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Rusty's Ravings on writing and recording?????

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NURSERS Wrote on the welcome thread

"And Rusty - why not start a thread here on your exploits in recording either your dad's or your own albums? I have a feeling it could help inspire other people"


I will take you up on that

I think he saw on keyboard corner i was easy to get talking so Ill run a thread of how its going with my writing and recording.

It will be good for my soul to bare it.


i love to be inspired by others and hope that I can return thAT favour with an interesting story or two.

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to make it easier to put this thread into perspective I'll rerun the original intro before i get into story of recording my 80 year old fathers albums and maybe finally mine.

to show that dreams should be chased or you will always regret not trying


rusty said

"hi guys new to this forum,

Keyboard player,singer/songwriter.


been in bands and duos all my life till ill health [caused by passive smoke in clubs] recently curtailed live playing.

Have got back into writing and hopefully home recording.

Probably my chops arent as good as when I was playing live,and not getting any vocal workouts too,but i can soon fix that as I once was a vocal teacher so I will just make sure I practise what I preached.

Keyboards my weapon,24 track roland recorder,and 40 original songs to put down.

Songs at the moment just roll out so constantly

I dont know why.

Had 2 deep skincancers removed 4 days ago and the pain was at least a 9 and remarkably i sat down that night and played piano and the next day I had written a "quirky" song about sunburn and skincancer,why couldnt I be this prolific when I was younger and playing in bands.

And thank god ive broken the run of love/hate songs Ive written lately....god I long for the quirkyness of youth i once had...sometimes it reappears lately


Had a fair few songs played live/radio in my band days but only recorded as demos really.

have recorded/released my dads first album on his little Boss BR 8 track,and mixed his second album after showing him how to use the boss...what a nightmare to mix....he didnt understand input volumes.


So got a lotta of songs to get down now before my health gets any worse and yet I still seem to not get into recording enough yet the songs just keep coming.Still I shouldnt complAin it would be worse if I couldnt write anything new.

So i have the gear .I have the songs,but i dont have the health to get me into recording as sometimes I easily tire,even just playing piano...sometimes just the thought of rerouting the keyboards can deter me from recording,and this damn internet is a DISTRACTION...talking about it is easier than doing it...lol


but Im actually given myself the rest of the day to set my studio up for the finaL time and will do it..as i promissed myself i would give a CD of the cancer song to my skin cancer doctor/nursers as a push to continue writting/recording..

and dad is waiting for me to record his next album and I keep putting him off and he is 80 years old ....how long can he wait?lol


See you have inspired me already,just writing the above makes me realise what I have to do...thank you.

yes im now going to ring dad to tell him Ill start his new album and then off to the studio to make sure I get a start on my own stuff,


morale of the story folks is dont put off your dreams....for one day you may not physically be able to complete them.


dream 1...record my albums

dream 2...return to surrealist painting

dream 3...live long enough to enjoy....lol ha ha

Sieze yesterday.




as you can see I write too much but hopefully we can all help each other with a little inspiration,help,and comradiere.

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Now to my fathers albums and story.

he is 80 years old,started playing guitar and singing as a youngster and really honing it in the islands as a 17 year old during World War 2,playing cowboy songs to his mates on airfields as 22 RSU a repair and salvage unit for crashed aircraft. .

Played harmonica,and did a bit of performing during the 50's/60s in aussie pubs and clubs,married settled down,learnt piano as an adult,took vocal lessons eventually passing various levels untill he became a singing teacher at night while being a house painting contracter by day.

Teaching was his real passion for most of his life.

Presently as an 80 year old still sings as a duo with my mother at church functions and old peoples homes.

I warn him not to let go of his guitar at the old peoples homes or we may never see him again?lol


A real aussie "Paul hogan" type [born in the same town as hogan coincidently.]


next his first album and my first recording project.

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Now his album

First album...self tittled so I wont mention its name for privacy and this is not a spam thread.

