Hobby #3: Reinvent the Concept of a Band – Hobbies You Should Try Instead of Starting a Band

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably already thinking about how to get more involved with making music, and perhaps starting a band is one of the options you’re considering.  Starting a band takes a lot of effort and persistence, and you’re a busy person with important obligations.  You’re not sure if staring a band is realistic at this stage of your life.

Part 1 of this series presented five reasons why you shouldn’t start a band.  Part 2 described some situations when you might want to start a band and ignore the advice in part 1.  This edition will reconcile the earlier two positions by providing suggestions about what you could try instead of starting a band while still enjoying some of the rewarding benefits of being in a band.

The suggestions below are intended to inspire you to find creative ways to help you achieve your musical goals. For instance, if you really love to write music, you can do that without having a band.  Alternatively, if your path to happiness involves live performance, there are more ways than ever to perform that may not involve the cost or effort that it takes to start a band.

Understand Your Goals and What Makes You Happy

In an earlier series, I encouraged readers to do a series of self-reflection exercises to gain a better understanding of what makes them happy when they are making music.  Some musicians love the attention from fans, while others get a thrill from being on stage.  Other folks need to express themselves through creation of original music, while others are happier playing covers.  That post provided a series of thought experiments that readers could do to try and figure out what aspect of music specifically makes them happy and which they can do without.  That series explores these considerations and more.  I encourage you to read check it out before you check out the suggestions below.

Things to Try Instead of Starting a Band

  • Start Something Like a Band but Change the Rules to Better Fit Your Lifestyle – Every Thursday I get together with a group of friends.  We get dinner, pick up a case of beer, then we head to our rehearsal space.  We have a running “setlist” of songs we’d like to learn, and we tinker through them.  Sometimes they sound terrible, sometimes they sound ok.  The ones that sound ok, remain on the set list for next week.  Eventually we have a couple dozen songs that we can play through top to bottom, and they sound recognizable.  They’re not what I would consider “gig ready” but that doesn’t matter because we never really play gigs.  That’s not our goal.  We play because it’s fun and we don’t care if anyone likes us.  We get the comradery and fun of being in a band without any of the pressure. 
  • Perform Online – The internet has many great ways for artist to perform for audience online.  Some of them can even be done live.  For instance, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and others have options to live stream a concert that you stage in your living room for people all over the world.  Omegle.com allows you to broadcast to a single random person – sure you don’t know who is going to be on the other end of the line, but nonetheless, it’s a unique chance to perform.  Who knows, maybe you’ll make an new fan.[BG1]  This could be a really great option for people who live in remote locations and who can’t book real world gigs locally.  If you’re unfamiliar with Omegle check the video below by guitarist “the Dooo for” inspiration.  A word of warning, Omegle can get a wild so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Write and Record Songs with People in Other CommunitiesBandlab.com is free recording software that allows you to easily record your songs, and it allows others to record overdubs with people over a standard internet connection.  This is wonderful way to promote collaboration with artists all over the world.  You can use this option to find interesting instrumentalists that may not have available in your area.  It’s easy to use, especially if you have previous recording experience, but new users should not be deterred, you can easily find tutorials on a variety of topics on YouTube.  Of course, this isn’t going to replace the feeling you get from playing live for an audience, but perhaps that’s not what you crave.  If your main goal is to vibe with talented artists and make a great single, this might be the path for you.
  • Create New Content: Perhaps you used to play in a band years ago and you have some old recordings laying around that no one hears anymore.  You could use those great old tunes to make music videos and upload them to YouTube.  Think of how much fun it would be to reconnect with old bandmates by reviving some of that old material (cringeworthy as it may be).  Alternatively, you could create new music and start from scratch. 

I have a former bandmate who makes a video Christmas Card every year with his kids.  It’s always such a treat to see the kids grow, and watch their musical skills develop over time.  Best of all, I get to see my buddy enjoying the music he loves with his family. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out Jacob Collier- he’s a tremendous musical talent and he’s got a large catalog of music that he’s done independently.  Of course, if you’re new to video Jacob’s work may be too hill a climb to start with- you might want to check out the Lyric Videos that are all over YouTube, then build on that.


