emerging from the fog of the weekend

now playing: dee carstensen, “beautiful”

man…i do this to myself every week, knowingly, and yet i seem to refuse on the important level to break the cycle.

three hours’ sleep last night…or, more accurately, three hours of less-than-restful napping with an on-again, off-again eye on the clock next to the bed, jarring awake every so often out of a subconscious paranoia that i would oversleep and fail to get those who rely on me to their appointed destinations. this is, of course, followed by a short series of gropes for the snooze button – prepared for in advance by setting the clock to a minimum of half an hour before i need to think about getting out of bed in the first place…because i know myself well enough to know that i don’t budge on the first bell.

and then, as the week progresses, i stay up late pretty much every night of the week (i rarely get to bed before midnight) and by the time the weekend rolls around, the chances of my getting out of bed on a saturday morning before 11am are pretty slim.

i run and run and run until i completely burn myself out, and then i overcompensate for the lost rest on the weekends…and as such, weekends have become a pretty non-productive time for me – what with so much sleeping going on.

there are leaks in the roof in the garage that need my attention, a pipe that angles up from underneath the floor in the ceiling of the basement has a leak that’s dripping into the ceiling tile in the basement, i want to finish weeding around the edge of the house and put down new mulch to settle in before the weather starts to change in earnest, i have shelves to put up in the space above the garage, i have cabinets sitting in the garage waiting for me to assemble them and reorganize, so that i don’t feel the weight of the work needing to be done hanging over my head there…these things – well, some of them, anyway – require that i make use of what’s left of the waning daylight.

i have another weekend to myself this coming weekend – no gigs, no one else in the house but myself…but i already think i know what’ll be consuming most of my time this weekend, now that the studio is fully functional and the drums have returned.

i don’t know if it’s safe to discuss within these bounds (because i don’t know if our victim is a visitor here or not), but a good friend to me and to my music has a birthday coming up soon, and something is in the works to commemorate said birthday, and i can’t think of anything that would make this person happier than to have the first and only existing copy of some new tom hampton music, so i think i’m going to work on that this weekend…but there’s no reason that has to be to the exclusion of other things.

the release party on friday for the new nik everett album was amazing…lemme tell ya – when you get used to ambling over to the corner of the bar to pick up your guitar and nonchalantly start playing for whatever group of drunks have assembled in whatever room you happen to be in, there’s something extremely gratifying in the details…walking out of a dressing room and into a darkened hall to the cheers of an audience who came specifically to hear the songs you’re going to play that night, being properly announced to an appreciate crowd, and being called back for an encore after your set when you’ve played well. this particular club has a great reputation for music in philadelphia, and it lived up to it on friday night.

it’s funny, i’ve played this place maybe half a dozen times with almost as many different artists, and every time i play there it seems that enough time has passed since the last time that i completely forget how small the stage is. i went in there with almost a dozen different instruments – mandolin, hawaiian guitar, dobro, etc – all things that i’d planned on using on different songs, but it was simply not to be. i managed to make do with four guitars and a lap steel, and we just left out the different colors that i’d been planning on bringing to the party. there’ll be other gigs, though…that’s one of the reasons that (i assume) people hire me – for my versatility…as much so as whatever i might bring to the party musically.

i had a great aftershow – blake was there, as well as marc moss from target studios(where both the nik album and the upcoming blake album were/are being mixed) and my buddy marty higgins, and we all went across the street to a bar called “the grog” after the show to hang out and talk…i discovered that i miss being out of the loop sometimes. i enjoyed standing around and discussing gear and talking about the injustices of the music business and about how there are so few musicians who really understand what it means to play for the song and put their egos and their chops (or lack thereof) aside for the greater good. marc had a lot of input about this, since he probably suffers many more instances of this than any of the rest of those of us who were talking about it..what with him being a professional producer/engineer and all…

i remember thinking while we were talking that there’s just no friggin’ way i could run a professional studio and deal with clients whose music i didn’t have a personal interest in…i’d go completely crazy recording crappy bands that i had no emotional connection to. but – if i could do five blake albums or five marty albums every few months, i’d be in good shape.

i did do my first outside session this week – my old buddy todd came over to work on a recording and brought a vocalist and an upright bassist with him. i had a couple of strikes against me out of the gate, namely that i hadn’t gotten the entire studio set up the way i wanted it before we started, and that i didn’t have enough of what i considered to be quality microphones to record an ensemble all at once…but, oddly enough, everything worked out pretty well. we started on thursday night and did about three hours’ worth of work, and then todd came over yesterday afternoon to mix what we had. it was a pretty sparse mix – it was a bluegrass version of an iris dement song, “hotter than mohave“. (yeah, yeah, i know…saying “bluegrass version of an iris dement song” is kinda like saying “country version of a hank williams song” in a way, but there ya go. whatever.) at any rate, we did hit a snag or two during the recording process and the mixing process, but everything that we ran up against worked itself out rather quickly, and everything went quite well.

well enough that i’m actually looking forward to recording some other stuff soon…i’m going to completely redo the PC that sits in my equipment rack, upgrade it and install some new components…and then i’ll be ready to go. i need to start looking at other soundcard solutions as well, something with more inputs and with the ability to import ADAT tracks via the optical interface found on the ADAT machines. i’ve created an unspoken goal for myself to upgrade both the soundcard and to add to my microphone inventory after the first of the year.


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