What took place during the subsequent sessions with our producer…. 

Listen while you read to our preliminary draft of “A Shitty Day” with the click track and guitar, bass and violin parts we recorded on the Panache DAW as we gradually got things working. This will be one of the anchor tracks of our upcoming rock album, “Victory Speech”.

Mid-March – early April 2013

The initial sessions with our new producer were followed by a frustrating and stressful few weeks in which we spent hours on end wrangling with gear in order to get the whole thing to work properly, fighting over lyrics since Chi kept insisting on having vocals, and trying to get a working click track template in place while navigating through Chi’s tantrums and continuous sabotage and obstruction attempts. We did manage to get some sound into the machine, but during that process kept finding more and bigger holes in the rigging.

This whole process would have been considerably less distressing if Chi had understood what we were trying to accomplish, i.e., cobble together a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) from available hardware/software/scrap iron and using various available gadgets in ways they are not really intended to be used, and make it all work with none of us having a sufficient grasp of hard engineering skills (i.e., signal flow, gain staging, etc.) to pull this off effortlessly and had worked with us instead of against us. Unfortunately Chi’s inveterately entitled mindset in which everything is always supposed to just magically work out instantly in a way that is perfectly convenient and ideal for him without him putting any effort or (financial) investment into it was particularly problematic here.

Chi uncharacteristically took matters into his own hands with the lyrics, once coming up with a viable chorus hook in English for “A Shitty Day” by himself; and then trying to coerce me into translating some sort of naive political-wackola-science demogogue-y nonsense in Japanese that he wanted to dub in as a talkover on “March for the 21st Century” (and totally ruin the piece in the process). Even with the assistance of Japanese translation software it came out total gibberish, so he tabled that asinine plan, at least for the time being.

There was a notably absurd hassle in which Chi wanted to bring in an opera singer he had met at a background acting job who had just moved to L.A. from NYC that after initially expressing interest in collaborating with the Panache Orchestra, she ended up too busy to work with us. Steven offered to approach her as our producer and see if he could set up a time for her to come over to listen to some of the material for the new album and see what, if anything, she wanted to participate in if she were able to find some time. I also had a conversation with a rock singer we were interested in and made an attempt to contact another one, but none of it ended up panning out.

Chi’s deeply narcissistic and disastrously mistaken belief that other people, no matter how busy/famous/ accomplished, etc., are all just standing around waiting for him to ask them to do something for him, and upon finally establishing contact and getting a response acknowledging his communication, gets comically piqued when they don’t immediately chase him down kissing his ass to do his bidding, has always annoyed and frustrated the bejaysus out of me. Steven and I tried…and failed…to get him to comprehend that when approaching a professional for a collaborative project that you can’t fucking pay them for, you have to have something available to demonstrate to them at least a reasonable approximation of what you have in mind and are capable of in order for them to be able to evaluate whether taking you up on it would be a worthwhile use of their time and effort! Then again, we’re dealing with Chi, from whom Logic and Rational Thought tend to run away screaming in the opposite direction.

During this time we began exploring doing some busking in Venice after hearing various random people talking about how street artists make out like bandits there, and were also putting Chi forward for whatever viable-looking auditions/work came up, all to no avail. Additionally there was the push-pull thing with the pending divorce in the background. For the most part Chi had been all sweetness and light to me during March and most of April, putting on his A-game even more diligently than when we were first dating, except for when he would revert to type, most often when Steven was over and we were trying to work on the recording project.

Steven and I kicked around some strategies for getting Chi out of the house and gainfully employed while still being available to continue recording on an ongoing basis, some of which looked fairly promising.

A few highlights from the online conversations we had during this phase of the project:


SDM:

I just saw the “(name of opera singer withheld)” email thread. I will step in as “Executive Producer”. Reading the thread I have to wonder out loud what on earth is Chi whinging about? *sigh*

BKSS:

That’s the thing! Drives me fkng MAD!!! It’s sheer narcissism. He’s “confused” because the whole fucking world isn’t lining up out the door to work with him when he isn’t offering anything but “me no have money” “me no can pay you” “me no can do nothing” so “you do everything to make me a star…then I shit on your head.”

Oh, and the best part…in addition to offering nothing, he thinks it’s appropriate to give them some craptastic scratchy “impression” of what we’re doing and then expect them to not only *want* to work with us (= kiss his ass and beg him to LET them work with us), but take a lead role in developing the piece! Fucking hell….

