Chris Smith arrives in Louisville on the 4th and proceeds to knock out a HUGE chunk of FTV9. In slightly over 2 weeks, we:
a) Mix "2004 ESPN EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4" X 4" BATHROOM TILE
INSTALLATION", to everyone's grudging satisfaction [I still suspect we
will be re-mixing it somewhere down the line].
b) Chris records all guitar tracks for "MY LITTLE CICADA", and nearly
all guitar tracks for "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT
THE BEARS!" . "CICADA" undergoes a fascinating personality change for
the better, and seems to grow into its title nicely.
c) Chris, Jeff, and I jump into the studio and record from scratch two
new songs: "SKA FACE" and "MOSQUITO MASSACRE". 'SKA FACE" immediately
jumps into the live set, joined by possibly "CICADA"---we're quite
proud of these two particularly. Overall, Chris' contributions are a
bit more noisy and raucus than usual, and I find myself listening to
these tunes more than I usually do. Warren seems quite happy with what
we've done, and expects to finish his tracks for "CICADA" and "SKA
FACE" by the end of the year. This will make me a very happy boy.
Tour plans for Europe continue to limp along, but progress seems to be
made. Getting tour dates in Spain in particular seems to be a tough nut
to crack, but hope remains.
(left) Chris Smith presents his detailed
notes on the new French TV composition
"SKA FACE". This will be included on the
soon-to-be-published French TV songbook
entitled "MAYBE IF YOU TURN IT UPSIDE
DOWN?", published by Whatthehellisthis
A pleasant afternoon was spent at
ProgDay in Chapel Hill 9/5. ALL the bands this Sunday were outstanding;
no weakpoints whatsoever. Much as I loved the music from all the bands,
I have to say the moment captured on the right was my favorite. Aaron got to
meet "the guy in the dvd", and even yodeled for him a couple of times,
which tickled Mr. van Leer immensely. Hats off to the ProgDay
organizers and to the many people I met.
If you live long enough, you will see
anything and everything: On Friday, September 17th, Nektar and Caravan
play a gig I help to arrange right h'yar in Louisville. But I ought to
think twice about claiming credit for the show, as there is a crap
turn-out: about 70+ people. Special sarcastic thanks to Headliners, Ear
X-Tacy, and WFPK for doing absolutley NOTHING to help promote this
show; indeed, it's not out of the question to accuse them of sabotaging
attendance. Ah, well. Despite all this, the lads from both bands are
absolute gentlemen about the circumstances and still manage to put on a
dazzling show. Special thanks to tour manager Mark Powell for his
attitude and perseverance.
Warren and Chris continue to bash away
at recording overdubs for "2004 ESPN EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4"X4" BATHROOM
TILE INSTALLATION" [I wish somebody would talk me out of this title],
and in fact Chris finishes all his guitar tracks. Warren targets a 3rd
weekend of September completion date. The plan is for Chris to fly to
Louisville to mix this with Jeff avec moi in October.
Jeff and I continue to bash away [I strongly believe in the recycling
of literary devises] at 6 of the newer tunes. Since the decision to
expand FTV9 [possible working title "WHERE'S THE FIRE?"] into a double
cd, a number of possible approaches to recording the 2nd disc are still
being discussed. The idea is to take our usual approach to the 1st
disc, but to take a different tack with the 2nd. These ideas include:
a) Cut down on the electronics and utilize more horn-based arrangements.
b) Have all the members record "live" in the same room, possibly
augmented with additional musicians. This could also be filmed as part
of a future dvd.
c) Have junior keyboardist Mike Sary record more of the keyboards.
d) Utilize the gorgeous vocals of Natalie Nichole Gilbert.
e) Some combination of all of the above.
No decision reached so far, but at the rate Jeff and I are nailing these tunes, we have to figure out something soon.
The possible European tour has been pushed back to late January 2005.
Live and learn: NEVER attempt to book a European tour during the summer
when all your contacts are on vacation at the beach for a month or two
[a concept foreign to us serving our masters-oriented working-class
Americans]. Since this will be during the winter, the new plan is to
stick to the Mediterranian and play 2 dates in Italy, 2 in Spain, and 2
Our Italian touring keyboardist Paolo knocks our a few more FTV renditions.
