MUSICAL HISTORY

 

A VOICE FROM THE PAST

All musical material herein is fully Copyrighted by The Voice and/or Jupiter Plume. All Rights Reserved. © The Voice, Jupiter Plume and MyTubeAudio,LLC 1990-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or The Voice. and/or Jupiter Plume is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Voice, Jupiter Plume and/or MyTubeAudio, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

1st-album-cover-voice

From  1990 to 1999, I was fortunate to play with a group of West Michigan musicians called The Voice.

At the time I joined, the band was already a few years old, and had a least one demo tape out.  They had been in flux, as tends to happen to college bands as their members graduate and drift off into career paths that can take them far and wide.  Recruited by a mutual friend, I recall that after just one or two meetings, they let me know the position was mine if I wanted it.  They were playing a mix of covers and originals, and the style was immediately interesting to me.  Once I was up to speed, we resumed playing in the West Michigan area and began working on our plans for the band’s first CD project of original material.

The Voice (self-titled) was locally released in 1993 and contained 17 tracks of original pop music.  The tracks reflect the early years of the band’s development,  having a significant 80’s synth and underground influence, combined with flavors of British and American pop music.  Contemporary christian music elements were present as well. Comparisons of the Voice to other bands like Crowded House and the Talking Heads were common, which probably just reflected the influences we all shared in those years.   My favorite tracks? Listening now, I can really hear the clash of sounds from the CD being recorded at three different facilities,  but I’d say Secrets, Sunday Love, and Tim Crying get my votes.

1st-album-rear-cover-voice

 01-secrets

02-let-me-breathe

03-surrounds-you

 04-knoxville-rain

05-blue-sky

06-sunday-love

07-running-around-in-my-dreams

08-how-beautiful

09-cant-you-see

10-tim-crying

11-coming-off-me-now

12-sacred

13-slipping-away

14-shadows-on-a-picture-frame

15-white-horse

16-higher-ground

The follow-up CD, Happy, was an EP, containing only 5 songs, was released locally in 1994 and was recorded for the most part in a couple of smaller local studios.  By comparison, it had an almost REM or country-esque edge to it. It was done on modest budget, and even the cover was a single-color (B/W) print job. Still, it captures several new tunes we had developed and worked into the set. The cover theme reflects environmental awareness, as does some of the music on the disc.

happy-front

happy-rear

 01-suspend

02-tired

03-from-myself

04-happy-im-so

05-prior-days

The third CD, Surface, was more completely developed and produced, and ranged in styles from a very driven sound to tunes with a Jazz edge to them, to modern pop.  A mid-late 90’s influence is present, as well as a certain discernable distain for some of the repetitive college gigs we had been performing –  which means a lot of drunken university students in basement bars, who are already well plastered even as the equipment is being set up  for the night’s gig.

surface-band-pic

The gig environment was a major issue within the band  –  who by this time were musically a pretty mature lot who wanted to be taken more seriously.  The smoky air of those kinds of places had began taking its toll, with Joel sometimes finding his voice off the rails by the start of the third set. A long period of reflection set in about where and why the band should play, leading to a change in flavor of the types of shows we were playing, and how often. It was also about this time that a record deal was being negotiated with a broadcasting firm based in Chicago. As a group, we declared we all were charged with reading 1 or 2 books each on the recording industry, copyright and publishing law.  In a sad meeting later we took that contract apart piece-by-piece and decided it was not a very favorable contract at all, and we stood to lose a lot of money, not the mention losing perhaps forever the publishing and performance rights to everything we had ever written.  This is an important point here, do take note: most “record deals” are slick little legally-crafted documents that can leave a band in hundreds of thousands in debt if every little thing doesn’t go EXACTLY as planned. More caveats than there are peanuts in Georgia.

