waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
A little rehearsal/jam session with the as-yet-unnamed band formed around the 'World's Longest Album Project'. A chance to stretch out on electric guitar for the first time in a while. Fun...

Work kept me hopping until about 5.30, when I finally got out of a client's home, having discussed almost everything except which of our range of products she actually wants. This one's a long haul

Most of the time, it's nice to know some things never change... But then there's Alan Jones & his inimitable, irritating, ignoble & inflammatory ignorance ~ this time on the Boston bombing

waitingman: (Still Waiting)
A longer-than-expected acoustic session tonight... Sore fingers

A sign that I should be playing more often

waitingman: (Still Waiting)
The rain stopped some time overnight. Things are slowly drying out, including me

Revisiting old video footage of various gigs I've done with various bands over the years ~ transferring them to DVD before we consign our current DVD/VCR to the electronic graveyard. Some good songs, some bad ones, some good moments, some howlers. Nothing I'm particularly 'proud' of... these DVDs will sit in a dark corner of the Archive, quietly & deservedly gathering dust. I think the work I'm doing now, on the World's Longest Album Project is much better, personally, than what I saw on those tapes, but I'm sure I thought I was doing my best work back then too...

I certainly don't view my musical past through rose-tinted glasses. Maybe some of my former band-mates think those were the 'glory days', now that they're settled down, married, mortgaged & parented... Just don't expect me to attend any 'getting the band back together' 50th (or 40th) birthday parties...
waitingman: (Too Darned Hot)
A productive recording/mixing day yesterday, with the elasticity of one song being tested by the addition of a coda & some extra guitar parts being crammed into another. At least I didn't have to sing this time...

Dinner with our ex-pats & sundry acquaintances last night at the Ancient Briton Hotel in Glebe. Once upon a time this was a murky, hole-in-the-wall pub on a street corner that even the locals were reluctant to enter, but a few years ago it was bought, renovated, expanded, revamped & has become a place for people who like their high-end liquors with similar-standards of comestible accompaniment. Great scotches, wines, laksa & my pork belly fillet was done perfectly. A surfeit of food due to everyone sharing dishes & a visit to a not-so nearby Gelataria resulted in food-babies being carried by all of us by the time we waddled back to the car

Brunch this morning with our guests & a different set of acquaintances & now back home to commence a liquids-only diet for the day


Jan. 3rd, 2013 08:39 am
waitingman: (Still Waiting)
Palindrome Day ~ Ad Emord Nilap!!

A restless night... the New Year's cold now at the stage where coughing feels like your throat being cut from the inside. Difflam lozenges helped, but didn't sit too well with my fickle digestive tract. Heartburn + Coughing = Aarrgghh...

Mixing session today for the World's Longest Album Project, not that the songs are lengthy or numerous, just that it's been written, recorded & now mixed in piecemeal fashion over the last three years or so. What's interesting is that the band now forming around these songs is playing them in different ways & feels to the recorded versions ~ perhaps a bonus live disc will be necessary when the album's released. I'm enjoying the studio time because I love playing with soundscapes (& because there's a lot of my guitars in them), but am also having fun with the evolving band at our sporadic rehearsals, mostly for the fun of playing & bouncing ideas off another guitarist, as well as our keyboard-playing singer, whose album this will (eventually) be

Dinner with visiting ex-pat friends tonight, last seen when we were in Virginia on our US trek last year. It seems strange to be saying "last year" already... it was barely three months ago!!
waitingman: (RoadTrip!!)
Eleven hours from now... being about 11pm... The Loved One & I will be in the air, en route to the USA

San Francisco ~ New York over nearly six weeks in a Ford 4WD, with a lot of sights to see, some friends to catch up with, some new people to meet & a few gigabytes of photo opportunities across the country... Oh... & shopping... I've been told to remember the shopping

