If there is something I’ve learned – everyone wants to be heard by someone else; they also want others to want them. Have need for them. To love them.
There really isn’t a more definitive song about wanting others to want you than the infamous song penned by Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick.
I Want You
Actually I wish I had written this song. I’ve toyed with it for a long time. When I play it live solo acoustic, I slow it down and I stretch it out.
I tried recording it once.
Then I tried recording it again.
I was never quite satisfied with how I was conveying what I heard in my head as I interpreted the song.
If you didn’t know, I’m working on musical endeavors outside of my artist persona. Thus I brought the concept of how to cover I Want You To Want Me to a co-producing friend of mine. We’ve been toiling over 30 original tracks for the past year and I decided we should heap on 10 more songs, 10 covers of classic hits in the style of our project. This is not something I would have considered even a year ago.
Last week I began rethinking and retracking all the parts, while I let my partner come up with a viable drum part and a few other odds and ends. The biggest trick was how to approach the vocals so that they became modern but were an ode to the era they came from.
Two days ago I finally finished the mix and got it mastered.
I want you to be able to hear it.
Turns out that friends who have already heard it have been saying things like:
“Dig this version!! Great vocals!”
“Love, love love how your voice sounds on this!”
“I just might love this better than the original.”
I’m not sure how soon it will come to the light of the world via streaming services or via a license for use. But I Want You To Want Me as reimagined by Razor Wire is definitely something you should hear. I hope it will be sooner than later.
p.s. – subscribe to my email list to stay informed of releases!
As you’ve probably heard, Malcolm Young passed away over the weekend.
Malcolm Young Guitarist
Before I even had an inkling of playing guitar (or any instrument for that matter), I had already felt the power of AC/DC. Staples of the party scene growing up with songs you hear at parties like Back In Black and For Those About To Rock. They are the kind of songs that drive people to join the legions of air-guitarists everywhere.
When I started playing guitar I assumed that Angus Young (Malcolm’s brother) was the mastermind behind such powerful songs. He was the focus, he strutted around in that school-boy outfit. It made sense to me. It wasn’t until later that I learned Malcolm was the real writing force.
I always appreciated how AC/DC was able to make heavy loud guitars sound like they belonged in everyday songs that could be anthems. There’s a lesson in every one of their thunderous hits and Malcolm Young certainly should be studied in music schools. For no other reason than what it takes to make a guitar stick in your head and never leave.
Jealous is too strong a word, but I am certainly hoping that at some point in I might be able to deliver a guitar song so filled with power that it becomes an anthem.
The world will sorely miss what future riffs could have poured out of Malcolm Young’s mind and fingers. RIP to one of the original gods of rock.
Perfection can lead to trouble. The deep divide is coming. It seems everywhere I’ve been turning lately there is a deep divide based on people’s ideals of what they believe is perfection. Whether its in music or in ideology, people are becoming less tolerant of those who do not share their same taste or view.
I think forward. I’m always thinking forward. If a new sound comes out, I want to hear it. That’s the musician side of me.
I think perfection. I didn’t always think perfection. Always do the best you can do, that was beaten into my head while growing up. I now take that very seriously as I produce music. As I start achieving what I hear as musical perfection, I notice how so many others do not understand it.
I love to help out musician friends and other up coming talent. What invariably happens every time I do this is a culminating point of frustration with the person I’ve brought in to work with. This is especially true with those who work day jobs outside of music. The general reason for the frustration stems from being unable to execute an idea.
Usually a budding musician will want to play their instrument or sing. I get it. Its a pride thing. As a full-time musician and often a producer, I’m more interested in the perfection of the performance and I care how I get to the end result. I wasn’t always that way, but I developed that mindset. Its not a common mindset.
Throughout the history of music there are numerous cases of where the writer/composer/artist is not the person on the recordings. Some cases become public, but most of the time no one is the wiser. In some cases, even the artist isn’t aware that its not them.
Is this problematic?
This could be determined by whether you believe that content is king. I’m one of those that believe content is king. The song is the master. Everything has to serve it. The performances, the mixing, the mastering, they all contribute.
The only time when I believe its a major problem is when attempting to use one singer’s voice as the voice for another front person. Aside from voices for the artist, I’m fair game with anything else to make sure that performance works. Why? The human voice is extremely personal and one that you can’t replace – a voice is the same as a fingerprint.
Often when confronted with the technological advances in recording, musicians will reference the purity of the Beatles and their recording process. What this tells me is that they don’t know how the Beatles used the technology they had available to them at the time they were in their heyday.
If you, as a listener or musician, fall into the camp that the Beatles were pure about their recordings, then its likely you’re not aware of all the techniques they used. The Beatles used every available trick in the book they could to achieve their goals. Sometimes going as far as to invent new ways to record sounds. One of my favorites is that they would change the tape speed in order to slow down the tape to make it easier for them to play a part. Then they would speed the tape back up to full speed to make it sound like they performed that music at tempo.
