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Fire Garden (Naked)


01. There's A Fire In The House (Naked)
02. The Crying Machine (Naked)
03. Dyin’ Day (Naked)
04. Blowfish (Naked)
05. The Fire Garden Suite (Naked)
06. Hand On Heart (Naked)
07. Warm Regards (Naked)
08. Boston Rain Melody (Naked)
09. Feathers (Naked)
10. Misfits (Naked)

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Naked Tracks
Fire Garden

Record Rap

Fire Garden was a record that more-or-less merged Alien Love Secrets with Sex & Religion. I decided to abandon the idea of a band and just build the tracks the way I was most comfortable.


Song Rap

As heavy, as simple, or as complex as the performance of music can get, care should be taken that it is always performed as a piece of music. There are various processes that we go through when learning the skills to play an instrument. There’s the practice of technique, the study of music theory, the spontaneous improvisation we may have with others, or just sitting and playing something. It’s a process.

In learning a complete piece of music and performing it without any mistakes, the first stage is familiarizing ourselves with the piece, then getting it under our fingers, and then really getting it under our fingers, and then getting it so under our fingers that we know it by heart.

Once we are at the stage of almost knowing something by heart, I have found that it’s not uncommon to forget everything in a flash and wonder, ”Where the heck did my brain go?” That’s when you can’t give up. You just gotta keep pushing and eventually it all comes back (usually pretty quickly). At that point it’s usually there for good.

That’s the time when we must start to focus on making whatever we are performing sound like an actual piece of music. This is all in our head and is a direct reflection of how we perceive what we are playing compared to how we can imagine it sounding at it’s best. Try to hear it in your head better than the way you’re playing it and eventually it will come out that way.

At this point your confidence will increase and your emotional investment in the piece can be cultivated and elevated.

These naked tracks can assist in your technical, emotional ascent up the ladder of performance bliss.

I suggest that all musicians have at least one such piece of music under their command at all times, and revisit it now and then to keep it fresh while working on another. The more you do this, the easier it gets. That’s when the fun really starts––when you become the music you play.


1. There’s A Fire In The House (Naked)

Form: Same form as record with a few extra solo passes.

Instrument/FX: The guitar is tuned down a whole step, with the low string tuned down to C (sort of a drop C tuning).

Key(s): C Blues

What was I thinking?: This is a pretty straight ahead pounding rock song. But as always, there must be something in there that floats my boat… something that is somewhat unexpected. That’s where the middle section melody after the solo comes in.

What could you be thinking?:The melody sections are pretty straight ahead, but see if you can come up with something that you think nobody else would come up with for the parts where there are holes in the track. Any kind of noise you can conjure out of the guitar (that you’ve never heard before) will do.

To the best of your ability, take the extended solo sections and try to develop a different technique or approach for each round. Make it something that you have never done before. Even if only one time out of ten you play something that you think is cool, that one cool riff can be something that you cultivate for your catalog of riffs.



2. The Crying Machine (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording.

What was I thinking?: Once again, looking for a pretty straight ahead, melodic type of up-tempo, simple to play, easy to listen to track to offset some of the other madness. I like to keep this track in the show on most of the tours because it acts as a sort of equalizer. It’s got a bluesy feel, but a romantic breakdown section.

What could you be thinking?: This is one you might want to take and create your own new melody from scratch. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to take all these naked tracks and create your own creative interpretation over them. This is a good one to use for that.



3. Dyin’ Day (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording.

Key(s): C# Major, but this - and most of these tracks - modulate.

Instrument/FX: For the life of me, I can’t remember the tuning for the rhythm guitar for this track, but the main melodies were performed on a conventionally-tuned guitar.

What was I thinking?: Sitting on the shelves in the Harmony Hut, I have close to 50 or so two-hour DAT tapes filled with little snippets of ideas that have been collected through the years. Now and then I go back and listen to some of them for inspiration and at times, I hear things that have potential to become songs. This song came about by just listening through one of those tapes and poof… there it was. What I heard was basically the intro rhythm guitar part. I just built it from there. This track almost made it on an Ozzy record, but it had vocals.

What could you be thinking?: If you decide to perform the melody, I think you will enjoy it very much. It employs a lot of dynamics and volume pot control. It’s all in the touch on this one. It’s also a good opportunity to experiment with the way a note can change just by hitting it with the pick in a different area of the string, or plucking the note with different parts of your finger to change its tone.



