2013 21 Dec

The lyrics for this song “California” were written during a time of reflection concerning my three and a half year mission pursuing music in Los Angeles, California from 1999-2003. (If interested in other songs from this era, please download my two volume album called “The Guittard Tapes” –  Volume 1  and Volume 2.)

Things ended on a kind of sour note with three guitars being stolen. Consequently, I left L.A. as it was unsafe and too expensive to live.  My mind was in a sort of fog upon return to Texas understandably and I put my Rickenbackers away for some time.  The music was still in my heart but I needed a break.

The original feeling of the song, at least when I wrote the lyrics, was to be a Woody Guthrie type “hard times” song. But after reading over the lyrics I condensed it down a bit and decided against the folkie version. Possibly in the future I could put out a folkier version.

I recorded the song in Fort Worth, Texas using my Tascam Recording machine. I played the keyboard, electric guitar, tambourine, and sing the vocals.

California

I left busted and disgusted.
My thoughts were surely not trusted.
I was bombed out and wiped out.
But not down and out.

I was robbed and without a job.
But I didn’t turn to a snob.
I was pushed, and shoved and almost knifed.
All I want was my life.

I had threats against my life
By hoodlums with much strife.
I’ve seen the inside of jails
There were only thugs.

I know the 3 of Clubs bar.
The place where the BJM star.
I’ve played the Sunset Strip
Go there for a special trip.

Chorus

California, I never knew you.
Until I got to you.
California, I never knew you.
Until I got to you.

I’ve trekked to Santa Ana’s Rickenbacker
To practice in a tent with McGuinn.
I’ve seen the 24-hour church
Go there if you must.

I left a school and was a fool,
Cause I didn’t want to muck about.
The guys there were like robots.
Not my best place.

I put money down on apartments.
They took my deposit and never gave it back.
I never even moved in.
Oh well, that’s allright.

Chorus

California, I never knew you.
Until I got to you.
California, I never knew you.
Until I got to you.

I’m not a bad guy.
Just trying to follow God’s will.
Nobody likes that.
But I don’t really care.

I’ve had panic attacks on Highway 101.
It was not so fun in the sun.
I think that God was there.
I think that God was there.

Words and Music by Jim Guittard 2013

Raga Jim and 3 of Clubs Smokes Girl

Drawing by Henry McGuinn

Published under Lifesend this post
2013 17 Sep

See Lyrics and Original song below…

I recorded the original song called “Survival Mode” while living overseas in Bulgaria in 2007.  At the time, I felt everything was caving in on me as I was a Peace Corps TEFL Volunteer.  Mostly it was the wall of sound that I was dealing with in the classroom where I taught.  Probably Phil Spector would have dug the wall of sound.

At the time while overseas, I was paying close attention to American politics.  The song was written shortly after Andrew Meyer’s “Don’t Tase Me Bro!” incident.

The times were definitely a time when the basic American liberties such as freedom of speech was rapidly disappearing as is evident by what happened to Andrew for asking questions at a John Kerry discussion at a University of Florida forum.

It was like every day I’d read about another incident of one being tased.  Starting in 2011, the new thing is people getting pepper sprayed.  College campuses have always been  a place of dialogue but the powers that be want passive subjects and in the particular the incident at University of California at Davis sticks out as something to be concerned about.  One police officer very casually sprayed students who were sitting there peacefully during an Occupy protest.

Currently, I’m working on a podcast with a show in British Columbia for my album “Busted in Bulgaria” that came out in 2008.  I’ll be talking about what the background of the songs where and how I came to record them.  The podcast should be out by the last week in September. Survival Mode was one of the songs on the BIB album.  I felt that it still has a good message today and that is why I re-recorded it.  The original was recorded on a laptop in a rather haphazard way with only a handheld microphone and an acoustic guitar.  The updated version has electric guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion and background vocals provided by my wife.

 

We’ve got to preserve our health.
It is all for ourself.
People are running scared.
Just like they haven’t cared.

Some turn to the booze.
This isn’t what I choose.
Which is the way?
Certainly there’s a new day.

Chorus

We’re all in survival mode.
We carry big load.
We’re all in survival mode.
We carry big load.

Arguments and tempers flare.
This I don’t wish to bear.
There’s no point to this.
Better avoid and miss.

We live within our cave.
Wishing only to save.
Our egos cause problems.
With pride we wear our emblems.

Chorus

We’re all in survival mode.
We carry big load.
We’re all in survival mode.
We carry big load.

