Posts Tagged ‘#friends’

Letter # 305 

I like to drive around cities and country sides.  It becomes obvious after a bit of traveling that some cities are better planned and have more logical systems in place than others.  I would love to have the ear of some city planners because it is clear they do not PLAN for growth and other transportation needs early enough.  I would like to share some of my thoughts with you, and hopefully you will share yours here as well.  Who knows, maybe we can get the attention of a few city planners while we are it!

One thing I would really like to see changed is the location of many schools.  I know there are good reasons, but all too often they are located on the main strip through towns of all sizes.  I thought about posting pictures as examples, but we have all seen them.  My guess is this makes the land rather expensive for all tax payers.  Or to look at it another way, the land is of commercial value and interest to local businesses.  A number of businesses could pay fair price for the prime locations and exposure the real estate could provide and that would translate to higher tax collected and business success in the area.

Now consider if the schools would be located a few blocks away from “the main drag” going through town.  Your children will be safer crossing the streets and playing in the area due to reduced traffic around the school.  People that are not supposed to be there would be more obvious if they are loitering around the area.  This would reduce risk to students.

Now that the school is not on the main road, traffic flow will be improved by not restricting speeds in school zones, reducing congestion in parts of town most people will have to travel through daily or at least quite often.  I understand this might mean a loss of revenue by reducing speeding violations through school zones, but I think we can live with that!

What do you think?  Do you see more reasons to adopt this policy?  Do you think there are reasons or situations where this would not be beneficial?

Let me know what bothers you about travel through your city and in other locations.  Who knows, maybe we can suggest changes that will help a lot of people.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The songs in this session are simple two-channel recordings.  These are not multi-tracks of isolated instruments to be mixed down later.  This is down and dirty history.  I enjoyed recording and listening to each of the gigs.  The rest of the band were ok with it, but they were really into the performance and live audience vibe.  As a result, I did not get much assistance or cooperation with my projects.  We never did a sound check for recording levels.  We did not set up differently or use additional gear.  I usually taped separate mixes from their sound board or by using a combination of mono mix and single hi-quality microphone up on stage.  See my LSR series for recording configurations.

Unlike the other players I have jammed with, I had not been playing in bands since I was a teenager.  I did not start playing in front of a ‘real’ audience until I was probably 31 or older.  I started playing keyboards (technically different than playing a piano or organ) when I was 30.  Before that I wrote songs and played my 12 string guitar for parties and such but that was about it.

Lacking confidence and years to sharpen my skills, I tried to make up for it in other ways.  I practiced a lot                     compared to the other players.

I helped in tech – light – sound – marketing.  The recordings were for me, LOL!

This is a live recording of a medley we came up with.  None of us really liked disco, but no rocket science to keeping guys in the club is to keep the girls on the dance floor!  We smashed together popular dance songs and other select songs toward the end of the 2nd set.  Enjoy.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is another song my brother David recorded at a studio years ago as part of his Studio Ways project.  My brother wrote the lyrics and is the vocalist on these tracks.  Terry Boehm played keyboards.  Tom Collier wrote the music and played guitar.  This one is called, “Focus On Your Feet”.  A fun toe-tapping song that sticks in your head!

The songs were being finalized in the studio as each came up to record.  The rhythm tracks were recorded first, with lead instruments and vocals added later that day.  A lot of people ‘freeze up’ their first time in a studio with the tape rolling (yes, this was back in the days when they used tape!) so recording can be very stressful – but with a bit of focus you can come out with great memories.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I may have some free time for a little bit and I would like to catch up on a bunch of things that have been on the back-burner for a while.  I also hope to pull up old band and other video projects and push them hard into the hi-def age.  It will be a lot harder than it sounds as some of my media is very old tech.  We shall see.

I also wanted to share with you some of the songs my older brother David did in a studio years ago.  I was not involved in writing or recording these songs.  My home studio was meager by today’s standards and I was only set up for one-man songwriting stuff.  I was not able to record an entire band at one time back then.