4. Blowfish (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording with some added solo rounds. For this track I left the main, heavy rhythm guitars in the naked track, because I felt it would sound too naked without them. But perhaps one could never be too naked.

Key(s): A Blues

Instrument/FX: This track employs an octave divider on the main rhythm parts.

What was I thinking?: “Blobulant” is a word that comes to mind.

What could you be thinking?: This track has a nice blend of being heavy and mutant, but at times very melodic and accessible. If you heavily process a guitar with various effects, it can have a huge influence on what and how you play. Sometime the effect itself can become part of the arrangement. If you’re interested in processed guitar sounds, try finding some odd sounds with your stomp boxes and use that sound to create your own unique melody over this track.



5. The Fire Garden Suite (Naked)

Form:The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording. There are melody guitars that are mixed into this track for guidance, etc. There is a 4 count hit at the beginning, before the track kicks in.

What was I thinking?: This is one of my favorite types of pieces to build. It’s more compositional in nature than a conventional song structure. I wanted to create a piece with various sections that all had melodic identities. The guitar parts are more-or-less playing the part of complementing instruments to the melodies, more than being platforms for pyrotechnics. Although there is some of that in there, too.

What could you be thinking?: If you plan on playing along with parts similar to the record, there’s not much room for improv. But if you can get pieces like “Angel Food” under your fingers, it’s very nice to play along with them.



6. Hand On Heart (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording. A little shaker was added in the intro (along with the original guitar part itself) to help as a guide.

Key(s): F# Mixolydian.

What was I thinking?: The original melody and chord structure for this song came about at a sound check with the Fire Garden Band. It just rolled out of my ears.

What could you be thinking?: On this one I would recommend trying to come up with something completely unique, that doesn’t sound anything like the original melodic ideas. If you are aware of the original, it could get in the way. So take care to keep it real. And of course, with any of these tracks, learning the original guitar part is not necessarily a bad idea either.



7. Warm Regards (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording.

Key(s): C Major.

What was I thinking?: This track came about while I was building a vocal patch for another song on Fire Garden. This type of thing happens all the time, but in most of these situations I never take the time to follow the idea. Instead, I usually go back to the song I was working on at the time. On this particular occasion, I just decided to go ahead and build that track. The whole thing probably took about a day. It was very easy to hear a melody over this, once the track was constructed.

What could you be thinking?:Again, I would recommend trying to come up with a melody that sits nicely in the track (one that is not necessarily the original).

The way I usually do it is to go through the track several times and just listen in my head for a melodic sentiment. Most of the time, the track will tell you what the melody should be and soon, a melody will start to appear. Try it… it’s very rejuvenating.



8. Boston Rain Melody (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording.

Key(s): F# Mixolydian.

What was I thinking?: I was with the Fire Garden band on a G3 tour. During a sound check in Boston, MA the sky turned a beautiful ominous grey. The distant rumble of thunder, along with the celestial flash-pots of bright yellow lightning, made the perfect visual backdrop for the melody that spontaneously dripped from my fingers. Fortunately there was a tape machine running and this little spark was captured as a demo. I discovered it later on the ol’ shelf of dreams and I knew I had to complete the inspiration.

What could you be thinking?: The idea of you sitting back and enjoying playing over this track as much as I do is a beautiful thing for me. This track affords a simple opportunity to tune out everything around you and just make it about you and your guitar. Don’t worry about what you’re going to play, or what anyone is thinking. Even if you can only find two notes that work for you, make them your favorite two notes in the world.



9. Feathers (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording. There is a two beat count off before the melody comes in.

Key(s): F# Mixolydian.

What was I thinking?:I enjoy playing with an orchestra, but it’s a difficult financial proposition. So sometimes, I will compose a piece with more-or-less a sample orchestra.

The construction of this piece was such that I basically improvised an acoustic rhythm guitar part, laid it down, and then built the track and melody around it.

What could you be thinking?: Try using this track to create your own artistic conception for a melody.



10. Misfits (Naked)

Form: The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording.

Key(s): G Major (Mixolydian)

What was I thinking?: This piece (along with “Essence”) was written and recorded for Roland Electronics, as a demo for a piece of gear. Sometimes when I do these types of things, I work very fast and don’t have time to over think things (as I do at times). As a result, the track often comes out with a charm unlike my other stuff.

What could you be thinking?: As with many of these tracks, it may be a good idea to experiment with rhythmic playing and chord structures, as well as soloing endlessly.

On this one, try to build robust chord organizations and melody leading chord solos.



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