Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another "2nd Day Sober"

Dream (click here to hear)

The above song is one that I actually did at Leslie Thompsons house, shortly after I had gotten the Snowball microphone, and was exploring its capabilities.
I heard it yesterday, kind of by accident; when I was soaking in the tub and had clicked "play all music" on my media player.
I think I have about 900 hours of music, with my own demos sprinkled in there, and this one came up.
I immediately remembered having slowed the song down some, digitally.
This is kind of an answer to a comment made by Alex In California, in which he said that "Homeless Mustard" kicked my ass musically. I don't think he could pull this one off vocally, though -I've heard him sing that "Creep" song, by Radiohead. 
Back To The Present
Below is the post which I wrote last (Monday) night, as I notched my first day of sobriety (or dryness, depending upon which AA person you talk to) and had plenty of mental energy for sitting up and writing half of the night. This should bring the blog up to date..
Return to sanity
One (1) day sober, all over again.
My records would indicate that I abstained from alcohol for a period of 15 days; mostly through the Mardi Gras; and have been back to drinking during the 26 days since; commencing shortly after having been left the wonderful gift, upon Lillys stoop, of a bottle of Skyye vodka; which I should have immediately given to David the water jug player, to go along with the guitar of the almost exact same color; which I had given him, after I had received my Takamine in the same fashion.
But, I brought the bottle home and made a decoration of it; placing it upon a purple cloth that had come along with the apartment; and which adorned the top of the nightstand, as if waiting for something to be placed upon it.
Then, a couple days after Mardi Gras, on the day that I gathered up the $204 which had collected in a glass in my cabinet, over the course of the festival, about to embark upon a shopping trip, hoping to tick off a 20 something long list of items; with stops at several places, with Wal-Mart being the ultimate; I spiked my morning coffee with a shot of the vodka.
I could tell that it was good quality, because it had no discernable flavor at all. The irony of that, when it comes to vodka...
It is worth noting that, after having replenished my battery supply late that morning, bought a slide for the guitar early that afternoon, then a new harmonica early in the evening; I became bogged down as I continued to work on the Skyye vodka; and some of the potential of the all day bus pass that I had gotten went for not; as I never made it to Wal-Mart, where I had planned upon purchasing things for the house; like another 1,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle, a juicer, and various sundries.
That should have been a warning sign; the fact that after 15 sober days when things went along like a Swiss watch, I had failed to complete my mission on that first day back to imbibing.
I didn't heed it as a warning sign, and was in fact not really in heeding condition by the end of my second night of drinking.
That was the night when, still having over 100 dollars on me after having made a dent in my shopping list; the guy on Canal Street magically appeared bearing a 1.75 liter bottle of Absolut vodka; and wanting only 20 dollars for it.
From that point, about 25 days ago now, to the present is pretty much a blur; with only a handful of noteable experiences/anecdotes to report.
There was the 50 dollar bill that I dropped somewhere, somehow in a stupor.
There was the 128 dollar night, spurred by a 100 dollar tip 10 days ago, which I have only recently whittled down to under 20 bucks.
That night has been succeeded by miserable rainy nights when I didn't even play; nights that I played but was too drunk to capitalize upon; and nights when I decided to stay home and record music; because I had almost 100 dollars in my pocket; many of which I was too drunk to capitalize upon.
My altered sleeping habits; along with the clocks being set ahead for "daylight savings" worked to preclude any blogging; as evidenced by the huge gap in its chronology.
The results of the recording sessions will have to be judged by the listener (who can get them to play). I was moving at a plodding pace and only managed 2 songs which came out well enough to serve as crude demos of the material. Each one is missing a little riff, or piece of backup vocal harmony, or a shaker or even a finger snap which had been slated to go on the recording.
On the positive side, though, I have discovered that recording in "stereo," even though the machine merely places duplicate signals on the left and right; yields better results because so many of the effects are "stereo" effects.
Before, my "large hall" reverberation, for example, had no "width", and was like pressing one ear to the keyhole of a large hall where music was being played inside -a one dimentional reverberation. By splitting the track into "stereo," it now sounds like you have stepped inside the hall with both ears open.
I have also learned to work on a lot of music more spontaneously, like standing the microphone up in front of me and doing a take by positioning myself and the guitar accordingly and just running through the song just as a learning experience without sweating the details; and not worrying about the little gurgling and hissing sounds which may be coming out of the heating/air unit.* Getting the words and chords and rhythms worked out while fresh in the mind is so much more important than painstakingly padding a closet with pillows and cushions and then sliding an upright mattress across the entranceway to the room where the heating unit is, and then going into that stuffy environment to work.
That was sapping a bit of creativity and putting pressure upon myself to make everything good enough to be "the final product.
Now I just plug the mic in and play and sing as if I were at the Lilly spot; then go back and see what worked well and what didn't. Much lower pressure that way...
*and which, I kid you not, seem to be saying: "Hillary Clinton..Hillary Clinton...first woman president..." over and over, along with other less intelligible, but very human sounding, things in a deep male voice, if you listen closely to it. This morning, I actually thought I was overhearing some news show coming from a neighbors TV; but I digress (and what would one expect at a government subsidy apartment through a Democrat administration?)).
Howard 5 Doors Down
They have gotten Howard into The Sacred Heart Apartments.


