Headless: The dunes of repetition

Updated: Feb 17


diamonds hadder john evermore headless cross poet

Good morning, it’s a headless Friday on the cusp of spring. I found myself wondering around some blossom trees this week… it was a pleasant sight. Ezra came along for the walk… it was like old times. The hills are so beautiful this time of year. Here in BOK it’s chilly in the mornings but once that sun comes up… and the Warmoths start humming… it’s like heaven. I was listening to a song called ‘The Feast’ this morning… it’s a song about alexander the great, it was a piece of music written to commemorate a great battle he had won… apparently during the celebration he changed his mind and decided to kill everyone in the city he had taken and burned it to the ground. In retaliation for all the troops he lost in the battle. Hmmm.. those classical folks sure do pick their song topics. Now that the goat is “Kind of” retired, I can talk about all that’s going on in BOK and the Hadder realm.


New Music: “Long is the Road” is moving along nicely… I’m through the whole song now musically. Fine tuning and re-cutting some vocals. For those who don’t know, “Rivers End”, “City of Fire” and this last song, “Long is the Road” all came from the “TOR” project I was involved in. The songs were just about completed when the band broke apart. Considering all the vocals were recorded in my studio and were completed, and that each track took me months to write and complete… I decided to recut all the music under the vocals rather than let all that hard work sit idle. I’ve done my best to recut and reimagine the music side of things, trying to stay clear of the original riffs note for note… but there’s only so much I can do at times. All I can say is that it was a very conscious effort to somehow reconnect the dots between the vocal lines and key and tempo of the original music from the track without playing what was originally there. It’s a strange way of working and it was quite the challenge to say the least. There were about 8 songs on the TOR record, I plan on doing this to all the songs in time… although I will be closing out the first Hadder record once I complete “Long is the Road”. The next record is looking more and more like some sort of play/opera/conceptual record focusing on the Diamonds Hadder Novel/Field Notes I’ve been writing… so not sure when the remaining TOR songs will be rolled out. Time is an enemy of mine, I just wish I had more of it.


Ramsay/Evermore tracks: There are 3 more songs in the works for the Ramsay/Evermore project. The process for this project is: Ramsay sends me MP3 tracks he’s written, just music, I load then into a tracking app I have and I generally just use them for vocal exorcising, if something starts appearing over the track that I like… it moves into the recording phase on my end. At that point I request the individual tracks and load them into a protools session… I then start tracking vocals and keys and rearrange the track if needed as the song starts taking shape and direction. This week I loaded a song into protools called “Night of the Witch”, we’ll see what comes of it. I’ve also requested the files for two other tracks. For me this project is a great release from all the Hadder work.. it happens without any expectation and I have total freedom to create at will. Not having to write the guitar, bass and drums… is a wonderful treat for me, lets me focus on the things I really care about.. words and vocals and melodies. Anyway, just a little update. These tracks seem to finish quicker than Hadder material, so perhaps ‘Night of the Witch” will show up one day without warning.


The Stargazer Crew: Most of my time this week was spent tracking vocals on one of the Sabbath cover songs we are doing called “headless cross”. I’ve had two long vocal sessions and I’m just about done with it. Maybe a line or two will need recut, but overall headless is complete. Doug still needs to cut a solo, and then we’ll mix it and shoot a video… Doug has been talking about an old church to film in… so my eyes have been peeled looking for a little desert hide away… something spooky and fun. I’ve posted a little clip of some vox below from a running mix I did of some vocals from last night. These vocals were cut in my enchanted living room vocal booth.

“Rainbow in the Dark” is all cued up, I’ll probably go in there and start tracking some vocals this week. Oh boy, that’s going to be fun. I’ll mention this very briefly, as I’m not sure how it will play out, but a keyboard player who played with Dio for many years might be getting involved in this little project as well.. You know, this whole genre of music in general is very particular and special.. it’s hard to explain why it’s so special and why we all work so hard on our crafts in order to even attempt to create this type of music… it has to do with things much deeper than just music, that I know for sure. It will be interesting to see where this stargazer crew goes next. Some original music should happen later in the year and who knows… intensions are good and the path seems clear and honest… we’ll see if there’s some magic still left in that old bottle.


Little lesser deeper things: As you can see.. I’m juggling a few things. It’s busy and it’s fulfilling. Each morning I wake in the city and train… day in and day out… it’s been this way for a long time now. It has to be this way. It started along the ocean and now I’m washed up on a barren parking lot watching “Dawn of the Dead” play out in front of me each day. I feel robotic but well equipped. Protected by the iron gates between me and the world. At times I’m hypnotized by the routine of training… it’s almost like I don’t even have a choice, and that’s a good thing. The pattern is so engrained in my blood these days. I imagine I’ll soon be swept away again… with a better view hopefully… but the patterns will stay the same. I suppose there is a lesson here… the rituals and patterns we are caught up in are little grains of sand on a rocky beach, soon they will accumulate into sand bars and eventually the rocks will submerge below the dunes… the dunes of repetition. I’m walking a lonely beach of my dunes…. And my barefoot steps have a resolve that border on madness. Madness and will combined can be a dangerous sand drift. But…The spring is coming… I can’t wait to see what will sprout this year from all the planting I’ve been doing. I hope your creating beautiful dunes of your own.

I'll leave you with something I heard this very morning, moments ago, from a weary traveler down by the red river.... he said "It's always colder in the shade." So true.

Farewell.

-j


Some random video to some vocal takes for "Headless Cross", in the shade, listening stage. Unmixed and unproduced. But real non the less. Enjoy the process.