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Bob Elliott
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Bob Elliott

5/28/2009 9:38:04 PM

It's the Writing, Stupid
There are a lot of different things we do to be recording musicians:

We write it, we learn to play it well, we record this track, that track, the next track,...we mix it...

It's all important. If you also do gigs, add to that stuff learning tunes, practicing tunes, getting gigs....

So you have all these things to do within whatever time you have for music, and you decide how much you do of each.`

Right now I'm tied up with making a demo I can use to score more gigs, and it seems to be a lot of work for me to get takes of me just playing and singing solo....takes that are strong enough all through.

And that is holding up recording tracks for a bunch of songs I have written that I want to record.

But what do you suppose happens when you are supposed to be working on the demo? Well, your mind doesn't want to work so much, so it starts to offer you up something else to get off the work. What my mind does is offer me new fresh songs. I work on this demo for awhile and pretty soon my head sidetracks to some completely new tune. Good stuff.

Then I'm not working on any of the songs I planned to record or any of the demo I planned to record or anything at all I thought I was going to do, instead I'm just adding to the pile of songs I plan to someday record.

But it seems like the writing gets better and better, and then it begins to come clear to me: there may be nothing better I can do with my music time than write as long as better and better stuff is willing to come to me.

But it almost seems like if I follow that rule I'll mostly only write because it's pretty uncommon that I couldn't write something if I allow myself to drift into writng.

But then it occured to me, what's wrong with that? Maybe that truly is the ultimate thing I can do for my music if the flow is there: write. Write and record these little one voice one guitar versions and move on. In some ways those versions are the better ones anyway, and in reality, that's all I can bring to the stage, so maybe it's better to just keep turning out songs with the simple recordings as long as they keep coming.

It sidetracks every plan I have for my music time, but maybe my plans miss the more important thing that will ultimately take me where I'm trying to go fastest:

Write. Write and write.

There is no equipment I own or riff I can master that will advance me more musically than the writing of a song better than the ones before. Nothing trumps the writing of a better song.

That's how it looks today. Tomorrow I'll be on some other train of thought, I suppose.


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The Man With No Band

5/28/2009 9:45:17 PM


We are just receptors ... we don't create a thing
Some of us become messengers ... some just ride the train

All the pictures are just negatives ... flashbacks in our brains
Everything was written ... long before we came

Sam Cat


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Jeff Allen Myers

5/28/2009 9:51:31 PM ---- Updated 5/28/2009 9:53:21 PM


It's great that the muse is with you and you find periods where songs are flowing...
By all means, write them down...record them so they are not forgotten. Never turn your back on a new song, some day they might not find their way to your door.

That said, I think you need to find focus and complete what you are doing, or change the songs that are in your recording project. It seems they are not holding your attention for some reason.

Here is a fact that many songwriters overlook, or at least do not think about. We are all in love with our most recent song or creation...... I guess it is human nature.

Here is another sobering fact that is true for many of us....

We have already written our best tune.....

Personally I think I have just scratched the surface, but I could be wrong. For many songwriters their best has already been acheived....no matter how many new songs are written. I would say this is true of Paul McCartney......

I am not passing judgement on your writing Bob, I am just speaking to the overall picture.

Good luck with your songs.... The old, the new, the Brand new, and those yet to be conceived....

Regards,

Jeff


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Bob Elliott

5/28/2009 10:42:52 PM


"That said, I think you need to find focus and complete what you are doing, or change the songs that are in your recording project. It seems they are not holding your attention for some reason."

It's not that they don't hold my attention. I love the songs. I just don't want to get involved in recording them until I get that demo done, because I want to score some more gigs.

Yet then I don't even get the demo done either since my songwriting side would rather hijack me with a new song than work.

Which then adds to the pile of songs I want to fully record after I get that demo done.

Which doesn't seem like it's gonna happen because my head offers up a new song rather than work on the demo.

But then I realized new songs trump it all anyway.

I think

Maybe.


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Bob Elliott

5/28/2009 10:52:50 PM


"Never turn your back on a new song,"

See, and that may be the ultimate point. Yet as far as I can tell, I so far could always go ahead and write another song.

I started thinking maybe I should just go ahead and do that until it slows down.

I mean, I really love to record and overdub....love that stuff, but we only have so much music time, and my theory behind this post is that maybe writing trumps all other things. Can take you to the higher levels in ways nothing else musical can.


I gotta say though, that I don't belive this full time. Sometimes I swear by woodshedding.


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Bob Elliott

5/28/2009 10:57:02 PM


As for if I've already written my best song...when I think that is happened I will fold into myself in depression.

Sam says we don't write the songs, they come to us.

I don't know. I do know you gotta get some parts of yourself out of the way.


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The Man With No Band

5/28/2009 11:00:15 PM


I totally understand where you are coming from Bob ...

I just cannot stop writing long enough to record ... I wish I had a built in recorder ... but then again it would make a massive pile to go through at a later date ...

There's no way I've written my best song to date ... I write at least two or three a week ... and mounds of other writing on top of that ... and some of that writing makes it into songs at a later date ...

My main problem is that I'm just not very good at the recording process and I love writing to much to push it aside long enough to learn proper recording technics ...

I really don't think I can push it aside ... it controls me ...

That's the down side of working by oneself ... not having that diversity to call upon ...


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Bob Elliott

5/28/2009 11:02:41 PM


Anyway, it's mostly just rationalizing because I really need to finish up a demo so I can play to more people.

I think I told this story wrongly. I just wanted to talk about writing.

I wanted to talk about how it is the great leveler. You can't buy the equipment for it. A pawn is as likely as a king to have the power on any given day.


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Jeff Allen Myers

5/28/2009 11:39:08 PM ---- Updated 5/28/2009 11:40:32 PM


"As for if I've already written my best song...when I think that is happened I will fold into myself in depression."

Aww you see, that will never happen because we are all convinced our latest creations are our best. :)

I am sure McCartney does not think his best songs are behind him, but I am certain they are.He keeps going forward and keeps writing quality songs... "Best" is a relative term. It does not mean current material is not good and not worthy. There are diminishing returns in just about every activity or profession, It stands to reason this would apply to songwriting.

For some the peak has not occured, and can occur later in the songwriting career. Either through new inspiration, practice, competence, or dedication. For some, they cannot match the energy of their youth, and the perfect storm they have come through. Again, it is all relative...it is not a negative to say your best song has been written...after all it is "your song" and you wrote it. If you are currently putting out excellent material, to have a song that still tops it is something to be proud of.

It is a blessing to have a catalog of songs, emphasis should not be placed on when they were written. A song written twenty years ago can be just as special as the one you just completed....


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