Monday, May 30, 2011

Locked In The Studio

Ahhh...what an exhausting, productive weekend it has been. Thank goodness it was 3 days long!!

This weekend, in an effort to finish COS's E.P. in time for our upcoming concert, I hosted a 2 day, monster recording session in my basement. We were scheduled to be down there 7-8 hours both days, with non-stop working. We were trying out a new guy on drums, a friend of Bobby's named Anthony.

Sadly, Anthony hasn't worked out too well yet. We're going to try practicing a bit more with him before the concert, because we'd like to have him on drums. However, putting him behind the drums and immediately setting the tape rolling (figuratively) wasn't too great of an idea. We wasted about an hour trying to get the drums right on one song, and Stephen was getting super frustrated. The next day, we just had Steve do the drums on the song.

The first day, we got 2 songs completely done, plus part of a 3rd, the one with the drumming issues. We did Good One, Zen Stereo, and Camel Holocaust (the ill-fated one.) Seriously, Camel Holocaust has given us SO MUCH trouble. At our last session, we spent 3 hours on it, and ended up scrapping every track. This time, it did turn out better. Good One was recorded pretty painlessly, once we got Anthony on track with drumming to it.

Really, the biggest success of the first day was Zen Stereo. I'd never been happy with the song, and I was really wary of recording it. However, when we sat down to run through it, it sounded INCREDIBLE. We had Bobby on lead and vocals, Anthony on rhythm, Steve on drums, and myself on bass. I'd improvised the bass line right before the run though, and Anthony and Stephen had never played the song before. Still, somehow it all clicked. With the extra parts, a slower tempo, and an impressive solo, the song ended up sounding incredible. As I'm typing this, Stephen is IMing me about the finished mix. I'll have it up soon, for you dear fans!!

After the first day, Stephen and I were picked up by some friends and headed to The Raven, a VERY cool coffee shop nearby. It was my first time being there with other teens, which made it neat. Also, I liked the company quite a bit, which helps. The one guy, Scott, had just graduated, and it was the first time I'd seen him since then. Very fun!!

On the second day, Anthony wouldn't be getting there until 4. Steve, Bobby, and I finished up what had to be done on Camel Holocaust first thing in the morning; overdubbing my guitar solo, re-recording the (terrible) vocals, getting Stephen to do the drum part, and recording the bassline Bobby made up for it. We slapped some effects on it, and the rough mix sounded pretty excellent.

After that, we recorded a short, punk song that I wrote. No solo, no bridge, nothing; just verses and choruses. It's called "I Need A Life," and it started with some lyrics I wrote while working at a gym last summer. We rushed through that one, because Stephen had to leave to take care of his 4H animals as soon as possible. Once he left, Bobby and I just chilled. I taught him the basics of playing Minecraft, so he did that while I played Pokemon Silver on my Gameboy Color. Seriously, I've re-fallen in love with my Gameboy. It's so retro, and hipster-ish, but I also love the gamplay. Of course, this is coming from someone who hasn't seriously played videogames since 6th grade, so take it with a grain of salt.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Working in the studio is super-exhausting, and sometimes frustrating, but in the end it's going to be worth it. Stephen's going to get me the tracks tomorrow, and I'll try to have them up on here as soon after that as I can!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Viva La Revolution!

Hey there - big things have been happening today!

To answer Julia (and Christopher)'s question, I'm from Michigan. Currently, the political situation in good ol' MI is "business-ruled oligarchy," with our new governor Rick Snyder and Congress ignoring and abusing the citizens. They're also trying to bust the unions, and are hurting the middle class by doing so.

What I mean to say is, they've eliminated all business taxes, and they're replacing that money by attacking teachers. I don't want to get into all the minuet details of how exactly that's happening, but it is happening - as the child of a teacher, it's scary as all get-out. As a high school student, it's scary. As a citizen, it's scary. If you're wondering about why I feel this way, check out some of the things that have been written on it; check out the laws that are taking away from my education.

ANYWAY, my point is that I went to a rally at the capitol building today, held by the Michigan Educator's Association in Lansing. That's the state teacher's union, of which my mom is a member. I thought it would be sweet to go to an actual protest, and hold a sign and whatnot.

The rally started with a huge picnic at the MEA headquarters, which was sweet. Everyone wore red, and it was a huge festival-type thing. The people were all nice, although we encountered a pretty weird situation at one point. This dude walked up to my mother and me, and started asking all these questions about what was going on. He said he was from out of the area, and was interested in the details of what was going on. We talked to him for around 20 minutes, and it started to seem a little strange. All of his questions were very professional sounding, and they did a good job of getting us to keep talking. Once he left, my mom told me that she was pretty sure he was recording the conversation; he was fiddling with something in his pocket the whole time (his jacket pocket, weirdos), and the leading nature of his questions suddenly made sense. We saw him talking to other people later, presumably doing the same thing with them. I know we both answered his questions intelligently and well, but it was a bit unsettling that he was (illegally) recording us. Oh well...we sounded too knowledgeable to be used for slander.

