Billy Mack, a folk artist friend of mine based in Allentown, Pennsylvania has come up with a couple of projects that I have taken part. The latest project revolves around putting out a compilation of songs all relating to coffee. Mr. Mack is putting together a coffee art house to open in September in Allentown, PA called Coffee House Without Limits which aims to serve as an art gallery, all ages music venue, and community space.
Billy Mack performs around the country on a low budget using Greyhound buses or whatever it happens to be to get from place to place. He has quite an underground following and it is this community of similarly thinking do it yourselfers that he called upon for the coffee compilation.
I wrote a song simply titled “Coffee”.
A little video I made for my song:
Billy’s Coffee compilation can be listened and bought here: (I’m song 20).
I was looking through some old pics from 2001 and saw one where I was driving with my window down. I found on Google Maps the location that showed out my window. It is interesting to look at it as a game. There is probably no place on earth where one cannot be tracked.
Westbound on Hollywood Blvd. Circa 2001
Here’s the location on Googlemaps circa December 2014.
Recently, I’ve uncovered more tapes from the archives. This batch of tunes is from the Ragas era in Los Angeles – circa 2000. The tunes were recorded on my Tascam 4 Track in Austin, Texas during a road trip with Henry McGuinn. Our duo called the Ragas was heavily influenced by the Byrds 1965-1967 era. More to come….
Lately, I’ve found quite a few unlabeled cassette tapes that I’m thinking would be great for a third addition for the Guittard Tapes. It’ll be a trilogy now! The tunes have been heavy with pedals including digital delay, distortion, and phaser. I was wowed when I heard the tunes. The challenge as always is to get them transferred from the tapes to the digital tascam machine and then finally to the laptop where I can mix it down. Part of the challenge is that the originally Tascam machine that I recorded the songs has a defective second track. I cannot hear anything while listening. So I have to flip the tape over and record the track now from the third track which now plays backwards. So, once on the computer I have to reverse the track back to normal and then line up all the tracks in sequence so that it sounds in time. There’s no click track so I have to look and listening for anything hiss, click, or whatever.
So here are a few stand out tracks thus far: Phaser Attack – Most dominant effect is the phaser pedal with trippy distortion, screaming Rickenbacker and drum machine. Great!
Feedback Rock – Most dominant here is the out of control digital delay pedal with tremolo pedal and chaotic Rickenbacker. I guess it was a few months before 9-11 when a lot of bad vibes were swirling about.
Vacuum B-Bender – This is an interest piece in that I used a vacuum cleaner hose in front of the amplifier to trick up the sound. I remember my friend Jolie visiting me and seeing this vacuum hose next to my recording gear and tripping out! Well, here’s the song. It has my B-Bender on it.
Get It Together Man – This one’s really weird. The dominant sound track is an actual guy in Hollywood having a melt down outside my apartment banging a shovel on the ground and screaming. Imagine that! The music is quite chaotic and is a picture of my life back in 2001. Things were not perfect in all areas but I was still persevering with my music. The main influence was Beck and his Stereopathetic Soulmanure album.
I’m really diggin’ Spotify lately. There’s so many bands to be discovered. One of my songs got on an official Spotify “freak folk” playlist and is getting quite a few listens. I will add more and more songs to this playlist as I go but feel free to add lofi psychedelic folk bands that you discover as well to the list as it is collaborative.
You can find my music at Spotify here: Jim Guittard – Spotify I’ve got eight albums up ranging from lofi psychedelic/country-folk-rock to experimental. There’s a little bit for everybody. Just recently some of my songs have been put in various commercials and trailers.
Cyber Space is much like a desert. There are those who sound the trumpet on what is important to them. After some time, they disappear and sound another trumpet to go off in another direction. But there are those who continue to wander, not aimlessly, but with purpose. They are rounding up the troops becoming fishers of men. To some, they seem like outsiders but really they are peacemakers.
Technology has given the little guy an opportunity to sound his trumpet and to voice everything from when he brushes his teeth to when he tells of some kind of disaster in his life. The playing field is level but with that there are more and more people “doing their thing.” The result is much more stuff for people to wade through to get the nuggets. However, there are a few “John the Baptists” that articulate a strong message that the masses can relate to. It’s not all about things “in da club.” We’re getting beyond that.
The buzz word of the day is community. Can there be community up in the clouds of the cyber world? Definitely! I mean, really. There are those that live for Justin Bieber’s every last word on twitter. They may be a little bit misguided but that’s community.
I wrote a song called “Leave the Desert.” Maybe I was a bit misquided.
Matthew 5:9English Standard Version (ESV)
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
I’ve been working this summer to get out all my musical catalog to ITUNES, Amazon, Spotify, and a few others. I recommend Distrokid as a way to distribute your albums to all you artists. It is only $19.99 to upload unlimited albums & songs for a year. If you have your own label, add an additional $16. It’s quite a bargain compared to TuneCore which is $49.99 per album per year. I’ve got 8 albums and that would mean $399.92. That’s a little steep. Nevertheless, I haven’t cut all ties with TuneCore. They still administer my publishing.
The albums are up. You can stream them all at Spotify. I really like Spotify because you can listen to all your favorite albums and if you want to buy it then you can. I’ve gotten quite a few listens since I distributed with Distrokid. “It’s No Fun But I’m OK” seems to be catching on.
It’s No Fun But I’m OK
In a few weeks, I shall pop in with the Jay Daniels the Raving Loony at the Muffin Junkee podcast studio for a short surprise impromptu live set. Stay tuned!
