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