Seven 9s and 10s

Track:
I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Artist:
steelopus

Album:
I Believe In A Thing Called Love

I Believe In A Thing Called Love - steelopus (The Darkness cover)

When a friend needs your help, you have to step up and deliver. Ask and ye shall receive.  Good luck with the wife, James.

(I still can’t believe I once recorded 40 covers in 40 days. That was kind of insane.)

Track:
The Last Supper / Gethsemane

Artist:
Jesus Christ Superstar (steelopus)

Album:
Jesus Christ Superstar

40in40:

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Last Supper & Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say)

Go big or go home?

I originally planned on doing only The Last Supper, but it felt completely empty without Gethsemane, so I did them both. Doing both those songs would’ve been tough enough with my original plans - in which I thought I’d be able to spend a full 7 days working on them. Then my family came to visit for 5 days and so I actually only had 2 days to complete all of this. So much for seeing how much better I could do at a leisurely pace!

Skipping all the piano and orchestra parts meant both songs ended up a bit more “rock and roll” than their various original versions, as I replaced that stuff with some crunchy guitars. I would never pretend to have even 10% as much vocal talent as the great Ian Gillian, or Ted Neeley, or Murray Head, or Carl Anderson. Their performances are legendary and I tried not to imitate them wherever possible, though some of the crazy-high melodies are essential to the production, so I did the best I could do. Go big or go home. With these two, more than any of the previous 40, I surely can’t be accused of not putting myself out there.

So, after two solid days of recording and mixing, I thought I was done. I exported a version and while listening I heard a few things that I wanted to tweak, so I reopened the session and as I got to the end of Gethsemane I noticed that the drums, bass, and guitar tracks had vanished. I have no idea what happened. It may well have been my mistake, though it feels like a technical error. Regardless, the session is mostly lost and we’re left with this original export. It has everything in there and it’s good enough to get my point across - though it’s mixed a little rougher than I’m happy with, but as it’s nearly 3:30am, I’m going to chalk it up as a loss. Jesus might have resurrected, but these lost tracks certainly won’t.

This is the end. Thanks to all of you for joining me on this insane journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Happy Easter.

Originally recorded: April 21-23, 2011

1 year later and I’m still happy with how this turned out, warts and all.

(The rest of 40 in 40 can be found here.)

Reflecting on 40 in 40

steelopus:

It’s hard to believe that nearly one year has passed since I undertook my 40 in 40 project. I’ve been meaning to write a reflections post since the day I finished, so the subsequent Ash Wednesday seems like as good a day as any to finally pull one together.

40 in 40 wasn’t actually a thing until I decided it would be a thing, which I guess was sometime after the third day (all symbolism aside). The first song just happened to come on the night of Ash Wednesday 2011; for some long-forgotten reason I was feeling sad, so I grabbed my guitar and made a recording. At the time it was just an excuse to test out a new piece of gear - I had no idea what I was getting myself into - however, there was no stopping me once I decided I would record 40 covers in 40 days and made a personal commitment to the project.

Read More

And another self-reblog for the evening crowd.

High-res steelopus:

I’ve finally collected my 40 in 40 project into a single unified blog.
Click through to see the new design that includes all of the songs with easy navigation.
I still welcome all feedback on the project, both positive and negative. Tell me what you disliked, hated, liked, and loved. What was your favorite track? Your least favorite? Is there any song you wish I’d redo or give a different treatment?

A self-reblog for the evening crowd.

steelopus:

I’ve finally collected my 40 in 40 project into a single unified blog.

Click through to see the new design that includes all of the songs with easy navigation.

I still welcome all feedback on the project, both positive and negative. Tell me what you disliked, hated, liked, and loved. What was your favorite track? Your least favorite? Is there any song you wish I’d redo or give a different treatment?

A self-reblog for the evening crowd.

Reflecting on 40 in 40

It’s hard to believe that nearly one year has passed since I undertook my 40 in 40 project. I’ve been meaning to write a reflections post since the day I finished, so the subsequent Ash Wednesday seems like as good a day as any to finally pull one together.

40 in 40 wasn’t actually a thing until I decided it would be a thing, which I guess was sometime after the third day (all symbolism aside). The first song just happened to come on the night of Ash Wednesday 2011; for some long-forgotten reason I was feeling sad, so I grabbed my guitar and made a recording. At the time it was just an excuse to test out a new piece of gear - I had no idea what I was getting myself into - however, there was no stopping me once I decided I would record 40 covers in 40 days and made a personal commitment to the project.

Read more

Track:
The Last Supper / Gethsemane

Artist:
Jesus Christ Superstar

Album:
40 in 40

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Last Supper & Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say) (steelopus cover)

Go big or go home?

I originally planned on doing only The Last Supper, but it felt completely empty without Gethsemane, so I did them both. Doing both those songs would’ve been tough enough with my original plans - in which I thought I’d be able to spend a full 7 days working on them. Then my family came to visit for 5 days and so I actually only had 2 days to complete all of this. So much for seeing how much better I could do at a leisurely pace!

Skipping all the piano and orchestra parts meant both songs ended up a bit more “rock and roll” than their various original versions, as I replaced that stuff with some crunchy guitars. I would never pretend to have even 10% as much vocal talent as the great Ian Gillian, or Ted Neeley, or Murray Head, or Carl Anderson. Their performances are legendary and I tried not to imitate them wherever possible, though some of the crazy-high melodies are essential to the production, so I did the best I could do. Go big or go home. With these two, more than any of the previous 40, I surely can’t be accused of not putting myself out there.

