I am home this weekend, which is strange. My car is confused, was waiting to be driven to the studio in Jersey City as it’s been since February 21. This is a rare weekend away from recording. I am taking full advantage of the time away.
But I really set the bar impossibly high for myself!
Last weekend we burned through doing bass tracks and guitar melodies. So my ego said “You can knock out solos in one day like you always do!” But my hands said otherwise. I was simply burned out. Mike said “Work on your solos at home and then let’s try in two weeks.” I’ve been doing just that. But one question loomed in my brain: “How did I play solos so quickly in the past and now I can’t?”
I listened back to my past albums, which I rarely do, to hear what I did that I can’t do now. I rehearsed with full trios for the most part, so I got to work out ideas beforehand. When I would record, I was a bit more prepared. Only two albums had me winging solos on the fly: TWISTED METAL and LAYERS OF TIME. Both times those were not with trios; TWISTED was myself and drummer Darren Patrick. LAYERS was all me, even doing drum programs. So when it came time for solos, I went for broke and somehow landed on my feet. This time was a different ballgame.
I sat here with the first song on the new album, tried something I’d never done before. Normally I would start high up on the neck, but this time I decided to start low. From there, the ideas came flowing. Maybe I had to re-invent some aspects of my playing? Whatever the case, I told Mike in a message that I am finding new ways to come up with soloing strategies. He said the time away will help and he’s right.
I’m not out of the woods yet. Each song has its own flavor, and I can’t play the same things each time. I wish I had an endless supply of licks like Jeff Beck, Steve Vai or Allan Holdwsorth…but I’m Steve Bello and I have to do the job myself.
So next Friday will be the return to the studio. Still feels weird not going anywhere today. What will happen once the album is done?
My body might atrophy!!