Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fables of the R.E.M. Ensemble - Week 3

Rickenbacker favoritism! Rickenbacker favoritism! It was bound to come up in class sooner or later. Bob had to take a moment in class to let my fellow classmates know that they too could share in the wealth of Peter Buck guitar goods and that I wasn't the Peter Buck-sub of class because I was the only one with a Rickenbacker bringing the jingle jangle to each song we practiced in class. I had to laugh.

Bob's e-mail before class announced that the songs of the night would be "Gardening At Night" from Chronic Town, R.E.M.'s 1982 EP, and "Can't Get There From Here" from Fables of the Reconstruction. Both selections marked the first time we would visit those albums.

Week 3 - 9/18/12

Songs practiced: "Strange"/"Finest Worksong"/"Cuyahoga"/"Gardening At Night"

Random Notes:

No bass or drums tonight from the usual suspects. Bob sat in on drums for "Strange." I turned lead vocals over to a classmate that had a tough day and needed to let loose a little.

Bob brought in a slide and gave a classmate the duty to provide the slide parts to "Finest Worksong." Once the slide parts were worked out, we gave the song a full run through, twice, and the slide actually sounds pretty good in the mix. I'm still unsure how Buck does the chiming riff throughout the song. Most sheet music I've seen has the riff played at the 4th fret. I've seen footage on Tourfilm and other concert footage that shows him playing the intro up on the 7th fret. I've got a better handle on how he plays the verses and the bridge. But I can't quite get that magic chime. Hmmm.

"Cuyahoga" sounded rusty. Now, I play the Drop D parts automatically and just pick the notes for the rest of the song. We kind of all lose each other in the rhythm of the song whenever we hit the chorus. I don't know why that is; I feel like some of my classmates over complicate the rhythm for the chorus. It's not like we're trying to dissect Rush songs.

The remaining time was spent on taking apart "Gardening At Night," which I had never really studied closely. There's so many tiny pieces going on in that song that give it some clever twists and turns. I can understand why Buck has always cited the song as being the band's first real complete song in terms of structure, melody and lyrics. And it's really fast.

"Can't Get There From Here" got ditched due to time. Maybe next week.

As I write this now, I broke "Gardening At Night" down to its core parts on my acoustic. I need to put more work into the single note picking during the quiet parts in between the verses, but I found the correct chords for the intro. Of all the songs we've practiced, this song is definitely throwing down the gauntlet.