We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Garage

I’ve been lax about blogging once again because once again, there’s not a whole lot to post. Things that pass for acceptable on my Facebook status (“John Mackey tried to convince somebody to go out for frozen yogurt, but SOMEBODY would rather make baritone sax reeds”) doesn’t quite warrant a full blog entry. (No offense, Ms. Liz Love.)

The fact is that every day right now consists of getting up at 8:15, going for a run (it’s a relief that it’s in the low 70’s every morning now), then working on this Trombone Concerto until lunch. We have lunch, then I return to attempting to write some music until dinner.

It is slow, slow going. I’ve been working for a little over three weeks pretty constantly, and I only have six minutes of music so far. What’s there doesn’t really get much longer every day, it just gets (slightly) better. I listen to it, fix a few notes, listen again, fix a few more notes. I had one sort-of breakthrough on Saturday when I decided to add a djembe to the piece. It made a huge difference. I wouldn’t say it made it easier to write a lot of new material, but it took what was already there from “this’ll be fine” to “okay, that’s kind of awesome now.” Adding the djembe was similar to how I felt when I had the idea to add a hi-hat to Redline Tango. The addition of a single percussion instrument can completely transform the flavor of a piece.

When I’m not staring at Finale, I spend way too much time playing on the Internets. The other day, I visited a drum corps website and saw that a drum corps was going to use “Redline Tango” in their show. I’d never heard of the corps, but I knew they hadn’t licensed the piece, so emailed the person who’d posted the show announcement and asked how I could find this drum corps — you know, to, uh, “thank them.” (As I’ve written before, catching an unlicensed use of my music can be very… rewarding.) So the guy emails me back and tells me that this corps — The Avengers — doesn’t actually exist. It’s a fantasy drum corps. Who knew that not only is there fantasy baseball, but there’s fantasy drum corps? And that a fantasy corps was going to use my piece in their fantasy show? This kind of made my day. If only there were a fantasy license fee.

Last week, I took delivery of an entire pallet of “Undertow” scores and full sets. 500 sets and 500 scores, or as the trucking company said when they contacted me to schedule delivery, “1500 pounds.” That’s 3/4 ton of band music. It really was shipped on a single shipping pallet, via a trucking service, and when they called me, they asked if I had a loading dock. A friggin’ loading dock. “Um, I have a garage…”

Turns out the printing company hadn’t paid for “lift gate/ground delivery,” meaning that if I wanted this 1500 pounds of Undertow in my garage, I was going to have to carry each box off of the bed of the truck, down my driveway, and into my garage. Fortunately, the driver was very nice — and I came equipped with a generous tip ready to go — and he agreed to use his pallet mover to place the entire pallet in my garage. It’s a good thing we only have one car.

In today’s food picture, I give you “Chef Boyardee Pizzascape.” I used to make these all the time when I was a kid — a box of Chef Boyardee pizza crust mix and that unique-tasting Chef Boyardee pizza sauce, topped with “real” ingredients (in this case, black forest ham, red onion, and mozzarella cheese). The combination of delicious and fancy black forest ham plus somewhat trashy Chef Boyardee pizza is like AEJ plus, well, me.

Back to work. I really need to get something done before cocktail hour, followed by dinner. We’re making chive risotto cakes tonight…


Steven S says

Speaking as a fantasy drum corps geek myself, I thank you for not having fantasy licensing. It makes our drum-corps-geek lives much easier. You should try it sometime.

Rusty says

I'm glad you're working hard on the trombone concerto, even if they are small steps. I'm quite excited to hear this piece... especially live next spring with Joe Alessi at U of A. =D

Jack Curtis Dubowsky says

That is a lot of sheet music.

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