Guy LeBlanc sends me his dazzling keyboard tracks for our version
of Frank Zappa's "Son of Orange County" that Shawn Persinger, Chris
Vincent, and I have recorded. Shawn also sends a few short solo ideas
he has recorded as well. Some are crazed computer-mutated
Jeff and I fight the elements and appear on Lexington's "THE TRIP WITH CLAY GAUNCE" and do a good impression of babbling idiots.
Not a lot of news to report--Jeff and I
finess the newest tunes, amid much giggling. One tune's transitions are
a bit troublesome, so re-writes are in order.
Warren and Chris send new demos of their contributions to"2004 ESPN
EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4"X4" BATHROOM TILE INSTALLATION", the leftover
track Jeff and I recorded for FTV8. Funny how impressions on a song
change a year or so later after you haven't listened to a track for so
long. It wasn't that the tune was bad or anything; it just wasn't as
far along as the other tunes, and we decided to go with a cover tune
[the French medley] to save Warren some work and hurry the project
along. Anyway, the tracks they've sent are THRILLING and, as usual, up
to their creative and dexterous standards.
The European tour is looking very much in doubt for this year. Some of
the venues we'd hoped for are already booked, and I'm running into a
lot of dead ends with the alternatives. Also a lack of replies to
e-mails, possibly due to contacts summering at the beach.
French TV 8-PARDON OUR FRENCH! reaches
my claw-like hands June 7th. No indoor baseball on the porch for the
forseeable future. Also, I am not greeted warmly at our local post
office, particularly around lunchtime.
We cut "COLOURLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY", "LOOK AT THE BEARS!
LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!", and "MY LITTLE CICADA" on the
21st. The session goes horribly at first: We begin with "COLOURLESS
GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY", and I'm sloppy in places, but the most
troubling aspect is that I find myself forgetting the arrangement and
getting sections out of sequence or skipping them altogether. After the
4th take, I'm at my wit's end and consider trying one of the other
tunes instead.But I notice that I've set my stool about 15 feet away
from Jeff's drums, and it occurs to me we might be missing a cue or two
because of the distance [with our basement set-up, I am normally about
5-6 feet away]. The difference after I move closer is immediate, and we
nail the tune on the next take. Sometimes it's the simple things...
"MY LITTLE CICADA" is next, and if memory serves, mission is
accomplished on the 2nd take. "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!
LOOK AT THE BEARS!" is patched together from 2 takes, but during the
second take with 30 seconds remaining, DISASTER STRIKES! I break the
top string, and NO REPLACEMENTS ARE AVAILABLE! I attempt grafting 2
different G strings instead, but they both snap in the process. Ah,
well-so much for the chords on the ending! All in all, a fine
session---32 minutes of music cut for FTV9!
Work also begins with Jeff on the newest tunes. FUN FUN FUN!
Aaron Isaac Overdover Sary makes his T-Ball debut, and immediately becomes a fan favorite [paricularly his 3rd base coach dad]
Most of the month is spent prepping
FTV8 for pressing & printing and waiting for contact from the
factory. The 5/14 promise looks more and more remote.
Another portion of the month is spent editing older improvs by Jeff
& I on SoundForge 5-looks like we have another cds worth of tunes!
So far, we're not sure whether these will go towards French TV or a
Mike Sary solo cd.
I think I'm running out of ways to phrase "more rehearsal on main 3
songs for FTV9 with Jeff". And I think we'll be taking them to the
Warren journeys to Louisville to
oversee re-mixes of "Creampuffs" and "Mexico"- the guy has an audio
stamina I can only imagine. Too bad he's only in town for a day and
1/2-we coulda done so much more! As it is, we discuss 3 of the tunes
for FTV9 and the setlist for this year. We also discuss whether to
attempt the European tour, since the Swiss fesival gig fell thru
[ultimately Warren signs on, but I think we'll be moving the tour back
a week later than planned].
