Monthly Archives: January 2010

Recording Journal, Vol. 30: “Looking Forward”

We’ve almost put January astern and I can scarcely recall any of it. Seems a blur to me. And as I stand at the doorstep of the first weekend in many weeks that does not include work, big events or the like, I hardly know what to do with it. Though I know what I’d like to do:

Sleep.

For a long time.

It’s been over a month since KG and I last recorded anything. But the heart of the project is still beating (much like the “Heart of Rock ‘n Roll”) and I can sense an upcoming return that will bring renewed vigour and momentum to see it through to completion. Right now I’d be happy just to get back out to see Kev again and hash out some songs, as it’s difficult to fall victim to life’s perceived burdens when you’re singing.

Still, whenever I’ve been able to steal a few minutes, I have been playing guitar and creating concepts in my mind over the last few weeks. But when I grab a guitar, it’s been the electric 6-string (rather than the acoustic), and I’ve been dusting off some rock material that I’m excited to work on. Burying myself once again under a mountain of my own expectations, I’ve already told KG that the minute we’re done recording the acoustic album, we’ll get to work on the rock project! Haha.

I’m my own worst enemy. I know it.

At this point, what I need is some rest. We’ve been through a time of very high intensity with my company, CPT Entertainment, and we’ve come through it with some success, more knowledge and more firepower. Of course, as you grow, it all becomes more to manage; an art in itself.

There has been no rest in the radio work either. Hosting a weeknight show, regardless of the fact that it’s pre-recorded, tethers you to a regular routine whether you like it or not. Even though your body and mind cry out for a rest on a Monday after working a trade show all weekend, you still need to find the energy to prepare and perform on the air even if you’d really rather tell people to go listen to something else for a day or two.

I am not complaining. The great news is that all this work was expected. And I am lucky to have the opportunity to do it. Embarrassingly fortunate, really. And on top of that, there is much to look forward to.

This coming week, I’ll be escaping for a few days to do nothing but be with my wonderful wife and two great sons. We are headed to the Sunshine State, hoping it saves for us some of what the state was named for. But if not, that’s okay too. We’re just excited to be together without all the day-to-day distractions life requires. And we know that after a few days away, we’ll be aching to get back home, which is part of the fun of going away.

I’m excited that the Daytona 500 is coming up. I’m excited that the golf season is getting into full swing (with or without you-know-who). I can see that spring is not far off, and that’s a nice thought too.

I’m pumped up about where CPT Entertainment is headed. We have worked tirelessly and in a constant state of change for about three years. We are finally starting to see the roadmap of the future coming into focus. That’s exciting and empowering.

I’m very excited about where Kevin Bulmer Enterprises is going, and you can expect that I’ll be putting more of my time and effort into that in the coming months and years, especially after the “No Schedule Man” CD is ready. Songwriting, performing, speaking and writing: those are my passions. I have promised myself I will make those things a part of each day in some way, even if it’s only a few moments’ thought.

Off the top of my head, some other things that are happy thoughts:

David Francey told me the other day that he was working on a new CD with Keiran Kane. That is very good news!

Extreme fans are impatiently awaiting the upcoming live CD/DVD and, possibly, a chance to see the band live again this year. That’d be really exciting.

Will Kimbrough’s new CD, “Wings” is due in the latter half of February

Jimmy Buffett has announced that a new Margaritaville restaurant will open in Niagara Falls, Ontario, by this summer!

Looming on the horizon: the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the Ryder Cup; four events that are about the only things that will keep me in front of a TV for more than an hour anymore

NASCAR’s season and the inevitable (and enjoyable) chatter among friends that goes with it

Spring training is around the corner. Tigers baseball will be on the air again soon.

The A-Team movie is due to hit theatres in June. I love it when a plan comes together.

Above all else, my wife and kids are healthy and happy. I’d trade all of the above and anything else in order to be able to continue saying that. After all, what else is there?

As for the whole reason for this journal – our recording project – well, we’ll be back on the “No Schedule” schedule soon enough. And when it gets closer, I’ll put my nose to the grindstone and make lots of noise about it.

But not today.

Gotta have some things to look forward to.

– Kevin

PS – Just “cooked” myself a couple of corn dogs (Pogos) for lunch. Now my office smells like a fall fair! See you at the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Recording Journal, Vol. 29: “Time to Sing?”

