Magical (Musical) Mystery Tour: Part Seven

Robot ArmyIt’s a testament to my loquaciousness that I’ve managed to squeeze seven long-winded blog posts out of the subject of my public/semi-public musical indulgences, considering that despite nearly 20 years of effort, any semblance of a viable musical career remains hopelessly lost to me. Not that I’ve actively chased after such a thing since the summer of 1996, mind you, but still: This is a lot of digital ink. But, persevere we shall …

Since last we left off in our tour of magical, musical mystery, I found myself divorced, with few possessions to my name save for a few pieces of office furniture, my laptop, and most importantly, my five-piece Ludwig drum set. But what I did have were friends, new and old, who not only supported my music-making tendencies, but actively engaged them.

I had moved in with my friend Scott, who generously not only put me up in a room at a bargain rate, but also housed my cumbersome drum set (which actually worked well with the house motif, as it was also filled with giant TVs, pinball machines and multiple video game systems). About the same time, my friend Brian (Henry, a well-regarded local artist) and I were having a lot of discussions about music, considering most of our public hanging out was at live music gigs.

I’m not sure when or how the discussions turned to us making our own music together, but the next thing I know, Brian, Scott and I (along with our respective social/life partners) were in Scott’s bedroom (not like that, you sick kids! My drums were in his room!), running Brian’s synthesizer through Scott’s stereo system, making a weird blend of electronic and organic instrumentation, Scott recording every session through his computer microphone. It was a delicious combination of low- and high-fidelity, mostly instrumental with the occasional vocal delivery by Scott (who otherwise alternated between Svengali and sample generator). And it became known as Side Project Seven.

Side Project Seven (SP7 from here on out) never really left Scott’s bedroom (well, not true — we migrated to the den eventually) — despite us making big plans for a ludicrous live show that would feature matching jumpsuits, masks and robots — but in the brief months of its existence, SP7 was pretty awesome. We basically recorded only three songs based on loops Brian wrote/programmed, which were posted to a MySpace account with various graphics, photos and videos from the bedroom sessions. People liked the danceable tunes, and we probably could have built a drunken cult following, but eventually Brian got distracted by other interests, Scott cracked open his skull, and I became the replacement for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.*

We did attempt a revival of SP7 (SP7.2) later in 2006, this time featuring my old pal Ryan Couevas (of Rahne & Morgana Athena) on guitar, but beyond one practice and one “show” during a Halloween party that year, it never went anywhere. (Not counting SP7.3, our Rock Band-competing offshoot.)

The SP7 page is still live on MySpace, so you can check out our music and photos there. The videos only seem to be  working intermittently, but if you’d like to watch a video of us covering LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” (featuring MC Pj on vocals), well, I got you covered. (And there is an alternate version, even!)

Next up: The tour ends (for now) with … As Yet Unbroken!

*Only two of these statements are true. You decide!

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