2015 30 Mar

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….

Published under Good Musicsend 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
2008 19 May

2008 – “Busted In Bulgaria”

2002 – “California Daze”

“Busted In Bulgaria” is a collection of songs that document living in a strange land. During a two year period, the tracks were all recorded in a raw stripped down way on a laptop using Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs range from psychedelic, shoegaze, folk-rock to experimental. The album is full of sound effects to add a creative vibe. Some songs even have the actual sound from students in the Bulgarian school where I have taught English in Pernik. I also sing a handful of songs in the Bulgarian language.

“California Daze” was recorded in Hollywood, California around 2002 by me on my 4-track recorder and later mixed with Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs pay tribute to the birth of the Neo-Psychedelic scene that emerged beginning in 2000 in Silverlake, California with groups such as the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Quarter After, smallstone, the Warlocks, the Tyde, and the Belle Isle.

I play the shaker, drum machine, and sing all lead and background vocals with the help of friend Vladimir Maskov for bass. Brian McKay engineered the recording of the Beach the acoustic version. I also play all lead and rhythm guitars. The song Beach is co-written by myself and Dominic Campanella of the Quarter After.

The “Swing Tune” and “Jazz Tune” are instrumentals I wrote while attending the Musicians Institute from 1999 to 2000. Here I play the lead guitar with session bassist and drummer. On the rhythm guitar is a guy from Brazil named Reginaldo. He was a student with Jim at the school. You can hear the teacher, “Mr. Lupo Groinig” giving a critique after the instrumentals end.

2008 – Busted in Bulgaria

2008 - Busted in Bulgaria

2002 – California Daze

2002 - California Daze

Please download both albums for free:

Jim at Jamendo

Enjoy!

Published under Musicsend this post
2007 16 Mar

I got into the BJM in late 1999. It was well before Dig but after the Viper Room and other events made “famous” in the movie. Put aside all the fistfights, verbal attacks or whatever, the music of the Brian Jonestown Massacre stands the test of time. Forget all the hype of Anton Newcombe being some crazy guy. Who cares? It’s about music right?

Starting in late 1999, I was lucky enough to see the band in person while living in Los Angeles. Anton was a cool dude to me. I never saw any of the abuse the movie is so based upon. In fact, he’s quite intelligent and courteous.

But the mark left with me from experiencing the BJM firsthand is tremendous. If I could sum up what I have gotten out of it. For me it left me with the feeling that I can have numerous chances to do “my thing.”

It’s about going for it no matter what, not giving up. Striving through all the hype. One does not have to be near famous to have hype about them. It seems that most families have hype. They have opinions on how one’s career should be or when they should marry, etc.

With the BJM, it’s about showing the press or mainstream or others that they are wrong with their close-minded routine thinking. It is a wake up call to society to think more positively and courageously with vision. A Beatles’ song comes to mind: “Think For Yourself.” Words are “Do what you want to do and go where you’re going to. Think for yourself ‘Cause I won’t be there with you.” It’s about standing on your own feet. Making your own history.

It is funny how when I read news stories about this famous person or that. The articles always bring up the past. Writers say nothing new. They write about what they’ve been told and don’t give people the chance to better themselves. Writers go along with the status quo, maybe for what is entertaining or controversial. I think the BJM evokes courage.

In America, we talk about free speech and everything but I think, in general, it is slanted toward the controversial, trashy, and rubbish category. Why do Americans like to read about controversy? I don’t but maybe most people do. I’m 33. Not that old. I’m among the Generation X, which have been written about to be cynical or the children of divorce families. I am from a divorced family and some of my family’s past is chaotic with fistfights and verbal attacks.

Here’s an excerpt from a news article I was mentioned in concerning “Generation X” finding their place in the world.1

Jim Guittard of Dallas, who will be 32 in October, lives with his grandparents, shelves books part-time at a branch of the Dallas Public Library and hopes to head to Eastern Europe or Central Asia for the Peace Corps this fall.

Armed with a degree in American history from Colorado’s Western State College, Guittard started out working as an automobile-insurance-claims adjuster but grew tired of the constant bickering over money.

To pursue his passion for playing the guitar, he moved to Hollywood, Calif., where he found gigs playing in clubs. But the money wasn’t enough to provide a steady living. To survive, he worked a series of low-paying jobs at a talent agency, a rental-car office and an apartment-locator firm.

The experiences left him disillusioned about working in corporate America, and he moved back to Dallas a little more than two years ago.

“I don’t want to settle,” he says of his decision to seek happiness rather than money. “Do what your heart says.”

That’s why I take comfort in the BJM. The BJM, I think, looks past the obvious. The obvious is, yes, you may have a disfunctional past but you can be somebody. It’s about not labeling others. Labels can be bad.

So what else can I say? Well, if you’ve read this far then, thank you. The BJM is cool.

Back in 2001, I recorded an instrumental in tribute to the BJM.

 


up1Katherine Yung, “As Generation X begins to hit 40, it’s finding its place in the world,” The Dallas Morning News, 8 July 2005.