Thursday, November 30, 2006

When The Snow Fell On Denver

So I finally found a tune for these lyrics, and it turns out that it's one that I've had kicking around for a while. You may have come across it as Actions Speak Louder Than Words, a title I've always been uneasy about as it's plagerised from a Bruce Cockburn song. I always liked the tune though, and I'm really pleased to finally team it up with some strong lyrics. I don't know why, but these words seem to make me almost unbearably sad... still that's music for you.

When The Snow Fell On Denver

When the snow fell on Denver,
I thought about home,
I thought about Christmas long, long ago,
Way up north,
And a lifetime ago.

When the snow fell on Denver,
I thought about love lost,
And friends departed,
And the women that I never married
A lifetime ago.

Last night I dreamt, that I married you,
You didn’t want to, but you saw it through.
So we pledged our lives, until the end.
And somehow we were content.

When the snow fell on Denver,
I felt the passing of time,
I felt the sting of my tears,
I felt empty and hollow.


Inst Verse

If contentment is, all that you seek,
Then surely that is all you will find.
Hold me, kiss me and let me explore,
And if that is all that we have,
Somehow we'll need nothing more.

When the snow fell on Denver,
I thought about home,
I thought about Christmas long, long ago,
Way up north,
A lifetime ago.

(Callow - 2006)

A recorded demo of this song will follow as soon as my voice recovers and I figure out how to record in Cubase SL via a Motu 828 MkII that I've borrowed off my mate James.

Okay sussed it... so here you go, have a listen:

When The Snow Fell On Denver - MP3

Famous, but not in that way...

I've been struck down by some sort of virus, and it's curtailed my recording and mixing efforts. (It's hard to sing or play when it feels like someone is hammering on your head!!!) So instead I've had some time to think and put together a few web pages and the like. The first realisation I came to is that the pieces of music that I'm putting together don't form "albums" in the conventional way, as it's rare that they will actually end up on a CD with a printed cover and so forth, but rather they are projects or collections of songs. They have artwork, they have a (suggested) running order, they have lyrics and other information associated with them, but after that the similarities end, and it gets a lot more exciting.

My "album" artwork doesn't need to be CD friendly (although I will always supply something that works in iTunes and would print on a CD cover), I can include demo versions of songs as well as the finished articles. I can also update or change the order at any time that takes my fancy. If you download the songs or images, you can modify them or change the running order, or remix them or anything you like... it's exciting stuff. As technology allows, I will be able to include videos, interactive chat and even live broadcasts of the music.

It occured to me then that I need a home for the album or project, that is the centre for all this creativity. Fortunately the web is perfect for this, so here are the first two project homepages...

I'm Still Here

Lullabies From The Wheels Of The Bus

Please feel free to interact with these projects either via this Blog or email.

Also, I guess I need a name for this new kind of virtual album... any ideas? Webbum? Webdisc? iAlbum? eAlbum? Answers on a ePostcard please.

Who Me?

Another internet site that's caught my eye recently is YouTube (you can't miss it can you?!) and I was facsinated to discover that not only am I on it (sort of), but my guitar is also on it!! So without further ado, here is my Fender Telecaster being played and then used as a demonstration model by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo no less (it's the one with the Union Jack on at the start, he then produces it from behind the flight case for the demo):

My Guitar Being Facelifted

And me onstage with the Pet Shop Boys:

Heart Live

Okay, okay, you can't actually see me... but I am there. I'm behind the white cube on the right hand side holding on to it to prevent the scenery from moving around and running Neil and Chris over. Which all goes to prove that my guitar is a lot more famous than I am.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sponge Bob In DVD Land

So a good weekend, dinner with good friends on Saturday, chilling out and watching movies on Sunday. Two very different but equally good movies, Team America (seriously considering a cover version of America - Fuck Yeah!), and Walk The Line, the story of Johnny Cash.

So time to start recording some more material. For those who haven't spotted it yet, there is a link two posts below to demo of Lullabies. So now I'm going to start on Minneapolis... got another couple of ideas to come... The 5am Wake-Up Crew (thanks again Alex!!) and All Girls Are Evil (ha, ha...), plus two instrumental pieces that will have some words over them.

So, best get on with it.

Ta, ta, for now.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Minneapolis. Hungover. Tired. Awake.