We'll try to post an occasional update & photospam, but if not... Farewell to my Reader, see you in six weeks
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
A couple of years ago, I "retired" from musical performance:~ fed up with the unreliability of gigs, venues, sound engineers, "organisers" &, in some cases, my fellow performers. I never gave up on music itself though & in those couple of years, recorded (IMHO) some pretty good guitar work for other people's projects & certainly never lost interest in what I considered to be good music... even though I wasn't really producing any myself ~ my guitars rested in their cases &, in one or two cases, went a bit mouldy... as did my playing skills

But I acquired a few esoteric instruments during this exile (electric kazoo, Irish bouzouki, various things to hit with sticks or fists...) & recently bought a little hand-held digital recorder which allows me to record ambient sounds, with the vague idea of how all these things can come together with the backlog of music I've accumulated over the years of being a sideman or bandmember, but not a bandleader as such...so I have about twenty pieces I refer to as my 'Homeless Songs', which have had a few abortive attempts at realisation, but so far, no definition

Having fallen in recently with a collection of players both new & familiar, but encouraging overall, I've found myself willing to go through the trials of live performance & its rigmarole again. And it hasn't taken long for me to see that not much has changed. Live performance, at the semi-professional level at least, is a fragile thing ~ subject to change of date, venue, availability of players... & in the latest case, availability of the "organiser" himself, a week out from the agreed, albeit revised, date of play. All this is ranged against the Player's desire to play, whatever the conditions, wherever & whatever the venue at whatever the cost... Until the day comes when you either can't or won't pay it any more... as happened with me those couple of years ago

But, as yet, I remain largely unperturbed by the broken chain of events &, instead, have been enjoying the feeling of creativity one gets with empathetic players who place greater importance on the playing rather than the player. At present there is a core trio of two guitarists & a singer/keyboardist & we are developing an ear for how we play together & what kind of overall 'sound' is emerging. A couple of sessions with a bass playing friend have been encouraging, but unfortunately infrequent due to everyones reliance on daytime income &... in at least two cases (one of them mine), the vicious nature of late Winter cold & 'flu strains

Part of me wonders if I've grown beyond the accumulated grievance & anguish built up over twenty-odd years of playing at the not-quite-successful level & have achieved a Zen-kind of acceptance of the inevitable circumstances... while another part of me waits, watches & prepares for the day when I, once again, have my fill, spit my dummy, take my playthings & go home in a huff... or a minute & a huff

Somewhere at the back of all this is the part of me that wants to assemble a true 'solo' project in my glacially-growing digital "sketchpad" studio here at home. Confidence & capability have yet to be installed in sufficient levels for this to happen, but the Event Horizon is slowly contracting...

Always providing, of course, that some petty bulls#%t doesn't send me spiralling over the edge & result in me breaking expensive guitars across someones worthless brains... As long as I remember to grab the steel Resonator guitar first... The worst it would suffer would be a skull-shaped dent
waitingman: (I'm All Ears)
And so ~ seven days into my Exile from the mean streets of the Marketplace

Let's first backtrack to last Friday, when I spent the afternoon both chasing & pushing pieces of paper around, had a much-longer-than-expected talk with a prospective employer whom I'd visited only on spec, then played a second gig in my low-key return to musical pursuit & performance. Having stood in line at the local MissingCentreLink office for 30 minutes, it eventually transpired that all I needed could be done on the phone. Thence to the most convoluted opening of a new bank account I could imagine... Why do they need so much ID from someone who wants to give them money?

The conversation-which-became-an-interview was with the owner of a business that, 'til last Thursday, was in competition with me but now represents a possible lifeline. Sure, it was Friday afternoon & it wasn't too busy, but two hours talk & a beer was a lot more than I'd expected. Having refused the beer because I was playing a gig that night, my former competitor said he'd picked me as a musician not long after I'd walked in. Now, I've seen myself in the mirror often enough to know I don't have any instruments tattooed on me, nor do I wear a neon sign labelling me... so how do so many people I've met all seem to know that I'm a 'Musician'? And what is it about that pastime/preoccupation that makes it so remarkable to them?

