DEATH AND REBIRTH (The early solo years)
So I started from scratch after Sandy Bar and the SB Tenders. I ended up living with my dog Noodle in a cabin on my friends Andi and Lisa’s flower farm, without electricity or potable water, and the out house was across a creek amid huckleberry bushes populated by black bears and mountain lions… Besides the Superfines, I tried to keep my chops alive by inviting friends over, and jam over the noise of the Honda generator whilst entertaining band names’ ideas such as the Poison Oakies or the River Fucks… I don’t recall it was one of my best periods, but it qualified as a time of soul-searching if anything. I also met my current partner Elisabeth around that time in the summer of 96’ before she took off to live in Virginia with her daughter Rania…
Actually it was a very difficult time and I acted self-destructively. I drank way too much and wasted a lot of my energy reminiscing about my years in London when it felt I couldn’t play a wrong note without a standing ovation. Those times had eclipsed me and I basically felt sorry for myself. I also mourned having lost touch with my daughter Natalie in what may qualify as the most absurd fuck-up by the bureaucratic system that was meant to keep us together in the first place. I will not elaborate on this right now, but suffice to say that the experience threw me into the clutches of despair…
When I returned to France and Britain 10 years after I had last been there, I was a different man, unhealthy, bloated by alcohol and teetering on the edge of total obliteration. I existed on the fringe of reality, looking in from the outside like a soul no longer in a body. It was shortly after that and with all red flags raised that I downed my last beer and chaser. I chose to live after all.
After 11 years in storage, what still functioned of the Fillmore house studio was installed in my kitchen. Lots of components had been damaged by rust and the lack of care and I lost an entire 3M 2 track machine to the great recycler. But after spending my good money on replacing gummy rollers and leaky capacitors on the Otari 8 track recorder and getting my other 3M in working order, I was up and running. Thus was born my second solo venture “I Feel Fine” exactly 12 years after the abysmal “Frankie” demos were tracked in San Francisco.
Two albums “Home” and “Worlds Apart” followed using the same set-up, but my tolerance for quirky equipment and the exponentially upward cost of tape had me long for a less torturous path to putting my songs on the then ubiquitous CD format. I purchased an Mbox, built a computer dedicated to the studio and never looked back. The first album to come out of the new gear was “In Search Of Reason”. Using loops imported from Ableton and Reason software, sounds were shaped into compositions via cutting and pasting, dragging and detuning, cloning and time-stretching… I loved every minute of it, and when I layered the guitar parts and vocals on top of it, I knew I was unto something. Even though I have walked away from digitally generated music a long time ago and now delve in the live digital/analog hybrid world of recording, ISOR is still to this day one of my favorites.
Analog reality; oscilloscope & 3M