Look Ma, No Metronome!
bombast in d
My Darling Fauxs,
One of my earliest memories in life is falling out of the top bunk bed and cracking my head on the bedroom floor at 701 Woodland Avenue in Duluth, Minnesota.1
I actually saw myself flat out on the ground as if I’d been looking down from the ceiling, in what psychologists call an instance of autoscopy.
I was four years old at the time, and the memory stays fresh with me.2
Exactly twenty-one years ago, I created this demo that would eventually find its way to becoming “Be Free and Do Not Die.”
And today, I am setting this recording—which as a mixed-up file on my hard drive has always been been called “bombast in d”—free into the wild void, in hopes that it will find a place in your heart.
Sure, the meter wavers here and there, but the unhinged, barely-holding-on-ness of the drums transports me back to the Faux Jean rehearsal space at City Sound in Minneapolis, where I would go and make these recordings on a simple Tascam cassette recorder, while chain-smoking clove cigarettes.
I think I tried to record this drum track 30 times in a single afternoon, and it was probably the last thing to be recorded.5 My exasperation is evident in the last bangs on the skin.
I know better than to attempt to play drums in public, but for a short spurt in the rehearsal space, I could pull this off. More or less.
My mantra while recording new ideas like this was:
“Pretend God is out in the hallway, somewhat bored, and wants to be entertained by his creation.”
That’d push me. I sat on the drum throne with my finger on the record button of the 4-track, click and go. Take after take. Ashtray overflowing.
It’s only rock and roll.
When I first went about re-recording this song in a digital format (what became the “Be Free and Do Not Die” version), I shared the instrumental with the esteemed Michael Lopez, (aka Faux Suede, one-time bassist of the Faux Jean band); he shrugged it off and said “Add some lyrics and you might have something there.”
And so I say “Thank you for your honesty, Faux Suede, and thanks for pushing me beyond keeping the guy in the hallway entertained.”
And I hope you, dear reader, can find a moment to listen to this newly-released mixed up file.
“bombast in d” was transferred to digital from the analog cassette in 20016 by hooking the 4-track up to the old pc with the CD burner — RCAs out (red and white) stereo to 1/8” jack (sea-foam green) in. I did not treat this song to any additional mastering in Audition, as the file seems adequately loud in its early-aughts glory.
On another note, my wife and I are heading to the San Diego airport to pick up my kids as soon as I sign off here.
They are returning from two weeks in Wisconsin where they got to go to a real “summer camp” and hang with their grandparents. I am so excited to see them, and so grateful that they got to spend time with their elders and breathe that piney, humid Northern-Wisconsin air.
Reading a book made out of paper is a great way to tell all the folks in the world who seem to want your attention all the time to hold off for a sec.7
I highly recommend it.
And I know to thank you for your attention, it is valuable.
I remain your humble servant,
I include this artistic rendering of 701 to induce nostalgia in my siblings if they are reading this. My bedroom, on the “third floor,” was shared with my older brother, Tad.
I’m still puzzling out dreams that I had in 1974! Like, why was I smashing Alfred E. Newmans’ head in the mailbox and the reality of the feeling of regret generated by the dream along with a desire to be gentle & compassionate moving forward. Like, what’s that all about?
Outside of public school choir at Duluth East and Woodland Junior High
In the spirit of a 4-yr old who has handed you a drawing that approaches realism, I say, “I did it all by myself.”
It’s a good thing the song is only a minute and 32 seconds long.
Though it says the file was created in 1969, I know this to be false, as I was only a couple months old at that time. This rawk jam is of 2001 vintage.
I can now walk to my local library and I’m excited about the possibilities it offers.