Don’t let  society define your approach to forming a band, especially if you’re doing it as a hobby.  You can make your band any way that you want it to be and you can focus on just one aspect the musical experience if you want.  If you don’t want to or can’t play gigs, focus on something else.   Be creative in your search for a creative outlet and you may find that you enjoy playing more than you ever did.

Hobby #2: Start a Band

5 Reasons Why You Might Want to Ignore The Advice From Part 1


Let’s face it. Being in a band can be tremendously rewarding, even if you never make it big. Making music is a great way to pass the time, and it doesn’t get better than doing it with your friends.

I’m not surprised if many of you are tempted to reject the recommendations, I made Part 1 of this series where I posted five reasons you shouldn’t start a band.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with playing in a band as an adult, and if that’s what make you happy then I hope you’re not deterred by my previous post.  However, hopefully you’ll consider the advice I provided and use it to your advantage in way that minimizes those down sides so that you can optimize the amount of enjoyment you have.

Reason 1: You won’t be happy unless you’re in a band

This blog tries to help adults figure out what aspects of music make them happy so they can on those activities in the limited time they have.  Perhaps you’re a person who just will never be satisfied with anything less than being a traditional band.  Maybe you’ve read some of the other posts I’ve written and decided those suggestions just aren’t for you.  That’s cool.  You do you!

If you’re in that boat, you’ve probably already had some success playing in bands.  You’ve felt the rush of live performance and you’re not willing to give that up.  That’s awesome, you’ve found your path.  If this describes you, then you’re better prepared than someone who just taught themself how to play during the pandemic. 

However, if you’re one of those new players you should not have any delusions that being in a band will be easy.  Assess your commitment level, if you’re not all-in, then consider trying something else first.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Reason 2: You love to perform in front of an audience, live, in real life

I always took note of the first person to hit the dance floor when I would play gigs.  That person came to the show determined to have a good time.  She starts the party and others eventually join in (it’s always a lady).  Things snowball from there. 

Spotting that first dancer always reminds me why we perform.  All artists want to make people feel something, and spontaneously bursting into dance is a very clear person indication that someone is having a great time.  You’ve helped that person escape their troubles, at least for the evening, and that’s a wonderful service to humanity.  You should be proud.  I always was, and I still miss performing when I spot the first dancer a gig that I’m not playing.

I can recall a gig that had an entirely different emotional impact.  My college band was booked at coffee shop in upstate New York, just a few days after the terror attacks of September 11,2001.  It felt wrong to play a show knowing that some everyone in the audience was still in shock, and so many in our community were still mourning.  The band and I debated whether we should cancel the show or not.   Ultimately, we decided to play the gig because we knew we could help people heal. 

We reviewed our setlist and swapped out a few songs that wouldn’t really set the right tone.  We also added a cover that we’d never played before “Let it Be” by the Beatles.  We never had a chance to rehearse it beforehand.  I can’t recall ever playing a song live before or since where we had no rehearsal. 

I had some jitters about playing such an iconic and beautiful song unrehearsed, especially during such a serious gig.  So, I snuck out the door and went to the park across the street to practice a little bit before our set.  I might have gotten through the song once or twice before a kid, probably about 13 or 14 years old rolled up on his skateboard.  He listened for a minute and nodded along without saying a word.  When I finished, he started peppering me with questions about guitar and what it’s like to play in a band.  Truth be told, I was in absolutely no mood to chat with him.  I was trying practice, but he seemed over joyed to pick my brain about the guitar.  Eventually he told me that he had just gotten a guitar and he learned to play a Green Day song.  I relinquished my guitar to him and asked him to play for me.  His clumsy fingers fretted the chords correctly, but he couldn’t quite move them with the right timing.  When he finished, I applauded, he handed the guitar back to me, he was beaming with pride, and I was proud of him.

Eventually he jumped back on his board and rolled away so I returned to the coffee shop and played the set.  Eventually we came to “Let it Be.” It started out surprisingly strong despite the lack of rehearsal.  All was going well until the singer cued me up for a solo.  I’ve never been a very confident improvisor, so this gave me a beat of panic- but just a beat because my brain shut down and the fingers took over.  It wasn’t the best solo you ever heard by any means, but it was melodic, expressive and I didn’t play any dumb notes.  The crowd loved it and the guys congratulated me after the set on it.

