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Naked Tracks

Sex & Religion/Alien Love Secrets (Naked)

Tracklisting:

01. Bad Horsie (Naked)
02. Juice (Naked)
03. Die To Live (Naked)
04. The Boy From Seattle (Naked)
05. Ya Yo Gakk (Naked)
06. Kill The Guy With The Ball/The God Eaters (Naked)
07. Tender Surrender (Naked)
08. Still My Bleeding Heart (Naked)
09. Touching Tongues (Naked)

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Naked Tracks
Sex & Religion/Alien Love Secrets

Record Rap

All of the songs on Alien Love Secrets are relatively simple and stripped down. I set out to make a trio-type rock instrumental EP.

The music on Sex and Religion is more band-oriented than instrumental guitar. But there are still a few groovy vamps, that can help you to light up your fret board.

 

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. Bad Horsie (Naked)

Form: For the most part, this track keeps true to the original, with the exception of some extra guitar solo rounds thrown in for the blacksmith in you. The intro “locomotive guitar” is taken out, so you will either have to fake it or play it, then hit the “play” button to keep it real. In the middle section the echo guitars were put in so you don’t lose track of the song.

Key(s): To get a heavier sound the guitar is tuned down a whole step and then the low string is tuned to low “C” (so it’s like a tuned down drop C). The choruses are performed with a slide to make it extra slinky. You don't necessarily need to tune down to jam to this one, but it would help to wear a pair of heavy, industrial-strength underwear.

What was I thinking?: This is a gut-wrenching, gag-reflexing groove. In the early ‘80s, I played the devil’s guitar player in a film called, “Crossroads.” The character was a dark and menacing denizen from the abyss, a-name-a Jack Butler. When I read the script, there was this one scene that depicted the guitar as sounding like a freight train. One 6-string freight train coming up!

What could you be thinking?: All the songs on this record give the opportunity to play a whole guitar part that carries the rhythms and the melody. Bad Horsie is more of a call and response situation, where the melody alternates with the rhythm. It might be a good idea to keep the melody in place, but the solo section is a good opportunity to try and come up with 2-3 ideas that you have never played before. I would recommend looping this solo section. One cool technique is to play as if you were in slow motion. The notes, your body, everything you do… try picturing yourself doing it in slow motion.

 

 

2. Juice (Naked)

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

Key(s): A Blues

What was I thinking?: Yes, another Boogie. I find this one a bitch to play, but once you own it, it’s like attaching your strap to a roller coaster. The idea is to make it sound seamless, in control, and effortless. Ga-hed!

What could you be thinking?: If you have difficulty making this sound smooth, you can change the parts to suit your own style… as long as it’s performed with confidence and control. Once again, Ga-hed!

 

 

3. Die To Live (Naked)

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

Key(s): A Mixolydian mostly, but it varies through solo section.

What was I thinking?: When I was writing this song and preparing to record it, I played each 2 bar phrase about an hour each. I focused on finding the right space for all the notes, their vibrato, those elusive miniscule touches that make the melody speak the way it does, and every breath in between. That’s the only real way to own it. And still, it keeps quite a bit for itself. This is one of my all-time favorite guitar songs to play. Being in the present moment of each chord, each note of this song, when the body, mind, and soul find their equilibrium in an ocean of sonic rapture is… liberating.

What could you be thinking?:And now it’s your turn.
Find your own space and enjoy the moment. After you get it under your fingers, leave life out of it and play it for your inner self. If you can get there, it will touch others when you perform it for them.

 

 

4. The Boy From Seattle (Naked)

Form: Same form as the record with additional vamp sections added to the solo section, because that’s how we ride. The main guitar is added back into the break section of this naked track after the solo, so the player can hear the timing into the outro section.

Key(s): The guitar should be tuned down a whole step. It’s actually in the key of D (Mixolydian), but played on the guitar as if it’s in E.

What was I thinking?: This song was styled after the kind of chord leading, melody-type playing that Jimi Hendrix used. Hence, the tip of the hat in the title. This type of chord playing always appealed to me more than conventional strumming or power chording. Although I enjoy listening to jazz guitar players comp in the traditional chord soloing fashion, I was never very interested in doing this much myself. It always seemed too conventional. The way that Jimi played his chord leadings was very different and it resonated with me more.

What could you be thinking?: One of the techniques that’s used here (that you may want to pick-up) is vibrating chords with your fingers. It’s a subtle effect, but carries personality.

 

 

5. Ya Yo Gakk (Naked)

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

Key(s): B Blues.

Instrument/FX: A seven string (Ibanez Universe) was used on this track.

What was I thinking?: Around the age of 2-4, my son Julian used to say this phrase constantly, “Ya-Yo-Gakk.” I being the audio pack rat that I am, documented approximately 100 hours of these Gakky delicacies. I thought it would be funny to create this track, where the guitar mimics the Gakks of an imaginary toddler rock star.

What could you be thinking?: I left the vocal in so you would have someone to Jam with. If you don’t have a 7 string, no worries. See how close you can emulate the vocal, while carrying the rhythm and pooping your diaper.

