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Friday, October 16, 2015

Knob turning.

That doesn't sound right to me. Twist the knob a bit further. No, no - not that knob! The one below it. Give it a good twist. Wrong way! That sounds horrible. Try the next knob down.

Oh, man ... these sound consoles are so confusing. All those knobs and buttons and sliders and levers, each one doing a whole different thing. And then there's the analog/digital thing, so a lot of the knobs and switches are assignable, which means they do DIFFERENT things for DIFFERENT people. Holy shit, that's complicated. My brain hurts.

You see ... that's the trouble when you spend most of your life writing and playing songs and very little of your life learning the complex technologies involved in putting those songs across. Like most musicians, our reaction is ... you mean I have to learn TWO things? That's outrageous! Double duty, indeed. (As you can see, we are truly in the mainstream of American thought and sensibility.) I think about this every time I listen to old tracks from our various albums and ramshackle collections of unreleased material. I remember the hours of pulling random levers, spinning random knobs, etc., that lead to the final product and I ask myself: How? How is it that it sounds like anything at all?

Too damn complex, Mitch ... Must be a reason that sound comes out of the speakers when you play our recordings. All I know is that we make noises, put them into machines, and voila. Maybe Mitch Macaphee goes in there after we're done and fiddles around with the sound molecules, perhaps in hopes of precipitating some kind of sonic explosion. Perhaps not. (I know that there's usually an subsequent economic explosion, or implosion, to put the matter more precisely.)

As you know, our process for writing songs is somewhat unorthodox. I've described it in these blog pages before. Matt pretty much writes songs in his sleep, which explains a lot. I tend to write best in the shower, but I usually don't have much to show for it other than some sodden, blotchy shreds of paper.

Do what you do best; that's what I was taught. Now if I can just work out exactly what that is.

Debatable.

A couple of comments about the Democratic primary debate this past week. First of all, CNN is an amazing crapfest. Why the hell do we allow corporate media to turn this process into a property to be marketed like some cheap-ass reality show? And reality show it was, in both its tone and its production values. The ridiculous opening sequence, with hyper-dramatic music, the rumble of drums, and introductions torn straight out of some WWF bout or America's Top Chef. The only thing missing was a fully loaded clown car (though they did have that at the G.O.P. match-up).

Can YOU spot the extremist?Okay, that was a sobering sign, to be sure. Even more infuriating than the sideshow atmospherics was the framing of the questions, delivered for the most part by Anderson Cooper. While the Democratic field is decidedly to the left, at least from a rhetorical perspective, of where they were even eight years ago, the corporate media questioners proceeded through the lens of Reagan's America. The signal example of this for me was Cooper's comment to Bernie Sanders about his support for the Sandinista government in Nicargua in the 1980s, as if that was a particularly controversial position in retrospect. (This can be equated with opposition to the Contra terror war against that government being pursued by the Reagan administration at the time - a war so broadly opposed by the American people that Congress had explicitly banned funding for the Contra forces.)

So that was what Bernie Sanders thought as what, mayor of Burlington, Vt.? Fair enough. But up on that same stage was a man who was Secretary of the Navy in the late Reagan years, during which time the U.S. was actively supporting Saddam Hussein in his bloody war against the Iranians. That was during the so-called "tanker war", when the U.S. reflagged Kuwaiti tankers carrying Saddam's oil to market and deployed our Navy in the Gulf to protect those ships and harass the Iranians. What was Webb's role in that? Don't know, but it might be worth a question or two. Of course, we can't go there. That period is among the least discussed in American politics, and with good reason.

Aside from the CNN sponsored bullshit, it was good to hear directly from these candidates at long last. I just wish to hell we could get our shit together and demand that some non-profit organization like the League of Women Voters sponsor these forums so that we can have a serious discussion and not some freak-ass reality show.

luv u,

jp