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back in the saddle.

in adelaide airport, about to take off for sydney.

i just ate what could very easily have been the worst sushi i have ever put in my mouth at an adelaide airport establishment called billie chu.
it was technically a california roll, by name, but the rice tasted possibly canned and the avocado was possibly picked before it was even born.
i threw most of it away. i am hungry. i am having a coffee now. i ran into a fan in the check-in line who flew from perth for the show. we took a photo on her iphone. the screen was cracked. she had a shaved head. it’s a nice day. i land in sydney and go straight to the hotel to meet with the folks from RAGE TV, who’ll be filming me in bed while i host a day of videos. i have to pick 50 videos out (i’ll do this on the plane, probably) and introduce 13 of them…i love doing this, but it also always depresses me because all of my favorite videos are from 1983 and 1984. i’ll try and remind you again closer to the airing, but it’ll be on march 20th.

for those of you that have been following my exploits on twitter, you already know a lot about the last week and some of this might read as old news, but it’s a good time to tell you what i was profoundly up to for the last week.

i have, as many of you know, a deep love for australia, espeically during certain months (i.e. september, october, november, december, january, february, march and most of april and basically any other time that’s fucking freezing on the eastern coast of america or in europe).

when i was planning this trip to oz a while back, i emailed mr. ben folds and asked him if he could suggest any recording studios where i could lay down some tracks.
he pointed me to the incredible mick wordley, who runs a studio and a label called mixmasters.

it’s a wonderful little hideaway, and mick and his wife robyn (and their kids, jack and ginger) live in the big house next to the studio.
my kind of place…mick hand-built most of it from found parts and they’ve got an incredible veggie garden and chicken coop in the back.
we ate lots of fruits and eggs and drank really really good australian wine made by the italian dude down the street.
everybody around here seems to know everybody else, and i love that.

the studio itself has a little apartment up top with a bathroom and kitchen and that’s where i stayed…the days started to blur…i woke at around 10 am, tried to do some sitting and yoga before delving into the email, and then we’d work on tracks from 11 am until sometimes as late as 2 am.


i was working on two projects simultaneously, both of them designed very specifically to allow me to fuck around, have fun, and not stress the fuck out.
the last three times i’ve been in a recording studio for any length (the first dolls’ record, the second dolls’ record, and my solo record) have been nerve-wracking.
i wanted to just have some fucking fun. so i did.

i recorded 5 radiohead songs on ukulele for heavy-duty shits and giggles.

i recorded some of the songs i’ve written in the past year, just to have a document of ‘em.

and i recorded some bits and pieces for a sort-of-silly oz-themed-thing that i’m masterminding for next year.

that’s mick, at the mac. mick mac.

here’s the board set up for IDIOTEQUE, one of the radiohead songs:

here’s me waking up like a lizard in the sun one morning:

here are my worklists:


this is a little south american guitar-like instrument called a TIPLE that i learned how to play (which wasn’t hard, because it’s tuned just like a uke. it has 10 strings and sounds absolutely beautiful):

i webcasted a few times, randomly at…here’s one of ‘em


one time i put the mac in the back of the piano.
then tammie edwards from north carolina, who was watching the webcast, made this drawing from the screen and emailed it.
it’s amazing:

then i decided to do an in-studio party, and i recorded while people crushed into the stuffy piano room.
we had lots of fun and i played some of the rough mixes…

(photo stolen from jac cox on facebook)

lots of people brought wine
and some people brought beer
and some people brought cider
and some people brought cupcakes
and some people brought brownies
and lots of people donated real australian money (which is made of plastic, did you know that?) to the studio alms box.

and best of all, a wonderful woman named romana who brought waffle-batter and a penguin waffle grill.
she improvised with the brownies and made penguin-shaped waffles with brownies in them

and good god

i’m getting a little fatter than usual, and it’s very delicious

(from matt davies’ facebook)

tom and jen from the jane austen argument opened up and got a great recording out of it….they sounded fucking beautiful.
tom’s grandfather had just died. he held it together like the brave and beautiful soul he is. i love the boy.
jen sang and played piano beautifully and we had a good talk out in the road about how hard it is to record in the studio.

i’ve forgotten exactly what it’s like to be sitting at the piano for the first time with a microphone shoved into your mind.
god it’s hard. your brain spins with pain and regret at every miniscule mistake and you want to destory your imperfect self with a sledgehammer.

talking to jen reminded me why i was in the studio in the first place. and i wasn’t really sure why. i’m still not.

i have these vague little ideas and plans but none of them are actually real.

mostly i just wanted to flex my muscles and force myself to get back into that headspace of feeling like a real recording artist.
when i sit behind a mixing desk and fiddle with knobs and talk to an engineer, even if i’m just working on covers that aren’t coming straight out of my soul…
i feel like i’m WORKING. it trumps everything. it’s that point where i feel like i’m DOING SOMETHING. so i think it was just time.

i listened to all the mixes today. they’re good, maybe even great.
they’re not what i would give the world on a golden platter as my next huge offering.
but they are all little beautiful candies in a large bowl on the hallway table. sweet, maybe forgettable, definitely enjoyable.

i don’t know.

us…..tom. jen. me. a friendly boy whose name i forget who kept holding the mac during the webcast:
(photo from grace frick’s facebook)

(another by jac cox)

(from nick schultz’s facebook)

somebody brought a terrible bottle of evil vegemite….and i attempted to destroy it….

and and at the top of the amazing…

somebody (i forget who) brought the lyrics to the vegemite jingle.

o my god.

i’ll try to post some more good clips as they come in. i don’t want to ruin all the surprises of the recording itself. life is hard.

meanwhile. moving too fast to work. gotta catch up with steven and mark from the danger ensemble.


p.s. sydney opera house TONIGHT!

Cross-posted to MySpace.

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