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Entries in protools (7)

Tuesday
Feb152005

1995 Was A Million Years Ago

1995 wasn't the first year I recorded, but it was the year when I started doing it like I meant it. I was just glancing over some scanned pictures of old, and was reminded of how far I have come in this recording world. There was a stack of boom boxes and tape recorders in the picture, and most of 1995 was recorded with that setup. The state of the art for me then was that my "overdubbing" was taking a cassette with probably the main drum set track and bouncing that with a new "track" added with a mic'ed performance of one sort or another. It wasn't until the end of 1995 that I got a four track and started recording with genuine multitrack. My mics were limited to some piece of crap Radio Shack specials. I think I had two sets of different mics. I ended up getting the mighty PZM model about mid year, and that just opened things up for me. All of a sudden my drums just rocked and all the nuance opened up. I was still using a cassette deck or three, the main one being a professional field deck with a few options, the others being garden variety consumer crap. Even with the consumer crap, I was dedicated to recording—my girlfriend at the time offered me something like $250 for a present, her initial offer being for a car stereo. Instead, I opted for a dual well cassette deck which I believe I only recently parted ways with—less than a year ago.

1995 was the first year when I engaged in all solo recordings as an intentional pursuit, the first wave being a three week fit of recording chaos in March and April that I compiled into a CD called One Twisted Individual, Separated At Birth (OTISAB). This was when recordable CDs were still $15 PER DISK! So really, I said I made a CD, I made A CD. One, IIRC. I did all this recording on the multiple cassette configuration, and most of it was total chaos—driving ostinato drumming being the most reliably appearing element, some piano, bass, and guitar, with wacky lyrics, crazy diced up audio editing, sarcasm, and lots of antisocial noises. I paid studio time to get all my cassette "mixes" (which got worse and worse sounding with each bounce unless I resorted to some crude noise reduction means, or did some interesting part playing to get the most into an "overdub" so as to minimize the need for successive bounces). I also paid studio time to have a CD cover done—the first appearance of digitally manipulated photos and layout. I was dedicated. It was life. It was bigger than life. It was probably the first instance where I gave myself over to being an "artist" in the sense that I felt that that was my identity and that recording and self expression were for me.

It sort of paid off. This was the stuff that Mike Keneally remembered me by at first. In fact, it was a minor hit among people who liked to lie to me and tell me it was good. It's one of those things that only I could really love, but lots of people carried on sounding like they thought it was good. Sufficient enough for me to keep at it later on in the year. It was a matter of pride for me, so I guess that is the lasting value.

1995 was the year when I made my first foray into tech work for musicians. And multitrack audio. I rented my then-new and shiny drums to Rockola's drummer Marty who was having a three week session at his home studio. That was my first real tech work for hire. Marty heard my stuff—I was pimping it pretty hard then, you know—no website or any of that. Marty commented that I needed ProTools to do the stuff I was doing, but that would be $15,000. I did of course have a taste of digital editing: OTISAB was the first use of creative digital editing, mostly to get all the tracks to flow into one continuous track of chaos. I did marvel at the idea of being able to compose that way, but it was just a pipe dream.

I also got steamrolled by King Crimson and Mike Keneally in 1995. My guitar approach still echoes them both. So does my writing approach. I was fascinated by both that year, and the Chapman Stick was particularly captivating. I ran ads for Stick players if there were any in town. I found a guy named Michael Kropp who assured me he could play six string bass sort of like a Stick, and even did some playing of six string bass and guitar on a stand at once! Michael was influential in indulging my dissonant and ostinato based ideas then. We sort of had a recording thing going that summer but it dissolved, leaving me with enough interest in carrying on with some of the ideas on my own. All the first half of the year had been spent doing my own stuff and I was feeling empowered at the same time as I was getting tired of playing drums only, within other people's bands. I had spent about eight months up till the middle of '95 doing various auditions while I still felt like playing drums only. Eventually, Kropp and I were doing things that gave me reason to want to forgo all that and start exploiting my own ideas, using guitar and bass if one was available. And lots of noise. I played his bass on some instances, and recorded a lot of minutes of my "playing" it with an air compressor and recording the result. I used the sweepable mid EQ to do wah sounds with one hand. The whole effect was pretty much like what an Ebow does but with less control. Made for interesting sounds at the time though, and they got used over and over in their various versions for later works.

