Dennis is our reality check. We say we wanna make a CD, and we decide it should be ready by June 23, our Crockett Park Concert. Dennis checks with DiscMakers and sends us an email saying "do the math." They need the audio by May 27th. It will take a day or two to master the songs. It's now May 9.
We have three songs completed. And nine more have been written and started, with lots of parts recorded.
We've spent over two weeks just trying to write one. The last two blogs have reported on the progress of "We're Still Rockin.'" Today we were at it again, trying out some new bass parts, based on Nathan's impression that the existing parts were anticlimactic, or in reverse order.
David and I began working on new parts to fit with Nathan's idea. Dennis set up the session, where David could play bass and I played guitar, then Dennis went to the office - the room next door, where he answers phone calls, negotiates with agents and managers, and sends out promotional emails. He calls it "WannaBeatle Central."
David was playing his Yamaha 5 string bass, and trying different ideas, always hearing new possibilities, having a hard time settling on a part that worked. Dennis heard our struggle, and came in from the office, offering to try out some ideas.
Dennis is a good bass player, but doesn't like to admit it. He's busy playing guitar, and doing all the other things necessary to keep a band going, so he doesn't take the bass seriously. But he can't help knowing how to play, and coming up with great ideas. So it's a treat to turn him loose.
Right away, he tried an octave slide that brought great energy to the beginning of the verse. We kept putting the pieces together, the right bass line for the chords, and the right guitar part. In many places, the bass part David had already played was fine, so we could use it instead.
David used the low range of his Yamaha to play a low D on one chord, a note that's too low for Dennis's Fender Jazz Bass. But it was a cool sound, so we combined David's bass part with Dennis's.
At one point, they both posed with their instruments, as the dueling basses.
Dennis (on 4 string) vs. David (with 5 string)
Nathan showed up later, and listened, and liked what we had done.
David had an idea for a guitar fill between the two choruses. I played that, and then some more fills in the chorus. We found a style that fit somewhere between Chuck Berry and Larry Carlton.
BC putting in some guitar parts
David wanted to try a new bass part for the instrumental section. We were already happy about the whistle solo he added.
After trying a few ideas, he found himself playing a "tumbao," a Latin pattern where the bass hits the root note a beat before the expected downbeat. It creates an enticing undulation that really kicks that part of the song, as it rocks along under the high sweet sound of the whistle.
It was exciting to hear the "world music" implications of so many different ideas from everywhere coming together in this one song.
We looked at other songs. Nathan wanted to change the rhythm of a bass line during the middle of "In '63," so Dennis replayed that part. I still need to correct the guitar part there, to go with the new bass line; we didn't have time for that today.
We also looked at "If We Simply Love," David's monumental anthem. This is one that has taken a tortuous path toward completion. According to WannaBeatle legend, David was so overwhelmed when Dennis asked him to explain what the song means that he fell to the floor in a fetal position. After weeks of rewrites and sending revisions back and forth via email, we finally reached a point where the work is mostly done.
The way David says it his ugly baby has been made beautiful by all the plastic surgery we applied.
We checked on other songs too, to see which ones were ready for David to record his drums. Last week's blog reported on David setting up his drums in Dennis's studio, and tomorrow is the day to record them. Dennis has hired Gary Dales, our mixing engineer and audio whiz, to oversee the process. We hope to get five or six songs done, maybe more.
We're excited about this, and putting what we can into it. It's a challenge, but it's a treat, because we're doing what we dreamed about before we ever "grew up."
We started this band because it was fun. And making an album of our own songs was a dream built in to the formation of the band. It's taken us five years to get to this point, and we're happy to be in the middle of it.
We're sure that hearing the music will be more fun than reading about it. Be patient. The time is near. The deadline looms, and the music is alive.
We also have to come up with a title and artwork, and lots of other details, before May 27. But we're on track, so you can look for a finished album from the WannaBeatles by June 23.
Unless we stretch the deadline.
Bloggin' Bryan 9May13