Singer/songwriters Kenny Loggins, Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman recently formed the new band Blue Sky Riders, and were profiled by Huff/Post50 in February. They are finishing their first album and will be chronicling their experiences as a band in this blog.
Imagine you have a baby. Wait...I'll make it more interesting. Imagine THREE people have a baby. One of them wants to dress the baby up in a pair of blue pants. One of them wants to dress him like a sailor. Now me, being raised as a girl for the first six years of my life, I want to dress him up in something frilly yet tasteful. My point is: Do you know how hard it is to stand back and watch two other people dress up your baby? That is what co-producing is like in the studio. Co-dressing a baby. The songs are the baby. Did you get that? Okay. Moving on.
You know the old joke? The one where the guy has the Freudian slip? He meant to say "Pass the salt" but instead he says "You ruined my life, you bitch." That seems to be where we are right now in the studio. The struggle to be heard and respected has stretched tensions to the point of exploding like a Vienna Sausage in a microwave. Mmmmm...sausage.
A few hours ago we were listening to the playback of a song and Kenny said, "Let's change the ending!!" Now since the whole band went home a month ago that might seem like a lofty ambition. Here is my problem and why at times like these my band mates want to kill me. I was taught by my father to "Measure twice, cut once." We worked on that ending in the studio when we recorded it. It's a damn fine ending. When the last note plays, there's silence. Now THAT'S an ending.
I said "What's wrong with THIS ending?" and I thought Kenny was gonna kill me. He actually pulled out a gun. A GUN! I ran into the parking lot shrieking and only the dumb luck of him tripping over our dog Bucky saved me from the first three shots. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But he WAS kind of upset. We threw things at each other. (Exaggerating again to have you side with ME.) Eventually we talked it out. I explained that asking "Why" is a whole lot different than "No" and "No Way" is totally different from "Please explain your motivation." But it was dressing the baby all over again.
Georgia, Kenny and myself all have many years of producing under our belts. We can all do this by ourselves. That means no matter what we are working on, we have three opinions fighting, and whoever is pushing the talk-back button has two people grinding their teeth thinking they could push it better. I am learning that after so many years in Nashville, where getting that fifth song on the session is Gold, Jerry....GOLD!!!...I am incapable of NOT watching the clock and yelling "Faster! Faster" like the popular hooker in an inexpensive brothel. I realize I am a pain in the ass that way but someone has to keep the train rolling.
Probably the reason the Beatles lasted for seven years is that they came into the studio as neophytes and had a producer telling them where to stand and what to play. We come in as experienced producers all and when you add Peter to that mix it gets hard to have your ideas heard and respected. Their way is totally valid. It's just that MY way, you must agree, is better in a truly empirical way. (See what they have to deal with?) We all think we're right but only one person at a time can sit in the cushy chair to the right of the engineer. (I dream about that chair!)
When it comes to music we all want to dress the baby. Please remember that the baby is a song. No actual children were dressed in the making of this record.
I'm sure making a record is like childbirth. When it comes time to do it again we will forget how painful it was the first time. Plus it involves a surprising amount of pooping.
You tell ME how to do this. Here's the challenge. Send in your answers. One of us has an idea. It sounds like it will take a heap of time to pull it off so I start fretting about the budget. I don't want to stifle anyone's creativity. Am I the good bandmate who lets his partners soar like eagles or do I keep them chained to a tree in the backyard like my cousin Duane? If the idea is great I will spend the rest of my life taking credit for it!! Or do I run the risk of speaking out ... saying "Pass the salt" and having them hear "You bitch, you ruined my life"?
As long as we're talking it out and hugging by the end of the day I guess we're all right. No passive aggressive bullshit for us! What I keep reminding myself is that back when I was 15 I never dreamed I would have problems as cool as these.
I guess that's something. I probably shouldn't be using so much salt at my age anyway.
Follow Gary Burr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@Garyburr