Kropp and I mostly parted ways in the fall, but I bought a four track recorder and took to recording a newer slightly more musical bunch of things that I had been doing with the old cassette bounce configuration. The 4 track and its mixing capability opened up more options, as did backwards and half/double time recording. I was always of the impression that four track sounded like shit, and it does, in a certain way, but I found a way to get my sound eventually by over EQing to compensate. I used my drums as a gauge of all this. I knew how I wanted them to sound, and twisting the 2 band EQ to extremes was okay if I got my sound, which I was determined would sound better than all the lame four track demos I had always heard from others. My late 1995 output was a slightly more refined version of the rude and crude stuff that began the year. I attempted some singing on two tracks that had a genuine emotional resonance for me, but they were real basic and stiff. I did get my multitracked drum thing down though, with some interesting layered percussion and double drumset recordings that echo the influence of King Crimson at the time. I did my first Crimson like guitar work then. Fripp's echoey guitar work was an early target of mine, with some odd numbered phrases to help make it musical. The air compressor bass tracks were worked into sweeping howling textures that appeared on various tracks. I used a few instruments available to me through Rockola since I sometimes took their stuff home between gigs. It was a bunch of experimentation and fun. There were no wrong notes to me then.

The irony being that now, ten years later, I actually DO have ProTools as my recording platform and I am hardly doing anything that really exploits all the delightful stuff it can do, if I am recording at all. I don't have any of the tape decks, and about the only stuff I still own from that period is my drums, and I never do wierd things with them like set them up differently every time I play so as to not play the same thing ad nauseum. I still have the guitar I was using then (actually both—the acoustic was my first guitar from 1994, though now Glenn is using it). The Strat is now better off than ever, and is my main guitar. I don't torture it the way I used to, but I can get some spanking sweet tones out of it through the Mesa amp that I never could before.

1995 was a mostly depressing year when all my useful energy went to making my "music." Being 21/22 was not really a great time in most other regards. Work in particular was consistently dismal until I got the work from Rockola, then it was just a different form of dismal. The ongoing value of 1995 to me was in deciding to go solo and make music I wanted to make, stumbling over things like not knowing how to play or record, but enjoying the ride. It took me five years to really realize what I set out to do that summer. It wasn't until 2000 when I felt like I had recorded a very personal statement with minimal outside input, while still sounding like music. Receiving was the first thing I really was straight up proud of. It did pretty much close a long chapter for me. The thing that bums me out now is that I am nearly five years out from having finished my CD and I still don't really see what is next. This is unheard of for me. What I want to do is have a band that can help me take my stuff to a new level. The research and development was done on my own. I want something now that isn't done all on my own, and in the last four years or so, I've been really itching to have a quartet that can get some stuff done. In '95 I traded away the interaction for the control I had over everything. Now I just want to play with people.

Thursday
Dec022004

Hog Purgatory

I have been trying to jumpstart my musical creativity for 4 years now, none of it really taking hold and giving me the creative flood I have been anticipating. I've changed studio rooms to a bigger configuration and then back to a smaller arrangement more like I had before. I've bought and sold a lot of instruments, hoping one would just excite me to play to the exclusion of all else in life. I've changed studio gear over and over, having used two whole recording platforms since the CD I made in 2000, while producing hardly anything of worth in the process. I've tried to form bands, and have tried to work solo. I've tried staying away from music, and tried to immerse myself in it.

