I’ve always made music, and played sounds. I have stacks of cassette dating back to when I was in high school. I made my own mic pre amp and mixer and dubbed from my walkman to my parents cassette deck. I titled my first one “Guitar Amp & Window” which was also the title of the drawing - theoretically the cover art. More followed, I occasionally played them for friends and one, “Blues for T.C.” was dedicated and given to my girlfriend after we broke up. But I never felt the need to actually take them to the duplicator and distribute. This was music for me, for my own amusement and I guess I was pretty shy about it - especially my singing. It was certainly a mistake, listening back now I realize it was no worse than much of the shit that came out then, my excuse was always the sound quality, but now a good portion of that stuff is revered for its ‘raw analog sound.’
Honestly, until I met G. Love it was all an unattainable fantasy, and playing in a band and recording on the four track was just a passion, a pure art, without a hint of commercial potential, or the thought of any kind of success. So even after my relative success with the Garrett and the Special Sauce I continued to produce my own music, migrating to more and more sophisticated computer based recording in the ’90s - but I never worked up the courage or felt the need to put out any of it. It’s weird in retrospect, I’ve produced a ton of work and explored all different genre, I put together about five albums when I lived in the Bay Area, always returning the a singer-songwriter style originally influenced by Neil Young mainly - but then more like a down tempo Todd Rundgren, who’s influence I only realized in retrospect.
The first thing I actually ‘published’ on my own was on Bandcamp, after G. Love fired me in 2008. “Smooth Bumps” was ostensibly the soundtrack to one of my first short films “Van Gogh Vangone.” Alas, it was all instrumental and I never hesitated to put out jazz and experimental music on that platform. Right before I returned to touring with Special Sauce I put out a full CD of original Jazz. I’m still quite proud of it, and would love to do another. I feel like it took me a while, but my writing has matured to the point that I can compose real jazz pieces, and I have a few more that I would like to present. I love putting together this music and recording with some of the great - mostly unknown - talents I’ve come across, especially in Portland OR.
At one point in all that mess I even had my own studio - JamBox - where myself and a group of friends put together all kinds of jams and recording. But I still did not publish anything though we had evolved technically to the full expanse of a modern digital studio. Jonny V. and myself even produced a hip-hop act that was quite good, but they never got over the many hurdles of the business, taking it live, or dealing with the complexities of life itself. One of them ended up back in jail after a while - disheartening to say the least.
But I keep writing songs, lyrics and recording and singing (the studio is in my house now.) I still rarely share this kind of music, I’m not sure exactly why, it’s a thing that I have - I seldom ‘finish’ projects, I have like a million folders and files, albums that are just waiting to be completed.
Recently though, I’m realizing it’s a mistake. It’s actually quite selfish, I keep all this music for myself - most of it on CDs filed away and old hard drives in the unbelievable mess that is my basement. And now, to be hones, that I feel like the world is going to shit - I feel like I better put some of this stuff out - even just a little release on Bandcamp, before the whole world blows up.
In my darker moments I sometimes think that if I hadn’t selfishly hoarded my songs, and maybe one or two people heeded my voice then some kind of butterfly effect might have prevented the hopeless catastrophe we’re headed towards. I guess it just the reactionary arrogance of paranoia, but it seems so crazy right now - there are perhaps worse things than believing my own mythology.
Anyhow, a couple years back I compiled several tracks to review on my phone, mostly while I was walking my dog around the neighborhood, and I would listen to these four songs and think, “maybe I should put these out.” And at this point I’ve listened to them enough that I like them, and as I mentioned, the state of the world kind of makes their meaning deeper, and I’m now like, ‘Fuck it, what am I afraid of?” There’s such blatant incompetence and malfeasance our whole government and society, especially over the last few years, no one can really say shit about my singing or profanity or production - so yea, fuck it, I’m putting out these four songs. I’ve been living with them for a while and now I’m submitting them for your listening pleasure. They feel relevant today - to what I am feeling and where we’re at as a society.
So here it is, another special project release, a digital EP, if you will. I’m not sure what will become of this part of my music. It’s kind of a demo, so as I’m feeling the need to sing more these days, perhaps it could mature into a some performances and a full length release on a wider platform. All that’s to say I’m god damn Rock Star.
Pittsburgh PA, Stormy