6/19/2007

Ruminations...

So, who wants to hear a riveting first-hand tale about guns and drugs in th' third world?

Who wants to read about th' creative processes of a deeply experienced artist?

Uh, who wants to read something insanely funny, true and fucked?

Who wants to hear some cool music by an uncompromising contemporary talent with a soul?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Me fuckin' neither! Idol's on tonight, right?

Folks, this blog may not be long for the world. Sorry. It is slowly becoming a little bit of an albatross to me. True, I do it for myself but I can make myself laugh without pouring all this time down a fuckin' hole. I can certainly

keep my pecker up without all th' lost time. Contributing to this culture is a little bit like having sex with sandpaper.

That said, I'm undertaking an intense and engrossing project this summer. I have unlimited access to a great studio space this summer with grand piano, drums, every amp and guitar imaginable, and some great acoustic spaces.

So I've decided to record my defining album- the one I've always wanted to and tried to make again and again. I got pretty close with my last burst of creativity in '05-'06 and the only thing that didn't cut it for me was an over preponderance of synthetic sounds borne of fiscal necessity. I can't stand listening to the digital piano on some of my coolest piano-driven songs and I want to record some songs with real sonic cohesion and real drums and piano and guitars and string sections and everything.

I want to take 15 or so of my best songs of the last 20 years and really pore over them and record spacious, acoustically unhyped, technically unassailable versions of them and just sing the fuck out of them and pick the 11 or 12 twelve best. And if in the process I get a wild hair and start writing then that'll be fair game too.

I want to dig through my catalog and find elements that unite my work and exploit those elements. I also want to identify whatever the consistent elements of crappiness are and remove them. I want the final product to sound really unified without ever lapsing into sameyness and I want it to sound just a little down-home sonically. Like a Michael Penn record or th' sort of tossed-off virtuosity of the White Album but with my sort of baroque neo-soul American Songbook thing. And yeah, some electronics like I dig. Some tone-distressing that serves the music.

But still with all my jiggery-pokery. Because that's what's fun for me. And I want to have good musician colleagues contribute in what I assess to be my areas of weakness. I also want to have some well-deployed string sections and some string quartet things which is expensive but totally doable. The better my arrangements and scores, the cheaper.

And I want to give it a few months. Maybe upgrade my rig a little, if at all possible. This is going to be my most important work, a summation of my output up to now. I'll almost definitely stay away from anything I've released for real with any band or that's been on the radio although "I Could Cry" is one of my top ten. Definitely many songs from my current run. "Station Road" would sound dope with real piano and real Rhodes doing the Eno sections. A live take of "PaulMcCartney" on a real grand piano would be choice. "Monday Wedding" and "Mystery" with nice, real-sounding, shambolic drums and guitar amps in rooms mic'd back.

I want to fall backwards into it like a pond. Backwards into music. Back and to th' left. I want to have a big, amazing, worthwhile achievement under my belt by the fall and maybe that'll fill my sails for wherever the fuck it is I'm supposed to be going in this consarned life. I think it'll help, I really do. I'm really trying to figure it out, I swear. I just love music so much. I'm not good at music because I have clever hands. Far from it. I have to love it so much to make it happen because it can be a huge struggle for me. I'm capable of hearing things and then being tortured by not being able to get them to come off of my fingers and I never give up because I love it so much.

It might be my last chance, man. I'm just starting to realize. I'm just starting to get it. It's sinking in. Everything we do doesn't have to be defining or carry that sort of baggage but it does for an artist. I have a responsibility to figure out how to be content and I feel like a huge part of it is going to involve the closing of a

window in order for some fucking door to open.

But god damn it is it going to be one beautiful closing window. I have the power to control that. I have control over that.

17 Comments:

Blogger Larry Jones said...

I've mentioned the idea of quitting my blog a few times since I started it in 2004, and every time a bunch of whiners who never comment write to say they read it all the time and they'd be real sorry to see me go, so I think I have paid enough dues in this regard to do the same to you.

Yours is a bizarre and refreshing voice in the blogosphere. I actually read all your posts, and I'd say a quarter of them are home runs. This is way better than Babe Ruth batted, so buck up, Sparky.

When you post your music, your average goes way up -- so high that I think it best not to tell you, lest you start to let up. Let's just say that you must be actively doing something to keep yourself from having a decent solo career, in which you make great music and pretty good money and maybe get a review on PBS. Whatever it is, you should stop it.

But back to the blog. I used to post frequently, and I was obsessed with site statistics and trying to be entertaining. Specifically I was trying to entertain a certain Blog Bitch. It was working for a while, but then I realized that she wasn't real.

Now I just write when I feel like it. I started a band and that's where my time goes, instead of trying to be funny for a bunch of strangers who aren't even paying me.

