I’ve sent a test version of Chopper Newt’s “Clipboard” to the inboxes of those concerned. I’m sure it’s not what anyone expected.

It’s very very late, too, so I’ll say more about it tomorrow.

Edit 3/31: Okay, it’s tomorrow afternoon and I have a few minutes to add to this entry. Sitting here in my office (read: closet-sized hole with no windows) finishing up some grading of exams, I listened to Clipboard on my iPod and I realized the bass line truly does suck. No better way to describe it. Knowing how to play guitar does not confer bass-playing knowledge, apparently. And playing a bass line on guitar then tuning it down does not produce good bass. I’ll try again, probably very late tonight when I should be asleep. An alternative would be to add bass via synthesizer, but I doubt it would sound good at all. I’ll have to practice. Choopski: why don’t you use all your extra dollars to buy a cheap bass guitar and add bass lines, since Gator has abandoned the practice of music in favor of prose and web design?

The tune also needs some rough edges. Although I’m loathe to eliminate my acoustic-lead guitar, which in my humble opinion sounds excellent, the song needs some distortion somewhere.

In view of the new LFA project, I think the Bloomington Democracy cover could be updated to say something like “1991 – 1993 – 2008.” I’m no longer as interested in releasing a best of the old recordings. If people want those, they can always visit this blog and download them for free. Who will want them but diehard fans (of which there may be three) anyway? But we have new versions of Stay With Me and Channeling Lou coming along. Are there any other old tunes that are good enough, and timeless enough, that they deserve a rerecording and inclusion? Nusery World, perhaps? Cigarettes?


22 Responses to “Clipboard”

  1. Chopper Newt Says:

    I DLed this with the intention of listening to it on my zune here at work, but through a series of weirdness I’ve only got the first 30 seconds, so I’ll have to check the rest when I get home.

    I like the opening. This will be a totally different song, and I am pleased about that.

    Based on the opening I’ve already got some ideas for the vocal, sonically at least, assuming the melody falls in like it seems it will, I’ll ahve to get back to you on that.

    The basis behind wanting to do this came in part from an observation I made listning to a lot of Springsteen b-sides and discards, where I noticed lines and whole verses that eventually appeared on his albums, but seemed to have started in other, totally different song settings. It seemed like he would work a lyric until he decided the song wasn’t working, and then recycle it eventually into a different song, often more than once. I thought this was fascinating, and was interested to see if it would work in this case which seemed tailor-made for that kind of re-think.

    This should end up being a very good song, I think.

    I will be getting to KFL, I need some time in the house alone, which doesn’t come around a lot.

  2. It’s not even what I had in mind when I began. One can definitely sing to the basic rhythm. I’ve been doing a sort of Michael Stipe thing:

    Bm: Pick up the lease and you pass it to the
    A: next…. one [a la Losing My Religion] take a
    G: rememberance… and you clip it on a
    Bm: clipboard

    Or something like that. I think there’s plenty of room for your guitar, probably with some nice distortion, too, to rock it up a little. Otherwise I’d add distorted guitar, too.

  3. Chopper Newt Says:

    To be honest, the rest of the LFA world seems to like Nursery World more than I do, so I won’t weigh in on that one. Cigarettes, I think, would be tough to get something that I’d prefer to the original. I think Zim’s presence on there is totally perfect as is, or at least, not something that modern recording technology is going to yield an improvement on.

    I’m kind of with you, I think the old stuff that’s good is fine like it is, and the stuff that’s not, well, it can just remain forgotten. Just my 2 cents, I’d rework anything that had a consensus saying we needed to do it.

  4. Stay With Me has definitely benefited from a rerecording. It is a good song that was flawed in the original “studio” recording. As for the rest, I don’t know what would need reworking. You’re right: without the sax, Cigarettes isn’t the same. I always liked Nursery World musically, especially the slowed down “demo” recording we did. Never liked the studio version, which was a mess, I thought. But the song practically defined LFA in 1991. It could use a new version. The question is do the lyrics still mean anything?

    Any other songs at all that could use a rework? I’m wracking my brains, but nothing comes to mind. Channeling Lou is a project, I’d say–whether it ever works out is a question. Giddy With Dread? That was a good song that never got done well, indeed.

