BTM (Bremen Towne Musicians)
After I finished my solo album, "The Apostle of Reality" I took a break and started to ponder what I was going to do next. I started writing a follow up to "The Apostle", and then had lunch with my good friend and longtime musical collaborator Bill Hibbets.
Bill and I have been friends since 1978 when we played together in a band called "Stereo" in the Tri-State (NY/NJ/Conn) area. He's an amazing composer and producer not to mention great guitar player, bassist, and singer. He's a REAL musical talent.
He mentioned that they just let go the guitarist in his band (BTM) and that I should come down and play with them to see if there was any chemistry.
So I did, and there was.
The big light bulb went on and I realized that working in a vacuum is not the greatest way to make music. With the exception of a few guests, I essentially did EVERYTHING on my solo album - from playing to producing to the album art. It was GREAT to be interacting with other musicians in a rehearsal/performance setting.
It wasn't long before we moved the rehearsals to my pool house which became our home and base of musical operations for the next 4 years.
When I first joined they were just finishing up their first album, entitled "BTM". Since it was practically done and they were still doing some tracking, they invited me to "guest" on a couple of tracks. I also ended up doing the graphic design for the whole CD.
After that was done, we started experimenting musically and wrote another whole albums' material just based on our free form jamming which we would do either at the beginning or end of each rehearsal session. That material ended up becoming "Marijuana Girl" which had less to do with weed, and more to do with the fact that we loved the cover art which came from a PD image. I started experimenting with guitar synthesizer and guitar modeling which gave the band a different kind of sound and lent itself to this album especially well.
At the same time all that was going on, we wrote a bunch of other tunes which we never officially released, but gave to our fans in the form of digital downloads through our e-mailings announcing our gigs. Bill put this together as an EP. In addition to the two tunes that were essentially recorded live in the pool house, there is a live track from one of our many gigs at The Mint. My favorite track is "Fred has Sax" where I play guitar synth with a VERY convincing saxophone sound. I love jazz, so you can hear that influence very clearly there. Someday I'll re-record it as a proper composition.
Unfortunately, at the time that the band started hitting it's stride, life got in the way (kids and jobs) as it does with many creative endeavours and we disbanded.
Bill and I continued on and did some sessions with Bill Forth and bassist David Stern which we've dubbed "The Crap Gods" and will someday be released.
I really miss playing with a band.
There's nothing like it.
When you're improvising with each other - and it's working - it's the most perfect non verbal communication there is.