We make shady deals.
so we can eat our meals.
We keep up the front.
In our power hunt.

Have faith in one another.
We’re brother and sister.
Fight through the pain.
We’re all the same.

Words and Music by Jim Guittard 2007

Published under Lifesend this post
2013 10 Jun

The Muffin Junkee episode 7 podcast.

The concept for the “Guittard Tapes” came over ten years after many of the songs were recorded. Some of the songs were actual early demos for songs for my “California Daze” album. Originally, the “Guittard Tapes” album was released in June 2012 and contained only sixteen songs. Since then I have uncovered many more songs that I consider as part of the Guittard Tapes period (1993-2003).

The cassette tapes that made up the Guittard Tapes were lost for ten years. In 2006, I had put all my belongings in several storage places in preparation to go to Bulgaria for the Peace Corps. In 2008, I returned to the States and was flopping on couches at various family members and I could not locate the tapes. I wasn’t sure where they were. I had my things in four different locations! In the spring of 2012, I was ecstatic when my dad called me to say that he had some of my stuff in his storage unit which he needed to downsize. My wife and I went to Dallas and sure enough there were the Guittard Tapes in one of my storage boxes.

It was in 1993 that my songwriting and recording began on the newly bought Tascam 4-Track machine I acquired. Instead of playing video games and zonking out on pizza, I began recording and being creative. During my college days at Western State College of Colorado, I recorded a lot of cover songs. I consider these as part of the Guittard Tapes as well but have chosen to release them separately and unofficially because they are cover songs.

In Gunnison, I began recording Tom Petty, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, and Nirvana. The Guittard Tapes are a look at my early writing. One of the earliest songs I wrote is called “But Not Right Now.”

It was about living in the college dorm and having to put up with rude behavior of potluck roommates. There are also some songs that I did with friends of mine where a guy named Clayton Coates who is a pastor now did the singing: A-Listen, Clayton Blues, and Gotta Get Out of this Place.


The songs were recorded in Dallas, Wichita Falls, and Huntsville, Texas, Gunnison, Colorado, and Hollywood, California. Looking back on it, I wanted to call it the Guittard Tapes because it is a nod at the infamous “Nixon Tapes.” I was born during the Nixon Administration and believe that Nixon was a gadget guy. He liked to document everything in his life and it turned out that the tapes became his downfall but in my case the tapes, to me, are my upswing. I believe the Guittard Tapes represent the initial seed of my dream. It even began before 1993 with my dad’s dictation machine and in 2013 the music holds up in its lo-fi honest way. Nixon would be proud!

I still hope to release more Guittard Tapes. The time period is significant in that the tragedy of September 11th occurred at that time. It was so innocent and optimistic before 9-11 and after became more cynical and pessimistic. However, the tapes are a slice of time and the music is available for everyone to listen and download. The process of extracting the music from the tapes to MP3 format was quite complicating.

Transferring process:
What I had to do was record each track separately from the old tapes on the old Tascam 4-Track machine to my new digital 4-track machine by lining in a guitar cord from the old tape 4-Track to the new one. Each track was done one at a time. The tricky part is the starting point for the individual tracks in a song may not always line up to the other tracks of the song. Also, the second track on the cassette 4track machine didn’t sound. So I had to flip the tape over and then the second track could be heard but backwards in the 3rd track spot.

After transferring all the tracks of a song to the digital another challenge is that the speed of the old 4-Track is at a different speed than the digital. So basically what you hear on the digital sounds like chipmunks. To fix this, I had to dump the tracks from the digital 4-Track to my laptop which has Adobe Audition 3. There, I was able to fix the second track. I would reverse it back to how it should be. And then I had to slow down the digital tracks so that it would sound “normal” speed.

Some of the tracks are still a bit out of rhythm because I was doing it mainly by ear when mixing it on the laptop. Some of the songs had a count off for a guide but many of the songs did not. Many times the count off sound bled into the other tracks and that helped me to make sure everything was lined up as good as possible.

It was quite a process. I even did some math to figure out how much time to cut. I looked for a certain lyric I sang in the song and marked the timing notation of the editing software and lined things up with that number. It was not exact but that’s what I did. I’m sure there would be more exact ways.

