Re-issuing It’s True on Spotify brings memories. The house on Major. Owen downstairs by the laundry machines practising or did I invent a memory of laundry machines?. The roommate they weren’t fond of. Being 40ish around people being 20ish – not what my contemporaries did. Recorded songs that held little attachment in case project was embarrassing – it wasn’t. Video by Adam and Dave for Born To Love You couldn’t have planned car almost hitting me at end. How amazing to be in orbit of Adam and Dave and Steve Kado in 2004.
Stevie wonder did something unheard of a few years ago. Made accessible his original tracks for Superstition so people could study it. So glad Doug set me up to check it out.
How many clavinet tracks are on Superstition? (clavinet being the funky electric piano that drives the song) Answer: about 9 tracks just clavinet. Crazy yet perfect.
How many tracks of drums? Answer: kik, snare and overhead (just one overhead mic). Crazy yet perfect.
What strikes me most is that anyone who gets all authoritarian about recording methods insisting this or that is the right way to record, is by virtue of talking like that proving themselves a fool.
One time someone hired me to play for their record. Could I come Saturday and Sunday afternoon? Yes I could. They didn’t offer to pay anything and so I expected to do it for free, I liked their music, thought they had some great compositions. It was a band of about 5 people. The composer wanted me to play without knowing anything about the music. I understand that sort of thinking but the music wasn’t simple, had key changes and rhythmic changes which everyone else knew and rehearsed, I felt like my improvising was very uninteresting and was clashing. I tried to honour the request but we did it over and over, I couldn’t improvise it well, wasn’t working for anyone. (also not my main instrument, was asked to play this on melodica.) Last effort to improve things asked questions again about where the changes were but the composer stuck to their concept didn’t want me to know what’s coming when.
The composer smoked more hash or pot with his buddy the engineer and insisted I continue in a vacuum. The air was tense until sheepishly one of the other musicians whispered the changes to me. I played it better. The composer got into barking at the members of his band. I didn’t like any of this and decided if I’m doing this free the least you can do is not act like an asshole. He walked me to the door downstairs at the end of the day and double checked starting times for tomorrow. I said no I’m not returning. He grasped what had happened and then became a little boy trying to get permission to stay up later than bedtime, that tonality. Please please come, I’m sorry I’m really sorry, please!
Said bye, didn’t return. That’s one of the ways I acquire enemies but I care more about feeling honest with myself than being ok with assholiness.