Saturday, 20 June 2009

Fun - but hard work

Simple fun live entertainment, that's all I aim to do when I play. No ego, no pretentious bull$#it, just good fun. Thanks guys... I'm actually enjoying this. I'm really missing playing with other people, but I've just got to get out there and play, all the same. I'm a bit too 'raucous' to play those small quiet intimate cafe-type things... a small pub with a happy relaxed drinking crowd is much easier to entertain, interact with and keep happy... plus I don't have to meet the pretentious knobs' false expectations in those small cafe gigs. I've been 'playing the game' of performing in front of audiences for so many years that I can confidently wing it and improvise things pretty naturally these days. A lot of the "serious-minded" solo singer/songwriters (I'm not talking about those guys with "backing tracks" by the way... I don't use 'backing tracks' when I play!) just stand there and play with their eyes shut (mind you, they are trying [and achieving] something totally different to what I am aiming for, and that's quite OK). I'm the opposite - and some muso's find that both alarming and amazing... but I know the punters love it - hence that's why I do it.

I personally know two guys who do the rounds playing venues as solo players and using backing tracks/midi and all that. They are excellent at what they do, and honestly sound great! Good luck to them, and I whole-heatedly applaud them. The thing is - I'm not coming from that direction at all. Playing heavily-arranged and orchestrated songs out of a machine is, for me as a player and performer, mind and soul-destroying. I've done it before years ago, and hated it. I'd never do that style of live performance again. I've always been a 'keep music live'-type person... that's why I tried so ferking hard to get "The Night Before" band off the ground for so long, because it was a band of interactive people, not a rythmn box or a drum machine. So, in the end, what's why it's basically me standing there with just a guitar, using my voice, improvising, foot-stomping, cracking gags, and interacting with the audience etc etc etc. You simply do not have the opportunity to do that with the slave of a click-track.

I'm thinking of making the album available online as mp3's as well as a CD... but I have to finish it first! About 75% of the music is recorded, and I'm starting on some pre-mixdowns. The draft artwork is completed, and the website is up-and-running. Now I just have to create a "Press Kit", some flyers and all that stuff, and keep the ball rolling. It's not easy when you don't have any money to do this basic stuff, so I'll do what I can. (This sure is 'independent' record label stuff here, certainly! hahahaa). Oh yes... it's not easy being broke and trying to drive to get to gigs, albeit small outlaying places anyways.

I'm not planning on world domination or perfection here, you know. Just the chance to get out there and play to happy punters. If I can do a 'walk-in' like last Wednesday night, I know I can do that anywhere and feel happy with it.

"Recording an album" is NOT as romantic as it may sound, you know! Hours spent sitting in front of a recording console in your back room, cup of tea in hand, surrounded by guitars, leads, stands, keyboards, ploughing-through take-after-take of some of the stuff... simply because I'm a closet perfectionist who's not good enough to play what he wants to play! But I'm happy with it. If someone was there to watch what I do recording, they'd be plumb-bored pretty quickly, as a lot of the time is just fiddling with trying to get a decent 'sound' out of a fairly sterile digital recording machine. I wish I could use all old-school warm analogue technology to record with, but as I don't have $200+ an hour to pay someone in a studio to do that for me, I have to just 'use what I have'. Blah blah blah.

Yes, it's a lot of fun - but a LOT of hard work too. A lot of work for doing something I simply enjoy, and realistically will see little-to-no financial reward as a result. But that's OK. That's not why I'm doing all this. I'm just having a crack and getting some stuff down 'on tape' before I cark it!

At least it's keeping the black dog away...
Peas be with ewe
Mal :)

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  1. Maybe post some videos up mate of your live work?

  2. You sound so much happier Mal, I'm really glad to hear that.

  3. Hard work is good, as long as you enjoy what you are doing. I can tell that you love what you do, keep at it. Don't let people or things get in your way, just play.

  4. It may be alot of work, but at least you know you can get it done, and not worry about others schedule.

    Keep busy mal!!

  5. As Foxy sound so much happier...and in winter too...if I am ever going to be a bit down its during the cold cloudy days like we have had for the past weeks. As I said, its wonderful to hear you talk about something you love doing so much.