I used to do a lot of 4-tracking, home recordings where I pretty much played everything. In the early days it was pretty rough, because I could barely play the guitar, even though I had been doing it for over a decade, let alone bass or drums or keyboards. Four tracking uses cassette tapes in one direction. Rather than side A and side B, it uses tracks tracks 1 through 4, two tracks out of the right channel, and two from the left.
When I first recorded the drums I had to do it in two tracks: The kickdrum and snare in one, the cymbals in the other. It was pretty bad. I titled my first record (and I use that term loosely)"Foray Into Incompetence," and that's exactly what it was. But it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed making the album artwork, dubbing copies and giving them to my friends.
One of the greatest moments of my life occured in Paris in 1998, when some of my music found its way onto a soundtrack for a Mens Week fashion show. I had never heard it played SO LOUD in my life. It could be heard, no lie, from over a hundred yards away. It was awesome.
Today I found a couple masters from those days, and as I'm listening I've got a huge grin plastered over my face. From a critical standpoint, it's pretty bad, but it was a blast to make, and I can remember what was going through my head during each one, what time of day it was, what the weather was like, if not how to play any of it.
I was picked up a few times for my friend Darryl's Black Apple compilations, which was pretty cool, as I was rubbing elbows with a bunch of the people that I had looked up to when I started recording, people who were infinitely more talented than I was.
A couple weeks ago at work I dozed off during my lunch break and had a dream that one of my records had been selected as one of Rolling Stone's Top 10 Albums Of All Time. And when I woke up I swear I had a huge erection.
Those days are gone now. I finally realized I wasn't very good at it, and that my focus was better off directed elsewhere. But I'm glad I've still got these tapes.