A Tale Of Two Discos, pt. 2
Accepting that denial is a part of the creative process sounds like new age, meme motivation, oxymoronical BS, but for me, it’s 100% a reality. Yes, friends, I am the Tony Robbins of indie rock.
Several months had gone by since we’d recorded the base tracks of Fever Dream at The Hideaway. We’d set up a studio space in my basement and were attacking the songs one by one when Justin wasn’t on the road with Soul Asylum. Whenever we’d get the courage to listen to Disco that’s all we’d do. Listen. There was no grabbing a guitar and being inspired. We didn’t have ideas. We didn’t have solutions. We were stuck, but we weren’t saying it.
What do you do when a song isn’t working? In our case, I believe the phrase goes, 'Out of sight, gnawing away at you in the back of mind.'
After leaving the front desk office administrative job that played a large role in the writing process of Disco, I moved to a position in the company where I was able to work from home part time & spend the days with my son.
There are many different ways of parenting. It’s a safe bet that somewhere along the way, no matter which parenting path one takes, it will backfire to some extent. My only advice is to be thoughtful in your words and actions and do the best you can. Also, don’t be rough on parents who do things differently than you would. Which leads me to...
Kids like screens. (Adults do, too. C’mon, you know someone is reading this on a Samsung Galaxy and thinking how much better they are than the sheeple reading this on an iPhone. I mean, that someone might be you, but you would never think that) And even though screen time is pretty frowned upon in the parenting world at large, sometimes it’s needed and sometimes it’s really, really, really needed.
The best screen time work around I could think of for my then 2 year old was to play concert footage. My personal favorite was Jimmy Eat World’s 2014 Reading Festival show. They’re one of those bands that are always dependable. They don’t have a gimmick. They’re not of a time. They’re not judges on a TV show, boosting their Instagram to leverage a deal with Colgate Toothpaste w/Tartar Control. They’re just a band that write great songs. I looked to them when I thought of what Oklahoma could be.
Their Reading Festival show was just what I needed when Justin and I finally had the talk.
Because it was right thing to do for the song, the decision to re-record Disco was surprisingly easy (please note, I said the decision was easy). We still had to figure out what the heck to do with the song, but now we weren’t bound to the original session. We were free to explore and to be inspired without having to stay in a framework dictated by drum and bass.
I was excited to think about what the song could be. I knew it wasn’t going to be Johnny Marr or Camera Obscura. I knew it wasn’t going to be Death Cab. I had a feeling that if I watched Jimmy Eat World at Reading again I could find a new thread to follow.
The idea hit when Chase This Light came on. Then again, is theft an idea? Okay, okay, I’m partially kidding. I took their picking pattern and tried it out on Disco’s chords. It took a little finagling of chord shapes and voicings, but I was on to something!
With a pretty impressive studio set up in my basement, I opened the GarageBand app on my phone and recorded Disco-by-way-of-Jimmy using the phone’s built in mic.
There’s more to the story that I’ll save for next week, but I want to leave you with a two things.
Life is a weird thing. It can be hard, but it can be wondrous if you let it. Next week I’ll tell you about how we go back to the Hideaway to re-record Disco, but because they played a big part in this week’s entry, I wanted to fast forward a little bit. A few months after we sorted this song out, Jimmy Eat World came to play in Minneapolis. Through their Facebook page, they asked local bands to submit a song for a chance to open for them. We submitted and they picked us. It was surreal to go from using their live performances to appease my child & inspire a train wrecked song to sharing an evening with them as equals. I will be forever grateful. If life is weird for you now, I sure hope you keep pushing forward.
Here is the GarageBand demo of Disco. It takes a second or two to get started. I hope you enjoy it!