Less than 24 hours after Warren leaves, Shawn Persinger arrives for a
few days to work on a side project he, Guy LeBlanc, former FTV drummer
Chris Vincent, and I have had up our sleeves for awhile now. Shawn,
Chris, and I spend a week working on a series of mostly short ideas for
this thing, and record at Howie's on 4/20. Sort of hard to classify,
but lately we've been refering to it as "A GUITAR HERO RECORD FOR
PEOPLE WHO HATE GUITAR HERO RECORDS". Of course, Guy's participation
will mutate this concept further.
Two days later, Howie and I master FTV8 after Warren finishes his final
mix of "Tears of a Velvet Clown" in San Diego. ALL HAIL THE BBE SONIC
MAXIMIZER, THRU WHICH ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
After the usual last minute art files hi-jinks [including a frantic 2
days of trying out a dozen or so graphics conversion programs], I send
the final cd + art to Salt Lake City's ONEOFF MEDIA-looks like they'll
have it finished 5/14 [crossed fingers].
More work with Jeff on the main three tunes for FTV9, "Hummin' anna
Strummin' [working title] takes some particularly bizarre turns.
A temporarily final mix of "Ruff Tuff
Cream Puffs" is accomplished. A few synch problems rear their heads,
and we end up having to split the difference on some questionable
Usual work with Jeff on FTV9 tunes, along with a few interesting improvs.
I acquire a nice acoustic Fender 12 string from Dan's Cash America [the
French TV pawnshop of choice!]. It subsequently refuses to leave my
hands for the next few weeks.
Finally, congratulations to Volare keyboardist Patrick Strawser and his
lovley wife Tonya on the birth of their 1st offspring [a boy] last
month! The photos are impressive, and someday, I hope to find out his
Obviously, we have a new website.
We receive an offer to play at a festival in Europe in the fall [I
don't want to give any more details until things are firmly in
place]-this raises the possibility of a European tour. Hopefully more
news on this development soon.
Warren and Chris begin laying tracks on "Creampuff" and what I've heard
sound STUNNING. If all goes on schedule, they will be finished by the
end of February.
"EVERYTHING WORKS IN MEXICO" is re-mixed to everyone's satisfaction-violin MUCH more detectable.
Jeff and I continue to hack away at 3 new tunes, 2 of which acquire new
names: "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!" and
"COLORLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY".
Warren's News Feb 2004
Released a CD under my own name titled
"The Burden of Duplicity" in January, & it features me playing
keys, winds, and mallets. The tracks are varied in style and
instrumentation. There is one Avant-Circus track that includes fellow
FTV conspirator Chris Smith, Trap's Gary Parra, and Expose's Pam
Thompson, two tracks for processed sounds and soloist, two tracks
performed by the San Diego contemporary chamber New Music Ensemble, and
two tracks that are electronic (ala Synergy).
Created a simple website www.nxuMusic.com to
launch the release of my solo CD. The website is rudimentary now but
watch for more info and sound samples to be added over time, including
an "anatomy of a song" page that shows the progress of a Progressive
Rock tracks over time.
Will be playing saxello as a guest with Arti e Mestieri during their
BajaProg 2004, Saturday March 6 performance. I briefly met the boys at
ProgDay and sent them e-mail offering my services as a reed player
after hearing they were confirmed to play BajaProg this year. I'll be
playing (at least) four songs from their more jazz-fusion "Giro di
Valzer per Domani" period: the tunes Mirafioro, Dimmensione Terra,
Valzer per Domani, and Necropoli.
JANUARY 2004-HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The French Medley is finally finished!
Natalie Nichol Gilbert and her sister Denise cut the french vocals and
do a mighty fine job of it. I suddenly have an urge to cram their
vocals onto all the other tunes on FTV8. We mix the whole thing [all 17
minutes] in a 7 hour session. Holding up quite nicely.
Chris re-cuts his acoustic guitar section on "Mexico" due to a wayward click track discovered while mixing it last month.
Jeff and I continue refining the lastest tunes. We've narrowed our work
down to 3 tunes and will pick up the other 3 after these are recorded
[hopefully in March or April?]. Lots of recent improvs, but nothing