It’s been almost a month since KG and I last put anything on tape. Whatever momentum we had is long gone, and it will take some work to find it again. We’re still not sure when we’re going to start up again, although the time seems to be drawing closer. I talked with Kev yesterday and he told me that the re-construction of the new control room was coming along well, and that he was hopeful that the details of the Christmas Eve break-in will be resolved sooner than later.

Meantime, I haven’t seen him in about two weeks and that’s far too long. In that time, I’ve strummed my guitars for a few minutes here and there, but haven’t sung a note in a great while.

In any case, the last couple weeks have been an absolute blur. It feels to me like Christmas was a year ago. Last week in particular was one of the most intense times in recent memory, as our crew worked overtime (and then some) to confirm and announce a mammoth event for our friends at Delaware Speedway, while at the same time prepping and executing a large-scale trade show (our 3rd Annual CPT Racing Experience).

The last seven days have been a wild roller coaster ride of contrasting emotions. When you’re focusing with such intensity, working long hours and celebrating the highs while acknowledging and attending to the inevitable lows, it wears you out. This past weekend, I was mentally exhausted before we even opened the doors for the trade show. But we got through it and on the whole, I feel pretty good.

But I’m ready to get back to my music. I don’t even care if anyone wants to listen to it. I’ve learned that I just need to do it for my own sense of well being, and whatever happens with it is fine. I don’t like deliberately setting it aside, because I did that for about five years when I was working at Delaware Speedway and I won’t ever make that mistake again. But just like there is a time to sing, there is also a time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

My crew worked hard the last while. And we will continue to work hard.

But soon it will be time to sing again.

Can’t wait.

Kevin

Recording Journal, Vol. 28: “Focus?”

With my company’s next major trade show now only six days away, it occurs to me how ridiculous my definition of “focus” has become. For instance, knowing that I must set a few things aside until after we’re done with our event, over the last week I have knowingly “focused” on the following tasks:

Management, delegation, creation, sales, promotion, marketing , implementation and execution – along with my teammates – of our company’s (CPT Entertainment Inc.) major trade show (the CPT Racing Experience); Identification, creation and implementation of Delaware Speedway’s strategic market plan for the 2010 season (just wait’ll you see what’s coming); continued preparation and execution of the BX 93 evening show five days a week; and, most importantly, being as good a husband and father as I can possibly be.

Left out of the above scenario is, of course, music, along with any other development of our music project (artwork, booking gigs, creating merchandise, etc). Also absent are necessary tasks such as reading, sleeping and the always necessary activity known as “goofing off,” not to mention any other aspect of CPT Entertainment, and there are many.

My favourite radio host (and about the only radio personality I can listen to and truly enjoy anymore), Colin Cowherd (ESPN), will often encourage listeners to “say it out loud” when they’re considering or trying to evaluate something. Just say it out loud, he’ll say, and see how it sounds.

Given what I’ve written on how I’ve “narrowed my focus,” I think that what I’ve said out loud sounds completely ridiculous. But such is the life I’ve created, and I am grateful for it. I just need to manage it better I suppose.

The music project, achingly, is on hold at the moment. The clock continues to tick at seven months and counting. It is maddening. So close, yet so far away. But our time will come. I at least have learned enough patience to know that.

While I am toiling with my CPT duties running overtime, KG continues to try and pick back up from the Christmas Eve break-in, and re-construct the “real” control room at his studio (we’d previously been working from a make-shift temporary control panel along with his “real” vocal booth). Perhaps it’s a sign that the timing is exactly how it should be. I suppose I’ve no choice but to take that point of view, unless I wish to become frustrated, scattered in thought and more anxious than I already am (which is plenty).

And so, though it currently feels as if it will take forever, I realize that the next seven days will be gone in the blink of an eye. And the next time I write, CPT’s next trade show will be referred to in past tense, no matter how it turns out, for better and for worse. And I will come out of it ready to get back to the studio. And KG will land with his feet on the ground and be ready to finish this project once and for all.

And then the real work begins.

Bring it.

– Kevin

PS – Thanks to my buddy Derek for lending me “The Coffin Dancer” by Jeffery Deaver. It was the most enjoyable read in a while. Currently, I am enjoying a “Spenser” story by Robert B. Parker. My dad says they’re fun. He’s right. He usually is.

Recording Journal Vol: 27: “Red Light”

It was two weeks ago (less a day) that KG and I last lit the red light by hitting the “record” button on our music project.

