Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Only Thing That Wouldn't Be Right

Well, before I leave EBS behind, I suppose I should talk about how the demise of that band led to the formation of Naked.

Basically, we started writing originals. Truthfully, Bill started writing originals using lyrics provided by the drummer. We also collectively wrote a pretty cool Rush-style instrumental (but more on that later...). My new-found love for the bass guitar opened up a whole new vista for me. I found then--and it still holds true--that my most creative music comes out when I'm augmenting someone else's work. Don't get me wrong, I've come up with some pretty nice bass parts, guitar lines, etc., on my own material but there's something about finding a new angle on a fellow musician's riff.

In the end, exploring songwriting was the final nail in the coffin for EBS. Once I got a taste of playing originals, I just didn't want to play covers anymore. At least not as the mainstay of the band's repertoire. In going back over those first songs, I can hear the seeds of Naked. The best example is probably "If I Died Tonight":

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Angular rhythms and unusual note choices became hallmarks of Naked's music. Smart pop in the vein of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, XTC, and their like blended with progressive harmonies and rhythms. We wanted it to groove but keep the brain busy too. "If I Died Tonight" shows the beginnings of that approach.

For any recording geeks in the audience, all of Naked's earliest "albums" were done by tweaking a mix through a Peavey mixing board designed for live sound, going in stereo to a four-track Tascam Portastudio. The two open tracks left room for vocals. On EBS's This Is Not A Test EP, from which "If I Died Tonight" is taken, we used whatever vocal mics the drummer had, as well a an assortment of Radio Shack mics that I had purchased. We ran my Squier HM 5 bass through my little Toa PA and through the speaker cab in a small pantry-type closet. Bill's guitar work was done straight off of his pedals into the mixing board. On "If I Died Tonight", I sing the verses and Bill sings the choruses. You can hear that I sang the verses in two passes, as I just didn't have enough singing chops yet to sing those long lines without turning blue and passing out. Ahhh... youth...Italic

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