I believe the Beatles would have used pitch correctors, and time shifters to their advantage had the technology been available to them. Why? Because they were cutting edge and strove for perfection.
For some reason, when a musician uses today’s tools at their disposal they are considered to be cheating when going after that perfection. When in reality they are attempting to achieve the sonic goal they hear in their head. At least that’s how I envision it.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I make use of all kinds of technology to make music happen. In the recording process, I use a computer to track everything. In the mixing process I use all kinds of plugins to remove noise, correct timing (if its not grossly out), tune pitch (sometimes for a performance, sometimes as a means to create an entirely new sound), create space, etc. My entire musical chain is Digital from start to finish including my guitar rig when I perform live.
When I confront an artist that I’m working with or producing, I will explain the how’s and why’s of making use of the technology. Often once its explained, they have no issue with it.
I don’t use technology to deceive, I use it to enhance.
Its been a rough and tumble year. Things started off looking extremely promising then in a matter of months multiple projects and one bigger one all came to a crashing halt.
Rough and Tumble
The rough… A person I was working with for a nice boost on streaming media ended up stealing $14,000 from me. That might not sound like a ton of money, but as a non-signed artist that is paying for everything – that puts a serious dent in your operational cash flow. This is one of the primary reasons I’ve been so quiet here on my ‘dot com’. I’ve been out money to make things happen when I should have been seeing a return.
In turn, this slowed my process down on making the finishing touches on my website. (grrrr).
Its made it difficult for me to upgrade gear.
I’ve been unable to do any PR.
Not a fun position to be in.
Right now I have someone working on getting that money back from them, but after 3 months of trying, I’m beginning to lose hope.
Another element of fallout from this is losing the lovely lady I had been dating for nearly a year. That was a blow as well.
The tumble… They (whomever ‘they’ are) say “roll with the punches.” I’m feeling more like I’ve been tumbling. Whilst I’ve been recovering from the theft, I’ve been finishing music. Lots of music. Some with co-writers, some for TV placements, some for my future releasing. Writing and recording all this music is part of what keeps me sane in such a conniving business.
In other news. A device, that I developed for my own use a couple of years ago, is now generating interest from a couple of companies. I had a meeting with one company a week and a half ago at the end of July. The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes. That 30 minute meeting ended up lasting an hour and 45 minutes. To me that’s a very good sign and sometime next week I will reach back out to them to follow and see where their thoughts are. In the meantime, I’ve started the patent process to make sure my idea is protected.
Some friends of mine have started developing a content platform for YouTube. As it turns out, my channel and website titled Inside The Recording Studio will get rebranded to be the umbrella for all the content. I’m looking forward to providing cool content about gear, recording and the process of creating music.
As I sit here recapping on several months of what feels like waiting in a holding pattern, I’m working on keeping a positive attitude going into my birthday. I’m taking yet another trip around that sun. Despite being beat down again in my career as a musician, I can be grateful for being alive and healthy!
As the song image for Spotify shows above – I will Rise Up!
I’ll work on being a bit more energetic with content here. In the meantime, thank you for reading.
BTW – if you haven’t joined my email list, please do!
Rise Up My Juicy New Single
How To Find
Time to drop a little knowledge on ya in order to find my new single Rise Up. It released on Friday January 20 and can now be found on your favorite digital service (hint, my favorite is Spotify). That means you’ll find it at places like Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube, and more.
Of course you could also listen to Rise up right here on my website on the Rise Up page. Of course that page also contains the lyrics, artwork, and liner notes. Kinda like having a web version of hardcopy version’s full blown information.
Significance of Rise Up
You might ask yourself why did I release it on Inauguration Day? Its a great question that has a real live answer.
The answer is, I felt it my duty to call out the fact that the country has elected the wrong person. A person who claims to be for the “little” guy, but in reality is solely out for himself and his family. If there is one thing that I hope to achieve, it is to have people Rise Up against going backwards in this country. My desire is to see people gather and protest. To demonstrate. To call out the elected leaders to start doing their jobs rather than creating chaos.
In all, regardless of whether you are a republican, democrat, independent, Green Party, tea party, whomever – you can put this song to use. In fact, I’d love to see you putting it into action. Share your photos and videos, of your using it for protest, with me on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be happy to RT or share the love. Go forth and make use of your freedom, before you lose more of it. Enjoy it, sing it, share it!
Ready To Love 2017
Mere hours into the new year and I’m ready to love 2017 already. See, I got to spend time with my main squeeze at a really amazing party somewhere deep in wine country (a.k.a. Napa Valley, CA). Cool friends, cool place, great times. That’s an amazing way to get the new year started off right.
Happy New Year to you!
