So I was in Ottawa for a wedding last week, my version of a vacation.
And I got to drive a Bentley! Which model? Who cares? Don’t ask me shit like that, I have no idea. The one with a steering wheel and seats. Oh and butt massagers. It belonged to a family friend who offered it as the wedding car.
Let me just say: the thing was a race car with comfy seats. I left the wedding (with bride and groom in tow), drove it in front of the Prime Minister’s residence, and could barely keep the damned thing on the road. I was thinking “man, the speed limit here is too high. You can’t do 60 and expect to not to hit the sidewalk.” Only later did I realize it was an American car and I was doing 60 miles an hour in a 60KPH zone. Here’s me, frigging flying past the redcoats who guard the Governor General’s house, cop cars all over the neighbourhood. The bride goes “um, Kevin…I keep hitting my head on the window.”
I can’t believe I didn’t get a shitknocking from the cops.
After we had the pictures done I took it back into the downtown core, which was an exercise in caution. There was no way I’m paying for repairs because I plowed it through a phonebooth or something (which actually still exist in Ottawa).
Anyway the moral of the story is the Bentley was fucking awesome.
Onto more music-y things, I’ve started learning photoshop. I wanted to start doing my own artwork for iTunes and albums and junk. I just find it so much faster and easier to do that crap myself. That’s why I prefer working alone in the studio. It’s quicker to play it myself than to teach someone the parts, have them argue about the tone, have their phone going off, yadda yadda yadda pain in the ass no thanks.
Anyway here’s the new cover photo on The Complete’s Facebook page (which is a modified version of the upcoming “Tomorrow” artwork).
Hey, when you’re an independent musician you get total control over things like that. Might as well own it.
Here’s to DIY!
Oh yeah, so after I got back from the mainland I took 2 weeks off from the gym… and let me just say, I feel like a hooker after the navy left. I’d been pretty good for most of the year about staying in shape and I just wanted to pig out and be lazy for a couple of weeks. Not gonna lie, it was awesome at first…until the gut rumbling began. So le sigh, it’s been fun chocolate bars…but you give me the unholy shits.
I’ve decided to start doing some of the necessary photography and artwork “in-house”. It’s faster if I can do it myself rather than wait for some photographer to get back to my emails/lose the pictures they took of me/say they’ll have them ready in a week but really mean 3. Photographers are as wonky as musicians.
Anyway, here’s my first crack at it:
I used to practice 12 hours a day.
Ever hear the theory that it takes 10,000 of practice to become an expert? I have more like 60 or 70,000.
That’s INSANE. Nobody needs to put that much time in before taking their abilities public. But that’s what I did. Every day, morning-noon-night. Practice. For years. At the time, it was killing me and I didn’t understand why I was doing it. Now I do:
I thought I was afraid of what other musicians might think of me, so I had to be better than them. Had to be a better guitarist, had to be a better drummer, had to have a better ear. And the more seriously I took practice, the harder I would be on myself. My internal voice to started out by saying “I could be better” and “I’m not a good enough player yet”, and became “I’m not good enough”. See the difference? And that became a problem.
I was no fun anymore. I used to be a blast but now it felt like I hadn’t laughed in forever. I was the kid who thought burps were the funniest thing of all time, but I couldn’t remember the last time I even smiled. I rarely hung out with anybody, and the only way I could be coaxed out was if there was booze involved. That way I could get blasted and feel like I was being sociable, without having to really talk to anybody. Because I wasn’t good enough, you see.
Healthy, I know.
And girls? There hadn’t been anybody in my life for a looooooong time. It’s not like I wasn’t meeting people, but the voice inside my head would tell me “I’m not good enough for her yet. Wait until I’m the greatest of all time, then ask her out.” I’ve watched one after another go off with someone else. That never gets easier, believe me.
So what was really going on? I was letting fear consume my life. Not of other musicians (they don’t care), not of girls, but of…myself maybe? Taking a chance maybe? Either way, I was miserable. Absolutely alone, totally detached from friends and family, out of shape, probably a functional alcoholic, borderline broke, and completely miserable.
So I knew things had to change. I thought “well, what in particular?” Motherfucker, EVERYTHING. I had to change absolutely everything about my life.
I started with the drinking. As much as I loved it (and I mean loved it), I knew it had to go. It hadn’t been fun in a long time. Years maybe. I wasn’t using it to have a laugh with my dumb little buddies anymore, but like a blanket I could hide under in social situations. Frig man, I don’t remember 2010 (but I sure as hell remember 2011. Ha ha ha I’ll go into detail about that some other time).
This raised an unexpected issue. It had been forEVER since I interacted with people in a non-music and non-partying setting. I didn’t know what to say or do. What do people talk about at dinner parties? The hell if I knew. What if I have nothing to contribute to the conversation? Would anybody even care what I had to say? Maybe I should just get wasted and moon the neighbours instead. The hardest part of all was telling myself to shut up with that shit, suck it up and dive into LIFE.
