A very creative show flyer, no?
I though that we’d have seen it all by week 7 of the tour, but no….
This is the WORLD’S LARGEST SNOW-WOMAN!
Check out the little snowmen next to it for perspective
We’d seen this place on the map, but only dreamed of the day when we’d actually get to drive through it….
We’ve seen A LOT of hotel rooms in our day, but never before had we walked into a room to find this….
Where’s the rest of the toilet?
Oh, here it is…IN THE CORNER!
Exactly whose pants are on Cameron’s bed?
And since when do hotel rooms come with complimentary bread and beer?
Ah the fun of life on the road. Catch up with you soon!
Ok, so I just couldn’t keep up the pace of getting these things updated weekly…so for this installment we’ll have a GREATEST HITS photos of the last few weeks. YES we have been continuing to rock the country, and here are the photos to prove it…
this is me
this is cameron
this is a nature-made ice sculpture
this picture is not doctored
this is our first house concert
this is our windshield cracking
these are some tie-wearing friends from NACA
this is a pretty rockin photo from New York the other night
ok, now you’re all caught up :-)
See you soon!
Sorry for the late update (I’m aiming to get these up every Sunday, but ran a couple of days late this time around). We ate at a lot of uniquely-local restaurants on in Michigan..I think that will be this week’s thematic-link.
Show 9 – Allendale, MI (Grand Valley State University)
We were welcomed by snow as soon as we got to Michigan. But better yet we were once again welcome by students in neckties.
Special thanks to them for making us feel at home during the first of our 5 shows in Michigan.
Show 10 – Adrian, MI (Siena Heights University)
Adrian is a tiny little town, but we still managed to schedule two nights in a row there. We also found a pretty cool Mexican Restaurant called El Chapulin (the grasshopper…who knew!?)
Don’t forget dessert :-)
Oh yeah… the show…
Everyone was very kind to us, and bought lots of CDs…thank you! And just when we thought it was over, we found a ping pong table across the hall. Cameron was tired, so I crushed him :-)
Show 11 – Adrian, MI (Adrian University)
Another show in Adrian! Since we didn’t have to travel, we had the whole day to hang out in Michigan so we spent some time rehearsing in the lovely guest house the college let us stay in.
Then we headed to the movie theater with that extra CD money from the night before and saw JUNO.
Loved it. Then it was show time. We had a great opener, a duo called Katie and Pat, and they really warmed things up fantastically for us.
Show 12 – Grand Rapids, MI (Aquinas College)
We ate dinner at YESTERDOG.
Apparently this hot-dog joint inspired the one in American Pie. It was cool to eat at a local hotspot, but not actually that cool to eat two chili-cheese dogs right before a show.
When we got to the school, I was giddy to find another ping pong table. I tried to get a ping pong match going before the show, but Cameron was distracted by Galaga (and probably still recovering from his last defeat)
It was getting really snowy at this point in the week…we weren’t sure if the show was going to happen. But hot diggity the room was FULL for our late night 10:30pm show.
GREAT crowd…great show…
Plus we made a great new friend.
Show 12 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI (Lake Superior State)
I suggest looking at a map, and discovering just how far north this is. It’s not even physically connected to Michigan.
Hence the bridge.
And the road
And the parking
We sampled the local white-fish. And mostly just focused on not crashing our car.
We did play a show too :-)
We spent Superbowl Sunday with some friends in Port Heron, playing a little geetar and eating a bbq pork sandwiches.
There ya have it!
PS…RECORD UPDATE…we are done with all of our vocals and guitars for the new record. The final touches are being put on right now by our producer, which include bits of organ, percussion, etc. We are flying out to LA Feb 14 and 15 to comb it over together, and hopefully move into the mixing phase from there. Thanks for sticking with us, it’ll be worth the wait!
Week two was a good one, featuring a good mix of business and pleasure.
We’ve seen some pretty creative advertising for our shows so far, so I thought I’d start by sharing a couple of them.
