After almost 30 years, I finally got up the nerve to release the album I made as I was turning 30. It is called Copulation and Architecture and it is available on Bandcamp.com.
The delay was due to a combination of low self confidence and laziness. For years I have been paralyzed by the prospect of success in the music business. It has been very hard for me to go out and sell myself. I couldn’t even ask club owners for a night. I couldn’t even ask Geoff Bartley at the Cantab for a feature there, and I worked with him for years. He likes and respects me but I always felt he would say, No, you don’t have a following, you’re not ready. When I write it down it sounds absurd, but that has been the default operating position.
I worked on this in therapy for years, particularly with Bob Porter on the Cape. His theory was that I liked to wallow in my low self-esteem and if I actually took any steps to succeed, that would prevent me from doing that. It’s like a fear of failure, but it is really just a perpetuation of limbo.
I actually believe that I am very talented and the others who have heard me agree. While I have been fired from a few bands, most of the people with whom I have worked have had great respect for my musicianship. While I’m a decent guitarist and bassist, I feel my strength is in my songwriting. If I did it more, my performances as a singer/guitarist could really shine. I feel I interpret other people’s work well, also. I have a huge respect for the craft of songwriting and I try to cover other local songwriters as much as I can.
Right now, I am focusing on honing my guitar skills as much as I can. I continually try to learn jazz pieces out the Real Book. I work on my reading. I also work at teaching. I run a Ukelele camp at my church. It is 8-11 year olds and a I really enjoy seeing them get into music. I also teach our “godchildren”, Thora, Sarah and Dewayne, guitar, bass and drums, respectively. I don’t think I’m very good at it, having taken very few lessons myself, but I’m better than nothing and they seem to like it.
Copulation and Architecture was my first endeavor in the home recording studio. I had bought a Yamaha MT1X 4 track and was having fun with that. When I moved back up to Boston in 1987 and got my place with Tony Savoie in Union Square, Somerville, I bought an Atari 1040ST computer and a Korg DS8 synthesizer. The Atari had built in MIDI ports and was a good music computer for the time. I was fascinated by the process and the aural vistas which it opened. I could mimic horn sections and marimbas and go on to make new sounds that didn’t exist in nature. With step entry, I could play synth runs that I could never play myself. I really can’t play keyboard at all well. And though there is a certain electronic sterility to the sound of the album, musically, I like it. It is the process of a lot of focus and hard work. I have fond memories of that process.
It also allowed me to write about my many loves and infatuations from early adulthood. The same dysfunctions that prevented me from pursuing music also kept me from fully realizing relationships with women. So often they were unrequited and I was left in the role of platonic boy, a role that I was probably too good at.
One song of which I am particularly proud is Wish Of Grey. It is about my mother’s last days in the Norwalk Hospital Cancer Unit. I was fortunate in being able to spend her last hours with her. Her death at 55 was a huge loss to our family and me. Fortunately, we have managed to flourish without her here, thanks to the gifts she imparted to us while she was alive. Her influence lives on in her grandchildren, and her daughters-in-law, while they never met her, feel as though they knew her.
Anyway, that’s Copulation and Architecture. Feel free to buy it for seven bucks. There will be more coming to bandcamp from me. I like the platform and I feel as though I fit in with the music I hear on there.
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