“Target” is one of the earlier songs I wrote. I have a recording of it somewhere—everything is somewhere, but in this case I don’t know where, exactly—done by what I’d call the Proto-Pickups (pre-Tony Mandracchia, with the late Dana Ferris on guitar). We never played it as the Pickups. I don’t know why. It’s been stuck in my head lately and I thought it would be fun to record. It was, once I got my voice in good enough shape to actually sing it! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to when I started. I had a bit more range on the upper end of my chest voice *cough cough* omg how many years ago?!
ANYway I absolutely love what Tony did on this tune. Check out the faux pedal steel part!
I’m still tweaking the vocal parts a bit but I think this is close enough to give you an idea.
Dan Westrick is one talented guy. Presented for your approval: Plunderbund’s second video, “Home,” featuring yours truly and Monstro the Jazz bass in a starring role, at a variety of scenic spots around East Jesus, Niland, Salvation Mountain and Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea. We filmed all this last year (except for the bits at Fiesta Island) and really had a blast! We were supposed to play out at the Range in East Jesus in April. Sadly, 2020 had other plans…
I just want to say that this song really was inspired by local honey…not heavy drugs! And my usual preoccupations as of late…I think you’ll pick those out.
I had a lot of fun with this one. It has not one, not two, but THREE bass parts! And Tony Mandracchia supplied so much gorgeous guitarwork that it was hard to choose what to use. I hope I did it justice. I recommend headphones/earbuds. Maybe a little local honey.
So the first song I tried to record was a version of this one, much truncated — I hadn’t really intended to do anything with it; the attempt was just a way for me to learn how to do very basic recording. Here’s a more finished version, with, you know, an intro, a solo, another verse…
Like a lot of my songs lately, this is another one about mortality and regret, with maybe a little acceptance mixed in.
As I was working on it, I got some sad news about a good friend. Not like we need more reminders during this insane time, but treasure your friends and your loved ones. Treasure your days and your nights.
Thanks as always to Tony Mandracchia for the beautiful guitar parts, and even more so for the friendship.
Okay, well, this is a weird one, so enjoy this photo of a weird tree while you listen. Thanks as always to the awesome Tony Mandracchia, who provided the stellar guitars including that crazy carousel scale at the end…you’ll get what I mean when you hear it!
This is the first song I wrote after my long hiatus from music. Plunderbund played it and I really like the arrangement we had — I wish we were out playing it now. But there’s no point spending too much time mourning what can’t be done. Instead I’m celebrating what I can. I am so grateful to have Tony Mandracchia as a collaborator on this track, bringing the song to life. I still have some work to do on the mix (dobros are complicated, and my skill set is minimal), there are vocal oopses here and there, and I really would love to have real drums instead of robots — but I think this gets the feel of the song across.
SILVER DOLLAR is about a lot of things. Mostly it’s about getting older, trying to put one’s life experiences in context, mourning some things, celebrating others.
Take advantage of the time you’ve got. You never know how long that will be…
So here’s the second song I mentioned, the first written entirely during the coronavirus lockdown. When I was writing “Elephant,” I didn’t think it was about the pandemic but I think it kind of is. I’ll probably do another mix of this to bring up the bass a bit and bring down the vocals at the end a little. And maybe even some live drums! Stay tuned…
Okay, here’s a better bass — I used my ancient Jazz bass and it just has such a great sound!
Once again, huge thanks to Tony Mandracchia for the awesome guitars and Dan Westrick for the technical assists!
So. We’ve all found different way to cope with the utterly surreal situation in which we’ve all collectively found ourselves. Me? I decided to — finally — experiment with home recording. Never something I’d been very interested in learning about. Back when I was doing the Pickups, recording was more complicated and required a pretty hefty investment in equipment, and there were plenty of people who were very good at it.
Plus, I can sing and I can play bass, but I can’t play guitar. It seemed sorta silly.
And then I took 17 years off from playing.
But now? A decent computer and about $300 will get you what you absolutely have to have to record. And the technology is such that you can work with other musicians remotely and it’s really pretty damn easy!
So, here is my first ever recording. There are plenty of deficiencies — I just sorta rammed ahead without paying a lot of attention to levels and such on the vocals, and it shows — and I’d love to have a real life drummer instead of an Apple Bot, but you know? It gets the song across.
Thanks to Tony Mandracchia for the wonderful guitar work — it’s so much fun working together again! And to Dan Westrick, my current bandmate, for walking me through what I needed to get and giving me the confidence to try.
(Dan btw has some serious chops for the tech/recording stuff. I expect you will be hearing a lot of local San Diego musicians recorded in the PlunderCave when we’re able to do such things again!)
“A tambourine in the wrong hands…is a dangerous weapon”
So as I’ve been re-embarking on this whole playing in a band thing (which is a head trip in many ways), I’m rediscovering tunes that I wrote that I barely remember. Here’s one of them. It had been sitting on a cassette and I hadn’t heard it in 18 years or so (thanks to Dan Westrick for ripping it to digital so I could listen. Who has a cassette player any more? Not me).
Strange for me to hear it again. The musicianship was really solid–hearing Tony and Todd just made me happy. I don’t think Dana was on this tune for some reason — it sounds like me doing the backups (which is too bad, because I always liked the way our voices blended and balanced).
As for the song, it made me sad because it was about sad stuff, and it’s a sad song.
On the other hand, it’s very…musical. Like what’s the next TV show that wants to do a musical episode? Call me.