2015 23 Jun

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

scan0001

 

Here’s the location on Googlemaps circa December 2014.

Greco's Pizzeria

 

 

Published under Lifesend this post
2014 20 Mar

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.

Jim Cine GrillOctober 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.

Byron& JimWith 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.

Scan10002Myself, 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.

You Are On Track

You Are On Track by Guittard Tapes 2

The song is trying to hype myself up to stay and continue with the musical pursuit in Los Angeles. It wasn’t going exactly how I had hoped but this was an honest plea to dig in.

Jangly Ordinary Guy
Jangly Ordinary Guy by Guittard Tapes 2

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.

Beach Basement Session
Beach Basement Session by Guittard Tapes 2

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.

Station
Station basement session by Guittard Tapes 2

This tune is another raw alternate take. It was again trying to be recorded in a basement session way that was carefree and emotional.

I left L.A. in February 2003 and the picture below is just after I came back to Dallas, Texas.
Jim February 2003

 

Published under Lifesend this post
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 6 Apr

Just now releasing this one. It’s part of the “Guittard Tapes” and the tune was buried for over ten years. Now, it has the light of day. I recorded it in Los Angeles in 2001 or so. It’s heavy on the digital delay pedal with swirly organ. I intended as a prayer of sorts to God.

TIRED (PSYCHEDELIC VERSION)

TIRED (ACOUSTIC VERSION)

If you want to download the album in its entirety, go here:

Published under Musicsend this post
2012 26 Aug

This group of songs collected dust for almost a decade. In 2012, I resurrected and mixed the songs from the misplaced 4-Track Tapes I had in storage boxes in Dallas, Texas since 2006 when I went into the Peace Corps in Bulgaria.

The tunes were all recorded in Los Angeles, California during the period 1999-2003.  At that time, I was working on songs for my California Daze album. The songs I include on the Guittard Tapes were never released until now. You will find some alternate takes or early versions for a few California Daze songs: Beach and Jazz Tune.

Back then I was listening to the Byrds quite heavily and therefore many of the tunes are intentionally jangly with Rickenbacker sounds. I played the drums, bass, and even a sitar on the first track which was recorded 3 Weeks After 9-11. Other instruments I played were a 12 String Guild acoustic guitar, Fender Telecaster B-Bender, Dr. Groove Drum Machine, and various keyboards and percussion.

Notice also that there is a song called Election 2000 which is about the Bush/Gore Election.

Here is the track list:
1. 3 Weeks After 03:36
2. Aliens 03:57
3. Ordinary Guy 03:44
4. Getting There Is Not So Easy 03:15
5. Jingle Jangle Instrumental 02:44
6. Batman 02:12
7. Jazz Tune 2000 Demo 02:30
8. Beach Original 02:06
9. Station 03:02
10. Election 2000 02:00
11. Jangly Instrumental 04:09
12. Psychedelic Consciousness 03:13
13. Walkie-Talkie Experiment 02:59
14. Are You Up Instrumental 02:48
15. More Jangle 02:21
16. Tremolo Instrumental 01:20

The sheet music for Jazz Tune (track #7) that I wrote while attending the Musicians Institute during this period.

It’s DIY project. Enjoy!

Jim Guittard

Published under Musicsend this post
2010 22 Feb

1    Introduction – 02:16
2    Commentary On Beach – 01:30
3    Beach – 03:55
4    Commentary on BJM-Like Song – 01:45
5    BJM-Like Song – 03:04
6    Commentary On Confusion Lies Guns and Drugs – 02:08
7    Confusion, Lies, Guns, And Drugs – 02:34
8    Commentary on Can’t Be Down That Very Long – 00:58
9    Can’t Be Down That Very Long – 02:29
10    Commentary on 3 of Clubs – 00:53
11    3 of Clubs – 03:46
12    Commentary On Swing Tune – 00:50
13    Swing Tune – 01:28
14    Commentary on Jazz Tune – 00:43
15    Jazz Tune – 02:23
16    Commentary On Beach Acoustic – 01:24
17    Beach (Acoustic) – 05:24
18    Outro Influence of West Coast Scene – 02:27

Download for free here:

http://www.archive.org/details/CaliforniaDazeAlbumCommentary

Published under Good Musicsend this post
2009 16 Feb

So it has been six years since an eventful night in my life.  I can still remember quite well.  I was living in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles at the time.  For three years, I was hitting the pavement in hopes of being a known musician.  But something knocked me down.

What knocked me down was a robbery.  It was in my Los Feliz apartment.  The place was ransacked and trashed and death threats were written all over the walls in honey.  Why did it happen?    Because of shady contacts.  Yep!  Los Angeles has quite a bit.   The cops were called and the chips fell.

I was not in the apartment at the time of the robbery but had been there right before and left to go to a hotel in Pasadena because of a funny feeling.  I thought about taking my guitars but I didn’t and so three were stolen.  My apartment was broken into and a 12 String Guild acoustic, Electric Fender B-Bender and a Fender Jazz Bass were stolen.

