So four weeks from today our first real recording session as a band begins in the woods near Parry Sound, Ontario at the legendary Little Amsterdam Studios, (better known as Jeff’s cottage), but before that can begin we have to round up all the equipment, hook it all up, make sure it’s working well and that process began last night at our mixing/mastering studio Fine Audio Recording Technologies Sound (F.A.R.T Sound for short, better known as Rob’s house). I’m sure I’ll have lots more nonsense to say in the coming weeks, but for now a quick shot the setup right now.
I told you I’d be back with a video! So a while back we started a series called “Building A Song“, basically what we wanted to do was track the process of writing and recording a song for ourselves and for anyone else that may be interested. I had written a riff, brought to the guys, then one practice Scott (the sexy beast singing and playing guitar in this video) suggested we revisit it, we did and then the process of fleshing it out began. For me it’s been a real learning process, Dan (the guy tucked away in the corner that plays the solo) and I had written a couple of songs back in our teenage years, but they were very basic and that was a long time ago. So in the first video we were in the starting to flesh it out stage, in this video we are starting to put together all the parts.
A couple of notes, there’s a whole lot of learning going on here, not just in terms of some of the guys learning the music but also in terms of the technology involved. We are learning how to do a multi-camera video shoot, we’re learning how to mix and record live audio (Dear JamHub you rule! We’ll talk about you in a separate video!), how to sync them both together and then a million and one different pieces that make up those processes, so, it’s sooooooo far off from perfect it’s not funny (ok it’s a little funny 😉 ), but that’s the point, we’re learning, and having a great time doing it. So let’s get to the video:
-Rob (The Bald Avenger wearing the snazzy gray Parry Sound Project sweater from the video)
After what seems like an eternity, the six amigos were finally reunited last night for band practice. We spent some more time working on the song from out last post and of course catching up. I should have a video up some time over the next day or so, plus some news that for me (and I do believe the other fellas feel the same way) is really exciting, but that will be later. For now, here’s a pic from our practice space last night 🙂
OK, so this whole Parry Sound Project thing….. Basically it’s a group of guys that get together whenever they can to make music.. I know, I know, some middle aged dudes trying to relive their youth cheesy clichéd trope blah blah blah… Actually ya that’s kind of it, kind of not, we’re not really trying to relive anything. I think most people at this stage of their lives can relate to working crazy hours, rushing home to get the kids to whatever activity night it may, wait… crap is tonight soccer night??? Oh no I’m good.. wait where was I? Oh right, kids activities, then family and friend obligations and shit, where did my forties go? So we make a little time for ourselves in this life we lead just to get away to a darkened room with others of our life persuasion and try to do art. It’s a weird thing for a middle aged clichéd wanna be rocker geeky IT nerd Dad to say, but that’s what you try to do. You have no disillusions of grandeur, or real ambitions, or maybe you do, does it matter? It’s a great escape from reality doing something that’s good for your head.
So with all that being said we thought it would be fun to record the process of writing a song. Since we started last year we’ve been bringing in little riff ideas, working them out basically and moving on. This started as one I brought in, Dan was playing with us more so I wrote it out to three different guitar parts, Dan got busy in life and we put it on the back burner. So last Sunday Scott thought we should try it out again. We practiced/rewrote a basic arrangement, and then Scott added a new guitar part, solo and surprise surprise… a vocal line. I think the search for singer is over, but we’ll have to talk him into that. So this is where we are as of this past weekend. I like it, I think it’ll be fun to see where we go from here, we have ideas…. that can’t be good 😉
Do you know how hard it is to get a bunch of middle aged men together in the same room once a week…. err once every couple of weeks… errr once a month to make music?? Apparently pretty friggin hard because we haven’t been able to… Though it’s not from a lack of trying. Hopefully that will change this weekend, and we’re really looking forward to it because we have some new/funny ideas to try out on you fine people, but in the mean time I hate seeing this site unupdated (my spell checker tells me that’s not a word, but fuck it.. it is now) so I’m going to start doing something about that.
I stumbled upon a video this week which is called DEVIN TOWNSEND: The ULTIMATE Review-Trospective (apparently the author doesn’t care if he uses made up words either), while I might argue with some of the authors choices, his sentiments I completely agree with. At the same time Robin and I were sharing some prog metal band discoveries with each other and he commented about how great it was to have someone to talk about that stuff with. So I got to thinking it might be fun to share videos and music with you fine people that you may or may not have heard of.
