Larry Lines Numen
I think this song was written by our friend Mark Pringle, who was in a band with Larry way back before I met either of them.
What can I say about this one? I played the drums. Larry played guitar and bass and sang. And that’s all their is on this one. It’s simple but I really it because it sounds clean and natural.
Man we have some guts, letting the drums exit this one. Just nothing but the drums, raw, almost totally unprocessed even, just naked in your face, here’s the drums, even though the drummer is Aaron, who really is not a drummer. Even though this is like a 4th grader with spaghetti sticks for drumsticks, here it is. No embelishment. See I didn’t give a shit if the rhythm was simplistic or not tight. I cared about the timbre of the drums. Liked ‘em and wanted to hear ‘em.
It’s hilarious right now, because I’ve been reading in Larry’s Music Blog (yes he finally put some entries! go economic downturn and layoffs!) and he’s got all this profound shit to say and so do I really, eventually! But right now I just wanna listen to the fuckin song man.
still, buy Larry’s record.
I always liked the sound of this one. Deep bass. Sweet. Sad. But it’s really sad. It makes me sad to listen to it now. It’s all about the past. Past dead relationships of Larry’s that sound just like past dead relationships of mine.
But then again, I think there’s something else in it, Larry would probably say. The idea of “I’m still not gone” - or something. This is one of those songs that doesn’t necessarily take a side. It just presents the story of it, in a way.
I sang back up on this and I played the drums. I think me and Larry played the drums and bass together live. I remember when I would do the soft tom roll into the chorus, Larry said how professional that sounded and he was all amazed. That was awesome. Oh yeah - it just went into the chorus - man that’s awesome!! *laugh* I think this is actually the first drumming I did on this record, which means it’s the 2nd song I ever drummed on.
How fun! I remember our friend Daryl heard this final mix and said it wasn’t there yet - said was sparse. But we said “oh good, we wanted it to be sparse.” and we left it.
We heard people’s feedback on stuff, but we didn’t necessarily do what they said. In fact I think in most cases we didn’t. Because honestly, it would have been a lot of trouble in most cases so we usually said “meh I think we can live with that.”
It’s sort of like that line that Mitch Hedberg had, which I just saw again on youtube yesterday. “I think of a joke, and I write it down. If there’s not a pen close enough, I have to convince myself that joke ain’t funny.” (that’s a paraphrase)
*LAUGHS AND LAUGHS*
Here I’ll include that in the post!
Meanwhile, here’s the Numen buy link again, as always:
This is another one about Larry’s travels, I think. Driving across the country for 36 hours and not stopping. He’s the rest stop junkie.
Let’s see. We have machine drums on this I think, plus some real drums in places, a couple of Larry guitars, his bass, and me on piano. That was nice to have in the studio, a nice Samick grand piano. Yum. I think we actually did a little bit of playing one drum at a time action on this one, if I remember correctly. At some point during either this one or Red Backed Spider, we were doing that and Larry kept talking about the drummer from Fleetwood Mac doing that. That’s when I kept thinking how Larry knows a lot more about music and musicians than me. Being older is part of that. All I really know about Fleetwood Mac is they were like my second ever tape that I had, and when I was 8, some older boy I was riding in the back of my dad’s brown truck with, under a camper, travelling from Taos to Colorado Springs for a Taekwondo tournament, had held up a solo tape of Stevie Nicks and said “you know about Stevie Nicks? Her pussy’s so hot you could fry an egg on it.”
I didn’t really know what the hell THAT was supposed to mean.
It’s funny. This song couldn’t happen without cars. This is all about that very American sense of freedom that we all have where we can just drive across the country. Pick up and leave and not have to tell anyone or apply to anything or anything. And not really have to get all prepared like when you had to do it in a wagon and go into the frontier.
I really like the dry guitar going back and forth between the left and right speakers at the beginning. It sort of sends a jolt of comfort through me.
This was the second song we did, I think. I think we did Cat In The Desert first, then this one. You can tell because it uses other methods besides the straight real drums, bass, guitar shtick.
I sing on this one! It’s featuring Aaron Trumm! Aaron Trumm! This one’s also got some Larry poetry in it. Man I’m really likin this song right now. *boom chacka dance dance dance dance* hell yah!
SHE OWNS ME!! eeeyyyyeeesss gooooooo ssstaaaaiirrr (or is it stare?)
I remember really likin singin this. It has that tight rhythm. I like the tight - — rhythm.
