Who Cooks For You, out April 17th. It’s only a matter of time now, so look out for something new every week this month.
Announcing the Who Cooks For You UK/ Europe Tour
5.18 FRI LONDON The Bedroom Bar
5.19 SAT LONDON Manor House
5.20 SUN SWINDON The Vic
5.22 TUE BIRMINGHAM Unplug
5.23 WED CARLISLE The Brickyard
5.24 THU GLASGOW ABC
5.25 FRI NEWCASTLE O2 Academy
5.26 SAT SHEFFIELD O2 Academy
5.27 SUN SWANSEA Sin City
5.28 MON YORK The Duchess
5.29 TUE BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
5.30 WED LIVERPOOL O2 Academy
6.01 FRI OXFORD O2 Academy
6.02 SAT LONDON O2 Acaedmy
6.03 SUN Hastings, The Brass Monkey (Crypt)
More tour dates to be added soon.
Contact: info [at] johnnyheadband [dot] com, for more details.
so Bah Bah DumpDump is done for now. last nite there was a breakthru. and the second verse was written and finished. needs to be set aside for a bit, before the whole thing gets changed out because of listening to it too much. yahhhhh
Writing a 100% of a song is like way harder than writing 80% of a song.
when i go into writing mode, which isnt as often as i’d like… i start to look for things around me that offer support. Writing, for me at least, can be a constant stream of critical thoughts. You come up with something, doesnt matter what, and you immediately edit it in your head. Sometimes discrediting its value before you begin. Which is a shame. I dont do this as much anymore, because i sorta understand a bit more now that its human nature, and it’s my brains way of reacting to any potential harm down the road. So i fight through it and try my best not to make too many finite decisions while i’m trying stuff out.
Sometimes i feel that all the people around doing art need to start a lil support group where people can air out their insecurities. Like going to a safe place where people realize that its not just them that has to deal with fear. And maybe it will help people to be more honest with their art instead of more defensive. Maybe it would give people the confidence to do the ideas they want to, and go with their instincts instead of questioning everything they do. I talk w/ a lot of friends on iChat throughout the day who are doing their own thing, and its amazing how much everyone sounds the same. Everyone is worried about similar things and it stinks that they feel alone in their worries.
Alot of us want to feel relevant, or cool, or be liked, or make things that will have a lasting impact. But its more of a perspective than anything. I feel like ive gotten the most done when I feel like no one really cares about what i’m doing, so I may as well just do whatever i want. But then that only lasts so long. Then you care again. Why does the brain have to get in the way? Why cant the thoughts just flow, and the talent be unlocked, and the stuff gets made? Why does it have to be so slow and painful?
As much as ive learned, read and studied, none of it helps all that much on a bad day. And my rational intellectual brain doesnt comfort my emotions much. You still think that your art is junk, no matter if it is or isnt, and most likely the cause is that you want to be further along than you really are. You wish it was better than it is. You listened to the song so many times that it has no impact anymore, so you start modifying it just to make it sound fresh to you.
Steven Nachmonovich in his book Free Play writes about a german word Funktionslust, where one strictly focuses on the process, and not the end result. Having a lust for the function. You’re in it for the journey. Sometimes when i’m recording, in order to stop intellectualizing what i’m doing, i need to remember how much I love playing. And why i would spend hours and hours in the barn growing up playing drums for no reason. Feel the space between the notes i play, and use the space to be present in the moment. And if i dont feel that joy, maybe i just need a nap. Its not a big of deal as I make it out to be.
You can get pretty far on your initial tank of gas. but eventually it runs out. And you need to refuel. You need to reassess. You need to learn. You need to grow. You need to rest. You need to burn out. And sometimes you just want things to happen easily and magically, without as much effort. All of this is a result that something is happening though. And thats pretty exciting. Just read one issue of Tape Op and you’ll start to realize everyone is pretty much in a similar boat.
David Byrne has a really long account of his collaborating process on his blog. Its really insightful into his process, but it also pulls back the curtain and allows you to see his technical tools are the same as everyone else’s. And his collaborators deal with the same issues everyone else does.
All of this said, i do understand there are ups and downs. And things certainly wont happen if I remain on the sidelines for too long. Or as D Byrne says “you cant get on the bus if you’re not at the bus stop”. I think even Picasso at certain times in his life took 2 year breaks. I’m in it for the long haul.
Those are all of the random thoughts I have for now.
Even though my head felt like someone had an extra strength vacuum connected to my face suctioning my sinuses, I was very happy to see old friend and master axe man Gregory McIntosh. He came over about 3p Saturday afternoon, and we didnt have much of a plan for the song. There were already plenty of guitar parts, but if nothing else, it was a great excuse to get Greg to Ferndale and hang out for an afternoon.
Flashback to 2005(? i think), “The early Myspace days” when Headband was just beginning, we listened to this bands myspace page named Great Lakes Myth Society. We were blown away by the quality of what they were doing and asked them to play a show. They mentioned that they had a show booked in Flint Michigan and we were welcome to play with em and we jumped at the chance.
