Mar 31, 2018

Rough Sketches

There are many things about writing music and being in a band that I love.  I have always had some sort of creative outlet ever since I was a kid and my head is constantly buzzing with ideas.  I am not sure what I would do without an outlet for those ideas and I hope that I never have to find out.  As a member of a once active, now semi-active band, there are many ways to get feedback from fans.  That feedback is the awesome sauce that makes you feel like you are doing something special.  

While shows are a blast during and after each performance, they are only temporary things.  Even if playing out becomes a lifestyle for you, all those shows will eventually fade away to memories.  They make for great stories and the interaction that you have with fans is wonderful to think back upon, but none of that is something you can touch or something you can sit back and enjoy.  It's the studio that gives you an opportunity to lay down your ideas for posterity.  It may not have the instant gratification that interacting with people in a live setting provides, but your recorded music is what can be shared with people later in life.  It is what will endure once the band is no longer taking you from one city to the next.  It's your legacy.

Marcus and I went into Pershing Hill Sound last weekend on a mission.  We wanted to get a good recording of everything we have been working on as a band, including new ideas, so that all of us could have something to play along with as we work out our ideas for each of our instruments.  We have all been around the block and it was apparent that something tangible would help everyone feel as though we had something to show for our hard work.  This is the longest we have ever gone without playing a show and I think there was an inspirational spark that was lacking in some of us.  Now everyone has something to focus on, something they can rock out with on their way to and from work and something they can play while they are at their computers.  We will all be working from the same recording now instead of going through folder after folder of riff ideas with silly names.  It's easy to lose focus when there are so many versions of practice recordings.  It takes a special kind of obsessive compulsive disorder to stay on top of twenty recordings of half songs and to be able to hone your ideas while you sort through them all.  I am pretty positive I am the only person in the band nerdy enough to make that system work.

For those interested we recorded five completed songs and three "rough sketches" which are riffs that have one or more complimentary riffs to go with them.  I also wanted the guys to see how close we are to being done so that they could see how far we really have come. 
We have been doing the same thing for so long that some of us were beginning to show
signs of "going through the motions", and that can be a band killer.  It's a slow motion band
killer though, especially if everyone enjoys each other's company as we do.  Practices have a way of becoming their own social event.  Hell, Fly Machine got to a point where we spent at least as much time playing foosball on the table just outside our room as we did playing music.  We needed this to keep our focus and to re-energize the band.  

As a drummer I have to have recordings every now and then to be able to critically analyze what I am doing in each track.  There are good ways to do things and better ways to do
things and I can't always tell which is most effective until I hear it played back.  It has always been the case with Confessor that we play our music much, much better after we record.  Whether that's because of focusing on something so long to get it done, being able to hear it back or a combination of the two, it's true.  We sound like we have been playing our songs twice as long as a band as soon as we walk out of the studio.  I am already making notes about things to change in my playing to make this album be as solid and formidable of a drum beast as possible.  Since I don't know any awesome drummers to play it for me I'll have to do it myself.  Sucks for you, the fans, but that's the hand we have been dealt.  I would see if Keith McCoy could do it since he did such a smash up job with the Condemned intro on YouTube but as my Minister of Death, his schedule is pretty tight.

The idea to record was strategic for many reasons.  Greg has moved Pershing Hill Sound to a new location and I wanted a chance to set up my monster kit in his new room so that if we do the album there we will both have a good idea of how to set things up.  Also, Marcus and I had never recorded together and I wanted to have a leisurely experience for our first studio outing so that when we do the album we will be seasoned pros.  There can be a lot of stress when you are finally recording your album, even if you are one hundred percent ready.  Now that Marcus and I have had our first date as it were, I'll bet that when we finish the remaining songs we'll do another of these rough sketch recordings first.  If everyone uses the recording from last weekend in the way we envisioned it will be an invaluable tool for sharpening our edge before we record The Real Deal.  With this kind of experience under our belts we hope to make this album as close to a "Happy Ending" listening experience for everyone.  Who doesn't like happiness?  That's right people, only A-holes won't like our new album when it comes out.  So what is the lesson in all of this?  Don't be an A-Hole!  Buy Confessor and Confessor related merchandise.

