Friday, October 28, 2005 

Timing ..... is Everything !

Timing IS everything !

Well ... life seems to throw curveballs at ya every once in a while and it sure did on Wednesday the 26th day of October in the year of our Lord 2005. Most importantly, nobody got hurt ... not that there was an incident of any kind ... just wanted to make that clear from the start. But Preston did find himself at the Urgent Care Center with his daughter. Everything was fine except for the wait ... an hour and a half.
AAArrgh !

But the fine people at Children's UCC took care of the situation quickly and everyone is well. No matter what though, I always worry about our kids and their health. Together, we all have 7 children and they ARE our reasons for getting up of a morning ... mainly because they're whining about being hungry or something like that ... Geez ... you gotta feed 'em too ? (Just kidding ya'll ... I know they have to be fed.)

Also, Wednesday decided to be the day from hell at Sonic Arts for Austin and I. Everyone has those projects that are just doomed from the get go and ours came through that day. I won't go into detail (to protect the innocent) but that was the last thing Austin and I needed was to sit in front of another computer for 3 more hours trying to hash out a couple of songs while our minds were back at SA wondering what the heck went wrong. We ended up at work until 8:00pm as it was.
AAArrgh #2 !

So, to say the least, we missed out on getting together and enjoying a relaxing evening of Miming. Dave did get a chance to stop by SA and lay his voice down for a Toyota radio spot and take a gander at a couple minutes of what we laid down the week before and talk a few minutes about life ... which is always enjoyable. It also gave me the opportunity to apologize to him for being such a stinker at our last session. Again, life got in the way of focusing on the moment. Here we are ... at our ages ... having the time of our lives .. an opportunity that a lot of musicians struggle to get ... and I'm worrying about the price of rice in China.
AAArrrgh #3 !

Austin and I had a chance to "Tech Talk" about some things, mainly getting the opportunity to dust off and bring my analog 16 track recorder in and seeing what sound that would bring to us. It may be more trouble than it's worth, but we do want to try as much as we can to make this album different. Not for different's sake, but more for how the Mimes sound is today than it was 2 years ago. So we are up for trying anything new ... to us, that is.

Well, it's time to get back to eeking out a living. I'm really looking forward to next week and I hope it shows with how much we can get done ... but more importantly ... how much fun we have at doing it. Until the next time ...

All Things Mimes

Thursday, October 20, 2005 

filling up the hard drive...

So, we got some stuff on "tape" last night!

Austin and Randy worked tirelessly to finish setting up everything Tuesday (the 18th) evening and Wednesday we managed to get a few sounds down on the hard drive - which was GREAT! After getting everyone's headphones set and a few adjustments, we played through Twister several times. The intial playback was incredible - drums sounded crisp and clear and the bass was very powerful. Luckily for me my guitar will be replaced... I lost my mind several times during the song. One take had me going straight for the last chorus and skipping the entire middle of the song.
We went through Superdave several times as well but couldn't quite get it entirely nailed down. What started out as a tight, punchy performance eventually slid too loose as the night went on. We agreed to take another look at it next time.
I'll leave it to Randy & Austin to explain the technical side of the recording - what/how/why... pictures are coming...

Friday, October 14, 2005 

Nov. 18th

Here's a couple of pieces of promo art for our upcoming show in November...


stinky mic stands

Last night we went through 4 or 5 songs and discussed recording options... little bells and whistles (literally) that we'd like to hear and add onto the songs. "Twister", "Only Love", "Superdave", "Everything To Me" seem really ready to go and will probably be recorded pretty straight. "Sleeping With The Emily", "Suddenly" were worked on with a few questions - how to approach a chorus, endings... "Pretty Soon Now" was banged through... which was really fun. I love this song so much.
We ran the snake for the microphones and miked the drum kit and moved the bass amp into a side room... it will be a challenge to get good seperation from the bass & drums while still getting that "feel" that we think might have been missing in the previous album. The interaction between the bassist & drummer is critical to a good groove and we don't want to sacrafice that on the altar of seperation...
The mike stands were stinky... they had been left out in the moist air a few days and had rusted a little bit... *shudder*
I made data DVDs of our past year's recorded rehearsals for everyone - 4 gigs of mp3s of us working on songs for this album. The current line-up has been working on this for exactly one year - Jim rejoined the band in the first week of October '04. It was interested going back and looking at our growth. Somethings dramatically improved, some were locked in from back in day one. I know we're a much better band than the one that went to the recording studio back in July of 2002. These songs blow most of the first album away. We're playing better than ever...
Gotta go - breakfast to make.

