Spaceship Days

Spaceship Days

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Particulars of Inspiration: "Shadow Walking"

 Every now and then, you just get lucky.

  The luck might come in the shape of a $20 bill you find in the back pocket of those jeans at the bottom of the laundry basket. It could be finding a code for unlimited ammo scribbled down on the inside of your brand new but previously owned video game, or that crack in the sidewalk that sends you stumbling into your as yet undiscovered soul-mate.  For some, the luck is even a life altering Lottery ticket.

  Spaceship Days, got lucky with a song.

 It was early evening at the HQ, and Matt and I were working on some new music while waiting for Greg to arrive at his customary twenty two minutes late. The tune was a melodramatic little ditty, and as songs are often wont to do, it just wasn't coming together the way we wanted.  Getting restless, we decided to take a break.  For me that meant food.  For Matt that meant more guitar playing.

  Suddenly, from the kitchen I heard Matt strumming some chords, and 'doot-doo-ing' at the top of his lungs. I dropped the ham, cheese, and single slice of bread I'd been puzzling over how to turn into a sandwich and ran back into the living room.

  Matt was laughing, but I thought what he'd just done was an all together different sort of funny.

 "Play that again!" I said strapping on the bass.

  "Seriously?" Matt asked, dubious.

  We'd been talking about 'bop bops' and 'na nas' and 'la las' and 'woo woos' in music earlier that day, so I knew he was just goofing around, but every now and then...well, you know.

  "Yeah," I said. "Seriously."

  It didn't take much convincing, or many more chords, and by the time Greg arrived a few minutes later, we had a new new song to work on.

"Shadow Walking"

 Shadow Walking is a song about how people sometimes won't see what's right in front of them. Its about bearing the weight of your troubles on nothing but a stiff upper lip, with wide eyes that watch the world go by. This song is for everyone who has ever felt alone in the crowd.

 We hope it reminds some that they don't have to.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Use Your Toys!

 Once upon a time, there was a Boy with a Computer.  The boy loved his computer, and the computer loved the boy. Together, they would listen to music, watch movies and chit chat with friends.
 The computer's favorite times were when the boy would sit for hours tap tap tapping on his keyboard, filling up file after file with words he dreamed would one day be printed in big, bright picture books of men and women with capes. The boy's favorite times where when, even if the music player was on shuffle, the computer would  play two Catherine Wheel songs in a row--and in really special times, three. They were happy, the Boy and the Computer.

Then one day, the computer died...

 Everyone's been through it, that pit of the stomach bubbling, angry feeling you get when an 'essential' piece of technology fails you. The utter frustration of knowing you can do nothing at all to fix it makes the thought of how much money you'll need to spend to replace it is especially vexing.

   It could be your phone, your television, or even your car, but when it's your computer there is that extra little sting, an added twist of the How-Are-You-Going-To-Pay-Your-Bills-Now? knife.

When my computer shuffled off to that great Dell store in the sky the only warning I got was a few clicks, a beep and then a flash of that blue screen that I now know was telling me the end was nigh.

 I was crestfallen.

My computer had everything on it. Everything.  And just like that it was lost.

All my MUSIC!!!

Three years worth of little tales to go into my as yet unfinished graphic novel.

And my TUNES!!! My SONGS!!! They were GONE all GONE!!!

Oh--and other stuff like wedding pictures , account numbers and whatnot. All that vanished too.

 Enter my Mother. Beautiful lady.  She got me a new computer for my upcoming birthday, just a scant eight months away.  I was on the phone with her while setting it up, listening while she rattled off all the new and exciting features on my fresh out of the box gift.

I was nodding, even though she couldn't see me; the nod when my Mom is talking reflex is still strong. She's my hero.

"It even has a built in camera." She said "You can send me videos of my grand baby."

 I could only scoff.

 "Camera? " I said already thinking about the easiest and most efficient way to get all those songs from all those CDs back into MP3 form. "That's about as useful as me churning my own butter."

She laughed, because our Moms are supposed to help us believe we're funny, but  I was eager to get off the phone and get started on the important stuff...

Well, its been almost two years, and my sonic therapy is just now getting back to where it belongs. As it happened, none of my best laid plans were neither easy, nor efficient, but I've gotten my music all back in once place.

 While we have never quite gotten as tight as myself and its predecessor, New Computer has been a pretty good sidekick. We watch movies. We type words into files. Shuffle is again in full effect.

We chat with friends too. In fact, we try to answer every email and Instant Message that travels across those invisible spaces between computers all over the world. People talk to Spaceship Days, so New Computer helps Spaceship Days talk back.

Only this time we do it a little bit differently.

It turns out there was a use for that camera after all. Guess I'd better get started churning that butter.


Friday, September 17, 2010

The Further Adventures of Being a Band Daddy

  "When I grow up I want to be in a band. I want to be a mommy too. I can be a mommy since I'm a girl." 


