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Finishing The Unfinished

It's been over a half a year since I put Hook, Line & Sinker (part I) together. The record took a year to write, record and sing. I felt like I was headed towards uncharted territory, and called Dirk in for back up because I was afraid I couldn't find drums to match what I wanted. He recorded the drums with his friend Jerry.

The songs were better written, and music aspects were better chosen. I fully expected the drums to work. Stacy couldn't get the drums to work because in his words, "They weren't in time". That was my fault. Anyone who's worked with me now knows, I am early and I rush the beat. I don't lean back on it. And Dirk needed to choose what to do. So, Dirk did his best, and Stacy couldn't make it work. And so, unfortunately, I wasted Dirk's time. I still feel bad about it, but at least I got Dirk on the video.

While all this was going down, I bought some of Ken Tamplin's vocal training courses, and wanted to see how well I could expand my vocal range. In some respects, it was successful. I still have some work to do on my vocals, but you know what? Music Industry Professionals don't seem to pick on me as much these days because my vocals are stronger. Here's some feed back from Jason Currie, from Dog Bites Wolf (an independent music label from Nashville):

Hello Russ,... I really do dig the vibe. Great sound, nice vocal, thought provoking lyrics. Very true to the classic rock legacy. It sort of reminds me of The Kinks/Ray Davies. The vocal is clear and showcases the emotion behind the lyrics. Really nice and refreshing. Thank you for sharing. Although this isn't a fit for me, it certainly has great potential to be the right candidate for another opportunity. Really appreciate you sharing you music. Best wishes.

Of course, all of these words mean, "NOPE. Your song ain't gonna cut it." And it also means, I'm getting better. And it means Ken Tamplin's courses WORK!

Besides making good records, Getting my songs into film, or TV is something I've strived for every day for over a decade now. I've never gotten one of my songs on TV, or in the movies. Not exactly a great business model. Not exactly for the timid. Still, I'm making progress. And so, making recordings gives me mile markers I use to track my progress.

Hook, Line, & Sinker is one recording I'm very proud to have made. It's the closest thing to a commercial success I've ever had. Straight ahead rock music. But it's not finished.

Stacy Hogan produced, mixed and mastered the songs. I chose Stacy because Mike Rozon was tied up with Ministry and Beauty In Chaos, but mostly because he was touring with Jerry Cantrell.

Now you may remember that I met Mike Rozon through our mutual friend, Dirk Doucette. And that I met Dirk through another mutual friend, Phil Thomas Katt.

And since I had to move to Maryland for work, plus have a product I could put in someone's hands, Hook, Line & Sinker wasn't finished. And I needed it to get done before I ran out of time and money. I had a limited budget. But thankfully, P9P gave me the cover art for free. Great photograph of Heather Lynn in UV paint.

courtesy p9p productions

I'm circulating the EP now among radio stations in the DC area. Or as they call it around here, the DMV (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia state area)

Since then, I've written part II. And I wrote Dirk a nice text telling him I can now complete projects I've promised for him.

Still for part II, I'm going to go with a new producer. While it's true I can do most stuff by myself, I am not a professional producer. It takes a decade of dedicated time to learn everything. And when I take that much time to produce a great recording, I don't take time to do what I love: writing songs.

It was incredible to work with Stacy. His direction on "Alice Knows" was perfect, for sure. I would hire him again, it's just I want a different feel this time. And when I got into this part of the business, I had no idea that producers are artists themselves. They color your work.

For part II, I want a completely different feel. And I'm leaning towards producers who are more expansive in their approach, more ambiance and artistic.

Why? Well, the next bunch of songs are much more artistic and punchy than the last bunch. The short list of candidates are:

6. Sea Of Dreams

7. Rock Star Karma-Kazi

8. Graffiti Bridge

9. Little Miss Diesel

10. Buried Alive

11. Cemetery Road

12. Heart Break Valentine

13. 2 Of Everything

14. The Killing Joke

15. Phantom Power

And in truth, I haven't finished Phantom Power just yet. The words are finished. I'm just working up the courage to sing it. Pretty complicated.

Never the less, if you want a teaser of what these songs may sound like, go to my soundcloud account and listen for yourself.

Love & Rockets,


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