This from the Wichita show (below)
And who could forget this one from Albuquerque
So back to the shows…
Show 6 – Fort Hayes, KS (Fort Hayes State University)
They have a beautiful brand new student center that we got to play in. So we were stoked when we got there and saw the great stage/lighting.
As we re-strung our guitars before the show, I saw the news about Heath Ledger’s death on TV, which tripped me out. Then I drank about half a bottle of a Naked Juice Protein drink…
…and spent the rest of the night, including the show, so dizzy I could hardly keep my eyes open. I found out from a grocery store worker the next day that this batch of drinks had just been pulled from the shelves! Doh. In spite of my absent mindedness, the show went off without a hitch, and the crowd was great.
Show 7 – Wichita, KS (Wichita State University)
We actually got to tour the city a bit, and get a feel for it, including a workout session at the local YMCA. Then of course we headed straight for the WORLD’S FIRST PIZZA HUT
It was actually started by Wichita State students in an entrepreneurship program. It doesn’t serve food anymore, but the campus food court did, so we partook. Fittingly, the show was a lunch-time show so we rocked out while people raised their Diet Cokes in praise.
We had the night off, so we headed to Kansas City, where the band LUCA, some Tucson based buddies of ours, happened to be touring that night. There’s nothing like some familiar faces when you are 1000 miles from home
We enjoyed the cold-weather reunion, and got our desert-rock on that night.
Show 8 – Marietta, OH (Marietta College)
This is Phil
He’s the man. We knew he meant business when we met him. He hooked us up with the Marietta hoodies you see us in. He runs a tight ship over at Marietta College, and we had a great show as a result. It’s a tight knit, small college where everyone lives on campus and the atmosphere and reception were fantastic.
I even decided to break out my new little friend
But the fun didn’t stop there. Cameron and I headed directly into an after-show ping pong battle. A serious battle, where both combatants were left sore when all was said and done. However, there can be only one winner. And I will let you decide who that was…
We are in Michigan all week this week. It’s cold now. There’s snow now.
But we also got a GPS today finally, so at least we won’t get lost and stranded.
I don’t believe the unit came with a Deer Avoidance feature, so we’ll try to stick to driving in the daylight hours.
Until Next Time…
Greetings from the road! I have felt compelled to document this tour, perhaps because it’s so massively long that I must dissect it into digestible portions.
We’ve got some new tricks up our sleeve this time.
Cameron’s brought his harmonica
And I’ve got my tambourine and shakers in tow:
Show 1- Albuquerque, NM (Winning Coffee Co.)
We weren’t sure what to expect, since we’d never seen the venue before, and the venue doesn’t normally host concerts, but man were we pleased with the results! The owner essentially let us convert the coffee shop into a venue, and a full house turned out to see us play! (And naysayers tried to tell us Albuquerque is dead in January!)
This was an absolutely fantastic start to the tour, and a special thanks to all those who brought friends out to see us for the first time!
Show 2 – Kansas City, MO (Main Street Café)
The venue was difficult to find, but once we found ourway inside this converted icehouse, we were amazed to find a huge, beautifully decorated, high-ceilinged performance space. We shared the night with 3 other bands, and were treated to an audience of around 100. A great venue with a great cause, we hope to return there sometime later in the tour.
Show 3 – Lawton, OK (Cameron University)
The entire programming board wore vintage neckties with show info puffy-painted onto them to spread a buzz about the show that day!
They took great care of us here, and we even got to sign our first acoustic guitar after the show!
Show 4 – Tyler, TX (UT-Tyler)
Noon-time shows are notoriously difficult to grab people’s attention at, with food being around and all. However, this was probably our best-ever lunchtime concert. The performance space was bright and sunny, and people sang and smiled with us all the way through.
Plus we got onion rings. What more could we ask for?
Show 5 – Walla Walla, WA (Whitman College)
This one took some work to get to…3 flight segments and a 3-hour drive in a rental car. However, it was more than worth it when we stepped on stage to find an enthusiastic audience of 150 people. Walla Walla, knows how to love on acoustic music. This show really meant a lot to us, and we will certainly be back. They give us big heads.