I don’t really know what else to say about this one. I think I did a keyboard solo. Sounds like it. Lots of cool guitars. Heavy low end. Song about freakin out over a girl.
I like the line “her body’s in stereo” - that’s awesome.
Holy shit there’s so many guitars in here. Larry’s all over it, yo. Oh we had a nice outtake too - we had fun leaving things in like when there was feedback in the headphones or something and Larry’s all “whoa holy shit what was that??” or in Cat In The Desert where he’s like “dude punch out” - I love outtakes man!
So Roll Back is a move in Tai Chi and the concept of it is really important to Eastern Philosophy in general, and the concept of Tai Chi’s softness and wisdom. It’s not necessarily about non aggression, per se, but it is about the wisdom of when to step back and let the opponent take themselves out with their aggressive forward momentum. Or something.
Anyway Larry has taken a lot of Tai Chi at various places, including the school I’m at now, and Roll Back the song, is basically about applying that concept to life as it comes flying at you aggressive, unchecked and uncontrolled.
Or at least, that’s my reinterpretation of what Larry said. He’ll read this and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m sure.
We did more of this at my home studio than any other song, I think. We actually did all the backup vocals there and a lot of arranging and such. The drums on this one are by the illustrious Stephen Romano - we didn’t even know what song we would use them on, we just decided a tempo, made some guide tracks, and let him go. He was constantly unsatisfied and apologetic for the low quality of his playing, but we were very satisfied and happy to have his tracks.
Shows how much tighter and better a drummer he is than me! You can really tell that it’s a better drum track if you compare it to the other songs with live drums. But that makes for some variety so that’s cool.
I wrote the “poem” that Larry says in the middle. What that really means is, and this is totally true, is one day when we were kind of in the middle of that song, Larry was at work and I was home (working? ha!), and he was looking for Justine (his wife). Actually perhaps I was near Justine or baby sitting their baby son Iggy (now five). I must have been near her because he was IMing me to ask if I’d seen her or if she was there or where she went. Needed to ask her something or something.
So me being me, my answer to his query about where Justine was, was to type:
She said God was with her in her quest to rid the Earth of the Trilobytes. She bound off carrying a stick cut crudely to look like a sword. She was wearing snow shoes.
And Larry said “Oh my god that’s hilarious. I’m gonna use that as a lyric!” maybe he was half joking but I probably said “you should!” or something and turns out, he really did. *laugh*
I did all the woo ppiii breathing things. Both me and Larry did backup vocals for the chorus. There might be some Tamara in there too but I’m not sure.
It’s funny how weird we are. Here we are making music, being friends, etc etc, three, four of us. Like a band. But we didn’t form a band. We just - made records. SOLO records. But they’re NOT solo records. I wonder why we didn’t play the stuff live, and/or make “band” records instead of “solo” records. I think it’s a combination of things. One is that this particular record was mostly already written. And it made sense to get this one done and in the books. Larry’d been waiting like a decade to get some of this stuff recorded. Another thing is Larry was (is still) BUSY as hell. They were buying a house at that time, he was a full time programmer, wife, kid, etc. And he’d been a rocker rockin stages in bars all the time. He was probably uninterested in “the scene” by then, much as I am now.
But I don’t think if I’d have been gung ho about presenting stuff live, that Larry would have been resistant. From my point of view, *I* stopped the potential “band” thing with my fear of doing it. Somehow I wasn’t afraid of being a rock star poet, but I was always afraid of trying to be a musician. Still am, really. And the reason I mention that is because my first reaction is to say that at that time, I was maybe too self centered and focused on my own “solo” career to recognize the opportunity to doing something truly collaborative (even though collaborative success was the order of the day - in our record making, and in the poetry slam stuff - the TEAM is what made it all succeed - going totally solo later basically killed my momentum). But the thing is, to separate the notions of fear and selfishness is to misunderstand the mechanism that leads to selfishness, and I think it’s important to tell the real story there, to show that connection. Obviously I think it’s important to understand what leads to something unhelpful like selfishness, because then we really understand it and can choose another path. But also I think if we all understand that the selfish are simply afraid, then perhaps we can begin to have compassion. Which obviously is important.
And I think that’s a nice little way to come back around to the notion of Roll Back, which is an Eastern wisdom, and compassion as a power (rather than a fuzzy cheesy corny Hallmark emotion like we often have it in the West) is also a key component of Eastern thought (says I, maybe some would say I’m an idiot).
