Playing with the Big Boys

192kbps MP3

Notes

This song is made up of three themes that seemed to want to be in the same piece together. Walter and I collaborated on the music and lyrics. As I recall, Walter had an alternative set of lyrics and melody for the the bridge section, but alas, we don't have a recorded version of that.

Although pretty much all instruments have been re-recorded and performed by yours truly, I do want to point out that the D-550 synth solo is Walter's original performance, captured in the MIDI sequencer back in 1990-somthing.

Instruments

From the archives: Early Stages

Diving back into the cassette archives turns up some interesting fragments. I try to do this research before finalizing anything in the project, in case there is something worth recapturing - an odd note, a turn of phrase, or something, that was present in the early versions and deserves to be retained.

However, in the case of this song, I think we got everything we were looking for. These (edited) historical archives are for true fans and paleontologists only:

Themes 1 (1988)

Themes 2 (1988):

Themes 3 (1990):

Instrumental demo from 1990:

Lyrics

I watch them run and jump and play outside my window
I want to go out and join in the fun
Mother tells me no, she says that I'm just too young
They play too rough, and I'll get hurt in the end

      She stops me playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys, is where I want to be

Watch them throw and catch the ball, down in the park
I want to go down, and join in the game
Sometimes is rough, being the smallest kid
When they choose the sides, I'm always left at the end

      I want to play with the big boys
      play with the big boys
      playing with the big boys, is where I want to be

And one day, when I am big and strong
I'll walk through the gate, and feel I belong
And when I get there, will it have to be so hard?
the big boys are playing in another back yard

      Playing with the big boys
      Playing with the big boys

At night, when Mother tucks me into bed
I always dream, of staying up late, instead
In the morning, though I have grown by one day
I'll always be too young, to be a part of their play

music & lyrics © 1990 Colin Nicholls & Walter Nicholls

Title of Record

I was driving home from Santa Rosa yesterday, admiring the scenery, and in particular, a certain hill with a group of trees clustered at the top. I noticed that the large tree in the center looked a little odd, sort of symmetrical but not entirely, and then I realized that it was probably a very well-disguised cell phone tower.

A short time later, I came up with the perfect title for our first album:

Fruit of the Steel Tree.

I've googled it and it doesn't seem to have been mentioned anywhere else, so I'm pretty sure we'll go with this. Awesome. 

 

Brass In the Pocket

Working on the Big Boys: The drums and bass are locked in, sounding great. 

Now I've started re-recording the brass section. Given that I don't have access to a brass section, the trick to getting this sounding realistic is to record 3 separate tracks, independently, using different instruments. The Fantom has a nice brass trumpet patch - I'll use that for Trumpet #1. The Korg TR-Rack has another, slightly different sounding trumpet patch, mellower but nice vibrato: I'll use that for Trumpet #2. Then the bottom line of the chord will be held down with an Alto Sax, not sure which synth module will provide that. I'll have to do some comparisons and see which one sounds best. Probably the Korg TR. 

New Toy

The Echo Layla 3G is installed in my rack. Still figuring out how to use it. Last night monitoring didn't seem to be working at all, but this morning I read the manual. It helps. The secret is in the console application.

31 July 2010

I put new strings on the bass this week, in preparation for cleaning up Playing with the Big Boys. Now it's practice time, gotta build up those callouses again.

22 July 2010

I was uploading Head In The Game yesterday and, upon listening to the mp3, I decided there were a couple of places the drums could be improved. So I tightened them up. No, I will not tell you whereabouts in the song it was.

Head in the Game

192kbps MP3

Notes:

I remember this coming together musically very quickly out of a jam session shortly after we bought the Korg M1, but although we had the lyrics shortly afterwards, I never tried putting them together until a couple of years ago.

Instruments:

Lyrics:

You're going for the high score in your artificial landscape
Conflict with the secret code of honor of machines
Accumulating hit points with a ruthless manic fervor
Slipping past the traps and pitfalls pictured on the screen

Don't you realize, there isn't an escape key
You can’t expect to exit without feeling any pain
Activating laser beams to edit out your problem
Gain an extra life and stay ahead in the game

Gambling on your past performance, dicing up your chances
proposing winning gambits but your deck is always stacked
Dealing false alternatives, and aceing their decisions
You know the turning card will be the Joker in the pack

Don't you realize, that there isn't an escape key
You can't expect to exit without feeling any pain
The dealer hits you with a card to edit out your problem 
Counting on the river puts your head in the game

     All I did was get a replay
     All I did was play the game
     Thought I'd figured out the answers
     But somehow all the rules had changed

You're Rolling up your characters and challenging the circle
Hiding from your conscience in a world of mystic themes
passing off as casual friends subverted to your service
escaping intact from the danger vivid in your dreams

Don't you realize, that there isn't an escape key
You can't expect to exit without feeling any pain
Casting double sixes to edit out your problem
Multiply the bounty on your head in the game

Don't you realize there isn't any future
Hiding in your habit where no-one can point the blame
Rocket jumps and bunny hops will beat the low-ping bastard
Real life re-targets on your head in the game

music © 1989 Colin Nicholls & Walter Nicholls; lyrics © 1989-2010 Colin Nicholls