Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I took a long shower as if that could thaw my frozen brain. It didn’t work. But Ziggy didn’t object and he didn’t rake me over the coals or anything so that was good, I guess?

When I emerged from the water I spent a very long time combing my hair. I had conditioned it the way I had been admonished to, and it was slick and wet as I combed carefully through the strands. This wet the blue was almost invisible but as soon as it dried it would start to show. Comb comb comb comb… I had been combing so long I had made my good hand cramp. The rest of me was dry and chilly by that point. But at least my brain had rebooted somewhat.

I found Ziggy sitting up in bed, reading a book in the light of his bedside table. The whole apartment was a tableau of urban nighttime blue except for the pool of golden light around him. I thought about what I wanted to say so that there would be at least a half a chance that I might say it, and then I crawled into bed.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Apr. 28th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

In the end we hired a trumpet player Mitch knew and liked working with and who Marvelle knew from other gigs, a serious-looking chap with round glasses named Lorne Acevedo. He was from New Orleans and had played with Wynton Marsalis. Fran and Clarice booked to come in for two weeks of full band rehearsal in July, after everyone took a break for the Fourth.

I saw Court a couple of times during that audition and rehearsal period in New York–took her to dinner once, that kind of thing–but once she figured out that she could make it to The Hangar for the last hour (or more if we ran late) of our rehearsals, she was there pretty much every night.

One Friday at the end of June, when she’d come by five nights in a row, I asked her if she shouldn’t be spending more time socializing with people from the company where she was working, i.e. shouldn’t she be going out for drinks to schmooze with people or whatever?

She looked at me funny. “Why would I do that?”

“Isn’t the point of an internship that you’re making connections with people you might get a real job with later?”

She blinked. “You’re kind of an idiot, aren’t you.”

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Apr. 26th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Guess what? The DGC Kickstarter reached funding goal last night! There are three days left in the campaign so if you haven’t pledged yet, you’re running out of time! -ctan)

Working with Priss was kind of exhausting because I had to pay so much attention to something that I normally paid no attention to at all. Singing is like walking. While I’m doing it I’m usually not thinking about it very much.

But imagine if instead of just walking on the treadmill you had a trainer who had you agonizingly lift your foot muscle by muscle, bone by bone, then carefully maneuver it to where you were going to step, then gradually transfer your weight to your toes, then the arch, then the heel of your foot, taking painstaking care every second to do it exactly a certain way. And then doing the other foot. And again. And again.

That’s what vocal exercises with her were like.

I discovered I kind of liked it when she was there telling me what to do, though. The exercises were to do things like loosen the connection of my tongue to my throat so that I wouldn’t create unnecessary tension, and strengthening certain parts of my muscles so my vocal cords could be controlled with more finesse. Priss warned me that it might take two to three years (if I kept up the exercises) to build a full connection between my chest voice and my head voice, and to rebuild what she insisted I’d “lost” from my upper range.

Also I was in decent cardiovascular shape but didn’t have the diaphragmatic power that someone who’d played a wind instrument or trained as a singer all their lives had. So we worked on that, too.

But it wasn’t all about power. One day she banished Ziggy, told him to come back in an hour, which gave me a feeling of foreboding right away. Like my ego was about to take a vicious beating but it’d be even worse if he was there. One thing about Priss, she did her homework. She knew always knew right where to hit me, like the old master in the kung fu movie knowing exactly where you’re weak.

I soon found out what new lesson awaited me. “I have something you should hear,” she said. She hit play on a boom box on top of the piano. The cassette in it was a dub she could have only gotten from Jordan. It was my isolated vocal tracks from recording 1989.

I’d heard them before, back when we were recording, but usually only for a line or two at a time before hearing it back as part of the mix. At least my pitch was good. My pitch was always good.

Then she put headphones on us both, hit record on a little portable tape deck and played back “Why the Sky” and recorded me singing my part while she accompanied lightly with hints of the chords on the piano.

Then she made me listen back to compare the original recording and what I’d just done. And then she stared at me.

“If you’re waiting for me to have a Mr. Miyagi moment, I’m not getting it,” I said.

