You really don’t love me; you just keep buying me thongs.

I forgot to mention that I was flipping through channels on the box yesterday (I haven’t watched any substantial amount of TV in quite some time, but sometimes I’ll surf a little), and on CMT they had this stripped-down live performance segment that I think was making its debut on the channel. I watched a bit of it out of curiosity. I was staring at the mic Jessie Farrell was singing into, and I thought, “I know that mic. I know that shock mount.”

Then it clicked — it was a Rode K2. I have one of those! I used to have two of those! And then I saw one of the guys in her band was singing into a Rode NT1. I have one of those too! Not that I’ll ever use either mic again, unless throwing a sock over the NT1 somehow makes it sound amazing and gets rid of the fizzy high end and the Pearlman TM-1 decides to break up with me for someone with a more impressive beard.

But yeah. Pretty funny. I wondered why they would be using those microphones when they could easily have substituted a U87 and a U49, or something else with a lot more mojo. The vocals sounded fine until the “s” sounds came in. Then things got sibilant and I was reminded why those mics haven’t seen a stand or a shock mount over here in a few years now. The K2 is a genuinely nice mic and would probably sound good with a de-esser. I just don’t have a de-esser at my disposal.

Until THE CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN WITH A TRIANGLE is all spiffy and packaged, here are a few of the songs that didn’t make the cut. They should give you a bit of an idea of what’s been going down around here without giving away any of the album’s surprises.

Electric Teeth

This one just seemed a little “meh” to me. I think it needs more instrumentation to bring it to life, but I didn’t feel like adding anything to it, and the song didn’t really feel like it belonged on the album anyway, so it got left behind. At least it’s got some of the profanity that’s mostly missing from the CD to recommend it.

The Operative Word Is “Maybe”

This is a tiny song that probably could have fit on the album well enough, but again it didn’t really feel like it belonged. I think the tricky acoustic guitar riff gets lost a bit (I couldn’t seem to arrive at a mix I liked), and while the song is fun to play it seemed a little slight to me.

Neither of these songs were serious contenders to make it onto the album at any point. I did think a song called “Row Ashore” was a shoe-in for a while. It was recorded long before the CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN sessions got underway — back in the summer of 2007, at the old house — and I emailed it to a few people when it was fresh because I thought it was odd that I’d finally written a song with a proper chorus in it after years of avoiding that sort of thing at all costs. What’s more, I liked the song and didn’t think it would have worked as well without the refrain coming back after each verse.

I thought it would be a good way to end the album, even if it was recorded with something completely different in mind. It seemed like a way to bring things full circle and end on kind of a happy note. Then things changed, a lot of songs were recorded in a very short period of time (I don’t think a day has gone by in the past three weeks without a bunch of stuff being recorded), and suddenly the song didn’t make as much sense on the album anymore. It would still probably fit in with the other CHICKEN ANGEL songs sound-wise, but emotionally it doesn’t make sense anymore. So it’ll show up on some other album eventually, and I won’t post it here, because that would take all the fun out of it for the people who haven’t heard the song yet.

Carnival Parting Shot (sketch)

There were some songs I wanted to include on the album but couldn’t for one reason or another. Some of them I didn’t get around to recording in time, and if I didn’t cut myself off one CD would have turned into two and what was already difficult to sequence would have become almost impossible. Some were recorded, but I would hit a snag somewhere along the line and give up on them.

This is one of those things. I’ve tried recording it a few times but haven’t quite been able to get it sounding the way I want it yet. It’ll make it there someday. In the meantime, here’s the original little sketch I recorded before there were any lyrics. Dig my attempt at telling myself how to position my fingers in case I ever forgot how to play it.

There’s also a song called “Don’t Be Tense” that I think would have worked well on the album, but I didn’t finish recording all the different elements in time, and I wasn’t going to drop another song in order to make room for it. All it needs now is a little more guitar and maybe another pass at the drums and then it should be mix-ready. So maybe I’ll put it up on Spyspace in a day or two once that’s been taken care of.

Actually, scratch that. I just finished it before finishing this blog post. On a whim I tried recording some banjo where more electric guitar was supposed to go, and it seemed to work better than the guitar parts would have. I did a quick mix and now it’s up on Ye Olde Space of My for a limited time. There are some mistakes in there, but I kinda like it that way. Pity about that chair creaking at the end. But since it messed with my nice fade-out, I decided to mess with the fade-out itself.

Really, this new album doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the different things I’ve been writing and recording (and all the things I will be writing and recording) and will eventually be releasing now that I’ve got my groove back. There are a ton of piano songs, synth-based things, electric guitar-driven things, stripped-down acoustic tunes, and more tiny songs than I could hope to catalogue, none of which would have made any sense on this CD. Some songs will be ten minutes long, and others will be over in twenty seconds.

In other words, I still haven’t put much of a dent in all the work that needs to be done, and it’ll be a long time before I’m anywhere near being caught up, thanks in no small part to the crack house situation throwing everything out of whack for an extended period of time. The pile of songs I need to tackle gets larger all the time, because I’m always coming up with new ideas and writing new things faster than I can cross existing songs off the list of things to finish or record.

At least I can see that there’s some progress being made now, and someday maybe there will even be an end in sight. I’m not complaining. It just gets a little overwhelming sometimes. The important thing is, I now know I can still knock out albums quickly like I used to without feeling like I rushed anything or could have done a better job if I’d taken eight months instead of a few weeks to put it all together. In light of that (re)discovery, I aim to make up for lost time in a big way. Watch out for more new music before the year is up.

2 comments

  1. I had the honor of listening to the new unreleased CD today and it is a MASTERPIECE!! I listened to it twice and loved all the songs and found that it showcases so many different songs and has a few incredible surprises that had me laughing out loud where I almost went off the road. This CD must be listened to in its entirety in order to fully appreciate the depth and brilliance of each song. Each song transcends and causes mood swings that is comparable to watching and listening to a theatrical/broadway musical in which you have just witnessed a life altering performance. It really has the most amazing songs/performances I have ever heard. The use of the melodica in some songs has that authentic European sound where you really feel that you are relaxing in a small cafe. Another song takes you back to the old south where the blues first began. The guitar playing and vocals are just AMAZING!!!

    With each song you realize that the vocals, lyrics and musical craftmanship are indicative of a one of a kind musician who is a chameleon.

    Again I say without hesitation that this is a MASTERPIECE and a must listen for anyone that wants to listen to an artist who has it all. It will leave you smiling. Bravo Johnny!! Bravo!! Please take a bow!

  2. Well…if you insist…

    ::: Takes a bow, only for his pants to rip, revealing the anus in all of its glory :::

    Somehow, I knew this would happen.

    You be careful throwin’ around that M word, man…it could cause some trouble in the saloon. Bottles be flyin’…women be cryin’…insects be dyin’…

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