Bob and Jim Guittard UT Austin – May 2001

Bob's Graduation 2001 Austin Texas

Gotta Get Out of Here
Waiting Around this hard ol’ town.                                                                                                                                                                                                Gotta get outta here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The freaks and the bums all being dumb.
Gotta get outta here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hearing the sound in the corner lounge.                                                                                                                                                                                           Gotta get outta here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seeing an Elvis walk on by.
Gotta get outta here.
Saw a girl walk on by.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think I’ll stay for a while.
Repeat all 1X

Story behind:
In 2001, I wrote the lyrics for this one while sitting in the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel is known for being the place where the first Academy Awards took place in 1929. It was just down the street from where I lived while I was attending the Musicians Institute.

At that time, I was getting a bit weary of the Hollywood scene. The music school had turned out to be disappointing and Hollyweird was taking its toll on me. I wanted to move to a different location because of a home invasion robbery and because it seemed that freaks and tourists were everywhere along Hollywood Blvd.

One time while waiting at Hollywood and Highland, a complete stranger asked me if I wanted some hash. I noticed quickly that there was a guy dressed up as Elvis standing close by and told the drug pusher pointing to Elvis that I didn’t want any hash but that Elvis might. The “Elvis” impersonator quickly told the drug pusher that he didn’t feel called to smoke hash. For this song, my writing method was to sit and observe. In the song, I make reference to this “Elvis” that I had seen around. There was a lounge at the Hollywood Roosevelt named the Cinegrill. It was where Gene Clark (the Byrds’ tambourine man) last performed in April 1991 before his death about a month later. (When I first got to Hollywood, my mother took a photo of me under the Cinegrill sign. I hadn’t learned about Gene Clark performing there yet.)

Recording: It was recorded after the move to a new apartment in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles on a Tascam 4-Track machine. I played a 12-String acoustic guitar with and without a capo, drums, and did the singing.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (Cinegrill) 1999 – Hollywood Boulevard

Jim Cine Grill

Tired (Acoustic/Psychedelic Version)
Tired of being sad
Tired of being mad
I do the right thing
But I can’t feel my wings and fly.

Tired of being sad
Tired of being mad
I do the right thing
But I can’t feel my wings and fly.

Chorus
When will I do what You want?
When will I stop having to pretend?
I hate feeling bad.
I want to feel the way I did
As a kid.

Tired of feeling bad
Tired of feeling mad

Story behind:
Both of the versions were recorded in 2001 about the same time in Los Angeles on my 4-Track Tascam machine. At the time, I often experimented with sounds by using my BOSS Digital Delay pedal as a tool to create or inspire me. The Psychedelic Version of Tired is pretty experimental. I hooked up the pedal to an electric keyboard and got some interesting sounds. I had been turned onto Roland’s Vintage Space Echo machine. I was trying to get that kind of sound with my digital delay pedal.

The tune had a kind of weary feel to it. I was just tired of “twisting in the wind.” The phrase came to me as my brother called me once to get a status update on my goings on in California after he had returned to Texas earlier that year. I was digging my heels firmly trying to prove that I could make it in California. I was waiting on the right thing to happen but was getting mad that it wasn’t happening. The song was also a kind of prayer.

Recording:
Psychedelic Version – Acoustic guitar, keyboards, and singing.
Acoustic Version – Acoustic guitar and Singing.

Getting There Is Not Easy
Just wanna be right.
Just wanna be fine.
Something’ll come in time.
Getting there is not easy.
Getting there is not easy

Just wanna move weight.
Just wanna stand straight.
Something’ll give to flight.
Getting there is not easy.
Getting there is not so easy.

Just wanna break through.
Just wanna be free.
Something’ll give to might.
Getting there is not so easy.
Getting there is not so easy.

Just wanna be real.
Just wanna have sight.
Something will show real bright.
Getting there is not so easy.
Getting there is not so easy.

Just wanna be right.
Just wanna be fine.
Something’ll come in time.
Getting there is not so easy.
Getting there is not so easy.

Just wanna move weight.
Just wanna stand straight.
Something will give to flight.
Getting there is not so easy.

Story behind:
It was recorded in January 2002 with a Byrds influence. The song is similar in spirit with “Gotta Get Out of Here.” It speaks about my love-hate relationship with Los Angeles and the disillusionment about the current situation but the lyrics are still hopeful. I still felt as if I was “twisting in the wind” and was hoping that I could make it in California financially. I had worked at a rental car company to make ends meet and was not seeing the fruit of my labor but I felt I was “paying my dues.” I was in it for the long run and not hoping for a quick fix. A heavy burden was on my shoulders that I succeed and prove different family members that I could do it. I remember having different dreams at night about being in a fog, clouds, or basically just trying to find my way. It was as if I was Moses trying to find my way out of the desert.

