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Date: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 at 13:29
Headline: Clarity, Phase Five: The Yo-Yo Factor
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Greetings & Salutations!

(Disclaimer on the Last Entry: It was, in fact, Tim who set up my gear at the Harry O's show. Credit where credit is due...)

There comes a time in the life of any creative project, at least any I've been involved with, where crises of faith occur. Usually it comes towards the end, when there has been so much time and energy expended on the same piece of work for so long that it's easy to burn out, second-guess yourself to death, or just get bored with it all.

We're about 98% through the tracking of Clarity and I have to admit, I'm carefully picking my way though such a mental and spiritual minefield on a daily basis. All kinds of decisions that seemed sensible and desirable when we made them now crawl with apprehension. I'm concerned about how we're going to market this thing (not just "how" as in "which direction will we choose?" but "how" as in "is it even possible?") I've been tapped to do more singing than I had originally expected, and I'm always very nervous about the task of delivering listenable vocals. I'm growing impatient with the scheduling conflicts which continually keep us behind on tracking, knowing that mixing, mastering, pressing and promotion still lay ahead. Most of all, I'm having the usual bouts of insecurity that come with having to stick to your guns creatively, made sharper by the damage of years spent playing Pink Floyd covers as my primary musical outlet -- wondering whether I even have any business writing songs, let alone asking people to listen to them or watch me perform them.

Fortunately, there are moments of inspiration to balance it out. One evening last week, Matt e-mailed me a copy of an instrumental transition between songs that he had worked out, which was so beautiful and affecting that I was up until 2am buzzing about it. I also managed to get into a lyric-writing zone that I hadn't been able to reach for some time, and finally put the finishing touches on songs that had been frustrating and plaguing me for many months, even years. One of them was a collaboration with Tim, which goes all the way back to the first writing session that we had for this record. I was happy enough just to get a version done that fit the song's odd meter and didn't entirely suck. Then Tim, on the day that he was to record the lead vocal for the track, took the blueprint I provided and accelerated the quality of the lyrics exponentially, injecting some great imagery and a great deal more of the venomous invective called for in the song than I was capable of dredging up. It reminded me just how good he can be when he's on his game, and made me wish he had been more engaged throughout the making of this album...which brought about another series of nagging frustrations and regrets. It's a vicious, sadomasochistic yo-yo of a situation, I tells ya.

Right now, I'm at a bit of a low ebb. We practiced last night for the upcoming 4/21 gig @ Club Vegas, where we will be premiering some of this new material for the first time, and it was nowhere near as productive as I had hoped. Tim and Matt seemed relatively dialed in, but DC and I just couldn't get the groove together. My fingers wouldn't cooperate with me on some of the more intense bass lines, and his energy level was failing him with the tempos. Eventually the night devolved into random jamming and joke-telling, which served to end things on a fairly even keel emotionally, but with only a week or so before the show, I again am plagued by worries of not living up to the standards that we have set for ourselves.

Up and Down it goes...

TB