One Twisted Individual, Separated At Birth (1995)
My first solo CD project, incorporating a great mess of sound collage work and layered drums.
- In the Navy
- A Man and His Gun
- A Few Seconds in Advance
- Smokin' the Blues
- That Slippery, Slinky Chicken
- Mayhem Shuffle
- Flugelhorn Beer
- Disco Fever
- The Other Chicken Song
- Me: Acoustic and electronic drums, percussion, vocals, piano, guitar, bass, accordion, tapes
I've been listening to your lyrics. They are stupid. I think they are not productive and won't appeal to anybody. Rethink your efforts more carefully, will you? —the Old Man, 1995
Because this was the first project that I did on my own and used no more than the occasional bits of material with Matt Zuniga of Rhythmic Catharsis, and because it was the first project that I finished to CD-R, I consider this my first solo project, and the one that launched my solo recording career (such as it was).
After Slaves By Trade broke up in fall 1994, I tried my hand at several auditions for local bands, content to hit the drums as much as possible in the various meathead styles that seem to be the San Diego sound. The highest profile of them was Lucy's Fur Coat which was already attracting talk that San Diego was gonna be the next Seattle. Whatever. Anyway, the late '94/early '95 period was one of a lot of drumming. I also had two jobs for a brief period early in the year as this was getting recorded. The one that I might have wanted more, Music Mart, was a couple months long and proved I had no business being a drum department salesman, though I did sell little stuff and could tune drums pretty well. The other, Advance Recording Products, was an exercise in misery even though at the time, my $5.50/hr seemed like a princely amount! It was my first 40 hour labor job at a warehouse with a side job of driving. Misery.
I had my gear to return to and my girlfriend Robin bought me a dual deck cassette deck that helped kick off a short but intense spell of recording in February to April or so. I used a working method not much different than I did to finish off things with Matt of RC, using the cassette plus mic input method. This was as refined as it got, because after this, the next project that came to any fruition later that year was done largely on a four track deck. This OTISAB however used no mixers and just one or two crappy Radio Shack mics. I called upon anything that made a sound within my room—unmic'ed electric guitar on loan from Robin who was keeping it for her convict friend (it had a vocal mic taped onto it for Earl); my old man's accordion; one or two drum sets; a bass (on loan), acoustic guitar, and quite significantly, all sorts of cassettes with recordings from RC jams, some radio clips, and a bunch of electronic drums loops I created while able to borrow a guy's Roland kit with its onboard sequencer. I just remember jumping from one tape to another, one instrument to another, and doing as much odd stuff as I could dream up with starting and stuttering tapes, recording over them randomly, and using pitch/speed control for comic effect.
A lot of it was just being clever and using some in-jokes or other bits of humor of the period. The track about Advance recording tried to chronicle the madness that I was living while laboring there. A couple tracks were from the RC days (Navy, Disco) or would later on be redone in far better form when ReCyclED was gathering the most promising jokey and irreverent stuff into one project of remakes (Blind, Navy, Disco, Blues, A Man and His Gun). The latter song is about Kurt Cobain and was perhaps one of my more memorable ones, even if it rather coldly mocked the death of Cobain. (What triggered the writing of this page was a long lost acquaintance happening onto me on Facebook and telling me he thought this was all clever and funny stuff, including the Cobain song. He is a pretty known dude in music production circles in town. His family lived on the backside of my old house on Quapaw where Hog Heaven was! I remember my grandmother pointing out how she hated the loud rock music coming from there.)
Once I got the bug to do digital editing to sequence my projects to CD, I could not be stopped. I had done a basic transfer of the Slaves By Trade demo, with the essentials being done, but having picked that spot and hearing that Mike Keneally did Boil That Dust Speck at the same studio (Anza Digital), I was intrigued. In the few months before OTISAB was done, I had just seen Keneally for the first time and had my head ripped off entirely. So I was extra keen to use Anza again with the intent to emulate the seamless album flow that Keneally used, which in turn was a Zappa thing. This wasn't collaged that much; it does retain separate tracks in a number of places, but this is where the first digital cross-fades were made for artistic purposes. I guess I did the source cassette--to-DAT transfer at Advance. That was the only DAT machine I had access to at the time. For these early editing/transfer sessions, I had to bring the DATs in, load them in real time, track by track, tell Joe Statt what the running order was, get the edits done, and then do a real time bounce, and I guess a real time burn to CD. I seem to recall it took about three hours at $60/hour. I was in it for about $200! That was to get ONE CD-R. They were about $15 EACH at that time.
I got a bunch of goofy pictures together that certainly show some twisted stuff, wrote out my liner notes, and then took that down to a place in South Bay where Advance used to send me on deliveries. I got my first digitally created CD cover—just one sheet that still is here in my master CD case. It is dreadfully pixelated and coarse. Some of the pix I submitted were already ones that I cut with scissors and collaged into some wacky images. It was...a first attempt. I was delighted with it.
The year 1995 was a big year for me getting into the music world as a tech assistant for Rockola. That paved the way for work with Mitch Grant, Mike Keneally, and many others over the coming eight years or so. This tape was part of an introduction to Marty Eldridge of Rockola, and also to Mike Keneally himself, and Joe Travers who was playing drums early on. It was a huge revelation to me that year when Marty said he had been on one of MK's albums, and so was everyone else in Rockola! A year later, I was on tour with MK! So odd to see that all that kicked off by being a sycophantic kid hocking his wares to the unsuspecting pro musicians in town!