My Music

You can click on these tunes and play them in the popup window… wait a few seconds for the buffering to kick in.   All songs copyrighted, all rights reserved.

Keeping it Down        …. About a relationship with a person who had some some serious issues…and some real daemons to keep down.

Just Enemies – (Lines are Down)    …..A song about the tragic Bosnian war, and the senseless destruction of critical infrastructure

Rainbows   … A positive song which re-iterates the old addage  – “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” Has special improvised jazz section at the end – this was a suprise the drummer threw at us with no warning during the recording session…what a guy! Probably made it my favorite track on the CD.

                         Some notes on the music, and my musical history, to read while letting the tracks play…. 

 My musical history begins with playing guitar and keyboards in a band in the Flint, Michigan area. The other guys were 18-19 years, old, and I was the young guy at 15.  We played some parties and thought were were pretty cool to get a gig here and there in local dive bars. Flint being what it was (and is), there were plenty of those.  I also played with other contemporaries in high school, banging out scary hard rock covers of Aerosmith, Rush, John Cougar and all the other typical midwest stuff, some blues, some pop-rock, all mostly bad but played with heart.  When I went off to college, I found other musicians, and most notable would have to be a R&B band we formed called Nothin’ et Al.  We had connections in the band to the broadcasting department, and so for several years used the TV studios and the attached Kiva Theater in the off-hours for our practice sessions.  Those same connections kept us active with university-paid gigs, outdoor and indoor student events whenever they came up.  

After college,  I started working in Holland, Michigan for an automotive supplier. Shortly after landing there I joined an area band called The Voice, which already had a pretty good reputation. The other musicians were all recent graduates of Hope College, and so there were once again plenty of campus-related gigs to go along with our local shows. We made the rounds in Michigan playing mostly college bars and tourist town venues, and over the years produced several CD’s of original material. A neat video of the band can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5mR7gGdDnk  

— I’m the guy with the red Stratocaster…   Video was shot and edited by videographer Steve Secor, who played bass with The Voice for many  years. Thanks, Steve… great stuff!

 It was only after some thought and internal debate that I decided to include in this website some music files   – This is really my business’s website, but to a point it’s valid – it’s part of who I am and where I get my experience in instruments and amplifiers from.

These tracks are  from a side-line spin-off trio of us from The Voice.   In that trio setting, I had the opportunity to write and sing, so it’s a more accurate picture of my influences and style at the time.  It’s probably a good deal softer in tone than what one might expect, but we were a melancholy lot, more inclined to textures and depth than loudness. To be sure, there are tracks based on a Strat though a Marshall JCM 800 running  at 100% with an SM57 on the edge of the cone, but all in all it was a more laid back disc with open mixes and plenty of acoustic guitars.

The tracks I have posted here are songs with texts that I wrote and were taken from a CD we produced in 1997  (“Bubble“)  to support our shows.  Only about 500 discs were printed, as I recall.  Us being somewhat multi-instrumental, one of our focus points was that we all had to switch to other instruments from time to time during our live sets.  In these 8-track sessions (Fostex R8 1/4” machine running Ampex 256) we recorded the drums live-produced to 2-track… meaning that all the compression, mix levels, gating and ‘verbs were decided and fixed as we recorded direct to a stereo pair – no going back and fixing things up later once they were printed to tape.

The other 6 tracks on the R8 were needed for the all the other instruments and vocals.  As a result of careful planning and not ping-ponging any tracks, the fidelity is pretty good, (if somewhat bright) considering the limitations. All were produced in my home studio, which was pretty modest at the time. Good mics, and good outboard gear were used, and the whole lot was mixed analog on my Mackie 32×8 console to a Tascam DA-30 DAT machine. We mastered it ourselves using Steinberg Waves on a SCSI-based PC that Jovo (other guitarist) built for the task. I am not 100% sure which disc printing house we used, but it may have been Discmakers. We were happy with the results in any case.

 The track “Rainbows” has my vocals, bass and keyboard lines, while “Keeping it Down” I am playing guitar and doing the vocals.  “Just Enemies” I am again doing guitars  and vocals. 

I do have some tracks of an outdoor show  by JP that I have found,  and should post them here if only to demonstrate that we were capable of pulling it off live as well. We were joined by The Voice keyboard player Paul Chamness on a few of the live tracks. The show was an outdoor fund raiser for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Muskegan.  The tracks come from a cassette 2-track of the board mix, Ed Walters was manning the faders for us, hence the nice sound.

phone-booth-live (r. cray)

just-enemies-live

keeping-it-down-live

Comments
  1. Chad says:

    Dude, I LOVE your site. Really nicely done. I enjoyed listening to the live stuff. Best wishes on the business.

    My brother, Curt, inquired as to your musical goings-on. Musing whether you might like to do a few gigs together. I gave your mobile number.

    Chad

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