So, after two solid days of recording and mixing, I thought I was done. I exported a version and while listening I heard a few things that I wanted to tweak, so I reopened the session and as I got to the end of Gethsemane I noticed that the drums, bass, and guitar tracks had vanished. I have no idea what happened. It may well have been my mistake, though it feels like a technical error. Regardless, the session is mostly lost and we’re left with this original export. It has everything in there and it’s good enough to get my point across - though it’s mixed a little rougher than I’m happy with, but as it’s nearly 3:30am, I’m going to chalk it up as a loss. Jesus might have resurrected, but these lost tracks certainly won’t.

This is the end. Thanks to all of you for joining me on this insane journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Happy Easter.

(41 done. 0 to go.)

Ouch.

Of course it’s not until I export my 41st song that Garageband decides to randomly delete a large portion of several tracks. I’ve tried every trick in the book but those tracks are gone, never to be resurrected. I consider this a major disaster. The only way to get them back would be to re-record them.

So you’ll just have to settle for my original export that has the vocals a little hotter than I wanted and is overall a bit sloppier, because there’s no way I’m re-recording drums, bass, and guitar at 2:45am. At least the original export has all the parts.

This is an entirely frustrating way to end the project.

High-res While recording a vocal track* for song #41, I bit the inside of my lip. It has been bleeding profusely for 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure that this Q-tip is the only thing keeping me alive right now.
The best part: the mic was live so the moment was captured. It the most hilariously painful recording of my life. Maybe I’ll release it as an outtake.
*If anyone asks - I was in a hockey fight.

While recording a vocal track* for song #41, I bit the inside of my lip. It has been bleeding profusely for 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure that this Q-tip is the only thing keeping me alive right now.

The best part: the mic was live so the moment was captured. It the most hilariously painful recording of my life. Maybe I’ll release it as an outtake.

*If anyone asks - I was in a hockey fight.

41 in 47 or 1 in 6?

So, my astute readers will probably realize that today is, in fact, not Easter Sunday. It is, actually, 6 days before Easter Sunday.

But" they’d ask, "if Lent is always 40 days long, how did you managed to record 40 days worth of songs, starting on Ash Wednesday, and not end up on Easter Sunday?

Well, as it turns out, Lent is longer that 40 days. In fact, it’s always 46 days in length.

But" they’d continue, "how is that possible? Why don’t they just tell us it’s 46 days long?

Little did I know, the six Sundays that occur between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday are not counted. I guess I repressed that fact along with countless other facets of my catholic upbringing.

Huh." they’d quip.

Yup. Huh. Indeed.

"So what does that mean for your 40 in 40 project? Will you be recording 6 more songs and re-branding the project to 46 in 46?”

No. I will not. Sorry. Instead, here’s what I’ll be doing:

I’m going to spend the days between now and Easter Sunday working on one song. I’ll give my full attention to one song to see how much better I can do when I’m more relaxed and not scrambling to finish recording by midnight each night.

"What song?!?!?"

You’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Track:
Keep It Close To Me

Artist:
steelopus

Album:
40 in 40

Superdrag - Keep It Close To Me (steelopus cover)

I’m surprised that no one correctly guessed Superdrag as my 40th band*. They’ve been one of my favorite bands since 1995. I’ve traveled to see them play in both NYC and LA (and others for a total of 8 shows). I’ve posted a lot of their music and I wrote a long review of their last release.

When I decided what 40 in 40 would become, I had a very short list of bands to include and Superdrag was at the top of it. The only reason they ended up as the last band is that I just couldn’t settle on a single song. There are literally dozens of tracks that are worthy of my attention (I would’ve had the same problems with both weezer and Pedro The Lion, but I recorded each of those two tracks before I committed to my rule of only one song per band). John Davis is one of my generation’s best rock n roll writers and anyone that didn’t write-off Superdrag as a one-hit wonder has been rewarded with consistently great music.

I slowly narrowed down my choices to five songs that I really loved and felt I could do justice, and ultimately settled on this track because I’ve always felt a really strong connection to how hard it rocks and to it’s lyrics. It felt like a very appropriate way to end this project.

I want rock and roll
but I don’t want to deal with the hassle.
I know what I know
but I don’t want to feel like an asshole.

It’s direct. Suspect. Insects have launched an invasion.
Chosen. Frozen. Poison in my vaccination.
I’m going to figure out what’s mine
and keep it close to me.
It’s supposed to be.

I’ve got rock and roll
and it used to deliver me sweetly
I’m not gullible
but I feel like I’ve lost it completely.

Let’s make the most of it right now.
Let’s make the most of what we’ve got -
God only knows where it came from.
Let’s make the most of it right now.
Why is it hard to imagine
making life worth the distraction from now on? 

I’m going to figure out what’s mine
and keep it close to me.
It’s supposed to be.
 

Thank you to everyone that listened, liked, and reblogged over the past 40 days. Your support, both public and private, kept me motivated on the bad days and pushed me to be better on the good days. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I’m drafting up a post with my reflections on the project; look for it sometime this week.

*Nicky guessed it correctly via chat because she gets me.

(40 down. 0 to go.)

Track:
Young Lust

Artist:
steelopus

Album:
40 in 40

Pink Floyd - Young Lust (steelopus cover)

There’s not much to this song, especially when you take out the piano/synth textures, which is why I managed to go from start to finish in under 90 minutes.

This might be my best drum performance of the entire project. The tempo was just right and I like the heavy rock/funk beat because it’s really easy to find the pocket and groove with it.

Dave Gilmour is a truly immortal guitar hero, but throughout his career he’s consistently played solos that are very accessible for mere mortals. I’d say that makes his body of work even more impressive, as he’s never relied upon flash or gimmick to earn his place in rock history.

Just one more song to go, folks.
Just. One. More.

(39 down. 1 to go.)