When I look at my YouTube or Google feeds I often wonder how so many sublimely boring posts get hundreds of thousands of views. Then I realized I have to get the hang of using ‘clickbait’ titles. How many items have you clicked in to due to a sensational title? Once you view one category of video/post you are inundated with hundreds of the same type. You know how many videos there are of Uber drivers kicking out drunk passengers trying to overload the ride with too many people? The excitement never ends!
So I’m not really in New Zealand and I don’t have a dog playing blues guitar (yet). Although Samantha is starting to take lessons. I’ll probably start her on classical guitar.
But there are a few things to talk about.
One of the goals of ‘Messin’ With The Music’ is to give it a ‘live’ feel by playing tracks straight through as much as possible. So if you listen through you’ll certainly find ‘mistakes’. Two of my favorite guitarists are Jimmy Page and Jack White. They both go for feel and spontaneity over the idea of ‘perfection’. For me personally that technique gives me goosebumps over perfectly quantized and punched in shredding. I found this article on Page on Cheatsheet.com:
For a meticulous producer like Page, these mistakes couldn’t have been an accident. In interviews over the years, he’s spoken of leaving in mistakes because he thought it sounded realer than heavily edited albums.
In a 1977 interview with Guitar World’s Steve Rosen, Page didn’t seem embarrassed at all by mistakes he’d left on record. This time, the issue came up with “I Can’t Quit You Babe,” another signature early Zep track (off the band’s 1969 debut).
After Rosen described Page’s solo as “sloppy but amazingly inventive,” Page noted that it didn’t bother him. “There are mistakes in it, but it doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “You’ve got to be reasonably honest about it.” Of course, part of it came down to Page’s habit of recording solos.
“I usually just limber up for a while and then maybe do three solos and take the best of three,” Page explained. He also compared it to his live performances. When the band released The Song Remains The Same, the material didn’t come close to Zeppelin’s best nights in concert.
But Page left it in nonetheless. “It’s a very honest film track,” he told Rosen. “Rather than just trailing around through a tour with a recording mobile truck waiting for the magic night, it was just, ‘There you are – take it or leave it.’”
Page has long considered his work as a composer, arranger, and producer to be his most important contribution.
“My vocation is more in composition, really, than in anything else,” he said in 1977. “Building up harmonies, orchestrating the guitar like an army – a guitar army – I think that’s where it’s at, really, for me.”
Page is also a king of ‘riffs’. Rather than chorded passages and then a guitar solo, the verses and choruses were built on guitar riffs throughout the song. Here’s one of my favorites:
Jack White has the same type of loose, open feel to his guitar playing (and all the other instruments he touches). A beautiful disdain for ‘perfection’.
“I love analog because of what it makes you do. Digital recording gives you all this freedom, all these options to change the sounds that you are putting down, and those are for the most part not good choices to have for an artist,” and “Mechanics are always going to provide inherent little flaws and tiny little specks and hisses that will add to the idea of something beautiful, something romantic. Perfection, making things perfectly in time and perfectly free of extraneous noise, is not something to aspire to! Why would anyone aspire to such a thing?”
And the riffs! Just think of ‘Seven Nation Army’, ‘I Think I Smell A Rat’ or the Raconteurs ‘Salute Your Solution’. The energy and feeling that comes with his playing makes me want to headbang and bounce off the walls. Jack White is one of those artists that keep guitar emotion and the pure energy of garage rock alive. Let’s indulge in ‘Icky Thump’:
When we saw Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band he had J.D. Wilkes open for him as a solo performer. I just read that Wilkes’ band The Legendary Shack Shakers are going out on tour. I haven’t seen any dates in our area yet (what a shock). But for the live total insanity they bring to the stage, here’s an older clip of the band doing ‘Shake Your Hips’. Can’t express how much I’d love to be on stage playing this.
The search for feel over ‘perfection’ continues!
Some people may have grown up in the digital age and not be aware of the specific differences between analog and digital recording. I’ve attached an article titled ‘The Case Against Digital Recording’ although my point is not so much which is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ as much as opening a discussion about the differences. Besides the tech differences, this article also discusses different styles of recording music in general. I actually find that part of the article more interesting.
For full disclosure, ChurchHouse Studios is a digital based studio. Digital recording has made the editing and storing of music much easier. We do, however, create most of our songs using a more ‘old fashion’ process. I favor recording song tracks straight through rather than cut and paste. I also tend to enjoy the subtle differences (some people may say ‘mistakes’) it creates from verse to verse and chorus to chorus. For me it breathes life in to a song and makes that particular recording unique, moments that can’t be recreated. One of my favorite examples is in the Rolling Stones ‘Gimme Shelter’. At about the 2:59 point of the song during the female vocalist’s solo your hear her voice crack from pushing the note so hard and Jagger giving a little shout in the background. For me that moment is chill inducing and priceless. Would that be edited out in today’s world?
I don’t think either digital or analog recording is ‘better’. They both have their place and music, like all art, is subjective and will always remain that way. It’s your choice.
Here’s the article:
This discussion also allows me to throw in a plug for one of our favorite artists, Jack White. His Third Man Records studio is analog and he’s quite a proponent of analog recording.
OK – You’ve twisted my arm – I’ll also throw in a video of Jack White live on Austin City Limits.
Well we shot the video last night and it was pretty fun – I guess. Actually truth be told it was kind of nerve racking. Anyway, we will be posting them within the next two weeks; with all the other stuff going on in life in general (my Dad has had some medical stuff going on) it may even be later than that. In other news, it looks like Jack White is teaming up with Jerry Lee Lewis and heading back into the studio. I also saw, (or at least I think I did) something about Jack White and Dangermouse doing some music together – that should be interesting. Just bought Florence and The Machine and really like her stuff.