39 (Carter)


Tascam 788 Digital Portastudio
W. Summerdale, Chicago, IL
Sturgeon Bay, WI

This was my electric follow up contrast to Reagan. It is a kind of art of the trio type recording where there is mostly one electric guitar, bass, and drums for each song. Some songs could have benefited from acoustic treatment but I wanted to keep the theme. It was also the first time since before Clinton that I had a space to record full drumset. I was also helped by the fact that the Tascam 788 has virtual tracks and mixing down drums is a whole lot easier than on tape where you are forced to overwrite the bounced tracks.

Every so often I like to clear out all my old songs to make room for new ones. I doubt that it really works this way but for some reason I get more ideas after the old ones are used and recorded. The second half of this album is old unused songs matched up with some old unused lyrics. The first half is a continuation of some of the ideas and goals I began to refine in Reagan. During this period I also started doing shows with Maid Marion that mostly consisted of the tolerable songs from these two albums. I don't usually feel like playing most of these songs live anymore but this album is very listenable and there is some clever interplay between the minimal instruments.

Visiting Hours has kind of personal lyrics based on a friend. I think he realized and was angry. Either way, the characters are fictional (like everything else I write to avoid being vulnerable). There are great oohs from Maid Marion in a space made specifically for her. For some reason I feel like this song is boring when I play it solo but I think it is a good story song. You can sing the words to Background to The Party's Over by Willie Nelson. I love the sounds of all the instruments that I captured but I am sad at how I mixed the picked guitar too soft. This was pretty much the first time that I tried to write anything with finger picking (even though it was completed after other finger picking songs) and I am still proud of it. The bass solo at the end is my favorite. It is so sad and beautiful. Again, the characters are all fictional. Unsteady was supposed to be the epic song of this album like Sow on Reagan (along with dual vocals and repetitive builds and false endings) but again it was just not executed as well as I hoped and desired. The result seems flat to me as I would have liked to create more emotion from the song. Instead it is an interesting song that maybe I will rerecord sometime in the future. This song definitely could have benefited from a second guitar or more. I liked the music for Ending Or Beginning? but didn't have any good ideas for lyrics so I reused some words from an old song called 2day that I wasn't satisfied with. It's a rock song with brushes! This album was all about pieces. I had fun taking an unused guitar part and then composing something creative on drums and then a complimentary bass part. Pangs is an example of what I do with left over lyrics sometimes. It is supposed to be silly and sarcastic but mostly I am just embarrassed. You can hear the punk and hardcore influence. This could easily be a hardcore song with screamed vocals. I took the same approach as Ending Or Beginning? for putting the pieces together. I like Humboldt but it is too long and cheesy. This one is similar to the last couple of songs where there are really only a couple of musical parts but I changed the drums and/or bass and/or vocal line to make it different each time. I tried to use compression on the drums and ended up getting some interesting sounds accidentally. I was actually trying to use compression correctly but gave up. There is also a pitch shifter effect on the guitar that feels like cheating. I like this chord progression that is based around letting the open A string ring. I am always drawn to songs that have a drone note. Old Lovers Having Lunch was recorded with one mic and a mini Marshall Stack. The best part is where I inadvertently do a harmonic as I lift my fingers from the strings and it makes a cool ring. Again, the characters are all fictional.