Thursday, June 18, 2009

I've been trying to get organized for the last four hours and what do you do? You get a beer! Go in this car or that car. I'm not going! Bullshit!

This title is something my grandfather said to my dad before we went out to Pepe’s pizza (I think that was what it was called) one night, many years ago. My brother and I laughed about it for years after, and certainly we still would, were it to come up again. Granddad was just so pissed and confused and angry for no real reason, especially since my dad has always driven with open containers…He wasn’t holding up the party in the slightest by getting a beer. No real point to this, but I, like my grandfather before me sometimes feel the swell of confusion and just want to sit there on the floor of the garage, right in the oil puddle and just pout. I guess it’s a genetic response to stress, eh?
We had our last practice last night before heading into the studio today. My band, the Lawrence Arms, has been active and recording for ten years, but this will be our first time in the studio in four. That’s crazy, because that means almost half the life of this band has happened since we recorded our last record (which came out in 2006, but was recorded in 05). That’s a long time, man.
That was also a very different style of recording. Fuck, that was back when records still outsold digital downloads, even small bands got decent advances and records were hard to make at home. That was before the studio we used got protools, before our label downsized, before I had a kid and had to play guitar in quiet little corners of my house while he slept…it’s crazy to think of how much has changed in the last few years as far as making music goes. When we recorded our last record, we were in the studio for maybe three months. We did, I believe, eighteen songs, (some which were never finished), and we really took our time. This time, we’re going in for 2 days and we’re doing five songs.
We’ve done shit like this before though. Our first recordings were all quick ones. In my life, I’ve only been a part of two records that were recorded in over a week. This is a real trip back to the old school way of doing things for us, and it’s exciting and fun and scary. And fuck, it’s rough to think that we’re gonna take these five little songs that we record in 2 days and put them up against the best twelve of 18 that we recorded in three months 4 years ago, back when we were really in fighting shape, and up against the expectations that our fans have after waiting 3 years for a follow up, but fuck it. You can never please everyone, and nothing worth trying is ever easy. The alternative is to say, “I’m not going. Bullshit.” And just sit there. And I don’t want to start that just yet.
We did a lot of different things writing these songs too…I didn’t ever demo them, I just let the melodies and words grow and expand organically, rather than getting locked into what was on a tape that I made the day the song was written. That’s been helpful within each song, but it’s also made for less output than I’m used to, because nothing motivates my songwriting like listening to demos that I’m happy with. Each demo that turns out well is a tiny little successful project, and nothing motivates production like success.
Here’s the point, folks. I’d been apprehensive about this recording. Not because I didn’t believe in the tunes…I didn’t know why. Something was bumming me out and it was driving me crazy, like an itch you can’t find, and it was really harshing my mellow, to borrow a phrase from my favorite hippy jam band, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. But last night, I realized what it was.
It was that fucking bridge in the fast song, the one about uh…overcoming personal demons by way of vague allusions to religious iconography, beer and friendship…The bridge was lyrically lazy. It didn’t fit the song, it was the worst part of the song and it was poisoning the whole fucking batch. All the songs were bumming me out because of this one little fifteen second part. SO, this morning, I rewrote the lyrics, and now I’m stoked. And now, well, you can go in this car or that car, I’m going. I’m sailing these little tiny five songs out of here with my friends, and we’re going up against impossible expectations, shit talking haters, deafening apathy and our own technical limitations and you know what, man? It’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna be even better than fine, because nothing else can happen until this record happens, and this is gonna be considered (by those few who even notice this record) a great departure, more of the same, regression, progression, really, really great lyrics, really really stupid lyrics, upbeat, depressing, great and terrible all at once. And man, didn’t you know? That’s how shit is. Nothing is all good or all bad. Look at yourself. Look at me. Look at your boyfriend and your mom and your favorite blanket. We’re all covered in stains and shit, man. That’s kind of what makes shit interesting, right?
Okay, enough pep. I’m fucking out of here, assholes. Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about what we did today, but for now, I gotta go change some strings.
Bullshit!