 It was a bit odd, this declaration, considering that we had been in the middle of talking about sidewalk chalk. Still, after making music at various levels of competency for almost half my life, hearing my daughter Gracen say she might want to try it too gave me a hard, fast flash of pride.  Of course, I chose to selectively not hear all the 'be a mommy' bits though.


 Sure, she's only five (and a 1/2) and will no doubt want to be at least a hundred more things before finally traveling to that far away land of When I Grow Up, but good Daddies just have to play along sometimes. 


 "What kind of band do you want to be in?" I asked.


 "The kind where I play drums!" she replied with a big grin broken only by the space left by a recently lost tooth.


As a member of the rhythm section, this too was pleasing to me.


 Grabbing up a set of $8 conga drums I'd gotten from somewhere about a year before she was born Gracen took a firm grip on my thumb, and pulled.  It was Daughter Fu--the classic 'Daddy Come With Me' technique. 


 Naturally, I couldn't resist.


"Let's go have band practice," she said still smiling.

 I was smiling now too. It had been a bit of a tense summer for me. For months I'd thought that all Daddy-ish pursuits had been ditched in favor of princesses and stuffed pigs, but it seemed my little girl had finally remembered that I was fun for something other than setting up pretend tea and cakes for the fluffy toy crew.


"Get your Big Guitar," she said-- which is Gracenese for bass.

 So I did...and we proceeded to rock out.


 That's when the trouble started.


 Now, as someone who's sat through 3,027 tea parties I understand that my child likes to have things just so. Obviously this trait was inherited from her mother, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, about thirty seconds into our jam she stopped banging her drums, and waved her little hands about in what I could only interpret as a 'hold everything' gesture.


 My last note faded away into silence. My daughter just stared.


 "No Daddy," she said with that slow, deliberate tone that we grown ups use when little ones are stretching our patience. "You have to listen better."


  "Huh?" was all I could come back with.


  "You have to follow what I'm doing. Just listen to my drums OK?"


  "Oh," I had been busted. "OK."


 She then proceeded to count me in, but didn't start playing until she got to six.

 There was a bit more playing, and a little giggling, then the child reached out and started turning the pegs on my bass.


 "What are you doing?!" I barked, aghast.


 Never Touch Daddy's Bass is one of the Three Laws, superseded only by Comic Books Are NOT For Drawing In. 


"I'm changing the frequency," Gracen said with such big eyed (dig-me-manipulating-my-father) innocence that I couldn't help but get over myself " so it will sound better."


What a diva.


 "You sure you don't want to be the singer?" I asked, trying not to cringe as the 'frequency' of my instrument was changed into something I probably wouldn't know how to play.


 "Yeah, I'm the singer too." was the smooth reply.


And on it went...


 We may not have created a pop masterpiece that afternoon--or anything other than some loosely organized noise accented by our own glee filled laughter--but it was easily one of the most fun times we've shared in the five (and a 1/2) years I've been playing at this gig called Fatherhood.  


 You know what else? Once we had played until our hands were sore and our gear was all packed away, the "after practice tea party" was pretty cool too.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Particulars of Inspiration...& a video : "Pain in Pretty Things"

  Many people, by the time they reach the age of thirteen, have gone through some sort of breakup. Whether it was with your BFF or tween age crush, we can all probably remember the first time we went from having something with someone to having nothing, and how awful it felt. I myself can recall getting none too gently cut loose at my Eighth Grade Formal with an uncomfortable degree of clarity: All the courage I’d mustered to ask for a slow dance was gone quickly as a snowflake in a microwave.  There was finger pointing, then name-calling. Through it all Peter Cetera  crooned in the background about “The Glory of Love”, blithely oblivious to my pain. All told, it was a lousy way to end middle school. To this day I can’t stand to hear that song.

  See, a breakup is a many-headed beast. Sometimes they take too long, but occasionally they’re right on time. They can be spontaneous and quick, or planned with marching band meticulous precision. They can get carried out with a kiss or with a shout. They can end in a cuddle or a cry.  They can be a relief, or a Shakespearean in magnitude tragedy.  ‘It’s not you it’s me’…’We just need some time apart’…’Let’s still be friends’… and on, and on, and on.

  A break up can be a lot of things, but easy is never one of them.

  “Pain in Pretty Things” is a song about the part of relationships where they end, and the emotional spiral leading down to that place people never really plan for.  The song is an imagined conversation between a Spaceship Days sibling, and significant other who plays drums with an almost famous rock band. It’s about the hows and whys and maybe nots people find to try and explain the reasons they feel the way they feel. The world of Not Easy is the place this song comes from.

 “Pain in Pretty Things” is a song not just about breaking up, but about the internal struggle that comes from your head saying that something makes sense, no matter how loudly your heart disagrees.

One of the coolest things about this song--and possibly every song we've ever committed to a re-playable medium--is the fact that this one got covered.  Our very good friend the Lovely Ms. Lettie P.  performed "Pain in Pretty Things" with her uncle at a school Talent Show.