New Old Shitty Music : The Found Tracks 

A few years ago I had a catastrophic computer/backup hard drive malfunction. I lost the multitrack recordings for all the songs that I had written and recorded from the mid 00’s to 2017. Around the same general timeframe, I was nearing the tumultuous end of an unfortunate several year long pharmaceutical roller coaster ride that began after I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy (an experiment that ended up causing more problems than it solved). Let’s just say things spun off the rails a bit. Anyway, at one point before the technological meltdown, I was working on 2 or 3 (or more) vastly different versions of some of these songs at once. One might be more punk, another version of the same song might be more bluesy or hard rock or hip-hop/country (lol, no lie on that last one).

Lyrics, melodies, instrument parts and arrangements (along with recording and mixing) were all often in their own constant state of flux and these are just snapshots from a random point in time for each song. The sound quality is all over the place as none of them were originally meant to be heard in the states they’re currently in, but I’ve tried to make them listenable. I actually had to re-record many of these out of the headphone jack on my trusty old iPod classic.

It’s a little painful to share things that weren’t “done”, especially when I know there were many better versions. But then again, I consider the fact that there were also a bunch of songs that I don’t have any versions of at all. Some that I’ve forgotten, that no one will ever hear. For a while I thought no one would ever hear any of these either, and one could make a good argument that they still shouldn’t hear some of them ;). But honestly, losing all that stuff resulted in a tremendous sense of loss for me. I had to come to terms with the fact that it all still had value, even if no one else ever heard it. It didn’t matter whether it ate a bag of dicks outright, or if no one else ever heard it. Because I was doing what made me happy along the way. And doing it nearly kept me partially sane! ;) While I’ve made peace with the fact that the most rewarding part of the process for me is the act of creating music rather than sharing or trying to promote it, I also felt like there was no reason not to put a little work in to share some representation of all the hours of fun I was having over all those years. I feel like sharing these songs may also help disperse that little black cloud of “unfinished things” for me. Even if I decide to revisit any of these ideas in the future, I believe sharing them will help me move on a bit and focus on the new. I’m looking forward to getting back to working on new music. I’ve been mentally dangling it as a reward for working hard to get this project done. Going through this process has helped me reconnect a bit with the past, and now I’m excited to close this chapter and see what the next page has in store.

I’m on all vocals and guitars, bass, percussion, and some keys/virtual instruments, some drums and a few other odds and ends. Any other parts are either programming I did or loops I arranged to fit the songs.

So with all the babbling done, I (sort of) proudly present this batch of misfit songs. “State of Disrepair: The Found Tracks”

Oh, and P.S. - Thank you for being a friend.

About the new song "Doe Eyes" 

I finally released something new! 

After some health issues and a random collection of thoroughly catastrophic technical events had me wondering if it would ever happen again, I decided to take charge and give myself permission to start over.

After losing a lot of the music I had been working on over the last several years, I've considered that perhaps my strategy of hoarding songs and never finishing anything... well, it just isn't working for me. What good is all that work, what does all that creativity and expression mean if I'm the only one who hears it? I've always been somewhat shy about my singer-songwriter/acoustic side, but it's been great therapy lately to just get back to my trusty Breedlove acoustic and I. Over the last few weeks this song has gone from a simple guitar noodle, to having a melody, to having lyrics, to having meaning. I recorded each part with minimal over-analysis and minimal perfection, with the sparse parts being recorded in various rooms around the house. I wanted to approach things as a singer/songwriter first for a change. 

As far as releasing the song goes, it was just as spontaneous as the writing and recording process. I was feeling particularly inadequate about my habit of harboring feelings of timidity and self-doubt when it came to releasing music in the past, and I decided that it's a habit I no longer want to feed. I felt like the best way not to overthink it would be to just let it go. That was yesterday. And you can hear it now wherever you listen to music! (We live in truly amazing times, don't we?)    

 

PS - The cover art for the song is a picture that I took from the top of Machu Picchu in Peru a few months back.    

"Disinspiration" 

For all I know, I just made that word up. Too lazy to check.
Anyway... while I've been learning my new recording software (Logic Pro X) and learning how to use a Mac (like a toddler), I've liked having something random playing on the TV in the background (totally as a distraction for my noteworthy ADHD).
This test recording of a sweet, sweet acoustic love song just isn't sounding right, and I think it may be because I'm watching The Shining in the background.

