Oh the pain! Oh the torment!! It’s almost Shakespearean in its painful tormentedness!!
I’ve got a real mental block going on here. Not writer’s block: oh no, no problem churning out an album’s-worth of songs. No, I’ve got recorder’s block: I just can’t commit to recording anything. Oh, and I also seem to have blogging block: I can’t seem to bring myself to blog about anything either.
Maybe I’ve got nothing to say. Though, come on, that never stopped me before.
Just about every weekend for the past few years – ever since I took the redundancy pay-off from my old civil service job – I’ve said to myself “right, Monday morning, I’m gonna sit down and record a song”. And then Friday afternoon rolls around, and I’ve spent all week in my studio and produced absolutely f**k all.
I think part of the problem is that I have got just too much stuff I want to record: I’ve now got around 180-odd songs in a range of genres – pop, rock, dance, country, folk, even a smattering of jazz – some of which might suit just solo guitar and voice, some requiring the full band treatment, others needing drum loops and samples and vocoders and stuff. Which one to start with?
I remember reading an interview with Paddy McAloon (Mr Prefab Sprout to you) a few years back, and he had the same problem: he had too many songs that he’d written but not recorded, and said if he started recording them today, he’d most likely be dead before he finished all of them. So he wasn’t going to bother starting. He’s had an album out since then though, so obviously he managed to get over his recording block.
And then there’s the 500-odd cover versions I do – I keep meaning to record a few examples to stick on my website, so prospective employers (bar owners etc) can have a listen to see if they’d like my act. James Taylor’s version of You’ve Got a Friend, perhaps. Or Mrs Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel. Or maybe the Lemonheads version. Or their song It’s a Shame About Ray.
Too many options, too many choices.
I’ll hear something on the radio, say Ed Sheeran (or Ned Sherrin, as the wife calls him) playing an acoustic version of Thinking Out Loud and think “yeah, I’ll do a cover of that… no, hang on, I’ll do one of my own songs in the same style…” and then I’ll hear Biffy Clyro play Opposites and think “no, I’ll do an acoustic cover of that… no, maybe I’ll do one of my own in a Biffy Clyro style” and then I hear Figure It Out by Royal Blood and think “no, I wanna sound like that!” but then John Martyn comes on and I think “no, I wanna sound like that!” and so on, ad infinitum.
Maybe I should just stop listening to the radio…