Diet Coke with Cherry, New Edition

So, I sat down today and played through pretty much all of my songs I can remember, about 12 or so songs... actually there are more than that, but I can't play them... ha, ha. And another song started to form, so here is the new song:

Minneapolis, Hungover, Tired, Awake

I’m tired, so very tired,
Tired of waking up, not knowing where I am.
Is this the north? Is this the south,
the east or did we go west?

Is that girl making eyes at me?
Or am I just out of my tree,
It wouldn’t be the first time.
It wouldn't be the first time.

If the bus has to break too hard,
We’ll all be two inches shorter,
Or crushed in a pile of metal
Somewhere on the road to Omaha.

Strawberries and cream,
And a champagne dream.
It wouldn't be the first time.
It wouldn't be the first time.

And I miss you so much,
And I wish you were here,
So I could touch you… or even hold you.
And we could get drunk all over again.

I was in a city today,
I don’t know which one or what time of day,
The men in white suits,
Are coming for me.

Is that girl making eyes at me?
Or am I barking up the wrong fucking tree.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
It wouldn't be the first time.


It wouldn't be the first time,
It wouldn't be the first time.

(Callow - 2006)

Hear this song now:

It comes from that weird time in between waking and sleeping that I seemed to inhabit a lot of the time whilst I was away. The picture is from the tour bus, somewhere between Minneapolis and Omaha (as mentioned in the song). We (Keano, Monk, Seamus and Jimbo - Holger and yours truly, not pictured) were having a wail of a time listening to Bill Bailey on the CD player and drinking some very fine red wine donated to us by the Pet Shop Boys dressing room... somehow the bus never did crash, although we had two very near misses and two breakdowns. Life can be a balanced on a knife edge, it amazes me sometimes (or maybe all the time) how I'm still here to tell you all about it. Really looking forward to recording these songs and getting them out there... comments?!

BTW, this week I have been mostly watching silent films with improvised music and looking at Da Vinci's notebooks.


P.S. Apart from the bus related stuff there are two Pet Shop Boys tour references in the song... 2 points to the first person who spots them both.

Monday, November 13, 2006

London, UK

So I'm finally back in rainy London, for a while anway. Finally had the chance to sit down with my guitar and start to form some ideas, and I've been thinking a lot about travel, and life and the endless journey. So a few chords came along (Am, G, C, F, Dm Bb) the usually sorts of suspects, but with a kinda different feel for me. And the words started to fit, so here is the first semi-complete song, and as luck would have it, it's probably the title track (thanks again Alex).

BTW, the picture is one of the last ones I took in L.A. - it's the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard, with the Bel Age hotel in the background.

Lullabies From The Wheels of The Bus

Hush my baby,
Don't wake yourself yet,
The road is long,
And there is still time to forget.
Don't know when we're arriving,
Don't know how far's to go.
I'll keep you out of trouble,
We'll take it nice and slow.

I'm still wondering why,
Do the wheels keep on turning,
In this lullaby.

I'll listen to the voices,
As they guide me on,
Straight ahead now,
'til all thoughts are gone,
When it's time to stop,
The voices will say,
Arrived at destination,
As you slip away.

I'm still wondering why,
Do the wheels keep on turning,
In this lullaby.

If I can just keep on going,
Maybe this road will never end?
The reason for my travelling,
Always lies just around the bend.
But I have no star to guide me,
I'm lost without a plan,
But I'm still going, I'm driving on,
Catch me if you can.

(Callow/Staiger - 2006)

You can now hear how the melody goes (complete with dodgy vocals) here:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bel Age Hotel, Los Angeles

So it's nearly all over... the american adventure. The day after tomorrow I will be back home in the UK... and it's all a bit scary. I've gotten kinda used to this strange nomadic lifestyle... my Day Sheet tells me where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing. My laminate pass gets me in and out of some amazing theatres and buildings. I pick up Diet Coke and doughnuts on a regular basis... all free. Food arrives at the appropriate time. I work in the back of a truck, as a kind of itinerant tinker... selling cloth to the americans. Counting shirts, counting money, counting shirts again. I'm kept awake at night by the rumble of bus tyres on concrete... the sway of the vehicle across the road. When I wake up I often don't know where I am.

