About twenty years ago I recorded an EP that, as I listened back to the recordings for the recent Remasters project, I found to be the cleanest and most “professional” recordings I ever made. This is the collection that would eventually end up being called “We Got Our Paint At…” (it was originally left untitled – a hint of things to come, perhaps). The performances were tight and clean and the recording quality pretty excellent for what I had to work with at the time (an SM58 stuck in a converse high-top as an amp mic stand, for instance).

Yet, I have few memories of the actual recording (other than that makeshift mic stand). And most of those that I have are wrong. The apartment I, very convincingly, remember recording it in can not possibly be, well, where it was recorded. Doing the timeline math of where I lived and when, I didn’t live in that apartment for, um… another several years. The picture I used for the followup collection of songs was taken in the apartment BEFORE the apartment I imagine recording it in.


Also, looking back through some old promo and web materials talking about this EP… well, I appear to be pretty sour on “We Got Our Paint At…” – not just right after, but for several years after. Beyond that, the collection of songs done right after was very raw and simplified. After that, and for the next 15 years or so, I would only record with acoustic guitar and voice, live(ish) and with no overdubs.

Very odd.

So, the process of recording a collection that I now look back on as the most successful of my recording projects – by production quality, at least – seems to have been blanked out of my memories and seems to have inspired me to just record live acoustic versions of my tunes for well over a decade after.

The new collection, coming out soon, gave me some insight as to why…

I have, at last count, something like 208 final mixes.


There are 7 songs.

One song is 30 seconds long and is a prelude to the final song.

208 mixdowns.

I was excited about the initial recordings and like the way the arraignments developed. Now, I kinda just want to record everything live with only an acoustic guitar and a voice…

And maybe I will next time. And maybe I won’t. And maybe, just maybe, in 20 years, this collection will be the one I am most excited to pull out, slip into some good headphones, and listen to.

But really, it still fits with how I view recording in general.

I have never accepted a recorded version as the “final” form of any song. Like a live performance, the recording is just a snapshot of how I created the song at that moment, of how I imagined it might be, of what seemed interesting at the time, and, really, of what just happened. It is a fleeting performance, but performed on “tape” instead of live.

And that is certainly what this will be. Just with 201 mixdown moments proceeding it.

And I suspect several of these songs will be followed up with other versions – maybe just acoustic and voice, maybe with a full drum kit. Maybe both.

But, really, it is of the moment that counts.