Friday, March 07, 2008

Don't Just Do Something, Stand There

I wish I had a comfortable and well-equipped place where I could set up a group of musicians and record them. It would also be pretty cool if I had a way of getting that recording onto the public airwaves.

Hmmm...well, I have a radio show already and I just finished re-wiring the music studio at the radio station, so that much is taken care of- I even have a pair of enthusiastic volunteer trainees, so it's now become a classroom as well as a studio, which is good because I'd like for other DJs to have live music skills too.

So, cool. I gots me some students to put the learnin' on.
I can get them to do all the stuff that I don't want to do (which is everything) and I get to take all the credit.
(Actually, I really like one of my vols. The other one is this guy.)

Next step: find a band.

Over the last few years, I've become increasingly enchanted by Celtic and Irish music in all it's forms, but I know shamefully little about it- it would be great if I could find a group of musicians who not only played such music, but were also well-versed in it's lore and traditions- enter my real-life friend Schlep!

Schlep put me in contact with a band called Poisoned Dwarf, a group which fit my needs exactly. If you like this sort of thing, check out their website (that means you, Sling), you will find that they are quite good and also have a great attitude towards the music they perform. I think it will be a great session. (Props to Schlep for the tip!)

Beyond my personal interest in the music, there is also a practical reason for me wanting to host an Irish folk group: the variety of instruments!
They have strings ( bowed and plucked), woodwinds, percussion, pipes and voices- this gives me a chance to demonstrate different microphones and proper mic techniques to my assistants.
I love teaching mic technique. I really do.

What a great deal: The band gets a free studio recording with guaranteed radio play and promotion, I get exactly the kind of group I need in order to teach my 'class' and I get to produce a kick-ass radio programme for my own show. As a bonus, I get to learn about music at the same time that I'm imparting my voluminous sonic wisdom to my volunteers. Tradition and technology, the cycle of preserving and sharing knowledge... man, it's pretty fuckin' Zen if you ask me. Even the terms used while recording reflect this: signal flow; balance; unity gain;harmonics;equalization...ahhh, I love it!

And ya know what?
Nobody was gonna fix that studio for me.
A band wasn't just going to magically appear.
My friends aren't gonna learn about sound by just looking at quiescent audio gear.
I have to do these things myself and I'm glad I'm doing them because it beats the hell out of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself.

Today it has been 30 months since my last alcoholic drink. In that time I've lost my grandmother, my cousin and three jobs; I wrecked my car, went on bad dates and have suffered almost every form of rejection that a man can suffer and I still haven't had a drink! That may not sound like much to you, but it means everything to me.

So, if you are imbibing an adult beverage at the moment, have an extra one for me. My drinking days are done, but I'm not done toasting: here's to making stuff happen!



Grish said...

Congrats on the sobriety!

Craig D said...

SKOL, my friend!

I'm in a similar situation where I work.

I am just about to the point of trying to make stuff happen, myself.

Irish music isn't involved, but I'm hoping to enlist the services of our new, British-born "Branch Manager" so there is a rough correlation. (He's hardly a leprechaun!)

Kick ass, Alan.

Kick ass.

yellowdog granny said...

oh man...that is great's hard enough to stay sober on good days, when you have that many bad's a fucking miracle..good for you my friend..will check out the irish band..i love celtic music..

schlep said...

I'm blushing...happy to help make things happen!
St Patrick's Day (aka "Irish Musicians Full Employment Day") is coming up too, so that's another harmonic convergence.
Sláinte! Health.

yinyang said...

Ooh, Irish music.

Auld Hat said...

... pretty fuckin' Zen...
signal flow; balance; unity gain;harmonics;equalization

lol, I have ALWAYS thought that!
Holy shit, seriously. lol, our brains are like - melded Vulcan style sometimes.
I'm listening to the Poisoned Dwarf mp3 samples from their website as I type this. I might need to purchase this album - they are fantastic!

Lyzard said...

I have two adult beverages in front of me at the moment, and I'll raise them both to your sobriety.

First, a glass of milk speckled with Oreo cookie crumbs. (Because being an adult means I can dunk my Oreos in milk,eat them until I feel sick, and NOT drink the milk I dunk them in. Was never allowed to do THAT as a kid!)

Second, a Bloody Mary. (All those Oreos made me thirsty!)

Sling said...

YES!..Thanks for the link buddy.
..and check out the little film,'Songcatcher' if you get the chance.
It's a great history of Smokey Mountain music,with all it's Celtic influence intact!..
I'm a particular fan of Emmylou Harris' version of 'Barbara Allen' that comes at the closing credits.

Allan said...

Grish- Thanks! Seems like a long time...

CD- Good luck with work, four-leaf time.

JS- No miracle. Fear keeps me sober.

S- They are just what I was looking for, thanks for the help! It'll be a great show!

Lyz- Waiter! There's a steak in my oatmeal!

YY- It's good. Try some.

Hat- You get it.
They are great, I can't wait for the session.

Lyz- Breakfast of Champions! Cheers!

Allan said...

Sling- Dude!I was heading in that direction- I wanna expand the show, make an actual documentary type one-hour (or two)...Appalachia is the natural next stop! All aboard!

Susannity said...

link fringe enthusiast. =)

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm so glad that you have found a band that meets your needs.

Oh and you kick ass! Congratulations!

more cowbell said...

*Clink* That was my coffee.

You have had a seriously rough time of it since I discovered your blog - the fact that you're at 30 months is fanfuckingtastic. Yes, I did just roll a curse word into an adjective. You're that good. Congrats, Allan. You're worth it, you know.

citizen of the world said...

Good luck! (clink)

billy pilgrim said...

congrats on the 2.5 years.

after that huge string of bad luck you're overdue for good fortune.

Allan said...

S- I dunno. I'm not sure I want to be associated with that character.

Whim- The first step is to meet the band's needs...the rest is gravy!

MC- 'Meeting' you was a bright spot.
Now roll another one and pass it this way!

CW- Cheers!

BP- Thanks. I gotta admit I fell off the candy wagon...even ate me some chocolate turtles.
So ashamed, I am.

Susannity said...

Might be scary, but he just had a birthday... =P

angel said...

that sounds so cool allan- and congrats on 30 months!

Allan said...

Sus- He's been on my link list for many months! He's one of the first friends I made at the station, 3.5 years ago. Rockin' dude, he is.