We hit the road at 5:30AM the morning after the show to catch a flight to LA to attend the NAMM music trade-show. However, at about 6:15AM, and at about 60mph, a deer ran across the road right in front of us, and we had no chance of avoiding it. We collided and spun off into a ditch. The deer flew about 25 yards in the opposite direction. Fortunately, aside from some backaches, we are okay. The rental car is probably totaled though.
I’m left remembering how the rental clerk persuaded me to upgrade the vehicle to a size larger, and how that may have very well made the difference in the outcome of the situation for us. We missed the trade show, and we’ve been forced to slow our pace down for the weekend, which feels good. We’ll pick everything back up again on Tuesday in Kansas!
I travelled to LA on Monday, to finish the last of the vocals on the record (all that remains are my parts on Okay and Stopless. Cameron’s are all done). However, after just one afternoon of singing ‘Okay’, my voice was gone. When I awoke the next day, and it was even worse. I went to a doctor, and found out I had a fever and viral laryngitis.
Back home to Tucson I went, silently, dreaming of what could have been a step towards the completion of the album. And on my Southwest flight home, my iPod was snatched, from right under my nose (the perpetrator leaving only it’s empty case underneath my seat). Fortunately I’ve got an old iPod Mini to get me by.
And so it goes! It’s still a beautiful time of year. And being home is never a bad thing. I’ll be doing my best to recuperate quickly, and let’s all hope that the opportunity to return to LA and finish the job comes quickly and healthily! In the meantime I hope to see some of you next week at the annual Christmas show.
Cheers to you and your families, Merry Christmas and Bon Ani!
But mostly reggae.
Since we just got finished with our tiny tour, and we are on the eve of re-entering the studio, it seems like the best time of all to write a little bloggy blog blog.
First, a math question:
If two trains are traveling towards each other at a speed of 130 km/hr, and train A contains Owen Plant, and train B contains Ryanhood, what is the most precise expression of the energy created by their collision?
The answer is: One million awesomes. (Feel free to check the math on that. I was fortunate enough to get to sit in on a math class at MIT with my younger brother while I was in Boston, and even though it was mostly beyond me, it DID get me thinking.)
So, the tour: Owen Plant. Man, oh man. This guy can SING. If you’re lookin’ for a boy with a voice…
Each night we followed roughly the same order. Owen played between 2 and 5 songs, with Ryan guest harmonizing on the last couple. Then he turned the show over to us and we played between 3 and 6 songs, after which he rejoined us for a powerhouse, all-star jamboree… usually between 6 and 9 songs.
Owen’s been playing songs from his three solo records as well as some sweet songs from his new band, The Sunshine Brothers. One of the songs we performed together as a part of our all-star guitar throw-down was called, “Sex and Reggae.” This is fun because, when else are you going to hear Ryanhood singing the words, “It’s all about sex and reggae,” at the top of our lungs?
Our set included a smattering of songs from each record. Usually we did, “Can I Kiss You?” “Army,” “Stopless,” and the new song, “Back Into Blue.”
I was hanging out with a dear friend in Tucson at the start of the summer, and I sang him “Back Into Blue,” in my living room. He memorized the words and music and took the song to New York state where he was a camp counselor for kids from all over New England. He taught it to a bunch of his campers, who then liked it and learned to play it… all unbeknownst to us. So we were happily surprised when we got requests on this tour to play a song we thought no one had ever heard! In addition, we’ve had requests here on myspace for a posted recording, even though no recording even exists for this song as of yet. Well, one DOES exist, and it’s got guitar and cello and Maestro and me, and it’s awesome, but it’s not yet fully finished, and so, as yet, remains very unavailable to the public.
Other songs we’ve been playing live include, “The World Awaits You,” “Gardens and the Graves,” and the newly revamped “Helpless Hopeless.” During our rock-your-socks trio segments we played “Nothing But The Real Thing,” “Welcome You Into My Head,” our cover of Jars of Clay’s “Show You Love,” and the face-melting “Around The Sun.”
