Third Day is one of my favorite Christian bands. I don't listen to them as much anymore but I still like them. They had a song on one of their albums that was basically a guitar instrumental. It was a remake of a classic song, maybe Amazing Grace. I loved it. The guitar sound was so pretty. This was exactly what I wanted my album to feel like.
I was not able to achieve this at my home studio. Home studio sounds a lot more impressive than it really is. At the time it was my Tascam DP-01, a couple mics, and my Martin guitar. I did my best with what I had but was not satisfied with the results. I decided it was time to go to a professional studio. I knew that this would be the answer for the sound that I was searching for.
I am cheap. Gun's and Roses spent 13 million dollars recording their last album, Chinese Democracy. In 1972, The Rolling Stones spent three years recording the album, Exile on Main Street. It took three years and cost over two million dollars. If could hire the best producer, engineers, the best musicians, with the best instruments and go to a recording studio with the greatest recording equipment. I would need to spend lots of time to get everything perfect. Every note in tune and on beat. I could possibly spend $150,000 to a million dollars. This is the route that record companies go. They hire the very best producer and musicians. They are in the pursuit of quality. In hopes that you will buy millions of albums so they can make millions of dollars.
I could shop around and do my homework and save some money. It is possible to produce a really good album for $10,000. That is still a lot of money. I decided that I was going to need a budget to complete my first album. I was going to save money and time by not having too many instruments. It was my Martin guitar, a drum track on a couple songs and a couple songs with me singing. I decided I could invest one thousand dollars to make my first album.
We all know the saying, " We get what we pay for." Yes, I did. It was better than I could do myself in my home studio (at that time) but not where I wanted it to be. This is a good stage to be in. This is the spot in life that drives us to get better. To change. To say this didn't work, I'm going to do this instead. You might be in a similar spot in your life. A time where you question your career choice or life choices and think, "This is not working out like I thought it would."
Sometimes in life we need to figure out what doesn't work. I was positive that a professional studio was going to sound fantastic. I needed to find out that this was not true. Until I found out it wasn't true, I would of always used that as an excuse. I could say to myself, "If I could go to a professional studio, I could make a great album." It would not matter if that was true (because it wasn't) or not. This reminds me of another saying that we have all heard, "The truth shall set you free."
I don't know what said that but sometimes the truth is hard to hear. I liked watching American Idol. I liked when they had the auditions and most of them were not very good. Some were downright terrible. I would ask myself, "Did this contestant not have a friend, family member, or anybody in their life that could tell them the truth? The truth. "You cannot sing."
Or did they have multiple people tell them and they were in denial? Maybe they were delusional and thought, "I am going to be a big star. All I need is a big break. " I don't know about you but I have friends and family that tell me the truth. Example- My kids like to tell me that fanny packs are out of style. Is that the truth? Sadly to say, It is. But I still wear one. Let me tell you why? A fanny pack allows me to wear my gym shorts that are super comfortable. I don't like having my billfold in my front pocket. It is not comfortable and I am afraid I might lose it and all the cash that is in it. No that it is a lot a cash but hey, ten bucks is ten bucks.
Last year I went to my 40 year high school reunion. It was the last week of June and I wore my fanny pack and shorts. I was comfortable. I must admit that I thought about not wearing my fanny pack. It was kinda like a flashback to high school days and everybody dresses and looks the same. This thought lasted for about ten seconds and then I proudly strapped it on and went to the reunion.
How long do you think I was at the class reunion before someone commented on the fanny pack? Five minutes? Ten minutes? One hour? Six hours? Drum roll. No one commented. Not one person. Maybe they commented to other people and that's okay. I don't care. I have learned to march to my own drummer while wearing my fanny pack.
Okay, I have done some rambling in this chapter so I want to clean it up and give a bottom line to it. We learn lessons in life. Some we learn the hard way. Sometimes the best way to learn the lesson is to fail or spend a thousand dollars and say, "That didn't work." Learning what didn't work is just as important as learning what does work? Failure is part of life. We might miss the game winning free throw one game but that will drive us to practice shooting free throws. So remember the next time you learn a lesson the hard way, " It's okay, because I learned a lesson. " One thousand dollar lesson. Lesson learned.