Now, most of the time when a random band asks you to play, you dont have high expectations… You just do your own thing and hope for the best. And thats probably what those guys were thinking. And at that point Keith and I were a two piece w/ an ipod, some keyboards, and a couple guitars. Oh and I think we brought the PA system and microphones w/ us too. So combine the fact that we had to bring our own PA w/ the venue looking more like a high school cafeteria, complete w/ tile floors and bench fold up tables, and expectations were probably even lower.
It was just two bands and some of our family and friends showed up, but the room was sparse and so Keith and I decided to get changed and just start playing. Everyone was sitting. No standing at this venue. We both drank some energy drink called Power Horse, and went up and began. The Great Lakes guys weren’t in the room, i dont think, except for Greg and we proceeded to do our choreographed stuff along w/ some standing on tables and chairs. At some point Greg went and told the rest of the guys to come in and watch and we raised our power-level as the Power Horse kicked in.
After our set, Great Lakes Myth Society played an amazing set w/ our cobbled together PA system. I think we ended up setting up a couple more mics, but didnt have mic stands, so we hung one from the ceiling so a couple guys could sing harmonies together. They were amazing, w/ a ton of energy, musicianship, and great songs… and an instant bond was born between Headband and GLMS.
Flash forward to Saturday, and Greg is sitting in my basement catching me up on the last couple years and all is right in the world. He brought his Fender Twin, which had some weird stuff going on w/ the speaker, but it sounded good and added some needed noise to the clean track. He put down some great funky lines, and some melodic Curtis Mayfield strums, and he was on his way to setup sound at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti for some sort of Drag Show. He was awesome and easy to work with as always. The guy is super duper talented.
After that, other friends Matt and Joe came by and brought a trumpet, bass trombone, and tuba w/ em. These are a couple old friends of Keith and I’s, and theyre both way way over qualified to play horns on our songs, but they offered :) so I was happy to have them.
(Dr. Matt Schoendorff)
(and excellent jazz trumpeter - brother Joe Schoendorff)
They pretty much just added minor chord sustains, but w/ chord changes on the upbeats, so it came out like some dark 70s soundtrack. It was funny - I’m coaching a doctorate composer and his virtuoso brother on what i need them to do, and theyre probably thinking “that’s it?!!” ha. Not totally sure what to do with it yet, but it sounds sweedish nonetheless.
So the song has pretty much everything it needs. I need to arrange more and add some vocals. But its just about there. I have some re-amping ideas for a larger concrete space. But we’ll see. I want some more natural environment for the tune than what is currently there. We’ll see if plugins do it, or if I need to pack up a laptop and some mics and do it remotely. I may also throw some sections into Ableton Live and see what I can do in there section by section MPC style.
Coming along though.
working on a new track w/ the current non-title of “bah bah dump dump”, since thats what the first 4 notes sound like leading into the song. We’ll change this eventually, but it works for now.
To catch you up, we’ve been doing lots of personal demo stuff. This is the first track that I’ve been working on. Keith is away offering suggestions and encouragement from the road. Technically he could play some things remotely, but there hasnt been a need yet with this tune. My poor bass playing skills are actually coming out decent enough.
Last week, starting wednesday, the days were just too nice, so I would come home around lunch time and record whatever i could do within 45 mins to 1 hr. And while this proved to be fruitless, it got me adding vocals to this new tune. Each day, i’d go home at lunch and then work at night on getting something to work, but never anything worth keeping. Finally friday night the effort paid off. I spent the rest of the weekend adding decent vocals i’m pretty happy with to the song.
Fast forward to tonight. Panic was just here recording over some of my midi guitar riffs with a real guitar, and it is sounding very nice. Sometimes too nice. We’re really getting into smooth-jazz-weather-channel territory sometimes. And while i’m all for this direction, Panic was making it a bit too realistic. He seemed to be very happy about this.
We tried it direct through a DI, but the winning guitar sound tonight was Panic’s very clean Reverend through a barely working old Vox practice amp. If you plug the cord in just right and lean the cord over the front side of the amp, it will work. The lil amp can sound super dirty and fuzzy. But we opted for a fairly clean sound w/ a hint of gain, mic’d with a Sennheiser 441. It ended up turning out great.
There is still alot of work to be done. Needs to be structured, with a second verse which isnt written, and possibly a B section and a couple more choruses. I’m having a couple horn players over this weekend who play a bunch of different brass instruments and we’ll put some horns in the tune. As well as good ol’ Greg McIntosh from Great Lakes Myth Society, who may or may not add more guitars. Either way, it will be fun.
we’re beginning to record our second album. We have a bunch of demos that may morph into full tunes. And we’re gonna give this informal bloggery a try. Throw up some pics, vids, stories. etc. Hopefully we can make it remotely interesting.