getting the band back together


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on the 5th day of May, i awoke to see Switzerland in daylight for the first time in my life.  in the small village of Lutry at the far west end of the country, Alicia’s apartment overlooks Lake Geneva and beyond it – Evian, France.  Switzerland is a country of tameless beauty – rich with mountains, lakes, old cities and about eight million multi-lingual citizens.  my first days here however were not spent exploring the Alps, swimming in crystal clear water and tasting cheese in the country side.  rather, they were spent shut inside a black box.

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welcome to “The Womb” – the cleverly named recording studio that Nathan built in the basement of a warehouse in Lausanne.  here, we teamed up with our other band-member Bryan Roberts who flew hear from London to rekindle Bearded Parrot – a music project we had given birth to a few years prior.  also joining us to provide that perfect amount of estrogen is new band-member Alicia Onstad.  together we are the newly imagined Bearded Parrot and for the next week and half the Womb will be our home.  lets see what we can come up with shall we…?

“Just Kiddin’ Just Whiskey”

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courtesy of Bryan

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courtesy of Bryan

The Womb Sessions were off to a beautiful start.  Nathan, Bryan and i were able to slip into our same ole’ even-keel mode of infectious inspiration while Alicia was quickly finding her comforts.  equal parts coffee and whiskey had become a major part of our daily diet as it kept us both energized and focused… that is until we ran out of coffee.  it all started when i announced needlessly to the band, “i’m gonna get another coffee and whiskey”.  then when i arrived at the Womb’s kitchenette to notice the coffee pot was in fact empty, the very next words to leave my mouth were, “just kiddin’ just whiskey”.  the phrase then spread amongst us like a virus and before long not a single one of us could say anything of importance without following it up with a “…just kiddin’ just whiskey”.  now with coffee, whiskey and country flowing through our veins, we knew we had to stop whatever we were doing and crank out a song before things got too out of hand.  we wandered through the streets of Lausanne trying to think up the most nonsensical lyrics we could and then when we returned to the Womb we fashioned this gem.

– Just Kiddin’ Just Whiskey

“Oh Delilah”

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when Bryan brought Delilah to the table – an extremely well written and joyously melodic murder ballad about a woman who slices off a man’s face before killing him and then goes on to get executed in front of her peers, we fell in love.  it’s on this song that we discovered Alicia’s hauntingly seductive vocal abilities and as we worked our way through it, she became this woman entirely.  this was by far the most complex recording in the session and we spent more time on it than all the others combined.  throughout all of it, i pictured Alicia slicing of my own face.  i still dream about it sometimes.

– Oh Delilah

“Steal your shoes, count your feet”

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this was actually the first recording we started in the session with the intention to get our creative juices flowing.  take a bass groove i wrote a decade back, marry it with some Nathan beat-hooks and mash our four monotoned voices together on top and this is what we end up with.

– Steal your shoes, count your feet

“No time to play”

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here’s an oldie but goody come back to rear its rabbit head about the little white rabbit so obsessed with greed and punctuality that he never took the time to be happy (poor little guy).  originally recorded years ago, Nathan and Bryan resuscitated it in order to add my baritone accompaniment.

– No time to play

“Timbo”

courtesy of Bryan

courtesy of Bryan

it was a sad parting when Bryan flew back to his academia life in London and a sobering blow when Nathan and i realized we were left with a pile of tracks to edit (though actual sobriety never entered into it).  rather than jumping head first into the pile, we let ourselves get a little distracted first…

Alicia has been hard at work creating a children’s story about a brave little boy named Timbo who flies to the far reaches of the Earth, braving deserts, forests, arctic freeze and oceans deep with his bubble-fueled jet pack to collect ingredients to concoct a potion that will heal all of the sick children of the world.  inspired by her story, Nathan and i could not resist our temptation to write a jingle for the eventual Timbo television series.  so not to let ourselves get too sidetracked from the tasks at hand, we gave ourselves a hard deadline of only 40 minutes to come up with our Timbo jingle concept but once we started there was just no stopping it until perfection was achieved.  8 hours later we ended up with this 37 second masterpiece.  ladies and gentleman, it is my pleasure to present to you, Timbo.

– Timbo

ok… we did actually manage to venture out of the Womb on a few occasions to explore the vineyards on the countryside, take a dip in Lake Geneva and wander through some adorable streets.

courtesy of Bryan

courtesy of Bryan

courtesy of Bryan

courtesy of Bryan

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my final weekend in French-Switzerland was spent in Orgevaux (A.K.A. “Bubble Mountain”) – a rural mountainside community with a breathtaking view of the lake.  there, Nathan and Alicia’s friends had rented a farmhouse and packed it full of DJ equipment, party provisions and people.  the walls vibrated by night and by day we frolicked and made bubbles.

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