man…sometimes a kick drum and a tambourine is all the percussion you need in a song. it just feels right. i don’t want to overuse it, because i already took that approach on a few CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN songs, but when it fits, it really fits.
also, it’s fun dressing up songs with the piano as the starting point for a change, instead of building around a guitar or stringed instrument of some sort. i can hear that the tuning of the new beast is starting to drift a little bit — not so that it’s actually out of tune in an unpleasant way, but more in a way that makes it sound a little like an older piano. and i kind of like that. it sounds a little unrefined. i’ve probably already used the word “earthy” thirty times when talking about the piano, but that’s what keeps popping into my head.
i like that it doesn’t sound like any piano you’ll ever hear in any song on commercial radio. i like hearing the microphones picking up my nails clicking against the keys and capturing some of the trapwork. i like that i messed up completely at the end of one of the tracks i recorded the other day and let loose with a profane outburst that i was tempted to keep in the mix, but decided to fade out instead because it breaks the spell of the song somewhat. it was the first time i ever played “brushed tambourine” and the guiro made its recording debut as well.
the song sounds like something that would have fit seamlessly onto the last album, except for the fact that it’s piano-led and ashlee simpson has a vocal cameo. oh shit! i wasn’t supposed to give that away. it was going to be a surprise. oh well. i’ll have to cook up some more surprises as i’m putting the next cd(s) together.
and just so you know i’m no longer the clean-cut guy i was in that last picture:
because there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to make a choice: will he play soulful bugle in the bathroom, wringing tears from the eyes of the jazz gods who came before him, or will he just pretend to be blowing into the thing because he hasn’t yet figured out how to get anything other than off-key flatulent sounds out of it and then snap a picture to make himself look savvy? the answer, quite clearly, is “goat cheese”.
mark my words, i’ll teach myself how to build up a grudging embouchure and get some music out of it, or else i’ll give the bugle to my uncle brian (i don’t have the time or patience to take lessons). either way there’s a happy ending for someone. and really, when you find something like this in a music store and it’s so absurdly inexpensive, you just can’t pass it up. there was also a fun moment when i was playing a guitar and the guy working at the place (the specificity here is beyond compare, isn’t it?) asked me if i was a lap steel player…and i went on to outline my entire guitar-playing history in condensed form to explain that no, i’m not a lap steel player, and i just play guitar in a completely skewed way because i could never figure out how to get my fingers to do what they’re supposed to on the fretboard. unsolicited personal musical history in bite-size form—it doesn’t get much more exciting than that.
so i’m thinking there are two separate albums that are currently taking shape. one will probably be all over the place and have no real thread holding the songs together, aside from the continuation of my sloppy vocal multi-tracking ways and the fact that the songs feel to me like they make sense together. the other album will probably be almost entirely piano-based and feel much more like an organic whole. both will probably have wordy titles and be crammed with a lot of songs, though maybe not quite so many as i squeezed onto the last album. it’s also very possible that my hunches are completely wrong and i’ll end up with something completely different in the next few months. either way, i think i can confidently say there will be at least one more album of new material coming to infect you with its sprawl before christmas, and maybe if you’ve been a really good girl or boy and you don’t have a copy of MERRY FUCKIN’ CHRISTMAS i’ll give you one of those too.