It’s a very complicated process getting ready to go into the studio and sing. We are going in for the next five days to try and finish the Blue Sky Riders record. (remember us?) Kenny flew in last night from Kansas City where he was doing God knows what. I flew in from Canada where I played a songwriter show at a casino. (Side note… saw Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits play the night before us… his guitar player, during a solo, jumped off the stage and broke his leg. BROKE HIS LEG. Greatest show ever) Georgia flew in from Colorado where she was writing with disabled vets. She wins. We are heartless money grabbers and she is a saint. Welcome to my world.
This morning we are walking around the house making weird guttural noises in our throats (some sort of primitive warm up) and finding reasons to push back the start of the session. Do we have the lyrics printed out? Maybe we should print them on rose colored paper from Kinkos. There’s a Starbucks next door to it… anyone want anything? Shameless. Am I the only one here who has a work ethic? (He shouts from the couch where Biography is showing a Carroll O’Connor retrospective and I am NOT leaving till it’s over).
Today we are trying to finish. That means listening to every song and saying things like “Let’s sing an ooh there. Let’s have Gary sing that line instead of Kenny.” (I get that a lot) “Let’s change that lyric.” That is the one that gets my goat. As a songwriter I have always been supremely proud (as opposed to Four Tops proud) of obeying the old adage “measure twice, cut once and don’t go swimming for half an hour after you cut something.” I truly believe that if we spend a lot of time finding the right words then they are carved in stone and you never change anything. Now Kenny and Georgia believe that songs are like sex. The process is never really over… you just keep working at it till you hate one another. I fully expect to be re-writing lines in the studio ten minutes before singing them. My fear with that is always that somewhere down the line everyone goes “You know what? I think it was better the first way!!” And then we drive all over the country buying the cds back from Target and Walmart and writing over the lyrics with a sharpie. Who has the time for that?
I know that there are people reading this who are, right at this moment saying to themselves, “This guy must be a nightmare to be in the studio with.” Well it’s because I care more than they do. A huge amount more. These two are phoning this in long distance. Kenny actually sits in the studio and reads old reviews of his shows from 1986 and Georgia is leafing through “Today’s Bride” and calling caterers.
I kid. I kid. I couldn’t be in the studio with two more brilliant and generous people. This whole process is restoring my joy of creating music. I can’t wait to hear what comes out of their mouths next because it teaches me something valuable each and every time. They make each track we do special and…and…and…
Okay they left the room. It’s hard to be honest in these things when we all look over each others shoulders whenever we hear the keys clicking and measuring hotel rooms to make sure we all get the same size sitting area.
Okay kids, (and I think of you all AS my kids which gives me a creepy chill) it’s time to go. Not sure if we decided on Starbucks or Kinkos. We’ll get there eventually and when we do… ooowheee are you in for a thrill.