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Entries in paul horn (3)

Monday
Mar102003

Race to Judge

I have a new tune to play you. I call it Race To Judge. Paul Horn played drums. I played everything else, including a few guitars and bass. It's been frustrating for about two years, not really doing much in music. More specifically, not much in the RECORDING of music. I've been frustrated with players, gear, and myself. The standards are being raised and I know that I need to keep things improving. This tune is the first to reach this level of completion in recorded form in some time. Paul and I began playing together in September, and we have tried a number of guitarists and working methods with varying degrees of success. The recent successes were had when I put on the super Strat and just raged through the Mesa. It's very primal that way. Paul gets off on cutting loose, and it gives me a chance to freeform my guitar ideas. It's still messy and not too nice to hear, but to me it's like shaking the money tree and watching the filthy stuff fall into my hands. So I have not been playing bass with Paul, like I set out to. Guitar. Rocking electric guitar. Raging Electric Guitar. It's beautiful. Paul responds better to my playing guitar, and it's a lot more liberating to just cut loose on that. It's something I think we need to do more of. I may just do that. The thought of me finally stepping up to the plate and asserting myself as a guitarist for my own material is beginning to get some attention. Paul has led me to doing things I hardly ever gave myself the ability to believe I could do. And then there is this for more inspiration for us impressionable young musicians:

King Crimson still kicks ass. I just got their latest, The Power To Believe. I have to tell you, that band keeps writing my tunes! I have been into KC since about this time eight years ago when I got the newest thing from them at the time, Thrak. That came at the same time as I was getting into playing guitar. And it left its mark. If you like KC, you must get out and get this record.

On a virtually unrelated note, I have been working like a dog lately. It's actually the best month since about the summer before 9/11. And it's just in time to fund the payment of some credit bills, and all those wallet-sucking sort of expenses. So no plans to go to the UK anytime soon. (For those who don't know, the UK is a long anticipated destination for me, but now it's been more than 10 years since I went to Germany, and damn if that didn't go fast. And now it seems that it's not really the best time to go flying to foreign lands.)

The next best thing is being host and amateur diplomat for those who come to my country. This month, I have this short stint as a bus driver for a group of Japanese ESL students. It's only a three week program, already entering the second week. A number of my student passengers are staying in private homes Clairemont, which is my home turf. In passing, we go by most of the places I have gone to school, my houses and apartments, etc. It's not anything special really, but sometimes mundane is special in its own way. I have never hosted a group before, but a couple of friends from overseas have been shown around SD, and I like doing that. And we all know, if the government isn't going to present this country's best side, we need to do that as individuals. And with this impending war nonsense, any shred of humanity and diplomacy is desperately needed, coming from this country. This group almost got canceled because they traveled in the same week as we went code orange. Some groups actually did cancel. I have two more weeks to think about the importance of being a shuttle driver for Japanese students.

And if the amount of housework ever really decreases, I may just get a moment of clear mindedness in to think about such things. In the last week and a half, I had a roommate move out on weak terms, the basic house work to do, and then as I was prepping to paint the room, I found a puddle of water in the closet. That led to a large scale task: tearing out carpet, trying to salvage the least damaged parts, discarding some, tearing up floor tiles that were waterlogged and buckling, stripping two walls from the bathroom, and now it's time to put it all back together. Needless to say, it's a lot of work. And I'm not even the only one doing it. It comes at a bad time, given that the shuttle job is a five day a week job that takes up most of the day. It's pretty overwhelming. And that isn't even mentioning trying to fit any music making, web site work, or girlfriend time in.

Speaking of web site work, my commercial pitch site is almost in the can. It's intended to be the services-for-hire site, with information about my web building and recording studio services. I have a few things to fix and fine tune, but it's mostly there. Thanks to Colleen Carr for the invaluable assistance and guidance.

Saturday
Oct122002

You Say It's Your Birthday?

My birthday was on the 12th, and apparently I lived to tell about it, or something. I had a few dudes over to play—Brandon Arnieri and Paul Horn make up the trio I am playing with right now. In addition to Paul and Brandon, we had Whit Harrington and Dom Piscopo who made up the trio I played with earlier in the year—we did the tunes Return To Zero and All Things Frippy.

Over the course of the eve, we played in a whole bunch of different combos. I know I played drums and bass, Dom is mostly a guitarist, but probably played some bass, ditto Brandon, who is a better bass player than he'd let on to. Whit provided powerhouse drumming, and Paul provided some of the more jazzy stuff. At one point, Whit and Paul traded in the middle of a jam. I got it all on Pro Tools, but don't expect much—the alcohol was flowing that night, and I'm not sure that all the levels came in right from one trio jam to another. A lot of stuff was played, but not recorded, for, er, uh, whatever reason. But we all had some fun.

