Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rock 'n' roll dreams...

I don’t know if I should call this a dream or a nightmare. I call it a dream because it occurred while I was asleep and was interrupted when it was getting interesting, as usually happens with dreams. Also, I was doing something that most likely won’t happen in real life. But I think it would be better labeled a nightmare because I was being my usual clumsy, absent-minded self.

I was in a really cool recording studio with the Dirty Guv’nahs. The studio looked like it was in someone’s house—dark brown, wood walls with lots of knots in them and whatnot. Like a cabin almost. It was most likely my subconscious’ version of Levon Helm’s studio since that’s what I’ve been reading about in the Guvs’ tweets and whatnot. Earlier in the dream I was talking with the guys about a song they were working on—apparently I’d heard them working on it or something, or maybe they invited me to hear it? Anyway, I was there and we both had some ideas for an orchestra in the background. Our ideas matched up, so James grabbed a score* (a rock band having a “score” seems so funny) and handed it to me. Then the rest of the band picked up their scores and we started brainstorming.

I was feverishly jotting the ideas down that we all came up with and pretty soon the score was covered in notes. I think the score I was given already had some other notes on it because I remember there being some larger writing in places, on top of the music (I usually try to write small and in the margins)! So anyway, we were getting a lot of stuff done—put strings here, put some brass there, etc. Everyone’s ideas complemented each other and it sounded like it was going to be an incredible number. I thought to myself Are these the same Dirty Guv’nahs I worked with a few months ago? I’m always wary of bands who start off one way and then blow up and start adding more musicians and entire orchestras and choirs and dancers and ventriloquists and whatnot… I don’t like the term “sellout” but I do wonder if some musicians lose their original vision when they’re faced with all the possibilities of modern technology and such. I worry too much. A lot.

But I digress. We were working hard and ideas were flowing like maple syrup over a mountain of bacon pancakes. But I kept losing my music. We would be working on a section and then I’d get up and walk to the window for something (don’t ask what; I have no earthly idea—my dreams rarely make sense all the way through). When I went back to the first place I was sitting or standing, I didn’t have my music in my hand anymore. So we lost several minutes of creativity while searching for my score. Then we got some more work done. Great idea here, interesting tweak there… Then my music disappeared again. Why was it so hard for me to keep up with this blasted music?!?!?!

I was beginning to feel really stupid. I wondered if the band would be better off working with someone else. [Why can’t I be close to normal in my dreams? Must my faults follow me into subconsciousness?] It was the second or third or dozenth time that I misplaced my music that an alarm on my phone ended it all.

I woke up with more feelings of frustration and self-loathing than excitement and creativity. I also woke up with the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” running through my head, so we must have been working on something along those lines. Often my brain won’t remember the music that my subconscious created while I was asleep so it will pick something that my waking mind recognizes—something similar to what was in the dream—and leave that in my brain. Or it could be that we were working on “All You Need Is Love” but in the dream it was an original composition. That often happens—for instance, I’ll see a friend from high school in a dream but I don’t actually know them in the dream, or I know them from somewhere else.

So that was my dream this morning. I’d like to thank my 10:30 alarm on my BlackBerry for ruining everything. I was probably about to redeem myself and come up with the perfect finishing touch (once I found my music for the umpteenth time) before the blasted real world got in the way. Oh, well. Maybe tonight I’ll dream of maple syrup-covered bacon pancakes…

*For the laymen out there a score is a printed version of a song or piece of music. Usually it refers to the conductor’s score which has all instrument and/or voice parts on it. Generally speaking rock bands, jazz bands, and other “popular” musicians/groups work off of chord charts or often from memory. Scores are more associated with classical music, though they can be used by anyone.

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