39 Things I Learned at the 1st Dailies Rehearsal

Next week, Chad, Corey, Rosy and I are loading in our gear to El Dorado Studios for a week to record The Dailies record. I know Chad is going to jump on soon and start whipping the readership of this fine blog up into a frenzie of fan-driven internet buzz, so I don’t want to steal his thunder. I’ll just pass along some of my observations from the first rehearsal.

1) Sometimes it’s harder to work creatively with friends than it is to work with strangers. With strangers, everybody knows their role, because it’s assigned to them by the person writing the check. With friends, we’ve all done so much stuff together, and the dynamic changes so often, that it takes a little bit of push and pull to sort out who does what, who gets to have what opinion, how far to push ideas onto someone else’s part. It’s all good, but it’s also a different dynamic.

2) Over the course of the last few years, I’ve developed a lot of producing and keyboard skills that are specifically used to gloss over crappy musical ideas. “Hey everybody, ignore the pedantic melody and cliche lyrics of the singer-songwriter and listen to this awesome ear candy! Look at me! Look at me!” As a result, being confronted with very good musical material is leaving me empty-handed. I’m going to have to re-learn how to get out of the way.

3) Attention Songwriters: Jesus is not your girlfriend. You are his wife. Get over the sexual reassignment issues, and grapple with that for a bit. Then, listen to “As I Am” when the album comes out, and weep openly at how much better Chad wrote it than you did. He’s good. He’s scary good.

4) 6/8 is not for wimps!

5) There are few things in life as awesome as giving Rosy 4 beats right before before the chorus.

6) I need to learn to make my peace with technology. Getting angry with inanimate objects is maybe the stupidest thing ever. I should reserve my anger for the living, breathing people who build the technology which so thouroughly confounds my attempts at a peacful, zen-like state of bliss.

7) You know that thing where you look over at someone you know, who you’ve played with 500 times, and you think you’ve heard them do everything they do, and then they do something totally new, off the wall, perfect for the song, and it makes you jump back in awe? Corey is just crazy sexy cool on guitar.

8) Air Conditioning is an essential tool for proper rehearsal.

9) So is coffee.

10) Sometimes, the songwriter isn’t the best interpreter of their own songs. Sometimes, someone else in the room has to say, “I think these 8 bars function this way, not the way you originally thought”, and they will be right. Somewhere along the line (since the official end of Toil Nor Spin), Chad learned this piece of wisdom, and taught it to us. That’s a pretty humble thing to be willing to accept.

11) I love playing keyboards.

12) I also love writing charts. This is a nerdy thing to admit, but I really like the process of inking out rhythm charts. It’s methodical, organized, and easily the best way I know of to fully understand a song.

13) Fermat’s Lesser Known 4th Theorum: The amount of time between the start of rehearsal and the emergence of the first dirty joke is inversely proportional to the number of boys in the band.

14) Now is the right time to make this record. 5 years ago, Chad couldn’t have written it. 5 years ago, we couldn’t have played it. 2 years ago, we wouldn’t have wanted to badly enough to bend and flex to make the schedule work. 2 years from now we’ll be so famous that we won’t even answer Chad’s calls. So, now is probably perfect.

15) 3 years ago, I spent an entire Saturday building one single B3 sound on my Triton keyboard. It’s big, beefy, dirty, whirly, and still the most commented on sound I use on that board.

16) Ever seen Lenny Kravitz go into full rock star strut on stage during a live show? That’s how Chad looks while playing bass in rehearsal. He was actually head-banging at one point. To his own playing. On a ballad.

17) So was Corey.

This thing is shaping up to be an epic record. I’m lit on the idea of going into the studio with friends, and playing great tunes in one of the best rooms in town. if you’re wondering when you should start your crazy fan obsession, now would be the right time.

16 thoughts on “39 Things I Learned at the 1st Dailies Rehearsal

  1. Zack

    I don’t think I’ve ever been excited about a “friends band” releasing a record before. I have a feeling this is gonna be the shit… can I say shit?

  2. aly hawkins

    Zack – I think we’re allowed to say shiz or shizzit or sh*t. That’s in the rulz somewhere.

    I’m so stoked to hear this record! Chad IMed me a couple tracks this week and I was breathless. Every year that guy gets better at his craft. (And E sounds freaking AMAZING. Like the secret love child of Jennifer Knapp and Leigh Nash, but with cojones of velvet-wrapped steel…can I say steel?)

    I hope you guys (both Chad & Mike…and maybe Erica??) post more along the way. It’s so great to have a window into the studio, even if it’s only one of those 6 x 6, double-paned, bullet-proof things in the door.

  3. michael lee Post author

    I’m logged in as Mike, because it’s his laptop, but it’s actually Chad.

    I totally want to post more things as we go. It’s been all consuming. Soon… I will post some thoughts and demos and invite everyone to come check out our website. Next week is going to be amazing, and we really want to share it with you all.

    Thanks for the kind words.


  4. Bill

    I’m sorry you’ve only been able to learn 39 things so far. Hopefully you’ll learn some more at the next rehearsal. ;-)

  5. Paul

    Actually there were 17 items on the list, and I’m looking forward to the other 22. My thanks to Mike, Corey and Rosy for their current and future contributions to this project. The songs really are good. “The Children Will Wake Us” has been in my brain all week, and not just because the chorus has a good hook to it — I’ve actually been pondering the words themselves. I can’t wait to hear what you’ll be adding in the studio.

    Chad and Erica’s enthusiasm after the rehearsal tonight was wonderful to see and hear.

    We will be praying for all of you next week. Really.

  6. Chad

    We have a winner!

    Mike was curious as to who would be the first to take him to task about the missing 22 things.


  7. Paul

    My comment was not motivated by arithmetical correctness, but rather by eager anticipation of more observations to come.

    But now that I think about it, if you want to work on fractions to keep all of those time signatures straight, consider this: Bill can mow his mother’s lawn in 6 minutes. His brother Jim can mow it in 9 minutes. How long will it take them to do it together, if each has his own lawnmower?

  8. Zack

    3 hours and 45 minutes. Bill and Jim are just a couple of drunks when they hang out and mow lawns together.

    Sheesh, Paul. Everyone knows THAT!

    I can’t believe you said, “If you want to work on fractions”. I mean, who doesn’t?

  9. Melody

    15) 3 years ago, I spent an entire Saturday building one single B3 sound on my Triton keyboard. It’s big, beefy, dirty, whirly, and still the most commented on sound I use on that board.

    If you want the true Hammond B3 sound, contact my husband at http://www.hammondcentral.com . He sells new ones and portables including the Leslie speaker. He’s always happy to lend for recording purposes. Andre Crouch went in and re-recorded all the B3 tracks on his new CD “Mighty Wind” because of the fantastic sound. Ricky Grundy really cooks!

  10. michael lee Post author

    Thanks for the heads up, Melody. We actually have a B3 for the session, we were just using samples for the rehearsal. It’s hard to lug a real one in and out of the van for most gigs, so I make do with the triton.

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