The Making of Blue Tattoo
After a nearly 13 year hiatus, I got a lot of songs and ideas recorded in 2013-2015. This resulted in Living with Fiction, my first collection of new songs in 22 years which was released on my 58th birthday. During that same period, I was also dealing with a nasty little thing some might call a mid-life crisis. Some of this turmoil was reflected in the album, which was very personal in spots, and even made me a bit squeamish. Because of this, I was very slow to share much of it with folks, until I could get comfortable with it myself. In retrospect I think it was pretty good, and absolutely something I needed to get out of my head.
I followed Living with Fiction with Wheelhouse in 2016, a collection of covers prompted by David Bowie’s passing. It was a quick and easy project, and I did not have to think too much. The first track I recorded was Everyone Says ‘Hi’, which quickly became my most streamed track of all-time. I took my time starting a new album after that. Though I had a couple leftover tracks from Living with Fiction that I knew I wanted to release, I didn’t have any new songs. Apart from Wheelhouse, 2016 was pretty dry in that department.
Almost as a rule, everything you hear and see with my music is done by me. Most recently, I’ve gotten into a workflow that enables me to get a basic track idea down quickly. When working on something new, I often want to hear some vocals over the music. So I’ll record a quick improvised guide vocal track. Some of the words you choose during this process are quite curious. As I got deeper into the recording, the one thing I didn’t seem to want to do, and ultimately saved for last, was to write and finish the lyrics. Funny thing was, after listening to all that subconscious gibberish, I found the path to the lyrics. And a lot of what began as gibberish remains on the final cut of Blue Tattoo. Please don’t tell anyone.
When I started working on the tracks that would become Blue Tattoo, I sensed an even darker tone than that of Living with Fiction. Once again it was something I had to get comfortable with, as it appeared I was intent on plumbing the depths. It is very much a work of my subconscious I guess. It’s darker and more relentless than Living with Fiction; pounding it’s favorite subjects: getting older, fear, loss, and death. But to me, it’s a dark beauty. I am very proud of it, but it surprises me. I certainly wonder where it came from. I had lighter fare to include, but removed it, just to preserve the mood. I view the 10 tracks on Blue Tattoo as a whole. Hopefully there is something that will resonate in there for those who take the time to listen (But please listen to it on some good equipment!). The only real currency in this for me at this point is having my music heard. I’ve had some pretty good feedback so far, but would love to hear what you think. Also, if you do like it, please share it….