Posts Tagged ‘#people’

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Fortunately, when I have too many things on my plate and never seem to get to putting some of my best lyrics to music, I have many talented friends that bail me out.  Often I write poems – but almost as often I begin writing lyrics intending to put music to them at some point.  Today I will share the lyrics and the original live recording to one of my favorites.

I found myself thinking of musical relationships and what, to some, becomes a long path that never gets close to ‘stardom’, whatever that is.  The late-night conversations with many friends – musicians reflecting on the efforts and rewards involved in the lifestyle we have chosen – became metaphors in these lyrics.

The title “Stainless Steel” refers to one type of guitar strings.  I also use silk and stainless steel strings on my Ovation 12 string guitar, but Stainless Steel captured the feeling I was surrounded by when writing the lyrics.  There is a certain pride creative people get when sacrificing for their art.  So many things are put on the back-burner or postponed indefinitely to accomplish turning a dream or idea into a treasure; even if it is only for a select few to enjoy.  No one else may ever know what gems were created, and it appears to many that you have nothing to show for your time and talent.  Only a few will understand the trade-offs you have made; those sitting around with you late at night, year after year.

In this recording my good friend, the late Mark Kelsey, plays guitar and sings.  He is accompanied by Ann Ellis from my band “The Personal Touch”.  Mark has worked through the arrangement a few times and I believe this is the first time Ann had heard the song.  He quickly recorded for me to listen to and was later to record a final version in a professional studio where he lived.  This is my favorite recording and I will always think fondly of him when I hear this recording.  While the living room quality is easy to hear, the mood and inspiration comes through clearly.

In our busy lives, it is all too easy for us to overlook the efforts our friends and loved ones make for us.  Sometimes it takes far too long for us to fully appreciate those acts of love.  I have let many go unrecognized – unappreciated – unacknowledged until it was too late.  Looking back I find myself humbled to realize how much my life would have been uplifted and how many friends deserved my  – – –  I do not know the correct words, but ‘praise’ seems as close as any I can think of.   It may also have uplifted their lives in a time when they needed it most.  It can be sad and joyous when time finally reveals the reflections of our lives.

Stainless Steel”                         Lyrics by MSK, Music by Mark D Kelsey  © 1984

 

Stainless Steel Shining Bright

Broken Glass Shattered nights

When we talk, What we feel

Lights the fire Turns the Wheel

Turns the wheel

 

Stainless Steel Sharp and cold

Day by day Bought and sold

Take my hand Close your eyes

Say a prayer Throw the dice

Throw the dice

 

Waiting for a Miracle is like waiting forever

When there’s nothing else to do

I hope that someone’s out there waiting for me baby,

The way that I ‘m waiting for you

Oh Stainless Steel

 

Stainless Steel Deep within

Who we are What we’ve been

Reaching out Find ourselves

Kiss goodbye, What the hell

What the hell

 

Stainless Steel Never bends

No one blames Or defends

Smiles will fade Tears will fall

Memories of Nothing at all

Nothing at all

 

Waiting for a Miracle’s like waiting forever

When there’s nothing else to do

I hope that someone’s out there waiting for me baby,

The way that I ‘m waiting for you

Oh Stainless Steel

 

 

 

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!

 

This has been a very busy year.  Even though I have spent most of it unemployed, I find there was so little time to do things on my list.  I have been busy recording songs; some old ones from the closet and a few new ones where either the lyrics or melodies have inspired me to power up the studio and work/play.  I have not spent much time here.  I feel like I need to catch up on some close friends again.

I also started working again.  I now work for Amazon and though it is not a glorious position, I do like the company and what I do.  It is my first time working 10 hour days and it has taken me a while to adjust.  During those days it is hard to get much else accomplished.

I would like to give you a sneak preview of a new release on CD Baby called “After The Chase”.  I will post more songs and hope you like them.  So, while I may not be in contact with many of you as often as I would like, I keep thinking of the followers and friends I have made here.

I am not very good at naming my songs so it might come to you as a surprise that the name of this song is Get Up!  I came up with that one all by myself.  The simple groove is introduced with the ringing of a bell.  Actually, it is two ‘bells’ that are accurately tuned  off center pitch in each direction.  If you have perfect pitch, I apologize in advance as this will be like nails scratching a chalk board for you!  These were a gift from my friend TR.  It just seemed like a good start to this piece.

Lyrically the song reflects the need we humans have to keep trying and searching for different ways to overcome challenges.  Too often we find ourselves on the ground or in a ditch and think it is not worth getting up.  Thinking it is unfair; that others have it easy and we deserve what they have.

It is far past time that we leave the animal, cultural and magical baggage behind.  We are no longer simply the ‘alpha dogs’ on this planet.  We need to look at our species (beginning with ourselves) and our universe from other dimensions.  Our perspective needs to widen to see the challenges before us.  The solution must be good for all life here, not the one-sided scorching policy all too often displayed in our past.

