Monday, June 4, 2007
A Nut For A Jar Of Tuna
a nut for a jar of tuna
volume 3 no. 5
within a year after
I'm only sleeping
most notably on
hendrix and beatles
that began my
with all things
15 years later with
of my first record
I developed the habit
nearly every item I recorded backwards just to hear its effect (something I still do). if you listen to lone rhino you'll hear backward effects on half of the songs, a trend throughout most of my work. for years I strove to make my guitar sound backward while playing "live".
then in 1985 I met someone who could help in my quest. he was an electronics whiz from california. I don't remember his name so I'll call him Mystery Geek. he had made a modification to an Electro-Harmonix 16-Second Delay box which allowed you to play backward! better yet, you could set it to hear what you were playing backward and forward at the same time. yow!
you set the length of the backward delay and pushed a little square red button. by watching a light metronome blinking the delay time you could feel the tempo you needed to play. I couldn't stop noodling with the box, I found it so fascinating.
once while in L.A. my manager stan hertzman and I drove to the mystery geeks apartment. after a minimum of quiet pleasantries the mystery geek launched into a monologue of hi-tech geekspeak which was unstoppable. he talked and talked about diodes and flux capacitors...I had no idea what he was saying. after 20 minutes of such bombardment, I looked at stan. he was sitting upright on the couch, asleep.
eventually we ran out of time and had to return to the planet Earth. I joke about the mystery geek, but in fact he did me a huge favor. with his modification I wrote this piece of music** which is the same forward as backward. it's played all at once on the guitar.
this is one of my personal favorites. I wish I could have continued further down this path. I still find it fascinating.
but the box broke soon thereafter. I never located the mystery geek again.
which makes this piece even more unique.
I still use backward sounds as an important part of my music.
something that's the same forward as backward is known as a palindrome. in fact, the title of this piece a nut for a jar of tuna when turned around backwards is:
a nut for a jar of tuna.
* nowadays I do it "live" all the time (thank you, technology) but in the early 80's it was still still a limited and time-consuming process available only in the studio.
**eventually I wrote a song for the bears first record called wavelength using this same piece of music without the backward parts.
recorded at home in Urbana, Illinois september 1985