In addition to the music geeks in attendance, we also had some other folks: Dom's lady Kate, Brando's lady Merrily, Doug Robinson, Kelli and her friend Suzanne. Missing were the Brothers Thaxton, who came last year, but I'm sure Mike had a very good reason for not showing up ;^)

On a half related note, for the prog and art rock minded, be sure to check out the big two day show on the second weekend of November that will feed your hunger for some challenging and interesting music—Progwest. My buddy Mike Thaxton is the webmaster and a key organizer, and I am the stage manager. The show headliner is the Mike Keneally/Nick D'virgilio band doing a live rendition of Kevin Gilbert's posthumous masterpiece, The Shaming of the True. Go to his site and read up about the history behind the album. It's a major triumph, and one of my favorite albums of all time.

Aside from that, I have to say I am digging the Pro Tools set up, and the studio control room is getting some attention. I will put some pix up soon of the new lean and mean rig. Some audio hopefully will be soon to come.

Saturday
Oct052002

Shifting Tides

Hey everyone. I got some news for ya. It's my birthday on the 12th! I'm turning nearly old—29. I plan to have some neat little playing, boozing, pizza eating shindig here on the day. I will be showing off some new studio junk—I just got rid of my VS 2480 recorder that was not really doing the trick for me. I finally made the leap to a computer based platform—ProTools LE. The 2480 just was not working out. I needed to make a change, and going PT seemed to be the way to go. I just got it set up and kinda working this week. I was spending so much time doing stuff on the computer and the 2480 was a like a frigid lover in the other room. I tried to use it but it just wasn't happening. So I changed it all over to the big room in the house and made that the studio. It's really cool. I am pretty much able to capture a whole band at once and have it mixed here, though part of my plan is to make my place able to interact with other studios. So, at Hog Heaven you could record and mix the whole project, or just use the place for tracking stuff in the loud room, and take that back to your own PT studio to track further in your apartment. Or you could bring your apartment work here and mix. Or you could take the tracks done here to a PT studio with the serious HD version of PT—the big boys. So, I wanted to get some flexibility going. And space. The control room is 15' x 17'. and the iso room where the drums are is 10' x 11'. I also have another room that can be for light iso—vocals away from the computer fan and monitors, for example. The place is more comfortable now that the big room is all studio gear and listening/tracking area.

On the playing front, I have been doing that a lot lately—Brandon Arnieri and I are playing a lot lately. He's been a musical soulmate to me for a couple of years, and the stuff we are playing is getting richer and more varied than ever. If you like the stuff on Receiving, then this is gonna run rings around that, but there are some hints about the new direction on the CD—stuff like Zehdihm's Flight and 8th Grade Report Card and Crazy Boy are the directions that the latest material is taking, musically. Notable among players currently frequenting Hog Heaven Studio is one Paul Horn, who was here on a session playing drums for George Farres (more later). Anyhow, after the session was done, we played some wacked trio jam stuff. Oh, Paul happens to be brother in law to a certain well known bassist that happens to have been sort of influential—Jaco. So I'm here, with a huge grin on my face, having played some off-the-wall stuff with him. He called back late that night and raved on about how much fun he had (it was his birthday, and he had good fun—all unanticipated). He actually lives a mile from my house and in the last two weeks, he and Brandon and I have been making some neat music. It's a bit rough arond the edges, but it's edgy and energetic. It's really awakening my musically, after a year and a half of really blah times. I am playing stuff that I am really excited about. Brandon and I are assessing the stuff we have documented in crude format over the last two years and are looking forward to getting some stuff done for real. As cool as it is to be playing with Paul BECAUSE he is related to Jaco, I really must say that he is a fantastic drummer in his own right, very enthusiastic about the stuff we're doing and is complemetary to our sound. I'd be happy just that he reignited me musically. He's making me think bigger. I'm happy that the men and machines are lining up for me now. I'm beginning to think there might be some new stuff that finally surpasses the stuff on Receiving. I am developing a goal for the next project.

George Farres is a local jazz guitarist who needed some demos made to help get him some gigs. It was a really quick affair—a day for tracking and a few hours for mixing. Real quick, and only Paul playing drums. These are the last recordings that I did on the 2480, just two weeks ago.

On the personal front, I picked up a little part time job working at my girlfriend Kelli's office—a senior center. I drive the home delivered meal route. It's a change from doing live sound, for sure. But it's also nice to do something that actually has a direct impact on someone's life. It's nice to step away from the music scene at the level that I was involved for years. I'm not sure I was happy doing that. It was just something that I got drawn into. It's not really healthy, and I was increasingly frustrated. The times I do it now, after a year of really thin times in that industry, are really frustrating and it's hard to get into it like before. The pay is generally sucky, unless I get the freak gig that I actually mix. It's not really pretty. I was hoping that the web stuff would be better but that is an odd biz—the sites I have started for others are not done on account of there being no content sent to me. I have enough material to show off and make a resume. I want to get an internship to tighten up some things that concern the actual developer's angle of web site making.

In some odd way, this year has been better than ever, and in other ways, worse than ever. Money has been tight like mad this year, but things in a more personal way have been better than ever. I've been musically adrift for some time, but that seems to be changing. Things with the girlyfriend are great, and the home front is going pretty good with the room mates. It's been a really odd year.