I know this was a long story, but it highlights so many of the things that I loved about performing, the personal connection with an audience, the personal connection with the kid in the park, the flow of a moment that overwhelms you both emotionally and creativity.  These are all benefits you can get from performing live.  There was also something special about bringing joy into a world that needed it as badly as people in New York did that week.  I honestly believe that decisions like ours, to play that gig, are why the terrorist can never win.  Despite their efforts to destroy us, we persevered with strength, beauty, and hope.

Reason 3: You have a group of like-minded, dedicated musicians who want to play

Maybe you already have a bunch of folks in your life who are eager to play. The sun, the moon, and the stars are aligning, and it just makes sense to start a band.  You may have stumbled into a situation that is just too good to pass up. 

If this is the case, I recommend that you schedule a few jam sessions to see how it’s goes on a trial basis.  Speak to all the members and try to get a sense of what everyone wants to get out of the band.  Are you all aligned with what you would like to achieve?  It may be turn out that people aren’t as aligned as you think, but you won’t know that until you start testing the waters.  Can you feel momentum building? Ride the wave and see where it takes you.  Maybe you’ll be surprised. 

If it turns out that your band members aren’t as dedicated as you are, you may be in an unenviable position of having to replace someone if you want to continue making progress – but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Reason 4: You live in place with ample opportunity

Not all areas of the world are the same.  Some cities like Nashville or New Orleans have a tremendous number of venues where bands can play.  Of course, areas these cities are also saturated with extraordinary talent who want to play in those venues.  If you live in a place like this, you may find yourself incredibly inspired to make music but may find the barriers to booking shows entry unsurmountable.

On the other hand, there are plenty of towns around the U.S. that have a bar or two that are happy to let local bands play.  You might even happen to know the owner if you live in such an area.  It might be a reasonable goal to score a monthly gig with your country covers band in a place like that.  In my experience, the pay for gigs like that isn’t enough that you can quit your day job, but that’s not your goal it might be enough.  Maybe you’re happy play for a bucket of beers.  By all means, if that make you happy, ride that wave as far as it goes.

One more thing to consider is that even though the clubs in your area might be willing to hire you once, they may not hire you again if you can’t bring a good crowd out to hear you.  Make sure that your musical style is something that is palatable to the community where you play.  Your death metal band may have trouble building an audience in areas that have a strong preference for jazz.  That doesn’t mean you can’t find success, but you will probably have to spend additional time and effort promoting yourself.

Reason 5: You need a means of expressing yourself that you can’t do any other way

Singing is not a skill I’ve ever been very successful developing, but I love songwriting.  One of the challenges I face is that if I want to ever hear my creations, I need to have a partner who can bring it to life.  That doesn’t mean I need a band per se, but as long as I’m recruiting a singer, I might as well work with a drummer too (drum machines and virtual drummers are cool, but they’re still no substitute for the real things). 

There are numerous ways to collaborate both virtually and in real-life.  These may be great options for you (I’ll write more about them in Part 3 of the series).  However, there is something special about forming a band with like-minded musicians who learn your style and preference and can play off them intuitively, especially when you’re all in the same space in real life.  Being in a band is in a lot of ways a like a good marriage, and over time you can really develop synergy and learn to play to each other’s strengths and support each other to compensate for weaknesses.  This is much less likely to occur with temporary collaborations.

Some people just have a need to express themselves, and perhaps a band is the only way for you to do that.  If you find that you can’t adequately express yourself without a band, then do it.


This site encourages you to explore the many musical hobbies you can try.  Starting a band is one hobby that many of you have probably considered, in fact, it is probably the first one many of you have considered. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time, and I encourage to try it especially if the topics I wrote about here outweigh the challenges I wrote about in Part 1.

I hope some of you have made up your mind and now you’re sending texts trying to schedule your first rehearsal with your future band.  I hope you’ll post a video of your first show in the comments below.

However, if you’re still sitting the fence, that’s cool too because I have a lot of suggestions to help you key in on other ways that you can get the thrill of performing without all the effort of starting a band.

Be sure to check back for Part 3 of the series where I will share a few of them.  Also be sure to check out my other posts because those will give you other musical hobbies that may be just as fulfilling and that may be better suited for your lifestyle.