“Let’s try it one more time, no headphones now, just you sing and I’ll play. But this time I want you to sing it softly. Quietly. Sit up straight. Breathe. You’re fully warmed up. You’re ready to do this.”

Yeah, yeah. So we did it again. With her really pushing me to pull back on the force I was putting into the notes.

And I could not hit some of them at all. It wasn’t that the pitch was flat. It was that I couldn’t even get my vocal cords to vibrate on certain ones at all without pushing a lot harder.

I looked her in the eye. “That’s not right.”

She nodded. “Now you get it, grasshopper.”

“That. Is. Not. Right.” I resisted the urge to put my hand on my throat. Nothing hurt. I didn’t feel strained. But I felt like doing it just the same.

“You’ve been instinctually avoiding the trouble spots,” she said. “But I needed to show you they were there. If all you do is power through them you’re not playing your instrument to the fullest.”

“Damn.” She was completely right and now I was kind of angry at myself. This wasn’t about singing the highest notes, either–though all my trouble spots were in the upper half of my range. “Okay. How do we fix it?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to teach you.”

“And it’s going to take two to three years.”

“Most likely, yes. At least he needs to do the same exercises so you will have no excuse when you are together not to do them. Unless you are ill, of course.”

“Of course.” I suddenly wondered who I would get to do the exercises with me when I went back out with Nomad. The answer to that question was obvious, suddenly. “Hey, you work with all kinds of singers, right? Sorry, that was a stupid way to ask that.”

Priss put her glasses atop her head, the earpiece chains making it look like an exotic headpiece. “What are you trying to ask?”

“Would you also work with two backup singers I’m hiring?”

“I have room to take one or two, yes.”

“Great.” I made myself a mental note to call Fran and Clarice and see if I might be able to get them here soon.

While I was making myself notes, I needed to talk to Mitch about who else to recruit for the horn section, and Linn was going to need to measure everyone. And we still needed to settle the question of some secondary personnel. Would one drum tech be enough for two drummers or did I need two of those, too? Et cetera.

Priss cleared her throat delicately, so as not to roughen up her cords.

“Oh, sorry. Spaced out.” I sat up straight suddenly, not because I should for singing, but because I realized something. The band I hadn’t named yet, with me and Bart and Christian, but which had managed to record an album… I told you the names of some of the songs, right? “Shape of Space” and “Skyward” and “Dawn”? It occurred to me that there were a lot of sky and space references, even if some were double-meanings, and of course Moondog Three had the whole moon thing going on. “Star Gaze,” I said aloud.

Priss put a hand on my arm and looked into my eyes, perhaps checking if they were dilated. “Are you all right?”

“I think I may have just figured out what my next band is called.” Pending a trademark name search and the other guys not shooting it down, of course. I was already picturing it as two words for some reason, maybe with an asterisk in the middle: Star*Gaze. Maybe Skyward as a backup name, but I had a nagging feeling there was a band called that. The album should be titled Shape of Space, though.

Priss patted me reassuringly. “I hear your liebling in the hallway. Go let him in.”

“He’s your liebling,” I said, as I got up from the piano. He was much more than that to me. But though I’d finally come up with a word to put on the band, there was no word that could encompass Ziggy or our relationship. Ziggy was a definition unto himself.

Last details about the Kickstarter!
Because a few people have asked about Add-Ons, here’s a slight revamp of how they work. If you want to raise your pledge amount in the Kickstarter to cover any *additional* rewards you want to add (not counting the “sold out” rewards where there was only 1 or only 5 of a thing), then just do that. Say you want to add on the necklace and the book, and you already backed the handprint T-shirt at $30. Just add the $10 for the necklace and the $25 for the book to make $65 (and then what Kickstarter prompts you regarding shipping). When I send out backer questionnaires next week, there’ll be a spot for you to write what add-ons you wanted. Sound good? Any questions, drop me email at daron.moondog @ gmail.com or comment here!

I’d really love to get us to $4,000 and those bonus pages in the book!

ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Mar. 10th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Colin and I had the following very terse conversation after sex. I don’t know if the terseness demonstrates how well we knew each other at that point or that we were emotionally stunted.

