Reviving My "Musical Career"

The earliest I can remember music and computers beginning to come together was when I was a kid playing with my Commodore 64.  I can't remember the name of the program, but it allowed me to input music scores and edit them, and the computer would play them back in this weird square-wave tone.  Just a few years later, I was introduced to MIDI by my middle school music teacher, and that started a wave of my own little pet theories about how music and computers would eventually come together.  No, I never foresaw the rise of MP3, but I did wonder many times how we might use computers to record our musical ideas.  I also wondered (probably after my drummer didn't show up for the umpteenth band rehearsal) when computers could allow one person to record drums, bass, keys, guitar and vocals. By the time I moved out of my parents' house, I had a lot of those tools.  When I bought my first serious PC, I also bought MIDI and digital audio interfaces in the hopes that I could spend some time getting the ideas out of my head and on to some recording medium.  For a short period of time, when I was living in Manhattan, that's exactly what I did.  I would do consulting work from my apartment on the Upper East Side, spending time looking at dot com business and marketing plans, improving them and collecting checks from clients for most of the day.  At night and with whatever free time I had, I'd record stuff.

At a turning point in my life, I took a full-time job at an ad agency that had previously hired me as a consultant.  Lots of time that I used to spend on recording became time I'd spend at the office.  Then 9/11 happened, I started my own agency and then moved out of Manhattan and back to Long Island.  I got married.  I moved a couple times.  I had a kid.  I still have all the gear, but little time to use it.

I have a lot of gear - stuff that would make many studio rats salivate.  Guitars, keyboards, computers, giant piles of rackmount gear, a P/A system - you name it.  It's all sitting in my basement waiting for me to get back to it.

There are times I think about what it would take to get back into it.  My wife jokes with me about it.  She says one day I'll come home and find it all sold.

That's just the thing.  When all the home improvement projects have died down, when Kate is sleeping upstairs and Lauren wants to watch Desperate Housewives, I want to go down in the basement and get some ideas out of my head and onto a hard drive.

Right now, everything in my basement is pushed toward the middle of the house, in giant piles.  It hasn't moved since the mold contractor completely upended everything.  Everything is clean, but it's all sitting in a big room with four concrete walls and miscellaneous air conditioning ducts hanging all over the place.  I rarely go down there because I know about all the other things that need to happen in the basement before I can even THINK about setting up:

  1. We have to finish the air conditioning.  Hopefully, that will be done in a week or two.
  2. I have to coat all the walls with Drylok.  There's a big 5-gallon pail awaiting me in the garage.
  3. I have to have a fight with my wife.  Yeah, I know.  Basically it goes like this - I shared my proposed floorplan for what I think the basement should look like and it doesn't match what she thinks it should look like.  I requested we put up some sheet rock for two small rooms with a sliding window between them - A room for the computer and the board and some studio monitors, and then another room for miking up instruments and such.  The second room could double as our exercise room.  I dunno where this is going to net out, but my vision doesn't match my wife's.
  4. I should probably replace all the sheet rock the mold contractor took away.
  5. The electrician needs to figure out what's going on down there.  Wire outlets, get rid of some wires left over from when the previous owner had satellite TV, install some lighting and a bunch of other stuff.
  6. Maybe put in some flooring.

So there's a bunch of stuff that needs to happen before I can even think about setting up.  Add to this the list of projects that probably need to get done before I can attack THESE projects and the notion of sitting down to record a song seems light-years away.

Still, I'm really looking forward to one day having a studio again.  It's how I always pictured my life - Working hard at a job, taking vacations with the family, doing the Dad thing, but spending some time making music when everybody's asleep or the kids are outside playing.  One day I'll get there.  It's just so far off in the distance.

It's really ironic.  I always thought the tough part would be getting all the gear together.  "Oh, man, how am I ever going to afford that Mac Pro?" or "How am I going to mic a Marshall combo so that it sounds like a wall of stacks?"  It was never "Where am I going to find the time?" or "Where am I going to find the space for all this stuff?"  For a while, time and space were all I had.  Now I've got all the gear and no time.