I awake around 7:30 this
morning. The same time as yesterday, and the day before that. I
believe I have been waking up at 7:30 for a couple months now. We
aren’t slated to be at the studio until 11:00, so there is no real
reason for my early rise aside from the fact that when I am home, my
dog, without fail, pokes his head in the door every morning at
precisely 7:30. So now, a thousand miles away from him, I am
still waking up at the same time. After the washroom visit, I make my
way outside to the walkway where I find the Bearded One, who is also
a morning man. We share a cigarette and speak in hushed tones about
the colorful neighbors that share the surrounding rooms of our hotel.
Beneath us a door opens and a middle-aged gentleman walks out into
the sun, blinking and rubbing his eyes. In his dirty yellow sock
feet he makes his way slowly toward the middle of the parking lot,
back bent, head turning from side to side in slow, precise sweeps. At
some point he stops, bends down with the agility of a 90-year-old
man, and retrieves a squashed cigarette but from the warm black top.
He picks at it for a spell, whisking away invisible dirt and then
rolls it back and forth between his tar stained thumb and forefinger
before pinching it tight like a teenager smoking their first joint,
and, bringing it to his lips, simultaneously ignites a flame. He
inhales deeply then exhales through his nose, tilting his graying
head back toward the sky, eyes closed and hands stretched outward.
The smoke rises, carrying his thoughts out into the world, slowly
dissolving into nothing. He returns, dispensing the filter into a
Pepsi can that sits by his door, then disappears into his room.
Once in the studio we sit down with
another cup of coffee and discuss what songs shall be attacked today.
I have discovered a mug that I find incredibly entertaining. It is
a blue glazed handmade mug resembling a whale. Its tail juts out
from the side of the mug acting as the handle. Upon questioning, I am
informed that the owner of the studio we are tracking in (his name is
Perry) acquired it back in the mid '80s while on his honeymoon in
Hawaii. The reason I find it so captivating is due to the fact that
the whale's tail is hollow on the inside, allowing the liquid to
trickle in and out, making a quiet bubbling noise like blowing softly
on a straw into a glass of chocolate milk
The morale in the studio is high today.
Everyone seems to be well rested and overly energetic. The past
week has gone by very smoothly and our comfort level around John
Congleton has grown immensely. At this point, none of us really know
what this record is going to sound like. What I do know is that we
are all very confident in the fact that whatever it does sound like,
it will be something honest, from the guts and the heart.
We decide to record a cover song,
which has been up for debate for the past six years. Not the song in
question, but which song to cover. We have played parts of songs in
our live set, but never actually covered a full song before. Every
few months somebody goes, "Let's cover this," and a few of us nod our
heads and utter a half-hearted, “Hell yeah.” Then a few months
go by and nothing ever happens. I guess we were holding out until it
made sense. Today it makes sense. We decide unanimously on the band
and after a brief back and forth about which track, we are finally
ready to record our first cover song. We spend the next hour
learning, playing and recording this bit which seems take all of us
back to high school, and in no time, the room is filled with smiles and
laughter. The man with one eye takes the duty of vocals and the rest
of us follow instruments accordingly. After a handful of tries, we
are satisfied with our performance and step out for a smoke and more
As the break subsides and we make our
way back inside, I realize that the door is locked. To make matters
more ridiculous, I seem to be the only one with a phone, and the only
one without Congleton's number. We bang on the door, but he is eight
walls away and probably submersed in his computer box. After 15
minutes I realize that he is not going to come looking for us.
Eventually I end up calling a friend who I think has Congleton's
number and leave a message on his phone explaining the predicament we
are in. Another 10 minutes goes by and I hear back from a gracious
friend and fortunately he delivers what I am after. Three minutes
later, we’re back in side laughing, this time not with, but at, each
The rhythm section is officially done.
Tomorrow, Allen and I will leave the studio and the lovely extended
stay to fly home. The remaining two gentlemen in the band will stay
with Mr. Congleton to finish what we have all started. As long as
the record sounds good, I hope to work with Congleton again because
from my perspective this has been one of the most enjoyable recording
experiences I have ever had the pleasure being apart of. I believe
we have created something that we are all proud of and I hope the
finished effort will leave people excited.