Recording:
I played the acoustic 12-string guitar and sang.

Jingle Jangle Instrumental

Story behind:
Jingle Jangle Instrumental is one that I’m particularly proud from the Guittard Tapes. It was recorded in my Hollywood apartment in 2000 on my Tascam 4-Track machine. I was heavily listening to the Byrds in that period. The song that I was going for was “Here Without You” on the Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine album.

My recording is quite lo-fi, a bit jazzy. I used a phaser pedal to get the psychedelic effect.

Recording:

I played the drums, Rickenbacker, acoustic guitar, and bass.

Walkie-Talkie Experiment

Story behind:
This tune was recorded probably in 2000 in Hollywood. I was into gadgets at the time having just purchased a couple of walkie-talkies that Roger McGuinn had recommended on his website. Henry McGuinn and I were listening to the Byrds’ song called “2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)” off the 5D album.

It contained a bit of gadget sounds. The sound effects inspired us and in the recording of Walkie-Talkie Experiment I was trying to emulate the experimentalism I was hearing in the Byrds. Henry and I had talked about using gadgets as part of our music and so I gave it a shot.

For the song, the lyrics were completely improvised. I set up one microphone in front of one of the walkie-talkies and then I hit the record button on the 4-track machine.

The bass line was me trying to do a lively Beachwood Sparks type thing. During those days, I tried not to miss any of the Beachwood Sparks shows if they were playing in Los Angeles.

Recording:
I played the 12-String Rickenbacker, bass guitar, drums, and sang or talked.

Ordinary Guy
I’m just an ordinary guy.
Why don’t you give me a try?
Waiting for you to come around.

Chorus
Just come to me now.
I’m just an hour away.
Just come on down to me.
I’m just an hour away.

Verse
As the sun comes up.
As the sun goes down.
I can feel you getting closer to me.
You know I want ya baby. You know it.

Chorus
Just come on down to me now.
I’m just an hour away.
Get on down here, man, babe.
You can see that I’m waiting here.

Verse
I’m just an ordinary guy.
Why don’t you give me a try?
With your cute little smile
On your cute little face.
I’d love to see ya now, babe.

Chorus
Just come on down to me now.
I’m just an hour away.
Just come on down to me.
I’ll be waiting for you.
I’m just an ordinary guy.

Story behind:
I wrote Ordinary Guy in early 2000 while sitting at the Stir Crazy Coffee Shop on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. I had been waiting there to meet a musical acquaintance but she didn’t show up and so I was blowing off steam with writing the lyrics. Ordinary Guy was one of my first songs to write lyrics. For nine months, I had been hanging around Hollywood and nothing was panning out. I just wanted a chance and that was the sentiment in the song. It was humble I guess.

I started a duo with Henry McGuinn called the Ragas shortly thereafter. I brought my song “Ordinary Guy” out as a possible tune that the Ragas could play but Henry passed on it. It wasn’t the high quality lyrics that we needed. Henry was into songs about the beach and more groovy nature type songs. My song “Ordinary Guy” was my attempt at being real. The Ragas recorded “Ordinary Guy” but as an instrumental.

Recording:
I played the Fender Telecaster B-Bender, 12 String acoustic, sang the lead and background vocals. Vladimir Maskoff played the electric bass. It was recorded on my 4 Track Tascam machine by Brian McKay in North Hollywood.

Tremolo Instrumental
Story behind:
I recorded this on probably in late 2001 or sometime in 2002. It was my attempt at possibly shoegaze. I might have been listening to the Brian Jonestown Massacre Methodrone album.

I used a tremolo pedal. Not much else to say about it. It’s cool.

Recording:
I played drums and electric guitar.

The track in the lost interview is an experimental track called Loony also from the Guittard Tapes.

Here’s where you can find additional podcasts for the Muffin Junkee Show
Jim Guittard
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas June 2013

Published under Musicsend this post
2013 28 May

 

I recorded this one back on February 26, 2004 to be exact on my 4-track Tascam machine. I was dog/house sitting for Steven Collins (founder of Deadman) at his pad and he let me use his instruments to record and obviously I wanted to rise to the occasion that came knocking. I used his Rhodes keyboard to get a nice 60s vibe. The piece has not been revealed to the public until now as the song had been buried among the “Guittard Tapes” for almost 10 years.

Wake up, my brother!

Is it real or fake?
The world’s life’s at stake.
We watch the television.
And all can say could this be?

Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
We’re gonna die!

Why all of these things?
We just need our wings.
We work to the max.
As if we’re on the right tracks.

Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
We’re gonna die!

We’re all too busy.
In our own worlds of me.
Take time to say a prayer.
That we all might become aware.

Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
Wake up, my brother.
The time is now.
We’re gonna die!

Words and Lyrics by Jim Guittard 2013

Wake Up, My Brother

Published under Musicsend this post
2013 1 Jan

Traveling around from California to Texas I captured a billboard that only had the word “Forgive” on it. It caught my eye and I turned the car around to go film it. I’m glad I did because I think it’s a good message we all need in this divisive world we live in.

The next video combines the image of a windmill in West Texas that I captured on my way back to Texas from California where my car broke down. It was a peaceful sight. The song that I added is an instrumental called “Tremolo Instrumental”. It was written and recorded in and around 2002 the first time I lived in Los Angeles.

Download the track here:

James 3:6

New International Version (NIV)

6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Published under The Here and Nowsend this post
2011 6 Dec

Ever feel like your life is going in circles or that it is too monotonous or repetitive? Well, it may sound like this song. I tried to come up with something that expressed that feeling and here it is. It was recorded with a 330 Rickenbacker six string electric guitar, a Casio WK-500 keyboard, shaker and tambourine. Thanks for listening.

Download here:  http://www.archive.org/details/Monotony


(picture from http://www.motifake.com)

Published under Musicsend this post
2011 23 Oct

Probably it would be something like this if “Uncle Sam” were a real person today. I think arguing the left/right thing is a waste of time. It’s an allusion. They are one and the same and it is only a distraction.

It’s like this:

Published under Lifesend this post
2011 17 Sep

Movin’ by Jim Guittard and Donnie Bugden by More Jim Guittard

Movin’ (Vocals) by More Jim Guittard

Collaborated with donnie bugden

Where are you going today?
Will you always stay in the same spot?
Or will you get up and go away?
It is all okay.
We’ve been here before.
They want us to be afraid.
But it’s not gonna keep us down.
Get up from your desk.
You’ve spent too much time there.
You wasting away.
Make something happen.
Create. Be the change you want to see.
The skies will part
and the clouds will go away.
There’s something okay and beautiful to see everyday.
Burn down the past. Go On.
We know there are other people waiting to get up.
Just Go.

Words By Jim Guittard
Music by Donnie Bugden
2011

Jim Guittard: Vocals, Electric Guitar, Keyboard
Donnie Bugden: Electric Guitars

Published under Musicsend this post
2011 31 Aug

Waiting by More Jim Guittard

Wrote this song almost 10 years ago but lost the original recording of it. So I recorded it again tonight in 2011. On the previous version I used a Fender B-Bender guitar but I don’t have it anymore. It was stolen. Anyway, I did the best I could from memory. Previously, it was called “Station” but I think it would be better titled Waiting. I also updated the lyric to waiting for a plane instead of a train cause that’s what I’ll be doing in a few months or so when my wife finally gets to the U.S.

Waiting

Going down to the station.
I’ll be waitin’ for you to come.
I’ll be pickin’ up your heavy bags.
It won’t be a drag.

I hope you’ll be glad to see me.

Checkin’ out the plane schedule.
I’ll be lookin’ for your plane to come.
I’ll be combin’ my hair for you.
It won’t be that long.

I hope you’ll be glad to see me.

Readin’ up on the newspaper.
I’ll be lookin’ for the funny section.
I’ll be watchin’ the people pass by.
It can’t be that long.

I hope you’ll be glad to see me.

Seein’ you arrive just on time.
I’ll be runnin’ to get a hug.
I’ll be thinkin’ how lucky I am.
No, it’s not a drag.

I know you’ll be glad to see me.

Words and Music by Jim Guittard 2011

Published under Lifesend this post
2011 29 Aug

This is another collaboration I did with Donnie Bugden that I think turned out pretty good. I came up with the basic rhythm guitar, bass line, and keyboard line. Donnie contributed the guitar with special effect, emotional melody and lyrics for the song. I sang basically in unison to his vocal track.

Here are the lyrics:

First Descent

I am the first descent
The first to go
The last you’ll ever know
I am the first descent
The first to go
The last you’ll ever know
The longest way down
Pulling shovels from the ground
Broke down now
On the way home
You are the last descent
The last to know
The last to go
The shortest way up
Pushing picks from the sound
Get off the merry go round
I am the first descent
The first to go
The last you’ll ever know

Music by Jim Guittard
Words by Donnie Bugden
2011

Published under Lifesend this post
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