Monthly Archives: February 2018

ho how ya’ll doin?

There is a politeness thing I saw when in New Orleans many years ago, mixing our record at Danny Lanois’s. This is what happened – I would be walking down the street, a stranger would pass me and simultaneously they would say “Hi how ya’ll doin’?
 
I totally knew this was bullshit and appropriately checked my wallet and didn’t respond, kept walking like nothing happened. After 4 or 5 of these encounters and I put it together – these people were taught to do this when they pass strangers. At first I thought how phony but later I got excited, before you knew it I was trying to beat the next stranger to the punch line.
 
Unexpected American gift. Compensation for their border guards. Since that time, back in Canada I’ve tried it out, lots. Sometimes people act just like I did, looking at me like they know I’m up to something. Some smile politely. Some naturally say hello back like it was an ordinary exchange.
 
But all that is simply to say, similar to the greeting between strangers, that when you are making music with someone new, you feel out whether you have common ground or not.

filter

I like how my own sense of hearing has a built in filter while I sit on the subway or in a noisey café, I can by virtue of observing, filter out other audio except my subject. How does the brain do that? Maybe the same way it monitors a heartbeat or white blood cells or heals a bruise. More and more it is obvious the I of me (that which calls itself I) is not nearly as in charge, or as smart, as the rest of what is called brain. The brain does various jobs without asking for any acknowledgement but actually it is the puppet master behind that which calls itself I. This might explain why I hate most popular music.
 
(trick ending)

it’s my nature

There is an old story, sufi story I think, about a frog that gives a scorpion a ride on its back, to cross a body of water, but not until the scorpion assures the frog it won’t hurt it. Once they arrive the scorpion stings the frog and while dying the frog asks why did you do that and the scorpion says, I can’t help it, it’s my nature.
 
I’ve recorded more than one singer songwriter who didn’t understand time or how to reliably play in time. I’m not very interested in explaining time to someone who doesn’t get it, plus they can’t instantly fix themselves. Trying to get them to follow a metronome or click track, if they can, also distracts from them being present with their lyrics, which, for me, is much more important. Makes more sense for me to be the one adjusting to their sense of time, plus I don’t mind the musicianship challenge.
 
Some musicians understand right away and accommodate. Others get pissed off and pontificate about how they are so much better than this and they would never have left any part of a recording with any time questions, pushing or pulling. They can’t stop their own complaining even though I hired them, they can’t help it. Doesn’t occur to them I won’t be calling them again.