Four days to go to D-day. I like to make preparations in advance, so I can relax in the days before departure. But that is never how it goes, of course. I hit my left index finger with a hammer. Blood dripping from the place where my finger makes a barre chord on the guitar neck. But that healed quickly and I resumed practicing in my studio. Then a heavy thunderstorm raged overhead and I heard a strange splattering noise. I discovered that water was dripping in my pick tin! I thought this was funny until I realized that the roof of my studio was leaking. As the forecast said much more rain was coming, I got up early yesterday and climbed on the roof to discover four holes in the ridge. I made some emergency repairs and as I was gathering my tools, it started raining again. Four days to go.
zondag 25 mei 2014
I am so excited about flying to Canada, that I am ignoring the feelings of everyone around me. Kokopelli for instance, who will not accompany me on this trip because the airfare is just too high. To make amends, I wrote a song about Kokopelli that will be featured on the new album.
Let me explain who Kokopelli is. He is a VW van, a vintage mobile home and also the Diftong Utility Vehicle. Wikipedia says the name comes from a fertility deity in some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Besides being a god of childbirth and agriculture, he is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music(!).
The song is about how the van sometimes saves us from the perils of daily routine. He takes me and my wife to the hills, where we put on our boots and forget about social media and all that. Way to go, Kokopelli!
dinsdag 20 mei 2014
Recording an album costs a lot and wouldn’t it be nice if that was not only my own money. I read about applying for a subsidy in a Dutch magazine. I had an e-mail exchange with a lady who explained “the rules” to me. I expected rule #1 to be that you have make good music (whatever that is), but music was not mentioned at all. Instead you have to make your subsidizers believe that you are going to earn money with your project. But if you know that beforehand, you can just apply for a loan.
Then, I started thinking about crowd funding. Everyone does that these days, so why not me? However, I am not sure where to look for a crowd. And I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the idea that people pay me for writing and recording songs, before they can have a listen. So then it came to me. Suppose I pay for this album myself and then you go out and buy it? Deal?
woensdag 14 mei 2014
I went to the guitar shop for my refretted guitar. It had been quite an operation and I had to answer questions like: “Do you want equal spacing between the strings or between the cores of the strings?” How can I, a person struggling to play a proper barre chord, answer a question like that? I never had complaints, so I asked to leave it as it was. The moment it was placed gently into my hands was the moment I dreaded, the moment of truth. It looked great. In fact it looked like before. So I started playing and that was when I realized what a fine instrument it is. It has that liquid feel like it almost plays itself and it sounds … well, it sounds great. Eddy managed to get the action, the distance between the neck and the strings, a little lower, so it even plays easier than before. Playing a barre chord on this beauty is a piece of cake, really.
maandag 12 mei 2014
You only realize how reliant you are on internet communications when those communications fail you. I already wrote about how my first time skyping was postponed, because a provider was temporarily not working. Well at least, then I was warned beforehand. This time, however, I didn’t see it coming. I checked all the cables but nothing helped. All because I did not read the paperwork. My fault. Always read the paperwork before you start cursing the technology or the people behind it.
The big plus is of course, that I suddenly had the time to do the things that I hadn’t gotten around to. Like doing the voice-overs for a Diftong documentary or preparing a tasty fish chowder. And today a man came with a modem, plugged it in and switched it on. Nothing to it. And it works, as obviously you can read this.
vrijdag 2 mei 2014
When you are about to record you start wondering if your instrument is in good shape. I took it to the shop where I bought it. Aha, said Ed, you have really played it those last four years, it needs new frets! Today, at Piet Guitars in Arnhem, it was gently placed on the workbench. Ed chose a fierce-looking tool and started ripping out the frets, those little metal bars on the neck. Oh no, I thought, I don’t really want to watch this. I will come back next week to check the result. So, while I am writing this I am staring at an empty corner in the living room where my guitar usually stands in its case. Fortunately, I have Norman by my side. An old budged guitar full of scratches, not so sophisticated, but a good companion nonetheless. And... Norman was made in Canada!