Updated: Jan 4
When I started recording music, magnetic tape was the mainstream medium thru which it was done. Multitrack recording at home was clunky at best. An early system consisted of two Onkyo audio cassette decks wired so that a rhythm strummed into one provided a single channel for the other, which then left one remaining channel in the second deck for simultaneous live lead. The guitar parts were captured with student level condenser mikes wired through cheap audio connectors from Radio Shack. It was basic and crude. Rhythm section on the left, lead section on the right. Nobody was quite good enough or paid well enough for the required studio time to get things done properly. So, home studio bandaids were a commonplace thing.
If you hit a wrong note, it was over. Getting a single tune completed meant months of fudging around the unfortunate results you wished weren’t so. Multitrack recorders entered the scene and added a level of sophistication as to how you could pan the mix, yet the magnetic tape quality was still incredibly poor coupled with a technology that was ambitious yet still so very limited in those days. Everything was muddy and panned way too hard or not nearly enough. When I reflect on this so many years later, all I wanted was an acceptable set of backing tracks to play my guitar to. And none were to be found outside of instructional venues which didn't lend any level of artistic inspiration. By nature, I am an improviser. And that was the need. It was hard for me to believe that I was alone in this situation.
In that era, the one that I grew up in, Antonio Carlos Jobim brought the bossa-nova to world fame. I was both captivated and enamored by the sound. It had a rhythmic sophistication that articulated a naturally appealing pulse that was transformative for me. And maybe not so much transformative vs more of a path to home kind of feel. When I heard the sounds of Michael Franks some 20 years later, I immediately knew he was a student of Jobim, for whom he wrote a tribute entitled “Antonio’s Song”. I’ve been a Franks fan too ever since. As a younger adolescent, I was equally influenced by the breakthrough artistic freedom that became the cultural center and birthplace of classic rock, R&B and soul. The Temptations, Steppenwolf, Herb Alpert, Marshal Tucker, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Led Zeppelin ... they're all blended into my deepest musical synapses. As I matured, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Eric Clapton, Sting and Peter White became major influences as well. You can hear how they all touch the tracks.
It was hard to develop technique. No band. Limited local talent. No one could play what I liked, nor did they have the interest. Most potential band buddies were stuck in a single genre I didn't know well. Mainstream FM was in a different place. The pure jazz stuff was a little too weird for most. The dissonance was beyond what I could play to. So I would play to anything else if it provided any sense of backing. And I needed to record, to hear what I sounded like and where I needed to improve. What became obvious is that I prefer to play to the music I produce. You get to know it well and can subsequently get more daring with it.
Recording and internally critiquing my own stuff brought many aha moments in my development as a musician. Developing tracks to play to, tracks that would both inspire and challenge me has been an enduring focus.
This became the genesis of Creative Music. Rooted in the creative work that inspired me, I've been motivated for years to share an inner musical knowing that lives on its own.
And that was the spirit unto which Creative Music was born. To create the ultimate set of tracks from which I could pick and choose to mix up whatever the present moment brings, in either a practice or performance setting. And then pick up my instrument and integrate with the universe.
The secret sauce for us is not in method. It’s what feels right in the moment. And if a piece of music stirs up an energy – then that energy, and the resulting sound of that energy is deemed shareable.
If you can play to and experience the music in a similar way, you have been rooted in similar fashion.
Connected . Playing with Joy. Sharing Peace on Earth. Inspired by the Universe.