Well, that was unexpected…
A couple of weeks back, I wrote about how my Fender Stratocaster seemed to be haunted with the songs I played back in the mid-90s with my then-band, Grope. In the final line of that post I wondered aloud:
Who knows, maybe Monkey68 will be releasing a record called Grope in the not-too-distant future?
Well, despite it being Christmas and everything, somehow in stolen moments, I’ve already recorded complete backing for 9 songs – with just the vocals left to finish off – and another 2 to get done.
It’s surprised me how easily everything has come together, mainly because:
- These are old songs that were played a LOT at the time, so muscle memory is pretty good
- I was blessed to play in Grope with Matt Haines on drums, and Scott Haughie on bass, and the parts they brought to my songs have stuck with me over time – my own renditions are close to their lines on a number of tracks
- These are straightforward alt-rock-pop songs written for, and performed by, a trio – so not much extra instrumentation to fret over – and no new parts to write
- I decided to record these all myself rather than take my live Monkey68 crew into the studio – we’ll do that later this year with newer material, but for this set of songs I’m happy with the DIY approach
- I’m just much better at playing and recording, I guess!
Some other insights into the recording of Grope:
- In addition to the recording, it’s been interesting to revisit these songs from a writing perspective. They definitely reflect the time, capability and concerns of the 20-year younger me, but I haven’t found that I want to tweak anything in the way of structure or lyrics – maybe an odd word here or there, but other than that I’m staying true to the original Grope versions.
- There is one song that calls for a “chorus of voices” approach and, while I’ll be singing several parts myself, I also plan to send out bed tracks to several friends to add their voice – it’s a fun song and I want it BIG!
- As I mentioned in This guitar is haunted, there are many reasons why I’m a better guitarist now than I was then – and I’m definitely feeling that in the recording – no major changes, but just a lot easier to flow in the playing.
- It’s definitely a rock record; though triggered by my Strat, several guitars have made it onto tracks, not least of which my Music Man Reflex and Gibson Les Paul. Though, for those who enjoyed Sparse, I’ll give the heads up right now – there’s not an acoustic guitar anywhere on the record.
Stay tuned, I’ll update as things head towards a release
but first, time to get singing!