These Features Draw Me In With Light Bending

Good Morning, Mackronauts.

I’ve been poking at the music again, though I have a lot of work left to do straightening up the flubbed notes and groove timed bass line that doesn’t sit right with the rest of the tune any more. Things I need to figure out if I can tweak and set straight, or if I have to learn to live with because of my idiosyncratic style. I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that my bass playing isn’t for everyone, because songwriters like my friend Gary and even my new friend Kristine really just need someone who plays straight up 4/4 with no embellishments and no bluesing or going into groove time. I really wanted to nail the bass line for Into the Sunset, but alas, that job has been taken away from me because I couldn’t pare my playing down fast enough. I suspect Kristine is carefully cutting up and tweaking the bass line to fit her notion of how it ought to have been played. I hope that works for her. I fear I won’t recognize it when I hear it next.

I’ve got a style built on the shoulders of a number of classic players (Paul McCartney, Sting, Stanley Clarke, Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, Mike Rutherford, Simon Gallup, Billy Sheehan) I’m a fan of, but I’m still not experienced enough to feel the pocket when playing something really sparse, unless I have drums that make it possible for me to sit back and relax. I can play space, but I need to have something underneath me, or I go into rhythm mode and start filling the space to make up for the lack of drums. So when you ask me to play the way Mike Rutherford did on the one Genesis track I have no love for, I run into problems, because Mike Rutherford to me is a much more experienced, sophisticated bass player than I currently am. I’ve noodled with bass for almost twenty years, but I didn’t get serious about my bass playing until 2006, so I still have a long way to go.

I’m currently trying to clean up the sound for One Up On You, a song I wrote eighteen years ago for my ex-keyboard player/girlfriend and our producer friend, who had won her heart for a time. We’re all good friends now, so it’s water under the bridge, but at the time I wrote it, I still had a score to settle. It’s a tiny bit passive aggressive, with some sly jabs in it, but it’s pretty tongue in cheek, and of course, it ends with the line ‘…and he’s done well by you’, which is really how I felt at the time, having been relieved of the pressure of trying to become the kind of musician I wasn’t prepared to be at the time of her departure. He took my girl and took my problems with her. I’ve rarely had more help building my music career than I have from that one guy, who is a dear friend to me to this day. So it’s not an angry song so much as a funny song, in my books, and it sounds great these days. It just needs some tweaking. I just have to figure out how to tweak it, because to my ears, it sounds about right, which I’m pretty sure is wrong. My more avante grunge tastes may be working against me.

I got a pretty good mix of No One In The World, which is currently my favourite track on the album. It’s got a great little instrumental intro that’s lifted from the piano jam I did back in 1998 with Derrick and Dave, which I called ‘When It Seems To Be Ending’, and which I renamed Coda this year, before I basically integrated it with No One In The World. There are a few Coda riffs in the song, which worked out better than I had any right to expect when I set out to record it with almost no idea how to play it. It’s turned out brilliantly, and I keep marvelling at it, the way I did with Out of Time back in January when I first started working on that. I can’t listen to the whole album any more without wincing in places, but No One In The World makes me Manic Happy. It’s NOT flawless, but its flaws are the kind of flaws that really form my signature sound. I know this because I tried ‘perfecting’ one of the idiosyncratic guitar tracks by doubling and pitch shifting one of the tracks that actually is fairly error free, and it just didn’t sound right, even thought he pitch shifted track sounded perfectly natural on its own.

Anyway, today is probably going to be spent playing The Secret World Beta with my agent, who has been wrestling all morning to get the game to run on her system. Gonna be fun playing an MMO with her again.

Time to post this and get a bit of work done before Beta weekend opens. Maybe I’ll grab something to eat, as well. Have a great day, folks.


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