As I mentioned previously, my gas got turned off. I'm moving soon, so I've been getting my house ready to be sold. Part of that includes turning on the gas again so that the inspector can make sure everything's fine.
At noon a knock lands upon my door. I open it and see a towering black man standing in the doorway. He's at least six feet tall, at least four feet wide, and is wearing a hard hat. A grin spreads across his face.
"It's the LOOOOOVEEE DOCCCTORR!!" he proclaims.
He remembers me from last time I didn't pay my gas bill. I remember him, too. He told me stories about housewives seducing him as he turned their gas back on. It was fascinating.
As he walks around the house on his way to the water heater, heater, and gas meter he keeps singing one line.
"It's hard out here for a piiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmp".
It's a line from the mediocre movie, Hustle and Flow. After lighting the water heater he stares into space for a second. He snaps back.
"Hey. I wrote a song for R Kelly. I don't know how to get it to him or anything. You want to hear it?"
Of course I do. He sings it and it's actually really good. Even more impressive, it SOUNDS like an R. Kelly song. We chat a little more and I offer to make him a CD with my songs on it. He sees my microphone and asks if I record here. Yes. Can he come by some time and record? Sure. He agrees to record a chorus or two for my songs.
Later I go to have dinner with Evan and she mentions that she owns half of a booking agency. An hour later she texts me that she can get me a gig at a number of really cool venues here in Austin.
How cool is that? Any Austinites who read this can come see me rap live. I just have to make some more songs first. Best of all, I'm going to invite the gas guy, a.k.a. Roller Coaster, to sing with me.
Since Krunkaoke got shut down, I go to Rain every Wednesday. It's a gay club that does Karaoke on Wednesday nights. They have a good selection of songs, a cool light up stage, and a laid back attitude towards me including "nigga" in all of my songs. The downside is that I get hit on / groped by gay guys, but I can deal with it.
I get home at 1am and I check on my fish. They've had tail rot on and off for the past few months. I've put hundreds of dollars of medicine in the tank trying to fix them, as well as adjusting their food and cleaning the tank and doing more frequent water changes. When I moved to my new place they got a lot better, but have since gotten worse.
I noticed that one of the black tetras was doing really badly this morning. His fins had all but distenegrated and he couldn't swim properly. It was really sad - he was the only remaining fish from the first group that my friend gave me. It seems dumb to get attached to fish, but I really love them.
I wanted to give a little preview of the album and talk about one of the songs in particular.
Early on in this process, I spent a great deal of time figuring out which songs would appear on this album. There was one song specifically that I knew belonged on "Seahorses". It's exactly one of the songs that exemplified all of the ideas and themes behind this album. Foolishly, I decided to leave it out. I did this because I could not figure out the best way to present this song. Of all my songs in my repertoire, this one demands a certain degree of reverence. It did not feel right to go for something fully produced with a complete band of instruments behind it, and I felt that it would cheapen its intention and its meaning by making it available on a commercial album.
Well, as it turned out, I changed my mind, and of course, I did it at the worst possible time. The deal-breaker was that, as the recording sessions were coming to a close, I felt more and more that excluding it would be a mistake, and I would physically beat myself up for this many years down the road. Furthermore, this actually is not a commercial album. I would certainly love to sell many copies of it, but if only one was sold to someone who really connected with it, then I would be very happy. It is, more than anything, a work of art--my art, that is. It is a series of thoughts, stories, musical compositions, and feelings that I am compelled to share.
On the final night of recording, when the main vocal parts for several of the songs were done, I said, "To hell with it!! Let's do it!!". Given our constraints in time (studio time is so not cheap), this last minute inclusion required a certain degree of determination. I decided to just record it live. By this, I mean that I was going to just sit at the piano and play while singing into a mike. This meant that there would be no full band or rhythm section behind it, and unlike all of the other songs, the vocals would not be recorded separately from the music. So, even though I knew my voice had reached it's limit after already singing so much, I performed it anyway. Ben, my producer, just hit the "record" button, and I just played.
It was about 2:00 am (very late!) by the time we did this. We recorded the song all the way through twice over, and by the time I heard the second recording, Ben and I knew that I got it right on the first try. In fact, I honestly believe it is one of the best versions of the song I've ever performed. Perhaps it helped that my voice was tired and that it was so late at night, but the finished recording delivered everything that this song needed to give---every intonation, every lilting cadence being so honest, with every word and every note nestled upon the crest of a tidal wave of emotion.