Friday, May 11, 2012

Week in Rawk: Part 2

It's been 2 months since we had the Ballard Basement Band rocking out in Seattle and I'm finally getting around to posting the fruits of our labor.  It also appears that Mr. Ken is probably not going to mix down any more of the songs due to work, time constraints, travel and oh yes, the immanent arrival of our son.  But out of 15 songs attempted that week, 4 made it to YouTube including a revealing Outtake Reel.

I think the best song was our last one performed: Radiohead's "All I Need."

I'll be the first to admit the video from that week leaves much to be desired.  While it was important for documenting our time together, it was never a #1 priority which is why the shots are sort of boring and Dave is half out of frame.  Being the hack lead singer and the videographer while 4+ months pregnant and juggling normal household responsibilities never let me focus on any specific thing very well.  For all the musical gear that was procured for that one week, I said next time we need to put some resources toward some video equipment.  Even security cameras mounted in the corners that can shoot across for coverage.  Something. Anything.

While "All These Things That I've Done" was slated to be a sloppy run through and the guys did not spend nearly as much time learning it as the others, I felt it came out very true to the original.  This song by the Killers was one I worked with my vocal coach on years ago when Ken had bought me singing lessons.  It's a song I really like.

Ken actually mixed more than the 4 songs and did his best on our attempt at The Black Keys' "Too Afraid to Love You" which was the one song from our set that I wanted to nail more than anything.  But on the best take of the band, my vocals were uneven & tired and the video was chronically uninspired.  The same can be said for "Howling for You" also by the Black Keys.  So those videos were never put together.  While I did edit The Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma," the video does not really capture how fun it was in the room to do that song as a band.  It felt tight even though it was far from the musical taste of the guys.  The song was just one of my requests and I was grateful that they indulged.

The guys did perform several songs instrumentally by Rush, Radiohead & old Genesis and I was blown away by their rendition of "Planet Telex".  I had waived off learning the vocals for that song since it was not a Radiohead song that I was familiar with and I already had 7 songs to try and not suck at.  But after hearing what they did with it, I said I would learn the vocals so that next time we were together they could reprise it fully.

"Sinister Kid" by the Black Keys came through pretty much as I had hoped.  Charly really stepped up with the slide and the improv on guitar, though that is not his favorite thing to do I'm told.

It was a crazy, fun week preceded by many months of preparation and thought.  Ken compared it to ramping up for something very big and then when it was over he felt a little sad.  I totally know how he feels.  That is exactly how I felt after our wedding: so much planning, expectation, anxiety and vision then it passes.   While you don't have that event looming anymore, the excitement, anticipation and energy are gone too.

Speaking of planning, despite all best intentions, we did not anticipate everything...
  • Ken and Dave made MANY trips to Radio Shack for cables and stuff.  On one such trip they were witness a comical and yet disturbing argument between two homeless people in the parking lot.  It was as if they were putting on a performance.  An imitation of this event is performed by Dave in the Outtakes Reel.
  • There were multiple trips to Guitar Center for things, including getting the bass (borrowed from my cousin) repaired.  
  • Ken & Dave went off to Everett half-cocked on a wild goose chase for a piece of much needed equipment (see next bullet).  Turned out to be the wrong thing.
  • Ken scanned Craig's List for a "multiple USB stereo channel input/output box" and came across a guy who lives only 15 minutes from our house who would swap (as a loan) his unit for Ken's beloved high-end Theremin.  Our jaws all hit the floor and we struggled in disbelief to believe Ken agreed to this.  It all turned out fine but later in the mixing stage, Ken suspected something within the unit introduced pops and clicks into to the tracks.  Boo.
  • Garage Band presented a steep learning curve to all involved.  
  • One of the official institutions of the original band (Ken, Dave & Charly), a bag of Sun Chips, was purchased.  Music making could then proceed.
  • At the beginning of the week, Ken and Dave nearly kill themselves trying to get our "drop-ship" delivered, king-sized mattress up the front stairs and into the house.  Dave suffers a strained neck/shoulder as a result.
  • Mid-week, the Prius rear window gets stuck in the down position after a Radio Shack/Guitar Center run just in time for a torrential rain & hail storm.  Ken & Dave fashion a ghetto-fabulous cardboard cut out to get the car through the night.  A day in the shop and $600 later, the window was fixed.  
  • Build it and they will come.  Banter and there will be Outtakes.  Behold:

Looking forward to our next jam session.  Though with a new baby, I am not sure how likely it will be by March 2013.  But I already have some songs I'd like to suggest.   I think I mostly look forward to when there is not a tiny human compressing my lungs and diaphragm so I can actually attempt to sing.   Next time too, Dave will get better video coverage and Charly will no doubt wow us with more POD Guitar Effects Processor magic.  It would also be great if Ken could show some of his Theremin skills in a song or two.  Here's hoping...until next time!

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