The Project I Thought I’d Never Finish

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on May 1, 2007.

Not that millions of people out there follow my blog, but for those of you who check in every now and then, you may have been wondering why I haven’t posted lately.

 Laziness would be a reasonable guess.  It would also indicate that you know me well.  That, however, is not the reason.   Work would be another likely culprit.  And while it has been busy at work, that also is not the reason for my absence.  Thankfully, it is not health related, either.  And my dear old Dad is recovering slowly but surely from heart surgery (and he didn’t want all that many visitors anyway) so it wouldn’t have been a big deal to throw out a post here and there.   Surely, six little rugrats and family life is to blame, right?   Well, as much as I’d love to say that I am Superdad and have spent all my waking moments trying to re-create “It’s a Wonderful Life” at my house, that would be a lie.

So, what would it be that has eaten up all my free moments?

The answer, my friend, is burning right now.  Not making smoke burning.  Making a CD burning.   As I am wont to do, allow me to elaborate with the history of the project that has now come (mostly) to fruition, and of which I am – as the youngsters say -“like, totally psyched!”

About 8 years ago (yes – 8 years!) my sister, Cyndi, approached me about doing a CD.  You see, Cyndi has been a singer (a darn good one at that) for as long as I can remember, but she never really put together a professional music project.  I am a songwriter in my spare time (as if I have “spare time”) and she enjoys the music I write.  And so, after some discussion, I agreed that I would do this and she would sing vocals on the music I wrote.  We both agreed that we wished to make it a Christian CD.  However, this would not be typical “easy-listening” Christian style.  I simply don’t write that kind of music.  I go with what I like, and while I will write some toned-down material, I’m an 80s rock guy-slash-keyboard player.  Basically, there were no rules about what I was to write.  I do what I want, and it’s just our little project.  So, it’s admittedly kind of weird telling people that you have been working on a Catholic/Christian Rock CD.  But it is what it is.

 And so I began on my 6-track cassette recorder.  But obviously, a professional project requires something fancier than that.  Should we rent studio time?  That is not inexpensive.  After further discussion, Cyndi decided to purchase a Roland VS-1680 in home Studio.  This was given to me, in return for the promise of a future CD.

Well, at that time we had two children.  We now have six children.  I took an actuarial exam and passed last year, which takes a ton of time.  Between more responsibility at work, more kids, a wife, life in general, outright laziness, and any number of other things, this project went forward in fits and starts.  I’d go strong for a period of time, then things would interrupt the project, and pretty soon it would be back on the rear burner.

Well, I never let that weight fall off my shoulders.  Cyndi had purchased this Studio, and I felt an obligation to make good on my promise.  One of my issues is that I can’t help but be a perfectionist.  I spent a lot of time trying to get these things just right.  Now, keep in mind that I’m pretty much a schlub who doesn’t necessarily know what he’s doing.  It’s not as if I’ve ever produced music before on a professional basis.  And so, trying to get things perfect when you aren’t familiar with all the tricks can be difficult.  I will not claim that it all came out as perfect as a true professional’s recording, but I did what I could.  Also, I’m mainly a keyboard player.  Yet, I programmed all the drum parts, and played all the other instrument parts, including the guitar.  What do I know about drums?   Pretty much zero.  How good am I at guitar?  All I can say is “Thank God for the punch-in button.”   So, being a perfectionist and trying to accomplish all this, you may well imagine that it took me a lot of time and effort to figure out how to get this right.  And you would imagine correctly.

To make matters worse, I kept writing more songs.  I should have made this a ten song project.  It ended up being a 15 song project, and I haven’t added it all up yet, but I don’t think all the songs will fit on a single CD.  Yes, I also write some long songs.  Hey, it’s my music, I can do what I want!

Well, despite all these imperfections of mine and the hurdles I put up for myself,  I finally reached a point about two months ago where I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  This really energized me.  And with that energy came somewhat of an obsession to finally get this thing finished.  My poor and saintly wife has endured endless hours of me at the studio recording music, mixing music, mastering music, and sending my hearing south in a hurry.

But tonight, the time has finally come.  The music is done.  I am recording a version with my vocals, and that is done.  Everything is mixed.  Everything has been mastered.  I have now started the CD burning process.  I am thoroughly excited.

Now, a couple caveats here:  Cyndi still needs to put on her vocals, and so the actual project as originally defined is NOT completed.  And once we get near the end of that, we still need to decide what the heck we’ll actually do with it, if anything.  Do we order copies and make a nice cover and try to sell it and all that stuff?  Or is it just a personal project?  A final caveat is that I am not even ready to declare my version finished until I have a chance to listen to the mastered CD and see how the EQ comes out and all that.  I may even re-mix things altogether if I feel it’s necessary.   But all that said, an initial final version is complete (if that makes any sense) and I feel a huge weight off my shoulders.  It’s now up to Cyndi to find the time to put on the vocals, which takes the pressure off me.

So, anyone who is interested in hearing some music, let me know.  I’ll figure out something so you can check it out.

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