The Demos Have Magic
Look what I found! A box of cassettes of my demos from the 1980s! It was the dawn of the drum machine! The age of the “Potty Studio” (I mean, Portastudio). I was on my personal musical journey......
By the early ‘80s I became disillusioned with spending oodles of money on recording studios hoping to capture the elusive musical magic before the clock ran out on the session. So I purchased and taught myself how to operate a Yamaha “potty studio” aka the Portastudio (a self-contained 4 track cassette studio) and one of the first drum machines ever made; the MXR. Remember the MXR?! With the nice big drum pads!? And, how about the nightmare of bouncing tracks on a 4 track where you can not even bounce to the adjacent tracks? You really had to think ahead while mixing and compromise for any degradation of sound due to the bouncing! But, now, I could create and record whenever I want, whatever I want and even wear my pajamas if I want! Now I could capture the elusive "magic" whenever the muse decided to visit.
And, I sure did love my compressor. You know when you add that extra hot fudge to your hot fudge sundae or throw some extra salt on your french fries or kick up the chili with more Pablamo peppers? Well, my compressor usage was a bit like that. I didn't say it's good for you, but, it sounds yummy!
1984-'85 A brilliant, clever-crazy drummer named Augie Corica and I produced my early Portastudio recordings "Betray", "I Can't Let Go" and "I Need a Hero". He managed to capture that cool "pocket" with the MXR and he restyled the way I sang. Those are his quirky, inimitable background vocals on the aforementioned cuts. That solid funk groove guitar is played by Leon Lebenkorn and the amazing guitar solos by Dave Webster. We may have accidentally invented a new genre; “Bubblegum Funk”.
In 1984 Robbie Georgia and I wrote and recorded "We Should Be Together". That's Robbie on all guitars. I’m playing all the other instruments and singing background vocals. The "tape" was a bit warbly, but, here is a perfect example of a demo with magic, 'cause, frankly, I don't think I could pull off a vocal like that again. It's got that just birthed feel to it; all gooey and new. We had just written it days before.
It was an honor to work with an artist as talented as Robbie! He had his own unique vocal and guitar style. Sadly, he passed recently and I am so glad we have this song as a legacy.
“People Talk” and “Driver” are co-written and co-produced with my long time friend, Don Monopoli (The Random Access Band for which I was a "sideman"). Paul Opalach plays bass and rhythm guitars. That’s me on keyboards, Don and I on bg vocals and Robbie Georgia ripping a guitar solo on “Driver”. As for the embedded “talking” in “People Talk” breakdown section; I was reciting John Lennon’s poem “Alec Speaking”. I don’t know what the heck was going on there with Don and his then girlfriend, now wife, Laurie, but, sparks were flying and a there was a lot of laughter.
About the CD cover; those are the studios and boards used on all these recordings: The Tascam 38, Yamaha Portastudio and the Mackie 32-8 mixing board.
To quote James Brown in the movie GET ON UP; “Does it sound good? (yeah) Does it feel good? (yeah) God made your ears. You didn’t make em. You gon argue with God’s ears? Now if it sound good and it feel good then it’s musical!”
Now, I'm not saying all demos have magic, so, I cherry picked these recordings for you to hear because they are ripe with magic. Thanks for listening!
I hope when you hear the music; you’ll feel the magic! Enjoy!
Album cover designed and created by Jayne Olderman
Photo by Stu Walls / Woodstock Photography
Betray, I Need a Hero and I Can’t Let Go
© 1985 / ℗ 2016 Olderman Music (BMI)
music and lyrics: Jayne Olderman
Driver and People Talk
© 1984 /℗ 2016 Olderman Music
music and lyrics: Jayne Olderman Don Monopoli
We Should Be Together
© 1984 / ℗ 2016 Mighty Muse Music (ASCAP) / RKGeorgia Music (ASCAP) music and lyrics: Jayne Olderman & Robbie Georgia
Guitars: Leon Lebenkorn (“Betray”), David Webster (“I Can’t Let Go”, “I Need a Hero”), Paul Opalach (“People Talk”), Robbie Georgia (“Driver”, “We Should Be Together”)
Bass: Paul Opalach (“Driver” and “People Talk”); Jayne Olderman (“Betray”, “I Need a Hero”, “I Can’t Let Go”)
Keyboards (synths): Jayne Olderman
“Betray”, “I Need a Hero” and “I Can’t Let Go” produced by Augie Corica and Jayne Olderman. “Driver” and “People Talk” produced by Don Monopoli and Jayne Olderman. “We Should Be Together” produced by Jayne Olderman
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One of my most popular songs worldwide: "I Need A Hero"