The same was true of the gig that evening ~ a corporate 'Awards Night' for the advertising arm of a major media group, held at the Function Centre at Taronga Zoo. Plenty of wildlife was on display, but it was all in various degrees of fancy dress. Our singer/songwriter works for the conglomerate & had snared not only the gig, but places at a table, drinks & a three-course meal for her guitarists. And again, her colleagues were impressed that the two guys not in costume were 'musicians'... even though any one of them earns more than I do

Our five songs were performed against a cacophony of cutlery & conversation, with polite applause. My only complaints were that we had no monitors to hear ourselves & that we were called up to play just as I was about to sink my teeth into the pork belly entrée which, of course, had been removed by the time we returned to the table

The annual Coffee Festival at the Rocks on Sunday was overcrowded & underwhelming. Queuing for fifteen minutes for a dribble of espresso, then being barged into by the Great Unwashed & their double prams from all directions does not make for a grand day out. The Loved One & I agree it was probably our last attendance

Otherwise, the Jobseeker carousel spins ever around with its jaunty music & painted smiles. How many people want to run away from the Circus, I wonder?
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
I made a rather low-key & brief return to live performance last Thursday night

The gig will go on my list of 'Strangest Places To Play Guitar'... a campaign launch for a Labor Party candidate in an upcoming Western Suburbs local Council election. The electorate has a high Asian population, so all the speeches were being translated more or less simultaneously ~ two sentences in English, then Chinese, then two more... & the other entertainment on the night ranged from an Asian Mario Lanza to an accordion & Chinese flute duo who specialised in what sounded like South China Sea Shanties. Odd choice, but great players

And us ~ a singing keyboardist, a singing guitarist & me... a guitar colourist, as I described myself to someone after the five song gig was done in front of a polite, but probably slightly bemused audience

Actually, that 'someone' I described myself to is a guy I met the previous weekend & deserves an entry of/on his own, which I don't have time for right now, as dinner is in several stages of preparation

More tomorrow, maybe
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
Studio session #456,845,375,001 for the World's Longest Album Project completed.

And I was pretty happy with the results. After a couple of hours fixing & mixing keyboard & bass parts, I recorded two rhythm guitar parts, two 'middle 8' melodies & two solos.

I was particularly happy about the solos as they were played on my ancient E-bow, which I make a point of trying to include in every recording or playing project I do & this was the first opportunity I'd had with this album. Job done.

I detect a bit of an upswing in my musical mood, which started with my L-SP's gift of an Irish Bouzouki (or Octave Mandolin if you prefer) for my last birthday & strengthened with last night's efforts. While I was waiting around as the Engineer played with basslines in ProTools, I played both my main electric & acoustic guitars along with the bass parts ~ ostensibly to warm up, but with an increasing awareness of awakening creativity & composition. Nothing of any note, or use, was really forthcoming, but at least the desire & will to play were actively engaged for the first time in a looong time.

My medium-term goal is still to complete my computer set-up as a kind of 'SketchPad Studio' (TM), with the even longer-term goal of submitting to my latent Muse & seeing what may come...
waitingman: (People Are People)
I would like to attend, but will settle for being quite interested in the outcomes of this lecture...

If what I see in this world is mostly the result of my imagination, then my subconscious mind really hates me!!

Spending a few hours in a recording studio today, as the World's Longest Album project begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today will be spent playing & re-playing guitar parts & solos recorded so long ago I'll have to re-learn them first.

So... a day of fretwankery beckons.
waitingman: (Orang Utan)
Well, this is the first time I've been able to do anything on LJ for quite a few days... I tried to post a fairly long & detailed entry a couple of days ago & the internet has eaten it.

Ah well... all's well & nothing wildly interesting or important has happened. We did go to a birthday party for an old friend & erstwhile bandmate & I now have ten LP records of my early band's work. Being old school, holding a big twelve inch... record feels more 'proper' than just a CD.

Sounds good too... although my inner critic can't help but feel that there are a few tracks on there where I'm desperately flailing around trying to sound like I know how to play guitar & patently don't. On the other hand, one track features a nice little guitar riff that I'd be happy to have come up with today, twenty five years later. So either I haven't improved much since then, or I at least showed a little promise after only picking up a guitar a year before the recordings...

waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
A wet, wild'n'windy day in Sydney... perfect for not going anywhere.

