2024 Forward

1. In Time
2. Never Arriving
3. Burrowing (Congas)
4. Day Time
5. Do You Remember
6. Your Philosophy
7. Matter Of Fact
8. Useless Things
9. They Are Not There (remake)
10. The Day After Anything Goes
11. And Now I’m Looking
12. Not A House
13. Alien Infusion
14. Your Philosophy
15. Layered Sky

15 July 2024
The last two weeks have seen a lot of time in the studio. I wrote a new song, Not A House. It was inspired by a misheard lyric on a Wilco album. It’s one of those songs that came together in just one short session. I asked Scott needed any more than what I’d done. He assured me the arrangement was complete. It’s always good to get feeback. It’s also good that the new ideas are flowing freely.

When asked, Joe said he had time to tackle the drums on six new songs. Five of mine and one of Scott’s. Twelve hours later he’d returned with five of the songs completed. In the past I’d present Ric with very complete tracks. He’d form his ideas around a well structured song. This was the case for the songs Joe played on for Fire Printing. When I started writing songs for the new album, I decided to keep my initial tracks simple. I didn’t want to be locked into any ideas before drums were added. And I wanted Joe to have a free hand. Last night and this morning I sent over six songs for drums. Twelve hours later we had drums on five of the songs. To say the songs were reimagined is correct.

The notes I’d sent with the tracks just explained what the songs were about and tempos. The most specific instructions were for Scott’s song And Now I’m Looking. Tony Miller had taken this one and had a friend add drums. It was sort of an audition for the open drum position. He did a fine job. When reviewing the new songs, I felt that this one was a little rushed. I Suggested to Joe that he open up the feel and let the song brethe. Thing is, I was determined that Joe would play all the drums on the new album. I rerecorded They Are Not There so we could use that song. I changed the arrangement, making it a lot more compact. Once Joe gets to Not A House, there will be twelve songs for the new album. There are a few more demos on the table that we will talk about. Both Scott and Joe have promised more offerings. I’d like to think I have a few more up my sleeve. The idea is to have more than enough songs so that we can pick ten or twelve for and album. The left overs will be the starter for the follow up.

This is how the band is supposed to work. After the restructuring of the band, I felt the need to find a new way to work. The old methods suited us fine for many years. So far the new format is running smoothly.

4 July 2024
At the start of the year I told Joe and Scott we would be moving into a new album slowly. I wanted to have a few songs in hand before we got to the serious work. I needed to follow through with the release of Fire Printing before I felt like I could turn my attention to new songs. There was also the matter of some travel plans. At the end of April we would be in Tuscon for a week.

After returning from Arizona I got back to work. The song that became Alien Infusion. I wrote the n=music first. Once again work was interrupted for a long planed trip to Sweden. The stated reason for the trip was to see Rain Parade who would be just starting their Euro tour. In reality it was also a chance to visit our friend Jerker Emmanuelson and The Nomads.I’d last seen Jerker in 1994 when he toured the US promoting his first Hit The Hay release, which was also the first official Donovan’ Brain release. It’s been 24 years since we’d last seen the Nomads.

In the middle of all this activity Scott sent over a new song, The Day After Anything Goes. Joe had added drums. I made a small suggestion. I asked Scott if he had a resonator guitar. He did. The song seemed to suggest 1970s Kinks. He was more than happy to redo the rhythm parts. In turn Joe came up with a new drum idea and did another pass. A good song became a great one with just that one idea.

I decided to try rerecording They Are Not There, as song written during the productive period that resulted in Sandbox Shadows. Deniz Tek added guitar to the original. It didn’t make the cut for that release. It was considered for Fire Printing, but wasn’t used as the new songs seemed to fit together better. The original arrangement was an epic 9 minutes long. I remade it in a more compact, and more rockin’ form. The new version seems to fit better with the material we have for the new album.

20 March 2024
Just like that. The new album is in transit to the Career office. Just over month after completing the last song, it’s pressed and about to be released. Looking back on it now, that was quite the effort. In the Fall of 2022 the band’s long term future was a big unknown. Eight months ago we added a new member, Joe Adragna. Since then, it’s been a most creative period.

Looking forward, the plan is to start work on the follow up to Fire Printing. There are still several we’d done with Ric which didn’t get used. My feeling is we should start fresh. No doubt the songs with Ric that we’ve not used will find a home in the future. I did a quick inventory. There are three demos Scott had sent over which we never attempted. There is one song in progress, In Time. I believe this was one of the last things Ric played on. I might ask Joe to redo the drums so we have a fresh version to work on. I’ll keep the version with Ric for later use.

I think there are two demos Joe sent around the same time as he submitted his songs for Fire Printing. He sent over two more a couple of weeks ago, Day Time and Do You Remember. Scott and I both thought we could work these two up. That is a good starting point. Once we start working on these songs, I expect more ideas will surface.

I had an idea that I’d started last year. I only had a couple of fragments and a vague lyric idea based on two dreams. I put writing on hold so as not to get distracted from finishing the new album. Once I got back to this one, Never Arriving, it came together quickly. I had enough to build up an arrangement. My idea for the song was pretty specific and I managed to capture that. I decided it was ready for drum and passed it over to Joe with some notes about the concept. He got on it quickly and sent back his first draft. He’d interpeted the idea I had in mind. The first brick laid.

That meant I could move on and see what else I could come up with. This time I had no lyric or melody ideas, just the rhythmic feel I wanted to work with. I sat at the organ and played along until I found some chord changes I liked. I tried vocalizing over that. It was the right direction, but not the flow I wanted. I tried inverting the opening riff to get me into the vocals a little differently. Nothing came of that, but the idea was in my head. I woke up at 3.30Am this morning with some lyrics. It was a good idea that opened up the door. This time I decided to move to guitar to work it out. Everything snapped into place. It took me a good while to get the mics set up to get a clean recording of acoustic guitar and vocals. I got two verses and the second part recorded in just a few passes. I did go back and do a new vocal over the guitar. I’ve got an idea how to finish the song now. Another bit of lyric appeared, enough of an idea to complete the idea. This is the way things should go when I can focus on writing.