So Devin Townsend. He is one of those guys I can still remember where and when I discovered him. I had heard his name mentioned in music blogs, and had looked him up on youtube, I found the video for a song called Deadhead, honestly I didn’t get it. But I found myself going back to that video and thinking, I know I’m missing something, but I just don’t get it. Eventually I tried another video called Gato, this time all I could think was, that was kinda weird, BUT there was a hook in that song that ate away at my brain, I continued onto Supercrush and the album Addicted and I was done… That album was the musical equivalent of heroin to me and all the parts that I didn’t get before fell into place and began an obsession.
The great thing about being late to the game with an artist is that you have all their work there for you to discover as quickly as you can consume it, and Devin has a TON of it. I became obsessed and shared that obsession with anyone/everyone that would listen. I won’t drone on, but if you love heavy music you owe it to yourself to listen to his work with Strapping Young Lad and his solo work with the Devin Townsend Band and The Devin Townsend Project (seeing where I ripped our name off from yet? 😉 ). If you’re not into heavy stuff, Ghost or even more so Casualties of Cool are absolutely amazing. I’ve watched a ton of him being interviewed and speaking, and he comes across as a really honest, humble, goofy individual that is extremely likeable as well, which just attracts you to the guys music even more. So check out this review-trospective, it’s fun and gives you a good introduction to the man and his music and hopefully a few of you will join me in my crazy obsession for all things Devin.
Ahhhh what do a bunch of middle aged boys do when their drummer comes down with the flu? Stay at home and mope? No sir, we get us a replacement drummer and some boobies and we soldier on writing new songs that you’ll probably never hear… All in the name of fun and games and boobies, cuz that’s how we role yo. Did that make me sound young and hip? Groovy baby….
So it was a long and busy summer for this group of middle aged men…. and 2/3’s of us managed to get back together last night to start making some noise and get this thing going again…. And of course we have some evidence to present in the form of the genesis of a cover song, any guesses as to what song and artist??
And some pictures, cuz why not?
Wow, I’ve totally been slacking on the updating front. It hasn’t been a case of us doing nothing, we actually have been practicing on a fairly regular basis, with the exception of the odd weekend interrupted by middle aged man obligations. As a matter of fact, we actually started the process of writing songs. For shits and giggles I thought I would capture what it’s like trying to communicate ideas while in the midst of that whole song writing process. Go ahead, laugh at us, that’s the only completely honest response available 😉
I will start by apologizing for the crappy iPhone photos below, but I did want to provide some evidence that we are in fact working at getting it all going!
For for those of you in the GTA, we’ve been practicing over at a place called The Rehearsal Factory, and man is it a great place to practice! They have some crazy ass rooms, like Hell’s Pit from above, but also some really great non devil worshipping rooms as well for those of you that aren’t into ritual sacrifice the way we are…. But in all seriousness if you’re looking for a great place to play I would definitely recommend it, rates are reasonable, they have some great equipment and the place is clean and very comfortable…
I will completely admit to the process being a humbling one, I haven’t played with other people in over a decade and it really shows. Some of the other guys are in the same boat, though not as long I don’t think and not as rusty. That being said you there is already progress and I fully expect that we will begin ramping up content here over the next month or two. I think we have some pretty fun ideas lined up and can’t wait to share them with you guys… Hey speaking of sharing….
We had the family over yesterday during the day for my sons birthday party, and the topic got brought up by my lovely wife (*cough*thanks for throwing my under the bus dear 😛 *cough*) that I would not be home that evening because I had band practice…. Now I don’t know about the rest of you out there in bands, but for me this was like chumming the water for the inevitable shark feeding frenzy that would follow. The next half hour or so was a series of jokes about head banging, when and where were we playing, would we be writing our own songs, how they would follow us around and be our groupies, dress up as god knows what when doing said groupying (is that even a word?) and on and on and on… Which in the back of my mind started convincing me more and more that really what we need to be doing is starting a Rammstein cover band:
Well on the plus side it’s out there now and I don’t have to worry about that any more, now I just have to figure out the right way to scar them and dissuade them from their aforementioned “groupying” project. And that is it for now my friends, we will talk in the near future 🙂
Growing up as a teenager, I like a lot of other people had dreams of one day becoming a famous musician. Also like the vast majority of other people, for me that dream never became a reality, but somewhere in the process I discovered that was never really the point. Making music was the opportunity to spend a few hours every week escaping the reality of the daily grind we all face and doing something that was good for me. What I mean by “good for me” was it got me bouncing around and moving instead of flicking through the channels, it helped release any aggression I had built up in a positive manner, and it gave my the opportunity and excuse to spend time with friends which inevitably became increasingly difficult to do as we grew up into adults with adult relationships.