What kind of tour would it be, and what kind of songwriters would we be if we didn’t capitalize on each other’s gifts and write a song together? (Note: This question is rhetorical and does not have a factual answer like the math problem above.) Hence, I believe we may have written our finest song. The tune is called, “Rubia” and sounds like… something amazing. Folky, poppy, slightly bluegrassy, with some great lyrics about not missing the moment. Since I love lyrics, here’s a sample:
“Light fall on the trees/ rainfall on the street/ city in the dark/ help me win the heart/ of Rubia.”
New York City cast a spell on me again, almost as much as this beautiful girl in a green and white dress who walked by. The question is, did I miss the moment, or was I a man of action? You’ll have to wait to hear the song to find out! Won’t be out until the next next record, though. But you’re patient, right?
Speaking of patience. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for hanging with us for so long. We have taken so much longer to make this record than anyone would have guessed. And we fear at times that we’re trying your patience too much.
By the time you read this, we’ll be back in the studio. It’s my hope that you’ll keep on spreading the music any way you can. If you ever think of us during the day, send some prayers up, and some good thoughts our way. We’re going to finish this thing, and it’s going to be worth the wait.
Tucson is a place for flip flops, a place for shorts, and Tshirts. Nobody really brings jackets or scarves to carnivals in Tucson. That’s all I’m saying.
In Tucson, the town of our birth, there’s almost nothing as beautiful and pleasant as a spring night spent out of doors and under the stars. So when the wind began blowing bitterly and coldly last week just as we were setting up for an outdoor show called Spring Fling, most everyone was caught completely unaware.
Pretty early on in the show, I checked in with Ryan to see if the seemingly eternal flame in his fingertips had been cooled. Amazingly, even though he could have pierced my septum with the icicles on his knuckles, he was still able to play all of his guitar solos.
I was going to suggest to our audience that if they were cold, they could scoot closer together and closer to the stage and we could all keep each other warm. But when I looked up at them, they were already standing close together, close to us, dancing and clapping to keep warm. And they stayed the entire length of our set, figuring if we were going to play, they were going to stay for it. And we were figuring, if they’ll stay, we’ll play for them.
And in that way we all kept each other warm, even though we had flip flops and thin shirts.
I guess I don’t know what else to do to stay warm, when a bitter and cold wind blows through a warm place like Blacksburg, Virginia. Maybe all you can do is stand close by someone else and cry and shake your heads together.
Realizing that Ryan and I have been flying under the radar as of late, we thought it was high time we let you know how our recording is going, what the songs are sounding like, and what we think of it. So without further ado:
– We began recording in late summer, and we worked on and off up through Christmas. We’re roughly 70% of the way finished. (Slow and steady wins the race, right Mr. Tortoise?)
– We have completed bass and drums and main guitars for 11 of the 12 songs we’re planning to include.
– We’ve sung what are called “scratch” vocals for all of them, in order to find out which harmonies work, where different melodies are needed, etc.
– We’re currently back home in Tucson rehearsing our acoustic butts off, making sure that we know exactly what we want to sing when we get back to LA to begin recording again.
– The songs to be included are as follows (though not in playing order):
o THE WORLD AWAITS YOU – an upbeat waltz, inspired musically by Coldplay and lyrically by the struggle to teach the ones you love, like kids or younger brothers and sisters, where to begin making sense of the world. A very difficult song to write.
“Some get a silver spoon/ some get a name/ some get hated-on/ thrown away”
o STOPLESS- what is, to us, a classic Ryanhood song. We’ve been performing it for the last two years, and it was first available on the recording, On The Radio. All I can say, is that Ryan and Ross (Hogarth, the producer) found the PERFECT way to take this song to the next level. It’s a long, steady build, with drums and bass exactly where you’d want them.
“How pointless is my point of view/ until I reach the point of you?”
o AROUND THE SUN- an up-tempo, minor-key plea for balance between a life-lived in the moment, content, and the longing to see and feel more. We co-wrote it with Boston-turned-Los Angeles singer/songwriter Owen Plant. You can see an acoustic, video version right on the front of our myspace page. Ryan has worked out some extra harmonies, and we’ve thickened up the choruses by having us both sing all the way through. Preeeettty niiiice.
