The other day, I was getting out of the shower, where I often find the white noise and warm water help me meditate on things, and took a towel to wipe away the mirror's condensation. As I stared into the mirror with an aging face looking back at me, I started asking myself if I'm too old to go it alone. I thought about how my next release would sound if I was the only person on it. Running it through my head, I realized I needed help.
You see, I'm not a consummate musician or vocalist. I'm a song writer first and foremost. That means I play just good enough (or bad enough) to write and arrange. But if you were to ask me to lay down a face melting lead guitar or a thunderous heart beat, it would take me a long time to get proficient enough to do it. I'd have to practice for weeks.
I know this because I've had to learn ukulele, bass, piano, concerto (that's an accordion like squeeze box) and dulcimer. In my house as a kid, I grew up with guitars and drums. Even though my drum teacher's teacher was Buddy Rich, my drumming has always been very subpar. I have a tendency to run ahead of time. I think that's because I listened to a ton of KISS as a kid. Peter Criss would play ahead of the beat. Drums are like the back of a chair. In order for the chair's back to work, you have to lean on it for support. I like sitting on a chair with no back. So, my drumming adds more tension than support. And I never liked practicing with a metronome. They always sounded slow and off time to me. I think that's because I'm white. (that's where you laugh)
Realizing my drum problems while shaving my face before work, I wasn't sure whom to ask. My friend Del Westcott is great drummer, and a very busy man. And so is my friend, Dirk Doucette. Without trying to offend anyone, I asked both guys. Both told me they were too busy, but were flattered I asked. I took this as a sign from God I needed to play drums again. I use and Alesis Nitro Mesh extension set. Not complaining. I love drums. I just love guitar more. So, I began practicing drums. Needless to say, I practiced for at least an hour to get the title track, Hook, Line & Sinker sounding OK. You see, I'm a bit robotic on drums because I have a limited "drum lick" vocabulary. I haven't had a teacher since I was 13 years old.
Then out of nowhere, Dirk texted me and said he had a few hours to record. I sent him about 5 or 6 tracks to listen to. I wanted him to decide for himself what he wanted to do with what he heard.
You may have never heard of Dirk. But we hooked up through our mutual friend, Phil Thomas Katt. Dirk purchased my "Bait & Switch" CD, and sent me a few of his CD's. One of his projects is called "Beauty In Chaos", and he did a lot of drum work for this. He's very musical, shoots videos, works in movies from time to time, and holds down roots in the medical industry. But more than that, Dirk likes my music (and I like his). So, I was (and still am) honored to have him volunteer to work with me on a few tracks.
All that said, I was delighted that Dirk chose to work on the title track of the album, "Hook, Line & Sinker". He recorded it with is friend, Jay, in Carlsbad, California. I'll tell you his playing was just what I needed to feel even more inspired. He added just the right amount of flair, and was able to work around my wonky sense of timing.
After a video chat with Jay and Dirk, we figured out next steps and next tunes to work on. The reason I write this, maties, is this: I'm incredibly grateful to begin to surround myself with extraordinarily talented folks who can help me with a Pensacola Beach sound (even if we ain't all from Pensacola Beach). But more than that, find the musical family I've always wanted for my own. You know, where we all work together and help one another out, and money's not the point?
You see, I've always felt this journey was about my music forging ahead, like a point break through the surf. It turns out, it's bigger than me. There are people out there, just like me, who want to bring you original music. And its so nice not to feel so alone anymore. Dirk has helped me trust again, which is something I've struggled with. So, thanks Dirk!
I shall return the favor. One day, when I'm ready to begin singing again (towards the end of the song writing process), I hope to help Dirk write and maybe I'll get the chance to sing one of his next tunes for Beauty In Chaos. Here's a link to BIC. Don't be shy. Get a t-shirt and a vinyl album.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Love & Rockets,
PS. I do have a few remaining copies of Bait & Switch, From here on out, everything's vinyl or downloads.