24 comments:

steveisjewish said...

Beyond Stoked for this. I call bullshit far to often in life - I'm glad that you aren't

Timothy said...

That last paragraph there nails it right on the head of why I love the larry arms. Basically how the music can be funny, depressing, hopeful, upbeat, and just about everything else.

FAskies said...

fuck i gotta change my pants now...

AndBurnTheRest said...

I also could not be more pumped for this. Every single drop of it, sick, corny, whatever. I want it all.


Great post.

J said...

Brendan, I think it's safe to say you will turn a profit.

christa! said...

Aww man that post totally made my day!

admp said...

Please include nudes in the liner notes.
Candice will be soooo grateful.
www.thesockdrawer.proboards.com

HeLLaDaNTe said...

"you can go in this car or that car, I’m going. I’m sailing these little tiny five songs out of here with my friends, and we’re going up against impossible expectations, shit talking haters, deafening apathy and our own technical limitations and you know what, man? It’s gonna be fine."

That sounds like a Lawrence Arms song, man... I Swear.

Good stuff today, Beex! I'm really looking forward to these 5 songs!

Now it's time for me to go get in this car or that car and go do god knows what... But it's gonna be fine!

Later BK and Sock Drawer. Laaater.

Robb said...

This totally made MY day also! Why Christa, we have so much in common! Let's make some puppies.

How utterly inappropriate.

Tony said...

If those two new songs you played on that bootleg of your acoustic set are anything to go by, this 7" is going to be mind blowingly awesome. I can't fucking wait!!

Mikey said...

I can't even tell you how excited I am for new songs. You turned a bad week into a great one singlehandedly. Thank you.

My band it also going in to record sometime in the next few weeks. It's causing me a lot of stress (I know it shouldn't). I've never recorded before. We're also on a tight budget and just trying to put all the costs together is overwhelming. I don't know how we're going to mix our stuff without becoming completely homeless haha. And our albums are going to have to be completely homemade but whatever.

Point is, any advice you would offer on how to go about things or just make the process a little bit less scary?

Hope the recording goes well for you guys!

wilddanimal said...

Yes. I want to hear more about your creative process, Mr. Kelly.

Caleb said...

I would pay upwards of $500 american for this record.

Banana@1000MPH said...

I don't have 500 dollars, so don't charge 500 dollars for the 7" just because Caleb will pay that much - well, just charge him that much.

Mark said...

Is the new record going to be released on CD? I don't have a turntable and I prefer to avoid digital downloads at all costs.

Also, this new EP will be the best release this year. Calling it.

Andrew said...

please put something in compact disc form is all that i ask. us over here in the stone ages without record players will be sorely missing some shit.
i mean if i have to i'll buy a damn record player so i can listen to your ep but i want to listen to it in my car and stuff

Candice said...

you know me so well.

liner nudes would be dope. i'm getting aroused just thinking about it.

Zac said...

i remember when neil mentioned you guys were doing this when he was here with the popes almost a year ago. i'm super pumped it's finally happening.

i love how every lawrence arms record is way different from the prior one. oh calcutta couldn't have been a better follow-up to the greatest story ever told. needless to say, i can't wait.

Blake said...

I've been running out of awesome things in my life. I'm glad this is happening.

Scott said...

CAN
NOT
WAIT!

Banana@1000MPH said...

I sort of echo the same as Mark and Andrew. Except, a 7" isn't meant to be released on CD. I suggest you tell Fat (I assume) to take a note from Suburban Home and to slip a piece of paper with a download code on it into the records.

simmons said...

IN NEED OF ADVICE

ok so my friend just found out that his girlfriend of one year has been cheating on him. he is debating if he should stay with her or not. i told him id seek the best advice i could, put it in the sock draw and see if i got a response.

have you ever been cheated on? how'd you deal? ever cheated on a girl? why? blah blah blah ect ect ect.

thanks.

christa! said...

Hey Robb,
I prefer kittens, but I'd be willing to work with you.


heh.

P.S Don't Write said...

I love you and your friends.