Basically he has heaps of original mostly aussie country songs usually written about an adventure in a local town,very much influenced by the pre war cowboy songs he was bought up with.


Hardware,Boss BR8 recorder,Ensoniq SQ1 synth,roland guitar synth,And panasonic CD recorder for CD master.

Simple cheap stuff my dad could afford,preferring to use his stuff to keep everything located easy reach at his home.


This was an all out effort with me playing all keyboards,drums,backing vocals etc,dad on guitar and lead vocals,mum backing vocals and my ex duo partner/fiancee on backing vocals.


Ok the difficulty with this album was that dad was not used to playing with prerecorded music could only play live and not track by track.

To overcome this we purchased a midi guitar synth to conect to his guitar so that he could play guitar to lay down his own track at his tempo then I could put his synth guitar sound onto the SQ1's sequencer and then I could laydown all the keyboard,drums stuff in time to his playing.

Unfortunately this made working with bars impossible and only linear sequencing possible on this particular sequencer.

After two or three songs I seqenced the rest of his songs and forced him to play along with them,keeping in mind that the tracks were totally different to what he had ever played with...a guitar,and a new learning curve for an old digger.

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So he got used to playing to a sequence after many practises with the midi files,and the vocals were layed down,keeping in mind that I rearranged a few songs to get a usable arrangement but this also affected his learning of the sequence.

But he managed and it was eventually mastering.He was a lover of reverb wanting to bathe everything in heavy reverb,probably cause with his amp for performing didnt have a reverb and he wanted what he was missing live.


Ok we agreed on a final mix,and the album was mastered so to speak to a CD recorder and sent off to a local CD company who originally was going to press 500 CD's but eventually it didnt happen and we settled on 200 burnt from the same company...I think a company buy out had created a change and they were now using CD house who didnt press but burnt.

Anyway we had 200 CDs but now 500 printed covers,still the first 200 were sold,or presented to Radio stations or given as gifts and now the CD is in its second run so not bad for an old dude who didnt have a high profile outside the local area and had never recorded before.

yes he did recieve a lot of local airplay too on community radio stations,including many who even left it on thier play list...

even being invited every year to be part of the V.I.P's at a well known Sydney country music festival.

a dream realised at the age of 75 so it definately is never too late.


Yes and we joke about his songs too and his age..well we stir each other or is it me stirring him.

I tell him they are a little corny or clicheed but I will tell you what there is one of them which is worth becoming an Australian chant/theme song and Im not the only one who thinks that....

so he inspires me to follow my songwriting dream,no matter how my health affects my abillities...he proves that songwriters never get old only thier bodies.

I started songwriting 28 years ago and he only more recently but he has done what I had dreamed of because he doesnt let negatives cloud his eyes....I do sometimes.I slow him down because he relies on me to finish his albums.

dont give up those dreams.


his next album I taught him to record himself on the boss

and then I had to mix it when he could not understand how on the boss to turn off the effects [luckily he loves reverb] and he couldnt seem to get the input volumes high enough...but you work with what you've got.



if you want to hear more cause its interesting or inspiring tell me if not I hope this was not boring.When your old man inspires you its worth sharing.

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thanks buddy


well second album was his own recording...laying track after track of guitar and vocals himself.


Yes i taught him but its hard for an old guy to really grasp technology and this boss BR8 is aimed at guitarists and has a feature where the effects are on unless turned off each time the unit is turned off...well it meant everytime he turned it on the effects were on but after realising this I set the effect i think to acoustic guitar effect which gave a less obvious reverb on the track...he loved any reverb so he wouldnt have cared if the reverb was a cathederal which i think on some it was..he he


Anyway that was one problem with mixing his tracks but the worse was yet to come.

i tried to impress on him to get as hot an input signal as possible for each track but invariably many of his tracks were recorded at half volume and had to be boosted at mix,I think if i remember rightly I got away with it by some interesting equing and compressing and it came out ok....but keeping in mind that his target audience was not as demanding and really only wanted to hear his guitar and vocals as a cowboy which they seemed happy...as long as dad was happy.