So I don't know why, but I got the urge recently to buy (but so far have not done so) expensive effects plugins for Pro Tools and like many times before, supposedly these things would be a little impetus that would make recording fun again. My philosophy for the last few years has been to eschew the use of extraneous effects and sonic gimmicks, but traditionally, those have always been the things that I employed at least as a way to jumpstart things. I was sort of using them and some of their unpredictable results as if they were another player suggesting my next part. I was not the purist who would use effects only as a mix down device. I would try to get something exciting off of the interaction with effects, and then record that, and in the recording process to follow, might further mess with stuff. It was more sound design than pure music. Not all of my stuff was done this way, but sometimes, a wacky echo on drums will imply a feel, or a flange on a bass will imply playing with a pick to exploit that sound (and my picked bass and fingered bass approaches are a little different), or maybe making a guitar or keyboard bubble or pan or whatever would suggest an atmosphere.

I've got about as much effects processing as I once had back in 2000, but it isn't wired up the same way, and I don't really get the same excitement out of it. I used to make a bunch of presets, and I have since erased all of them in another effort to start with a blank slate. Hmph. So now I am wondering about the Pro Tools plugins. They have a vastly more impressive amount of control over all the parameters, and some of the things I could dream of in the days of knob turning and switch flipping can be done easily using onscreen actions and automation. That's a good thing. And things can be tried and undone if need be. That's good too. I could use this stuff in bold ways and create things that only I could create, blah, blah, blah. But I still find it hard to force myself to go into the studio, even after a year of trying once I got back on my feet after the very worst days of this dilemma. So I really don't know. The problem with plugins though is that once I open the package, it's mine. No returns on software. It's not that I wouldn't like them; it's that I may never use them because they (or the lack of them) were never the real cause for creativity and drive to create. And I'm still afraid I don't know what the problem is behind that!

Sunday
Jun202004

Going to Mars for Boy Time

No, that was not a Michael Jackson reference.

With Kelli being gone, I've just had a chance to be a waste of a person, sort of like I was in 1999, sans the extreme depression. I mean, it's overcast outside, and has been for weeks now. I actually like the "June gloom" just fine. I hate hot summer days, so this month has been great in that regard.

Anyhow, last night it was downloading a bunch of porn for kicks, and doing some much needed file maintenance to keep my images all organized. Then there was downloading a shitload of songs from Limewire, and the resulting attention paid to my iTunes library. Today, it was sleeping in until 10 am, which is about three hours earlier than I used to get up, but times are different now. Then I did the classic 1999 thing; moped around for a few hours, checking the mail often, pacing the house, looking at all sorts of stuff from my past that I probably shouldn't, and very typical of my musician years, waiting for some musicians to call or show up. My buddy Thax came down with his girliefriend and we all shot the shit for a few hours. He's from Orange County, so I don't get to see him too often, or nearly as often as I did when we played in the Magnificent Meatsticks (that as a result of his love life stepping to the fore). He brought me some CDs to steal. He was a huge part of my late summer 1999 creative spell by the music he let me rip off back then. Well, today he brought me The Mars Volta's Comatorium, and after several hours of my own twiddling about in the studio, I put on some King Crimson on the studio speakers and blasted some of their really mad stuff off The Construkction of Light and The Power To Believe. That was just a primer for the Mars Volta stuff.

In the last few years since I got the computer, nearly all my music listening has been on the computer, and often has been a really fragmented affair. I have a really short attention span now that everything is at my fingertips. With the time to spare and the determination to do nothing but what I want to do this weekend, I decided to just lay out on the studio floor where the bass waves couple into a massive throb that turns your gut to jelly if it's loud enough. I get to do this at any hour of the day or night, theoretically. At least that's what I did for years while my grandmother was here, sleeping in the room exactly where my computer is now, only a wall away from the studio. It's very liberating to play your music really fucking loud at 3 am. But, in the time since Kelli and I have been going out, my late night studio excursions (the ones that were always productive in my halcyon days of recording) have been pared down, partly to let her sleep, but really to be with her more, and to send that message.

