Music - Sidetracked Project - Installment One


Mike and I started collaborating sometime around January 2005. It took us 2 1/2 years to get our first set of songs out, which was a lot longer than either of us ever expected. Thankfully we enjoyed what we were doing so we just kept working at it until we got all of the songs available for download.

Song Notes

Aces High This is our only "live" tune. As you can guess with a 2-man band, we didn't play this live. The crowd and pyrotechnic noises were pulled from some free MP3 site and we upped the reverb a bit on the mix to give it that "open" sound. Originally we were going to do a Stryper cover (kind of an inside joke) but then Mike found a Halo2 vid on YouTube that used this Iron Maiden song in the background, and we decided that it was a much better choice for a cover. Mike's voice isn't cut out to do Bruce's vocal histronics, but he gave it the college try.

Canada and Mexico This song was created during one of our "studio supplement" escapades. We were fooling around with mixes one night, had some beers and came up with the tune. Actually, Mike came up with the tune. When we recorded it, we decided to add all sorts of noises to the background (e.g. drupping a soccer ball, blowing into a half-filled beer bottle, etc.). Don't take it too seriously.

Caulked One night I came up with the main bass part, and during drum recording I had Mike play along with it. We originally toyed with doing all sorts of experimental recording ideas but when push came to shove we scrapped those plans. But we decided to do at least one off-the-cuff recording experience, and this song is it. I played the idea to Mike, and in two takes he had his drum part. I think if he had more time to develop the part it would've been even better, but overall this song is one of my favorites (and the fact that he easily picked up on the 3/4 to 4/4 to 3/4 to 5/4 groove is a testament to his drumming abilities). It's fun to listen to and there's lots of interesting nuances to it.

(e)motion I came up with the chorus riff one night, and I got so motivated I wrote the song in 30 minutes. It's a straightforward rock song, but I love listening to it. The lyrics are based on the idea that we have physical (motion) and emotional aspects to our lives, and they work against as well as with each other. The "road to reality" is a direct quote from Roger Penrose's book title.

Empyrion When I was in college, I read Lawhead's book by the same title, and I was so inspired by it I decided to write a 18-minute progressive instrumental opus about it. I never got around to recording it, but I remembered the song, and when Mike and I started working together I played it for him. Fortunately, he really liked it. The end result is far better than I ever imagined. The drum parts Mike came up are far better than what I showed him when I recorded a rough demo of the song, especially with his "groove" play over the 5/8 section that starts around 4:37. I liked what he came up with so much I redid the bass part to play along with his bass drum and that section sounds so much better that way. Getting David Berg to play contra bass at the end was an awesome touch. I was going to do a vocal part at the end, but then I decided I wanted something a bit more "classical" sounding. I heard David play his bass at my wife's church, and I asked him if he'd be interesting in playing 2 simple parts. Not only did he do that, but then he started jamming extra stuff over what I wrote. The end result still gives me some chills - it's the perfect ending to the song. The song also makes me smile because we "cheated" a bit with our recoding parts. Not a lot - I still believe in recording what you're capable of doing - but I also believe in using technology where possible. I mean, I don't write code once and leave it at that; refactoring is part of code, and the same holds true for music. Let's just say there are some "added" hi-hat notes and the keyboard solo that Mike did was done by retuning the keyboard so all we had to do is hit the white keys to get the "right" notes. Hey, we're not professionals, we just know how to fake it well :).

Go A straight-ahead rocker that Mike wrote before I met him. The lyric idea came to me when I'd hear people whine about all sorts of things, and I thought, hey, some people need to get a better outlook on this. Just "go"! I made one small tweak to the song in the middle section, but otherwise it's exactly as Mike originally wrote it.

I'm Angry I used to write for angryCoder, and for some reason some people started calling me the angry coder. As a joke, I took a song I wrote a long time ago that was very aggressive, and wrote some "angry" lyrics for it. It's also the only song I "sing" on. The electronica part is a nice twist that Mike added. I'm not a big fan of electronica, but in the context of this song it works very well. The solos also came out very well for my tastes - I like all the squawking harmonics I came up with. The perfect song to listen to if you're pissed off and you want to vent.

I've Got Soul This ... I can't even start to explain how this started. I was playing a sad riff on an acoustic, and I think drinks were involved, and Mike started talking about souls and hoses, and then this came about. Then Mike went nuts with samples and made the song much longer.

Missionary Song I wrote the music many years ago, and we decided to use it for our project. Mike was telling me of a time where two missionaries solicited him one cold winter night at his house, and for some reason I thought that would be cool story to turn into lyrics. So he did.

Pushed This was the first song Mike and I worked on together. We quickly decided to redo the chorus; the original one was way too metal-poppy and it didn't fit in with the rest of the song. If we had a "single" this one would probably be it - it's the most straight-ahead, accessible song we have.

Revenge of the Pinatas Yet another song I wrote many moons ago that I pulled out of the mothballs. Mike was talking about some pinata-inspired lyrics and we quickly decided to put them against this song. We also added in the little acoustic part before the guitar solo to make it sound more "authentic". The solo is a direct response to all of the terrible Slayer solos I've heard in my life.

Scared I came up with the main riff as I was noodling one night, and Mike came up with the rest of the song. I'm still not quite sold on the song as a whole - I'm not sure if what Mike came up with totally fits with what I originally wrote. I really like the bass playing on the song. Getting a 5-string bass before we started recording really helped getting some nice low notes.

Shredder During one of our jam sessions, we cranked out the first version of this song off the cuff. Don't look for a lot of meaning in this song, unless you're looking for taco-making tips while listening to speed metal.

Two Faced Another straight-forward song Mike brought into the project. I made one tweak to the middle part - Mike had it written to sound kind of "minor"-ish, and I said, play a F#, not an F. Seemed to fit better than what he originally had.

Who I Am This came out of a 20-minute jam Mike and I had one night that got distilled to a song just under 10 minutes. The lyrics were inspired as I listened to Neal Morse's "Testimony". I thought, Chrisitians always talk about their conversion process...why don't I write about my de-conversion process? The song is a very personal song for me, and I'm very happy with out it came out. It's also the only song that Mike and I play drums on. He's playing during parts 1 and 3 - I'm playing during part 2. We also added some spoken parts from religious folks as well as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris - I think they add to the story very well.

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