My Music | Seven Years of Bridging the Disconnect

Today, September 29th marks the seven year anniversary of when I officially released the demo LP of my Solo Acoustic Project, which was lazily called Sap. Bridging the Disconnect, a 15-track album of predominantly acoustic (demo) ditties written, performed, produced and recorded by yours truly in a completely solo effort that was not a task for the impatient. A lot of pride went into the creation of the recording project which I started in the summer of 2009 and managed to “complete” in time for my self-imposed 9/29/2009 release date. I went through CD Baby and released it on home-burned discs myself via my label I Rock Recordings, and let them handle the digital retailer side of things.

Warts and all, because the recordings aren’t perfect by any stretch. The production is mostly good, if a bit raw (psst! it sounds a bit like a guy with a voice, a couple of mics, some guitars, a keyboard, drum machines, and a digital workstation doing it all by himself). I’ve said it for years that sure there’s a lot of pride in completing such a project, but damn, I would’ve traded some of that pride for some help.

But, to be sure, every voice, word, beat and note on this album was created and recorded by little ol’ me in my little ol’ studio at home (which at the time was a large closet in my family’s apartment. That’s another thing, trying to find optimal quite time to record quiet acoustic music when your young children aren’t up making noise). I even designed the artwork/layout for the jewel case, using my wife’s photography.

Some fun facts

The project’s name was originally inspired by the acoustic EP  Sap (1992) by Alice in Chains, but also the song by Modest Mouse called “Stars Are Projectors” which an acronym of it would spell S.A.P. Then there’s the release date that I chose. Alice in Chains’ 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue was released the same day. Coincidentally, their classic 1992 LP Dirt — a hugely important album to me as a young man at the time — was also released on September 29th.

Another major inspiration for this project was the late Elliott Smith, whose honey-sweet, silky-smooth vocal style I could never duplicate, but that didn’t stop me from double and triple-tracking my vocals in an effort to get that cool natural chorus effect his vocals were always produced with.

And I would be remiss not to mention both Dave Matthews and Ani DiFranco who both inspired me to finally switch over to the acoustic guitar in the late 90s.

The Concept

I wouldn’t call Bridging the Disconnect a true concept album, but there is a kind of conceptual theme that runs through it. The title itself refers to the situation we all face as adults in our 30s having lost touch with our friends and familial roots and the need to repair that disconnect. Songs like “Building Burning Bridges”, “So Long My Friend”, “Invisible Fences” and “Savor (Brief Lives)” to an extent deal directly with that theme of reconnecting. “Jubilee” is specifically about people of all walks of life coming together and eating, drinking and being merry because ultimately we need to get along and coexist on this planet together in harmony. And finally, “If Love” and “So Close” are effectively love songs. The rest are introspective ditties or instrumentals. The whole collection of songs is decidedly mellow (somber?) and folky with a touch of rock for good measure.

Obviously seven years later I’ve had different perspectives on this as a single piece of art, thought of countless things I’d do differently today (like add some bass guitar to “So Long My Friend”), but here it stands, warts and all. And on Spotify, no less. I just discovered it on there tonight. I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s been available on iTunes and countless other digital/streaming services for years.

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Reblog: Flash in the Pan – Tips For Writing Flash Fiction

Reminders like this never hurt.

A Writer's Path

Pan

by Neil MacDonald

I write flash fiction in the Friday Fictioneers group every week. Flash fiction is very short fiction, typically under 750 or 1,000 words. Within it, some people distinguish between “drabbles” (100 words), “dribbles” (50 words) and so on. These distinctions don’t really matter.  The genre is good exercise for a writer in editing skills and wordcraft.

The talented Friday Fictioneer, Claire Fuller (author of Our Endless Numbered Days) produced 12 hints on writing flash fiction. That stimulated me to write a few of my own.

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Happy Birthday To Me | Thanks Metallica (new song & video)

A year older.

More gray hairs in the beard.

Another trip ’round the sun.

I can’t deny that the past year has been one of the better ones in recent years. And today got the new year off to a good start. Thanks, no small part, to one of my all-time favorite bands Metallica.

The boys love me so much they released a new song & video on my b-day (after releasing a new song last month on my daughter’s b-day). And this new song kills. Thanks, fellas. Much love.

“Moth Into Flame” is the second single from the forthcoming new album Hardwired . . . To Self Destruct, out November 18th (on lead guitarist Kirk Hammet’s 54th b-day).

