Thursday, January 24, 2008

Music Project: Part One

The idea of some sort of music project has been lurking around in my brain for years. I've never played in a band, and I really don't have the connections to join or start a band. I am not a great singer and I could never be a "solo artist." Nevertheless, I love music, and I love guitars. I've been playing for almost 10 years now, and I'm confident enough in my playing to want to share it with others in some way. I've written several songs over the years and I would like to record some of them.

When Stacy visited over the holidays, she and I discussed making some recordings for fun. This idea completely makes sense because Stacy and I have the same taste in music. She listens to everything I listen to and more. We enjoy singing our favorite songs together. Most of the musicians and singers we admire are female, and I always had the idea that if I had a band, I would have a female singer. But this is not going to be a band. It will just be a fun recording project. It will be mine and Stacy's lovechild. The whole experience will be worth more than the actual music created.

I've never done any serious recording, just some noodling around on a cheap karaoke machine when I was a kid. My brothers and I used to make tapes of us doing silly commercials for fake products and singing ridiculous jingles. We also pretended we were radio DJs and played songs in between our nonsense ramblings. Despite all that, I never really attempted to record music, except for two occasions I can remember. One time I hooked up my keyboard to the karaoke machine with an adaptor Robert gave me and recorded a song and listened to the playback. Another time I stuck the microphone inside my acoustic guitar and recorded some riffs over the song "Angel" by Fleetwood Mac (from the Tusk album).

My neighbor Chris is also a musician as well as a computer geek (I use the term affectionately). I'm discussing with him some ideas about music recording, in which he has experience. I'm also going to ask my cousin (who is also, coincidentally, named Chris) and see if he has any advice or recommendations.

I plan on getting a small home recording device of some kind, one that allows me to record multiple tracks (guitar, keyboard, vocals, etc.) and mix them. I'm also going to need some sort of music software that allows me to mix the songs on my computer. Once the recording process is finished, I plan on making some CDs. That part will be easy. I have a long way to go...

I'm currently browsing through and trying to soak in as much as possible. I have a feeling this idea is going to be expensive...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I've done any blogging. The holiday season kept me busy. Even though I anticipate it every year, it was still quite strenuous, yet fun. Actually, it seemed like one big, continuous holiday. It started at work. I got nice gifts from a couple of the agencies at work. It was so kind of them to think of me, and I know it is an expression of their gratitude for keeping their agencies clean and for being so friendly and sociable. I appreciate their thoughtfulness and generosity. I'm grateful to have a good job with such nice people. That same evening I went to a Holigays party at a Youth Center where I used to attend a youth support group when I was a teenager. It was nice to see some people I haven't seen in a while. I took a swing at the piƱata and sang gay Christmas carols (which has now become a tradition at the Youth Center). I also gave one of my paintings as a gift to the Youth Center, and the facilitator was thrilled. She said she would find a special place to hang it. At the end of the week we had a little party at work and it was a nice, relaxing day. My neighbor, Skip, also gave me a nice gift. I'm also fortunate to have such a nice neighbor.

I spent Christmas Eve with my mom, Don, and my brothers. I had dinner with my family and brought a few small presents for everyone. My parents didn't have the money for presents or a tree this year, but at least I brought them some Christmas joy. I worry about my youngest brother especially, because he's still a kid. It's unfortunate that he cannot experience the fun and magic of the holiday season as I did when I was a child. I think it's my duty to bring a little of that magic to him, to keep the spirit alive in is heart. I know he appreciated it. I overheard him talking on the phone to one of his friends who asked him what he got for Christmas, and he told them. Imagine telling your friends you got nothing at all... how horrible that would be! For me, it's not about the presents; I would still be happy if I got nothing at all, but Donny should be able to enjoy the holidays and be allowed the simple pleasures of being a kid. I'm glad I went over there and spent time with everyone, because all I really wanted for Christmas was for my family to be happy together.

The next day, my dad picked up Robert and I and we went over to Nonna's house. We had a great dinner (of course) and opened presents. My cousins had a good time playing with their toys. Tony got an animatronic parrot that moves and repeats everything you say. Nonna was teaching it to say words and phrases in Italian. I've never seen her laugh so much. We also watched the movie Ratatouille, which I missed when it was playing in theatres. After another great day at Nonna's house, I came home with a lot of food to fill my refrigerator.

That evening I got a call from Stacy. She was at her mom's house and wanted to know if she could come over that night instead of on Saturday. She came over and I got to spend Christmas with her, as well. She stayed with me for a week and a half. It was a different experience living with someone, even for a short amount of time, but it was fun. Stacy and I have a lot of fun when we're together. We stayed up late at night and listened to music, watched videos on YouTube, and sat around and talked. On New Year's Eve, I had my best friend beside me. We cruised through a 12-pack of Smirnoff, watched the ball drop, and at midnight, she was the one I kissed. I wouldn't want to ring in the New Year with anyone but Stacy. She is the love of my life. She went home yesterday, and now it's awkward not having her here. But we had a blast, and now I'm recovering and resting from my extended holiday!