Me: Something’s changed.
Him: Yeah. What, though?
Me: Dunno.
Him: Is that bad?
Me: Not sure.
Him: Not sure either.
Me: Should we back off?
Colin: Yeah, probably.

I was pretty sure we knew exactly what we meant, anyway.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jan. 19th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

That night I asked Ziggy super-casually if we could hit Limelight. I had no idea if Jordan would be there but he had been at least half the times I’d gone over the past couple of years, even when he wasn’t deejaying, and in the far back of my head I had this inkling that I wanted to talk to him. But I was too busy trying to play everything casual until I could sort out how I felt about the album. Or until I could warm up to it.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 24th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I met Jordan for that drink while Ziggy went to a training session of some kind that he didn’t want to skip. He didn’t say whether it was voice or dance or something else and I didn’t ask. My hands itched a little because now it had been two whole days (three?) since I’d played the guitar and it felt unnatural. I told this to Jordan as the bartender walked away to make our drinks.

“I might have a cure for your itch,” Jordan said.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 22nd, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I managed to sleep a few more hours after that. Get tired enough and no matter how fucked up my life is and I will always beat insomnia eventually. It’s not always convenient when I do, but it wasn’t like I was on a schedule right then.

“Hey,” Ziggy said when we were halfway through breakfast (lunch?) at the place he liked.

“Hey,” I said back. It might have been the first thing we said that day. “Sorry, has my head been up my ass?”

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 17th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Delmonico’s was a classic New York restaurant of some repute, apparently. I had kind of thought so from the name but with Ziggy it was hard to predict if he wanted to go somewhere obscure and out of the way or ritzy and exclusive or high profile where we’d “see and be seen.” This was ritzy but low profile enough no one bothered us. We had steak and red wine and it was great.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 15th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Tony knew where to park a limo temporarily at the airport and left the two of us in there while he went inside to stand around with the other limo drivers holding up a sign with Jonathan’s name on it. I was sure J would recognize him anyway since he knew we were coming to pick him up.

That left me and Ziggy alone in the back of a limo.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 10th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

So, yeah, we went to pick up Jonathan–after a couple more pages back and forth and then a phone call to confirm his flight information and make sure he was okay with being kidnapped by us that night. Apparently, he was.

Tony was happy to have something to do in the meantime, so we had him take us around a couple of places in the afternoon. Ziggy had some kind of a dance training appointment he decided not to skip so we dropped him off and then Tony took me to do some shopping.

“What kind of shopping?” he asked, as we moved through midtown traffic. “I thought that’s what you guys did yesterday.”

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 8th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The next day we wrote a song. Because I woke up with the words all buzzing in my brain like a bunch of bees chasing each other around. I went and tried to write them down quietly in the windowsill, after eating half a cold Pop Tart to settle my stomach, but the sound of my pencil scratching against the paper of my notebook was enough to wake him. Or maybe he sensed it. I don’t know. Whatever.

I titled it “In Love With Being in Love.” And it had the kind of verses that sound like nonsense until you really listen and realize they make sense. Like:

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 3rd, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Ziggy returned a short while later with a bag of groceries from the bodega a few blocks away and a pizza.

“Barrett dropped by,” I told him, while we sat on the wide sill of the window with the open box of pizza between us. “To make sure I was the reason you weren’t answering the phone.”

Ziggy clucked his tongue. “I keep telling him if I haven’t already turned up dead in a ditch somewhere I’m not going to.”

I hooked his ankle with mine when he said that. Because I couldn’t not.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 1st, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

In the morning–afternoon, actually–I asked him, while we were still lying in bed, “What did you call me last night?”

“Mphhh?” Ziggy said from where his face was buried in my hair, of which there was a lot in those days, even stick-straight as it was. He propped himself up slightly, just enough to get clear, and then flopped back on his pillow, his arms over his head. “What?”

“You called me ‘Dear One,’ I think. Or maybe I was too drunk to understand my own name.”

“I did call you Dear One,” he said, waking up a bit more. “And it was because it sounds like your name.”

