Sometimes things happen and you are caught off guard. Sometimes this causes stupid things to come out of your mouth. And sometimes you have to do something about it. And sometimes you know that even though what you said was accurate and most probably true, you really didn’t mean for those particular words to tumble out of your head, in that particular order, at that exact time, with so much venom. And even though, deep inside of you, you are really glad you said it, and you really really, really meant it, you have to admit:
you were caught off guard and probably should have swallowed instead of spit.
So, my Sunday fans, what is the lesson here? Well, Forrest said it best…shit happens. We repair what we can, let go of what we can’t, and try a little bit harder next time to take a breath before we unleash our demons inside.
The same is true in the recording studio. On the one hand, I strive for authenticity, that moment of pure, unabashed, creative, car crash inspiration that will take you to a place you have never been before. A place I might visit in a dream…but you know, that’s just not really how it works for me. When I’m behind the microphone, if I let my mind go I usually just end up in another song, in another key, coming in on an upbeat when I should be coming in on the downbeat…in short, I get lost, it sounds like shit and I have to do it again.
Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a take and next thing I know I’m thinking of my second grade teacher, Miss Moriarty, who, one day while I was going through her purse looking for lunch money, discovered she smoked Marlboro reds. She, who quit mid school year to marry a Blue Angle pilot…she was probably with child. I was thinking how much more I preferred her to her substitute, Miss Saroyan. Miss Saroyan was from the South. For a second grader born in San Francisco, the accents I associated with the South bared no resemblance to her sorrowful, unfamiliar tonal cadences that hung in the air long after her mouth had closed. But there you go.
No, when I’m staring down a microphone I must focus. I must think. There is absolutely no room for accidental authenticity. My authenticity comes from knowing where I am at every moment while the “tape is rolling.” 100% in the moment. No accidents. For someone with attention deficit challenges this is no small task. Just ask Miss Moriarty. Rummaging through her handbag was just the tip of the iceberg.
Understand, being so focused doesn’t mean I’m any less authentic or spontaneous…knowing where I am in the middle of a “tapes rolling”, allows me to take those car crash leaps because I know just where I need to land to pick up the chorus, allow the guitar solo space, make room for a fabulous drum roll or cymbal crash…when I’m keyed in to the song every thing falls into place. Sometimes you get so keyed in you can’t hear the part you are actually playing…it’s so in the grove it disappears into the song. This of course creates another problem. All of sudden you have this sinking feeling that the part you are playing so brilliantly isn’t there? So you stop what you are doing mid stream and scream to your producer or engineer, “what the fuck! Are you recording this?” And in that same nanosecond you know instinctively that yes, we are rolling, and yes, what you were playing really was brilliant, yes, you were playing in the zone, and now, you have to do it all over again. What ever you had is gone. You have to do something about it…and you do, and you will, play it again, and again, because sometimes, things happen, and you are caught off guard.
Sometimes things happen and you are caught off guard. In the recording studio, on the bus or subway, at your local…doesn’t matter where…when it does, stop…just stop. Listen to your words as they begin to muster in your brain readying for the charge. Then, look up, look down, look ahead, look inside of yourself, and remember…there are no accidents. Authenticity and spontaneity are not accidental…they require work, planning and honesty.
Enjoy this Sunday fans…Winter has taken a hike…we should too…