If you want an alternative take on what it’s like to be in a band check out this video.

Quarterly Digest – Quarter 2, 2022

What Has This Blog Achieved in Three Months?

On February 6, 2022, I aimlessly published my first blog post.  It was on a different platform, and eventually I moved my material to WordPress.com – but that was just the beginning of what has become a very meaningful endeavor for me.

When I started posting, I thought I was going to record an album.  I was going to use the blog as means to document my work and hopefully use it as an artifact to hold myself accountable for making progress.   I had written a bunch of tunes during the covid lockdown and bought so much new gear.  I just had to find a way to put it all to use.  I still do, and hopefully one day I still will.

More important than the equipment I acquired and the catalog of songs I had written, was the perspective I had gained during that.  I spend a lot of time reflecting about my priorities, my experience, and what really makes me happy.  This new perspective gave birth to a new mission.

I realized that I have something to say about the value of music in society, and my perspective seemed to be different than what the commercial world has been trying to sell me.   I’m too old to cling to the dream of being a rockstar and I’m not even certain they exist anymore anyway.  I came to terms with that a long time ago.

Although I don’t rehearse/write two nights a week with a band and gig on the weekends anymore, I have found a way to keep music an important part of my life and a key aspect of my happiness well into my forties.  I’m not the only person who has managed this, but I’ve watched my peers fall off the musical map over the years.  A few became professional musicians, that’s something very different than what I’m writing about – I’m focusing on those that used their fallback plan and got “real jobs.”  Most of those folks stopped making music shortly after college.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

We all have different priorities in life, and as such we make different choices.  Some of my friends chose to have kids young, some focused on their careers instead.  Some have become wealthy, while others have struggled to make ends meet.  Some are healthy, while others cope with illness and injury, and more than a few are no longer with us.  This is a tough fact of life that we all do our best to cope with. 

It’s my opinion that music is one of the best elixirs available to cope with these challenges, as well as to celebrate the wins.  That’s why it saddens me to see so many of my friends with immense musical talent let their instruments collect dust in a closet and forgo the healing that comes from playing them, even if only recreationally.

In the two decades since I graduated music school, I’ve tried many musical hobbies.  I want to share what worked, what didn’t, and even educate you how things have changed over the years.  For instance, when I graduated college, recording an album cost thousands of dollars and you had to do it in a professional studio.  Now many computers come standard with recording software right out of the box.  You can learn to use this equipment for free online.  For a modest monetary investment and some serious intellectual sweat equity, you could record that album you always wanted to make.  (I’m not promising that it will sound good, that depends on your skill level.  I’m just saying you can do it and since this is a hobby, which may be enough.)  If you gave up your interest in music in the 1990s, it may not even be clear how this is even possible unless you’ve really been keeping up on recording technology.  And it may not be clear how to get started again.  Luckily, I’m here to help.

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface in my first three months blogging on the topic and I haven’t quite been able to connect with an audience yet, although I’m convinced there are others out there who want this knowledge and some who need it.  If you have someone in your life that would be happier if they were making music, you should consider sharing this with blog with them. 

I believe that sharing this information can put more happiness into the world than the album I was planning ever could.  That’s why I shifted gears to start sharing different musical hobbies for people of all ages and skill levels, not in the hopes that you’ll use the info to get famous, but rather that you’ll have fun and enrich your life with it. 

So far, I’ve posted 8 articles to that effect and 16 total.  I’ve got about ten posts in various draft stages and ideas for dozens more.  Some of these posts are relevant to various readers so I’ve categorized them accordingly. Here is an archive of my posts categorized by musical skill level in case you missed any.

Photo by Drew Williams on Pexels.com

Ways that People with LITTLE OR NO Musical Skill Can Make More of Their Lives with Music

Ways that People with SOME Musical Skill Can Make More of Their Lives with Music

Ways that People WHO CAN SHRED Can Make More of Their Lives with Music

General Articles About Making Music

I started out by publishing a few posts a month, but eventually I got up to publishing weekly.  My goal is to continue to publish weekly during in the next quarter.  I also started reposting one blog a week from other sources. I’m excited to repost articles that are consistent with my mission of encouraging others to find happiness with music. Please be sure to check them out. One that I highly recommend- Three Reasons Why Hobbies are Great For Your Mental Health.