“Don’t you want to stop/ taking personal offense/ and stop talk, talk, talking about love in the future tense?”
o NOTHING BUT THE REAL THING- a Mraz-ish rant about the myriad ways we fake each other out, in order to present a strong, capable, good-looking front. At heart, a sort of love song, about peeling back layers of yourself to another person. Full bass and drums and a bunch of hooks. First available on the live disc, Live At Fiestas ’06, though some lyrics have changed since then. But only for the better. Maestro plays all the guitar, so live, I’ll be dancing and prancing around with nothing but a T-shirt on… and a microphone.
“It’s hard to be/ everything you wanna be/ and to try to do it honestly/ but I know you/ and nothing but the real thing will do.”
o OKAY- Second in the, Who Am I? Series (kidding, no such series exists, except on this record, in our minds). Okay is as tight and tense and hard hitting as a pair of acoustic guitars can be, with the drums joining in for a Led Zeppelin chorus. After we’ve finished the singing, Maestro’s going to unleash a guitar frenzy on the bridge of this song, the likes of which have never before been seen.
“I’ve got Godiva/ Mercedes Benz/ I’ve got fame and Benjamins/ I’ve got the sex, I’ve got control/ and a hole the size of you inside my soul.”
o MATURE- Third in the imaginary Who Am I? Series, following Nothing But and Okay. The crowning achievement. Brooding and very acoustic, with hypnotic drums. Currently, Ryan and I are trading the singing on the verses, so we take turns telling a story about being a little bit lost on the road, and dealing with fears about forgetting who we are and where we’ve come from. A spooky and meaningful song with excellent, Ryan-penned lyrics.
“I don’t want to turn me into/ something that I’m not/ keep me close in mind and body/ you are all I’ve got.”
o ALRIGHT- “Me and Sergio can make a microphone out of anything.” A funky, uplifting party about small things like eating good food and driving around with friends in the 110-degree Tucson heat. I guess it’s the answer to Mature, a balance to the touring life. Maybe the anti-thesis of Okay. Musically inspired a bit by Jack Johnson, a bit by Dave Matthews, and reworked to great effect by producer Ross Hogarth.
“We will all run out of bread/ we will all run out of sugar/ we will all run out of wine/ that’s fine/ it’ll all come back in time.”
o HELPLESS HOPELESS- Ross maintains this is the best song on the record. It’s been my favorite of our songs for a long time, and I was a tiny bit disappointed with the way it came out on Forward. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot about it, especially the mood, but I don’t feel like we made the definitive recording of it, like we did with, say, Army. I’m pleased that now it will get a second chance to live. The drums are more consistent, with a steady 2 and 4 feel (drummers, are you with me?), and we’ve rearranged some of the lyrics and choruses. You can be alarmed if you want to, but I really really really like it this way.
“Today is a day/ for letting go/ of promises I’ve broken/ and words that I have spoken/ when really, I don’t know.”
o BACK INTO BLUE- A beautiful, Ryan-sung song about leaving home to go on tour a month after getting married. There’s a lot of imagery sung over a nice, slow-bounce. But it’s the melody that wins all the Grammys here. No drums on this one, but probably an upright bass and we’ve been plotting to have some cello. I’ve been singing the bridge, which is funny because Ryan wrote it for HIS girl, but I just go to my own place when I sing it, and we both think it sounds good.
“I’ll have you with me/ and there won’t be anywhere we have to be/ you are the ocean and I am the moon/ wading out in your waters/ I’m fading back into blue.”
o DIVIDES- The mother load. An intense, rocking, lyrically to-the-point song that we wrote with Carlos Arzate, singer of American Android. Rhapsodizing on Mahatma Gandhi’s exhortation to “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” we sang, “Be what you want to see.” A moving rocker, Divides features U2/Larry Mullen Jr. style drumming and some of the highest notes, sung for the longest periods of time that Maestro and I have ever done. This song just about defeated us in the studio. Not that it’s particularly hard to play, but I found myself struggling greatly to record my guitar parts in time with the drums. After great duress, Ryan, Ross, and I pushed through it, though, and I’m intensely proud of the results.
