Monday, March 23, 2015

"I'm Not Going To Eat The Apple"

I decided to blow off busking Sunday night, as, for the 3rd day in a row, I missed the (earlier on Sunday) closing of The Louisiana Music Factory; and the chance to get a new harmonica.
Plus, I had been up most of the day, tossing and turning with my mind racing with random thoughts (aka "insomnia") again.

When I did wake up, 20 minutes before the music store was to close, and at least 45 minutes away from it; dependent upon catching a cable car as soon as I walked out the door; I had only had 5 hours of sleep at the most. I dreamed about having a lot of money; during those 5 hours; and, indeed, I had about 30 dollars, after having spent 6 on a pack of cigarettes.
8 Days Sober
I'm on my 8th day without drinking; and am still on a fruit and fruit juice diet; so the things should start tasting nasty any time now.
I really wondered if a pint of brandy might have been a sleep aid and/or a racing mind suppressor.
I ran to the Wal-Greens for another "sleep" drink, and stopped to look at all the pretty liquor bottles, while in there.
The Beach Boys Method

When I got back to the apartment, I worked on a song (since I couldn't sleep because of excess mental energy) using a new recording method, which I have dreamed up.

I recorded a few bars of a bass line, along with the metronome; and then cut and pasted it end to end, until I had about 10 minutes of the repeating bass line.

If I had tried to play the same bass line that long, without any other accompaniment, my mind would have drifted, and I would have deviated, which would have thrown me off when I went to play along with it.
I then played the shaker along with it; giving it a kind of rhythm.

Then, I sang over its repetitiveness, until about 7 minutes in, when I hit upon a vocal line which meshed with the bass -right down to the breathing and the vibrato on every syllable.

I then backed up and sang that one good line repeatedly, replacing all of the experimental stuff which led to my discovery of it.

I then had a bass line with a vocal line over it which sounded good together. An hour and a half later.
The bass line already outlined a certain "implied" chord progression, but not exactly, because the bass doesn't always play the root of the chord. Unless you are Ted Nugent.

The addition of the first vocal kind of narrowed it down to fewer chords which would "work" underneath the 2 voices.

The whole idea was inspired by listening to The Beach Boys "The Smile Sessions" deluxe disc, which included a bunch of outtakes from the studio.

It was an eye (and ear) opener to learn how much hard work those guys put into their songs.

No wonder I haven't made much progress on my CD; I only do a few takes, before deciding that a part is "good enough," and then, all the little glitches accumulate over the 8? tracks, so that I have 8 times as many mistakes as I might in a solo performance. It was a lesson in perfectionism; and I have a new found respect for The Beach Boys.

Brian Wilson is heard to stop the recording as soon as anything is not quite right, and start them all over again; after making adjustments -"Too much high end on the guitar," "Let's take it a little faster, it's dragging" "We need to come in all together a little stronger on the first syllable," "Shake the tambourine so it sounds more like jewelry; this song is about jewelry!"  "Let's take it from the top; take 23!").
I have never done 23 takes of a song in my life!

So, I sang over the bass line for 10 minutes, just to get a 20 second snippet of an eventual song. But it will be 20 seconds where the bass, guitar, and 3 voices, along with a shaker, have been "worked out," to say the least. Now, I just need to repeat the process, until I have a whole song; using the Beach Boy method. Those guys have great voices; not to mention...

The blog title is the name of the song.

It's written from the perspective of Adam, refusing the apple; and it gives a nod to the Beach Boys, "Smile" album, which has a song about vegetables on it.*

*Brian was actually coaxing them, with things like "Sound more like a radish; you know: Blub, blub, blub, blub...You're underground, you know?"

That album was one of their biggest commercial flops, but has become a "cult classic," according to Paul, of Doreen's Jazz Band.

Since I blew off busking Sunday night and slept instead, I was up before dawn,  and got an early start to the day.

The Nick Of Time

I had been meaning to go to the food stamp office to notify them of my change of address, in case they send me any correspondence, notifying me of an appointment, or of my need to go in an file a "status report."

Like a kid showing off his birthday gifts...
Most of their requests, if not complied with, will result in them cancelling the food card. This seems to be a way of saving the state some money. If they tell all of the benefit recipients to jump through hoops, then, invariably there will be some who won't jump, for one reason or another (they are in jail) and then, they can cut them off. No use feeding a guy who is being fed already at the jail, right?

I went in there, and was informed that it was a good thing that I did, as I was about to be cut off.

A New "Obama" Phone

Then, I observed across the street, a tent set up where free "government" phones were being given away to anyone with a food stamp card or a medicaid card and an ID. So, I replaced my phone which isn't working with a better one; making it a pretty productive trip to the food stamp office.

Now, I just need to get the warrant taken care of, over in Jefferson Parish, for trespassing upon the rail yard there about a year and a half ago. I was told by the local cops that they would just dismiss it because it is so minor and happened so long ago; but I need to (stop procrastinating and) call them to find out how to appear in court on the matter, without them having to hold me in a cell or something until court is in session.

Had I stayed on the train 20 minutes longer,  I would have wound up somewhere in Texas and, who knows where I would be blogging from now; or if I would even be alive...

A New Harmonica

And, so, I made it to the music store before they closed, on this Monday, with an hour to spare, and found that they have a Hohner harmonica, called a "New Orleans Special" which s actually 3 bucks less (at $9.99) than the "Ol' Standby" brand -the ones that never seem to last that long because they are cheap.
The harp looks like an Ol' Standby with "New Orleans Special" stamped upon it. They only had them in the key of C, and so I will resume playing the same old tired set list; and hope to not get any complaints from the nearby residents who hear me every night.

That's about it. It is earlier (8:29 PM) than usual for me to start playing at the Lilly Spot, but I need to have a 40 dollar night in order to catch up on a lot of expenses. I'm starting to (finally) feel physically weak after not having eaten in 8 days, except for about 10 apples and 8 bananas.
I have to be careful about how I break the fast, though, because food goes along with drink so well.
I'll make one more stab at quitting smoking by not buying any cigarettes; because they are starting to taste like licking an ashtray, now that I think about it...

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Now I have to keep a lookout for the enhanced Beach Bums "Smile" CD set.

Have you considered the Irish/Penny Whistle? The reason I say this is, I have a nice Bb one that has a great sound for what it is, and *they never wear out* no reeds to go bad etc.

That's what I like about the trumpet - not much to go wrong, good sound, no "consumables" like strings or reeds.

If you can play stuff off of the Titanic movie with the pennywhistle, it will set you apart fro mthe other guitar bangers.