I’m very excited to be working on my “Don’t Start a Band” series that will provide several ideas about how scratch that performance itch without all the effort of starting a band. Please be sure to follow me and check back often!

Hobby #71 – Part 1: WHAT IF NO ONE EVER HEARD A NOTE YOU WROTE? Reflections on Finding Joy Through Songwriting

Some musicians live for the rush of performing for a screaming crowd.  Some musicians chase the thrill that comes from that spontaneous and perfectly improvised moment. Others find their joy elsewhere.  Here is a quick story about how I learned what I loved about being a musician, and what I could live without.

When I was in college, I played in a band that focused on writing original music.  We had a repertoire of 20-30 covers that regularly played at shows, but all four band members were song writers and we loved creating.  By the time we graduated we had about 25 songs of our own that we played live regularly, and probably another 20 that hadn’t made it into the rotation (or that we abandoned).  In the process, we developed our own sound and a modest community of dedicated fans sprung up around us.  We even knew a few similar bands that we liked to play with.  To call it a “scene” would be hyperbolic, but it was as much of a scene as you can have at a small liberal arts college an hour from civilization.  Those were the good old days, the ones I can never recreate, but gladly would if I could.

When I was young, it was easy to dream big, to think that someday, the masses would care what we had to say and ultimately, they would support our rise to fame.  Sadly, that didn’t happen, so we graduated, and the band broke up.

Flash forward a few years, I was a working man, holding down a day job and going to graduate school.  I ran into a buddy from college at a concert, and we decided to start a band.  We recruited a guitar player and a drummer, and we wrote a quick set of original tunes and learned a few covers.  Soon we were booking bar gigs.  We learned quickly that the audiences weren’t really interested in our original music.  Maybe we never found the right audience.  Maybe our songs were weak.  Maybe older big-city audiences were just less interested in original music than the audiences at our college were.  Maybe it was a combination of all of these factors.  Regardless, the dream that masses would elevate us to fame died out pretty quickly.

That was a disappointing, but was just the way things were, or so we thought. We had real jobs, and we didn’t have lots of time or energy to try to build a new scene like we had in college.  If we wanted to play live, then we had to have a solid set of cover tunes.  Sure, we could throw in an occasional original tune or two if we wanted, but it was clear that unfamiliar music usually just created a lull in the set. 

So, we adapted, and we became a cover band.  We continued to book gigs and occasionally we even made a little money.  It was fun for a while, but it wasn’t long before I noticed that for me the joy of being in a band was gone and my interest started to fizzle out.

It was around this time that I started to understand one simple truth about my experience with music: I enjoy performing, but I also find it terribly stressful.  The bigger the gig, the more stress. Sure, the accolades after shows were wonderful and I loved being at the center of a community of fans who frequented our shows.  That was magic to me. However, there was always a lingering pressure to make things bigger, better, more impressive. Eventually the stress started to overwhelm the joy I experienced, and I thought was time to quit. So, I did.

Quitting was a hard pill to swallow.  Being known as a musician had become such a large part of my persona, and suddenly it was gone.   Instantly I had second thoughts about quitting. So it wasn’t long before I started a new band.  This new band was with three guys, who really wanted to write, even if it meant we wouldn’t play out as much.   We built a small studio in the lead guitar player’s house and recorded an EP. 

We played out occasionally, but not too frequently.  Our set was about half cover songs, but we made sure to keep the focus was on our songs.  We had a few clubs that would book us, and we found some modest success in the year or so that we played together.  Ultimately, we were somewhat more successful getting fans into our original songs than the previous band.  (I think it’s because they songs were better, and we played better).  This band was really a thrill for me, and it was sad day when I told them I had to quit because I had accepted a job in Washington DC, and I had to move away.

I sold off most of my gear to lighten the load for the move.   I didn’t have an established network of people to play with where I was, nor did I think I had the energy to start over again.  I was thirty, I had a good run, it was time to grow up. 

Of course, when I got settled into my new life, I really missed music.  I kept writing as a hobby.  Most of those songs never even got recorded, they’re still in paper notebooks in the attic somewhere. 

