WE'VE MOVED THE BLOG! You can now find it here
Subject: Big Changes Afoot...
Posted January 29, 2007
Okay, Wednesday is the Big Day. We will be moving my blog and the forum from here to the new site. There will be some forwards so your links will still be the same, and theoretically you won't even have to change your RSS feed. Elle is working on that stuff, and we'll see how it all goes. As is usual when we change the nature of the site, things will be bumpy for a few hours.

In any case, take a nice long last look at SMG.org/com, as it will only be here for historical purposes after Wednesday.

Subject: Cheap Sensation...
Posted January 27, 2007
I just finished assembling the "Cheap Sensation" EP, which is the extras package that will go along with "The Devil His Due." It was quite entertaining sifting through all that material. I didn't really realize exactly how many songs I at least started, let alone finished, for this album. There are three folders on my RAID (named, inexplicably, "CR," "CR New," and "CR Album") that each contain at least 50 songs, and there are several distinctly different versions of almost every song that actually ended up on the album.

So, here's what I ended up with, and explanations of what each track is about. You'll be able to hear/buy them shortly.

1. Cheap Sensation : This was one of the first songs I wrote for TDHD, and this, along with the next three, give a good indication of how I was casting about for a style. It's an upbeat rocker, with essentially the same lyrical content as the title track of the main album, albeit in a much funnier light. You'll see what I mean. This is one of my favorite tracks I wrote during this entire time period, and one of the better songs I've ever written, but it simply didn't fit in with the others. I could always envision Miguel and I performing this song on Letterman, with Matt Walker playing drums (that's him on this track) and his brother Saul doing the bass. Fucking sue me.

2. Satellite : You already know this one, as I put it on a podcast some months back (was it more than a year? I think so...) as a teaser for the album. It still had that SMG "jazztronica" feel to it, and the lyrical content didn't fit what TDHD turned in to, so it got axed. Ironically, I could have probably shoehorned this song in to an SMG album if I darkened it up a bit. I still like it, though, and have put one of the three versions here. There's still another that is essentially live, with Bounte doing trumpets, as I tried to get it to fit with the other songs on TDHD. That one just didn't work as well as the version I've included here.

3. City Streets : This is the first song I wrote after we moved to Oregon. You'll probably be able to pick up on the fact that I was completely losing my mind from the drastic change of living situations. Obviously, a major life change like that is going to carry over in to the way one expresses oneself. Once I finished the rough of this track, I never listened to it again until this morning. I probably could have fit this on TDHD, but I would have had to tone down the production a bit.

4. Cry Me A River : Miguel and I did this in Chicago a couple months after the Domination Tour ended. It was literally the first track done for what became TDHD. Obviously, it's a cover, and you've heard it before if you downloaded the podcast referenced above. This is a bit more sophisticated mix than the one on the podcast, but it is essentially the same. I recorded several covers for TDHD, trying to feel out styles and learn some new chords and such. (I usually do this for every album except the Micronaut ones, so it's nothing new.) Other songs I recorded, which you'll probably never hear, were Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues," Ray Charles' "The Thrill Is Gone," and Tom Waits' "Way Down In The Hole."

5. Be There Tonight (Original Demo) : Long-time readers will remember that, a couple years back, we were going to do a Sister Machine Gun movie called "The Basement" that was essentially a live performance shot on film, with no electronics. It was going to have a drummer playing junkyard stuff, Miguel on guitar, and myself on bass. I wrote several songs for this event, and we built a set, but The Basement flooded in the spring rains in Chicago, and destroyed the set, and basically killed the project. (The drummer went to an asylum. Hopefully that wasn't a result of the cancelling of the project.) What you have here is the original demo Miguel and I made for "Be There Tonight," which was one of the five songs written for the project. I re-recorded it entirely for Komposi003, having lost the original project file. That version also appears on TDHD. Here is the first version, much sparser, with Miguel playing guitar instead of me.

6. The Bottle (Original Demo) : Same story, different song. This track was also written for The Basement session, and the original project was also lost. I re-recorded it for TDHD, and added a third verse, which you'll hear on the album. This version is significantly different than what appears on the album. The album version has Randall Peterson playing guitar, but this one is Miguel.

7. The Devil His Due (First Version) : I included this to give you an idea of the songwriting process. Almost every track on TDHD ended up getting re-recorded a couple times, if not dozens. This is the first iteration of the title track, also with Miguel on guitar. (The album version has my own acoustic stylings.) The version on the album is the fourth re-recording of the song. Whether it's better or not is up to you to decide. You'll note subtle lyrical changes between the two versions, as I tuned up the phrasing of specific lines a bit better the more I sang it.

Anyways, that's my reasoning for including the tracks I did in the "Cheap Sensation" EP. Elle is importing everything to the store this weekend, so you should be able to hear/buy this stuff shortly.