  5. Last year Choop-A-Doop and I had many e-mail conversations about if we were to re-record old LFA songs, which songs would we re-record.
    I went kinda full-circle from only wanting to do a couple, to practically EVERYTHING we ever did back to Choops current stance:

    “…the old stuff that’s good is fine like it is, and the stuff that’s not, well, it can just remain forgotten.”

    Having said that, here are the songs I think would benefit from being dusted off:
    > Nursery World
    I don’t know if I agree that we should do the ‘slow’ version. Near the end of Freep we had a pretty cool, hard rockin’ fast version that I’d be interested in getting a good recording of.

    > Giddy
    I would be interested in this ONLY if it were a truly overblown, tripped out, effects heavy epic that would make Pink Floyd envious. However, without Gila (which seems unlikely) this one should probably be left alone.

    > Winters Chill
    The world’s most (wonderfully) depressing song. I’ve always felt this song was “unfinished”. I have ideas that the ending should be coda’d out. Also, (forgive me Gator) but needs a very haunting, melodic vocal.

    > Indian Summer
    Great lyrics, decent melody, lazy arrangement. This could be a great mid-tempo song.

    > The Last Train
    I’ve always heard Choop’s voice in my head when I hear this song. (Sorry Komodo) Also…the hiss…

    All the other songs that I love, I think I love just the way they are. I don’t think the “improvements” that we could make would make the songs any more enjoyable.

  6. Metro, Sir Pent: Did you receive my Clipboard demo? I work and I slave on a new song idea, and nobody lets me know how it sounds!

    I messed around with Nursery World this eve, but I’ve begun to hate my new telecaster. Either it sounds like shit, or I really need an amplifier to get some good sound out of it. Running it straight into my computer with an amp simulator is producing something that sounds like mud.

    Just for the fuck of it, I decided to stop by Chelsea Guitars tomorrow, having heard it’s the hang out of Billy Corgan and other local rock heroes. I can’t afford a single guitar in the whole shop, but I can play nice sounding ones at any rate.

  7. I did receive it. I agree that it needs some “ugly” guitar sounds because right now it is way to clean and nice. (It’s a little Richard Marx right now.) However, I really dig the synthsizer sounds in it!

    Now that we have it, I’ll try to send you the recording we have with the old music so that you can hear what was done previously.

  8. No, I demand you retract that statement. It does not at all sound a little Richard Marx. Not even close. Clean guitar does not mean pop fluff.

    Either way, I had always intended to play the arpeggiated part of the song with a distorted electric. If I have time, I’ll do a version like that this eve and post it.

  9. Chopper Newt Says:

    I do like the Clipboard track. I properly added it to my Zune and played it on the drive in to try and start creating a vocal line. I want it to have a proper melody, and I don’t have anything I like yet, but I’ll keep messing with it.

    Metro, I’ve received our Maiden tickets.

    I’m up for re-doing Indian Summer (indeed, I’ve already taken a crack at it a few months ago on my own), Winter’s Chill not so much as I think it’s pretty much been defined. No Gila, No Giddy, as far as I’m concerned – I think we were all pretty much guest artists on that one, Gecko’s nice guitar work notwithstanding.

  10. I will not retract as I do not feel that “little” Richard Marx is bad. I enjoy some of his work…just don’t want to sound like it.

    So what about “Last Train”? I know that Chimper Nuts has no real association with the third album, but I’ve always wanted him to sing it.

    The guy that gifted me with Cubase is also a musician. He plays guitar and bass…and owns multiple of each. He has offered up his services for laying down bass tracks. I told him that I would get your guys’s take but for him to go ahead and record bass tracks for the SWM & KFL…you can listen to them and see if he is any good.

  11. Cool. So I’ll stop bothering with “bass” lines. Who is he and does he have a lizard name? Just kidding. Tell him to e-mail you, or me, an mp3 of his Stay With Me bass line, and we’ll insert it into the file and see how it sounds. I imagine it will sound awesome. Eventually, if you are ever well enough to do some drumming, we’ll have to get WAV files of everyone’s parts and come up with a good final version.

    Does Richard Marx have anything worth hearing? I can’t remember any of his songs.

