Zen of Recording
The War of Will, Part 1
“This is a very serious fall.”
I could hear those words ringing like the alarms from China Syndrome inside my head at full volume, as the entire world seemed to psychedelically dissolve into slow-motion synchronization as I tumbled like a rag doll down the steep (I mean, like, Amsterdam steep) stairway of the house I was moving out of…
Moments earlier, I had been jostling to free from an overhang on my son’s “bed,” which looked like some multi-springed army cot from 1940 that Gomer Pyle might have counted sheep aloud in, much to Sgt. Carter’s vexation. Except I doubt that, because who could even lift this hulking steel monstrosity into the barracks? Its most recent primary purpose appeared to be catapulting my little four-year-old Miles skyward at bedtime as he trampolined himself breathless each night, rather than listen to me read Batman Is Brave to him for the 3,000th time. I was alone, I was in a hurry, and I was determined to get the hell out of Utah. But first, I had to load Miles’ and his mom’s stuff into a truck to move them to her mom’s house. Only then would I be able to turn my focus toward moving all of my studio, stuff, and things back to California.
Though I’d made many acquaintances over the previous several months there, I hadn’t really made the kind of friends you could call upon to help you actually move. With Miles at grandma’s house already and his mom out running errands, the clock was ticking…
The bed was turned sideways and one end of it rested on the top stair, the other end was in my hands. The top end above me caught on the overhang, and the weight of the bed kept it firmly wedged there. “Dammit!” I yelled, as I stood sideways with one foot on the stairs and began to push and twist the beast in an effort to release it. I did. Suddenly, the full weight of it bore down on me, snapping my ankle as it threw me to the bottom of the 14 stairs.
I lay there, motionless. “Okay, just relax… Take it easy.” I whispered to myself, aloud. “You’re alive, so that’s good,” I said. “You can feel pain. Also sorta “good.” I felt weird. “Did I dislocate my shoulder? Maybe not.” I tried to move my right arm. “Shit. I did. Damn. Okay, just zen out and chill and let it go back in by itself.”
I’d had dislocations in my left shoulder before, which were eventually corrected with surgery. I had several similar episodes with my right shoulder, but these were subluxations or separations, which had always gone back in on their own. After a couple minutes, it did just that. I slowly sat upright and blurrily surveyed my glasses across the room about 20 feet away. “Okay, I know where those are,” I chuckled morosely. Only then did I hesitantly focus my eyes and attention upon my right ankle. It was at a 90 degree angle outward, radiating pain and already I could see it was as big as a grapefruit. “Fuck this.” I grumbled and, with that, I reached down and with a pulling motion, straightened it out. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, other than “Let’s get this done.”
I pulled myself up by the banister and tried putting my weight on it. By then, the swelling had sort of made its own “cast,” which stabilized itself as it kinda went numb, pain-wise. I grabbed a roll of duct tape and tightly wound it around my ankle. I grabbed the dolly and resumed loading the truck. Miles’ grandma eventually heard of my distress and asked her neighbor and his young son to come assist me. They put the last few things on the truck and helped me unload it at the other end. At this point, they said they regretted they couldn’t contribute more and left. Now I could go back and start loading all of my stuff for the 800 mile trek back to San Diego. By that evening, I was finished and I made it to the Urgent Care facility right at the 9pm closing time. They graciously let me in, x-rayed me, and fitted me for a stabilizing “boot.” I miraculously held to my timeline and a few days later, with the help of friend Steve Roche and my son Drew Andrews, my stuff was distributed between two locations until I could transition into my new space in Rolando Village, once construction was completed there.
A week later and in a cast, I played a CD release concert for The Sexy at Java Joe’s with an all-star band of friends, including Peter Bolland, Lauren Scheff, Jessica Hull, Bill Ray, and Eddie “Muggles” Croft.
A week after that, I was due to begin recording an album for 22 Kings, who also had a strict timeframe within which to work, as they were going on tour in a few weeks! I called my friend and colleague Rafter Roberts, who graciously rented me his room at Singing Serpent for a few days so that I could get basic tracks down. The plan was to take these tracks back to Sexy band keyboardist Wolfgang Grasekamp’s Seven Corners Studio for subsequent editing and mixing, since I was sleeping there on the floor anyway.
But as we’ve seen so far, plans are changeable things…
(to be continued).
Sven-Erik Seaholm is an award-winning independent record producer, singer, and songwriter. His new studio, Alamo North, opens this month.