So there you go. That’s what the song Roll Back makes me think about today. Bye.
I spelled that wrong. BUY:
This one’s sort of interesting. This was the first version of it, but we actually did another version because we felt like this version was way too “movie theater pop” ish. We just thought “oh how lame, we’re a couple of wankers for this mix”. So we made one with stronger drums, and just harder in general. But eventually we realized this one worked better. And was better liked among our peeps. And slowly, better liked by us. Then we realized we LIKED that it was all movie theater pop. Then we realized how subversive the lyrics were and how ironic it really would be to hear this tune playing before the previews at a movie theater and having that smooth voice (woman or man, doesn’t matter) come on after and say “That was Larry Lines with ‘The World Is My Home’ ”
I believe I played the drums on both versions.
We always thought in those terms then, at least I did. And since I did, we all talked in those terms. Famous terms, I mean. Always about the hit tune or how would this sound on Kiss FM or KKOB Pop Radio. I guess that might be an important way to think about a mix, if that’s its intented target. Of course you’d also think how would this sound on somebody’s alarm clock or transistor radio or boombox. That’s how you have to think about it if you intend for a lot of people to listen to it.
Nowadays though, you might as well just fuckin mix on a pair of white iPod earbuds.
That’s the irony of translatable mixes though, mixes that you do in the “proper” way - they end up sounding better on that one set of earphones you like anyway, than if you had mixed exclusively on those earphones for a custom earphone mix.
This is another one that I think is the hit single on the record. I played the drums on this one too. I think this one was co-written by Larry and his friend Mark Pringle a long long time ago. Maybe just Mark. We never could find Mark to make him join BMI and give him the credit in case we made money. Never made any money to date though so whatever.
I just noticed the line “as a dream I cannot live a life I cannot dream” - that’s awesome. That’s just awesome.
Now I’m listening to the guitar solo section. Very nice. I like that we put a new bassline in there for the solo section, run through some kind of weird amp or setting. The funny thing is I don’t remember much about doing this song. I remember it sounds really neato and I think it’s a single, but I can’t remember what we did with that bass, for example. It’s like there’s just this day where we knocked this song out and didn’t think about it and moved on or something. How utterly strange.
This song’s interesting. Larry said it was basically about him and any number of his friends and friends’ kids. It reminds me of the characters from the moive “Go” (Katie Holmes’s breakout flick - GOD she was pretty in that movie). Of all the songs, this one talks about something about Larry which I really respect a lot. He has plenty of history of adolescent craziness, from drugs to gangs, the whole bit. But he’s turned out amazing and solid, and because of all that history and how he’s turned out, he’s able to stay calm in the face of almost anything. This song “the girl’s alright” is really what he would say if someone were to be worried about their teenager. And he would mean it and he would be right. He really has that energy of “things are going to be ok”. And that is not only rare but really helpful as all get out.
This song’s interesting to me musically too. I like how it gets more complex each go around. But I don’t like that it feels way too long. It’s like it was too long, but we didn’t change enough of the root foundation to keep it interesting to me. But when I thought about cutting it, there was no bit of the story in the lyrics that could be cut out without ruining it. So the story is the right length, the music is too long. In my opinion. Nevertheless there’s some really fun stuff in here.
First of all, right away when Larry starts singing, there’s this “brawr braw ra rar ra” thing - that’s actually me singing through a Leslie amp. A Leslie is this thing with a rotating speaker, which makes it have this crazy wavering quality. We also ran Larry’s clean guitar through that in the chorus. I think we also ran the bass through it. There’s a synth track in there that I played. Then in the second verse, there’s ANOTHER synth in there that I played and faded it in. Then we play with the vocals making them like a telephone. Then the third verse we add in an extra distorted guitar. These are all different melodies so we’re creating so much counterpoint. We just kept writing new melodies. Then we go into this bridge and there’s a synth-horn line with yet another melody! And I sing through the Leslie again. Then another bridging/chorus piece with yet another melody and another synth groove and a different distorted guitar!! Oh and I’m hearing an extra vocal!
I’m not sure why we did so much. It’s almost like this was our last chance to record anything and we threw every trick we could think of at it. I really enjoy listening to all the different timbres and ideas. There’s a lot to discover, and listening to it now, I hardly remember doing any of this. It’s also a decent mix which always amazes me.
So yeah, that’s “The Girl’s Alright”, and yeah man, she really is.