Editor's Note:  

Monica and I have had quite a lot going on here at the house and with our families.  Lots of minor and not so minor health issues with loved ones, a near death for our beloved German Shepherd, Ripp that terrified us both and the loss of my last grandparent kept us mired in what seemed like a 24/7 battering ram of uncomfortable truths that all began to fall upon us as soon as Loincloth shuddered its windows.  There were many reasons I wasn't "feeling it" at all after Loincloth split up.  I couldn't feign enthusiasm enough to write anything here at The Poundry.  I was one hundred percent ready to make the adjustment to being in one band again but not everyone can change gears at the same time.  Confessor were locked into "maintenance mode" for a very long time and I needed things to move.  Just because you might be ready for something doesn't mean the people around you are, or even that they feel the same need to accomplish something that you feel.  When it gets to be too much you have to make a decision: Bail because others don't share your timeline and make everyones' hard work for nothing, or stick with it because you believe what you are doing will be rewarding for the rest of your lives.  That has not been anything I have had to consider with regard to Confessor in its current iteration, but I do know what it's like to have that floating around both as the person making the consideration and as someone waiting for another member to make that decision.  In either situation it can stifle growth until the decision is made, and in either situation there is a lot to mull over.

Marcus and I have become a writing force in the last few months and that has culminated in last weekend's recording which I am listening to as I write this.  I can hear things now that I couldn't hear in the room and several new ideas for drums and rhythm section are coming to me even now.  It is truly a wonderful thing that even out of such a long period of varying levels of negativity an inspiring ray of light can touch you and lead you into a space of such creative energy.  Some of that comes from being able to shed some of the negativity.  There isn't such a thick layer of funk for inspiration to pierce.  I am feeling more and more confident about our musical direction and our upcoming album.  It will still be a while before we are done but we are rounding the last corner before our home stretch.  That feels like a reward within itself, honestly. 

For the Collectors of Band Facts out there, the sketch at the top of this post is an earlier draft of Confessor's logo.  Even before I began illustrating as my creative outlet I had a thing for calligraphy. You can see that the serifs have a similar flow and that the 'f' is basically a lower case version of the 'F' in the logo we have always used.  Plus, the fade from light to dark within each letter was the same in the final Confessor logo.  I thought some of you might find it interesting as a way of seeing that how things start and how they turn out are often traceable paths. 



  1. Thank you for sharing. Confessor gave remained an influence since I first heard Condemned back in the 1990s. Having been in bands myself, I can relate to the "down time" and the feelings of frustration at non action. Regardless, I am thoroughly excited at a new Confessor album tho. Ever patient and dedicated to your music \m/

    1. Thanks Digideus! Your dedication is humbling, and your patience is... very necessary to follow our progress! We can't wait to be able to share what we have been writing with you and every other person who has managed to work a Roman theme into their "handle". Excellent work! I hope that The Ides of March worked out for you this year

  2. As a long time fan and the current website designer, this excites me more than anyone can know.. Thanks Steve, always an enjoyable read.

    1. Ah, Mr. Handy! So good to hear from you! By the way, I believe I was able to figure out how to change the link all by my widdle wonesome. You know the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the apes first discover weapons/tools? That's kinda what it felt like, Monica will be so proud!. Next thing on my list... drums. Come on out and visit us soon! Hope you are well!

  3. If there's one thing in this life you can depend on, it's that a new Confessor release is always worth the wait. Just like the band, Confessor fans are a special breed - patient, waiting, knowing world domination is imminent and coming soon. As always, any Confessor news is super-exciting...thanks for the update : )
    I must go now. As Minister of Death, it is getting crazy busy around here as you can imagine. All hail the mighty Confessor...Death to all assholes - they will be dealt with accordingly


    1. My Death Minister has taken time away from his duties to give us a nod! Thank you, M.O.D.! I assume that ghost writing the drums for our new album is going well, as well as the plans for Thinning the Masses of Undesirables. We have listed all undesirable characteristics by alphabet. So the A-Holes will be dealt with first, then Babies, then Chronic Complainers, Dicks,... you see how it goes. WE are allowing for lots of wiggle room. The Babies category has been a little controversial but it minimizes the threat of future agitation by allowing me to restock the world with gingers from my own stock. We have a nursery full of the soulless cherubs ready to unleash polyrhythmic mayhem. Insert maniacal laughter here "________"