“This world divides us all between/ who we are and who we can be.”
o BORN TO RUN TO YOU – the ballad that will probably close the record. First available on On The Radio, it’s a sweet song, told in reverse, about a girl who made up her mind to believe in the love that she hoped for, even though she couldn’t see it yet. No drums here. A couple of acoustics, maybe some mandolin and maybe some violin, to complement Ryan’s beautiful guitar solo. It’s the only song that has a completed vocal, since we opted to have yours truly sing it and play it at the same time. Seems like you’d expect, huh? But recording is strange sometimes. I dug so deep trying to sing with the right emotion that I almost threw up. Mmmm…romantic.
“It took a lot to get there/ she measured distance in days/ while she wondered from miles away/ ‘Is there such a thing/ as a love meant to be/ and if so is one meant for me?'”
The goal for this record has been to make it sound like Ryanhood, as in, Ryan and Hood, with both personalities shining through. I think we’re really making that happen. What we didn’t want was to make a super-produced record with me singing and Ryan getting lost somewhere in a big, soulless backing band. I think that Ross has very successfully steered us clear of that, and in fact, steered us into a really interesting, very personal, very strong musical place. If we keep on putting the work in until it’s finished, though it may take a while yet, this will definitely be our finest record to date. Thanks for being patient with us.
…having to seal my finger-tips up with super-glue, that is! My normal, guitar-player calluses (which come and go) have definitely gone on my left hand, as the result of performing Stopless for 5 hours in the studio yesterday.
The ..B.. and ..G.. strings were digging a hole in my left middle finger, so I pulled out the old super-glue, and gave myself a protective plastic coating. It makes me feel very tough, and industrial, and ingenious.
Apparently Ryan and I suck at the guitar pretty bad. I didn’t used to think that was the case, but apparently it is. We’re taking a million years to make this record. And let me tell you something: we’re not getting any younger. Soon, it’ll be curtains for us, I say, curtains.
The studio is a hard situation. Not only is it like a microscope or a super high-resolution lens, but it’s also like trying to draw a picture of a cougar, with a girl you like looking over your shoulder. How are you supposed to just draw naturally and let your artistic whims go wherever they will? “She thinks I suck at drawing cougars! She thinks I shouldn’t have drawn his beard like that!” These sorts of worries plague your mind. And even though the studio is a time for playing what you’ve already written and arranged, as opposed to “just feelin’ it,” it’s still hard to just sit down and PLAY the guitar naturally. I get all worked up. I lose all semblance of any mojo I might once have had.
I like when blogs are funny. That is, I like reading blogs that people write FOR their audience. I aim to make mine more that way. I fear I fall too far into the, “Let’s talk about my favorite subject and yours: ME!” camp. I like serious blogs too. But not necessarily hyper-emotional, hyper personal-blogs (you say, “Sure Cameron, have you even READ your own blog on your personal myspace? Beyaaaaaa!!”) So anyway, I’ll try to keep things light and froofy and funny.
A question: How does one keep it froofy? Is it akin to keepin’ things jiggy? Can you get jiggy for Christmas? Perhaps froofy is like a petticoat. Perhaps it’s like dryer-sheets. Or like static-cling. Perhaps like a sock stuck on the inside of your pant leg making you feel extra comfortable. Could it be that froofy is like a mixed-drink involving fruit flavors that kids would like, but hard alcohol that would make them stagger through a McDonald’s Playland shouting, “What it IS Ronald? You never come ’round no more!”? Perhaps it’s like Imogen Heap. Or is that “Froufy?”
A bad idea is mistaking super-glue for contact-lens solution.
The Greene Room Recording Studio, 11:30 PM. Ryan’s playing the chords for ‘Back Into Blue’ in the main studio, while I sit in the control room next to Ross, typing.
A friend just asked me yesterday, ‘You’re here. Can you believe it?!’