It's only been 35 days but it feels like a lot longer... I've changed! Will my friends still know me? I've been through the looking glass, in Narnia, up the far-away tree... time to come back down. I have a beer belly (small) and muscles (a few). I have dirt under my fingernails and calluses on my feet. I've learned some useless new skils:

1) How to open a beer bottle with a cigarette lighter
2) How to tell what size shirt people wear by just looking at them
3) How to tell if a bundle of t-shirts has more or less than 12 in it by, again, just looking at it
4) How to operate a variety of coffee makers
5) How to use a toilet in a moving bus without falling over

So where does this leave me? Certainly a lot happier than I used to be... but I'm still kinda scared to come back to reality. So if I occasionally seem a little weird or distracted when I'm back forgive me... I'm just trying to find my feet again in the real world.


p.s. Sent the world's funniest email to my friend Sarah last night before passing out... " idea why I mighty be emaily you... but in the ost amazing suite in LA looking over dome of the ost amaring plazce, and I wish you werehere... to tell me to stop being such a sentimatantal twat...ooops bit drunk... "

p.p.s Apologies to anyone who received a strange phonecall at about 10 in the morning last night, I accidently left my phone in another room, and I think some of my esteemed colleagues may have found it amusing to randomly dial a few numbers!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bill Graham Civic Audatorium, San Francisco

So it's been a while since my last confession, er I mean blog... so what's been happening?

Well it went something like this...

Salt Lake City... party capitol of the world!! You have to pay to get into a bar (they are all private clubs) but once inside, the drinks are cheap and the people have a good time. Biro Tattoos, air hockey, hurt finger... ouch!! Pool... Nathan pots the black first shot!! Vodka and coke (lots)... something with cranberry in it... white Ford Mustang... back to the hotel. West Valley... t-shirts, lots, and lots of t-shirts... counting, boxes, climbing lots of stairs... Ice Hockey arena... meet couple of the people from SLC... more counting, money this time!! Aftershow! Drink beer, followed by Chardonnay... big mistake, very drunk, dunno how I got to bed... "woke up in my clothes again this morning, don't know exactly where I am..."

Oh, I'm in Boise! Walk up the road, find a McDonalds... very rude man behind the counter... still, not surprised, he works for McDonalds after all. Walk back to hotel via river, very scenic. Chill out in room, internet, bath, shave etc... play Space Invaders... back to bus at 10pm off we go again...

Seattle... it's raining... quelle surprise! Space needle, mono-rail (not carrying people)... phone call from London... much laughter... puddles, hispanic people who think they know me... man with broken leg and cardboard sign that reads: "My dad was killed by ninjas, need money for karate lessons" and then on the back it says: "Ok, ok, I need money for beer, pot and a hooker" - begging with humour, like the style. .. indoor market... buy a mug. Turkish Delight in neon... more t-shirt counting, laid back West Coast people... sell lots of t-shirts... back on the bus... all night party (I feel ill and go to bed, but can't sleep)... wake up in Oregon, bus is broken down (air pressure to brakes - yikes!!) Everyone else just starts drinking again, I buy doughnuts from the truck stop and drink Diet Coke. More driving... sunset over the SF Bay... Golden Gate bridge... very picturesque... stuck in SF traffic...

San Francisco... too tired to do much, drink beer, wine, eat crisps... watch TV, surf internet... walk around block... full of beggers and homeless... go straight back in hotel and go to bed. Bill Graham Audatorium (is that how you spell it?) more t-shirts (lots and lots of t-shirts) lunch, dinner, go for a short walk around the block. Backstage... decide I ought to write something in my Blog... oh here I am.

Hope you are all good!


P.S. If you'd like to see pictures, email me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hilton, Salt Lake City, Utah

So yesterday I bought a ukulele... not in tune yet, but an interesting instrument nonetheless. I was at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, we got done so early that the band actually came off stage at the time they would normally go on. Somewhere in the night the other bus broke down, so I woke up to find us parked up at a garage with everyone on our bus, and that's how we continued on our way to Salt Lake City. Amazing journey running parallel to a range of mountains, scrubland and prairie all around. Made me think of when I was in Omaha and found a series of statues showing the pioneers travelling through the city, startling the bison who in turn startled the geese. The bison and geese actually go through the buildings at some point, very surreal... it's an attempt to show that not long ago all this was wilderness, until the europeans arrived and built a city. I can't imagine what must have driven them to pack up their whole lives into a wagon and head out into an area where nobody had been before.

So today is all about music rather than words... so not much to show you on a Blog!! Still, I'll try and get some music uploaded when there is something to hear. I'm in my hotel room working in Garage Band, which is a great program that I'm trying to get the hang of. I've got a few ideas flying around in my head, and I'm starting to shape them up, not easy without a guitar, but I'm determined to get somewhere.