50/90 Update as July Ends

Harry is out of the house right now. I’m exhausted like you wouldn’t believe but I really want to be awake when he gets in so I am trying to do stuff to keep my brain functioning.

July is going to end in 90 minutes. That seems like a good time to give a quick summary of the 50/90 project. Today is day 27. How am I doing?

I have 13 songs finished and listed on my account page. There are another 12 songs in progress. Three are ready for vocal tracking, and I am hoping to do some car music in the morning. Of the other nine, the only recording that has been done so far is bass and drums, which are done on the computer. Based on that you could make the argument that no actual recording has been done at all. Whatever. Six of those nine songs do have lyrics and a melody already written out. I usually don’t start working on that until the rhythm guitars are down, but with all of the trips to my parents house, I haven’t had as much guitar time as I would like and I have had to do things out of the normal order.

50/3=16.66666667. Fifty songs, three calendar months, that means 16 and 2/3 songs per month, right? I like to break it down to 16 in July (because the challenge starts on July 4th so it misses out on three days and is therefore shorter than the other two months), 17 in August, and 17 in September. I’m at 25 right now. I would say that I am ahead of the pace.

Not bad, Robert. Not bad at all. The question is, can I keep it up? We shall see, Robert. We shall see.

Car music in the morning. It’s a moral imperative.

Dusty Hill

Dusty Hill, the bass player from ZZ Top died. I cannot say that I was ever a ZZ Top fan, but I can say that I have been thinking about them a bit lately.

ZZ Top to me was the awful cartoonish characters from the ’80s. The beards, the terrible videos, the over produced synthed up crappy songs. I had no interest at all. The small number of earlier song that I knew were okay. Tush (which Lizardfish was playing when I joined), and Cheap Sunglasses were good songs. There were a couple of others that I liked too. They were really just a blues band, which might be why I was so put off in the 80s, but I think maybe they were a little too Texas and not enough Chicago for me. I never really thought of it that way before, but that might be exactly it.

Over the last few months I have been wondering to myself if I should go and give their first few records a try. The main reason being my recent obsession with cool guitar gear. That’s kind of embarrassing to say out loud, but there it is. ZZ Top’s guitar player, Billy Gibbons, is a Les Paul guy. He’s known for playing a 1959 Standard that he named Pearly Gates (apparently after the car he was driving when he went to pick it up? Is that true?). Seymour Duncan sells a set of pick ups called Pearly Gates that are supposed to be cloned from the PAFs in Gibbons’ Les Paul. Hearing other people talk about his guitar and the gear based on his guitar, and knowing that they weren’t absurd comic characters in the 70’s, and also knowing that the band existed for over 50 years without ever having a line up change (which is pretty amazing), has been making me think that their first 2-3 records might be worth a listen.

And then yesterday it was announced that Dusty Hill died. I gave Cheap Sunglasses a spin in the car on the way to work today in his memory. There was a quote from Billy Gibbons saying that Hill wanted the band to continue without him and they will honor that request. So I guess they will finally have that line up change after all. Maybe I’ll give Tres Hombres a spin today too. Maybe it’s worth it for this Chicago (albeit via London) blues fan to dip his toe into some Texas for a bit.

Rest in Peace, Dusty Hill. Someday when my band gets back together I’ll see if they want to play Cheap Sunglasses.

Gibson Records

A few years ago (2018, I think) Gibson Guitars went into chapter 11 bankruptcy. The generally accept reason for the financial difficulties was the acquisition of a bunch of companies that were audio related but not necessarily guitar related. They seemed to see themselves becoming a high end audio dealer and it blew up in their face and they went bankrupt.

Here we are, a few years later, and they have restructured and put their focus back onto guitars and things are said to be going well. Not long ago they announced they were buying Mesa Boogie. Many of us who are fans of the company wondered if maybe it was a bad idea to start acquiring other companies, though if you gotta buy someone Boogie seems like a can’t lose because they are frankly awesome. People who aren’t fans of the company announced the death of a legendary amplifier company. I consider myself a Fender amp guy, but there are a couple of Mesa Boogie amps that have always challenged my loyalty. As long as I’ve been playing, I could always see myself becoming a Mesa Boogie guy. More recently, the California Tweed…… drooool.

Now here we are in the pandemic world and Gibson announces a new venture… a record company… Ummm… I foresee the Gibson hater community tearing them a new one over this and frankly I think they are right. A record company? Three years out from bankruptcy and you’re starting a record company? You’re feeding your money into a dying industry? Why would you do that? That is just… dumb.

On the upside, I’m a Gibson guy. Maybe they’ll release Quarantine Tunes Volumes 1-4 for me. I could be a rock star! Except that there is no such thing as rock stars anymore and the record business is dying an agonizing death.

Oh well.

Better

It took a while but things are a little better now. She’s in her room but I don’t think she’s actually gotten into bed. I checked a few minutes ago and she was still sitting up, but she was dozing off. Here’s hoping when I check after I post this that she’s in bed and done for the night.

While I get up to check on the situation, you can enjoy this terrible song that is not as bad as I usually write. There’s a gimmick in the lyrics. Each section (stanza?) of the song is a haiku. Does that make me the lamest of all lame lames?

Probably.

Bluesy Song for a Monday

I promise I am not going to post every crappy song I write this summer. It’s just… Monday, and this is a 12-bar blues (in 3/4 time because I can’t help being weird leave me alone).

We’re back from the Cancer Center. As expected everything is fine. Good news. Now I have a little time before my brother comes to relieve me so I am going to sneak in a mix or two.

Three Down, 47 to Go

I actually kinda like this one. The bass and drums were noodled together on Friday. The rhythm guitars, melody and lyrics came yesterday. The vocals, leads, and mix came today.

Harry is letting me use a pair of AirPod Max. I mixed this song using them. I need to listen on different speakers to know for sure if they are accurate. I’m thinking they respond pretty well, especially when the volumes up too high.