Eventually, I had a clever idea about how to bring some of those songs to life and build a new community around music that didn’t involve starting a new band.  Well, I started something like a band, but it is very different.  I’ll explain more about that in a future article.

Luckily for me, I had gained insights about myself in the previous years.  All that time reflecting upon what made me happy and what didn’t, shaped the way I structured my new musical projects going forward.   Once I understood this about myself, I was able to focus my efforts on the parts of music that really made me happy and move away from those parts I didn’t care as much about. 

This article is the first in a series of three that I’m working on.  Please be sure to follow me so you’re notified when the next instalments are published.  In the next installment, I’m going to propose an experiment you can try to figure out what aspects of music make you happy.  That way you can focus your limited time on the aspects that bring you the most joy.

Bridging the “Chasm” – Overcoming the “Leave of Presence” & “the Big Dum”

March 14, 2022

I was very hesitant to abandon “Amnesty for Asking” before I finished my demo, but I just wasn’t making progress and I’m determined to keep this project moving in the right direction. Hopefully, this blog will help me keep track of the song, and when I’m ready to give it a good performance I can record that guitar part. I’ve got hundreds of half-complete demos around and very few that are complete. I need to become a closer.

In the meantime, I decided to move on and listen to some of my early demos and pick a new target. I chose to work on a song that was tentatively titled “Chasm – Leave of Presence.” It’s a rock song about how sometimes people are absent from your life, even when they’re still in it. My rough demo had a Logic Pro AI Drummer that played the same beat through all sections of the song. I have an A section, B section, C section, and some intro/outro material. I also noodled through some lead guitar parts that weren’t terrible. Most of the pieces of a song are there, minus the vocals. These ideas were just a series of loops that I had cut/pasted. It sounded very robotic.

Like “Amnesty for Asking,” I rearranged to order of the sections to what I think might be more reasonable (Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse Chorus Bridge, Chorus Outro). I’m not sure that this is the right format since I haven’t the many lyrics yet, but I don’t see any reason to do anything revolutionary with the format for this song other than my boredom with that overdone form.

Unlike “Amnesty,” this song is easy to play. So I laid down a rudimentary bass track and re-recorded most of the guitar (except for the lead guitar- the rough demo is good enough for now for that). It was effortless this time, especially because I used my HX Stomp as an interface. I pulled used some basic presets to get rough tones using USB input 1 and I recorded the DI signal using USB input 5 (this is a useful trick). This way I can go back and create unique tones later and not have to worry about the performance. I find this to be the best workflow for me because I like to separate the engineering tasks from the musician tasks as much as I can. This way, I can concentrate on my performance when I’m doing the musician work, and I can concentrate on recording when I’m in engineer mode.

I still have the basic drum tracks in there for now, but I can come back to those later. Logic Pro seems to have a lot of ways to tweak the drums and I’m looking forward to digging into those a bit more.

Also, while I was reviewing my other demos I found a quick burst of inspiration for a newer tune, tentatively called “The Big Dum.” This demo is just a chord progression with a rudimentary drumbeat. Unlike most of the songs I have right now, I have a rough cut of lyrics written so I laid down a very rough vocal track. I’m no singer, and I still need to come up with a strategy about how to handle vocals. I’ll probably need to get a series of guest singers, or maybe I’ll experiment with the Vocaloid plugin (I heard about this on Ben Levin’s Youtube channel – check it out.)

Hitting the Wall with “Amnesty”

March 12, 2022

It didn’t take long for my grand plan to fall apart. In my first post, I started to talk about the album, and I came up with a plan to tackle songs one at a time, building upon the rough scratch demos I’d accumulated during the COVID lockdowns.

The first track, “Amnesty for Asking,” had a very rough demo with a basic song format, and some very rough drums generated by Garage Band AI drummer. The song is built around a moderately difficult guitar riff that I played ok for the initial demo. I made a quick loop of it, and that was good enough to build up the frame for the initial demo.

Last month I changed up the format a bit, tweaked the drums, and recorded a rough bass track. Things were going pretty well, and I was happy with the direction things were going. My intent was to go back and replace the rough guitar loops by playing the song top to bottom, adding some fills in the process. However, it turns out that my fingers just aren’t ready to perform this song at a level that I’m going to be happy with on this demo. In other words, it was clear it was time to go back to the “woodshed.”

