They say that the more you write in this space the more likely people are to buy your cd, so I'll just go track by track and tell you why/how/when I recorded the song you may or may not be listening to.
First off, Scraps is a collection of songs I've probably thrown together, although some songs like "The Escape" and "All Guijarras" are fairly well composed. Most people really dig "Continental Breakfast" and "Cuz Matt's Gone" as well.
Everything was recorded between the Summer and Winter of 2006, from an apartment in San Mateo, California to motels in Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and other United States of America. More on that after the track descriptions.
Anyway, track by track.
1. Static Characters
I had in mind that "some people just don't change" when doing this one. Threw together some little drum waste of times and constructed a barely digestible melody to follow and then going into lazy, angry, frustrated solos in between. Then comes the static at the end... which is really why it's called static characters. What I said above this probably isn't even true. Recorded in California apartment, Summer '06.
2. All Guijarras go to Heaven
This is embarrassing to talk about. A friend of mine's dear cat died and I made a joke about it. I don't think she was listening, but I felt guilty. There's other background here, but the tragic/funny/important thing is that I made this song about her cat named Pebbles, and so the word guijarro means pebble in spanish, but I tweaked the gender of the word to say that all Pebbles to go heaven, or basically that her cat will be okay now that it's dead.
The song means a lot more to me for other reasons, but in general it's just a good, melancholy song. Mostly influenced by John Frusciante, as I was listening to him at the time, it was recorded in my apartment in California in the Summer. The main melody in it has been used for song I made with my band Too Dark For a Picture, which you can hear if you go to myspace.com/toodarkforapicture.
"Recorded" in the same apartment as mentioned above, this is just some sequenced drums and synths in Fruityloops I recorded into Sonar in realtime. The original is like 8 minutes and I think the one on this CD is the edited down to 6 minutes version. Hope so for your sake.
It's just really dark... and fast... good for angry driving at loud volumes, especially with subwoofers n stuff. There's no guitar in this, which is very out of character of me these days.
4. The Escape
The best composition I've done up until everything on Dizzy Fingers (new album, hear those songs at myspace.com/maxwelllewis), although it reeks of unoriginality if you've ever heard Omar Rodriguez' solo work or the band He is Dictator of called The Mars Volta.
I spent nearly a month composing this... and I don't know why it took THAT long as it's not THAT impressive but I was at a transitional phase of music making then, and wanted to make every crescendo and decrescendo extremely powerful. I'm at a point where I just think it's OK, but everybody I know is pretty blown away by it after they've really listened to it outside of a background context.
The movie quotes are from Waking Life and Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and for good reason.
The song was originally part of a 4-track concept album called "The Rust Factory," which was an instrumental journey through a reoccurring dream I had as a child. Nobody was expected to "know" this, but the dream was my creative fuel for the 4 tracks. I abandoned the 4-track album idea and put this and the song "Rust Factory" on this album, as I'm putting a lot of work into a better album as you're reading.
Also recorded in California.
5. Ramblings of a Suicide Victim
Barely any guitar in this one, I wrote a poem to this with the same title, and it was basically a personal narrative by someone who had just committed suicide.
Confused and regretful about why/how they got here, wherever this is, the music is conjures feelings of racing thoughts, confusion, ease and a sort of unique sorrow. It always gets me thinking.
I made this in a hurry, actually... also in the California apartment over the Summer.
6. Motel 8
Honestly, I don't know if I recorded this in Kansas or Missouri... but I think it was Kansas. Shit. Actually it could have been Illinois.
I was driving back to California from New York, staying in Motels every couple nights because it was too cold to sleep in my car. After a few nights I realized that I could just take my computer, guitar, pedal, mixer etc into these motels each time I went in, and make music.
This one is ... both sad, bored and angry. How I was feeling after driving for 15 hours a day.
7. Rust Factory
I threw in some bass guitar, harmonica and live music box into this one. It's conceptually about how we have no choice in life other than to work ourselves to death. Pretty happy. It was supposed to be the song describing being trapped in a dream, whereas "The Escape" was the um... Escape from this dream. Now they're just good songs. If you agree with that.
Recorded in CA Apartment in the Summer.
8. Laugh at Max Song
I did some stupid things based on not hearing someone correctly over the phone... and essentially made a fool of myself on multiple levels. So I did a song in a goofy way, ramble-ish, annoying, with quotes from some kind of chick flick having to do with "did you wash the cut?" and Bill Murray answering "I don't know."
9. Continental Breakfast
Pretty sure this one was made in Illinois. Which would mean that Motel 8 was, too. I made this in the morning between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at checkout at the Motel 8 at which I stayed... the morning after the night I made the song Motel 8. The quote in the beginning is by Silly Rob Childish, a friend of mine. He's singing "Drove for Miles," which is actually a cover by Rachel Williams (myspace.com/birdsfledfromme).
You can hear Rob's stuff at myspace.com/sillyrobchildish. I help him with production sometimes.
10. Tube in a Crate
This was made in September or October of '06 when I was undecided on moving to New York or southern California. I was at my ex-girlfriend's house where I had all my equipment set up, had just bought a Crate Tube amp, and tested it's tone out with this song.
Very Omar Rodriguez, as usual.
11. Summer Mudballs.
Some friends and me accidentally went to a pub in Half Moon Bay, California and got some drinks called Mudballs, which are Guinness beers with chocolate ice cream dropped into the glass. They're great. Very Summer-y drinks. I was so happy about the drink that I did a happy little hiphop sorta thing with no guitar. As out of character as Doubletime.
12. The MP
While I lived in San Mateo, California, there was a liquor store called MP Liquor. Most music I made was while under the influence not of alcohol or caffeine, but SPECIFICALLY Sparks. It's an alcoholic energy drink that, during this period, I was really, really addicted to.
I started making this song, which is very similar to Static Characters, then realized I needed some Sparks. Thought it'd be nifty to name the song after my favorite liquor store.
13. Cuz Matt's Gone
My friend Matt Cox, who now lives in Kentucky, is one of the best drummers ever. As a guitarist, this statement is clearly unfounded. But he can emulate Buddy Rich drum solos fairly closely, which means I'm right.
He was always into Big Band low-high tom obsessive-compulsive jazz syncopation, so with the best of my ability I threw down a drum line which I thought he might have done, and laid down guitar tracks over it... then screwed it up near the middle/end as I usually do.
Recorded in Oxnard, California a little after summertime '06.
14. Mr. Russel Cancerous
On my way home from New York my car broke down in Russel Kansas. See why it's called ... what it's called now?
I was stuck in a motel for 3 days, bored, without either my acoustic or electric guitar, my computer... or anything other than a TV with trash culture spewing out of its face. Ahem.
Quote's from Friday, "you got knocked the fuck out," having to do with possibly being stranded in the middle of the country, no direction home so-to-speak.
I sequenced this out in a slavey fashion when me and Rachel were supposed to do a show in Ventura, California... basically after her and I played guitar and sang over 2 tracks playing from CD, Rachel was to leave and I was to do solo guitar trippy stuff over THIS track... and everybody walked out during the Chomsky quote/sound perversion.
So about 2 weeks before I left for New York in November, I filled in the solos and called it Thursday in memory of the night everyone walked out. I'm punk rock like that.
So more on the trip. Nothing to say. Other than the fact that most of the non-coasts are nicer than the coasts, and if you ever hear somebody talking about how lucky they are to live in Los Angeles or Manhattan, they're probably retarded. Other than that... I'm sick of typing. Buy the CD or die.