You and I We Will Climb So High

So I was thinking of working on Sterling’s The Good Girl today, but I’m going to go over and help a buddy demolish his old garage, so he can replace it with a new building later this summer. I’m hoping it’s a new recording studio, but hey, that’s just me.

Anyway, I’m listening to the live tracks from Styx’s performance of The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight from a year or two ago. Dawn and I are drinking coffee (my second cup today. Wheeee!!!). I’m dressed for a change, but thinking I’ll need thick socks and work boots for this gig. I intend to impress. Today feels like a good day to swing a sledgehammer.

Larry Gowan will never sound like Dennis DeYoung, and you know what? That’s fine by me. I’m just glad he found a credible Oberheim synth patch for those tricky synth parts Dennis used to play. I love me some analog synth sound. As I’ve said a few times online this morning, it’s one of only two classic synths I genuinely hanker for. I like ARPs and Prophets and the Synclavier and even the venerable Moog and such, but the two vintage analog synths that I grew up listening to and that inspired me to want to play keys in the first place were the Oberheim OB-X/Xa and the Yamaha CS-80.

The former has the fat and fiery tone I love in classic rock synth, and the latter has the warm, throaty pads and leads that I like in my early 80s pop tunes. Neither is very roadable these days, but I’d just be keeping them in the studio and taking out a virtual rig anyway. I’m a songwriter, not a synthesist. I don’t really need to have real time control of every filter and envelope on stage, since I’d be singing and playing other instruments as well. I’d be reliant on preprogrammed patches for most of the live stuff anyway. But having the originals (or most likely refurbished models) that could live in the studio without requiring too many repairs would be sweet.

Mind you, I’d also like to own a Hammond Organ and maybe a Mellotron or Chamberlin as well. And a Vox Continental. Or a Fender Rhodes. Or a Wurlitzer electric piano. And a Yamaha CP-70, of course. But really, I’d be happy just to have virtual modelled versions of those keyboards, because while the idiosyncrasies and real time control of those originals are notoriously hard to replicate, but they’re also very finicky and don’t travel well.

Not that I’ll ever get to tour. I mean, I’d still like to get just one tour under my belt. It’s on my bucket list, dammit. And I’d definitely have to rehearse like a bastard to get my dubious chops up to snuff. It hasn’t been necessary for me to be able to perform my songs in public since we first tried climbing on stage at Mustang Sally’s back in 1996. We bombed horribly, and were only just getting to the point where I thought we’d be okay on stage again by the summer of 1998, when the band folded indefinitely.

The world didn’t miss much, but we missed a golden chance to move forward another notch. It’s never good to look back with regret over the actions you didn’t take, but sometimes I do regret putting the band on hiatus when Big Dave asked us to, because we lost all momentum after that, and never really got it back. Gary and I tried auditioning new musicians, but we just weren’t good enough to keep them; no one wanted to work with us.

But anyway, if I were to go on tour, I’d want all of those keyboard sounds in my arsenal. But I’d definitely want the OB-X and CS-80 sounds. There are some pretty cool VSTs for those instruments, and cool rigs that can play the sounds when patched from a computer. And there are synth designers who are doing new and wonderful things I’d probably like as well.

But that’s enough of me drooling over gear I can’t have. Time to finish my coffee, put some deodorant on, and go tear apart a garage.


Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


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