I was betrayed in a big way.  I now forgive the people that were responsible.  I never got the guitars back.  They may be around Los Angeles somewhere.  My Rickenbackers survived the robbery.  I guess they are a bit holy.

It is good for you to be stripped of your possessions at times.  What is it anyway?  Property and meaningless.  I picked up my guitars again after recovering back in Texas from the whole ordeal.

The door was busted open and it said something like “West Side Gangsters” written on the inside of the door.  Straight into the apartment ahead was my bedroom, the door was shut but hanging on the door was a note of some kind saying something like, “We know where you are and will kill you.”  My entrance was the second door on the lower level as the picture will show.

Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California

los-feliz-los-angeles-california

I remember rightfully being paranoid while inside and found a suspicious looking thing that I didn’t know what it was.  It almost looked like a handmade bomb.  I called the police out again and this was in 2003 you know and the cops came out with their dogs to see what it was.  It was nothing.  They taped off the whole street and I sat on a wall down the street and played like I knew nothing.  It was embarrassing.  Old ladies were being escorted across the street and I just said, “must be a terrorism scare or something” when people would ask what was going on.

So for a week, I stayed at the Westway Inn across from the Pasadena City College.  It was a new low and I wondered what to do next.  I had actually put a down payment down on a new apartment that was cheaper and in Van Nuys, California.  When I got on the phone with mom, she said it was time to come home.  I got a U-Haul and got out of there.   I maxed out my Discover Card and lost the deposit on both apartments.  I hadn’t even moved into the second one.  Let’s just say I was depressed as everything.

Back in Texas, I didn’t pursue charges.  It wasn’t worth it.  I had been through enough and so had the person I was trying to help.  God knows what happened and I let it go.  I think I made the right decision.

The Pasadena Westway Inn

westway-inn-pasadena-california

I wrote a song around this time about the thing I was dealing with.  It’s called “Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs.”  The song is country-rock and I was listening to a lot of Johnny Cash at the time so it came out this way.


The lyrics are:

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs

I woke up this morning half past two.
My only problem is where are you.
You ran off with another guy.
I don’t know why.

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs. 2X

We’ve been through this many a time.
It’s starting to be a crime.
Give up the jerk with the gun.
Let’s have some fun.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

I just don’t know what you see in him.
It seems like it’s just a whim.
He doesn’t like you for who you are.
It’s just a game.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

Ya gotta clear your mind, choose the Way.
It’ll be a brand new day.
Give up the junk and soon you’ll see.
I promise you.

No more confusion, lies, guns and drugs. 2X

Feel free to download my “California Daze” album for free that I did in 2002 here:
California Daze

Published under Lifesend this post
2009 30 Jan

Here are some paintings done by Henry McGuinn.  They are quite colorful and much like the “Yellow Submarine” cartoon of the Beatles.  During that time, Henry and I watched the Yellow Submarine a thousand times.

Jim with 12-String Rickenbacker and Korg

jim-guittard-with-rickenbacker-by-henry-mcguinn

The Ragas at Topanga Beach

the-ragas-playing-at-topanga-beach

Jim Sleeps In Bush On PCH Near Malibu

jim-sleeps-in-bush

The Car Chase

the-car-chase1

3 of Clubs in Hollywood

jim-at-3-of-clubs

Jim Drinking Stout for Breakfast at Neptune’s Lounge – Topanga Canyon

jim-at-neptunes-lounge

Thanks Henry.  The art is rad and really sums up my life in 2000.  Cheers.  Jim Guittard

Listen to a live show of the Ragas from 2000.

Published under Music, The Artssend this post
2008 3 Jun

Well I just wanted to let people know that Henry McGuinn and I have released an album on the free download site Jamendo.

The songs are from 2000 when we were establishing our band the Ragas in the beginnings of the Neo-Psychedelic scene in Hollywood.

I had enough foresight to let my 4-track roll. The tunes are pretty raw but I think captures the essense of the Ragas. We named our group the Ragas after sitar royalty Ravi Shankar and the style of raga rock music that the Beatles and the Byrds came up with.

Basically, Henry and I would jam tunes and record them and then trek out for Indian food on the Sunset Strip. It was fun times.

  

I hope you will download for free at:

The Ragas at Jamendo

All the Best,
Jim

2008 27 May

Henry and I are sorting out the order of our album we will put out soon. The songs are all very nice. You’ll experience the raw organic world of the Ragas as it was back in 2000 in Los Angeles.

It’s part of my history and of course a part of the underground Byrds scene. Henry is the son of the Byrds founder, Roger McGuinn.

I am glad I let my 4 track roll during our Raga rehearsal sessions in my Hollywood pad that overlooked Capital Records. There are also some tracks from our trek down to Austin, Texas. My brother of Flat People helped out on the bass.

I’ll keep you posted.

Published under Musicsend this post
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