I can't believe it's my last day here. The time has just raced by. It always does. Yet, I'm always surprised by just how fast it goes. It's like the feelings of fear or falling in love—they always feel fresh and new, just like the first time.
I barely did anything at all yesterday. I sat. I checked email. I wrote postcards. I cleaned the dishes in the break room. I backed up my hard drive. I pulled out chord charts and tried to relearn some of my old songs. I was antsy and restless. I wanted to record.
The artist has it easy in the studio. The producer and engineer are the ones that work until their fingers bleed. Christoffer is both the engineer and the producer. So, he plugged away like a maniac all day—never leaving his stations at computer and the mixing board. He sketched out string and horn arrangements for songs, edited my vocal takes, and bounced things between the two tape machines.
In the late afternoon I ran out of postcards and I couldn't bring myself to write more emails. I resorted to the lowest form of entertainment: reading music magazines. There's nothing at all more boring to me than music magazines. I scanned headlines like Revealed! The Band of The Year... or Bryan Ferry's First Interview In Five Years or Why Led Zeppelin Is The Best band Of All Times Even Today. Gag. How fantastically uninteresting.
I couldn't possibly care any less about what the singer of Suede eats for breakfast or how much the guy from The Pogues drinks or Rufus Wainright's adolescent years. I'd rather do anything at all than this. I'd even read horrible magazines about collecting antique watches or The Robb Report before I read music rags. But, the problem is that I already read the antique watch magazine and the studio's copy of Robb Report. Twice.
But, the studio can be one of of those 'hurry up and wait' places. You spend all your time and money to get there. Then, once you're there a lot of time gets spent sitting—waiting for those minutes when you get to lay down your takes.
It was 11 at night before I actually cut my first take of the day. I was going to put the lead vocal track on "End Of The Road." I'd never actually sung the whole song before. Not once. I wrote the choruses and an amazing poet named Ted Quinn wrote the verses. The first time I'd sing them would be in front of the mic. Talk about a vocal premiere. I felt shaky, like a foal walking for the first time.
I was surprised how well the track turned out. Normally I do maybe ten takes. We got this one in about six. And, the melody is twisty and confusing to sing. The chords are insane and it's really tough to sing along. [Singers out there, try this: Play an F on some sustaining instrument. At the very same moment you play that note try to sing and hold the E a half step below it. Tough, huh? If this is easy for you then please don't tell me, since it will make me feel like I'm an even worse singer than I already am!]
Now it's time to leave my cottage and drive to the studio. I'll probably actually have a busy day today. I have to do two lead vocals and a bunch of background vocals and guitar overdubs. It's funny to me that the busiest day will be my last one before I return home to the USA. It makes me wonder if that's how my last day in this life will be, as well.
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