The High Cell Artist Spotlight Interview Highlights 

Thanks to Michael Shirley for the Interview - IHateMichaelShirley.com


I found it wild that The High Cell is just a one man band! It sounds like at least 4 people playing! How many instruments do you actually play?

I know how to play the essentials - guitar, bass, and drums, and then I like to dabble in any other instruments I can get my hands on. On a typical song, I’ll usually start with at least a foundation like a 4-piece band. This fancy newfangled enchanted modern computer magic at our disposal these days means I can also arrange loops and play virtual instruments using a keyboard, so the size of my band of “other selves” is only limited by my own imagination when I’m recording. I can record a solo acoustic song with just me and a guitar, or I can record a whole 12-person choir of "little Mikey's" to sing along with me.



Your sound is so big and bluesy. In that kind of genre, a one man band is pretty unheard of! What made you decide to go the one man route with The High Cell?

I never really had much of a plan to speak of. I suppose it happened out of necessity. I had moved around a lot and had grown weary of the whole “start or join a band” process and all the baggage that comes along with it, so I just started writing and recording stuff on my own as my musical outlet. "Bluesy Rock" is kind of the staple that holds all my music together, but I really like to experiment with other kinds of music as well. The great thing about doing things myself is that I can run with these crazy musical impulses and just see what it happens. I've got songs-in-progress right now that have imbedded elements of punk, funk, bluegrass, R&B, Metal, and so much more. I've never been able to explore music like that in bands that stuck to a particular genre or style, so I'm having a lot of fun with the freedom that being a DIY Independent Artist gives me.



You have a live song on your album “Faceplant.” How do live shows go? Do you have a touring band or is it just you running around trying to play all the instruments at one time?

I don’t have a touring band, but it’s always in the back of my mind. Maybe a little bit down the road as I release more songs and build up a bulkier set list. For now I’ve been having fun working out stripped-down acoustic versions of the songs, which is what the live song, “Unheard”, is on Faceplant.



You described that album as, “significantly better than a swift kick in the groin from a Peruvian pack-mule.” In all seriousness, how would you describe The High Cell’s sound from your own personal perspective?

When I first released Faceplant a few years ago, I thought the novelty was that those songs were dramatically different styles of music. Then I saw a review that said they all sounded oddly cohesive in some way. I guess, off the top of my head, I’d say my music is moderate blues-influenced rock with a strong likelihood of mood swings, possible gusts of eccentricity, and sporadic showers of whimsy. And for the record… I don’t mean to brag, but I still believe that listening to Faceplant is better than being kicked in the groin by a Peruvian pack-mule. Just the other day I said somewhere that I think listening to my new EP, “Devil On a Tricycle” EP, is considerably more pleasant than receiving a firm slap in the chest from an aging sumo wrestler. I'll stand by it.



Your music is really good! So, why are you so self-deprecating?

Thank you! I really appreciate it. I would definitely like to be more self-confident. It’s just that I don’t think I’d be very good at it…



If you could collaborate with anyone on an upcoming song, who would you choose to work with and why?

It’s so hard to answer, but a few that come to mind are; Doyle Bramhall II, because he’s one of my very favorite guitar players of all time. Dallas Green of City and Colour, because I’m a big fan of his songwriting. And then maybe Taylor Swift, because she’s all sorts of catchy and what-not. [I guess that leaves the bass and vocal harmonies for me, and we can ask Dave Grohl to sit in on drums to complete my current dream collaboration.]



Any new music from The High Cell in the works for 2015?

Absolutely! I’ve recently realized that I have no reason to follow the old-school rules or templates of the "traditional" music business any more. I’ve got a lot of songs cooking at once right now, and I’m going to be throwing them out there whenever I feel like it... because I guess I’m a grown ass man, and I can do what I want as an independent artist. My plan is to start releasing new singles and/or EP’s pretty frequently starting early in the new year, and just get on a roll and keep the momentum going. And boy, do I have some fun and interesting songs coming up soon.

 

 

Upcoming Artist Spotlight Interview! 

I'll give an update when it's actually up, but I just did a 10 question Q&A for next weeks Artist Spotlight on professional Hollywood skinny guy Michael Shirleys lifestyle blog.
My answers are generally long-winded without being interesting or informative, sort of quirky without being amusing, and kind of vague without being cool or mysterious.
With that in mind, I can't lie. It's a good feeling to know the real me was shining throughout the interview.