Hallelujah! It took a month of excitement, failure, expirimentation, drudgery, and inspiration to get comfortable with Garageband, but I have finally finished a song that I am THRILLED with. I wrapped up “You Don’t Know How Good You’ve Got It” this past Friday night and it gave me so much goddamn pleasure I can’t even describe it. So many things came together to make it right that I am not sure where to begin.
Well, I suppose the first place to begin is with the fact that I really committed myself this time to learning a program so as to let it help me rather than let it frustrate me. The first song I did was pretty forgettable but I learned a lot. The second got better, and the third was the charm. A few realy important things I did:
Expirimentation: In the last post, I mentioned how I decided to use my Fender amp rather than the Garageband amp. This gave me the sound I was looking for. This song needs a beefy guitar because the guitar really carries the song. The software amp just did not quite cut it. It was an extra step to use the Fender. I had to come home from work in the middle of the day when the kids where at school and spend an hour getting things right, whereas with the software amp you can turn it to 11 at 11 when the kids are sleeping. Well well worth the extra step.
Another problem was the vocal. It is a loud vocal and I was having a really hard time hitting all the parts without clipping. Well, a heavy bout of poison oak the other day led me to the doctor and after visiting the doctor I went next door and visited my friend Joe Koenig and we were shooting the shit and he told me about how a compressor was indispensible on his last tour. Next thing I know he has emailed me a craigslist link to the exact compressor he used on his tour, an Alesis 3630. I called the guy and bought it the next day for $60 and that night I was using the compressor to compress my vocals and it worked miraculously. I am not much of a gearhead. Rather, I fall more along the lines of a dumbshit who doesn’t know that just outside my door is a device that can compress my vocals and keep them from clipping. Well, I am no longer a dumbshit in that particular regard, but now I can only imagine the other studio wizardry that I am ignorant of. Anyways, the lesson is, get a compressor! They are cheap (or extremely expensive if you prefer).
The other thing I did was listen to a cut of the song in the car all week which had a scratch vocal in it. It really helped me understand how I wanted to sing the song. I spent a lot of time one night laying down the vocal the way I wanted it to sound, and then when I got the compressor the next day I was able to nail it in one take.
Get wild and crazy! Wow, a few beers into Friday night and I’m howling at the moon and I come up with this great yodeling yelp which fits right into the song and takes it from being pretty normal to giving it a real sense of originality. This yodeling yelp got help from the stars. We had a babysitter that evening/night so I had extra time to mess around and expiriment. It was also a Friday and I was feeling GOOD and it was just one of those great artistic moments that just happened.
Still, this song came about from lots of hard work. I wrote it a few years ago. I sang it live as a rock song and I sang it live as a solo acoustic song and I recorded it as a solo acoustic song. So when I finally got around to building it on Garageband a week ago, I had a vision of what I wanted that had been building for some time. The fact that I was able to bring that vision to fruition in just 5 days with Garageband is tremendously satisfying.