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The rock-n-roll power trio is my thing, or thang, as some would say. Give me a great drummer and a solid bass player and I am in hog-heaven. But situations do not always allow one to do what one wants to do….
One of the biggest issues that I’ve faced in the past with trying to get my original music together has been the fact that it usually has taken drummers that I’ve worked with, a long time to lock in with me on the groove of the songs. It is the “nature of the beast” so to speak, with me…because odd-meters are my forte. Most of my songs buck the 4/4 timing trend of the bulk of the music of today. In fact, a lot of my songs are as odd-metered as hell; and flow freely from standard time signature, to one odd time signature, and then to a different odd time signature…and all within the same song.
Trying to convey those time signature changes in real time while rehearsing with the typical drummer, and have him lock in with me on the groove and the changes, got very frustrating at times; especially for the drummer because the process took so very long.
Usually by this time the bass player, if we had one, was frustrated also….So what would invariably happen is that we would abandon trying to hash out my original songs, and we switched to working on Hendrix cover tunes and blues cover tunes. This didn’t really bug me too much, because I loved playing Jimi Hendrix songs; but I still had the burning desire to get my original songs hashed out and recorded.
The power trios that I put together never lasted for very long, or went anywhere; so I have never built a name for myself as a performing musician….Been a 9 to 5 working stiff all my life.
I’ve been playing guitar for many, many years—I play my guitar regularly now, but there have been various times in years past where my guitar was like an abandoned child: I just would not give her the time she deserved.
A big stretch of guitar abandonment happened when I got heavily into building special effects pedals for myself. Although I haven’t done much of it in recent years, there was a period of a few years where all I wanted to do was electronic circuit building…hours upon hours, upon hours! During those times I would be like a mad scientist, with electronic parts and test equipment thrown all around whatever room I was working in. I rarely played my guitar during the times when I was prototyping and testing the electronic circuits that went into the effects pedals—I would only touch my guitar when I needed to use it to test the sounds produced from the effects pedals.
The crazy part is that I was building effects pedals to make me sound better on my guitar; but I wasn’t actually doing any real guitar playing. And it wasn’t the case where I was building effects pedals to sell to other guitar players…I was building the pedals strictly for myself.
A real benefit, though, of doing the electronic circuit building is that I got really good at being the primary architect of my musical sound…for example, I got it down to the level of knowing which type and value of capacitor I preferred sound-wise for the inputs and outputs of the effects pedals, and so on.
I did eventually get all of that out of my system…and I re-focused my attention on guitar playing and song writing.
I feel that I am at a good place musically at this time….Technology has enabled me to overcome all the obstacles I experienced with frustrated drummers and bass players; and has allowed me to shape my musical vision exactly as I have wanted to for so very long—I found the perfect “drummer” in a fantastic drum machine made by Roland Corp.; and I haven’t looked back. I program the drum tracks for my songs to be exactly what I need them to be; whatever time signature…no frustrations what-so-ever.
In spite of this, my music is still power trio music—recorded “live” with me singing, and playing my guitar over the rhythm track of bass and drums…no guitar overdubs.
I hadn’t planned on doing another album/CD anytime soon…..I did a couple of them in the past; with so-so quality and production.
The eleven songs on my latest CD, “Joe Kool Jack: a slight ode to Jimi Hendrix”, are a group of recordings that I’ve done over the last couple of years. I originally did most of the songs mainly for the purpose of putting out youtube videos; with no pressure on myself at all to do a CD.
But like the seasons of the year, things always change…..I stumbled into mastering my own music; which lit a fire under me to up the sonic quality of my music, which lit a fire in me to do another CD; or at the very least, a digital download only album for iTunes, etc.
I can hear people saying (thinking), “You call it ode to Jimi Hendrix, but the only Hendrix song that I see listed on your album is Voodoo Child….so what’s up with that?”……my answer is that Hendrix is such a guiding force in how I approach my music and songwriting, that all my songs are in some ways odes to Jimi….it’s as simple as that. It’s also why I crowned the album as a “slight” ode to Jimi Hendrix.”
That said though, my version of Voodoo Child is unlike any version that you’ve ever heard….guaranteed. Jimi would never do anybody else’s song just like they did it; and so that is the attitude I took when I did Voodoo Child….it’s extremely different from Jimi’s original version, but still squarely in the spirit of Jimi.
The album’s title track, “Joe Kool Jack!…ode to Jimi”, is a bona fide tribute to the man himself, and it is a track that I’m exceedingly proud of…..Jimi Hendrix was, and still is, “a six-string killer in basic black.”
I am, in fact, exceedingly proud of every track on this album.
Make no mistake about it: if you desire Hendrix type fire, originality, and imagination in the music that you listen to…..then you’ve come to the right place baby!!
….and you won’t believe that all that sound that you hear is just me alone, and a rhythm machine doin’ our thing!