SDM:

Hence my comment last night that we need to build a strong representative demo of any tune he wants a vocalist in on. Otherwise why would they take us seriously?

BKSS:

I know…you’re preaching to the choir. I have tried to jackhammer that concept through to no avail. Did I mention that he thinks the whole world should be lining up at our door to kiss his ass for the privilege of working for him, so why should he need to prepare anything to decent specs?

SDM:

lol! Steady on honey….don’t let him wind you up too much. I know he’s being a dick about this. Or more like a dog with a bone, worrying at it endlessly. So we will just proceed on with the plan. I’ll email (name withheld) in the morning, introduce myself, tell her that we’re actively working on the tunes, and that in 6-8 weeks we hope to have a “professional enough” demo of at least one tune that might be good for her. I’ll ask her to respond within that context.

BKSS:

I think the idea may be to get her to come over and talk about the idea of collaborating, listen to a few examples of things and toss around some ideas…I know that’s confusing after what we just discussed, but I think the sooner she comes over to the house, that will pacify Chi, and then we could get some idea of where her head is at…would that make any sense??

SDM:

Yes. That makes a lot of sense. Put the meeting off for a couple of weeks while she “gets situated” in LA. Then have the meeting. Play her some rough rehearsal tracks and the one (hopefully) very close to finished tune, etc. And then offer the sweetener of group sex. *snicker*

BKSS:

Excellent!

****

SDM:

…Almost detonated one last night? Ouch! First and foremost, no safety issues? Right? If there ever are, promise me you’ll yell like hell. Producer come ASAP! 24/7. Second, what was the Chi-issue, and is there anything I can do about it?

BKSS:

No safety issues. Actually, we somewhat miraculously managed to make it through dinner without a single flare-up. Unfortunately at the end of the night after a productive discussion Chi asked me for confirmation that we were going to stay married, leaving me in the position of having to make a split-second judgment about whether to let him think so (basically lie to him), or let him know that no, the marriage is over, and we’ll work out a separation date and conditions down the road a bit since we’re doing the recording project now. I erred on the side of truth, which needless to say, he was not happy about, but I firmly told him that I did not wish to discuss it at that time. I know better to engage him when he’s been drinking. Fortunately it ended without incident, and as usual, this morning he did not let on that he had any memory of what had taken place.

In fact, this evening when I came home from work, he even told me that he wanted to do an EP after all instead of “only one song”! I’d say we’re in a good place!

And yes, we need to get in front of any potential technical issues re input devices so we can demonstrate to him how easy it is to get a decent recording at home. Hopefully this will work ok!
I loaded the tracks we recorded into the Zoom last week into Sound Forge on the Salvation rig via USB with no problem. As an audio input device, I suppose that may be different. When the Zoom fires up when connected via USB, it gives a choice to select either use as audio input device or “connect to computer” or some such thing.

-BK

SDM:

Forgive me, Brenda, if I am worrying about you and Chi and how things are with the pair of you out of my sight. It is exactly these kinds of situations that I have learned can under other circumstances lead to Chi gear-shifting from a really nice but difficult man into a nasty little fucker who should have his face rearranged. As he did last weekend. I am so grateful that I didn’t deck him! When I came this damn close to failing you…and I was certain driving drunk to San Diego was without question the better of all the impossible options open to me!

****

BKSS:

Venice plan aborted. Last night ended with an unfortunate incident, but today Chi is still on side and wants to record instead of busk. What will it take to get a click track in place, and what time would be good for you?
Talk soon,
Brenda

SDM:

Unfortunate incident. Two words that say so much knowing the context in which you write them *sigh* I’m sure you’ll appraise me of what I need to know.

BKSS:

The incident last night was just a routine reminder that Chi still has to go (after we finish the album and figure out funding of the separation)…something that absent the context of enduring years of it would seem perfectly innocuous, but has turned into a major hot button.

Unfortunately our flashpoints are so low and the triggers so numerous and hot that shit like this happens constantly. Chi was even being his absolute charming best all evening yesterday, apparently believing that felony aggravated assault and battery is something that I ought to just forgive and forget and life will proceed as normal (until the next time).

SDM:

I’m so sorry about Chi. It must be infinitely wearying to be his wife and mummy too. And business manager, booking agent…chief cook and bottle washer of his life, etc.

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