Nashville bound

September 15, 2010

Forward motion… always, toujours…

I just booked a flight for Nashville…

No… Not riding there this time.

There is some serious work to do there and the ride would be a race against the clock, the possible elements, the advance of winter, the wear and tear on the bike… But mainly because the real goal here is to get there and put myself fully, totally into the work so it seems smarter to fly in, jump in and get to “getting ‘er done”.

Why Nashville? That is a long story but a good one. A real “musician” story. Hope, work, betrayal, redemption. It was in March 2010.

I had been “signed”. Oh joy! Signed! Well.. the actual paper still needed to be physically engraved with real ink but we were it seemed, all on the same page. Ready to record an album on this new label. I trusted. We were firing on all cylinders to do this. Well I was. 16 valves, turbocharged jet fuel engine. I had spent months songwriting furiously, demoing continuously, recording tirelessly, arranging songs, to create a body of work worthy to be recorded.

I worked to the last minute on charts, on the arrangements, guitar parts, trying to make sure every element of the puzzle was ready…. Sunday night the partner showed up, asked me to go out for dinner but I declined because I was still struggling to finish up the charts for the musicians…. in retrospect I think he did not like to be denied… Hindsight is 20/20…. All that mattered to me was the music…

Monday, we started to record. Things were bit slow, as we were all learning to work with each other, play the music, get a sound, a groove and a feel that was meaningful. That can take time.

Tuesday morning the producer was gone. Perry walked in my room and said :

” xxx is gone”

“Gone?” my stomach went to my heels.

He had left in the middle of the night. He drove back to Mississippi with for excuse the following : “ I could not sleep… you guys would not listen to me and you are just in it for my money”

“…. ”

His money! I had paid for my flights, my food, had worked the last 6 months like a slave for nothing, stayed at the studio to save on accommodations…. His money!?! Not listening to him??? What the…?

That was stunning enough. We arrived at the studio, had to tell the musicians about the departure of the producer. Everyone is shocked.

But that was not to be the last of the shocks. We walked in the studio kitchen, had coffee, chatted. Then we walked into the control room…. Second stunning moment of absolute disbelief…

There were gaping holes in the racks for outboard gear. Microphones were gone, guitar amp : gone. Microphone stands on the ground, cables, disconnected wires, lying on the ground… the equipment racks had been burglarized. Half of the stuff was gone. Our set up to record which had taken hours to organize was in complete disarray.

Holy F@#%!

Now I knew. We were not going to record. I still had the ghost of a hope before that. Now my stomach laid solidly into my heels for the second time that day.

Ah the music business. Many dream wide, wild, large dreams of fame, greatness, limelight and self-congratulatory events… but few are rewarded by materialization. Many end in acidic regrets and bitterness.

So the whole thing ground to a halt, the musicians who had all already seen this too many times before left after making sure they were getting paid for the previous day of work and recounting past horror stories of flushed musical hopes of all sizes, colors and shapes.

After pinching myself for a couple of hours wondering if I was maybe, possibly still dreaming this nightmare and finally accepting that no, I was in fact wide awake, I came to have this little conversation with myself.

“Now what?”

“Maybe you should get a flight out of here”

“No way!! I did not work that hard to run home defeated like this.”

“OK, fine, so what do you do?”

“Lets go listen to the music we recorded so far and see if it’s worth fighting for”

“Fair enough.”

I went into the control room cued in the first song and listened, then the second, the third, the fourth…

“Holy shit. This is good.”

“So?”

“I can’t let that die. Period”

“Hmm hmm?”

“Money. Need money. To get the guys back and record.”

“And how are you going to do this?”

“….. Ted!”

I then called these guys back in Vancouver who owed me some jobs I had done for them a ways back.

“Ted, I’m in trouble”

“What’s going on?”

I tell him the story.

“Let me see what I can do. I’ll get back to you”

He got back to me and I got just enough money to call back the drummer and the bass player. After a couple of days everything was set up. We reconvened a week later and recorded. I got all the bed tracks for the 14 songs for the record. But, I ran out of time to get everything done. The whole thing has been suspended in the air ever since.

So Tuesday morning all the connections were made to make this all work : the studio, the flight and… my guitar.

My guitar… Oh boy. My guitar. I’m choking up thinking about it. My beautiful PRS (Paul Reed Smith, like… Santana’s guitar) that I left behind. It was the hardest thing to leave behind, it was the thing I missed the most all along this journey and now it’s coming my way. There is worry that it will get lost, broken, stolen, then the worry about what I am going to do after the recording because I don’t have a roof or a safe place guaranteed to keep it safe. But I can’t worry about what has not happened

me and my PRS back in April 2010

I called Chris, yes the Chris who was hurt in a motorcycle crash recently. He has been the keeper of my guitars because he is the most trustworthy person I know. I heard his voice and it felt so good. Choked on tears again.

Forward motion, keep moving…

So we discussed the how, I called FEDEX and arranged the financial details, called Chris back, booked a flight with American Airlines. The guitar should be in Nashville Thursday or Friday, I’ll be there Saturday, in a few days… wow.

Decisions. Co-creations. Commotion. Emotion. Direction. And the magic of timing.

It’s all perfect. My voice is getting to where it should be, especially for recording… my fingers and arms are de-motorcyclerized (meaning they can do more than brake, shift and use the throttle)

I know this is what I must do now. Finish this project. Bring on the music. Bring it to the world. What else can I possibly do?

So It’s all set. I fly out Saturday. In the mean time I’ll go spend a couple days in Idyllwild. To focus, prepare, work on my voice, fingers and music. And to indulge in one more ride… It’s a bit wild to leave my baby behind… but it will be in good hands, inside a garage with 3 or 4 more bikes, what stories they will tell each other…

Whoa…

Forward motion… Always, toujours.

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3 Responses to “Nashville bound”

  1. Al Says:

    My my oh my, what an adventure this is. I do so enjoy the ride…you have brought so much emotion and feeling to the ‘travel blog’ that all who are along on this adventure feel every twist and turn, whether it’s on the road or as the pages of life’s adventures unfold.

    So…whisper sweet nothings like ‘you should see the size of my tail pipe’ or ‘what size is your cylinder bore, baby?’ I’ve never thought of those as convo starters…things that you make you go …Hmmmm

    That’s my collection of random thoughts for the day. Best of Luck…


    • Al, I have been enjoying your comments immensely, when I come back from Nashville you’ll have to show me this “parrallel universe bar you had mentioned and I’d love to shake your hand! Thanks for being there and share the ride.

  2. steveslaughter Says:

    Nashville – to go and to be able to put your heart back in its place – in the creation… and allowing us to share in this new birth.

    (thanks)

    —apologies, too much allegory, too little coffee—


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