Thankfully, the last two times we worked on the CD, we caught some nice momentum, which surprised me a little bit. On the evening of December 21st, I went to KG’s place having followed his orders for “vocal prep” to the letter (he’d told me to wear a scarf when I was out – to keep my neck/throat from sudden changes in temperature – and to drink lots of water). I was proud that I’d done what he told me. I drank so much water I was constantly running to the washroom to get rid of it. And the scarf makes me look like a real artist.

But I got a cold anyway.

Nonetheless, I could still sing, so we managed to get the lead vocals recorded for “Sunny Day in November” that night.  The following evening, I felt worse. I didn’t think we’d get much done, but we started in on the lead vocals of “Do Better.” After three or four takes, my energy dropped and my voice started to give out. I could feel it. The same thing happens sometimes when I do my radio work; it’s like a switch gets flipped and then you just don’t have it anymore.

Kev called for a break. At that point, I thought we might be done for the night. But Kevin wanted two more takes of “Do Better.” I thought he was crazy. I suggested perhaps we try something a little softer (though “Do Better” is not really very demanding vocally) and then to come back to “Better.” KG said to go ahead and try that.

But then I changed my mind and said, “Let’s do those two takes right now. I’m ready. Let’s go.”

We did the first and KG said, “Wow – I don’t know what happened during our break, but it sure worked. That was the best yet. Now give me one a little better.” So I did. And Kev was happy.

I don’t know how my voice recovered, but it did. Perhaps it’s all in your head? Could be. As Yogi Berra said: “The game is ninety percent half mental.”

If we’d called it quits then, I could have been tricked into being pleased about it. But we kept at it and a funny thing happened: not only did we finish the lead vocals for “Do Better,” but we also did the vocals for three other songs, including “Bagley Avenue,” “Kevin’s Prayer” and “Awake (But Not Alive).”

In fact, sensing some momentum, we pushed it a little longer. With only about 20 minutes left in our scheduled session (and already three lead vocal tracks in the bag) I asked Kev if he was up for another one. I said, “I figure we’ve got just enough time to for me to sing ‘Awake’ about four times.”

So that’s what we did. I think I ended up singing that song six times in total, just to give KG some choice as to what sounded best (plus, in my opinion, that song is all killer and no filler so I’m happy to sing it as many times as KG asks me to).

I don’t know how we got that much done on that night. Perhaps the universe knew what was to come, and squeezed all it could out of us. Immediately after that, I sniffled and coughed through most of the days surrounding Christmas. It was nothing debilitating, but not good for singing. And of course, if you’ve been following this story, you know what happened next:  The break-in at the studio on Christmas Eve (for more about that see last week’s blog).

For a quick update on that situation, Kev is recovering from it okay, but it is by no means over with. He’s had a ton of extra work to do because of the thefts, not to mention dealing with the psychological burden that goes with being violated like that. Add in Christmas (“holidays” … yeah, right) and other day-to-day stresses, and he’s got a lot to deal with right now.

He’ll get through it. His other buddies and I are doing our best to keep his spirits up. But by and large, he does a fine job of that on his own. We have great admiration and respect for him and love him very much. No person who has that need ever worry, as he’s already earned everything that really matters. It just doesn’t feel like it sometimes; times like these. But he’ll get through it.

Meantime, I managed through Christmas as well. During that time, I largely put the brakes on anything related to the music project, other than playing guitar here and there and noodling with some new song ideas for down the road.

A highlight of the holiday season was getting to see my sister Karen who was here from St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I love my family very much and wish I got to see my sisters more (my kid sister, Janna, is in Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, of all places. Not exactly a day-trip).

Another great good friend of mine zipped off to Vegas and married his better half (who is also a great friend), so that was a terrific piece of news.

And beyond that, I was pleased that I finally gave myself a little bit of time to just sit. I enjoyed watching the first two “X Men” films just prior to Christmas (I never thought I’d say that), got completely wrapped up in the Canada vs. USA World Junior Hockey Game (that hasn’t happened since I was a kid), began reading a great book by Jeffrey Deaver (lent to me by the same friend that got married) and started watching the newer version of the “Battlestar Galactica” TV series on DVD, and I absolutely love it.

Oh yeah – I also managed to be on the radio on BX 93 for 6 hours every weekday around Christmas and New Year’s too.

But other than that, nothing happened.

Meantime, getting back to the point of this journal, while KG and I are unable to record, we are getting together at his studio for our regular Tuesday night session tomorrow night. The show goes on. We’ll be rehearsing. Singing. Playing. Having fun.

And when the time comes for that red light to go back on, we will be ready.

Kevin

%d bloggers like this: