Thursday, June 5, 2008

drunk takes

I managed to get to the studio only fifteen minutes late today.  That is the earliest I've arrived there since I moved just a few blocks away.  I was always on time when I was subletting a handful of freeway exits from here.  Funny how that works.

I started singing right off.  I Think It's Getting Better, a song that I have tracked 5 times now with three different people that for one reason or another just doesn't feel right, still didn't feel right.  It is the simplest song, a couple chords, clear emotion being conveyed, but its coming across too serious, not hopeful enough, too that and not enough this.  I know it will never sound on tape how it sounds in my head and that the process is always a huge part of the end result of any piece of art, any piece of, well, anything... but still...  I moved on and sang another song easy, a more serious one, but moving on again to another simple one, a real fun one, I hit a wall.  It's not that I wasn't having a good time, I just wasn't having the right kind of good time. Whenever I hit a wall, I know it is time to take a break, get some fresh air or coffee or a bite to eat.  We were ahead of schedule so a long lunch was in order.  It was also decided that in order to nail those troublesome goodtime songs, I should be drunk.

We went to Big Wangs, a sports bar-ish spot.  They love that place, and as everyone flirted with the waitress, I played it cool and searched the menu for something vegetarian and chewed my straw and stabbed the ice in my Jameson-Cokes, had a real good time. And they recounted the glory days with two pitchers of Miller Lite and while they explained the deep and incomparable gratification of marriage, a dozen flat screen TVs flashed around the room and heavy guys in Lakers shirts began to trickle in and claim good spots for the game.  

And I got drunk and began to give my two cents and tell my stories and back at the studio I gave the songs the party treatment.  Through my headphones, from the control room, I kept hearing that it was great, that I was nailing it, though I kept forgetting lyrics and botching timing and melody.  I have a feeling most of it will be unusable when we bring it up sober tomorrow morning, but I know there is some good stuff in there somewhere.

We sat and listened to U2 and then Weezer's new album and Coldplay's new album, which leaked and didn't give me any goosebumps, then I left and got back to my place to find my subletter in a business meeting.  She is producing a new cooking show which looks like it will be awesome, and so I slipped out and walked down Hollywood to Amoeba, looking at the tourists trickling by, and the tragic bums, a teenager with tattoos on his neck and the high high heels walking beneath clothes picked just for the neighborhood.  I looked at album art for a little while and got coffee across the street.  The espresso tasted burnt so I filled it with sugar and downed it quickly as I took a scenic route back to the apartment.

On my block there was a television shoot.  Something for a show called Life.  I walked through it, past the catering, past the preoccupied people with earpieces and clipboards, fat wires stretching across the street, connecting to big lights and cameras.  There were way too many people working, and I found the center of it all, two monitors set up in front of a few rows of directors chairs right in the middle of the street, and the director was there in front passionately calling cuuuuuut, running up to the actors and giving notes, running back, never sitting down in his chair.  I stood there watching, nervous at first, noticing everything, the daydreaming security guards, the stunning blonde with blatant fake tits, the guy in a button up talking just above a whisper on his phone while it was quiet on the set and pacing back and forth.  He bumped into me and just excused himself.  I didn't belong there, but there were so many people working on set, and I tried to stand liked I belonged, checking my phone, looking as complacent as possible, and no one told me to leave.  

I watched take after take of the scene, still buzzing from my espresso.  Two detective-like guys were knocking on the door of a hostel, and a guy in a wife-beater answered, looking peeved.  I couldn't hear what they were saying.  After a while I couldn't take it any more.  How many times has a scene like that been shot?  I thought about attacking the catering cart, but didn't have the nerve, so I walked off, down the block and up the elevator to my apartment.