Category Archives: Producing

Accidentally Acquired Beliefs

Another reissue to Spotify. More than 20 years old. Was a long labour of love making this one. Alone in my new digs middle of nowhere. Squirrels throwing parties at 3am in the ceiling. Evangelist neighbour children curious to talk to a stranger weird as me. Ripped off when tried to hire contractor to install skylights. Beautiful willow, black walnut and wood stove. Time making this overlapped with Carmaig, Tangiene, Liz, Selina, Dave Lee, Willy Wisely. Don Kerr driving people up, checking in on me and the amazing moments with horns and friendly energy of Chris Brown.

 

Mensch Award

The air in the study room is dense from microwaved meat. Now might be a good time to try playing the trumpet. Just cover your ears man, enjoy your food. Soon I’ll have my winter hat on. Soon the dead cat buried last summer will just be bones and fur. Soon we’ll join her. No time to exercise but I believe if Sherlock Holmes was here he would see it differently. Probably he would circle “no time” and add a question mark. Must be vigilant about keeping him away. The war to change society continues receiving lip service but it’s only as real as other apparent wars. Vegetarian Omnivore, Liberal Conservative, Apple PC, Heaven Hell, Coke Pepsi. Sherlock Holmes correctly circles apparent with a question mark. When I lived in the country took 90 minutes to get there from Toronto. A zillion people told me they would like to see it. Jumped on that curiosity and invited them over right then right now. Then they would say they had “no time” but maybe later. All but one time that is.

“Hi I wasn’t sure if I would get you or an answering machine. Heard you moved outside the city.”

“Ya it’s 45 minutes passed Hamilton.”

“What is it exactly that you bought?”

“It’s an old blacksmith shop.”

“So your making horse shoes?”

“Not exactly (both laugh) I have a studio set up. You want to come over? I could put you to work engineering.”

“Like right now?”

“Sure.”

The Juno committee never acknowledged Gord Downie’s technique for pressing record and play, on my Tascam MXR 16. But me, Sherlock and now you know he should have been nominated in two categories. Best Impromptu and The 1995 Mensch Hall of Fame.

Anhai

At an open stage 30 years ago I heard a woman called Anhai (pronounced an-eye) she played an acoustic guitar strumming a rhythmic loop more or less and her guitar stings were tuned like spaghetti. When she sung everyone changed what they were doing like when you realize there’s an ambulance behind you. Pull over, this is an emergency. If your into music, kind of emergency you hope to experience.
 
.
 
Everybody wondered what was the language, was shouts, was screams and yelps, long notes, angry dog sounds and high hawker cooing. More than one person certain she had indigenous origins. I asked if she needed a producer, she said yes but had no funds. Said I would do it for free but free things can’t do right away, jobs that pay take precedent. I predicted it might take a year for us to finish. That was disappointing for her she said no thanks.
 
.
 
I got to know her better each week when she returned to play and further stun the audience. We would chat a little more. She had a horse, she had a family, place in North York, played in a band in the 60s. I asked her one time about the open tuning of her guitar, the strings that were so wobbly. I knew a few open tunings I admired from Bruce Cockburn’s work. I asked her what her open tuning was. She sometimes had a disarming little old lady voice
 
“I tune to nature, Bob.”
 
(long pause) I said “You keep tuning to nature ok, great”.
 
Then one night she made a reference to her lyrics. I didn’t know what she meant, thought she was singing sculpted sound similar to avant grade artists like Meredith Monk.
 
“Your Lyrics?” I asked “What language are they in?”
 
“It’s English Bob.” She said.
 
I was confused. I asked her if she could bring some next time and she did in very nice handwriting. This added a whole other dimension to my enjoyment.
 
Cut to 20 years later, we met again, some big life changes happened, she was living on the street, we applied for a grant and a few months later got it. Finally had the money to hire people and studios and get to work. There were some obstacles, very hard to arrange meeting with her, she regularly disappeared, sometimes for years. But I managed to capture her in a living room with a digital recorder somewhere she was house sitting for 2 nights. I organized some favourite musicians to study each nuance and colour it accordingly. I had plans to help her release it and arranged for a photo shoot with a student friend. I fronted the money because I knew she had the grant money to reimburse me but by the time it was done, she was nowhere to be found.
 
Two years went by before she reappeared and she had some details about how the money was lost, another story. So for time being it was my loss and the recording sat on the shelf. A year and a half later a friend with funds asked if I had anything happening he might contribute to. Can anyone hear such an offer and have an answer different than yes of course I do. So we mixed it professionally, mastered it as well, she returned to Toronto from somewhere in the East coast (?) heard the finished work was excited and then vanished to somewhere unknown again it sits on the shelf, last seen in 2013. Don’t know anything more.
 
 
“heartsong (skyprayer or magic song)”
or
“we can dine in 2nite”
C u C me!
C u C me!
C u “seeing is be me”
shed the skies–
sing ur novas
recognize
recognize
concentration,
fascination,
that’s a mutual
situation….
you know bay bay baby
going insane
who to blame
it’s a shame!
 
 
but, i intend,
 
i will bend–
 
there’s a goal now–
 
it’s not my end….
 
 
i could never
 
be ur friend–
 
 
got 2 hold on!
 
got 2 hold on!
 
got 2 hold–
 
 
here’s the wind–
 
 
do not-knot!
 
Do not!
 
do not-knot
 
Do not!
 
do not-knot!
 
Do not!
 
ooh-boop-boop-bow-bow-ooh ba-da-ba-da-bop-ba-da-bop–
 
body be there!
 
C u C me!
 
C u C me! 
 
C u “seeing is being”
 
be, be, be me!
 
 
shed the skies–
 
sing me no lies–
 
we can dine in–
 
we can dine out–
 
 
feed ur head
 
on LUV instead!
 
got 2 feel
 
really, Really, REAL!
 
 
when u r warm, yeah!
 
u won’t be lonely!
 
when u r warm–
 
oom-bop-oom-bop-oom-ba-da-ba-da-bop–
 
body be there!
 
 
C u C me!
 
C u C me!
 
C u “seeing is being”
 
–be, be, be me!
 
 
shed the skies– 
 
sing ur novas
 
(sing ur “no byes!”)
 
we can dine in–
 
 
ah, ah, ah, ahhhhhh….
 
what?
 
get down!
 
uh-oh….
 
 
what?
 
 
uh-oh….
 
get down!
 
ooohhh–
 
now!
 
uh-ohhhh!
 
 
come down….
 
 
from the strange,
 
creature legs, 
 
stand alone,
 
beside u
 
hold me!
 
 
we are here — yeah, yeah, yeah!
 
we are there — yeah, yeah, yeah!
 
we are here — yeah, yeah, yeah!
 
everywhere! yeah, yeah, yeah!
 
 
we are cumming,
 
but we’re going….
 
we are dreaming,
 
it is showing….
 
 
visions come,
 
but they pass….
 
on a day,
 
in the vast-land
 
 
take my hand–
 
& hold my heart–
 
take my hand–
 
& hold my heart– 
 
& u do that–
 
u do that– 
 
u do that–
 
u do that–bop!
 
u do that– bop!
 
u do that– bop!
 
bop-bop-um-bop–bop um bop ba-da-ba -bow-ba-da-bop–
 
body be there!
 
 
C u C me!
 
C u C me!
 
C u “seeing is being”
 
–be, be, be me!
 
 
shed the skies–
 
sing me no lies–
 
we can dine in 2nite–
 
we can dine in 2nite–
 
 
we can dine in–
 
na na na, na na
 
we can dine in–
 
yeah, yeah, yeah,
 
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ,yeah….
(transcribed by m.e.grey)