Subject: Home again...
Posted January 25, 2007
Back in the saddle, as it were. We had an excellent time in Hood River. I bought Elle a new bike for her anniversary gift, and we drove around looking at potential Kompounds, then headed home. Every time we go to Hood River and environs, we're a step closer to deciding to make it our permanent home. (As in actually buying a house and leasing office space, that sort of thing.)

In any case, back to work tomorrow. I have to touch up the mastering on the CR record, now that my ears have had a couple days rest, and assemble the extras EP, the name of which I haven't yet decided on. Bounte: One and Chris Randall: The Devil His Due go to the pressing plant on Monday.

Subject: Happy Anniversary...
Posted January 24, 2007
Happy 12th anniversary to us. We're in Hood River right now, at the excellent Hood River Hotel, a turn-of-the-century (and by that I mean 1900, not 2000) hotel overlooking the Columbia. We drove around and saw the sights in the area most of the day, and stopped at a couple winery type places on the Washington side of the river; if there's one thing the holidays just taught me, it's that you can never have enough red wine on hand. My collection got ass-raped by Christmas and New Years, so it's time to re-stock, and I thought we could explore some of the other NW wines, and by that I mean ones that aren't Pinot.

In any case, we're going to go have a gander at White Salmon tomorrow morning, which is a town on the Washington side of things, and hit a couple more wineries here in Hood River, then head home. Should be back at the Erstwhile Kompound around dinner time.

Subject: Whee...
Posted January 23, 2007
Today is my grandmother's 80th birthday so we're schlepping out to Hermiston, armpit of Oregon, to celebrate in true family fashion. Tomorrow is our 12th anniversary (has it been that long? Sometimes it only seems like three weeks...) so Elle and I are staying in Hood River for the evening. I'll have SuperFone with me so expect some entries from The Road should anything eventful happen.

On a side note, Elle did indeed go snowboarding yesterday for the first time. Her thoughts on the matter are here, but let me just say that she did better than I did on my first time.

Subject: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
Posted January 19, 2007

Since I didn't have to go to NAMM today, I decided to make one more attempt at snowboarding. Truthfully, when I went last week, I almost bagged it. It was a 9.9/10 day (sunny, warm, 10" of powder) and I'm bumping my ass down the greens while the skiers are blowing by me having all kinds of fun. I was seriously beginning to regret dropping a grand on this snowboarding rig. (Well, $993, but there's no sales tax in Oregon, so it'd be way over a grand anywhere else.)

But today I finally Cracked the Code, and am now officially a snowboarder. I whacked my ass a couple times early in the day, and really did a number on my shoulder, but I'm now able to connect my turns without falling, which means I'm able to snowboard on the blues instead of hanging out on Tardhill. Quite frankly, and I never thought I'd say this, but snowboarding is much more fun than skiing once you get the hang of it. But getting the hang of it is much more difficult than skiing, that's for sure.

In any case, an excellent day at Hoodoo all around. Elle is threatening to give it a try next week. With her, it'll either be love or hate within the first hour, I know that much.

In other news, both the Bounte album and the CR album are going to the pressing plant next week. Also, we're going to go ahead and make the extra songs from the CR album available as a digital-only release. I have some assembling to do in that regard, but there's at least an EP's worth of extra material that doesn't suck in the slightest. It just didn't fit on the record.

And finally, hit Dean's blog for a little bonus freebie.

Subject: Bleah.
Posted January 16, 2007
1. Leave house, 7:00 am.

2. Drive 35 mph for 4 hours.

3. Find out I-5 is closed at the first of the three passes you have to go over.

4. Turn around.

5. Drive home.

Short story shorter, no trip to LA/SF for us this week.

Subject: Priceline...
Posted January 13, 2007
We're going to be On The Road next week. I have to attend the NAMM convention in Anaheim on the 18th, and pick up a couple industry kudos on the 17th, so we'll be in L.A. then. However, we're stopping in San Francisco on the 16th, and then again on our way back. I just got done getting our hotels for the trip, which set me back a pretty penny, mainly because I'm done with shit hotels. Basically, if it doesn't have a rating of 3.5 stars or better, we're not staying there, and that's that.

In any case, that's all done. We find ourselves with nothing to do on Friday night in San Francisco. Is there anything going on that we might like? If the word "industrial" is involved in any way, shape, or form, and it doesn't involve Neubauten playing a live show, I'm not interested in the slightest.

Subject: More Snow?
Posted January 11, 2007
A fair percentage of the reason we moved here was the utter lack of anything that could be described as "winter." Winter in the Willamette Valley is like spring everywhere else in America. (Of course, the rest of the year is too.) After 20 years in Boston, New York, and Chicago, I'd pretty much had it with the deathly cold and mountains of snow. However, this whole global warming thing is fucking shit up, and I'd like it to stop. There is actually four inches of snow on the ground right now, which is unusual in the extreme for our particular locale.

It is quite pretty, though.

Subject: Snowy Day...
Posted January 10, 2007

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