Tag Archives: rock
The latest album is ready in digital form (www.timbirchard.bandcamp.com). Aiming for an August release of the physical cd.
This album is about three questions:
What is profane?
Special thanks to Glenn Schindler, Jason Gabbard, and Scott Kadera for always being there.
Special thanks to my brother Chris for the collaborations.
Special thanks to David Kairis and Katie Kisiel for way huge support.
And, as always, deepest thanks to Cheryl for unwavering love and support.
I feel like a film noir private detective with a juicy, new case.
I’ve just been given a new assignment. A musical assignment; my favorite kind. My new task: to write a song showcasing a friend’s professional talents. It’s for a contest. The prize is a bunch of money for publicity and marketing for his company.
I’m so psyched. We had our first brainstorm session last night, and we made great progress. This assignment has all the hallmarks of my favorite projects: a) a clearly-defined goal; b) the genre has been identified; c) some basic content for me to work with.
That’s it. Those three things. And I’m in heaven.
I can’t reveal too much about this project, but what I can say is that the contest happens in March or April, so I’ve got some time, which is great. And the drums, keyboard and guitar sounds are already dancing around in my head. The best part is, we don’t even have to WIN for me to be a winner. I’m already having a blast. And just getting some exposure, getting my songwriting ‘out there’ is huge for me.
My biggest challenges here are going to be (in no particular order): a) keeping the chord progression simple; b) making the melody accessible and memorable (catchy with a strong hook); c) creating a final mixdown with clear vocals that are intelligible; d) achieving just the right guitar sound.
I’m hearing B-52’s first two albums; crappy guitar through crappy, overdriven amp. Cheesy space sounds from the Korg. Male/female vocal harmonies. I’m getting a vision of a weekend full of music. No sleep. A smile on my face.
How about you, Gentle Rock Star? What sorts of “assignments” do you get (or assign yourself) that really make you feel inspired? What key elements need to be in place for you to roll forward? What are you doing about it?
Yeah… I’m laughing for no good reason. And it feels great. Seems to happen every time I ride my bike to work. It’s only 2 miles each way, but it’s enough to get the blood circulating. And when I get home, I feel almost ecstatic.
I find that if I combine this cycling activity with drinking water, and maybe eating healthy food throughout the day, I have a smile on my face all day long.
I truly believe that for best musical results, I need to balance my maniacal need to write/record with healthy diet and exercise. When I get time off, it’s always tempting to squeeze the juice out of every moment by spending every spare moment in the studio. But I know rationally that man cannot live on coffee and Elixir strings alone.
Why am I so resistant to getting out there and taking a hike before recording? How is it that I so easily forget this fantastic high?
What about you? What are some ways that you incorporate healthy living into your creative process? And what benefits have you seen in your life?
I happened to catch, out of the corner of my ear, that the song “Psycho Killer”, by the Talking Heads, is in that movie.
Now I don’t know about you, but I love that song. And so do lots of other people. It seems to me that even if I didn’t like anything else by the Talking Heads, I’d like that song.
My question to myself (and to you, gentle reader) is, “why?”
Because I figure that if I can get to the answer, then I’ll know how to write some seriously great songs. Or at least one really good song. A song that stands the test of time. I don’t even necessarily care if anyone remembers who wrote it; I’d just love to write a song that sticks in people’s minds so much that they can’t seem to shake it. (I’d prefer they smile when they think of it.)
Let’s face it. These days, there is SO MUCH music available that it can become tough to distinguish between bands. It can become tough to care.
I know from personal experience that it wasn’t always this way. I grew up poring over the liner notes of LP’s. My mom used to blast Barry Manilow and Cher at full volume while doing housework. And she’d sing. Loud! It was awesome.
Meanwhile, my dad would be back in his den. I’d go in and stare in awe at the blacklight posters… And when I went to kindergarten, I just assumed that all the other kids knew Zappa and Dr. Hook. Because that was just normal at our house.
Turns out they didn’t.
The other little kids in my class weren’t hearing Warren Zevon. They weren’t getting an education in rock. They weren’t hearing about the subtle nuances that distinguished a Fender Precision bass from any other bass. They weren’t wondering who Waddy Wachtel was. They weren’t studying “Guitar” magazine from 1979.
So for them, “Exciteable Boy”, “Briefcase Full Of Blues”, and “Aja” didn’t mean a thing. But for me, they were unquestionable. They carried a weight that could not be denied. And they were instantly recognizable.
Is it still that way today? Maybe. Maybe not. I can’t tell anymore. All I know is that there are certain songs that carry a wallop. And that wallop doesn’t seem to be the result of any predictable recipe or formula.
I’d love to think that some of my music carries a wallop…. I know for me a lot of it does. But I’m not sure how much that counts, since I wrote it. But I can tell you that when I hear something that really moves me, it REALLY moves me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. And somehow I can stay interested in it even after 500 listens. That’s the hallmark of a magical song for me.
To break it down, a really sweet distortion sound is important to me. Doesn’t have to be overly-overdriven to be good. And a lot of compression can sound great in some circumstances (Dream Theater), but crappy in others (like when I try anything like that).
All I really know is that some rock songs just grab me by the throat, and others don’t.