“By Grabthar’s Hammer…uh, or something less geeky…I promise it will not be so long between this one and the next one.”
– Thom Bowers, 13 February 2006
Not being one to carry the torch of geekiness (I must admit I don’t know who Grabthar is) but Thom was referring to the enormous gap between One Left Turn and Clarity, all of three years. Clarity was finally released in July of that year. I recall after much pain and anguish both Thom and me swearing we would never let a project drag on that long again.
So, here we are…approaching the end of year number five since Clarity was put on the shelves. Tracking is complete for the new album, except for a couple bits and pieces that I hope to close out by the end of the week by bringing in our ringer, Mike Thiriot. And right now I find myself doing the painful chore of quadruple checking mixes, and facing a fear. Clarity left some good impressions on people; what must our faithful fans’ (all three of them) expectations be for the new material after a five year gap? As is the case with any musical project I do, after the 600th listening to the tracks I’m not sure that I even like these songs anymore, why should anyone else? So I am going to follow the lead of our fine politicians and try to lower public expectations in the hope that people may feel that their expectations were exceeded — or at least met — come listening time.
The five year gap was not due to the complexity or the amount of material (although we are clocking in at well over an hour on this album). Nor was it due to the intense writing process, although that did drag on for awhile. I’d say it was mostly due to life getting in the way. So far this project has survived the normal share of creative differences, the near dissolution of the band and separation of the Floyd Show, an out-of-state move, a new marriage, a new baby, full-time employment for the participants at their “real jobs”, at least two computer/studio upgrades, and more drummers than I’m willing to count. We’ve faced some illness, some death, and I have changed no less than 84 guitar strings. So instead of this being our White Album or Joshua Tree, I prefer to think of it as the Little Album That Could.
If I haven’t won your sympathy vote, a little comparative analysis may do the trick: Boston took six years to record Third Stage. Alan Parsons took six years between Gaudi and Try Anything Once. Pink Floyd (if we want to call it that) took seven years between Momentary Lapse and Division Bell. And another six years for Rush between Test for Echo and Vapor Trails. So I figure if the big boys can do it, why not us?
That said, the end is near. I’m very much looking forward to no more 2 AM mixing sessions and hopefully sending the tracks out for mastering next week. Then I hope you all enjoy the results, while I take a year or two hiatus from listening to it.
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to give a special thanks to Mike Thiriot, Marie Estrada, Dave Geiselmayr, Dave Slack, Daryn Campbell, and John Flanders for helping us finally push this thing through. They have been very patient and amazing to work with and there is no way we could have done any of it without them.