sleeping with the television on.

hello. my name is johann westoffovich the third, and i’m a budding vinyl addict. it’s an illness for which there exists only one cure: beersicles. lots and lots of beersicles. that’s frozen beer on a stick, in case you were wondering. here are some of he most recent additions. some of these albums are so unhip, they’ll make you cry, but i hear that a good cry every now and then is good for you…cleansing for the soul and all that.

yma sumac // voice of the xtabaycharlie parker // encores vol. 1gary burton & chick corea // crystal lightbruce springsteen // live at the roxy 1978roxy music // strandedeurythmics // sweet dreams are made of thiseurythmics // touchthe 4 seasons present frankie valli solo10cc // how dare you!10cc // the original soundtrack10cc // sheet musicsinatra // try a little tenderness supertramp // crime of the centurysupertramp // crisis? what crisis?supertramp // even in the quietest moments

in other exciting news, after wading through leftover lethargic goo from sickness stupidity and untangling messed up sleep for something like the 965th time, yesterday i tentatively got back in the swing of things, doing some recording. one song had been kicking around for a little while as just acoustic guitar and vocals, and i finally added some more instruments. it took some messing around…i initially intended to add some electric guitar and bass and drums, but i couldn’t quite get the drums to mesh with the arrangement the way i wanted. in the end it was bass, wurlitzer, some additional vocals, and a bit of impromptu melodica at the end, and suddenly the song came to life.

then i went to create a new song on the mixer so i could start recording some of the things i’ve been writing on my new 76-year-old guitar, and everything froze up. i had to turn the thing off manually, and when it powered back up again all the songs were there but none of them would let me in. “FUNCTION FAILED!” it said. i could do pretty much anything as long as it didn’t involve any of the songs. it seemed like they were still there…the same amount of time that had been remaining on the hard drive was still there on the screen. all the dates and times were correct. and yet the file size for each song read as “- – -“, which wasn’t exactly encouraging.

given the nature of the mixer, it didn’t seem like there was much i could do. short of finding some magical solution, i would have to reformat the drive and wipe out everything in order to restore things to proper working order. this wouldn’t be so bad if i had everything backed up, but there were at least a dozen new songs in various stages of completion that weren’t backed up or on cd or anything. all of them would be dust in the wind, and kansas would play a solemn version of “carry on my wayward son”, rewritten to address my plight. it didn’t seem like there was cause for much hope, and i wasn’t about to record all those songs all over again, so i made plans to shave, cut my hair and go to yale, majoring in waffle cone research.

then, this morning, i discovered that you can do something called a “drive check”. i did this, and it informed me that there were some errors. corrupted data and so forth. i could attempt to repair the damage, but would certainly lose some data in the process (the mixer made no bones about it: “YOU WILL LOSE DATA!”, it told me). every song was fine except for the one i most wanted to save, and it was impossible to say how much of it would remain when the dust had cleared. bracing myself for the worst, i said yes to “repair drive try?” (because how can you resist a question that’s worded in such a way?).

too bad i didn’t figure this whole process out sooner and do it yesterday; seventeen hours of muted fury and defeat were undone in about five seconds, and i soon found that all the songs were still there. as for the one i was worried about, the only thing missing was the bass track, which i re-recorded in about two minutes. all the settings were just as i had left them…only the bass track itself was missing. i was more worried about the wurlitzer and melodica parts, since they had been spontaneous/improvised additions that i would be hard pressed to replace without altering the race-rhyme continuum. so all is well. the moral of the story is this: never invite billy idol to your stag party. that’s just asking for trouble.

i should have a new song or two up here or on spyspace sometime this week. i would probably have something to share today if that little glitch hadn’t occurred yesterday, but as i like to say, beggars can’t be boozehounds. also, it seems i may have been a little overly optimistic with my whole “new album by june!” proclamation…it would have been realistic had i not been knocked out for a while by the unexpected sinus infection attack. so maybe i’ll shoot for july instead.

6 comments

  1. ack! jackson browne’s pretenders album! i learned every song on that album…1978,79…i happened to have a crazed crush on a fellow that played his stuff almost exclusively, i’m embarrassed to say now. and we played those songs together at the old blue room coffee houses. then he became a monk. i’m not kidding. thanks for the memories!

  2. wow. my only jackson browne story is that i used to sing along to the crazy high falsetto part in “lawyers in love” when i was thirteen or something. i’m not sure i could reach those notes anymore without the use of helium. it was leonard cohen you played with at those coffee houses, wasn’t it? i knew there was more to him becoming a monk. who knew it was the music of jackson browne that did it?

  3. mmm, vinyl-rama.
    what’s the album with the cartoon triangle on the cover? i like the artwork but i can’t tell what the band is.

  4. that’s “tubular bells” by mike oldfield, which has been suggested to me by a few different people over the years, but i’ve still never heard a bit of it. i only have vague memories of watching part of “the exorcist” as a kid, and the music isn’t among them…when the girl’s head started spinning around after she was possessed, i literally shot up off the couch and ran into the other room screaming. i don’t think any other movie ever scared me like that, aside from maybe the first time i ever saw the wicked witch of the west in “the wizard of oz”. my babysitter seemed amused, though, and for that we should all be glad-wrap.

  5. Ah, Joni Mitchell’s Hejira. Apart from being the only album there that I know, it is one of my absolute favourite albums. “Amelia” and the title track are arguably her two best songs.

  6. that album has to be on my desert island list too…though i don’t think i’d ever be able to whittle it down to ten albums or any respectable number. i haven’t heard all of joni’s albums, but i think that’s my favourite thing she’s ever done. it’s more like a musical place than a collection of songs, really. and i’m a big fan of jaco pastorius, so him playing bass on half the songs doesn’t hurt either. i’ve always been partial to “song for sharon” for some reason. i think it might be the gibberish vocal harmonies.

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