Mind Games: the Deep Dark Secrets...
An album project years in the making...
It all started in 2006 when I moved to New York City to pursue this thing called a 'career' in music. I was lucky enough to meet some fellow Berklee College of Music graduates, namely Ivan Bodley (bass) and Joe Goretti (drums), who had attended Berklee before and after me respectively. We had several friends and colleagues in common and before too long we were gigging together in various professional situations both in New York and on the road.
After a while Ivan Bodley came up with the suggestion that we get together on a more or less regular basis during our "off" months of January-April and do some original music recording sessions for fun. These sessions, held at Joe Goretti's apartment/studio went on for years as we got together week after week (and ultimately all year round) recording each other's compositions and walking down the street for deli sandwiches in Rego Park, Queens. The sessions accumulated well over 100 recordings that eventually became the source material for two Ivan Bodley releases ("Pigs Feet and Potted Meat" and "Look at that cookie") which garnered us actual placement on the Jam Band charts somehow as well my own pop/rock/vocal CD "Now".
So what's the deal with "Mind Games"?
I wrote tons of songs for the weekly sandwich/recording session meetings with Joe and Ivan roughly between the years 2007-2012 but didn't have a clear vision of what to DO with these songs, most of which were only recorded/mixed to a 'demo' level, and in my mind weren't really complete. Several years later I found myself in a time and place that afforded me a clear head and lots of creative energy to finally finish these songs. I had been working hard on my guitar playing for a couple years and decided that what was really lacking from the original sessions was a more focused and unified approach to the playing of the melodies of my songs - so it was time to apply the guitar to the mix and properly articulate the melodies (and some solos) in order to drive the whole project to completion.
It took most of the year 2019 to slowly but surely tackle each song: 11 tracks that had been previously recorded between 2007-2012, and figure out a way to preserve some of the original demo performances (which I had fallen in love with over the years) or completely (or partially) re-do them. I also had 4 new songs ("Heart of the machine", "Around and around", "Junkyard" and "On the run") that I just had to include with the 11 older ones, because I'm still writing new material all the time and just had to keep things current, even if just a little bit.
Joe Goretti and Ivan Bodley graciously re-cut a couple of their old parts from the original 11 songs, and Joe recorded a brand new drum part on "On the run" in order for me to finish the project. It was a challenge incorporating older recordings (mixed to simple 2-track stereo mp3 format) with newer added material and getting a balanced result, but the original demos were in most cases so well performed by Joe and Ivan that the challenge was only for me to personally contribute strong enough guitar and keyboard parts after all these years.
The title "Mind Games" is a reference to my getting lost again in the fun process of trying to drag this long-running project to a place of completion and the mental gymnastics required with using the recording programs Garage Band and Reason to get a balanced finished result that somehow sounds cohesive, not to mention the deep dives into the creative waters attempting to re-imagine some of these songs that have existed in one form or another for 12 or more years (a couple of the songs we recorded demos for all those years ago actually predated my move to NYC). Over the years since living in New York I had often daydreamed about finishing a CD project with my best instrumental tunes from the Joe/Ivan sessions - and now those daydreams have become a reality. Thanks Joe and Ivan! And thank you...for listening.