At 3-ish, everyone headed down to the capitol building lawn. By the time we had found a parking space, the protest was in full swing: a massive sea of red, with people lining the streets and waving signs. There were tables set up with petitions to recall Snyder from office, and people leading cheers. We stood by the road for a while, waving our signs and encouraging people to honk for us. It was surprising how many people took pictures of us - they seemed to like our signs!

At 4, people began speaking. There were about 10,000 people by that time, mostly from the teacher's union. However, there were also lots of United Auto Workers members, and Teamsters driving their semis around the block honking. The candidate who ran against Snyder was there, and his speech was pretty great. It did get slightly boring after a while, but it was really hard to not get caught up in the spirit. A reporter for some website interviewed me, and said there'd be some quotes from me in her final article. I'll definitely be putting a link up when it's published!

All in all, it was really cool to do. I had a lot of fun, and I felt really important. I've heard that protests "don't do anything," but I disagree. I went out there with 10,000 other people, and told my government that they haven't been listening. I felt like I was part of something big, and like I was taking an active role in determining my future.

I've gotta say...protesting does wear you out!! I have to go get some sleep - have a good one!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Drew Morgan, Live!!

Man, too long since I've posted...

Last week was my school's spring concert, the Collage Concert. It's a chance for students to show off their talent playing apart from the band, which I did. Since this will be my last year in band, I knew I absolutely had to do something for myself there.

I had planned on doing a cover of "Hallelujah" with my vocally talented friend Leah, and myself on guitar. However, as time went on and I was playing and singing more and more, I decided to do something completely solo - guitar AND vocals. I helped Leah get "Hallelujah" ready for her to do without me, and worked on finding a song for myself. For a while I was considering "Whole Wide World" by Wreckless Eric, because A) it's the first song I ever learned to sing and play, and B) it's incredibly freakin' easy. However, I figured some of the lyrics weren't the best, and worried it would start to get repetitive. So what to play?

Eventually, I landed on the perfect song - "Put Me Back Together" by Weezer. I'd been trying to learn it for a while, but I couldn't find a completely accurate tab out there. I finally found a couple that were half-right, and combined them. Then I played it like crazy, until I had it down pretty well. I took my guitar to band class and played it for a group of 10 or twelve people, and it went down pretty well. Therefore, I was READY TO ROCK!!!

At the concert, I used all my own equipment. Well...sorta. I used a school amplifier, but nothing of mine was plugged into their worse-than-terrible PA system. I had my friend Jarred, a professional musician, do my soundcheck. He went as far up into the bleachers as he could, as far from me as possible. He then told me when it was loud enough, and then had me turn it up MORE. I felt bad for the people in the front, because it was LOUD. Not obnoxious, just a clean guitar and mic turned up to 10 - literally.

[This is where I'd normally post a video, but the one my mom took on her crappy cellphone camera is unlistenable. I can tell that I did well by watching it, but it's horribly static-y and clippy. My bad - I'll have to film myself playing it again sometime and post it!]

My performance went excellently. I think I was the most audible person there, because I was the only person with foresight enough to not use the PA. Also, this was the first time I'd sang to an audience this large, and it was a good choice to wait. Instead of making people listen to me start at terrible and get progressively better, I got really good privately and tried to blow their minds away my first time. Hopefully, that's what I did.

I did screw up a few times, but only one was slightly noticeable. I changed to the wrong chord on the guitar, and then shifted to the right one really fast. I might have gotten away with it if I'd stuck to my mistake, but it a bit more blatant the way it was. Still, I'm so incredibly happy with how I did. Not many people have come up raving to me, but the ones who have are very adamant, and people I virtually never talk to. They're the people who have no reason to fib and tell you you were better than you were, right? All in all, this performance got me really excited about playing for larger crowds. Which segues into my next paragraph nicely...

I found out about a benefit concert in a nearby town this morning, and signed myself up to perform. It's to raise money to pay for a cancer patient's medical bills, which I'm happy to help with. It's June 17th, so I'll be keeping you posted on that.

Woo!! Getting all of this written has re-kindled my excitement, hahahaha! Yeah...sorry about the enthusiasm, you'll have to watch out. Anyway - have good weeks! And to those who are lucky enough to be getting out of school already, don't have too much fun in the sun!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Most Of My Post Titles Involve Exclamation Points!

