (today) you know that the twelfth song that’s finalized is “Vaporize Your Heart”. Be aware that you’re ears are gonna love it!

Eleventh Song Finalized Is "Stand Up"

I would have figured that this post should have been posted yesterday. However I ran into a little issue of having eaten something that didn’t agree with me a couple nights ago. Nothing like getting incapacitated after dining at a local eatery. Yuck. Thus I had to take Friday off and recover. I was back in shape on Saturday and was able to smash out another tune’s tweaks. Which leads me to write that the eleventh song finalized is “Stand Up”.

Song that had a couple of lyrical issues in that it was attempting to cover too much ground. Now it’s much more focused on one aspect and has been honed in on a subject that I think a lot of us can all relate to. Doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you’re on, I still think it will resonate with at least 99% of the world. Especially the U.S.

Now mind you, in being ill I couldn’t sit idly by – so I started a crazy project of tagging all of my music in my iTunes library as well as adding all the lyrics to every song. Well, to the point of whether the two apps I’ve procured to help with the procedure. Thus, I’ve added an additional thing to my load that could take at least a month when done in my spare time. Yikes. Why? Why did I do that? One, I wanted to really go through my library. Two, since starting it on a day I was under the weather, I’ve noticed that it’s akin to pouring through liner notes and covers to really get at the heart of all this music – but in a digital sense. I’m re-enjoying some music that I haven’t heard in quite a while. It’s a good diversion.

Ok, back to the song…

I’ve added a couple of additional elements to the first verse. I also added some additional noises to the chorus to help flesh it out with a little more kick.

The one real experimental area of the song is going to be in the bridge where I’ve decided, that much like another song, this will gain some interesting twists enlisting a rapper to rattle off the words I’ve come up with. That makes two or three songs now where I’ve going to cross that hip/hop rap/rock type of hybrid line – hmmm… Weird.

This one is going to have a bit of bite to it when it gets recorded live in the studio. I really think it’s got some great legs to whip up some anthemic shouts in a stadium. Which means that people will enjoy the eleventh song known as “Stand Up”. Easy to follow. Easy to shout.

Tenth Song Finalized Is "It Burns"

On a roll at this point. Yesterday marked a moment where I had a chat with a co-writer about a track. We made some additional tweaks to our song. After that writing and tweaking session it was time for me to put the axe down on yet another one of mine. This has me saying the tenth song finalized is “It Burns”.

This song is a bit of an exploration into a very quirky area of Pop Rock for me. The song structure is vastly different at the end from pretty much every song I’ve written. It doesn’t really end on the chorus, but it’s still got a hook. I did end up taking out one part of the song as it wasn’t propelling it along like it should have. Removing the part helped keep it moving along.

There were some minor tweaks to the lyrics which I also re-sang today as well. Made some additional notes for the studio when it goes for final recording.

Get the forks out because it’s done for now. Song number ten finalized is “It Burns”. More than halfway home. Soon. Very very soon.

Ninth Song Finalized Is "Touch"

Getting the new year off to a productive start. Day one had me making some re-records of vocals from songs already finalized. But yesterday found me getting yet another song’s vocals re-recorded as well. After that recording my ninth song finalized is “Touch”.

I got some additional vocals layered in on it. More for the addition of a couple of female vocalists to do some backgrounds to add spice. Once I hit that, I ended up scrapping the original bridge lyrics. In their place is a large flow of words that require bringing in a rapper to spit it out. The bridge is now way more over the top, blunt, rhythmic, and slammin. Got me saying to myself – Fuck Yeah!

No doubt this is going to hit the charts when it’s released as a single. I’m confident of that.

Another thing that I’m confident on it is, I’ll have to mix a radio-friendly version or bleep some of the bridge vocals. Not the first time I’ve had a song that would require bleeping, but it is the first time on a hit calibre one. Let’s see if I’m right this time.

I’ll be back at it later today getting the next track pre-flight ready for hitting the studio. New fire in the sails for this new year has me feeling gung-ho, ready let’s go! With that, I’ve got my ninth song finalized and it’s called “Touch”.

Welcome 2013 Happy New Year

Ah what a year it’s been. Say goodbye to 2012. A year of interesting change. Musically, politically, and so much more. Help me in saying welcome 2013 Happy New Year!

For me, I’m knee deep in finishing preproduction on a a slew of songs. I’m currently about midway through. My first couple of weeks will be pushing those gears to get them all done before running around LA coming mid month. Got meetings coming up with some of the networks and attending the infamous NAMM show.

In the past 24 hours I finally got a couple of the lyrics changes recorded on a few of the finalized songs. That’s a great way to finish out the year!

Next stop this year: new music. Plus another idea I’ve been kickin around is finally going to start getting of the ground. To the outside ear it’s huge. In my mind – it’s the way this event should be done. Stay tuned to find out what it might be.

In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed your evening’s festivities in a wild fashion without causing injury. Be well. Love to see more of you in 2013, Happy New Year!