Posts Tagged ‘#original songs’

I’m with you sometimes when you stay up late at night
Watching a show or reading a book and you start to cry.
I try not to interfere, so rarely ask if you’re alright
It ruins the tears if you have to stop and tell me why.

Your eyes just light up as you get the widest grin
Whenever animals or an old couple stop to chat.
You never judged an animal by the color of their skin
And I’ve never had the chance to thank you for that.

What Is It that makes you smile?
What does it take to make you cry?
How do you keep focused on those in need?
Whatever it is it becomes obvious
Because I love what I see.

Sitting on a hillside as the sunset puts on a show
Looking forward to early morn’ to see the blooms.
There are many things about you I still don’t know.
Grab it before it becomes lost in ashes and fumes.

You look at things in ways I will never understand
No interest in paybacks or evening the score.
Never guaranteed things would go just like we planned.
Saying life is a thrill a minute so keep looking for more.

No interest in paybacks or evening the score.
Saying life is a thrill a minute so keep looking for more.

What Is It that makes you smile?
What does it take to make you cry?
How do you keep focused on those in need?
Whatever it is it becomes obvious
Because I love what I see.

I am usually silent and often in the minority, but here is what I say.

Questions for a few friends.

Sonar Track Panel Wave and MIDI files that generate sounds from computer programs called plug-ins

I mentioned experimenting with an on-line jamming program. It became the clipboard for a few guitar sections I created while waiting for one thing or another to work. I titled each as verse, bridge, chorus, etc. I had to give it a project name to save the clipboard and I came up with “Not Now”.

I used those short pieces and assembled them into a song arrangement. Once the chords and arrangement were in place I naturally started thinking of lyrics (as I have a tendency to do). The file was named Not Now so I kept it as my Cakewalk (BandLab) project name. So it becomes the theme of the lyrics. In one hour they were written. Getting them to match the odd rhythms and sparse instrumentation became a challenge. It took me a few days to come up with the melody and then practice it enough to get the rough tracks down. To all just joining; I get things down to rough tracks and then write another song, poetry, lyric or instrumental. When I was young I hoped some band would do my songs correctly in a studio. I am not young now.

Here is a rough mix of “Not Now”. I used a Martin Acoustic/Electric guitar for the guitar track. Using my MIDI keyboard I pulled up a plug-in for drum sounds. I imported the original noodling guitar parts I did from the clipboard but they were not recorded to a metronome or drum pattern. I listened and figured out the tempo of the segments and set Cakewalk to match. That way I could listen to the short guitar segments as I created the basic drum parts and arranged all the segments in order. I pulled up a bass guitar sound and played the MIDI keyboard to generate the bass line.

Next, I Muted the original guitar tracks and recorded a new track to replace it. The song seemed to cry out for strings but that is usually just me. I like good sounding strings in various styles of music.

Lyrics were posted here: https://midimike.com/2020/06/01/not-now/

I use two monitors as there is a lot of information to keep ‘track’ of even for a small project.
This is the Piano Roll view. Each color represents different instruments. The lower group triggers drum sounds.

I gave a link to BandLab above. Full disclaimer this is not a commercial and I do not get paid for anything I do here. However….. if you are interested I used to pay hundreds of dollars every year or so to keep this great recording program updated. They now offer the program and all updates for FREE. No kidding.

I hope you enjoy “Not Now”. Each time I listen to it I like it more. Again, this is just me as each new song I write becomes my newest favorite.

If just for a little while.

Following my earlier video project for Cincinnati Microwave Inc., I helped in another project for the new version of the company now called Escort Incorporated. I was an employee during the collapse, and it took a couple of years before the company built itself back up and I was re-hired. New owners but it still had the same family feel as more of the original employees returned to work.

In this project I was asked to write music for the soundtrack of a short info-commercial for Escort Inc. I also assisted where I could and eventually appeared in the video as well.

Our company designed, built and sold radar detectors for decades. For years it was a factory-direct order stream. No real resellers. We held a majority of the patents in the industry and manufactured them locally in southern Ohio. I worked in the Call Center starting part-time in Sales and then managing the Sales and Customer Service Departments over the years.

Out newest model was named the “Passport Max” referring to the maximum range it had. Our detectors had great range compared to most competitors, but this was the best to date.

Here is “Take It To the Max”

I wrote the soundtrack for this Escort Inc. Info Commercial as an employee.

This is a dated video I did while I was working at Cincinnati Microwave Inc. My boss knew I was involved with audio and video so they asked me to coordinate the video company they had hired for the project. So instead of my normal job there, I attended meetings to get and idea what management/sales wanted from this project. Then to all the departments to find out what they do and what looks really cool.

Soon I was given a hand full of details, stats and messaging material and the target length. After all the ingredients were there, we had the video company come in for the raw shots. I orchestrated each shot and got our footage while the plant was in production. The Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines were pretty amazing.

My next step was to write the script gained from the meetings. I selected one of my instrumental original songs for the soundtrack. I showed up to the editing sweet and had each shot planned out and sequenced. They pretty much watched as I lined up the scenes, audio and soundtrack. After video and soundtrack were correct length and finalized, they recorded my voice for the narration track.

There were no cameras allowed inside CMI, so I do not have any pictures through all the years I worked there. Again, the video is dated and the soundtrack warbles enough to give away it’s age, but I still get a kick from seeing old friends, and remembering those days. It was a great place to work and I am still friends with many a former employee.