Ultimate New Music
My first thing I’m ready to love 2017 for is new music. My ultimate new music. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to new music from other artists, but I do have a lineup of some amazing tunes. Tunes that cover a gamut of lyrical ideas – plus they are all sonically different as well as being stylistically different too.
In a time of when so many songs and artists all start sounding the same, I’m still sticking to the catch 22 land of proven difference.
Deliver More Themes
My second reason to love 2017 is another juicy opening theme. It was easy to miss last year when I snagged the opening theme to Nightwatch on A&E. A clever show that follows the engaging stories of police, fire and EMT heroes working the night shift in New Orleans. The show has been a rousing success.
I’m looking forward to having the opening theme on yet another show. I get all tingly thinking about having two shows running concurrently with music I created as their opening salvos.
Not sure how many Alan Thicke had, but I’d definitely love to measure to the number he had. I envision hitting 10 in my future.
Increase Live Performances
The third damn good reason to love 2017 is for the work I plan on putting into performing more live shows. There’s something in the works that should lead to the initial explosion for a particular song released a few months back.
I’m excited to be talking to some managers and agents about taking the show on the road and bringing it to you!
Plus it means getting the share the music with you. Which is what I want my 2017 to be all about.
Cooking up a storm over the holidays. That is the modus of my Christmas vacation this year, which is extremely fitting based on the kind of year entertainment has had. Unless you’ve been under a rock its patently obvious to me that its been a horrendous year for legends and icons of music and film.
Hell within 48 hours of Christmas we lost George Michael and Carrie Fisher.
George a musical icon that created some amazing music and of course Carrie who was part of one of the biggest movie franchises in cinematic history.
Beyond the strange string of deaths that lined 2016, I spent a good portion of the year creating. There’s been a new design on the website. There’s been over 60 new songs in production for various co-writes and other things. I’ve been writing new music for release. But my favorite thing this Christmas is the cooking lesson I got as a gift from my sister.
She’s got some great connections in her little spot of the world and its led to us having a nice lesson in cooking last night with Chef Veronica.
Chopping & Cutting
The menu started with crab cakes – so very tasty. It was followed by the group of us chopping up all the ingredients for the main dish Duck L’Orange with ravioli.
The beauty of all the chopping is that I received a super amazing chef’s knife. So sharp that I barely had to drop the knife on the item I was cutting and it would cut itself. Like a hot knife thru warm butter. Drop.
Seriously, having the right tool in your hands makes doing something so much more enjoyable. Like in music, having a great instrument can help you sound better, having a better knife and help you cook better. I’m sure of that assessment. Its probably a lot like getting access to a top end compressor while recording.
One cooking technique I learned was called supreme. Supreme is the art of cutting out citrus so that you don’t have the membrane to deal with while cooking. Yet another reason to have an amazingly sharp knife.
Speaking of sharp knifes tends to remind me of a guitar teacher I had who refused to have any glass or knifes in his house. His reasoning had to do with having an incredible fear of severing his hands – which would mean an end to his ability to play guitar. Aside from rock climbing and bowling, I never shared that fear. For me, rock climbing is super rough on the muscles for my guitar playing. Thus I don’t have a problem with glass or knives, but I don’t do rock climbing and I bowl with my right hand (so I don’t waste my left hand for days on end). BTW – I suck terribly at bowling.
While I’ve made regular pasta, aka spaghetti, in the past, I’ve never made ravioli before. Its a slightly different ballgame in the pasta field.
We got the filling, a mushroom and ricotta filling, finished and chilled first. Then we turned to the pasta dough where we spent time running it thru a pasta roller, over and over. Nothing new there. But when it came time to make the ravioli, thats where things took a turn.
First you lay out the bottom and then get your top half together (hoping that you get them roughly the same size and shape.) Once you have the bottom you dab out the filling in uniform spots on the flattened dough. Once there’s a line of filling, you place the top over it and press down.
I learned a cooking tip that its wise to use an egg wash to help seal both sides of the ravioli together. Meaning I had to do this prior to putting the top on.
Then I had some fun with a couple of different ravioli cutters that were laying around. A heart shaped one, a round one, and also with a pasta cutting wheel to make square ones.
This was the first time I had cooked duck as well. Chef Veronica showed us how to score the skin prior to cooking. Duck is not like chicken. Much like a Les Paul is not Moog. It requires an entirely different method to cooking. So we scored the skin with crosshatches. Then set it into a hot pan to start searing and cooking the fat side down.
Once the duck was nearing completion…
Into The Water
That’s when the pasta took its turn dunking into a hot bath. What’s awesome about fresh made pasta is that it cooks in roughly 3 minutes.
Out of the water came the pasta. The ravioli got covered with a brown butter sage sauce. The fettuccini was topped with the duck and a tasty orange sauce (made from the supreme’d oranges).
What a tasty and fun way to learn to cook something new.