So I have the Mars Volta CD playing right here, blasting into my face now. I don't think I have ever heard anything like it in one place. Shit, this is going to mark me for life. I mean, it has the musical balls that I like from the stuff I listen to, and it actually has moments that remind me of what I am trying to do, both sonically and artistically. Yeah, it sounds like they ProTool-ed the hell out of it as far as editing and arranging, but hey, it's not like the sparkling and sterile pop pabulum that gets the same treatment. This is some intense shit. Not just in its heaviness. It must be the heaviest, most frantic shit in my collection, but it's heavy in a whole other way than gobs of distortion and boomy drums. This is just intense. It's a roller coaster, almost from bar to bar there are nutty changes that just shock and awe (to coin a phrase). It's like King Crimson's older days of improvisation and anarchy, with some Santana grooves, a voice like Geddy Lee's from when he actually went for it, and I don't know what the fuck else there is in there, but damn. This is something that I can see putting in to loosen up my mind. I have some ideas that are quite down the road some of this stuff is, but I haven't had the musical balls to actually do it. And sometimes the gear is in the way too, but mainly, it takes a certain amount of adventure to get the stuff I want to do, but as a solo artist, it is just hard to get some of these things to play right. A few years ago, I would have done it, mostly because I had time to experiment and twiddle with gear for fun. My time has just been hard to come by, or more specifically, hard to focus toward music. I can't count the hours I have wasted on the computer. There are a lot of things in the way. Grrrr. At least this time, I set up the studio in a way that suits my solo artist work, with some effects back in the loop. I have not had effects ready for tracking for about three years, because I wanted to streamline and force myself to play more, and record cleaner. But some of my inspiration leaves me when I don't have some effect to play with or against. So I allowed myself to have effects printed to disk again. And, time permitting, I will try to actually molest the features in ProTools now that I know I don't want to just approach things as if I were in a band.

I guess what really impressed me about the MV CD was the liberal use of any device to show musical balls. I mean, the editing, the liberal use of effects on any and all sources and vocals, and the wild dynamics and in some cases, the sound of a single guitar just dwarfing the band is all a bunch of things you don't hear too often, and it is nice to know something like that can slip by the radar of a major label. Every now and then there is some hope for something like art to reach the masses. I guess it helps that the band is made up from some known names, so I don't know if this could be released if from some utterly new bunch of guys. Oh well, it's here and sounds good when blasted.

I should stop to hear more music on the studio floor, under the glow of the Apple display and a few dozen LEDs and LCD displays.

Thursday
Nov132003

Return of the Swine

Well, all good things come to an end. And good for me, so does at least one bad thing. After a few months of depression, distance and deliberation, I did in fact decide to put my studio back together again, albeit in a more modest configuration than I have used in years. At the time of writing, it is built up around my modest 8-track VS 880 that I used for a long time starting in summer of '97 and sort of retired in mid 2001 when I went to a larger VS 2480 and then to ProTools. I’d be using Pro Tools still if it were not for the need to keep my computer in the house. However, there is an interesting challenge to me as an artist to use only eight tracks. My whole CD was done on that little VS-880, track by track, spanning a year. So I know there is a lot of potential.

As it has been much reported, the depression drove me to close up the bigger two room studio configuration that I used for nearly a year and a half. That setup was great for me to behave as engineer, recording things from the control room. It was the most evolved my studio ever got. But the thing was, it was utterly impossible to record the way I wanted to as a solo recording artist. I mean, the space and instruments were really spread out so that I couldn’t use the place much myself, though the idea worked great for recording anything up to 18 tracks at once. Well, now I return to a modest four inputs at once, and eight tracks at mixdown, and the old room that I used to work in. It's pretty small, doesn’t have ventilation except when the door is open, has a mess of gear in it (all carefully arranged) and now that I have been “off” in a creative sense for months or even years, I am looking forward to using the space again and doing something, at least in the name of some self expression. I don’t feel like trying to be engineer for hire now, or even tracking bands (I play in) live at once. No, it seems as if it's time to go in and keep the place to myself.