Sadly, growing up does happen to all of us, and there are casualties in the process, making music and “the band” became one of them for me as I and my friends got married, bought homes and had kids. My guitar became just another item occupying space in the closet. My love of music however never went away, in actuality it developed more over the years. Age has a way of softening the absolutes I once knew in genres and musical artists and tastes, and I found myself looking forward to my commutes to and from work when I had those brief little escapes into bite sized five minute realities some musician had created for me. I would try to coax friends into going to see these acts because that was the next best thing to playing myself, plus they had way cooler toys than I could ever afford!
As my tastes broadened I discovered a couple of acts that really spoke to me on a musical level in a way that I had never experienced before, those bands being Porcupine Tree (anything Steven Wilson for that matter) and The Devin Townsend Project. I got lost in their music for a couple of years honestly listening to very little else, rotating between the two and being thankful that I hadn’t stumbled upon them earlier because now I had their respective huge catalogs to keep my addiction well supplied. Of course as I’m rolling along in my car with Anesthetize (wait did I say bite sized? Maybe not always 😉 ) or Deadhead blaring on the stereo I’m fantasizing that it’s me and my non existent band jamming out those tunes, simultaneously thinking who I would invite to play in that band and how there was no chance in hell we would ever be able to play that stuff, and then the final push came from an unlikely source I never saw coming.
My wife and I were sitting down on the couch one night flipping through the channels and stumbled upon a documentary series called Sonic Highways by Dave Grohl, for those of you that haven’t seen it, the gist is that they go around to eight cities to look for inspiration to record a song there and speak to musicians from that city about it’s history. What completely captivated me and honestly endeared Dave Grohl to me, was the immediate recognition of the “geeky love” this guy had for music. I understand that type of love perfectly, it’s the kind that frees that inner child we all have from it’s “being an adult and all the responsibilities you now have” prison and let’s it run wild screaming “that’s sooooo cool” and “oh oh oh, oh my god”. Want an example, watch the LA episode and Taylor Hawkins response to recording with Joe Walsh. I was right there with guy yelling at my poor wife “I know how he feels and how cool would that be”. Yes I’m an idiot, yes I’m OK with that, thankfully she is too.
Geek love aside and finally reaching the point of this post, how that show totally affected me was the message that was buried in every episode. “You don’t have to be a great technical musician, go out and make your music”. My music. I want to calling something “my music”. I want to feel the rush that brings again. I want my fingers to be calloused again, I want the comradery of a bunch of sweaty stinky friends piled together in a small room making sounds only ever heard during a monkey gang bang in some South African rain forest, during rainy season. Stinky, smelly, moist monkey sex, ya, that’s rock and roll. So I took the first step, I opened the door to the cage that little KISS loving nine year old Rob was trapped in. And in his shy little voice he asked this nice women who had been taking care of him for the last twenty six years if she would be ok if he went and asked some of his other friends if they could come out and play. She was. So there was these two other old grumpy men he knew, and he really respected as musicians and more importantly as friends, and asked them if they wanted to play. You could almost hear the click of a door opening somewhere in them and most certainly you could hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes. That was the beginning of the Parry Sound Project.
Parry Sound is a place where the fourth member of the band has a cottage, where we all go to escape reality twice year with the guys and then again with all our families during the summer. It’s a place where we are happy and enjoy each others company even if it’s only for a few brief moments before we head back to reality. It’s a great place that means a lot to us, so it seemed only natural that we should try to capture the feelings that place brings. Throw a Project at the end and you’re
ripping off paying tribute to Mr Townsend’s band that I mentioned earlier. Plus it sounds nice, retro sounding, which is good, because we’re old, err retro I mean. One of our guitar players knew a drummer and bass player, and this past week five out of the six of us got together to talk about this all and fart around on our instruments. Our first official practice will be February 1st.
What this blog will be is a record of the whole process, we’ll talk about gear, about setting up a website, getting logos made, recording, practicing, learning, playing, all the stuff that goes into making a band. But this is about having fun, and we’re gonna have a ton of fun, learn a lot and hopefully make some great music. We hope you join us on this road because the experience is better when it’s shared, and I do believe this will be an experience worth sharing.