He is in room 115, and is reported to be "comfortable," by our mutual caseworker, Tim.
On the day that he moved in, he attempted to come visit me; but I was out; and haven't seen him here yet. But, I know his routine, and where I can find him as soon as our schedules sync up.
I have now completed one day sober; yet cannot ditch the nasty cancer sticks. I went all day without one; but have just returned from a run to The Big Easy Market (about .7 miles away, mind you) with a fresh pack.
I wish they had never come out with American Spirit brand, because they actually taste pretty good; reducing the motivation of seeing smoking as "a filthy, foul tasting and smelling" addiction. Now it just kills you.
I started this Monday morning with a juice fast; my usual (and pretty effective) way of kicking the bottle.
I just felt that the time was right.
What should happen next is: I will gain a feeling of empowerment over, for one, skeezers, who, even if they take a swing at me over my refusal to give them a dollar or a cigarette or "well, do you have any munchies?" would probably miss my head.
And empowerment over the audience which I play for outside the bar; with a feeling of command over my material and a confidence in my ability to entertain them as they listen in cross-eyed wonder.
And the relief of knowing that I can plan things for the next day; wake up early and full of both physical and mental energy and accomplish them; without worrying about where the journey, which begins with a swig of vodka at 8 AM, is going to end.
And, of course, financial woes will lessen; and God knows I need at least one new harmonica; a new set of headphones.
I am glad that I didn't hit rock bottom this time before deciding that enough was enough.
The writing was on the wall, though.
My headphones crapping out on one side coincided with (another) plugged up ear drum (the right side this time) and was kind of cosmic in that regard.
The eardrum plugging up was most likely from me stuffing my face with mucous producing foods during late night drunken eating binges "...oh, that's right, I ate all 4 of those loaded baked potatos that those tourists handed me...I forgot about that. Then I got home and cooked a big pot of sticky rice -the kind that clogs up ear canals...that too..."
Tomorrow will be one of the difficult days; second day on fruit juice alone; and one where I might just have to kick myself like a mule to go out there and play "good time" music while not necessarily "feeling it."
Johnny B.
Johnny B. is preparing to leave here for someplace else; as he seems to do around this time each year. I think he goes to Florida somewhere.
We hung out on my last night of drinking (Sunday) and he was very persistent in trying to convince me to take my music to Tipitinas recording studio (which is run through some kind of endowment for the arts; is state of the art; and is accessible through paying a $15 monthly fee).
He talks about the expertise of the engineers, and the camaraderie, along with the musicians natural tendency to "step his game up," (competitively?) when surrounded by his peers; plus the ability to bounce ideas off of other people "...You should speed way up in the middle section and start screaming the lyrics!!"
And the chance that there might be a bass player or a keyboard player or percussionist just hanging around who would love to play on someone else' song.
One of my concerns has been being faced with dropping my guitar down an octave (digitally) and then trying to play it like a bass; or having no bass at all. Even Neil Young would add a piano or something to his otherwise just strummed and sung songs; to get some low notes happening. A dude who is hanging around because his dream is to be a studio musician; might be just what the doctor (Johnny B.) ordered; freeing me of the burden of trying to keep some bass line going on the guitar as I sing; while taking the songs in a slightly different direction; as often happens when people collaborate. 

CD To Be EP?
Well, that is the news from 3222 Canal Street.
It is now 2:02 AM and I have accomplished more (with just this blog post) than I had in the past few days combined.
I am thinking of "releasing" my CD initially as just a 3 song (EP, I think they used to call them) disc -just to get it out there- and maybe just asking $4.99 each.
I don't want to be "the guy who's been talking about this friggin' CD for the past 2 years now" -not that guy.
Then, I could add songs to it, maybe just one at a time and then re-burning; and re-printing and, what the heck; re-pricing it. The Three "R"s.
All I would need would be a few people giving positive feedback on a song or two to speed me back into Tipitinas with renewed vigor.

 I heard it

1 comment:

  1. You should never talk about "skeezers", only about *other* skeezers, my skeezing friend.

    Seriously, your music is bad enough, you should just put together a CD with a spoken intro, "Hey, my music sucks but I know you're like a good bit of music with a new orleans theme" than just put on some classic new orleans stuff that other people have recorded, Louis Armstrong, etc. That will keep them much happier in Davenport, IA.

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