Free Tracks


Onion Creek, WA

So, when this first set of songs began forming in my mind, I wasn't really sure if I had the gear or the knowledge I needed in order to make a passable recording, just yet, but knew I at least had the bare essentials. One evening, I just started playing a riff on my new 12-string, with Bowie's "Space Oddity" kind of floating around in the corridors of my mind. (Still a huge fan of Mick Ronson's work, to this day.) I was using Twitter, at the time, and remember thinking to myself, after reading something from the space nut community: "I don't want to go to Mars. I just want to go to sleep." The song seemed to write itself so quickly that I just decided to roll with it and simply capture the formative chapter of the project, regardless of how the sound might progress in days to come. Honestly, I'd be happy if I could simply emulate the sound of my old cassette tapes played through a boom box. It was enough for me back then and still is, really. As long as your work translates through a number of consumer playback devices, most people are happy to mess with their EQs at least once, when listening to a collection of songs produced in the same studio.

And that's basically that. Since embarking on the project, I've began modifying and refining my recording process while also collecting a few new gadgets, not to mention a 90s reissue of a 50's era Fender Stratocaster, made in Mexico. It sounds so nice with the pedals I've chosen that I'm tempted to scrap everything and do every single song with it. But, I think a big deal is in order, at least to start. (Good thing I was paying attention to Mick.) My musings with the vocal emulator bear such an uncanny resemblance to Kristin's voice that I don't know whether to laugh or cry, at times. So, with that in mind, I can do no less than put every last drop into some of the songs and, perhaps, space them out with some more minimalistic, stripped down pieces. I'm really just unboxing my synths, as well, as I've had a bit of a fixation with ambient drone music for some time.

This E.P. will be called "Trace" and for several reasons. Feel free to use your imagination as to why but, for now, we're going to reel back the years a bit and set up camp somewhere in the late 80s. This is when I first became active in musical performance, busking with an Ibanez acoustic 12-string, on the streets of the Haight-Ashbury district, in San Francisco, California. So, it's a trace of both of us, in that respect, I suppose. Some nice surprises to come and probably a few tearjerkers, too. I was schooled very heavily in both Delta and Chicago blues, as a young boy, so I'm just going to let it rip and try to send Rock & Roll Kristin out like the star she deserves to be remembered as.

Things to remember, as Peter Murphy once sang, not so long ago. Our little message in a bottle, as it were. Thanks for listening...

i don't wanna 

              to mars 


i just 



in your lovin' arms 



o for the life 

or a superstar 

i couldn't  
   handle the pressure 

      of that  
stupid car 



what a place 
for a  

and a pie 
   the sky 

everything you could  


what a world 
      just to  

when the weather  

the work of devils 
       to be  


why bother  
  drivin' due south? 

nobody really 


some old trick 
    with a  
          couple of deuces 


but as long as 

i know an  

we could be  
    halfway to cruces  


i don't wanna 


i just 



near your precious heart 

and my soul 


already feel 
      a stranger 

don't need to be a star 

oo baby 
   under the pressure 

      of that  
stupid car 



i don't wanna go to mars  
i don't wanna go to mars 
i don't wanna go to mars 


Today is the third anniversary of Kristin's passing. Probably not enough can be said. 

Coincidentally, it's also the third anniversary of this website. I bought the domain on the very same day, without knowing what had happened. So far, it's mostly been a dump for mediocre experimental musings with a little piecemeal progress in concept and lyrical content. When I began revamping my home studio approximately one year ago, I decided to begin building a song from scratch, packing in everything I could cram, into the ensemble, for the first official release. I wasn't really sure what I was going for, so I just picked my favorite instruments and songs, and began writing. In fact, K had wanted to play snare drum and sing, with me, on a collaborative work, so I've done my best to accommodate her wishes, as you will hear. (It's still in the experimental stages and there's a musical nod or two, to some of my favorites going on. So, if you pick up on it, know that it is indeed deliberate. There is a youngster, out there, I was hoping it might reach, on top of everything.) I can holler and belt but favor the idea of keeping all of that a nuance amid something soft and tender. Meanwhile, during the creative process, I was able to envision several other combinations that would work with this ensemble, from dark ambience and drone to rural acoustic and electric folk, blues rock, surf punk, and pounding, psychedelic guitar jams. I also have some amazing classic and modern synths I've been waiting to unwrap, with more on their way to the arsenal. Expect at least a couple of covers songs, in addition to the sitewide play by Califone. 

This is the third track of an E.P. I hope to release in due time. A DIY mix template is in place, so the recording process is now a downhill affair, for the most part, as I've mentioned previously. Several songs have already been written, while others are in the works. This has typically been a day of silent remembrance, for me, but it somehow worked out that I finished finalizing the track just two days prior. It's a Cloud Bounce master with a little extra dabbling, between stages, a la Eddie Kramer, Greg Wells, Andrew Scheps, and Abbey Road Studios, to name a few. I'm super happy with how those applications have worked out for this project. The final result seems to have a kind of vintage flavor that sounds good on its own or with a nice "V" boost, in my personal EQ settings. (The equivalent of hitting the "Loudness" button, if you remember that far back.) It's already doused with some quality reverb, so as to give the tracks an overall sort of live appeal, as if I were throwing old Rock & Roll Kristin a beach party. The proverbial Irish Celebration of Life, as it were. I have only the rest of my own, to offer.  

As I was observing the clarity of the final renders, it occurred to me that I could probably go maverick with the pizzicato string section and perhaps a few other elements of this particular recording. So, as I'm finishing up the other tracks which will make up the content of the first E.P., I will be seeing to all of that just before sending the files off to a live engineer for remastering and CD reissue. The home masters will remain free to the public, for download and playlist queueing. All that said and without any further ado, here's to an overdue break in that silence and to my eternal soul mate and very best friend, ever in the world, Kris Kolb. It's called "I Don't Wanna Go To Mars" and, if you can't understand what in heck we're singing, the lyrics are printed above these notes. There's a bit going on, there, so I'm leaving the meaning somewhat open to interpretation, as any responsible artist would and should. (That is to say if you can't figure it out, just make something up! We won't be offended.)


A little soundcheck before striking a beat, again.

This outing actually began as an acoustic piece I wrote after publishing "I Don't Wanna Go To Mars," this Spring. I was iffy about the tone of my guitar, so I ordered another pickup, to capture a little more bass, and started writing an ambient intro with some new synths I've been itching to get at. As I began, I remembered the sound of Kristin's voice when she sang to a baby and had an idea that I might be able to actually use the emulator for a lead vocal, with a faerie-like harmony. It was easier than I thought and decided to back her on electric guitar. In the meantime, some music I've been saving since the grunge days came to mind, again, and I now have another song with a beat in progress. I've actually been doing this for quite a while. You can only get so far with cheap gear, though, but those days are apparently over, as well; plugins are cheaper than ever.  

Anyway, even with all the hang-ups, my production speed has increased, since developing a personal mix template. I essentially just widened the guitar channel and made slight adjustments for tone, on this one. The bottom tone was made with a sampled contrabass string and really bottoms out nicely with the guitars. So, now, I'll test my template idea a little further by stripping down the ensemble and riding on that same bass tone. I'll do some more drone in the future, maybe even a variation on the same pads, but probably something more subtle. Anything's possible but this one seemed to deserve some fireworks.  That's actually a waterphone you hear thumping and scraping around, in the background.

(I've got a theme developing. Bear with me. I didn't say we weren't going to space.)