Had it been anologue i think the noise factor by boosting the track would have been horrendous.yet with this little digital to our non demanding ears it was ok.

Dad was happy cause it was done,and a small run was burnt and these were again sold,gifted,and given to radio stations,and again were played .

And thus album two was finished.

But the songs kept coming...like a SAUSAGE MACHINE HE IS.

yes and i still joke to him they remind me of others he had wrote,but i believe thats not that different to the original style he is reliving where many songs have similar arrangements...and yes folks he really was a cowboy type before the war,

he lived in Auburn a town 20 minutes from the centre of sydney and in his youth he rode Horses and wore cowboy clothes [featured on his album cover]and called himself the Cactus Kid.


Yes what is now the centre of Sydney was indeed full of paddocks and horse riding clubs and every kid lived the dream of being Gene Autrey or an american cowboy.


Funny enough although he originally was inspired by the cowboy songs i do believe he has got a large Australian feel to his work cause every song is written about something australian and hence this tends to flavour what ever style you use cause the words are obviously aussie.


Yet to tease him on different songs I may start singing a Gilbert and Sullivan song to him cause it has a feel to it that is similar to one of his..or ill sing one of his other songs to show him he is repeating himself.

still he keeps flopping them out and now he has self recorded [on the boss] enough for two more albums stating 15 songs on his christian album.

having been a sunday school teacher for half his life he has written songs for his kids to sing,and for him to sing with his own brand of belief.

not some preachy guy but i would say a phylisophical approach..ie no negatives to belief...

As of today I have agreed to finish these and would actually fully record these which he would like but he is feeling he could not replicate the aliveness or freshness of his own tracks ,yes i think he feels he is losing his vocals at 80 and is scared the recording will dissapoint him.

well we will see...I will record a full on version of one and see if he will find his waning voice again

perhaps if i record it on my gear and have him visit me in my studuio it may seem exciting enough to drag out his old voice...we will see.


so endeth the third reading

copies of this speach can be obtained from the foyer.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks mate


Ok guys how about a thread of your own [any one] telling your story...keep the inspiration going...


well Ill add to my thread just to keep the spirit going.


Since I last wrote Ive been spitting out original songs like an "original song spitting machine"

...firstly a love song inspired meeting a new lady...yes another love song damn..layed down a basic backing deciding on much to my rock and roll horror a bossa nova? trying to make sure I explored a few styles on the way.but hey it happens

but my exciting news to me is another quirky song....about a being schoolkid,possibly something like those songs in the late 60's where a lot of pommy bands were singing about an ordinary person in thier town...although not trying to emulate that, its the best way i can explain.

I just stood in front of my piano [digital] and played an interesting chord progression that just appeared,and after playing that a few times i just started singing whatever came out with no preconceived idea.Not even a theme/story in my mind.


Fortunately although it was a bit disjointed i decided to turn on my 24 track and just record what came out.I overlaid strings,vibes etc...not worrying about mistakes just letting it roll.

This is my thumbnail sketch as I call it from my graphic art days.


Wow i had a new song,played it back a few times,the disjointed lyrics will work well once a few words are replaced with related words and there I had it a very quirky song that now needs a Schoolboy choir in the background ]...to tell the story of being a schoolkid.

[yes for some strange reason I filled in some lines with some choral singing...was I only trying to fill in the unsung words...but hey its stuck now


In this way I was relying on the flow of the vocal melody over the chords instead of trying to tell a preconceived story...the chords inspired the melody.the melody inspired the words really.


but like most of my songs it will still tell a story....rather than being abstract

of coarse thats the basics for the first part/verse so the rest of the song can be fabricated around this and relate tio the first part.Simple.Quick and unpredictable...I like quirky.

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