Some days it feels like I get so little done. Yet, others leave me feeling like I just climbed the highest mountain. What's funniest, though, is that how I feel about my day may or may not have any bearing on how the day actually was. For example, today I went back to Gubben's Hus feeling like it was just another day in my life. But, when I sit and think about it now, today was quite amazing! We made a lot of progress on the record!
Today we recorded all the basic guitar and bass tracks for Don't Fence Me In. Yes, the one Bing Crosby sang in the forties. Christoffer was really surprised when I wanted to sing someone else's song. He said, "It seems to strange to me for such a personal artist like you to sing any song but your own." But, I explained, this song is critical to the funeral theme of the album. Why? Because this is the song I want played at my own funeral. I'm thinking ahead.
The guitar part for the song was tricky to learn, but I somehow managed to pull it off on the second take. It was tough, though. I had to actually write out chord charts—something rock and roll players pretty much never ever do. (Reading and writing? What's rock and roll about that?) There were so many chord changes all over the place, though—it would've taken me a day or two to memorize it.
It really tells something about how proficient those old swing and big band players were back in the forties.
I mean, just think. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters recorded their version of Don't Fence Me In with an entire big band orchestra as well as their rhythm section by everyone playing at the same time around one single mic. Volume of any particular sound was adjusted by moving them farther or closer to the mic, or by them simply singing or playing louder.
It's hard enough for me to play a song all the way through without a mistake. In the Bing Crosby version there are four lead singers and probably thirty or more other people playing all at once and nailing every note the whole way through—with only one mic.
And, it sounds brilliant. Of course, we're not jazz players. We can't swing. It takes a lifetime of work to swing like those guys. We're going to totally ruin this song—but in the best possible way. I hope we fuck it up in a huge and beautiful fashion—one that will be the soundtrack to the end credits of my life one day. I imagine I'd be wearing a top hat if I sang it at my funeral. But, I'd be far too busy to attend—being dead and all.
After that we started on one of the many song "snippets" I wrote for the concept—little bits of songs that we use between other songs as textures or as tools to tell stories.
Many songwriters try to make a one minute song fragment into a full-length, radio-friendly song with repeating choruses and the works. But, sometimes that's not what the song needs. Sometimes the song has already said all there is to say in thirty seconds. I write lots of songs like this. There were some really short ones on the last record. This one will have more, and I think they will bring much more to the overall concept of music to leave this world to.
Today was also the day the videographer arrived. I want to put out a DVD next year, so we started getting footage today. It's weird having a person following me around all the time recording everything I say and do. I found myself being really aware of the camera at first, but then I chilled out after a few hours. I feel sorry for my editor, though. It's going to be a real drag scrubbing through hours of me playing funny guitar parts and making jokes with Christoffer.
I'm going to bed early tonight—hopefully by 3 AM. I want to be up and have time to do some footage for the DVD before work—and take advantage of the hours of sunlight that I even get to see.
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