Except over to Guitar Factory in Gladesville to pick up two parts of the String Section...

... Specifically the electric & main six-string, which have been reset, re-tuned & slightly re-jigged after a long period of inactivity. I also had the strings on my new bouzouki changed around to better suit my style of play. I had to wait half an hour for that to be done, so wandered around the shop for a while coveting, dreaming, plotting, drooling, wishing & hoping amongst their collection of amplifiers, effects & myriad shapes & sizes of things with strings. In the end, I had to retire to the car & wait... who would have thought Aladdin's Cave could be so overwhelming.

Now home, to prepare the 'Manor for visitors tomorrow evening...
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
Sometimes I think I don't have much to write about... Then something happens, but I don't write about it... then time passes & I can never think of anything exciting to report whenever I read others Journals.

So, while I can think of at least two noteworthy events of the last week, I may as well document them for my own records, if not for the dubious benefit of my small (compared to some) readership...

Driving Cars, Overdriving Guitars )

So there you are... Aren't you glad nothing much else is going on?
waitingman: (Default)
A friend of mine ~ my musical foil in a previous life ~ has suggested I make a calendar of 13 of my best photos to gauge interest in the passion that looks set to supplant music in my life.

He claims to have an objective view of my work, not tainted by the burden of prejudice, nor the inevitable dilemma of somehow expecting to make some semblance of living from one's talent in the face of overwhelming competition & indifference.

I wish I could believe it ~ both him & the possibilities, but history & my experiences therein leave me cynical, pessimistic & unmotivated. My 'career' in music has shown how talent & proficiency are no guarantees of recognition, let alone viability. It's far more important to have the self-belief, desire & ability to market & promote oneself loudly, ruthlessly & without shame. This goes against not only my style of playing but, by extension, my personality as a whole &, as an aside, is also a contributing reason for my desire to leave the Sales industry behind me, as I no longer have the stomach to even pretend that I'm suited to it... if I ever was.

In a nutshell, my inner conflict is this: I want to make a living from something I'm not only good at, but also enjoy doing. Until a couple of years ago that meant music. Now it includes photography... assuming that others think I'm good at it ~ I've only my own opinion... However, having had my dreams/aspirations of a sufficiently successful career in music dashed by year after year of it failing to eventuate ~ & my enthusiasm for it waning, most likely, as a result, I'm not at the stage in my photographic endeavours to risk killing the enthusiasm with futile expectations of self-sufficiency at least, success at best. So I'm reluctant to do anything with my photos, other than post them on Flickr, in order to preserve the innocent fun & enjoyment I get from a hobby/passion with no agenda attached. I may harbour fantasies of one day being Ian Wallace, but as long as it remains an unattached fantasy, there's no more harm in it than when I dreamed of being Eric Clapton when I first started playing guitar... before 25 years of experience & expectation were ultimately foiled & frustrated.

Gunshyness... lack of self-confidence... pessimism... call it what you will. I have it.
waitingman: (Don't Mess With...)
Well... I still know which end of a guitar to hold & have vague recollections of scales. This despite not having picked one up for at least a month, mostly through lack of inspiration... or possibly interest, but tonight's unplugged session with my last remaining project was kind of fun... with the odd ~ & occasionally very odd (& LOUD) noise blurting forth accidentally, inevitably during a quiet section. No wonder I mainly prefer acoustic guitars these days ~ they're less embarrassing when you get it wrong.

