|VOL 15 ISSUE 11||
I co-wrote this song in 1994 and first performed it at the wedding of Roger and Anne Wiedabach. The recording process started at Wiedabach's home studio when I played the piano track and friend and bassist Al Ortiz laid down the bass track. At the time Ortiz was best known for his work with Walt Richardson's Morning Star Band and Khani Cole's band, but he has since gone on to additionally play in Stevie Nick's band. At the time, Roger and I were both taking voice lessons from Robert Mason who had sung on the 1992 self-titled Lynch Mob CD and he is currently fronting the band Warrant. I hired him to sing the male vocal part. For the female vocal, I reached out to Tucson's LeeAnne Savage who I knew from the band White Rabbit. The digital files for all of these tracks were accidently erased and all that was left was a cassette tape which didn't include LeeAnne's vocal part. So the cassette was all that was left of the original recordings.
I moved to Nashville in 1995 and met singer Dawna (Bradford) Scripps and asked her record the female vocal parts along tracks from the cassette that I recovered in my home studio (Session 8 digital 8-track system). Though it sounded beautiful, the song then sat on the shelf for the next 25 years. Now, in the midst of the pandemic of 2020, I reached out to Wiedabach to help revive the song and had him lay down a smokin' drum track that synched perfectly to the Ortiz's original bass part. Greenawalt added several synthesizer tracks build up the production of the song and added the signature saxophone solo parts. The icing on the proverbial cake turned out to be the fantastic guitar parts added by Nic Sterling. Greenawalt met Sterling by a chance while auditioning for a Led Zeppelin tribute band. Nic first gained notoriety as a child phenom on guitar and then went on to tour with Sebastian Bach's band and collaborate with several other acts. His current band is Wyves. Once the song was completed, mixed, and mastered, I set my sights on making the video. It started out being a video that just featured the Robert Indiana's LOVE sign at Scottsdale Civic Plaza. I first filmed some static and drone shots, but it needed more movement since the song was over 4 minutes long. My search for an interpretive dancer online led me to Russian award winning ballroom dancer Olga Akopova. She was interested in doing the project, but thought it was strange for a solo dancer to dance to a duet and suggested that her husband and dance partner Anton Silantev join the project. The video tells the rest of the story with their wonderful interpretation of the song. Watch it on YouTube at this address https://youtu.be/Um4ph99DKVo .
One day in the year 2020, I looked up from scrolling on Facebook and realized that the ceiling had bubbled up filled with water and had burst over my computer workstation. Luck was on my side though apparently when my collection of badges and lanyards from my years of attending conventions deflected the rush of water into the corner and saved my computer and hard drives. Investigation proved that there was still a slow leak in a CPVC hot water pipe that had to be fixed. So the first DIY project was to open the ceiling, fix the pipe, and then to finally patch and paint. I had moved the computer desk to do the work, but I was apprehensive to move it back under the impending risk of a future issue. I made a plan to relocate the desk to the other side of the room and I decided that the sound would be better if I didn't have the desk in the corner. Off to search for a new desk!
I found a very cool desk from Output.com called Platform. The price was fairly reasonable before the add-ons that I wanted, but the real kicker was that they indicated a 14-16 week delivery time. I found a couple of YouTubers that found the dimensions for Output's desk and built their own from scratch. I wouldn't consider myself a skilled woodworker, but I decided that I was up for the challenge to build my own desk. I screwed up a few things that ended up giving it some nice "character", but it actually didn't turn out too bad at all. I stained the oak plywood with a gray poly-stain and then spraypainted a "starburst" edge like a Gibson Les Paul. The six rack spaces give me room to mount rack units while elevating my Yamaha speakers to ear level (when I'm slouching). The pull out keyboard tray is perfect for my Roland VR-09 and I've got everything set up now to start creating more music in the new year. I was a bet more challenging to build than I expected, but it was pretty satisfying once it was done.
I'm definitely not known for my drumming skills, but ironically the three times I played drums with the band Double Negative, it was a sold out show at the 1500-seat Chandler Center for the Arts. The image above is from 2012 when we played Signed, Sealed, Delivered at the Intel Variety Show. This band was made up of my good friend Ed Clapper and his daugter Aris, and me and my son Sage. If you'd like to see the video from that evening, it is online at https://youtu.be/EJWq-UafXaY .
I have prided myself with playing most of the instruments on many of my original songs, but my Achilles heel has been playing a quality drum track. I've enlisted the help of my good friend Roger Weidabach to play drums on most of my original songs. I've also worked with Angel Pizarro, Ryan Eibling, Vince Ruzzo (Nashville), Daniel Weiglib (Nashville), and even Zamm Kenobi from France through the Fiverr.com website. They are all much more proficient than I am and more importantly they all have real drums to play on for recordings. I've liked having my electronic Yamaha DTXplorer set, but I'd always felt that the drums sounded like a drum machine. Well, technology has been improving and there are some really great sounding plugins for home recording now that rival the sound of real drums. So I have been experimenting with some of the sounds native to Logic X and I've downloaded a free version of Steve Slate's SSD 5.5 and it is sounding pretty good too. I bought two extra used drum pads for my electrinic kit to have a few extra cymbals to play.
Well, that helps to solve the drum sound quite a bit, but I still need to get better chops on playing the drums. This month I have been working on a new original song called "He Sings His Song" and I'm trying my hand at playing the drums myself. I'll keep you posted on the progress right here on the Green Pages.
Nothing. Still waiting for the pandemic to just to go away.
copyright Mark Greenawalt, Future-Class X Publishing - Phoenix, AZ 85044
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