My friend’s Night-Time Diving video on YouTube under MikeR998

A good friend of mine lives in Florida and does a lot of scuba diving. I asked if he wanted music for a soundtrack to his videos and sent him a few of my instrumentals. Here is the first video he posted using my compositions. Mike filmed this night time dive at Blue Heron Bridge and it is amazing how many creatures are out and about. I hope you enjoy.

I think we started recording Project Two in May of 1996. Project One was mixed by the end of March so we had a good feeling for the next project. I will eventually dig up archives for details as I am now relying on brief notes and scribbles of information. I do not have lyric sheets for these songs but I know most of the lyrics by heart.

As you know I am really bad with names. I know Annette Rogers was the lead vocalist and I believe she wrote most of the lyrics. My notes also mention Robert Downing with the band.

This was a band I wished I had kept in touch with. At the time in my life there were so many projects and I had my own music and bands I was involved with. All this and I worked a regular full-time job!

I have a brief video of the band setting up – somewhere. Who knows, maybe I will dig it up along with my track sheets and band info.

By the middle of September we had all the recording done and mixed Project Two. We did ten songs in all and I will share a few more with you today.

jjaR at MSK Studio – Butterside Down
jjaR at MSK Studio – Paralized
jjaR at MSK Studio – My Heart Tricks My Head
jjaR at MSK Studio – Overboard
Annette Rogers from jjaR at MSK Studios

Early in 1996 I was introduced to a Cincinnati band called “jjaR”. I met them while they were playing at a popular club called Top Cats. I was really impressed with the band and their original songs. Annette Rogers was the lead vocalist and she commanded the room with her emotional portrayal of each song. The band was intense and dynamic.

March 13th, 1996 we started recording in my home studio. They were troopers. I have a small space for recording with no isolation rooms for drums, vocals, etc. The band wanted a clean demo. They did not want a lot of processing and effects in the mix. A band after my own heart!

jjaR at MSK Studio in 1996

We did two separate sessions. The first session was mixed on March 26th, 1996. I was recording on the Alesis ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) machine for the first project. We only had 8 tracks to work with back then and no computer editing or effects. They were pros. They set up, got settled in and played their songs with obvious passion.

One of their tracks appeared in a collection of bands our local radio station WEBN (102.7FM) published on CD. They were featured on the second annual CD release. Deary Me Presents – Cincinnati Scene II included “Food Chain Of Love” on the 3rd track of the compilation CD. You can still find a copy or two on on-line.

Here are a few tunes from Project 1 for your enjoyment.

jjaR at MSK Studio – Food Chain Of Love
jjaR at MSK Studio – Super Size
jjaR at MSK Studio – Aliens
jjaR at MSK Studio – Misunderstood

On the 30th anniversary of our performance with NRSB at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, I want to share a vintage video of that once and only performance. All original songs by members of this incredible band. I am so glad this was captured by hand-held camera out in the audience! Thanks DR.

Part I

Part II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCv8NrHglpk&list=PL6nW06rbKPIo97mbrFsrAWed2OUaDvMkF&index=12&t=0s

We were just a bit ahead of our time.

Pond at Lindner Park, Norwood OH MSK

I hope you get a laugh from my latest song, “Tired”. It definitely has a ‘senior point of view’. I thought of naming it “Retired”, but this seemed to fit better.

I posted as a poem but once I put it to music and the song arrangement came together I had to make cuts and edits. I will post the new lyrics here for convenience.

        “Tired”                     © MSK 6-9-2019

I’ve been thinking all day of when I get you home
After everyone has gone we’re finally alone
Like a good dog I’m gonn’a give you a bone.

I’ve heard his mouth running all over town
Talking shit about me and calling me a clown
I’m headed over there now to put him down.

Hold that thought
‘Til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired
And it’s time for a nap.

Think I better
Slow it down.

Rewarded or punished for decisions we make
Climbing this mountain is a piece of cake
Just another day or so beyond the lake.

Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired
And it’s time for a nap.

Dream what you remember
Remember what you dream.
After all these years
It’s almost the same thing

I bought three books and can’t wait to start
Two of them are very close to my heart.
I’ll read them all tonight, then put more in my cart.

I’ve been thinking all day of when I get you home
After everyone has gone we’re finally alone.
Like a good dog I’m gonn’a give you a bone.

Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired and it’s time for a nap.
Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired and it’s time for a nap.

With lyrics in hand, I mapped it out to a drum arrangement I already had. No other instruments….. While I fit the lyrics to the drum arrangement the melody immediately fell in my lap. It is backwards for me to have a melody first. Usually I write the melody listening to the chords. This is like reverse-engineering if you know what I mean!

This was not a simple fit, so the drums also had to be edited and changed for the rhythm of guitar and vocals. The drums are not finished and need a lot of work to smooth out grooves here and there, but it is solid enough to work with for now.

I don’t practice or play for hours a day anymore. I rarely play for more than is necessary to record my demo songs. It can take me a while to play the guitar (and keyboard) parts I need for new songs. Everything is slowing down after 65!

I played a Martin acoustic/electric guitar with no overdubs or additional guitar tracks. The bass guitar is added using my MIDI keyboard and a computer plug-in sample-player for a great sound. I added some playful vocal harmonies and that was it. Arrangement done, it will take me a couple weeks to clean up the tracks and do a mix. Or maybe a bit longer than usual now that I think about it!