January 2018 – schnoeds newsletter on N1M (#1)
first of all I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Hope you all had a good start. I myself had some days off before and after Christmas, and since this Tuesday I’m already back to work. But I’m working in the finance area since 30 years, and so I’m used to that early start long enough.
Between the years, I took the opportunity to go for some days of relaxing together with my loved one, and of course I took the chance to work on my new songs. And it seems that I caught one of those rare creative moments…all in all I finished four songs just within some days. I recorded the songs all on my own in my basement, and at least two of ‘em are already issued here on N1M, while I’m still a bit reluctant with the other two; the mixes are not that good, and in one case I discovered that I should play one of the guitar solos in a bridge part instead of a verse, so I might have to rework this one again. Or not, but I’ll come to the other alternative in a minute.
Before further elaborating this subject, just a few words about the bands I use to play with.
PLATFORM NO 6 will start rehearsing end of January, and we’ll be working on the core set list of 25 songs plus three “prospects”. This has been the outcome of a poll we had in december. All nine members had to vote for their favourites, and Albrecht and myself set up an effective method of sorting out the unwanted songs in order to narrow our program down to a senseful number of songs. You might remember from my last newsletter that we had 59 songs on our list which is way too much. Now we are in a situation to better focus on the right ones instead of wasting our energy on songs that some of us don’t even like. The aim of the next jams is to play these 25 songs by heart, one after the other, in order to get rid of the leadsheets on stage once and for all, and to finish the three prospects. Once this is done, maybe we’ll go for some more new ones, but not more than three or four. It’s for sure better to have a good command of 25 songs than faulty playing more than 40. To me it’s quality that counts, not quantity, and I’ll be insisting on this now. The next gig is scheduled for 7th of march, and my aim is to do this one without any leadsheets or binders on stage…
The next weekend workshop with PAM will take place end of April, and I think we’ll focus on what we have this time instead of doing more and more new ones that are completely forgotten half a year later. There’ll be a live gig in autumn 2019, that’s of course a long time, but for us it means that in the best case we’ll have three rehearsal sessions until then. So we should fix a set list and work on those songs first. And if there’s more capacity in one way or the other, we can always add more and new stuff to the list.
With the ERRATICS, there’s a gig planned already end of January, even if the date is still subject to confirmation, and another one then on the 10th of march. There’s even more things cooking, but I have to be selective here, otherwise this band will eat up all my energy, and that was definitely not the plan. One lesson from 2017 is that I finally have to learn to say NO before exceeding my limits in all aspects. This, of course, is valid for all the bands and projects I’m in, and I’ll take the freedom to decide from case to case. Whoever can’t get along with this principle has to look for somebody else.
I’ve always said that my first priority is on my own songs, and none of the three mentioned bands has really qualified for this purpose after all. Sure, the Platformers are having two or three of my songs in the set list, and that’s ok. Most of my songs don’t fit to the setup with a brass section, and some of the musicians prefer other styles of music. All right. The Erratics have worked hard for a long time to become what they are today, and they don’t need a songwriter. They need a solid second singer and guitar player. That’s a clear situation and completely fine with me. The PAM guys are playing my stuff with dedication, and they have helped a lot over the last years to further develop some of these songs to their current status. But this band just meets twice yearly and has played one single gig since the reunion in 2011.
And that means, that it’s high time again for the HIGH FIELD BAND. My dear friends. The ones that have invested so much into the “19:30” album and the hand full of gigs we played together. Nicole, the one I could sing along with until eternity. Albrecht, the most soulful trumpet player I ever heard. Chris O, the only drummer on earth that really knows to play ALL styles of music. Isabelle, who knows me in and out and smells the character of a song even if she has never heard or played it before. And Chris D, the master himself in so many aspects.
Having finished the four new songs, there’s enough material now to go for a new album. Of course there’ll be some reworked versions of old songs of mine again, but also a lot of new ones. I’m heading for 12 songs all in all, amongst them acoustic versions of “Way of life” and “Starin’ at the light” from my old 2009 album, then an acoustic version of “Give it a try”, which is the only song from the “19:30” album that I am not really happy with, and which PAM has already played and recorded in such an acoustic manner. Another one from the 2009 album, “No one knows”, has turned out to be a fantastic live song for the High Field Band. Nicole had the idea to try this one, and it worked just great, and so we’ll bring it onto the new album as well.
Then there’ll be a very old song of mine, “I’m wastin’ my time”, which I initially planned to have on the “19:30” album together with the Platform musicians, but this has never happened for various reasons. We’ll be doing it by ourselves this time.
The remaining seven songs will be new ones, i.e. written in the last two years. “Big weird love” is one of them; I already played it live with the Platformers on some occasions. “I’ve got to hold on” and “Closer to the edge” have been performed once or twice with the High Field Band, and the remaining four ones are brand new as mentioned at the beginning.
“Ocean of dreams” and “The self made saint” can be heard here on N1M, but please remember that these are just sketches, done on my own. The final album versions will sound different and hopefully better. The other two songs are called “Fundamentally wrong” and “Soldier in a lost patrol”, and, as said, they are still unreleased.
Some of the lyrics in these new songs have become even more introspective and personal, they are somehow reflecting the state I’m in since some time, even if not every single word should always be taken for granted. I’m having better and worse phases, just as everybody, and when I’m writing lyrics in a bad phase that doesn’t necessarily reflect my overall status at all times. It’s still just a snapshot. But in all cases an authentic one all the same.
The plan is to start recording the new album already next week, but it’ll be a process that might take half a year again, so please have some patience with me and my mates. I’ll elaborate a bit further on the content of the new songs in the next newsletters here on N1M.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress, that’s for sure.
Keep on rockin’!