Holy crap - I just had a double-sneeze. A sneeze within a sneeze, if you will. Like, not one after the other - two at THE SAME TIME. It was slightly terrifying, but also exhilarating.

Anyway - this past week has been my birthday week! With the actual day falling on Tuesday. My family celebrated Sunday, because I was coaching JH quizbowl Tuesday. OK, let me get it out of the way - my mom gave me a refurbished laptop with Windows 7, my uncle got me a wah pedal for my guitar, and my grandparents gave me my grandma's old car. Phew...I dislike telling people about stuff like that, due to a fear of sounding like a braggart. Not my intention!

The laptop has been occupying large amounts of my time. I couldn't play Minecraft on our old family computer, but I now can. Guess who is addicted? Not me, actually, but it is really fun!! I've also decided I want to learn a programming language, so I've been messing around with Just BASIC. so far, I can write a program that holds a short, stilted conversation with the user...not useful in any way, but it is kinda cool.

Was that game, the one where everyone says the word "penis" with increasing volume, around before the movie 500 Days of Summer? I just ask because I remember that game from Jr. High, but I don't think the movie has been out that long. Also, I figured this would be the most socially acceptable way for me to meet That Blond Guy's challenge to say penis in my next post. Bam! Challenge met.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to eating leftover Chinese and watching Scott Pilgrim for the nth time. Drink your milk!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prom Night, Prom Night, Gotta Get Down On Prom Night!!

Hey everyone! This last weekend was pretty freaking epic...My first prom was Saturday!!!!

Prom was amazing!! I started my morning out with a run, which was probably not the best idea because it tired out my legs. Still, you can't beat the invincible feeling you get for the rest of the day after a run. After that I headed into town to pick up my lovely date Gabby's corsage, and to dine on some of the best fast food on earth, Arby's. We were actually running kind of late at that point, because Gabby was coming over at five and it was already two-ish. I still had to shower, and the house had to be cleaned for pictures. Here are some of those pictures, by the way!

This is me, attempting to take a serious picture before Gabby got to my house. It was actually a challenge, because I was super excited and couldn't stop fidgeting.

This picture shows literally nothing about how we were dressed, but it does sh
ow the two of us together. I'll be able to post more pictures soon, fear not.

When we got to the country club place it was being held, we followed a group of students we saw heading to the back of the building. When we got closer, it became apparent this was the wrong way. Also, we realized the people we were following were all TEC kids, which is our school's trade-school program. They were all mechanics-in-training, and as soon as they saw me they were like, "Drew, follow us!!!" Then they got us lost. Also, all the girls walked way ahead of the guys, and Gabby was swept away from me momentarily...leaving me stuck with the guys, who were shouting loudly in their redneck-voices about how much they'd love to "tear up this golf course with my SNOWMOBILE!!!!" They then proceeded to make engine-revving noises with their mouths. needless to say, I was really glad to catch up with Gabby and leave them to their mechanic-ness.

When we got inside, we were shuttled over to the sign-in table. We were invited to vote for prom king and queen, but seeing as neither of us cared, we didn't. Damien and Cheyenne were there, and had two seats at their table for us. They went to find Tanner to give him a seat next to us, and Gabby and I went and got in line for our pictures. They then served us our dinner, which was pretty good. I didn't have the main food, chicken, just because I wanted a light stomach for dancing.

Speaking of dancing, I did. Like crazy. Tanner and Damien are great dancers, and they gave me a few pointers on how to not look like I'm having a conniption on the dance floor. We skanked the night away...even though there was no ska music playing.
Still, the DJs were great, and spent the whole night mixing and matching different songs up at once. They did an awesome job, and you could tell they were professionals.

After prom was over, Tanner drove Gabby and I to Denny's to chill. Damien and Cheyenne also came, as well as Damien's sister Ashley and her friend Lisa. I was surprisingly hungry, and had a fried cheese melt with a hush puppy sundae for dessert.

Damien took this picture while we were there, and I feel bad that I flipped off the camera. It's my natural reaction to a camera after midnight, and I figured there'd be more taken. However, it also makes me laugh, because it's a great picture. Tanner's stuffing his face with a burger, I'm giving Damien the finger, and Gabby is looking at me scoldingly. We sat around listening to music, singing various ska songs and annoying everyone with our rendition of "Friday."

We headed home after a while, and called it a night. My curfew's 11, but I didn't get home until 2 AM. My mom didn't care, because it was prom and whatnot. I had an excellent time, and I'm really glad Gabby took me.

Also, today is my birthday! I celebrated it Sunday, but I won't be giving you dear readers an update on it until I get time to write another blog post. I've been busy playing Minecraft on my new laptop...ohhh, spoilers??