Ruckin’ With You | 9.25.16 | On a Pre-Birthday Sunday

Late edition for the previous week. Smartly I launched this birthday weekend/weekbegin with a 4-day weekend off from work to commemorate my latest trip ‘round the sun. Before officially being another year older I decided to finally finish constructing the companion website to this one. The site is called RUCKERPEDIA. Long-term readers here may recall that as the former moniker of the blogsite you’re currently reading (succeeded by RUCKOLOGY and finally, Rucker | Writer).

So what the heck is RUCKERPEDIA, you might ask? Essentially it is the site that will serve as my official online archive of fiction (of various formats and genres), poetry and lyrics. You could think of it like an online zine, but dedicated exclusively to my many various works. For posterior, if nothing else. It will also be a place to host some all-new writing that doesn’t quite belong elsewhere.

I’m currently tweaking the layout now and then will begin to stock it with pieces over the next week. With any luck it will be primed and ready to launch upon an unsuspecting public next Monday, October 1st. I hope you’ll all dig the chance to easily peruse my more creative writing, given the out-of-print aspect of my published works and the very low profile nature of my writing “career”, for lack of a better description.


So my post-punk rock band Neglect the Alarm, which continues to find reasons to not reconvene for writing, rehearsal and recording sessions, has somehow managed to receive two honorable nominations via Punk Rock Night, which was our first and only live booking for 2016 (at the historic Melody Inn in Indianapolis, IN). Apparently we left quite an impression on a cold January night to have still been in the consciousness of the people who nominated us. I’m totally honored that our little-band-that-could got nominated for BEST NEW BAND and the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD (that voting took place just a week ago, for fuck’s sake). We’re in great company too. Personally, I’m humbled. Yay, us. As for the immediate and distant future of our band? I could do no better than the great Nostradamus on that one, and he didn’t exactly have the highest successful prediction rate.


Saw Deftones last Monday night with an old friend who got us in with a free will-call ticket because she has connections for that kind of stuff. I’m a casual fan of this band, I have 4 of their 8 albums and really love their 4th album, the self-titled one from 2003. They played no songs from that one, to my great dismay, and really only 3 or 4 of the 19 on their set list did I actually like. It’s not that I truly dislike most of their music, it’s listenable, but it’s just kind of . . . there. Almost pedestrian. I think the main thing is, especially with their later stuff, guitar-wise they’re not really riffy. When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, I need RIFFS! So, needless to say, I was bit bored for the 90s minutes that we stayed to watch.


Historical Quote of the Week

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


My Facebook Quote of the Week — in reaction to the Washington state mall gunman being captured by authorities. 

“Oh, nice. This gunman of 5 cold blooded murders got confronted by police and lived. How fortunate for him. Like with Dylan Rooth, I wonder if they stopped to get him a bite to eat?”

Snarky, I know. 


New Hashtags:

#ThisIsNotFiction #ThisIsRealLife

For use when you encounter news in social media that is so anti-progressive that it has you questioning if this is real life.


Song of the Week:

“Starboy” by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

(Explicit — NSFW)

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1156172683?country=us


Be good to each other.

Have a great week.

-BLR

Quotes | Stephen King – On Writing

In honor of Stephen “Uncle Stevie” King’s birthday this week (Sept 21st) I am going to forego our regularly scheduled programming in favor of five poignant quotes from Mr. King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft that I bookmarked with lots of Post-it Notes so many years ago. By the way, this isn’t the first time Uncle Stevie’s been quoted here recently.


 

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

 

“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

 

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

 

“Put your vocabulary on the top shelf of your toolbox, and don’t make any conscious effort to improve it. (You’ll be doing that as you read, of course … but that comes later.) One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.

“I’m not trying to get you to talk dirty, only plain and direct. Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word—of course you will, there’s always another word—but it probably won’t be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean.”

 

“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.”

 


Yes, I’m filing this a bit late. It’s my birthday weekend, so I’ve taken it easy today (I have Monday off from work as well). I had originally intended to write and post a Ruckin’ With You column for this week, but alas. I’ll either produce it in a couple of days, or just wait until later in the week.  I also need to do a Workbook update (I skipped the August-into-September one). At any rate, I do remain committed to composing a blog entry that uncorks my headspace on a weekly basis, though.

So until next time, keep reading, keep writing, keep rocking.

-BLR