    Last Train was ok musically, but the lyrics weren’t so hot–Gator had better efforts. But I’ll redo practically anything if there’s a majority that wants it. As for Winter’s Chill, I did like it, especially that live version we did with the rock-ballad part, but it’s really about ole’ Iv’s life now long ago. How can someone else sing it? As he said the last time we played it: “I think that chapter of the story is just about over.” And that was 15 years ago. We need a new rock ballad.

    My guitar work on Giddy With Dread sucked, despite Choop’s praise, although the idea was good. I somehow pulled it off live during the infamous Concert on the Quad, but not on the “studio” recording, where it sounds like rusted metal flowing through raw sewage. And I agree that it was Gila’s project, so there’s no point in rerecording.

    So does that leave us with anything old that deserves reworking? I’d be up for doing another version of Lady Bug’s Picnic, although “releasing” it could be tricky. If we ever release anything. At any rate, it would be great on the upcoming LFA children’s album: The Lizards Don’t Need No Education. Did I mention this project? He he.

    Other stuff? Whoops is still shockingly relevant, but I think it’s also a period piece, incapable of improvement, even with better recording technology. Let’s focus on some new stuff and see where it takes us, eh?

  12. His name is Alan. He’s a “young” guy. Used to be in a progressive hard rock band. Much like us he has kind of been away from playing for a few years and sounds like he just wants to play. He says he likes our stuff.

    I’d hate to redo Whoops or Ladybugs…to me they just seem perfect the way that they are. For the technology and (small amount of) effort we put into them…perfect. What we would do now might be more ‘note for note’ but I don’t think we could ever recapture the energy/vibe of those particular recordings.

    Now that you mention it, maybe one of us should write a new ballad and leave Chill alone. It’s just SO depressing and visual. Let me try to and work on a ballad…and hopefully it won’t be too cheesy.

    I still want to redo Nursery World…but here’s a wrinkle. Why can’t we do a “mellow version” and a “rock version”?

  13. Chopper Newt Says:

    Mellow version, Rock version, and Daft Punk remix.

    Ladybug’s Picnic would require me to call Danny Epstein again, and I ain’t doing that.

    I’m getting closer to a vocal line I like for Clipboard. A few more trips to work and back and I’ll have it. Then at some point I expect I need to take a guitar to it.

  14. Actually, I have a depressing ballad that I am fairly “proud of” that I would love for us to work on.
    In the e-mail of many songs that I sent you a few weeks ago was a song called The Batphone Is Ringing.
    Tomorrow I will ‘record” some ‘vocal interpretations’ and forward them to you.

  15. I saw the Batphone song, although I never imagined it as a ballad–maybe a Smashing Pumpkins kind of ballad, although it was self-consciously silly enough that I instinctively started writing Fountains of Wayne or Weezer style poppunkrock.

    You forgot Country version of Nursery World, too, by the way.

    Just did a distorted version of Clipboard, too, which should be in your inboxes. Couldn’t just add distortion to my acoustic guitar, either. That sounded like crap. Had to record the electric.

  16. It might not be “exactly” a ballad…but I picture it as slow to mid-tempo.

    I will go and download the new distorted track posthaste.

  17. I like the changes. It makes it a little edgier.

    Last night I started experimenting with different EFX on different tracks and different levels. I can see how you could get over-involved with tweaking stuff and trying different variations. It makes it all too easy.

    Having done that, I am going to try and send my “Bobby McFerrin Vocal Interpretation” of how I picture Batphone. I’ll do it tonight.

  18. Actually, I had to hold myself back from doing a super overdriven rhythm track. Chops has to have something to do, after all, other than sing.

  19. sayyyy..
    i’m still kind of in touch with David “A-Train Salvatore” Zimmerman..
    i don’t know if he still plays his sax, but it might be worth me asking about, if you want to do Cigarettes.
    what do you say?

    (i love that song)

  20. choppernewt Says:

    Hell yeah – A-Train!

    We’ve been having an internal discussion for months about redoing material, what to do and what to leave alone. Cigarettes was pretty much off limits because I wouldn’t ever try to do it without that sax, but I suppose it would be on the table if he was available. Either that or let him play on some of the new stuff. Or both.

    I think you will like the stuff we’ve got coming up Gordon. It’s actually not terrible.

  21. …except for the drumming, which is passable…

  22. Perhaps some Springsteen style anthems with a sax solo?

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