Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If They Had Been Luckier

It is Wednesday afternoon and soon, I will walk the 2 miles to the Lilly Pad and play for food, and strings.
I was up early this morning, after having gone to sleep early Tuesday night, after deciding not to go out and work Monday night, making 2 days off in a row. This is a habit which is starting to creep in.
When I was homeless, it felt silly to sit there under the wharf, when money and everything else was just a 5 minute walk away; I had established a rhythm in which busking every single night was a part.
Monday, I had woken up with about 15 dollars, down from 26 the day before.
I had spent the whole 26 Saturday night, before I even got to the Lilly Pad, but managed to pay back some debts in the process.
Then I made the 15 bucks, spent Sunday up listening to football, then went out Monday and found a bottle of cream sherry on the discount cart at Rite Aid for $3.50, and wound up staying in and sipping it and toking the bud that I had gotten Saturday night as part of my 26 dollar spending spree.
I made some interesting recordings.
I am continuously adjusting and trying different approaches to recording music.
At first, I wanted to just set the Snowball microphone in front of me and sit and play, as if I were on the street, in order to capture my "true" sound.
This led to difficulties with microphone placement, and situations where the guitar and voice were on the same track, and thus, couldn't be treated differently. A long echo might suit the voice, but make the guitar sound like there is another guitarist a block away, competing.
Then, the problems with doing the tracks separately are: When playing the guitar, one has to kind of sing along silently, in order to know one's place in the song, yet, the ability to tailor the guitar part around the voice is lost; hitting a chord extra hard to punctuate a certain word, for example is something which is hard to be aware of when overdubbing a vocal later.
I have discovered another "effect," included in the Audacity program called "repeat."
Now, I can play through a chord change, taking care to get it just right, then use the repeat effect to make it repeat for 12 minutes? and then instantly sing over it on a separate track, while the groove is fresh in my mind. This kind of frees up a portion of the brain which can be put to the task of improvising new lyrics. Then both tracks can be treated individually, with the voice maybe getting delay and reverb and an EQ boost in a certain range, while the guitar can be put through a phaser, or something.
I have also decided to sit and write pages of lyrics, in free form prose, without the melody of the song restricting things, and then to warp the words to fit the melody later....
I am learning from Elvis Costello, and now Prince, in regards to musical approaches.
There are so many. One can just start with a bare rhythm, composed of drums and hand claps and whatever else is lying around, and then construct a song around that. I think the Talking Heads would nod their heads to that.
Tuesday morning, since I was up at 5 AM, and since I had always wanted to play on one of the off ramps of the interstate, like I used to do in Florida, and since I wanted to go to the VA building and inquire about dental treatment, and that place is a couple blocks away from the off ramp of the interstate (where skeezers have worn smooth a spot from standing and holding their "anything helps" signs) I arrived at the corner of Tulane Street and the offramp and began standing there, jamming on the guitar strung around my neck and the harmonica.
It was before sunup, and in about an hour and a half, I had made 13 dollars, with two 5's in the bunch.
It was not like playing on the ramp in St. Augustine, Florida where I made 63 dollars in one hour, and then 38 dollars one other hour. Of course there, the cops will shoo you away as soon as they see you, so playing more than an hour becomes risky.
On this ramp, a cop stopped right in front of me at one point and only smiled.
The idea is that, people are supposed to honk their horns with their arms hanging out their windows holding money, because of the fact that I am actually doing something other than holding a dumb sign. I suppose it worked, to the tune of 13 dollars in about an hour and a half, yet, I think the motorists are just jaded by the fact that they see someone there every single morning; and some of them have been "stranded" for years.
If I try the ramp again (and at 6:30 in the morning it's one of the only games in town) I will make a sign with the outline of the state of Louisianna and then an arrow pointing to the outline of the state of Massachusetts; and I will try to help my cause in going to Mass. to attend my 35th high school reunion. I think some of my former classmates who are now financial advisers or lawyers need to see an example (me) of how things could have gone for them if they had been luckier.


1 comment:

  1. Dude I love your art!!

    Honestly, even when I was a kid, although I was supposed to become e the Great Artist, I loved the art done by my youngest sister. It was so refreshing!

    You can get what's called a graphics tablet, older ones show up all the time around here, in thrift stores and so on, or you could get a used one on eBay. They allow you to draw with a stylus like a pen or pencil. It seems you do have a knack for art, its just drawing with a mouse is so awful.

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