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Friday, June 25, 2010

FP Update: 6-25-10

And now for the latest FP-News:

1) 'Rabbit Hole' now has an official song structure/arrangement. We spent the better part of this week's practice session getting the song structure ironed out as far as where each section goes. Here's a copy of my iPhone notes that we jotted down:

1) Intro Riff (x2) w/Jagger-vocals
2) Verse 1
3) Chorus 1
4) Intro Riff (x1) w/Pull-back
5) Verse 2
6) Chorus 2
7) Bridge A w/LedZep accents
8) Full Instrumental Bridge B (Verse/Chorus Variations C/D/E/E/C/D/A/A sections)
9) Intro Riff w/Tribal-esque percussion stuff that points towards Chorus 4's vocal cadence + Bass grunge or slap/pop bass + Very Small Speaker Guitar tone
10) Verse 3 (In same vein as above Tribal Intro Riff)
11) Chorus 3 (Basically the same as Chorus 2)
12) Chorus 4 w/Vocal Round Cadences
13) Intro Riff (x2) w/Jagger-vocals and xxxxxxxxxxx...
14) xxxxxxxxxx.....

(As you can see, we'll use any sort of 'jargon' under the sun that helps us remember our ideas when writing up a list like that, hence the funny names in the descriptions: 'Jagger-vocals' anyone?)

Now normally it is unusual to show folks your grand plan before letting them listen to a song, but I thought we'd do things a little differently this time around to make things more interesting. And since nobody has the faintest clue how this song actually sounds, what's the harm in sharing the early layout? If anything I hope this offers our small (but loyal) fan base a poignant look into how we craft a song from its inception. The core ideas started out in my head, but the really cool thing is that several major improvements and alterations to my original ideas have been made thanks to Matt and Jake's input. It's a true joint effort. I love how the three of us collaborate and how we all gel together.

2) Jake is laying down more bass tracks on 'Marigolds'. We conjured up a few changes to his parts on Verse 3 to coincide with the vocal lines. Well worth the extra time to dig a little deeper creatively-speaking. Good stuff is happening!

3) I'm still whittling away at vocals for 'Some Other Year' in between all of the other writing/recording sessions we are doing on the other songs. It is getting there. Then backing vocals will get tracked and layered. Then other odds and ends. Still, there's a lot left to be recorded and grafted into the recording in order to do the song justice. Right now the data tally for 'SOY' stands at 25 GB of hard drive space from 2,006 project files. And it is growing daily. Weirdly enough the track count for 'SOY' is only around 55-60 so far. Sounds like a bunch but that really isn't too bad (all things considered). The backing vocals will likely bump the numbers up quite a bit. Hehe....

4) Slightly off topic, I have been spending an enormous amount of time playing guitar, even to my own hurt. Or rather to the hurt of my hands and fingers. I've been playing rather fiercely of late, and I've really had the opportunity to reconnect with my guitar playing. And that has been long overdue. Sometimes I forget just how many guitar licks and riffs and styles I have worked on through the years. And even after 25 years of playing and studying my instrument, I still feel fascinated and mystified by the instrument's possibilities. The primary guitars I have been playing on are my 7-String Ibanez RG7420, 'Daphne' (my modded-out blue Fender Highway One American Telecaster), and the '05 (my Gibson Les Paul). All of which have a unique voice and vibe and each of which makes me play a little differently. It has been a good past couple of weeks for my guitar playing, and I am very blessed to have some very nice equipment to get the job done. Guitar playing just never gets old or boring to me. Ever...

5) Matt, his wife Brittany, my wife Julia and I all went on a one day excursion to go see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field last Friday. The Cubs lost of course, but it was fun being at the stadium on a nice summer day. Until the bottom of the 8th inning when we had to ditch the game and head back to the car pronto. Mother Nature tried to intervene on behalf of the Cubs by sending hurricane force winds (over 80 mph) along with torrential sideways rain and tons of lightning to the Chicago area. But alas, the Los Angeles Angels were able to give the Cubs a royal beat-down before the storm reached the stadium. Had the game continued for another 5 minutes there might have been a 'rain delay' long enough for the Cubs to get their act together and come back fighting. But they lost. Oh well. The $6.75 bottle of stadium beer was good while it lasted and it is always fun being at an actual game in person. Watching pro baseball on TV is like watching a chess match. Ho-hum. But it is an entirely different (and more exciting) scenario when you are actually at a stadium. The sights. The smells. The chatter of Chicago accents 40,000 people strong. It was a fun time. Even if Chicago traffic is as bad as it gets. At least Matt and Brittany were driving...

6) On an even more personal note, this last week has seen some major happenings in our lives. For starters, Julia and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! Yeah I know, neither of us look or act like we are that old (we hear that all of the time), but we've had a very good marriage and we're more in love and 'into' each other than ever before. Twenty years flies by like a blink of an eye.

And perhaps even bigger news, Jake is now happily engaged and quite smitten with the love of his life, Sarah. He popped the big question this week and Sarah of course said 'Yes!'. We're all very happy for Jake and Sarah and we're all looking forward to their wedding day (date yet to be determined). And best of all, it is so good when you see your friends' happiness....

7) Back on the music-related front, a good friend of mine, Craig Collins, is nearing the completion of his first two prototype guitar models. I've been able to check out these two initial builds as they have evolved, and I am very pleased and excited to be in line for a guitar (or two) of my own once he gets past the prototype phase. These first two prototypes are turning out to be quite amazing and exquisite and the words 'high-end' and 'boutique' come to mind. Craig is utilizing some original structural designs and they are being overbuilt by hand. He's primarily using local walnut for the bulk of the neck and body, and walnut has very good tonality to it. All of that, plus a lot of other intentional departures from the status quo of modern day guitar design, are stacking up to become an extraordinary instrument. I can't wait to own one of his guitars myself and I'm guessing his guitar(s) will become my #1 go-to. It's like waiting for Christmas....

So there's the latest goings-on in FP Land. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by!

~ Todd

Saturday, June 12, 2010

FP Update: 6-12-10

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Todd here with the latest:

1) 'Some Other Year' is getting closer and closer to completion. I have had very little time to focus on it these last two or three weeks, but it will be debuting soon. We're keeping it a little more under wraps until it is actually finished and available for listening. But it is sounding pretty amazing and we're very excited about how this one is turning out. Very cool song....

2) 'Marigolds' is temporarily on the proverbial shelf until we get 'SOY' done. Not forgotten. Just queued in line at the 'FP Factory'. Stay tuned...

3) 'Rabbit Hole' writing/rehearsing sessions are well under way as we speak. This one is going to be much darker and more elaborate than its three forerunners. 'Heavy' comes to mind when trying to describe it. But not in a metal sort of way. More in the vibe and mood. Not completely over-the-top heavy. Just certain sections. And this song calls for a lot more guitar intensity and more intricate instrumentation. Definitely not as radio-friendly as say 'Marigolds' will be. But this one is fun to play and will be a balance to the 'FP Force'. Lots of weird variations of diminished chords/scales/riffs/etc. This one would make a good Rock Band or Guitar Hero song. And it has a cool drum/bass groove going on with a certain swampy feel. Again, we are organizing sections and riffs and such as we speak. Also, we just came across some video footage of me horsing around on Daphne (a.k.a. my 'Daphne' blue Telecaster...hence the name) and towards the end of the video I started playing the opening riff to 'Rabbit Hole'...We'll look into putting something together in the next couple of weeks to post it on our YouTube channel.

That's all for now. Just wanted to write a few quick blurbs about what's happening in 'FP Land' while I had a break at work. Busy busy busy....

All the Best...

~ Todd