Welcome or Welcome Back!

This is a blog created/kept unkempt by the band A Relative Term to express the process of recording their next full length album. They will poke each other in the eyes, whack each other's noses, butt heads repeatedly, and run in circles on the floor for your enjoyment.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Songwriting Hamster Wheel

While listening to music on shuffle the other day, a Rufus Wainwright song came on and it made me realize that I’ve been listening to RW for over ten years now and his songs still make me happy.  It got me to thinking about the life span of a song. How long can a recording of the same thing have an effect on you? Could it always? Are some songs just that good? Is any song that good?  How many times is listening to a song a lot? 20 times? 50? 500? Have I listened to anything 500 times?

With the inundation of music that the internet brings, songs that I like still probably have a shelf life of about a year (if that) and I’ll probably listen to them between 20 and 50 times (so says my iTunes counter). As someone who writes and records and understands the amount of time and effort that goes into all of this, it seems like a small amount of return.  And this is for music that I like. It’s a little scary when you think about it.

So what is it that makes a song stick?  How are some so pleasant and likeable in the short term while retaining a depth that holds for years, and some just short term or not at all?  How much of it has to do with me more so than the song?

It's something I'm increasingly conscious of while writing songs now.  Which isn't to say is effecting how I write for better or worse, just that it's on my mind.  And I mean that in a freeing sense; as in attempting to answer any of these questions leads to a world of creative challenges, possibilities and explorations.  After all, no one's going to spin the wheel for you.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

electric ponytail

duane allman

flint's finest

less hungover than last week

dragons awake!

unseasonably warm

eric daehn stole the stolen map

bass face!

mark is still trying to finish a story

i'll just watch some band of brothers

always a noble goal for a sunday rehearsal

These little town blues...

Monday, July 16, 2012


In the process of mixing the new album, there are a couple of satellite projects being completed to keep everyone from going crazy. One of those projects is a cassette split with Blind Pelican which is nearing completion. Here are a couple pics of the silkscreened artwork-

It's going to be a limited release of probably around 50 cassettes, download included. Should be releasing them in a month or so. It's the first recording with all the current members in the band, which means it's going to be loud. Get ready.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Your wish made light of my body

Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Red light

I stayed late at work. It's a Tuesday and there was an event so I stayed. When I left I had a text to go to Esssex, a bar on my way home. I went. On my way I passed the corner of Delaware and Utica street. There were police blocking off the intersection but being on bike I took the curb to the near by hotel parking lot and proceeded to the Deleware sidewalk. When I looked towards the intersection I could see a motorcycle on its side on the road. I've ridden that intersection many times and know that the pavement running the length of Deleware buckles at that intersection and that if you're planning on bisecting there, you'd better slow your ass down, even on bicycle. Seeing the motorcycle lying there though, I could already imagine the worst.

I went to Essex. Long enough to get drunk. Eventually I left but when I made it to my house I decided I was not ready to sleep yet and that I really needed to climb something. I continued riding my bike towards Delware and decided to head to the city. I once again came upon the Deleware and Utica intersection which was still blocked off, confirming my earlier suspicions. I hopped the curb and headed west on Ferry. There was a smell I was unfamiliar with but could somehow identify. A chemical smell, something I'd akin to cleaning products. Like being in a hospital.

There was a roof along Utica that peaked and although I normally climb flat roofs, I felt the need to try this one. While not the easiest climb, I did eventually get onto the roof, where I sat at its peak for a long time. While I was there I watched five cars pass by and wondered if they could see me, coming to the conclusion that, even if they could, no one would look at the roof of a building at 2 am anyway. Also during my time there I began to think about why it is that I make music. I remember distinctly that while mastering the last album Jeff was asking me various questions about how I wanted it to sound and I told him I wanted it to be nonabrasive. I hadn't prepared for him to ask me those questions and when he did, that's what came out.

I'm often called a negative nelly and/or a pessimist. I understand this. I can easily see the downside of situations. It is what I've experienced and how I view the world. It has also effected what I've tried to put back into the world.

Eventually I decided to leave the roof and ride back home. Crossing the Deleware/Utica intersection again, which was now open, all but one police car had left the scene. The smell still penetrated the air and now there was a sole police car; headlights at the motorcycle on its side, tail light still on. I waited at the red light. No cars came. I looked at the tail light on the motorcycle, and back at the red light above me an decided it was better to make a left on red in front of a preoccupied police officer than to stay. The drying puddles on the road smelled of cleaners and disinfectants and I nodded at the officer in the car acknowledging that maybe all he wanted, maybe all I ever wanted, was a breath of fresh air.

Monday, April 30, 2012

the growing band

our fearless leader speaks

the new drummer hides  (he doesn't even like bbq)

i got finally tenure this year!

rookie's pedals
 cleet-o-caster in action

b wheat?

"and then schmitt said to trickey, 'boz scaggs and townes van zandt walk into a bar'... "

the rookie