Home Studio, Sweet Home Studio
For the record, my show at the Hotel Utah went pretty well. I’ve been tyring to find some pictures, but alas, there are none. My camera died before I went onstage, and even though a few friends attempted to take video with their phones, it all turned out too dark.
In the meantime, I’ve been hustling to get my artwork together and send everything off to the manufacturer so I will actually have a CD. Recorded mostly in my home studio, written and produced by me, my CD is the exact definition of “vanity project”. This has caused me to reflect on the long strange trip it’s been, and in that spirit I bring you my list of The Pros and Cons of Recording Your Solo Vanity Project Home Alone.
Pro– You will never experience this: You glance into the control room at an off moment only to catch the recording engineer giving you a bored/smug/judgmental look; when he realizes you’re looking at him he puts on his game face and tells you it sounds good.*
"Sounds great! Rock and Roll!"
Pro – When you know that this part of the song needs a synth and bass interlude (and you can never have too many, really) no one (i.e. no guitarist) will argue that this is the perfect spot for a 12 minute, uber-wanky guitar solo.
"Twelve minutes of feedback, that's what it needs, don't it?"
Pro – On the days when you just can’t get into the groove and lay down a decent track, you don’t have to face an anxious bandmate eager to give you the “stop fucking up” speech, thinly disguised as a pep talk while his eyes turn into a taxi meter ticking off the wasted studio time.
Pro – You get all the props. Sure you may be an antisocial, ego maniacal, control freak, but if someone, somewhere likes just one part of one song on your CD you can proudly take all the credit.
"Yep. Did it all by myself!"
Pro– More beer for you!
Con – No entourage since your antisocial nature has lead you to spending countless hours alone in a dark corner of your basement with nothing but a computer, some instruments and a rats nest of audio cables that you have begun to name and assign personalities.
"Your basement is kind of depressing. Catch you later."
Con – No scapegoats. When the whole thing turns out half-baked you won’t be whispering to your friends that it could have been amazing if only the bass player had learned to play her instrument.
"Can you believe I showed up drunk for half the sessions? And I didn' t even know my songs. I kicked me out of the band. That's why the CD sucks."
Con – Singing well. It’s hard. Don’t try this at home, kids. Leave it to the professionals.
Con – At that moment when you’ve just made a glorious mistake that has taken the song someplace new and exciting, the only one there to revel in your genius is Pinky, the pink guitar cable who is always cheerful and has only nice things to say.
"You go, girl! You're the rockstar you always wanted to be!"
Con – More beer for you!
*This has nothing to do with James, my recording engineer from New, Improved Recording Studio, and everything to do with some guy named Tony who recorded my band in Delaware back in the 90’s. Not that I’m the type to hold on to bad memories . . .