My brother’s band was doing some original songs and jamming pretty often.  Tom Collins and David had an inspired writing session for a couple of hours before practice.  The band mates were so excited with the new material they made calls and booked time in a recording studio the next week!!##!!

I will detail the studio experience and give the band members and authors their due in future blogs.  Here is a tune from the Studio Ways session that will kick things off well.  “My Dog Loves You Too” is a heart-warming love song with a pleasant twist of humor.  David was faced with a challenge to write a funny love song.  His ex-wife Cynthia came up with a few guitar parts and the song writing took off!  Like this one, all the songs were literally finished and arranged in the studio the day they were recorded.  It gives a great live feel to the collection.  Tom Collins wrote most of the music for this recording and my brother wrote the lyrics.

Please enjoy “My Dog Loves You Too”.

 

Those that have visited my site from the beginning to those that have read my posts and comments over the years will know that I started a musical path early-on in my childhood.  From my parents selecting musical instruments for Christmas and my birthdays to my older brother David writing poetry that I would turn into beat and melody (using whatever toys I had available at the time!).

As my interest in poetry grew I tried to soak up what he already knew.  Younger, I did not have training, but I had a natural feel for timing/rhythm and melodies.  I picked up theory, arrangement, recording techniques and a million other things from people way smarter than me in later years, but early it was just experimentation and the fun in creating.

We shared a lot, critiqued a lot, and bounced around things as they got better and better.  Writing lyrics is funny.  We use them to tell a story or create a mood.  Vocals can put us in a trance or allow us to laugh ourselves silly.   Lyrics by themselves they are often trite or ‘nothing, really’.  But put them in front of the right music and performance and they can become life altering.

Over the years there were countless songs we co-authored in one way or the other.  I often leaned on my strong points in the beginning and created the chord progression and melody, but David learned to play the guitar and we later played piano/keyboards.  It is difficult if not Impossible to know what parts originated where.  I stopped trying decades ago!

I have posted songs that we are particularly proud to have been even a small part in writing.  (I think there might be one or two more I have not posted yet, I will have to check LOL).  In the following weeks I would also like to post a number of songs my brother wrote and recorded years ago.  He and a few friends went into a recording studio and laid down his new songs even as some were being finalized.  As I did not record or perform in his “David K and Studio Way” session, it was great to hear this completed project for the first time.

Here are a few of the favorite songs I posted on this blog.

https://wordpress.com/post/midimike.com/205

https://wordpress.com/post/midimike.com/173

https://wordpress.com/post/midimike.com/116

https://wordpress.com/post/midimike.com/50

I will do a little research and post a few tunes from “David K and Studio Way”.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If in the back of your mind                                                                              © MSK 5-1-2016

You just can’t’ stop thinking about it.

You’re In love.

If you would risk everything

For another five minutes.

You’re In love.

 

Their eyes hold the answers

It will take you years to learn.

You’re In love.

When the simplest touch

Sends tremors to your core.

You’re In love.

 

            How do you know?

            What’s only spoken of?

            How long can you deny?

            You’re In love.

 

Because all it takes is a look

And you can’t help but smile.

You’re In love.

The outside world ends

When they call your name.

You’re In love.

 

            How do you know?

            You’re In love.

            When will I know?

            You’re In love.

 

            Can you still deny?

            You’re In love.

            Here are the reasons why

            You’re In love.

 

Their eyes hold the answers

It will take you years to learn.

You’re In love.

When the simplest touch

Sends tremors to your core.

You’re In love.

 

Because all it takes is a look

And you can’t help but smile.

You’re In love.

The outside world ends

When they call your name.

You’re In love.

I added a new original video for my song “From Start To Stop”.  My wife Ellen does the vocals and Greg Stern wrote most of the music and plays guitar.  Ellen and I wrote the lyrics.

I have mentioned Spring Grove Cemetery in past articles and posts and that is where I shot the video.  There was very heavy fog that day and Ellen suggested we take some pictures there.  I will post some of those in the near future, and I also shot a video using my phone that became the background for the video.  There is a small mound with tombstones all around the center.  You can drive all around it so I shot the video as Ellen drove around the mound.  Most of the pictures in the video are mine, but I had a bit of help from my friends over the years!

The YouTube link is below.  I hope you enjoy.

https://youtu.be/Xzp8QWqgeSY

 

Before We Fell In Love”                                                                                  (c)1-19-94 MSK

The painting used to be stunning,

Now it is shallow and pale.

What was once strong and firm,

Stands undecided and frail.

 

Anxiously awaiting the feast

Doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

These rooms so dark and lonely,

Were once a mighty castle.

 

The pool is deep,

It goes on forever.

Things don’t really change,

Only how we wish to see.

 

She used to be so beautiful,

He was so gentle and kind.

They wish not to see each other now,

To leave all their past behind.

 

Summer seemed to last forever,

Years pass in the blink of an eye.

When old friends come to visit,

You can’t wait to say good-bye.

 

The pool is deep,

The grass is always greener.

I was who I am

Before we fell in love.

I wrote this song many years ago.  It reflects ideas I had for a long time before they became lyrics to a song.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been interrupted by people coming into a dark room I was in and immediately tuning on all the lights.  Even early in my life I was concerned about so many city lights that I could not see the stars on an otherwise clear night.  There seemed to be no end to this trend.  Now I have to travel miles and miles to find a dark place outside the city lights.

earthlights3_dmsp

I only have this one recording of the song.  This happened when I introduced the song for the first time to my band mates.  We ran through this tune a couple times in the living room.  As far as I know this is the only time the song was performed, so I was lucky to get it recorded……

Though that is not strictly true as I recorded everything back then!  My friends used to give me a hard time for being so weird about that.  I always had the mics out and ready to record.  Even if we just sat around and talked, I had the reels rolling.

So while this is not a great recording and you can hear me give arrangement directions as we ran through the song, I am glad to have this copy of Brighter and Brighter.  I will have to look in my archives to find out when the lyrics were written.  At the time, my young son would want to keep his bedroom lights on at night.  Not for fear of something under the bed.  Just because he preferred it that way.  So these lyrics and the song they inspired are for him.

“Brighter and Brighter”                                  (C) MSK

Some people get off on those neon lights

Keep the sun burning to hold back the night.

Won’t give it a chance and set the darkness free

So much going on that they have to see

That they have to see.

 

Not me!

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

 

Sign posts, traffic lights and red laser beams

Brighter and Brighter that’s the way it seems

I don’t turn yours out so don’t turn mine on

Just leave it where it is until I am gone

Until I am gone.

 

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

 

Hide in the closet and close my eyes

It won’t help to look when the spirt flies

It’s people like you who learn to believe

Through large mushroom clouds and your big bight ideas

Yeah, all your big bright ideas.

 

Not me!

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

I Dig the Dark

____________________________________________________________

 

I enjoyed the response from my poem “Eight Letters”.  Thank you all so much. (https://midimike.com/2017/07/25/eight-letters/)

The poem kept rattling in my head all day long and I found them fitting a rhythmic pattern.  Then a melody jumped in and I headed up to my studio to get it all down.

There was a mood inspired by the groove and I layed down the guitar tracks to a metronome.

The drums came easily as I followed the rhythms in my head.  As I mentioned earlier, this is fun and simple for me.  The chorus just jumped out, and I like the changes coming back into the verse.  The 6 string acoustic guitar sounded great to me and fit the song perfectly.

From there it was add the bass sound on my MIDI keyboard and it was ready for the Lead and harmony vocals.

It took me a while to sing this one to match the mood and I am glad you didn’t have to listen to me learn the melody and fit it to the music, but I think it came out as intended; short and sweet.

Here is the song mixed down.  The whole process took me about a week, but this was before I started working over 50 hours a week!