surface-cover

 im-not-worried

ruler-in-decline

circus

too-far-gone

call-it-what-you-want-to

surface

one-is-not-enough

cut-me-till-i-feel-it

vertigo

fall-song

surface-band-names

the-voice-ionia-cd-release

The most recent CD produced by The Voice was called Wake.  It picks up where Surface left off, hence the name. Most of the tunes were recorded in pre-production at my home studio, so we had the benefit of having them pretty close to where we wanted to before we laid out cash for commercial studio time.  

wake-cover

This is a very clean sounding disk, with a lighter feel, more intricate arrangements with less reverb and production applied – the songs and performances standing more on their own.  Much of this disc was actually finished after I had left for Germany, in terms of mixing and mastering.  On one unfinished track, a new guitar player was brought into the fold and he skillfully and artistically tracked the arranged guitar parts in my absence.  He remained with the band for about a year after that, although by that point the band was playing fewer shows and people’s lives were rapidly evolving in other directions once again. 

the-fear

juliet-was-short

dirigible

whats-the-catch

easy-as-a-flower

through-you

glow

stunned

peaceful-like-a-grave

stunned-bonus-acoustic-version

wake-credits-page

During the time between Surface and Wake, three of us, drummer Chad, guitarist/bassist Jovo and myself were busy working on a trio-format , writing material for some limited live shows, and produced a CD of those tunes on my analog 8-track ¼” Fostex reel-to-reel machine.  This was mastered and presented as a CD under the band name Jupiter Plume (Astronomical reference) with the title Bubble.  More detailed information on the JP project, this CD and recording notes about it can be found under the page “My Music”.

 jplume-cover 

 01-above-it-all

02-sun-king

03-oceans-ankle-deep

04-floodgates

05-keeping-it-down

06-words-gold

07-hollow

08-just-enemies-lines-are-down

09-peaceful-like-a-grave

 10. Rainbows

  jplume-band-pic-grille

 

 

MY STICKY FINGERS

A few years ago I was fiddling with our digital camera when it occurred to me I once saw some great concert video that included a camera mounted on the head stock of the guitar player’s instrument. It was a cool vantage point as the rest of the room moved while the neck didn’t.   I tried this with our camera, but found that looking at the back of my hand was not too interesting, clearly the camera was too close to the plane of the fret board to see what my fingers were doing.  My solution was to move the camera to the body. This is not as easy as it sounds – I like to keep my instruments looking good… a block of cork and a REALLY big rubber band proved just stable enough to pull it off.   I was amused with the results, and I thought it would be cool to post it.  As for the sound, the amp is not as loud as it should be, as you can still hear raw string tone from the body as it was so close to the mic… Ah… what do you want for a 15-minute project?  I think this is an interesting tool as a guitarist –  I can analyze my moves and see where my bad habits are more clearly when looking at the video as I am no longer engaged in the moment of playing…. quite illuminating.  I may play with this idea more – a dedicated scratch-free mount will need to be built.

 

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Comments
  1. Joe says:

    Stumbled onto your site while looking for info concerning trading out a Fender 65r Frontman reverb tank into a Sears Silvertone 1484. Don’t know anything about electronics, just trolling the web to see what’s possible. Love your site and the band history music brought back many memories my younger days playing 80’s – 90’s pop. Thanks for the tour.
    Best regards,
    Joe
    New York

    Dan replies: No, Joe it’s not a straight swap. Modern tanks are completely incompatible with the high-voltage differential drive circuit present in the Silvertone. You must install a reverb drive transformer or a solid-state equivalent. Tanks require current, not voltage drive, and matched impedances to work well. It’s a few hours of work but I’ve done several. Basically you are copying a blackface-era circuit and replacing the whole drive side of the reverb. The return side does not require so much change. The mod requires some reasonable tech skills and probably not a good one to try if you are not comfortable with such things. Any experienced local amp tech should be able to accomplish it – Thanks so much for your feedback!!

  2. John Maxson says:

    Thanks for the work on the Fender Pro Junior and getting it back to life, Dan. I just watched your “Sticky Fingers” video……very cool and gets my mind racing. Good luck to you on your next adventure in music. John Maxson

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