“Ah.” I rolled onto my side to look at him but drowsiness was making my eyes close.

“Good idea,” he said, and snuggled close to me. His skin smelled like clove cigarettes and sex, which is about the best incense scent I could imagine. We dozed off.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Nov. 19th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I had always attributed the buzz in a room when Ziggy and I walked into a place to the fact that Ziggy is like that. He draws every eye to him like a beacon. I didn’t have to be there for that to happen.

But maybe it was the fact that this was supposed to be my thing, or maybe it was all the incessant digging from the media about whether he and I were getting back together, OR BOTH, but this time it really felt like people reacting to the appearance of both of us. Use whatever cliche you want: a ripple went through the crowd, a murmur, whatever. I had thought a New York crowd of mostly industry people wouldn’t be affected like that.

I was wrong.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Feb. 10th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(The site was down a bit over the weekend so if you haven’t read the Liner Notes yet, now’s a good time to: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/archives/3884)

It’s hard for me to judge just how fast I got jaded or even exactly when it happened. They say taking a hit hardens you, and I had taken three pretty hard ones, basically–one from Digger, one from Mills, and one from Ziggy–but you know, I can’t even say it was that. Working with Sarah, working the studios in LA, working with Jordan… I learned pretty intimately how the damn sausage is made. And the illusions I had clung to, those last few about alternative rock being special–about Moondog Three being special–Jordan stripped away pretty forcefully. He forced me to be a realist, I guess.

I always accepted certain things as fact. I accepted that I worked in an industry that fucked people over often and didn’t necessarily reward talent. But I didn’t accept that people had to be dicks or that the dicks had to always win.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Feb. 3rd, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Then there was the day Jordan and I had a fight.

That day we had moved from the regular studio where we had been working over to Electric Lady, which if you don’t know it is pretty awesome. The Jimi Hendrix connection isn’t just the name: he actually founded the place shortly before he died. I promise this isn’t a chapter about musicians dying from drugs so don’t read anything into the Hendrix reference. No, this is a chapter about the creative process.

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jan. 29th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We didn’t go out clubbing every night I was in New York. No, sometimes we stayed in the studio all night instead.

Somehow Jordan always had the energy to be awake before me the next day. Sometimes he had to go to meetings. At one point he was gone for almost a day and a half, rescuing someone’s album or song. I didn’t know whose and even if I did I probably wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. Not that you guys don’t already know how the sausages are made, but yeah.

It was in the second week that I started talking about Ziggy.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

So living at Jordan’s turned out to be like living at Grand Central Station. There was always someone interesting coming or going. Musicians, songwriters, deejays, New York art scene people—it wasn’t always clear who was connected to him for actual work and who was just there to hang around. Then again, I suppose making connections is part of the work when you’re in the business. The old cliche is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I’d say it’s more like both: you have to know your what, but you have to know the who, too.

Jordan was a connector. He was a match-maker. A people-person.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Jordan chased me out of the kitchen area when my hand shook holding the kitchen knife while I was trying to help him make dinner.

He put me on a barstool on the far side of the peninsula of countertop that delineated where kitchen ended and living room began. He was wearing goggles over his eyes at the time so he could chop onions and with his very short cropped hair it gave him a very insectoid look. He handed me a cup of herbal tea. “Talking with Ziggy upset you that much?”

Read the rest of this entry » )
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jan. 15th, 2015 03:14 pm)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Holy crow you guys, this is the 599th story post. Which means Tuesday will be the 600th post. To celebrate I’m going to do a video chat Tuesday from 9-10pm eastern time on my Youtube Live channel. Details on my blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com/?p=2180 -ctan)

The next day was Christmas day. I wasn’t the only one who’d brought a guitar, of course. I made Alan start teaching me a song I didn’t know. This Nomad tour would be a little less “greatest hits” and a little more material from the most recent record than what we’d done in Japan. So there would be various numbers I’d need to learn.

Why is a song is called a number, when it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with numbering? I’m going to guess it goes back to vaudeville, but that’s as much as I know.

Read the rest of this entry » )
.

Profile

ceciliatan: (Default)
ceciliatan

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags