Sunday, May 8, 2011

Having Awesome People to Play With

I record under the name Mr. Silverstone and the Silvertone Horns. The origin of this name is that as an elementary school teacher, Mr. Silverstone is the name I am called 100 times an hour sometimes. If I or  someone else reveals my actual first name, my 2nd graders act like they've stumbled onto some kind of clandestine insider information. The movie actor Tony Curtis was actually born with the name Bernard Schwartz, only, I guess this was some kind of big secret in plain sight with a similar flavor to it.

In addition to my Turn it Up Records buy 10 get the 11th free card, I carry an ASCAP membership card, mainly for the thrill of showing them that it says Mr. Silverstone Music--which feels like clandestine insider information to me, that I actually am probably one of the few 2nd grade teachers who carries the same card as Dr. Dre and Lady Gaga.

As for the Silvertone Horns, they were first imaginary beings created by computer synthisized trumpets and saxophones on my home recordings, but then I realized that these sounds were standing in for the eventual real life horn players who would be in my band. Over time, playing at the open mic at the Yellow Sofa, I've met talented and brilliant musicians like bassist Rob Douglas, gutarists David Waldfogel guitarist Christopher Griffin, and percussionist Bob Adelson, and when we play my songs the joke is that we are the Silvertone Horns, even though no actual member of the band yet plays a wind instrument except in cyberspace. But my motto for the band has always been: pretend it's real until it is. It's worked brilliantly so far.

Here is a video of what real life versions of the electronically produced studio versions of two of the new songs sound like. As cool as it is to create string sessions and percussion ensembles on these tracks, it is way gooder to experiment in real time, face to face, and with surprises, improvisations, unexpected gifts, and weird problems, like buzzing amplifiers. It makes me so happy to play with genius people like Rob and Jesse, Bob and David, and Xxxxx and Yyyyy, and Zzzzz,  horn players that I'm confident will one day appear the same way I used to imagine my future son and me walking down some street together, me holding his hand, more than 10 years before there was a hand to hold. When it did happen, it was a lot like I imagined. But right now, playing music with real life awesome people is more surprising and fun than anything I could have imagined.

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