A Biographical Journey Through My Music Part 3 Seeds of Magic

by nielskunze on January 20, 2012

From a highly troubled youth, through a drunk and disorderly adolescence and young adulthood, I had been mostly a lost soul. Poetry, music, and a few good friends kept me going through hidden bouts of deep despair. I moved from Calgary to BC, and for the first time I felt at home on this Earth. I had been out of school for several years already and I knew that I wasn’t interested in going back. School, and really all of mainstream society, just wasn’t a good fit for me, but I realized that I was only happy when I was learning. So I made a commitment to always continue to learn. I became a voracious reader, a self-educator.

It was upon that backdrop that I met Shane. I have a song that my current bandmates know only as QC & the EF. The “EF” part stands for the Essential Friend. Shane is that essential friend. The cosmos sent him my way at just the right moment, under just the right circumstances. We were both ripe for something totally new in our lives. We both worked at the same resort and I occasionally dropped by his hobbit-hole accommodation and usually found him singing along with Eddie Vedder to Pearl Jam’s Ten. It sounded pretty good to me, but most people sound alright singing along with their favourites. I showed him a few of my newest songs. He learned some of my strange lyrics and gave it a shot. Holy shit! He had a real knack for finding great melody lines. My melodies, as you may have already noticed, pretty much just follow what the guitar’s doing because I lacked the confidence to allow my melodies to stray too far from the rhythm. (I found singing and playing guitar at the same time difficult.) Shane just naturally and effortlessly led my simple melodies out into uncharted territory. And with him singing, I could focus and work on my guitar playing.

Here’s a version of a song I still consider my “signature” song. Notice how Shane replaces my monotone with a nice early effort with these vocals.

Chameleon’s Teardrop

I still didn’t have serious thoughts about forming a band. Shane and I agreed to host a Jam Night at a local pub, playing mostly my originals with a few covers mixed in. We were playing a rendition of All Along the Watchtower with some goofball who’d just moved to the Valley grooving along on bass. I didn’t catch his name and I didn’t care. “We don’t need no stinking bass players!” I didn’t say it out loud, but that’s what I was thinking.

Well his name was/is Ian… and I’ve got to admit that he really knew how to play bass. He is the main reason Missing Peace ever became a band. Ian has a way of insisting on things; he won’t take no for an answer… and he eventually found the right words to sway my opinion in the direction of becoming a real band. It was something like “You’re the song-writer. We’ll be working on your songs. Just wait until you hear them with a full band.” How could I say no?

We started out as the Dharma Bums– a name we would have to eventually relinquish to our American counterparts whom had already released a couple of albums under that name. There were some early personnel adjustments when we realized that our drummer couldn’t go on tour due to family obligations, and the other guitarist was also a predominantly rhythm guitarist like me, so he was replaced by Cory, our lead. With the line-up settled and functional we began gigging. Here’s an early cover from a gig in ’95… Ian’s influence all the way.

Santana Jam

The cassette was just taking the front end mix directly from the sound board. The high end clicking on these live songs is actually just static on the tape. Pretend you’re listening to vinyl. This next one was the very first song Cory showed me when he joined the band. I remember thinking to myself when he played it for me “That’s impossible.” Well here it is live, a very early version as Shane hasn’t even worked out the lyrics for the verses yet. Just the choruses are set.

Like This

I’m the “other” guitar… a little sloppy coming in, but we settle in alright.

So it turned out that Ian was right. It was pretty special to hear the songs I’d written played by a bunch of “professionals.” I had never imagined my work morphing into something so… so… well, cool. Here’s another one from our earliest recording sessions… the sessions with the fake drums.

No Brain No Headache

I had to practice my ass off to get that intro down! And then I’d still fuck it up half the time when we played it live. Why do I write shit that I can’t play? …’Cause it forces me to get better!

Just one last one from those sessions, this is a song written by Shane. It turned out that Shane easily became just as a prolific song writer as me. Cory was chomping at the bit to “heavy up” our sound… at least he got to rip a decent solo here.

Chaotic Harmony

One excellent outcome of this session of recordings we did with Wayne (producer) was that Shane really learned how to harmonize with himself given the chance to multi-track his vocals… something which served him well on the album a couple of years later.

And this is a live version of another of Shane’s. I think we rocked it out pretty well for a band in its mewling infancy.

Fight For Something

Although I have only scratched the surface of the archives at my disposal, I think I’ll leave it at that… for now. That is at least an introduction to my/our beginnings in musical dabblings. It has meant everything to me– this incredible journey. And it just keeps going!

I promise that I will take you on a few gigs with the boys in the near future. There are stories– goddam are there stories!– from our adventures on the road that you just have to hear. Of course I’ll mix in a few more audio snippets to make it just that much more real. This is fun for me… I hope it’s fun for you too.

And to finish the tour I’ll leave you with a full band version of the song from the February newsletter video
Handful of Sand.

One comment

[…] Click here for A Biographical Journey Through My Music Part 3. […]

by A Biographical Journey Through My Music Part 2 Early Collaborations « The Free Radical on January 20, 2012 at 11:24 pm. Reply #

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