This sounds lame, but it’s almost like I had to get to know myself as an adult. And you know what? I’m actually pretty cool. I’m good at being around people. I’m kind of funny and my friends are hilarious and I’d long forgotten how much I like laughing at stupid shit. Like burps.
So I took a lot of time to work on myself (which is still a work in progress, believe me). I ditched the junk food, hit the gym, reconnected with friends and family I’d lost track of. And none of it was easy. But shit…I had to do it.
But back to the music. I’ve known since I was 4 that’s who I am and what I do. Part of me knew that I’m awesome, but the only way i’d ever make a career happen is if I just put it all out there on the line, warts and all. I had to accept that there is no perfect take, perfect vocal line, perfect song. Only good, great, excellent. The pursuit of perfection nearly killed me, and got me nowhere in the process.
Back in dinosaur days, if you wanted to record music you had to beg and plead with a record label to give you a 6-figure loan, which you then used to pay someone else to let you use their studio.
Fortunately however, high quality studio equipment has become more affordable in recent years. Most of The Complete’s music is recorded into 2 kick-ass pre amps that I own, and then put into the computer to be dealt with later. (It’s not entirely that simple, but you get the point).
But in order to get a professional sound you need more than just good gear…you need a good room. All the best gear in the world can’t help a crap-sounding room; after all, garbage in-garbage out.
Now, my recording room is good…but I only have the one (boo-hoo right?). I wanted to be able to set up my live room in a bunch of different configurations so that I can do ALL of my necessary recording in it. One set up for vocals, a different one for acoustic guitar, another for drums…you get the picture. To do that, I needed sound baffles. A quick Google search told me what they’re made out of, and to my surprise everything was available at my local big-box hardware store.
So I made some:
While not inexpensive, they cost a fraction of what 6 weeks in someone else’s studio would cost. This just helps prove that you don’t need to go down the old road anymore. Just save your dollars, use the internet to learn how-to, and do it your-freaking-self. (I’ve seen inventive people put together photography studios, video production suites, you name it. The internet is the most powerful tool available to creators.)
We only have ourselves to blame if we aren’t moving forward.
PS I’m starting to think I could build my own guitar amp…
Happy effin’ New Year! I trust everyone had a blast for NYE? I started my night characteristically late…walked in the door at “3…2…1…Happy New Year!”
Here’s me, looking all dapper for NYE:
I was party hopping. St. John’s is such a small city that you can actually make it to like 4 parties in one night. That way, nobody gets mad at you for double booking stuff – except dates probably.
Anyway I’ve started the new year the same way I ended the old: in the recording studio. I don’t make resolutions, but one thing I want to do this year is increase the pace at which The Complete releases music. Unrealistic goal? We shall see.
So did anyone get anything cool for Xmas? My friend gave me this awesome thing that shoots 2 litre bottles up in the air but it’s been SO DAMN COLD outside that we haven’t had a chance to fire it up yet. Frigging winter, man.
Anywaaaaaaays, back at it!
This website shows me what search terms people are using in order to find it. Most of them are things you’d expect to see (“The Complete”, “Kevin Williams” etc). Some are not. For your reading pleasure, here’s a small sample of the “not”:
-“Paul Stanley’s asshole”
-“johnny depp special effect makeup” (why would that bring anyone here?)
-“law and whoreder”
-“rotting doo ward” (I have no idea what that is)
-“funny nickelback tweets”
-“up her wazoo”
-“jason stackhouses he man jumper”
-“doo doo doo ch ch ch song”
and the pièce de résistance:
-“show me kevin williams getting fucked by everyone who did him!”
I have no words.
Greetings my pretties. Some updates.
I’ve finished tracking this group of new songs. That means we’re heading into the mix phase, which means they’ll be out sooner rather than later. Already thinking about the next batch. Someone asked me if playing all the instruments is a pain in the ass. YES. Yes it is. But it’s much easier than teaching someone the parts, then having them play it. It’s a matter of convenience, really.
Halfway through recording I started using a Neumann microphone. It’s a sound we’ve all heard a MILLION times before, and I can’t believe I didn’t use one before. What. A. Sound. Warm, sweet, musical. It’s my mic of choice for the rest of my life.
I’m trying to work up the nerve to talk my stylist into shortening my hair. I think I can rock a short cut for a while. And hey, unlike an arm…it’ll grow back.
I’m going to a wedding this weekend and I realized that I don’t have anything to wear. That sounds like a TV show, I know. But it’s true. I’m taking tomorrow off to go buy cool clothes. If I find anything I like I’ll post the results.
A couple of people have been asking about drum and guitar lessons. I’ll post some more of them to YouTube when I get a few minutes here and there. Anything in particular you’d like to see?
Here’s a cool picture I took this week:
Story of my life man.