Archive for July, 2010

Coming Soon: New Album From The Suckers

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I’ve been working on this album for a long time (since my last year of school, if you can believe it). It started out with direct-input guitars but I decided I didn’t like the sound and re-recorded with real, live guitar running through an amp into a microphone — something I hadn’t done since Misanthropomorphic. I also went back and re-sequenced the drums because I didn’t like their sound. I had started on vocals in early summer of 2008 (before Carrie came back from Europe when I had the house all to myself), but stopped for a long time with only about a third of the songs complete. I finally got started with the vocal re-recording around late January (starting from scratch), right before we decided to move. So I got over half the vocals laid down in Montana, and have started work on the remainder. I also considered re-doing the bass lines with my new bass (as my old one had started developing tuning problems), but decided to keep those in the interest of ever finishing the record.

The Suckers are a pop-punk band. When I say pop-punk, I mean in the traditional sense: three chords and simple melodies. Influences include The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket, Teen Idols, and other bands like that. Since I’ve been mixing as I go, I can post a few preview tracks:

  • Bumper Sticker Warrior — A fast, snotty song about people who outwardly appear to care about an issue, but don’t do anything about it.
  • 4 a.m. — A short little song about being unable to sleep.
  • Not Buying In — A song about trying not to be defined by what you don’t have.

I’m actually going to announce a release date ahead of time, in the effort of giving myself some sort of pressure to finish the album and not endlessly tinker with it. Look for it on August 24, 2010.

Montana, a Fond Farewell

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I wanted to start off with my first memory of Montana, but I honestly can’t recall. That’s not to say the state is dull and boring, just that my first imperssion came when I was nine or ten years old, and it wasn’t all that impressive. If it didn’t involve dinosaurs or Ninja Turtles or outer space, I probably wasn’t interested. Back then it was all just forests and mountains and miles of highway from the backseat.

So in all honesty the first thing I remember about Montana is not wanting to move there. I’d lived a decade in Washington, and had friends and family there that I liked. There was snow in the winter and enough heat in the summer to dry off after a run through some sprinklers just by lying on the pavement. What about this remote state (a million miles or more to my preadolescent mind) so excited my parents? I had no say since I was just a kid and half the time I didn’t know that sometimes the things ‘for my own good’ really were.

Thank goodness I moved at a fairly young age. It was harder on my siblings when they changed states while in high school. We easily make friends when we’re not teenagers; as teenagers we find it easier to make enemies. Luckily I was still young enough (and without obvious flaws) to make friends. I did it twice, in fact, since we went first to Billings and only two years later to Corvallis.

Having moved back to Washington, I often consider how things would have been different if I’d never left the state. My two greatest passions sprouted in Montana: computers and music. Who’s to say that things would be the same if I’d gone to Wa-Hi instead of Corvallis High? Obviously I can thank my dad for helping me grow to like technology, but my interest in music may never have taken root without the friends I had in Montana. Without Chris and Josh rocking out to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, would I have ever taken a keen interest in music, or picked up a guitar, or started learning about music theory? It’s hard to say. Maybe if I’d stayed in Washington, I’d be into music, but I’d have come into it via country and western, instead of rock and punk.

Montana embraced openness like no place I’d ever been. The sky was big and wide, and so was the friendliness. I knew several families who never locked their houses at night. The people there have an independent streak a mile wide and it shows through, in the libertarian sensibilities of the electorate and the bohemian tendencies of the music community. I’d like to think that warmth of the state rubbed off on me, if not some of the conservative political views.

So many things about my life would be different if I’d never lived in Montana. Probably the thing I’m most thankful for is my wife, but the list goes on. I made so many friends there, in high school and at college. Childhood friends and friends made later in life are subtly different. As kids you most often make friends due to convenience of location, or preschool class assignment, or other, more superficial factors. We can’t judge personalities as children. Friendships made later in life tend to stand the test of time, having been made due to strong personalities or shared interests. Most of mine fit the latter categorization. I can remember my childhood friends’ names and one or two quirks of their personalities, but not much else. I have a feeling that forty years from now, I’ll still be able to tell you many of my college friends’ favorite songs.

It was a complex and difficult decision to leave, but we saw the chance and had to take it. Our move to Washington isn’t necessarily final; we may be back some day. My parents are considering retiring there, and my wife thinks it’s a good place to raise kids. It’s got a lot going for it. In my own biased opinion I think I turned out fine. When I drive to Walla Walla for a visit I have a certain set of nostalgic steps that must be followed. These include stopping for ice cream to help battle the vicious summer heat of eastern Washington, and listening to Tom Petty. In time, I’m sure I’ll cobble together a similar set of rules for going back to Montana.