 

 

6. Kill The Guy With The Ball/The God Eaters (Naked)

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

Key(s): The guitar is tuned down a whole step for this one, so it’s in D minor but played as if in E.

What was I thinking?:This takes brutal, aggressive control.
Originally written during a 3 month writing session with Ozzy, the first part of this track is meant to be an over-the-top display of rhythmic abrasiveness.

“The God Eaters” is a compositional piece that sets out to depict the audio representation of the visual that one may bear witness to, while peering into a fantastical corner of the astral plane during a prolonged hypnagogic state. (Hypnagogia - also spelled hypnogogia - describes vivid dreamlike auditory, visual, or tactile sensations, which are often accompanied by sleep paralysis and experienced when falling asleep, as opposed to the hypnopompic state leading to waking up.)

One way to create this audio texture is by using thick, 10 note (no doublings) cathartic type chord voicings, with a surreal lullaby melody that floats over the top of them. Hey, how else would you do it? Picture running through celestial metaphysical peanut butter.

What could you be thinking?: There’s no way around this one. Tune down, get comfortable, and let’s see what you got… because it will most likely take it all. Since this piece is virtually all violent rhythmic melody, try to get it spot on if you can.

 

 

7. Tender Surrender (Naked)

Form:The form of this naked track is the same as the original recording. There’s a little drum roll added before the intro to guide you to the first hit of the track. I also left out the chord pad at the very end, that comes in after the stand alone solo.

Key(s): E Minor.

What was I thinking?:For me, a good melody speaks in sentences with commas, periods, and other grammatical articulations that can give the sentiment of a paragraph without quite even understanding what the words mean.

This melody is a tender surrender. A surrender of what? Well… perhaps I’m not ready to express what that means to me, but if you can embrace the sincerity of this melody when listening, you may get a clue.

What could you be thinking?: You may choose to get a handle on the melody, the tone in your fingers, the dynamics and articulation of the performance, the chops needed to execute the shred, etc... Or you may decide to change the melody and solo, opting to make up your own. That’s all cool. However, the real measure of success in performing this piece is the barometer of your own emotional investment in every single note. Make it your own personal, melodic holy experience.

 

 

8. Still My Bleeding Heart (Naked Solo Vamp)

Form: The only part of this song that appears in this track is a continuous loop of the solo section. It’s creates a nice atmosphere to play over.

Key(s): F# Mixolydian.

What was I thinking?: This song was written about a young boy who contacted me through the Make A Wish Foundation. He visited me and jammed at my home and we had an opportunity to get to know each other. He was an exceptional and brave young man.

What could you be thinking?: This is an opportunity to stretch out, without worrying about any pre-written melody to learn. Because the chord voicings and ostinato bass line under the vamp are relatively sparse, you can set up some “outside” tonal centers. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how outside a riff is or how many “wrong” notes it has in it, as long it ends on a good note. The cadence or note choice you choose to complete an idea can be the element that makes the whole riff work… or not work.

Try coming up with melodically odd or uncharacteristic runs that end on a few choice notes, that work well in keys such as the tonic or the 5th.

.

 

 

9. Touching Tongues (Naked)

Form: Same form as the record with the exception of 6 solo rounds instead of 2. This is a good one to jam over. I used a 7-string guitar for the rhythm part on this one, but it’s not necessary to use one for playing the melody.

Key(s): B Major.

What was I thinking?:Creating an interesting and unique chorus melody for an instrumental guitar song is always an enjoyable challenge for me. I usually try to imagine it before I construct it on the guitar. This way the mind has fewer restrictions than if it were just left to the capabilities of the fingers. Imagining it first may inspire you to try and figure out something on the instrument that you may not necessarily play if you were just trying to come up with something with your fingers.

So I listened to the track after I recorded it and I let it show me a mental picture of a guitar part for the chorus section. The title of the song “Touching Tongues” was the impetus for the mental audio picture that was being created in my mind’s ear.

When two excited lovers are clutched in a warm embrace, sharing that intimate moment of oneness when their tongues first touch… their brain synapses are firing, sending billions of splendorous sparks down their spines and lighting up everything from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes. They are lost in a timeless moment of sensual delight.

How do you capture this feeling in a melodic audio depiction, so the ears can also enjoy such a delight? I choose a Digitech Whammy Pedal set to an octave higher on the down-stroke, a digital delay set to 2 repeats in successions of a quarter note and a half note, panned those hard left and right, and then constructed a linear melody with notes arranged in such a way that the high octave-glissed pitches would layer together with the lower moving concert pitches creating a counterpoint, (a musical round or sorts). That creates a shifting tapestry of layered chordal harmonies that are sweet enough to kiss… with Evo of course. How else would you do it?

What could you be thinking?:It might be virtually impossible to figure out how to play the kissing chorus section with a whammy pedal and delays, but it’s in the manuscript. Kudos to you if you can do it. I would be interested to see if anyone would take the time to try.

Drown your state of mind in a big chocolate kiss and go for it.

 

 
   
     

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