Posts Tagged ‘#songwriting’

My first touring band was a trio called Personal Touch

I know I haven’t been posting things for a while, but actually I have been pretty busy. During the Covid lock down I was fortunate to get my writing partners and band mates from The Merchants of Death on-line for Internet jamming. In a while I will post some tunes we recorded live from different cities.

I have also been working with a great friend of mine to re-mix and master a 16 track live recording of the band Euphoria. Those familiar with my blog know that I also played in Euphoria, but I am not in the band at this time. Clint Garcia is the keyboard guru for the band, and when he took a break for a few years, I filled in for him.

When not jamming or mixing I often return to my archive. My recording obsession started around 1970 or so and I have been working for a while reviving very old recordings. I am currently working on my cassette collection. I found the original live recording of Personal Touch performing including what I think is the best song I have ever written. See the lyric post here: https://midimike.com/2015/03/05/per-request-lyric-to-our-bodies-move/ While I have always struggled with naming my songs, this is either called “For Those Who Wait” or “Our Bodies Move”, depending on what I was doing at the time.

We perform a bunch of familiar cover tunes and throw in originals somewhere in each set. I have a few songs from the live Personal Touch recording I will post over the following weeks. This was recorded as I mentioned using a stereo cassette deck running straight off the mixing board. We have no sound tech, so I do the mix from the stage. We ran our sound in stereo even playing live, so I just took the main outs and recorded. Back then I used my home stereo speakers for the monitors and we all fit in a single van to travel. Ahhhhh. The good old times!

Ric Ahlers was my brother-in-law and talked me into buying and learning a synthesizer and an electric piano so we could form a duo. Ric played guitar, sang, and also controlled bass pedals and a drum machine. ( I detailed in an earlier post that he has triggers attached to his guitar so he can make a cymbal crash or a drum roll). I played my 12 string Ovation guitar for some songs, sang and played keyboards for the rest. I also programmed a 2nd drum machine to play a number of songs and could be used to add tom fills or crashes on the spot. Ann Ellis joined the band as our vocalist and soon we hit the road.

Vintage cassette recording of my band Personal Touch performing live

It is a lot of work but we met great people and had a good time playing our songs and doing cover tunes with a personal touch. I think there is a date in here somewhere, so I will try to find it and give you an idea how long ago this was. Enjoy.

The path to Peanut Butter Hill in Lindner Park covered in snow 2021

This is a song I co-wrote with a friend of mine from Xenia, Ohio. I sent him the basic tracks via the Internet and he uploaded to his home studio. Scott Hadley from “The Little Hippies” then sang the vocals and helped with arrangement to make this song click. Then he added keyboard parts and harmony tracks and sent individual tracks back to me……

To help me with this song I asked a friend and The Merchants of Death band-mate Mike Wheeler to play bass guitar. He is in Dayton and got the tracks back to me faster than I could have driven there and back! He has a way of finding grooves within the melody of a song that ties it all together.

I wrote “Peanut Butter Hill” on 1-21-2021 as I was walking through the woods near our home. I take walks in the same park almost daily now that I am retired. We spent a lot of time here when our kids were growing up. Walking past a steep hill in the park next to a creek I thought I should write a song about this park. (Well, what about?) As I walked I started thinking that this song is not about me but about the kids that tried climbing the bare-mud side of the hill. A fence stood at the top where the real path was and at the bottom of the hill was a creek that remained mostly dry. Soon the melody hit me and I knew this was a song about peanut butter hill.

Decades ago I challenged my kids and all the neighborhood friends to climb up the hill – but they could not use their hands! When they failed and said it could not be done, I put my hands in my pockets and climbed to the top. So did my daughter TK. The hill is not what it was back then, but I think we were the only ones to meet the challenge, but everyone had fun trying!

“Peanut Butter Hill”

I am working on writing a new song with some friends over the Internet. Recording final tracks now and will release “Peanut Butter Hill” hopefully later this month. 2021 is off to a good start!

I posted a poem earlier called “Let You Go” https://midimike.com/2020/07/07/let-you-go/ that I really liked. While I was working on writing the music for these lyrics I got side-tracked. I had recorded a few MIDI drum parts and had a guitar theme I liked playing on my Martin Acoustic/Electric guitar chained together trying to get a feel for the song.

A good friend called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to have his old MIDI studio gear. No instruments or toys will be orphaned if I can help it so I drove over that day. We chatted for a while and I left with a van full of what most people would call ‘ancient’ gear. This is the stuff hits were made with. Everything you heard growing up using electronic drums or synths used these gems.

I got home and hooked up a few pieces like a kid not knowing which present he wants to open first. DAYS LATER I opened up my recording project again and played with a vocal effect toy I had not gotten to yet. Not wanting to stop an idea I was working on I started recording in another section of the session. As you will hear, I decided not to sing the chorus parts. Instead I used some of the lyrics to do a chant-style intro and outro.

After juggling the original music around I started to work on a melody for the lyrics. I used some of the chant themes so the melody took shape pretty quickly. Not wanting to overdo the vocal effect, I just used reverb on my voice. Then I added some MIDI bass guitar sounds and put the pieces together.

Next, I added a little MIDI piano in the chorus sections and sprinkled through the end of the song. Then I made some stupid editing error and trashed all of the drum tracks!!! Redo the drum tracks and a few days later I have a rough mix for you.

As some of you will know, a rough mix is probably the last one I do! LOL.

Here is “Let You Go” as it stands today. I hope you enjoy this one.

“Let You Go” by MSK