But I'm keeping my blog, just like Pete Townshend is keeping his, because you never know.

So in summary, keep it alive, even if it's just to announce a new song every now and then.

And next time you're in LA, lunch is on me.

11:16 PM  
Blogger EmployeeoftheMonth said...

I feel like I've just been told I'm going to be an uncle.

Fly, Bobbie, fly and your Las Vegas lunch is covered.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Let the record reflect that at the time I wrote my first comment (above), Bobby's post ended with the words "...having sex with sandpaper." Period.

All that other cool stuff about his crowning achievement, his Last Chance, his defining work, well, he wrote that after my comment.

Break a leg, man.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Andre said...

I'm looking forward to hearing it!

5:11 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Bobby, try not to make the break from the blog permanent. I'm selfish enough to say that. I enjoy reading it too much.

But, of course, do what's right for you and your music. The songs you've shared on this blog are so damn good that there's got to be a way not just to open a new window but to rip the whole house down.

I love your stuff, blog and tunes. Thanks for everything. (So far.)

10:55 AM  
Anonymous cleek said...

the first posts i ever read of yours was your multi-part series on recording a song - and they were awesome.

so, if you do drop this blog, i hope you come back someday, with a nice fat R.L.-style rockumentary about what it was like to make your dream record. ...and a link to a place where we can buy a copy of the record itself.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Bobby, you've been a personal inspiration with my own music and made me realise I could and should raise my game, since there's so much bad popular music out there that's undisciplined yet successful it can easily trick someone into thinking they don't need to try their best.

Having someone explain and display the difference attention to detail and craftmanship can make to a song instead of triumphing bullshit amateur punk cred has made me reassess a lot of critically-acclaimed artists and realise they're overhyped and undertalented. (Hello Decemberists / White Stripes!)

So thank you man, and as much as I've enjoyed reading, if you go, I completely understand. Do what you need to do, but make sure you sell this finished album, even if it's through CDBaby.

Thanks for the many, many laughs, the inspiration, and know that your songs helped me through the hardest period of my life and because of you, even in the darkest moments, i still had some access to beauty.

PS - Save all this shit before you delete the blog, I've always maintained that there's a fantastic book in here. If never-rans like 'Babes In Toyland' can write a tell-all book about the music business, no reason why you can't.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Neddie said...

I think history might be well serverd if you'd just use your blog to tell us what you've done each day during this Project....

Just a thought. Each evening, before bed, tap out what you've done.

There are people who are Seriously Interested in your progress.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Pinko said...

BL, whatever you want to do, we'll support. You have carte blanche. Please don't post about the hot lunch you claimed we asked for.

Seriously, tho- whatever you want- you've earned it.

I'm sorry I said I liked Lily Allen.

4:08 AM  
Blogger gregra&gar said...

you go girl

9:18 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

I'm looking forward to unwrapping the record.

You don't have to make a decision about the blig. Leave it up. When you feel like writing and you have the time - write. If it sits here for 3 weeks unchanged we'll be back the next day to see if it has.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

The Viscount has said all that need be said.

4:45 PM  
Blogger billy pilgrim said...

Now you've got me stoked.

Take the opportunity you're given and see how far, fast and high you can run with it.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous mdhatter said...

I didn't think one could close a bellybutton, I always assumed one could merely ponder it.

9:42 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

What Ned and the Viscount said. Just let us know how you're doing, whenever you have the time and (more importantly) the inclination.

May Ozzy speed you on your way.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

I don't comment here much but I come here all the time. I was reeled in by the funny stuff (froots!), which often makes me laugh til it hurts. But I keep coming back for the long melancholy pieces. You keep wandering through the valley of Everything's All Fucked Up And I'm Tired Of This Shit, but you keep going. Not to get all mushy, but it's pretty damn inspiring. If a mean ole cynical bastard like you--and I mean this in the nicest way, you'll see--can keep the music and the funny coming in the F5 shitstorm of life, then there's some hope for the rest of us.

It would suck if you closed up the shop, blog-wise. I'd ten times rather see you take a vacation. I'm seriously considering staying off the net entirely for the month of July, just to get some perspective, or to prove I can do it, or some bullshit like that.

BUT don't keep blogging just to keep us happy. Life already has waaaay too much Making Yourself Miserable For Someone Else's Benefit built in.

I will unabashedly beg that if you decide to hang up your blogging spurs, you don't delete the blog. I haven't read nearly all of the archives yet. And as long as the blog is here, it's not really dead. It's just infrequently updated.

Anyway, have fun album-building. Please don't blog about it every day, I'm already tired for you just thinking about it. We'll be rooting for you until you come back or until the heat death of the universe, whichever comes first.

3:05 AM  
Blogger troutsky said...

Even if it's just an occasional Bog People, I really depend on it.

8:51 PM  

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