Archive for 2014

28 Songs in 28 Days

Posted by on Thursday, 6 March, 2014

What: I spent the month of February recording a different song every day.


Why: Why not? Perhaps a better question would be, “Why now?” The project came from a number of factors all coming together. I have been thinking, off and on, for a long time about how I have written “around thirty” songs. Many of which have never been heard by anyone. Although my song writing has been quite sparse in recent years, on those rare occasions when I do come up with something new, I consider recording and posting it online. Then I think that the new song is sort of the musical equivalent of a direct-to-video-sequel-with-none-of-the-original-cast to one of my earlier songs, and yet no one has ever heard THAT song either.

So, with “around thirty” being the number days in a month, it occurred to me some time ago that I could take a whole month and spend one day recording/developing each song. I dismissed the idea pretty quickly at the time as wildly impractical. However, this past December, I quit my job of which I just could not stand another day. Then in January, after years of teasing the idea of investing in vintage guitars, but being unable to pull the trigger, I finally bought one. (Which I could talk about at length, but it distracts from the topic at hand.) In the meantime, the crappy band that I was in a few years ago got back together. And while the band leader is talking about recording and doing shows, I feel that I have heard all that before. This band did not go anywhere the first two times we were together, and I have zero expectation that things will be different the third time around. I just see it as an excuse to play music a couple of times a week, which I would not really do otherwise. Yet it gnaws at me, why am I relying on this guy when I have piles of my own material that I am not doing anything with?

So, with January drawing to close, no particular plans for the future, music heavily on my mind, and of course, February being the shortest month, somehow it just clicked and I decided, “Screw it, I’m doing this!”

This was most definitely a “quantity over quality” endeavor. I knew going in that I probably was not going to finish much of anything. While I have no doubt that many talented individuals can do full production on a song in a single day, I myself am not known for doing things quickly. I do not remember exactly how long I spent the last time that I undertook a serious recording project, but I believe it was on the order of several weeks for only three songs, and even then I was not completely satisfied with the results. So the idea of getting a complete song in a single day was pretty much out of the question. Even though I was not writing new songs, simply recording/arranging/completing existing material, that is still a lot of work. Especially considering that I have not been practicing guitar very much at all in the past few years, and that I have practiced vocals basically never, the goal was not so much to get versions of the songs that I could share with people. It was more for my own reference, to get these ideas out of my head and into a more tangible form so that I can evaluate what actually has potential, what needs work, and what is a lost cause.

Some of the early stuff, I think is pretty good so far, I basically just ran out of time with my one-song-per-day-then-move-on rule. And several times I had some new ideas for a song a day or two later, but again, going back was a no-no. Around day 12 though, I started to run out of steam and really phoned it in for the next week or so. I am almost afraid to go back and listen to any of that. And I was really scraping the barrel some days, with songs that I probably have not played since the Clinton administration, and several ideas that I always felt were good, just never developed, now left me wondering, “What was I thinking? There’s no song here!” It is hard to completely give up on any of them, since in a very real sense every song contains a piece of my life and a piece of my soul… but some are still pretty crappy. I was also unpleasantly surprised by the number of songs that are fun to play yet tedious to listen too.

In any case, I really need a break after living and breathing music every single day for four weeks straight. It was a great learning experience, and I have about 28 different stories that I could tell. But I need to give it a little time and distance so I can go back and listen fresh.

That said… I can not really spend a month recording and not share anything. SO, this song is not the greatest thing that I have written, but it has special significance by being the most recent. In 2012, after one of the aforementioned band’s breakups, I was frustrated not only with the  drama between band members, but also the fact that I really did not like the kind of music that we were playing anyway. Wanting to write something more my own style, I came up this over the next couple of days.