In order for this to happen we need to look at ourselves as individuals.  Do we contribute to the problem or find ways we can be part of the resolutions?  It is not too late.  If it doesn’t work, get up and try something else.  Be more than a moth driven unerringly toward the flame.  There are more important things than the social trappings of us vs them, surviving or sharing, progress or nature.  Add a little depth.  Look past the shallow surface of day to day life.  “Save the File As”.

Take your future under your control.
Every step getting closer.  Every opportunity improve your understanding and apply what you learn.  Once you find the right path, grab some fellow humans and take them with you!  Now, do it again!

I programmed the MIDI drums, rhythm guitar and keyboard parts.  Thanks to Mr. Lee added the hypnotic guitar parts for me.  I do all the vocals and try to make a haunting but energetic feel for this song.  I call it my anthem for this millennium.  Maybe you find yourself singing this one from time to time.

“Get Up”                                          © 2014 MSK

“Everyone has what should be yours, it’s the way the game is played”

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again

 

Get Up

Get yourself up

Get Up

If you have to do it again

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

 

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Get Up

Get yourself up

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

Save the File As:

 

You gotta’ have a real knack

That’s more like an addiction

To turn good hard facts

Into fantasy-fiction.

 

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

Save the File As:

 

You gotta’ have a real knack

That’s more like an addiction.

 

“Everyone has what should be yours, it’s the way the game is played”

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

Get Up

 

If you have to

Sayin’ If you have to

If you have to just do it again.

 

Sayin’ If you have to

You have to

If you have to just do it again.

 

 

I heard the other day that about 10% of people are left-handed.  This generated a few thoughts that I have been rolling around in my head.  I have been surrounded by lefties most of my adult life.  Sometimes I get confused and try to do things like a left-handed person would.  It usually does not work out very well!

Now, think about 10% of the population that most people perceive to be ‘backwards’.  In schools when I was growing up and long before, educators would try to ‘correct’ what they saw as defiant, wrong, defective, backwards (and the implied stupidity). Many teachers and nuns would crack a ruler over your knuckles if you used the ‘wrong hand’, or did not correctly follow instructions on how to do a particular task.

Unfortunately in this day of political extremism, I see many similarities.  Think of one party as left-handed and the other as right-handed.  I will let you choose which one is which for this analogy.  For many, many years the minority of left handed people were forced to conform.  This not only made them feel as if they were being unfairly punished but also made it almost impossible for them to excel and improve using their natural gifts.

When politics are split drastically, one group could dominate the other.  The traditions of the right-handers are forced onto the minority.  There is no concern or sympathy for the minority group and they will not be given the opportunity to voice their concerns let alone suggest alternative solutions.

So let’s pretend that over the last few years the number of left-handed people increased dramatically and now they are close to a majority.   The lefties are now teachers and policy makers themselves.  They encourage children to perform tasks that make use of their natural tendencies.  They pass laws giving them ‘permission’ to do what everyone else has done in the past – to be human.  They demand equal policies and fair treatment.

But the right-handers refuse to allow that to happen and believe it is their duty to fight changes every step of the way.  They see no need for change.  This does not help them at all and now they have to be ‘tolerant’ of these people.  They feel uncomfortable watching or learning from a leftie, and certainly do not want their children to become one. (OR MARRY ONE).  They twist the truth and use marketing techniques to discredit the opposition.  The Defense of Marriage Act is an example……. unnecessary as no one was attacking marriage or trying taking away any rights.  The people that were not allowed to marry needed defense against the majority.

Whether it is equal pay, marriage, educational opportunities, housing, jobs, criminal sentencing and a long list of other ‘privileges’, you cannot be a more perfect union and still deny these basic rights to minority groups.  Sure enough, one day they may be in the majority and will remember how they were treated in the past by those in power.

Left handed people are not trying to ‘convert’ you.  They are not trying to take something from you.  They are not denying or laughing at what you feel and believe.  They are not traitors or devils or the enemy.  They are human beings deserving of the same benefits in life the right handers have taken for granted.

I am a right-handed patriot and I approved this message.

It never ceases to amaze me how inspired and creative I feel when I change the strings on my guitar(s).  Simple chords sound gorgeous.  The whole body of the guitar resonates with depth.  This makes experimenting and exploring new areas delightful.  It is important to keep tools of the trade not just working properly but living up to their potential.

I watch vocalists go into the recording booth and put on really nice headphones to get a direct audio feed from the soundboard.  Maybe this is not their first time, but when they start singing – and can truly hear what their voice sounds like they get this big grin that turns into a surprised smile.  Hearing through the studio system vocalists can make nuanced changes as they sing ……. and hear the difference.  This gives them more control and immediate results.  They become confident enough to experiment and innovate.  I hope it feels similar to playing my 12 string guitar with brand new strings.