- Dave

Monday, October 10, 2005 

Wall of shame

This weekend I spent my time creating my "media wall" - which is a polite term for unpacking all my CDs, DVDs & VHS tapes that have been in various boxes, shelves, and scattered in corners of the house. My CD collection had out grown to storage units, then two standing units I stole from Preston, and eventually wound up in a teetering pile of cardboard boxes. We mounted shelves on one whole wall of the family room, 5 inches apart, and started unpacking.
Staring at them all together up there for the first time ever, I realized that A. - I'm a shamelss glutton for music and B. - these are the photo albums that chart my musical growth. I don't "enjoy" music the way most people do... barely hearing it as a soundtrack to the main action in the foreground... if there is music playing it is front and center for me. My ears seek it out and my brain begins the disection - what is the drummer doing, how is the bass fitting in, what sort of guitar is that, how does the melody play against those chord changes. It's a bit of a "Beautiful Mind" moment, even walking into the freaking gas station... I heard one song while I'm pumping gas, walked into the station to pay and a DIFFERENT song was playing. Very confusing. That's why I listen to symphonic music when I need to relax... so much of the structure of a big orchestra is still foreign to me and I can actually have a listening experience instead of trying to examine the harmonies. I'm shocked that music is EVERYWHERE - our cell phones broadcast it, it's in the elevator, every commercial is pumping it, toys spit it out when squeezed, iPods would have you believe that you're abnormal if you don't march down the street dancing in your mind to your personal soundtrack playing in your earbuds. I think iPod's appeal is more to cut the unwanted music that assaults us everywhere than to carry our own personal 1000 song mix tape around. I sure could use one once in a while.
Back to the wall of CDs... finally all on display, little 4 inch boxes of art. Eractic, eclectic, excellent and some of it embarrassing. I've probably bought and sold the entire collection twice... in financial crisis I'd box up all but the essentials and take them down to Phil's. I still have my first CD - Sgt. Pepper. I can pull out every CD I recall it's point of origin... a gift, an impulse, a rare treasure in the used bin, a trade with another band. A few signed CDs from those brief encounters with my heroes. Some artists are represented completely, others have a disc or two there and that is enough for me. There are a few holes - someone stole my copy of XTC's Apple Venus Volume I... a few CDs have been scratched beyond playability but remain there for some odd reason, like a plaque on the wall where the painting once hung.
Touching all the CDs last night as I finished the task, I began to ponder where our next CD will end up on this shelf and what artists will be represented in the final recording. Some inspiration is directly accountable, other more subtle... will my several 10,000 Maniacs CDs make an appearence? Nat King Cole? My large section of strange movie soundtracks? I'll check back in several months and let you know.
I just remembered I've got two boxes of CDs in my car I need to unpack. Better make some more room on the shelves. Anyone want to buy a Candyskins album?

- Dave

Thursday, October 06, 2005 

It's that time of year again !

Time for family fun, food, games and rides at the Butler County Fair ....... (car tires screech .... record scratch) Crap ! Don't you hate it when you have a song or commercial stuck in your head ? You try anything to get it out and move on, but yet it stays ... like a Mother-in-Law over staying her welcome ... like a party guest that just won't leave ... "ALL I WANT TO DO IS GO TO BED AND WATCH THE FAMILY GUY !

Ok ... now that my rant is over ... Man am I pumped. So much is happening. Finally making headway with remodeling my home, work is steady and the Mimes heading back into the studio for album #2. Austin and I sat around yesterday (and really the past couple of months since he agreed to help us out) throwing out ideas how to do "this and that" differently this time around. Austin is a great engineer with a degree from Full Sail (a school designed around engineering music) and I'm lucky to get to work with him everyday here at Sonic Arts. It's great to be able to sit around during down times and just tech talk. With this album, it will give us both a chance to do things that we talked about doing for years now. Austin is from England and as you well know, the Brits "think" differently (which is a good thing by all means) ... so we will have a fresh perspective on all the new stuff. I think musically this album will be better just due to the fact that it's been the same lineup for the past year and we all had a hand in each track from the beginning. Though most of the songs again are mainly written by Dave, he really pushed us this time 'round to add our own ideas on top of his ... musically and lyrically.

So here we go. Life is good. And I get to play music with my buds ... what more can I ask for. I have so much more to write ... but no more for now ... I have "Bowling Balls for fingers" when it comes to typing. I do hope you enjoy our lil' blog, but more important ... that you are as excited as us with the new material.

All things Mimes


Rebuke the uke?

So we've got a potential song for the next record... a bit of a "departure". I hate that term. It's like we're on a very strict path and we accidently went off the road and fell in a bear pit and the drummer has to throw down a rope made of vines and I've got some cuts from the spikes at the bottom of the bit and some of us have poison ivy and...


How crazy do we get with the instrumentation? Last album we stayed pretty close to the two guitars/bass/drums arrangements... with a few exceptions. "Completely", for example. 7 guitars at one point. "Prove My Love" - lots of stuff.

So this one song needs a ukelule. Seriously, a uke. I have one. A pretty good one. Could be really really really corny. Could be incredibly awesome.

I don't think I'll have the nerve to record it. But I'm practicing just in case...


Monday, October 03, 2005 

I've been working tonight on some of the guitar parts for songs, like "Superdave" - wondering how many bells & whistles this song should have... Well, working on it at this point is carrying a guitar outside with me to play for the dogs before they come in for the night. Tinkering on a solo lick or little noodly accent for the chorus. One of my great musical passions is the tasteful coloring that a choice guitar part can add to a song. Not just the chunky rhythm parts I usually slog out... some sparkles, some icing... maybe a plastic choo choo train on the top of the birthday cake. How much is too much? I guess that's up to the final mixing to decide. In the meantime I'm thinking it's better to go over-the-top now and remove ingredients from the cake batter later. Kind of reverse-engineering the cooking process... "Ugh, that doesn't taste good, I hate coconut! Take that out and add a layer of frosting in the middle!" Or, "Cripes, that stupid chimy guitar part during the verse is really distracting and fruity - just pull the damn volume down on that one!"
"Prove My Love" off of Live My Life was a lot like that... there was WAY too much going on in the song and Randy and I had to keep reducing, reducing... less less less - until we got to the song. Chipping away at the marble. Subtractive art. I've always been an additive guy - slop the paint on, throw the clay - build! That's why I love the recording process. Mixing is subtractive - pull the back, balance it all out, take the guitars down a hair... wiggle-shift-cram-thank-you-man got it all in there... can you still hear the bass?

- Dave