The tunes from the tapes just keep coming. It is a time capsule into the life that began in late 1999 and lasted until about 2004. The Guittard Tapes era was an especially creative period of my life. In 1999, after three years of being a working stiff at an insurance company in Dallas, I struck out for a music school in Hollywood. I made a dry run out there to search for an apartment and found one near Hollywood and Highland that was available for $925 a month. I wonder what it is now that they remodeled that whole area where the Academy Awards are now held.
I was bright-eyed and optimistic, thinking that I could do something important. At the school, I put up flyers to see if anybody was interested in making a “Byrds-influenced” band. I had NO takers. It was kinda weird that no one was turned on to the jangly psychedelic music. Henry and I began to hold auditions for our band The Ragas in my Hollywood apartment. We had a whole biker gang show up but it just wasn’t the vibe we wanted. We also drove way out to the Inland Empire to audition a drummer. Maybe it wasn’t the best thing to put an ad in the L.A. Weekly about our little band. We never did find anyone that way. Imagine the characters going through my apartment to audition. One guy didn’t have a bass so we let him use my bass and he picked up a coaster to use as a pick. That was weird.
During this time, I was soaking up the vibes of Southern California and often found myself in the Brian Jonestown Massacre scene. The music was all around me and the folks in Texas wondered exactly what I was doing. The Guittard Tapes were what I was doing. I have hundreds of tapes from that period and it is great that I still have the tapes because for a period of ten years I had no idea where the tapes were. I had spent some time in Bulgaria and my stuff was kinda scattered everywhere.
October 1999 – Hollywood
The tunes from the Guittard Tapes have been extracted from tapes for over the last year. I’ve put out two volumes of the Guittard Tapes and now I’m working to possibly put out a third volume. If you want to know what was going on in my life between 1999 and 2003, listen to the tapes. One song that I wrote just after two weeks of being in L.A. was called “Standing in the Doorway.” What prompted the song was the earthquake that occurred on October 16, 1999. I had never experienced a quake and so that day I did at two o’clock in the morning. I didn’t know what to do with all the rattling pipes on the third story apartment building so I got out of bed and stood in the doorway. It seemed like forever the ground was shaking. It was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
After quitting the school, I mainly went to a lot of shows with the Quarter After, Beachwood Sparks and others. I was writing the whole time. For awhile I was in a band with Cliff Magreta and Rob Campanella called the Belle Isle. It was really a happening time. And then 9-11 occurred and it seemed that a lot of things changed. The optimism wasn’t there like it used to be. As part of the Guittard Tapes there was a tune a did a few weeks after 9-11 that is an instrumental and I named it “3 Weeks After.” It has a psychedelic trippy feel with Rickenbacker Twelve String and sitar.
With Byron Berline at McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Around late 2001 to 2002, my brother Bob was also in Los Angeles and for a few months we were in a band together with a guy named Andy McCutcheon. It was really crazy how I met Andy. My brother had been auditioning for bands as a bass player. He came over to my apartment and played me a CD of Andy McCutcheon. Instantly, I recognized it. I had heard the music a few years earlier back in Texas as I had found him on MP3.com. I had previously downloaded Andy’s music back in 1998 or early 1999. I had never met him but he was into psychedelic type 1960’s music. It was really wild that my brother would say to me that he was auditioning for this band. And so after a month or so, I was in Andy’s band as a rhythm guitarist. We had some shows at the Crooked Bar, The Gig, the Rainbow Bar and Grill, and some other places. I had read about Led Zeppelin hanging at the Rainbow and being up to no good there.
Myself, Brother Bob, and Andy McCutcheon
During this period, I was working odd jobs at a rental car place, a talent agency, and some other places. I did have the misfortune of being robbed of several guitars and some of the material in the Guittard Tapes deal with the loss of guitars and themes of betrayal and a sense of digging in my heels to the ground to stay in L.A. at all costs. It cost me a lot but the Guittard Tapes to me our priceless. It’s a musical diary.
Here are a few songs that I’ve just extracted recently from the tapes.
The lyrics for this tune was written at a coffee shop on Melrose Blvd. I was waiting to meet someone and they did not show up. Being a bit frustrated I wrote the tune. The music for this one is more jangly with my 12 string Rickenbacker and I play simple drum beat. The other version I play the B-Bender Telecaster and it is more a country-rock feel.
This one here is a early version of Beach before the more well known one on my “California Daze” album. The tune here was recorded in a care-free way trying to emulate the vibe of Dylan on the Basement Sessions album with the Band. The recording is imperfect but I’m not about perfection.
I’m posting here the source files to three HP-related songs that you can download and remix. I hope you will think is interesting. I wrote and recorded them back in 2005 at a time of transition. I was trying to figure out my next move and where God was calling me. In early 2003, I had come back from California after literally being run out of town by real hoodlums. Back in Texas, I was living with my grandparents going here and there as errand boy. Often at night while they were snoring away downstairs in the “hothouse” I was recording music. That’s what I called it anyway. There were wars over the thermostat.
My grandfather had these hip red lights in the den.
My alter ego during this period was the Notorious G.I.D.D. I seriously felt like a hoodlum and not able to fit in with the “country club” scene in H.P that my grandparents were members. The mundane routine had become going to CVS to pick up prescriptions, the bank and the grocery store to buy Oreos for the grandparents. I also worked a public library job while I was applying to join the Peace Corps. Answering questions and giving status updates was a regular thing with family during this long Peace Corps application process. Well, let’s just say the Federal Government is SLOW! As Tom Petty says, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
JIM GUITTARD creates music in a documentary music style from psychedelic folk to lo-fi indie-rock. He's been putting out his brand of do it yourself little demo tapes since his college days that serve as a personal diary. Guittard has spent some time in Hollywood pounding the musical pavement. His album "Busted In Bulgaria" was recorded while he lived overseas in Bulgaria as a teacher. In 2014, Guittard has eight albums to boot that can be purchased at ITUNES.