Pictured are of some of my guitars, the drummer from Euphoria/The Chase – Mike Gill, and Steve Steinmann of Iridium.

What tools do you use that benefit from regular care?

Bill K No Worries DSC_0065.jpg

So many experiences are composed of related stories and within each story a number of players or artists.  The telling or remembering of some stories becomes difficult before the first words are shared.  What stories do you include?  Which ones do you leave for another time, even though the knowing will make this tale more complete?  Which characters will be the focus today when so many were needed to play their part.

Too many things to share.  If that were the biggest problem we would all become happy and prosperous.  Often, your spouse is also your soul-mate.  Sometimes your boss is your friend.  Do we present the boss or the friend when the story is told?

No Worries.

I do not advertise or promote my recording studio.  Every project has been from word of mouth or referrals/introductions that happen when good people want to introduce you to other good people.  Here is a quick summary of a recent project I was fortunate to be involved with.  Through my wife, my studio and talents were offered to record and back-up a song written by Bill Kreutzjans of the band Smokin Zeus to comfort someone after the primary – election process had finally ended.  He will play acoustic guitar and sing his song, but wanted a fuller sound and maybe some harmonies.

Before he came over to record I got ready.  I listened to a recording of the song and took out the copy of the lyrics.  First; I checked the tempo of the song.  Then I “mapped out” as I call it, a detailed arrangement of the song.  Not just how many verses, bridges, and choruses but also how counting full measures, partial measures, key or tempo changes, and getting an idea of the dynamics that evolve as the song plays out.  I pull up my computer and recording software (I use Sonar, but there are many others).  I created a basic drum pattern to use as a fancy metronome.  Bill laid down his tracks listening to the drum tracks and as most artists do in a studio, he fine-tuned his sound and melody.  Very quickly we had a great foundation recorded.

This was one of those dream songs where everything dropped into place.  We all had ideas of what we wanted to add.  The equipment worked well and everything went smoothly as the song kept building.  I played each section of the song back (sometimes over and over) and used a MIDI keyboard to “record” the bass guitar parts.  Then I used the MIDI keyboard to again trigger sounds from the computer software and plug-ins, but this time I picked a natural string sound to fill around the acoustic guitar.

Good enough progress for a few hours stolen in the day, so we save and back-up files and plan to meet soon to finish.  Send rough mix mp3 so all can listen to tracks we have so far.

In the days before we meet to finalize and mix the tracks, I clean up the drums and add accents to help the song build.  The drum sounds are also provided by the software and I can trigger the individual sounds or use pre-recorded and/or user-created loops.  These ingredients can be blended, added together and shoved in the oven until you get a great loaf of bread.  I add the vocal harmonies based on previous discussions.  Now I spend some time with the mastering tools I have and process tracks using E.Q., compression,  (where needed.  I am not big on heavy compression) volume leveling, etc., and then fun stuff like reverb and stereo placement to make each part noticeable and clear.  Send rough mix mp3 so all can listen to tracks.

At this point I am playing the song over and over because I like it.  I think it sounds cool and we meet to mix and master.  I always try to get an idea how the author/performer wants the components or project to sound like.  It is a difficult language, but if I get a feel for what they want – or an example of things like it – I can usually find the ‘tone’ of the mix they are familiar with.  We pick preferences as we go and the mix continues to bake.  We blend track levels with effects and record the master mix to a stereo track      ( ….. this topic will be a series of articles in the future ).   

For all of you; “No Worries”            © Bill Kreutzjans 10/2016

 

Some people are humans trying to get their kicks.
Some people are animals able to learn new tricks.

Some people are clever they know just what to do
Some people are sneaky and always out of view.

Most people are decent and will give you the time of day
Most people are ignorant of debts they should have paid.

Most people are honest till they tell you their first lie
Most people are lonely and will never say good bye.

All people are angry if they see things in black and white
All people are dreaming something wrong should be right.

All people are willing to have it their way
All people are upset when someone gets in the way.

You tried to tell me something I could never understand.
Wouldn’t know how to follow you if you guided me by the hand.

So many wrong directions in my ever-changing past.
Can’t guarantee to get there first but I’ve never been the last.

Your people are crazy going out all the time
Your people are busy but stop to pick up a dime.

Your people are active and find the right ass to kick
Your people are saying that’s just the nature of politics.

Young people are easy and got it all figured out.
Young people are forever and there never is a doubt.

Poor people are proven guilty more often than not
Poor people are givers and will share what they’ve got.

Poor people are many still there’s no why or when
Poor people are waiting for their savior again.

(c) 2011