WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Hello friends old and new.
As most of you are already aware, I have been involved with many great musical projects as a bass player and guitarist, occasionally as a background vocalist, and a couple of times even as a lead singer. While I’ve never made my main living at any of those things, I’ve had a lifetime of interesting experiences, and some measure of what you could call small time ‘success’ – meaning I’ve occasionally been paid reasonably well to do something enjoyable with people I have fun hanging out with.
What many of you don’t know, however, is that I’ve been writing songs the whole time. That’s mainly because, while I may in my heart of hearts see it as what I’m best at, I’ve never put much effort into letting people know that I was doing it, and I almost never performed my own songs publicly. There are a lot of reasons for this that I prefer not to dwell on, but suffice to say while I may have passing 'regrets' about it, I like the life I've created for myself. So for years just having written them was enough.
Things got very different in 2020, though. Suddenly I had a lot of time to think, practice guitar, and most of all, write more songs! And ruminate on the nature of what I choose to write and why. And more time to reflect on the fact that, hey - I LIKE these songs! Maybe other people will like them too!
Grandma Moses sold her first painting at age 78. Seasick Steve was in his 50s when his debut album came out. Leonard Cohen was touring until well into his 80s.
Yes, it’s late in the day to be asking for the indulgence of your attention. But it’s even later to not be.
The more you look and listen the more you inspire me to give you something more to read and hear. I’ve been at this (music-making and writing, that is) for a long time. I’ve even learned to admit to myself (publicly!) that I sometimes think I’m rather good at it. But what I’m not good at is letting you know about it once I’ve done it.
It all comes down to the old adage “if not now, when?”
None of us are getting any younger, and I’m finally letting the fact that I’m proud of these songs override my desire to hide in the shadows. In light of that, one of my life goals for 2022 (I’m avoiding the word ‘resolution’) is to let the world in on what has been, up till now, a well-kept secret.
I have recorded songs before and have several past recordings that I’m quite proud of. Please continue to watch these pages as, eventually, I intend to release them all. But I still have plenty more that were never recorded to my satisfaction. Add to that the fact that, with the solitude the last couple years have unavoidable afforded, I’ve written a bunch more that I’m dying to sink my teeth into. What I’m not good at is a) recording and mixing them, or b) presenting them to the world.
That’s where, hopefully, you come in.
Are you a good engineer? I'm a lousy one. Guitar player? Most good ones can do something I can't. Singer? Yep, always helpful. No one wants to listen to ME sing all the time, I can assure you. Can you arrange a horn chart? A string quartet? What can you do?
The good part of the fact that I’ve barely left home so far this year is that I’ve had plenty of time to think things through as far as what songs I’d like to record, and who would be my ideal collaborators for each of them. Now when I play the songs, I’m not just trying to practice and perfect them, I’m also thinking about what instrumentation would sound good behind them. Then I’m looking at my friends list (the modern-day address book?) to see who might be best to help me. And I have to tell you, I’ve come up with some pretty great ideas that way. And when that happens, I’m grateful that I know so many talented people (that are enjoyable to be around, I must add – that’s, if anything, more important than great musicianship – but many of you offer both).
So I’m dedicating myself to figuring it out. And that will involve reaching out to some of you with my ideas. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to help me figure out how to best achieve my goals. When, where, and how, to record these songs.
And yes, I am willing to pay for these things – I know musicians have a harder time than ever making a dang living. My desire is to pay you what you’re worth, unfortunately I think you’re worth a whole hell of a lot more than I could ever possibly afford. So while all favors – friend rate, barter, labor exchange - are graciously accepted, I also don’t want to take advantage of anybody. Particularly as lots of you make your living this way.
I need a producer. Since I can’t afford Bob Ezrin or Tony Visconti, I am inviting all my talented friends to think of themselves as my producers.
I’m not asking for money, though if you have some to spare, I promise I’ll put it toward getting these songs recorded, produced, and heard.
And no one needs to feel obligated to help – whether for logistical or other reasons, no explanation needed. I still love you.
But if you're willing to offer them, I want is your advice, and your skills. Even if you can't help in a production role, I also accept advise and suggestions. Please leave them.