Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Launch Pad Update: Late 2010

by Paul M. Carhart

I know it's been a long time since we've updated this blog. 2010 has been a big year for Launch Pad. We've moved forward in many areas and we're genuinely excited for what the future holds. So I thought I'd take a moment to sorta chronicle what's happened this year and outline where we hope to go by the year's end.

The Year So Far

The year started out with a bang. We had just finished recording "Little Miss Sunshine," "I'm So Glad," "Has Beens" and "All." We established an improved Web presence with our Facebook, MySpace and Reverbnation pages where we posted the songs. The recording experience was so good and the results, we were convinced, so positive, that we, as a band, had decided to move forward in recording additional songs. Initially, to limit the amount of studio time, Paul wanted to record parts of them live, but we decided that we should put the time and effort into making them as good as possible. In January, we laid down new drum tracks on a number of songs. Paul and Lori also introduced "Up" to the band, a song they had written and recorded a demo of (using a drum loop) over the Christmas break.

In February, we played Fern's, a (mostly) punk bar located in the Long Beach East Village Arts District to a largely favorable response (they asked us to come back the following week, but we couldn't squeeze it into our calendar).

By March, Paul and Lori began shaping some of the songs that we had recorded drums for. The first to near completion in April was "Real."

In June, we played the Long Beach East Village Farmer's Market with a very good response. Again, we were asked to come back the following week. But, again, we were unable to fit it into our busy schedules. At that gig, we debuted two new songs: "Up" and "Real." We did not know it at the time, but it was the last time we would play with Ed Che on guitar. Paul's brother Jim and his wife Megan took some photos of the gig. Many of the pictures can be seen on the band's Facebook page.

The loss of Ed threw a monkey wrench into our momentum. Throughout the summer, the search was on for a new guitarist. During that time, Paul took it upon himself to lay down a set of guitar tracks for "Real." The tracks were passable. But Paul quickly learned that he's a much better bassist than he is a guitarist. During this time, Paul and Lori also recorded "High," an emotional piano and vocal tour d'force primarily written and performed by Lori. "Up" demo and "High" were then added to our pool of songs on the web.

Although it seemed like a long time, it was only four or five weeks before we were led to Scott Johnson. Scott immediately clicked with the band and we began a period of ramping him up on as many of our songs as we could. Having finished and partially-finished songs recorded was very helpful because Scott was able to take those home and work on them on his own time. Scott was on-fire and really slipped into the role of our guitarist and friend.

Shortly after joining up, Scott laid down guitar tracks for "Real." Another session quickly followed and he also put down multiple guitar tracks for "Abide" and "Live Life." Over the summer, all three songs were added to our online music library on our various profile pages. Also during the summer, Paul's brother Jim came and took some new pictures of the band. Many of the photos can be seen on the band's Facebook page.

You can also hear all of the songs referenced so far on our Facebook, MySpace or Reverbnation pages.

Ahead In 2010

And this brings us to where we're at today and what we still hope to accomplish before the year is out.

We've been rehearsing more frequently now as we start playing again. Our next gig is a return engagement with the Long Beach East Village Farmer's Market (Downtown Long Beach, First Street between Elm and Linden) on November 6, 2010 @ 11:30 am. We're debuting several new songs at this gig: "PWA," "Pitter-Patter Blues," "Vino," and "Perfect Punk Song." So make sure you come out and show Scott some love (it's our first gig with him onboard) and check out the new material!

We're also following up many other gig leads but they probably won't bear fruit until early 2011. As a band, we'll probably take off most of December for the holidays.

Currently, all our attention is focused on preparing for the aforementioned gig on November 6. Following that, the plan is to have Scott lay down new guitar tracks on the four songs that Ed had previously recorded with us ("Little Miss Sunshine," "I'm So Glad," "Has Beens," and "All"), probably in late November, just before Thanksgiving. Once new mixes are ready, the old ones will come down from Facebook, MySpace and Reverbnation and they'll be replaced with the new versions.

With those songs complete, we've had discussions of compiling a demo CD of the songs to-date. This CD will likely include (order TBD) "Real," "Abide," "Live Life," "High," "Little Miss Sunshine," "I'm So Glad," "Has Beens," and "All." Paul and Lori would like to see it completed in time for the holidays but that will only come to pass if nothing interrupts the timing. And, as we in the band all know all too well, life happens.

Also, in late November and probably extending into December, Paul and Lori are planning on producing some conceptual artwork for a facet of Launch Pad that is close to their heart. This conceptualization will embody the ultimate vision for Launch Pad moving forward and will inform our future direction.

And, hopefully, in late December, Scott will lay down guitar tracks for "Bring It On" (which also needs some additional bass tracks and vocals), "It's A Good Thing," "Do You Got The Stones?" (which needs a few minor edits), and (time permitting) "Fall On Me" (which will need the most work, not just from Scott but from Lori on keys and vocals and perhaps some vocal and bass touch-ups from Paul). But timing and scheduling with the holidays will be a factor in whether this happens in 2010 or not.

Early next year, we're hoping to record drum tracks for a lot of our new material: "PWA," "Pitter-Patter Blues," "Vino," and "Perfect Punk Song." We also want to capture drums for a few others that we didn't record last time, most notably, Mike's drums for "Up" (since the demo that is currently online uses the drum loop). Lori's also deep into the early stages of a new song that we hope to incorporate into this session.

We're extremely happy with the band's current line-up. Scott (guitar) and Mike (drums) bring passion and power to the music and the band dynamic has never been better. We all genuinely like to hang out together and that makes the band's chemistry that much better when we play. With new songs like "PWA" and "Pitter-Patter Blues," Lori's power-house vocals are coming to the forefront and we're able to be more free and the music is more able to flow from us in more of a jam-like way (and less a pre-determined structure). And, for the first time, it seems like everyone's really whole-heartedly onboard for the full Launch Pad vision. It's a blessing to all be able to play together and we're grateful for it. I think we all wish we could play together more often. But, as always, it's a balancing act between work, family time, writing, recording, rehearsing and playing. But we're convinced we're moving in the right direction. And we're excited for what 2011 will bring.

Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Harvest, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. May God be in it.

Rock on! And keep listening!

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