Already, I’ve had a far more productive time in the last week and a half or so since I got things wired up again. I’ve had some pent up ideas and lots of time to dream of playing again, or at all, and finally I had the drive to get it all together into one room, the way it makes sense for me to work. I can play any part and jump to another instrument and lay down a track in short order. I can do this at least so I can get ideas out. I work pretty sloppily, but I get the ideas out fast. The gear itself is simpler than it has been in some time. With the help of a patchbay, for the “front end” I have eight channels of Digimax and one channel of VXP (both from Presonus) and just today I bought a Sans Amp Bass preamp rack unit and have had a hard on for it all day. I am not even using a mixer or effects but for those on the 880 itself. So the front end is really simple and the monitors are better. The room is still an acoustical disaster, but hey. I mixed my CD in there so it won’t stop me. My mic set is very different than the old days of recording my CD (the last significant stuff I did in the studio before it went changing gear, purpose and players in the 2001-2003 period).

Well, whatever it is, I just feel like I got my groove back. The few times I’ve been in to work in there, it has been fun, and spontaneous like the old days, and in at least one case, the music is giving me the willies. It's like getting an old friend back. One drawback is that it may be a bit of work to get mixes up for listening. I sort of haven’t worried about how to do that. The Roland mixing and CD burning options are a pain in the ass to deal with so I may mix directly to ProTools, but I still don’t know how I will pull that off. But the thing is, it's not time to mix. It's time to record stuff, and keep doing it till I have my ideas out and shaped some so that I can do something with them. I tell you, there is an album in my head just waiting to go. Surely something has to happen. The last three years since my CD was finished has had enough of life and a lot of new music in it to make things different than before.

Wednesday
Jun112003

Hog Heaven at Five

As far as what is immediately relevant, let me note that my studio, Hog Heaven, is now five years old! Please take a few hours (I know, its a little chatty) to look at the pages about the studio and all the shit I had to put up with before I got a chance to settle into one place. There have been more changes than I care to think of, and that continues right on up to the present. I sold all my ART gear, a few rack units, my Korg Triton, a couple AKG C1000 mics. Partly economic, partly to mess myself up again. In general, it's making me streamline setup and tracking chains, and focusing me on guitar and bass as my principle instruments. Even as useful as HHS has been over the years, I always go and change things anyway.

The first recording I did at HHS was on the morning of June 11, 1998 was the drums and bass tracks to a song called The End Of The Road For Missy The Cow. Tom Griesgraber played bass, and guitar later on. By that point, I had not played drums for about 8 months or so. If I had, none of it went to a recording of any sort. I had been in an apartment for a year and a half, and could not do much of anything there. Sometimes, even headphones made too much noise. So I was bent on getting a solution. Anyhow, Tom and I tracked drums and bass into the VS 880, and that started a rather long streak of recording projects and mindless jams here. In the time since opening, I have used the 880 extensively, the larger VS 2480 and now that I am moved into another room, ProTools LE on a Mac. I went from little or nothing to a rather capable place for doing demos or indie work.

Lately, I have cobbled together some players for a band (mark IV if I am counting right) that so far has not met with success thus far (cough!). Anyhow, two of the guys I have never played with. At 21, Jason Dean is young drummer who has in three meetings, ignited something in me. I know there was some latent creativity there somewhere, but it wasn't happening with the players I had until now. Jason seems to be willing to come down from Poway (about 25 miles from here!) to play some stuff a few times a week. While I don't know all about him or his drumming, for it to wake me up in just a week says something I need to hear.

