With our concert date approaching for the release of the new acoustic EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man,” my son and co-conspirator, Eddie, and I decided we’d try our hand at making our own “Vlog” this past weekend.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a production that would make even Steven Spielberg proud.
Hope to see you on February 21st!
Kevin’s brand new song, “Deja Vu,” is now available for streaming and/or download at Bandcamp.
A video with lyrics to the song has also been posted to YouTube:
Here is a little info from Kevin about the song:
I wrote this song in 2006. Aside from a couple of different chord implementations and a few arrangement tweaks here and there, the song remains the same as when it was originally conceived. However, the first home demo I made of this track featured electric guitar and a driving drum beat. I always figured it would be a pop departure on an album of rock songs that I still hope to make one day. But when this particular project came to life, “Déjà vu” held up best as the song that sounded like a few folks on a front porch could bring it to life with just a couple of acoustic guitars, a shaker and a couple of voices. In that sense, this song became the backbone of the project.
As for the lyrics, I have often experienced the sensation of déjà vu. When it happens, I figure it means I’m on the right path. Whether or not that true is anyone’s guess.
I also used to dream, frequently, of tornadoes. Whenever a “tornado dream” would come along, I would take it to mean that major changes and/or shakeups were afoot. And it most often turned out to be the case. I’m glad to say I don’t have tornado dreams much anymore (although, I did have one in September of 2013, during the post production of this project).
What really sealed the deal with finally trying to record this song is how much my oldest son, Eddie, seems to love it. He has consistently encouraged me to record it pretty much from the moment he first heard it, which was six or seven years after it was first written.
This one’s for Eddie, who has been a constant encouragement and always an inspiration.
I love you, Eddie!!
At first, “No Schedule Man” was just something funny uttered by an acquaintance. But the phrase stuck with me. It later became both a song lyric and album title. In the process of bringing the song, album and idea to life, the phrase “No Schedule Man” began to take on a life of its own.
Later on, in the aftermath of many seismic life changes in the years following the CD release, the whole idea of No Schedule Man became much more to me.
No Schedule Man is a wish; an aspiration; a reflection of reality with a hint of fantasy.
“Blue jeans, ball cap, ready to roll. All else …. beyond my control.”
Life has taught me that none of us truly know what’s next. None of us are really in total control, whether we choose to tell ourselves that we are or not. I’m learning that life does not always take you exactly where you wish to go. But it always takes you to exactly where you are and need to be. For better and worse. Good and bad. It’s all part of the deal.
Push and pull. Up and down. Yin and Yang.
“I am the waves and tide and wind, cause I blow in, then out again. Passing with nomadic chagrin …”
My idea of No Schedule Man is total acceptance of the inevitability of change, and the embrace of constant hum of the unknown, all while trying to live life, stay present and keep moving forward.
No plan is all part of the plan. It’s not the whole plan: You got to point the boat somewhere if you’re going to set sail. And if you’re ever going to reach a new destination, you better be ready to do some real work in the process.
But sometimes you have to change course. And if you fight too hard against the forces of nature, you’ll sink.
But, “no plan” is a very necessary part of achieving any goal or destination. Some times you just have to let go until it’s time to dig in again.
At this point in my life, No Schedule Man seems to represent all that I’ve done in work and in life and has become its own story, including a cast of characters of all the strange and wonderful people and experiences I continue to encounter along the way.
Perhaps you can relate?
Ultimately, I’ve found that the more I try to be like No Schedule Man and less like my original vision of constant drive, achievement and determination, the more life opens up to me. And the more I open up to life.
I already have everything I need. Yet, I know anything is possible if I’m willing to start, show up and do the work it takes to embark upon the journey.
Live in the moment. Stay present. Embrace change. Meet new people. Be inspired by real people; friends, neighbours, family members, co-workers and members of your community. Stay grounded.
We’ll get there when we get there. If we get there at all.
Either way, we’ll always have the journey.
Have a safe trip ….
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.
Not much new to report on the music front. But since I promised myself only a week ago that I’d keep up a regular look into the proceedings, I suppose I’ll tell you why there’s nothing new musically.
This past week was typical of how time seems to accelerate when we most want it to slow down. I actually visited the studio twice in the last seven days, but each time it was to voice a radio commercial for Delaware Speedway, which I also had to find the time to write and then send out to the stations with which we’re working. The first crack at it came Tuesday, but we never got it finished due to me battling a flu and not having much of a voice which, something that was irritating all week but never managed to take the train completely off the tracks. We got the commercial done on the second studio visit, on Friday and spend and aggregate time of, perhaps, sixty minutes in the studio over both visits. I brought my guitar once and never took it out of the case.
This was also a week that saw me doing double duty on the air, as I got tapped to help out as a guest talk show host of “London In the Afternoon” on News Talk 1290 CJBK on Thursday and Friday while continuing to fill in on the midday shift on BX 93 (92.7 FM) every weekday. The talk show stuff, while enjoyable, takes it out of me because I have to do a lot of late-night studying to get up-to-date on so much pop culture and sports-related stuff that I normally, quite frankly, don’t follow or care much about. But I always learn something new when I go through that process so that alone makes it worthwhile. I got through it, but it’s tiring to finish up a show on one radio station, pack up your stuff, walk into another studio and go on the air on another radio station. It can mix up your brain, especially when you’re not all that bright to begin with.
All of this is in addition to my “real” job with CPT Entertainment, which has us running in several different directions as we finish post production on two video projects; prepare for two upcoming trade shows; manage marketing campaigns with over a dozen media outlets; sell, activate and maintain sponsorship and advertising for various pursuits; and prepare and attend other adjacent promotional events, which included a Wednesday night charity barbecue that I attended this week.
It all added up to nothing new for the “No Schedule Man” music project for this week. But, looking back, I can’t feel too bad about that. After all, I just came inside from cutting the grass here at home. At least I didn’t sit around all week watching it grow.
Plus, I noticed it was a nice shade of green. I didn’t even bother looking on the other side of the fence.
By the way, an early Happy Birthday to Canada (July 1st). I am extremely grateful to live where I do and I sincerely hope that, wherever you are, you feel the same way.