Posts Tagged ‘#Irish’

We all try to rationalize situations we are not sure of.   We attempt to explain why things happen – or things that happen to us.  We try to understand the world around us.  When I worked at the instrument music store, I rationalized that I got the job because I was a previous customer and that I could program and understand the new digital MIDI keyboards hitting the market.  Very quickly (months, I believe) I was given my own satellite store to manage.  I opened three more chain stores in a few short years.  In reality, I probably bought more in equipment than I got paid to work there!  Almost kidding, but I understood a lot of the toys and had played with a bunch of them, but to get a room full of toys all day long and then get paid to learn all I could about them, well, I won’t get into religion here but that was heaven on Earth.  I would have done it for free.  And do you know how I rationalized being a SALES MAN? (I am pretty anti-establishment from way back………..) I tried to listen to where the customer was coming from and what they needed.  From there I would teach them what I knew about gear that would help get them to the next level.   Everyone needs to get to the next level.  That is what I am doing today.  It is what you are doing right now.

And sometimes we need to explain to ourselves why.   Why do I need to buy that new toy?  Why do they like me?  Why does the sun always shine where I am?  Why aren’t things working as I planned.  Why don’t they understand me?   What did I do right or wrong?  This has bugged me all my life and I hope it does not get to you.  Working in the music store(s) I sold gear to a lot of bands. Some people were regulars.  Always something needed, some new gear.  One of the bands told me that their sound man was on vacation and they needed someone to run sound for them.  It SEEEEEEMED logical to ask me, I knew about the mixing boards and PA systems.  But I had never run sound before ( truth in advertising alert – – – I did run sound for one other band prior to this but that is a funny story I wanted to share with you later.  So I did it once before  ….. technically  …….) What would you do?  These are good customers and by now good friends too.  If I run sound and really suck, the friendship and the work relationships are out the window.  I let them know I do not have a lot of experience but if they don’t have anyone else I would be glad to help.  They decide to go with me for the vacation gigs.  I run through the checklist a thousand times in my head.  I set the stage and house equipment up methodically, I run through the gain staging like riding a bike, I get the monitors working and run CD audio through the mains to test them.  Time to start.   Big crowd.   Lots of people and friends.  As you can imagine I am rapidly cycling through excitement, concern, confusion, fear, panic, and jazzed up one after the other.  The band starts playing and they are soooooo good I just relax.  I think even I can make these guys sound good!  I was lucky.  From what I remember the event was fine.

Their sound man decided to move onto other things and when he came back from vacation I was asked to take his place.  Again I had to rationalize;  well, they only like me cause I can get them a deal at the store. Well, they like me because I can set up the equipment pretty fast.   Well, it went over well because they are really tight and have great equipment.   You have probably done that a bunch of times as well.  It was hard for me to accept all the way down to the point of knowing that they noticed and appreciated the mix.  Their fans did too but most importantly, so did the band wives!  Never forget the power of the spouse!  So now for the first time, I am involved with a real band.  I am the regular sound guy.  The Band understands the power of the PA, and they determine that the sound guy gets equal cut…… as if he is as important to the overall sound as the individual band members were.  Amazing concept and it worked so well over the years.  I could not rationalize my way out of deserving that one; we worked as a team and the band always sounded great.

All this from knowing how to program a digital keyboard.

Speaking about lyrics that never become songs, etc., sometimes I write and record a demo or rough track of a song and it just never seems to go anywhere.    Some of them do get resurrected, many don’t.  For some it may be as simple as a tempo change or a different arrangement.  Other times for me it is mysterious.  In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I would like to post lyrics to a song in the making.  As this platform gives us access to followers around the globe, I do not want to leave anyone out, so please take this as intended.  If I don’t mention your country, other people’s songs will!

Then in a later post I can bring in the recorded demo tracks.   I like the lyrics for the most part and I love the idea behind the song, but it is not there yet.  Maybe after a pint or two of Guinness and some suggestions from you I can finish this song.  And of course, that could be a topic in and of itself.  We hear phrases like “final mix”.  Some people say there is no such thing.  Others say you just have to stop at some point and let it go.   Much of this may depend on your final goal.  Are you a singer/songwriter trying to get a break and some air-time?  Are you shopping for places your band can perform your unique style?   Do you want to have a clean demo to send to your favorite artist?  Is this a sound-track for video/YouTube?  Do you make sound effects for games?

We can always say make it as good as possible but that is very subjective.  Hire 50 sound engineers and you will get 45 different mixes (there are always people that look over your shoulder!)  Tip for today;  it takes a really long time to fix it in the mix even if you know what you are doing.  It is much easier and preferred to get the great sound first, and then record it properly (using gain staging and other procedures mentioned earlier).  When you record a great sound it will sound great.  As a sound guy for a local band I would get compliments on the sound (House from the audience but almost always monitors from the band).  I thank them and tell them the band sounds great, I just let everyone hear them.

“A Part of Me”                                                                   © 08-2000  MSK

American Indians gave me my soul,

A spiritual guide for all living things.

Each man’s fate is his to control

Peace with Nature, the warrior sings.

A Part of Me belongs to all of Them

From the Germans strength was my first lesson.

Trial and precision as you master these.

Pride that’s passed down from son to son.

Built in each hand crafted Masterpiece.

Oriental neighbors have shown me the light

Truth, Balance, Eternal harmony.

The beauty of patience and delight

Traditions deep within history.

A Part of Me belongs to all of them.

I’m proud to be an American.

Sisters and brothers from every shore,

That’s what makes us Americans.

Part of Me belongs to all of Them

From the Irish I inherit my pride

I stand my ground and I will speak my mind.

I will honor the lands and the tide,

And I’ll never leave a neighbor behind.

My English side embraced nobility.

Dry humor in the face of foes

Hardy enough to capture the seas.

Portraits legends and heroes.

African Americans forced to become

A torn people of two nations.

Tribal tales and melodic rhythm

Passed onto the next generation.

The French helped me understand

Style and grace can be nurtured like wine.

To believe there is no better place

Life shared with friends, bread and wine.

A Part of Me belongs to all of them.

I’m proud to be an American.

Sisters and brothers from every shore,

That’s what makes us Americans.

Part of Me belongs to all of Them

Year after year

They want to raise their children here.

Because sweat blood and tears

Can amount to something here.

There’s a lot of people in my life

A part of Me belongs to all of Them.

Your song may be different and that’s OK.

Sing it with your fellow American.