I sat down a few times and practiced for a few minutes here or there. However, as is so often the case, there just isn’t much time for practice when you’ve got some grey in your beard, but not enough grey to retire. Now it’s been more than a month with minimal progress. It’s well past time to switch my strategy. I guess I need to table this song and move on to something else. I can always come back- but I don’t want to get stuck in a loop of starting a song and not finishing it. I’ll have to be careful about that or this will never be done.

Getting Started – Collecting My Thoughts and Developing a Plan

Originally Posted February 6, 2022

I’m going to keep this one really short and sweet. Yesterday I took stock of the riffs I’ve been working on and I made a quick catalog. My plan is to use the information below to keep me on track. I keep this in a text file in my recording folder.

Yesterday I spent some time doing an evaluation of “Amnesty for Asking.” I’ve got demo stems arranged in a rough format that I think will work and my next step is to go back and replay all the parts so they sound decent, not necessarily prefect. 😉

I’ve also got a bunch more songs to work through, so if I’m not feeling like working on Amnesty I may move down the list to find one that better suits my mood. I can update the file periodically so that I always have a decent status of how far along each song is.

One consideration I have is for efficiency sake, it’s probably best to finish one or two tunes then move on so I don’t get stuck in intermediate steps of songs for ages. We’ll see how that works out.

Here is my current assessment of licks/demos:

Updated Feb 6, 2022


1. Slow Grind 80bpm- Reminiscent of Old Pumpkins – Shoe Gazer

2. Cool Delay Effects (Keely or Boss DD200)

3. Major

4. Fairly well developed (multiple sections written)

5. Likely to be heavily processed, may be good to wait until better with FX

6. Slow tasty bends & Reverse Guitars, FUZZ with Submachine

7. People assume you mean something evil when you ask a question – getting judged/canceled


NEXT STEPS: Pump up the drums and retract guitars


1. 120 BPM CMaj

2. Grinding

3. Fairly well developed (multiple sections)

4. Riffed out

5. Could be straightforward, but will need a shredding solo


1. Midtempo Bob – 106pm in FMaj

2. Room for tasteful leads and bass groove

3. Pop format likely- may need a new bridge

4. Slow bends

5. Needs ambiance

6. Will need vocals to carry it and great lyrics


1. Cliche funk guitar lick with rudimentary drumbeat- needs a lot of work

2. Think of an updated CS lyric

3. May want to go full shoegaze

4. Write fun lyrics about people go get the good old days/Britney Spears was free

5. 112 BPM B Maj

6. Just the root of a song, not much to work with yet


1. Dark Groove A minor 95 bpm

2. Interesting harmony & melodic leads are well developed

3. Latin drums are interesting but will need some work

4. Experiments with the Major sections need to figure out what works best

5. May need a new arrangement with all the major stuff at the end like Layla piano part

6. Arrangement needs work, probably needs at least one more minor modal section


1. A minor 100 BPM

2. Despite being minor it is very uplifting

3. Lead noodling has some good ideas

4. Acoustic groove with ambient guitars are uplifting

5. Rough bass part (needs to be more inspired)

6. Is a nice contrast to other songs

7. Repetition in the bridge is cool


1. Slow half-time grind (136bpm Cmaj?)

2. Lots of rhythmic space is a nice contrast

3. Right now its only two sections- will need lots more development (listen all the way to the end for a CODA section)


1. 6/8 is a nice contrast

2. Feels like a drinking song

3. Can play the Taylor

4. Maybe relatively simple

5. Nice progression (IV iv cadences)

6. Not much to it other than a chord progression

7. 88pm Cmaj? (Doublecheck Logic Settings may be incorrect)


1. Light arpeggiated rif

2. 100 bpm Dmaj

3. Some ok lead ideas

4. Opportunity for space FX

5. Some riffs sound stiff, you’ll need to practice before you can track

6. Standard form may not be the best, think more about the arrangement

7. Could be a nice final track


1. Slow heavy grind with feedback – 110 BPM Minor

2. Good chance to layer guitars- several ideas on demo

3. Sound doesn’t really match the inspiration based on the guy who build the secret condo in the mall