Michael Klayman is playing bass with us these days. Yep, bass. That is to say, it isn't me playing bass for this project. It's a long story, but I am playing guitar now, and I like it, even though I suck for the most part (people like my ideas, but they cringe to hear me play, or at least I do). I'm just not fluid on it and it's not really the same as bass. I mean, the difference between a 5 string bass that is huge and a 6 string guitar that is sort of small, can be jarring. The string layout is good for a challenge too, making the translation not only from 5 to 6, but the tuning is different too, and I have to play chords! Anyhow, the guitar allows a shorter path between my ideas and my delivery. My co-guitarist is a feller named Jeremy Robinson. He is better than me. That's why he is here. So, we are taking stabs at some hitherto unrecorded or underdeveloped stuff of mine, and trying to breathe life into it. It's a two guitar band, so it's gonna rock. In fact, I might have to put the brakes on the rock stuff sometimes, but it's cool to be on the other side of the drum kit after years behind it. Poor Jason. I hope he can count to 5. Wish us luck.

I have been recording a fellow named Tim Robertson. He has a gospel/contemporary Christian batch of songs he wants to shop around, and we are taking his sequenced tracks into ProTools and adding some acoustic guitar and voice parts. He may bring in more live players to replace sequenced parts, but that's still a ways off.

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.

Monday
Aug262002

Change and Music News

It has been exactly six years since I moved from home. What that has to do with what I'm about to tell you I'm not sure, but here goes. (It has something to do with change.)

I've been in a weird state for this year. Some things have been as good as they've ever been and some have been pretty odd. Some have been bad—work in music has been pitifully lean, and it's made me look at doing other things. I finished school in April and have my web certificate from AIC. Just as the live sound biz is being hit kind of hard from the fallout of 9/11 and corporate insecurity, I ended up having a new and exciting and marketable skill turn up. The fact is yes, at the present I am looking for some web work. I have some sites that are in development—one is my commercial pitch—hogheavenmedia.com. There are actually three other sites on my plate now, besides HHM and this site. So I'm trying out my chops and trying to bring them to market, so if you see something here that you like, and need a site done, speak up and we'll see about striking up a deal.

I have been pushing my studio as a commercial entity. I stayed away from that for a long time, but I have gone and completely revamped the place, and it's as cool as any home studio, with up to 3 rooms and a whole mess of instruments. I have even let the "loud room" out as a place to rehearse drums and small bands. Things around here are in a state of change now, so it may be outdated by the time you read it. I am seriously thinking of getting a ProTools rig, and maybe another Mac to run it, or an iMac to do my smaller duties and this G4 could do the PT work. This is something that even two years ago I could not have envisioned, being a complete technophobe. But I am on the Mac all the time doing this web stuff, graphics, writing and newsgroups and now I feel that I might be able to hack the music stuff. The Roland 2480 is pretty good, but I really have not been inspired by it. It's more confusing than I want to deal with, and I have now gotten to understand the architecture of computers and I have the art and vision in music and recording. Maybe now I can get the two together. ProTools is just so widely used and accepted. It's something that I don't think I'd need to apologize for.

I am always in search of musicians to play with. Some of you may be answering an ad or some other petition to hear some tunes and maybe get together and play. I really haven't recorded much in a long time, but here are a couple tunes that indicate something of my current sound, albeit with dudes that don't seem to play here anymore for some reason (All Things Frippy and Return to Zero). These are rehearsal/break in recordings, so they are flawed, but you can certainly get the idea. If you are a San Diego area musician and want to participate in a project that will never be big, but can make some endearing tunes and textures, please contact me. I don't care what instrument you play or if you are good. All I like to surround myself with is folks that try to play what they hear, use some imagination, be it one note that Miles would be proud of or a groove that would make Bill Bruford dizzy or whatever. If I get this ProTools thing going, I may be back at square one, but that's when I get creative.

I recorded a new little drum & bass tune done by my friend Mike Bedard (who played on Receiving) (drums and synth bass). Believe it or not Jennifer Lopez's bass player came down to my modest studio and put some absolutely stunning bass down on the track. I played guitars. It was all done in a few hours. Subject to changes, for sure, but its a recent recording. The MC, Mickey, had never done a studio performance, but he did really well on this one. We all did our parts in about two or three takes. It was fast...