It gives me an idea of how I could bring the idea of producing music into someone’s home…
He’s making a list checking it twice, that’s the phrase many people learn throughout then known planet of earth.
That time of year when people are generally supposed do things to relax, be merry and happy. The ultimate in humor is that many people do the exact opposite thing. Many are ignoring their better judgement and running around getting extravagant gifts, being stressed out and sometimes down right rude to others.
What Do You Do
You know what’s real odd? How does one approach wishing people greetings based on their religious or non-religious background. Do you stick to your own views? Do you try some politically correct thing? Ask their religious background and use that? What does one do?
See, as an atheist who has a childhood linked to a religion that dealt with Christmas, I’m most accustomed to that and I’m fine with it.
In that sense, I technically enjoy the idea of Christmas. I doubt it would matter much to me if it were Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other religion’s concept. The reason I stick with it is to cause less issues with the immediate family. Plus its a familiarity thing.
Whatever your preferred religious background is, know that I wish you that address.
Year End List Checking
The big thing a lot of publications do is list checking, or rather year end lists. Top 10 this. Top 20 that. Best of the Year this. Worst of the year that. So many lists. I’ll admit there have been times when I pay attention to them. Not any more. Not this year. Too many crazy things have happened from a celebrity death list to insane politics that I’ve pretty much checked out of the whole list checking thing.
This time around I’m hanging with family, watching movies and keeping a low profile. I’m taking a break from recording. I’m not concentrating on anything other than spending a bit of time with family, friends and loved ones.
It goes without saying that nearly everyone on this planet loves to get gifts. True reality is that most people are not natural born gift givers. Maybe this is what list checking was meant for – to make a list so that its easier to purchase gifts for others.
Personally, I fall in the camp of not being really good at giving gifts. Though I do think I made some much better strides this year. At least this is what I’m being told by family already based on gifts I’ve given so far.
One thing I’ll be doing is watching a lot of movies and munching on popcorn. Mostly holiday themed classics like, Its A Wonderful Life, Love Actually, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, etc. But I’ll also be watching some movies like Passengers, Rogue One (Star Wars), Collateral Beauty, and La La Land.
What are your holiday movie plans?
Whatever you do this Christmas, be happy. Enjoy the company of others and know you are loved.
Oh, and give me a special gift of adding my Christmas song “Christmas Brought Me You” to your favorite holiday playlist.
Its late at night. I’m in the studio working on different rhythms for the vocal and lyrics in a new song.
This particular song has been going thru a long process of rewrites. I had the initial idea for it a good long time ago. I laid down a demo of the song, then left it in a pile of 70+ other songs that were eventually going to pulled back out and tweaked for release.
Those 70+ songs got voted on in an effort to eventually do a classic example of a album. Voted on by a select group of fans. Then I wised up and took a look at how people consume music – they listen to streaming services and singles. Understanding that led me to switching spending time on each individual song as its own entity to be polished to perfection.
I was poking around my hard drive of songs and realized that recent events really dictated that I pull this particular song back out and give it some serious attention. I took it out of its original hard driving hard rock format and turned it into a pop bound rocker that is much more modern in arrangement. Keeping the same drive but really adding a slew of elements to propel the song in to a much wider audience of listeners.
After the arrangement was up to snuff filled with little nuanced tracks, it came time to work on lyrics. The track is flowing with such force that I felt the original lyrics were lacking. The idea was there but the focus was off. Not as laser sharp as it should be; and this was already the 3rd incarnation of the lyrics. I started bouncing rewrites off of friends. I removed two lines and replaced them with a better idea. Where my first idea was saying the same thing as another line in the song (but the second line said it better). Then I changed the title / hook of the song. The original title was apparently too passive and I wanted action!
Once the lyrics got tweaked, it required retooling the melody, or rather retooling the rhythms of the verse. Why would I work on different rhythms? Primarily, I had to get used to the new flow of the lyrics. Also I want to make sure I keep the song going in a way that the listener wants to hit that repeat button to listen to the song again and again. Which is where I sit right now. I spent a couple of hours trying various ways to play with the rhythm of what I was singing. I narrowed it down to two different rhythms that I really like.
What gets me is how people react. A first reaction can tell me if I’m really on the right track. Usually I don’t bring a lot of other people in on the process of my writing, but I felt like hey, I could use some help on which different rhythms I should go with for this verse.
I already know the chorus is an anthemic banger. Yet I need to make sure my verse compels you to get to my chorus. Its that simple. Once I have which of the different rhythms I’m going with for the verse, I can start going to town on the vocals and really make it fly.
My goal is to get this particular song ready and released by January 20th. There’s a significance to that date for this song and if you’re a U.S. citizen – you would be well to know why. If not, I weep. For everyone else, its still going to be an awesome song to bounce along to and play loud and proud in an arena or your party.