Meanwhile, the last days of my sentence in Debtors Prison #2 continue to wind down, not without incidents that remind me why I never want to work in sales ever again, in any form... Example 1. was the guy who walked in yesterday, digital camera aloft, announcing that he was filming us & our response to his complaint about waiting a fortnight for his iPod to be repaired when he's been 'promised' it would only take a week. Okay nutjob... firstly, it's not our fault if your deafening device isn't back yet... we can only make calls to try accelerating its return. If you wanted the repairs done on site, well... I'm not an electrician but hand me that hammer & I'll have a shot at it... Example 2. the 60something senior citizen I sold a TV to earlier in the year who came in today insisting & accusing me of not providing him with a receipt for the sale, demanding I provide him with one & telling me he found the TV $300 cheaper "down the road". Okay, you lying old b@$t@rd... Firstly, nothing leaves the place without a receipt... it can't. Secondly, there's a Latin phrase almost as old as you are 'Caveat Emptor' It's not my fault you found the (allegedly) same TV cheaper "down the road" recently for less money. It's been 7 weeks since you bought it from me. Count yourself lucky you didn't buy a computer or a car ~ see how fast those things depreciate on a weekly, almost daily, basis, then go away, go home, turn on the ABC & then, as the saying goes, 'Consume Excrement & Expire'

25 years of sales career... Enough!!! I say...
waitingman: (Happy Days)
Probably the last post for the year, given what the next 24 hours holds... more on that next year.

In summary:~ A year of losses & gains, both intentional & not so. )
waitingman: (Looking at you)
Time to retire the Debtor's Prison Userpic then... 'til next time.

As of today, I'm a gentleman of leisure ~ except I'm not that gentle & leisure isn't what it used to be. Today has been by turns domestic & trying to be pro-active & productive scaring up the next career opportunity. And chasing up exactly what I'm owed for my sentence time in DP... in case the next opportunity doesn't knock for a while.

Then... Now... Soon )

Still hab a bid ob a code dough... bud id's a bid bedder, dags por arsging!
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
Dear Diary,

Well, what a week it's been! I took some photos with my phone... ), intensified the job hunt, went to see Shakespeare revved up, trimmed down & torn apart by Greg Fleet amongst others & was lucky that being front-row centre didn't attract the players' attention. Some others were attacked, commandeered, saturated... All in the name of good fun... & good theatre of course.

In the last three days I've played Daytripper on a cello ~ badly, Knockin' On Heaven's Door on a mandolin ~ okayly, Smells Like Teen Spirit on a ukulele & toy organ ~ weirdly, done an E-Bow guitar & mandolin solo duet(??) on Hearts & Flowers ~ with difficulty, a Wurlitzer organ-style version of Down On The Corner ~ begrudgingly (I hate Creedence Clearwater Revival) & written my first bit of original music for about a year. I've also played hambone, kazoo, sung a little, provided oral sound-effects & been recorded collapsing to the floor... at least one time too many.

Enough, dear Diary... I'm tired, sore & starving. Was it like this for Leonardo Da Vinci?!?!
waitingman: (Magritte Guitar)
There are times you wonder just what kind of guitarist you are... or whether you deserve to be called one, given the amount of time & effort that goes into other parts of your life in order to just keep that going, leaving precious little time to do the things you love doing ~ like playing guitar.

The pessimist in my artistic soul keeps coming back to a quote I posted from Robert Fripp a couple of months ago... he said: If you don't practise what you do for at least an hour each day, you're not really doing it. There are indeed days... sometimes quite a few days when I don't pick up a guitar at all, no matter what music may be running through my head ~ mine or someone else's.

But then there are days... & especially nights, where I'll have the opportunity to play guitar for friggin' hours!! Most often with other people, but occasionally I'll turn off the stereo/TV/iTunes/whatever & just play 'til I'm bored... & when the mood's right, that can be quite a while.

Whether that redresses the imbalance of the days with my guitars languishing in their cases unplayed is a matter of conjecture.

Thursday this week was one of those times, I was at a dinner thrown by my unofficial guitar pupil, where another guitarist turned up, a harmonica player... & for a short while, the neighbour's daughter & her clarinet ~ which meant that everything was played in Bflat for an hour. Lots of fun & a late night was had... especially by me, but that's another consequence & entry.

Anyway, this week, I also picked up a DVD copy of John Williams' Seville Concert & I can't recommend it highly enough, not only for guitarists, but anyone who simply enjoys music well played. Even non-classical fans will find something to drop their jaws in its too-brief duration. And the bonus accompanying documentary is simply inspiring. Have a taste...

And another... )

I think I need to listen to Robert in order to play like John...


waitingman: (Default)

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