Back when I lived in Sydney, I used to be in a band called Crispy Whippet (at one stage, we broke up and the re-formed as Mannheit Binliner, but somehow that name never caught on). We wrote and recorded a ridiculous number of ridiculous tracks, though we only ever released one, and that was on floppy disk (a true collector’s item by virtue of the fact that it is now impossible to play).
Now I say ‘band’, but it was really just me and my friend Peter (who still lives in Sydney, though I’m always telling him how very Melbourne he is, to encourage him to move here). Anyway, the other half of the band visited the other week and he and I did what we used to spend most of our time doing (even when we were supposed to be recording) and that was drink beer and talk shit (sound like any musicians you know?). It was just like the old days, except that we were drinking better beer, and talking somewhat more serious shit.
When the Queen visits, they often strike (I think that’s the right word) a commemorative coin to mark the occasion, and given that I consider Peter swinging into town to be the equivalent of a royal visit, I thought a commemorative song to be in order. So I recorded the song below on trusty ol’ Garage Band (Apple’s rudimentary music recording and mixing software). There is nowhere near enough hiss on the track for it to have that Crispy sound, but the arrangement (or lack of such), and the lyrics and vocal stylings, all hark back to our golden years (Oops! I appear not to have learned my lessons re nostalgia).
Anyway, here it is, for your listening pleasure. (Warning: This track contains a single instance of coarse language)
Now, I’ve noticed that people tend not to be making comments about the songs that I’ve embed in my posts – perhaps because you, dear reader/listener, have been rendered speechless by their beauty, or perhaps because, not being seasoned music critics, you lack a point of entry. So, this time, I have included some liner notes to give you an insight into my ‘creative’ process.
1) This track mainly consists of various loops from the Garage Band loop library. My role as ‘the artist’ was to choose which ones to use, and decide when to start them, when to stop them, and when to start them again. This process can take literally minutes!
2) For the guitar solos, I used what we in the industry call ‘musical typing’.
3) The vocals are recorded into the inbuilt microphone on the iMac. To do this, I have to kneel on a pillow in front of the computer.
4) The female vocals are a pitch-shifted version of my own voice (hence the strange processed quality). Peter and I discovered one day that if you speed my voice up by a third I sound almost exactly like Stevie Nicks. Unfortunately, Garage Band doesn’t allow you to simply speed up the vocals, so you don’t really get to fully appreciate my Nicks-ness on this particular track.
5) The Crispy Whippet philosophy was to try to keep the original-concept-to-final-recording process to about two hours max. As a result, there was little time to come up with lyrics, and so they tended to be repetitive and somewhat inane. You will notice that I followed that tradition in this song (I guess that makes this note more of a disclaimer). Though I must confess to spending more than a couple of hours on the track over all. I blame the tricky change that I insisted on throwing in at the end.
6) The occasional ‘Hooaw’ that punctuates the vocals is kind of like a band signature sound/noise. As I write though, I realise that I should also have thrown in a few examples of our other signature sound/noise, the ‘Ow’ that we stole from Larry Blackmon, the lead singer of the Cameo: a band made famous by the track below. How could I have forgotten?
7) And where’s the connection to parenting in all of this? Well, I think the lesson to be learnt here, is that just because you are a devoted husband and loving father, it doesn’t mean that you can’t write and record vapid songs about one night stands, and have as one of your heroes a man who wears a shiny red codpiece. At least, I don’t think it does….