I love a really well-crafted studio recording. There are some artists who use the studio almost as another instrument. Dozens of takes to get the perfect sound. Alternate versions and arrangements. Parts considered and then thrown aside. I remember seeing the documentary Wings For Wheels, a look at the making of Springsteen’s Born to Run—one of the great studio recording of all time. Hearing takes of the classic title cut with cheesy strings and female choruses was interesting but…

Any, like I said, I love a great studio recording. I really appreciate it. I just don’t have the patience to do one. Bandmates who have been with me in the studio can attest that I really do not belong there. I once, after six or seven hours and a dozen takes of one tune, lost my patience to a degree that pretty much broke up that version of the band. The other guitarist in the band at the time was an old friend who was a real recording engineer and by the time we were done, I was ready to pick up a wha-wha pedal and put it through his skull. In fact, we have not talked since shortly after that—a dozen years ago.

For me, making music is about being totally in the moment, searching for the zone and occasionally finding the magic. It is why I still toil trying to keep a 10-piece band together even while the crappy economy drives more and more performance venues in my part of the world move to duos and singles backed by MIDI or recorded tracks. It is why my Pro Tools system sits only half hooked-up after six months but I am ready to record live today. Right now.

Maybe that jones for playing live kept me from developing my songwriting skills. Maybe if I had taken another path I would be ensconced in a studio somewhere crafting the perfect guitar part or vocal for a future top 10 hit. Maybe. But given the long odds of that happening, I would much rather be on a stage, in front of an audience playing great music that I love—even if I didn’t write it.

We recently moved and in the unpacking process I stumbled across a couple of studio recording I did 20 years ago. I remember them well enough that I didn’t bother listening because I know they are crap. But I also found a cassette of the only “original” gig I ever did. Believe it or not, a four piece band that played material I had written got hired to play at a wedding. Ironic, no? Playing originals at a backyard wedding reception and when I moved back to covering the music I love I got to do gigs for 1000+ on big stages with actual lighting and sound crew and roadies to move the gear.

Anyway, I digress. As I have written more than once I am a lousy songwriter. And this recording was of the same bad songs that were on the studio recordings. But, they were somehow better. There was a certain charm that was lost in the studio.

Not that all of the live recording are good—some are actually painful to listen to. But I learned something from each and every one.

A Whole New Backend
It has been a tough but rewarding few months on the Live2Play Network when it comes to our online aspects. A total blowout of the site led us to totally redo the behind the scenes stuff that makes it all run. Look at the On L2PNet.com on page 8 for the details. I just wanted to thank all of our readers and supporters who stuck with us through a very rough patch. Really, check out the newly “re-launched” L2PNet.com. More video. New blogs. And best of all it is easy to navigate and find great stuff. We’re pretty pleased with it. Let us know what you think.

Originally posted 2009-08-27 03:27:14.