At times I pinch myself (mentally, of course. Why would I really pinch myself? Have you ever pinched yourself? . . . and not like a love-pinch, but like a real ‘wake-me-up-when-the-biscuits-are-done’ pinch? Hurts.) Anyway, at times I pinch myself and think about how were living out what we dreamed of in high school . . . how we’re professionally recording songs we wrote at the edge of our beds and on our friends’ couches . . . how even though we’ve made records before, we’ve never done ANYTHING like this.
But as a balance to that, I also think that this is just the next logical step. I know all the things that came before this . . . all the work and preparation and long drives, the hundreds of times we’ve played these songs live or in rehearsal, the battles over song-structure and lyrical-choice, the sheer number of phone calls involved in setting this up, the horrific loss of blood, the nightmares, the humanity, oh the humanity (emmm?) . . . and so anyway, it is right and appropriate for us to be here.
‘Shayzzuss . . . you’re clacking away like a monster,’ Ross says to Ryan. ‘Give me one more take.’
And Ryan understands that Ross means he’s playing too percussively and that he should minimize the amount of string-sound, and maximize the amount of chord-sound that’s coming from his guitar. Ryan and I have started calling this the NPS ratio, or the Note Per Strum ratio. I have a high NPS ratio, while my volume doesn’t vary much, which can be boring-sounding. Ryan has a lower NPS ratio, though he’s a much more dynamic player.
And Ryan also knows that even though Ross says, ‘Give me one more take,’ he may actually be performing that part of the song twenty-six more times before it’s right.
Performing a song like ‘Back Into Blue,’ or ‘Born to Run to You,’ (which I attempted unsuccessfully earlier) can be a humbling experience. These studios have excellent microphones. And that’s like saying, ‘These photographers have extremely high-resolution cameras.’
It’s like being naked with the lights on, and then a photographer comes in and sets up and tells you to be perfectly at ease. And that’s difficult because you know that when you look at the photo proofs you’ll be able to see all your imperfections and extra pounds all zoomed-in-on and up-close. You can imagine that’s great for the old confidence.
Songs like ‘Alright’ are easier because there’s a drummer and a bassist to hide behind. There’s the extra challenge of playing perfectly in time with what they’ve already played. But little freckled notes and slightly sagging tunings have the luxury of being concealed among those backing tracks.
So click click goes the musical camera of our life. (heh heh. Who’s writing these puns? They’re fired!) And we want to make our mamas and papas and Ginas proud, so we’re gonna be naked and uncomfortable for quite awhile. But it’ll be good in the end.
‘I was waiting for you to look at me and tell me it wasn’t good,’ Ryan says, still working on Back Into Blue, an hour later. ‘Well it wasn’t,’ Ross says, ‘It was all, ‘Blaaannnggg!’ Give me one more.’
I can hardly believe that I’ve spent six 13 hour days in the studio so far this week. Probably because all I can remember doing is sitting in my cozy little isolation booth, singing and playing into two expensive microphones, staring through the thick glass at Bob Glaub and Joey Waronker in the big room, and Ross Hogarth overseeing it all from the control room. Cameron is in a booth next to me, but we can’t see each other. We all wear headphones and communicate very effectively through them. In fact it’s a feeling much more intimate than a stage. It feels sort of like being in a cockpit, with your squadron around you. I guess that makes me Goose. Cameron’s gotta be Maverick. Or maybe he’d be Kenny Loggins.
Other reasons it feels like the big time:
I will say it feels like the ‘big time’ being here. We are working with SERIOUS record makers. Guys who are really freakin good at what they do. And right now they are trying to make our record really good. Getting to work with them makes me feel big for a second, but then I remember that next to them, I am but a little shivering hatchling, with pieces of my own shell in my hair.
Other reasons it feels like the big time:
*There is a gate that opens when we drive up and say our name. And I think that one time it even scanned Cameron’s retina.
*The studio has a runner, who will help with anything we need (get food, goto the post office, etc).
*Everyday is like Groundhog Day, and the kitchen is restocked with food and drinks, and my little recording booth has fresh bottles of water in it sitting in the exact same place.
*I get a headache every time we play Tony Hawk in the lounge because the screen is so big.
*Hootie recorded here