I think this was the 1st or 2nd track we did for this record. It was either this first, She Owns Me second, or vice-versa.
Between this and Right On Time and Another Yesterday (which were later in the process), you can see how we sort of evolved and came into our stride as producers. Those other songs definitely have a different feel, partly because of the live drums. But to me that’s cool because that gives us some variety on the record.
I played all these synth tracks on this and did some MIDI sequencing and drum programming. I did the synth solo in the bridge, and Larry played a guitar solo and they kinda play off each other, and I remember that being a happy accident.
I remember this image of standing in front of this keyboard that belonged to Rock Romano, having it on a keyboard stand in the control room, and Larry and Tamara sitting there in the guest chairs. I’m not entirely sure it was Tamara, or if anyone else was really there besides Larry. The thing I remember liking about doing this record is the sense of community around it. There was more community around the recording of this than of Cult Of Nice even. In case you hadn’t gleaned, we did this record almost immedietly after doing Cult Of Nice, in fact I think they maybe even overlapped a lot. So the “team” around it was basically the same team. There was me of course, and Larry, and Tamara, and Justine (Larry’s wife), and some other people. There was Rebecca, and old old friend of Larry’s and Tamara’s who I’ve mentioned before, and Kara, who was a friend of Rebecca’s, and occassionally this old friend of Larry’s from Boston (I think) called Sebastian. Oh and Darrel (I wonder how to spell his name), who was the most ingenious worker of metal and maker of metal furniture and also of construction in general, really anything to do with building, mechanics, physical shapes, things and stuffs. He was older than all of us. He used to work for AJ Foyt or something crazy and had invented some shit that basically revolutionized auto racing without ever really being credited for it, and then drummed out of the business by his wife (who was EX wife by the time I met him). At least that’s the story as best I know it.
Darrel built (with me as assistant!) the incredible aluminum speaker stands/rack mount units that I had in the Houston studios and the Oakland studio. It was incredible to watch him do stuff like that.
Anyway these and maybe even the occasional other person were always around. They’d be in Rock’s studio listening to us track or mix, and they’d come to me and Tamara’s house/my little studio to listen to tracks and give us feedback.
Sebastian had years before created a label around a certain techno artist on the East Coast, and through sheer being unafraid and just pretending he was three different people and not knowing he couldn’t do it, he made the thing a huge success. Then two things happened: 1) they snorted all the profits and 2) they put this artist on stage in front of 3000 people for his first performance, and it turned out the artist had lied: he had no performance experience and he froze. It was ridiculous, apparently.
We wanted Sebastian to help blow Third Option up like that, but in the end, nothing much happened. That was one of the times I learned (again) how you can’t really retain a person of that calibur without any money or promise of it. Maybe if we’d caught him in his drug-addled days when he was doing that other artist, but by then, he had turned it all around, had a high paying real job, kids, etc.
Anyway Larry’s record was really fun to do not only because of the great collaborative energy me and Larry had, but because of that community around it. Also, I was doing somebody other than myself a service, and that was really neat.
Ok! New subject!! I’ll talk about somebody else’s record! But I recorded this one!
We did this mostly at Rock Romano’s Red Shack. We did a few things at my place, like a few little vocal lines and maybe a guitar or two.
Right On Time, by Larry Lines is the first track.
Larry played guitars and did all the singing on this track. He played bass and I played the drums and the piano interlude. Yes that’s me playing the live drumkit! How you like me now??? We wanted live drums, we had a drumkit and mics and such. But no drummer. So we said “ok Trumm you better go figure it out”. So I did! And we laughed and laughed! It’s not really the best drum performance on Earth, but we thought it usable.
I think Right On Time is a great song and could really be a hit single kind of thing. It’s just a solid thing. And I love the reverb and sound of the whole thing when he says “there’s a dead man at the wheel”. And the distorted guitar is nice nice nice. That’s a classic peavy amp mic’d up with a Neumann U47 - we really had some neato keen tools.
Another cool thing we did in this one is I made a sort of warrw warrw guitar effect on the accoustic guitar by manually tweaking an EQ knob in time while we mixed down. We mixed this stuff on the same mixer I mixed Cult Of Nice on, which meant it was all manual - no digital automation or being able to recall stuff later.
But yeah, right on time. It’s so up beat and positive, really. Very pop stuff. This whole record is so poppy but then also subversive. Larry’s good at writing that way. You end up nodding your head to something that’s actually saying you’re a head nodding moron.