Having received a text from MJ letting me know that things were getting going a little later than expected, Elizabeth and I decided to grab this opportunity and try for a little sight-seeing. Knowing a holistic look at San Diego was going to be impossible, we decided to focus our efforts on La Jolla, an area we knew little about but that had been highly recommended for us to "check out". And so began the morning ritual of coffee, brisk park walk to breathe in the fresh Pacific air, sunshine to help combat jetlag, and requisite lunch of "even-more-authentic-than-Mexico" Mexican food.
Things opened with drum tracking of my track, Seasons Come and Go. Not having had the benefit of MJ's west coast experience (granted Palo Alto, but I've heard it still counts), I immediately adopted what I saw as a helpful posture, finely honed from my teenage years spent in British boarding school and often accepted quite comfortably in the Northeast, of running around trying to organize as many things as possible in as little time as possible. Ever the industrialist. This elicited some rather odd looks from Jesse and crew, though they persevered with the kind of patient bemusement typically reserved for anthropologists towards the tribes they study and vice versa, until finally I realized that even Copper, Jesse's beagle, was giving me the beady once-over, stopped what I was doing, and asked:
"What can I do?"
Jesse, without batting an eyelid, replied, quite plainly: "Vibe, man. Just vibe."
I blink, then say the first thing that came into my mind.
"But... I'm from New England."
It was an incredibly productive day of non-stop exploration and trial-and-error. We experimented with a number of different rhythms, from absolute straight 8ths to all manner of syncopations, with Noah at conn, Jesse directing, and the rest of us adding our two cents when it seemed relevant and helpful to do so without interrupting the flow. We eventually found great synergy with two-and-a-half moving parts for the rhythm section: a simple, rock-ballad feel in the verse; which switched to an off-the-backbeat clave idea in the prechorus (which I'm finding I have something of an odd proclivity towards... note to self: ok to love it but try not to overuse). The chorus came back with a similar idea as the verse, but harder and more driving.
Travel safe and talk soon.
And, coming soon, my new website: www.wenewenglandersvibelikethebestofthem.com