Last week I left you with a recording of my high school jazz band from 1988. This week I’m skipping ahead to 2000. I’m skipping four years of jamming in college bands and several years of not playing much while living and working in Colorado, New York and Kuala Lumpur. By 2000, I had settled in Johannesburg and was living in a house bought partly because there was room for a recording studio. But until the studio was built, I had my drums and recording equipment set up in the living room. There I rehearsed with a rock band I dubbed “Dicks” (more on them later) and worked on my first “real” recordings.
I recorded the drums for Gun there in the living room the day I bought my AKG drum mic kit. I set up the mics, put on a click and immediately settled into the groove upon which I later added the song’s signature grinding bass line, my vocal, the sax, etc. It was actually surprising how easily the song came together. Maybe it’s because it’s basically just drums and bass. Raw rhythm, raw me.
In the song, I’m questioning whether I should get a gun to defend myself and my family in big, bad Johannesburg. I live in a cage but…maybe I should get a gun. I had already been robbed a few times in another house, so I knew that Johannesburg deserved it’s reputation. One day, after the robberies, my car wouldn’t start and I almost burned the house down by accident. Crap day. Later, the power went out. No lights, no alarm system. I spent the night sitting by a window with a view of the street, drinking beer and smoking, a big knife close at hand. It’s like that night the power went out, I feel like bait…more like chum, with predators circling in from miles around.
In the end, I decided to live gun-free. F#@% it. A gun would probably just get me shot. We have been robbed while living in our current house, but we weren’t home for it, so no regrets yet. Some of our neighbors and friends haven’t been as lucky and the way they describe it, there wouldn’t be time to defend yourself with a gun anyway. In fact, owning a gun makes you a target.
This song started as one of my earliest recordings, but it has been updated a few times cuz I like it so much and want it to sound great. The last time I remixed and posted it, it attracted the attention of @edprivat whom I had worked with long before. We got together, chatted about music and started a working relationship that led to the formation of Songsmiths.
Steel yourself for a journey into the mind of a paranoid American-African.
Thanks for the sax, Ulric Conradie (aka Ben Ulric).