2023 RPM Challenge – Day 1 of 28

I just posted this on the stupid little tumblr page I sometimes use to keep daily updates for internet based music writing and recording challenges.

It’s February 1st again and it’s time for another round of the RPM Challenge. There is a ton of stuff going on in the real world right now so finding time/energy/motivation is going to be difficult at best. I’m off to a respectable start though. There are two songs underway. They are just midi tracks, but there are guides for guitar parts, a melody, and sketches for bass, drums, and percussion. Not bad for a hectic and stressful day one.

Deja Vu

I wish this was another David Crosby memorial post* but it’s not.

Less than 48 hours after adopting Miss Robin Sparkles, we are at the vet. She had an eye infection last week and it appears to have come roaring back. Poor little kitty.


*Deja Vu is the title song from the first (and by far the greatest) Crosby Stills Nash and Young album and it was written by the late, great David Crosby.

I have visions of the jam band in the afterlife. Crosby and Paul Kantner on harmony vocals and rhythm guitars, Spencer Dryden on drums, Jerry Garcia on lead guitar, Pigpen on piano. Janis Joplin and Marty Balin singing lead. We need a bass player. Who could that be? All of the great bass players coming to mind are English. We need a San Francisco or L.A. name.

Sunday Morning

It’s 7:13am on a Sunday morning in January. What’s going on?

Tons. I’m going to have a busy day, I think.

My exercise is done for the day, as well as over 60% of my calorie goal. Nice. I am going to visit my father today and take him to visit my mother. I’m not going to have a ton of time to spend visiting though. I have to work today. I have a ton of paperwork to do that should have been done over the last week but got pushed aside due to some super hot customer issues. I’ll get as much of it done today as possible and get to the rest of it tomorrow. I’ll have it all done on time, but it’s going to make today suck a little.

What about the new cat? She started under the bed. We took one of the little covered cat bed/house things we got for Patches last year and put it into the bedroom. We also brought the cat tree we got for the cellar remodel and put that in the bedroom too. We sat in the room with her for a while but eventually just left her alone. Jen snuck back in to check on her and found her sitting in the cat bed/house. She called to me to come and see and when I called back the cat got spooked and ran into the bathroom and hid under the vanity. Sorry, kitty. She stayed there for hours, even when we left her alone again.

When we started getting ready for bed she was in the bed/house thing again. She stayed there the whole time. We thought that was an improvement. Around 2:30am Jen got up for something and managed to coax her out. She was purring like a porche and rubbing against our legs and just being super friendly. We got her to jump up onto the bed so we could pet the crap out of her. She seemed to love it. When we tried to lay down though she jumped off and tried to hide behind the cat tree. After a minute or so she ran out of the room and down the hall. I found her in the other bathroom crouching behind the door. When I moved the door a little she ran back to the bedroom and went back into the bed/house.

While she was walking around in the middle of the night, Jen was able to show her where the food and water and litter box are. We had all of it in the bedroom because we wanted them close so she could find them if she needed them. I am a little worried because I don’t see any signs that she’s eaten anything yet. We had dry food and lots of treats and we put them out for her, but I also went to a pet store to buy some toys (Patches didn’t really go for cat toys so we didn’t have any) and some wet food. I am going to put some of the wet food out this morning and see if she goes for it. We were told that she had surgery on Friday (she was spayed) so she might not have an appetite as she recovers. I just want to give her all the options we can though.

What else is going on? Music. Have I played the guitar at all this weekend? No, no I haven’t. Asshole. I am starting to think about recording ideas for RPM, even if I haven’t had a single musical thought. I am considering going with two amps at a time again. I have my Fender Deluxe Reverb here so that amp is going to be used like crazy. I might bring out my Fender Bassbreaker 18/30 and use it and the Deluxe Reverb together through the AB/Y splitter. It’s going to be pretty loud down here if I go this route, so I might try it to start with and then change my mind. The amps will be in a corner of the cellar that is as far away from the living room as I can get, and it’s reasonably far away from Jen’s office so hopefully it will be okay. If I bother her at all though, I’ll turn off the 18/30 and just go with the Deluxe. I have a speaker soak for the Deluxe so I can turn up the volume knob without getting obscenely loud. As for the guitar I want to use, it will be the Les Paul Standard again. I freakin’ adore that guitar. I will wait until either next weekend or the actual start of February before I put new strings on the guitar, but I really need to play at least a little bit every day to try and get my fingers into something that resembles playing shape.

Okay, I think that’s the gist of today. It’s time to start waking up for real and get something to eat. Happy Sunday, folks!

Practice, You

The RPM Challenge starts in 11 days and I haven’t touched my guitar in ages. I need to practice my ass off in the time remaining to get myself into playing shape. I swapped an overdrive pedal on my board today in the hopes it would trick me into playing tonight. It didn’t work.

I just read about another music guy who apparently passed away. I didn’t catch when. It wasn’t someone particularly famous, but he owned Boston’s best recoding studio, Fort Apache, and he produced some of my favorite records by some of my favorite bands, House Tornado by Throwing Muses and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies, and he managed some of my favorite bands, Belly and Juliana Hatfield. His name was Gary Smith and it sucks that he’s gone.

David Crosby

We lost another one last night. Shit. We lost Jeff Beck last week and I am far from over it and absolutely not ready to move on, but then we lost David Crosby last night. Shit.

Remember back in 2016 where the rock stars seemed to be dropping like flies? Bowie, Prince, Paul Kantner, Greg Lake, John Whetton, one after another. Three weeks into 2023, and it’s starting to feel like that again. Shit.

I have posted this particular song here maybe 100 times. I just really like this song. It’s probably not Crosby’s best CSN/CSNY song (that would probably be either Guinnevere or maybe Long Time Gone) but I really just love this song. I’ve never heard this version though. At least I don’t think so. Comments on the guitar playing, because that’s what I do, Neil Young is a ridiculously good guitar player, but I really don’t like him as a soloist. I could listen to him strum and finger pick all day long, but playing lead… sorry, Neil Young fans. Nothing personal. Stephen Stills however is an animal as a lead player. This particular clip might not show him at his best, but he’s a killer. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him playing a Firebird, but it does sort of make me want a Firebird even more than I already did… and I really do want to land me a Firebird.

Anyway. Rest in Peace, David Crosby. Thanks for the music, and also thanks for being such an epic smart ass on Twitter. You were one of the best follows ever.