Back in September of 2005 I was commissioned to write a song for Alvin Buenaventura. I had placed an ad in one of my mini-comics advertising a custom song, for something like 7 or 8 dollars, and I had a few takers. (Tom K, I still owe you one! It's written but not recorded.)
I don't remember if Alvin requested a theme, or if I just choose to write about printmaking. It was fun to work on since it gave me an excuse to write about my own experiences in the print shop as a student at the Hartford Art School. I think all the references of that archaic world are universal, and so Alvin knew what I was talking about. Another satisfied customer I guess.
I always meant to go back in a re-dub the guitar which sounds really bland since I just plugged it direct into my computer, but I was happy with the keyboards in the end. It's funny, my piano skills are so poor that at certain points of the song you can literally hear me searching for the right notes, totally lost.
I recorded this on my computer using that program that comes built into Macs called Garage Band. I had never used it before so I got pretty carried away with the vocal pitch shifting and "Motown" drum samples. In the end the high pitched vocals have this really endearing digital lisp caused by the lo-fi point and click effects. Also, during long sustained notes the high vocal looses traction and wobbles like a front bicycle tire when you're going to slow. The deep vocal is just creepy, and the straight vocal track trails off with me trying to be Lou Reed without sounding like I'm trying to be Lou Reed. I think this was the last time I recorded any music.
The shop smells like orange peels, wax, and stacks of newsprint
Somebody should open up a window
Oak drawers filled with dusty lead melted into alphabet
Alvin you should open up a window
It takes thousands of pounds
it takes oil based ink
it takes a palette knife
it'll take an industrial sink
It takes years off your life
it'll take hours [spent] away from your wife
It takes flat files and spring loaded drying racks
it takes rags, sponges, and thumb-tacks
It takes exact-o knives
it takes friendly e-mail replies
it takes Paypal and artistic compromise… to print.
You can print.