THE IN-BETWEEN TIMES: JASON GUITARSTRING AND THE MOTH AND RUST BAND
So this here journey started sometime around 2003 when I found my life taking a major turn when I began my journey as a follower of Christ. I was playing in a band called South Bay Bessie at the time and really was having the time of my life. I was making fun punk rock music and playing lots of show with the band. I had just gotten married so that was an adventure in itself. I was apart of a church community, Wildwind Community Church. I was loving life.
As my faither journey continued, a batch of news song started springing up in me. The songs were focused on my new life with God and didn’t really fit with what we were doing in South Bay Bessie, a lighthearted band that took cues from the Ramones and AC/DC. These new songs became my own expression of worship. I still played and wrote like I was in a punk band but with an acoustic guitar. I used what I had to connect with God in a way that meant something to me.
Just for fun, I recorded some of the songs on my cassette 4-track recorder for posterity’s sake and never really planned to make them public. But this all changed shortly after I left South Bay Bessie. I still desired to play out and share my music with folks in my community but didn’t really want to put in the kind of time that being in a semi-full-time band called for. I figured lugging around my acoustic guitar and showing up at a few open mic nights on my own schedule sounded like the rhythm I was looking for.
I got involved in the open mic scene around Flint for a little while. It was a lot of fun. After a while, I had made friends with Ron Moore who was hosting a regular open mic night at the local Borders store. He asked me to fill-in as the host a few times when he was on the road playing gigs of his own. It was a neat scene and I decided to release my 4-track recording as a CDEP called “This Basement Sanctuary” as a way to connect with people at the shows and share a little bit of my story.
When I was getting more involved in this scene and writing more songs my old friend Tom Wyatt approached me about recording in his new home studio. He offered me some free recording time if I’d be willing to be the guinea pig for his new equipment and space. So in January of 2006 or 2007 (time gets all mushy for me when I try to recall how these events unfolded) I went to Tom’s house to record a full-length album. If was free, so I figured, “what the heck?”
I laid down some basic tracks and vocals in a day and drove home late that night. I was exhausted but beaming as I thought about the prospects of giving shape to my new life as an acoustic musician. That night, at about two in the morning my home phone rang. The person on the other end of the line was a social worker from Genysys Hospital in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She called to share the news that my mom, who had been on dialysis for a couple years, came into the hospital earlier in the evening not feeling well and had passed away. Talk about throwing a wrench in your plans. My life took a shift for a time and I couldn’t find the time to get back in to the studio to finish up.
Over the next year, I didn’t really play out much apart from a couple shows Tom was putting together for his church, The Salvation Army’s Flint Citadel. We thought it would be fun to put together a full band for these shows. Tom offered to play drums and I rounded up a few other folks. My friend Zac, who I worked with a Mott College Bookstore, with my played bass. My wife Lisa sang with me and we asked our friend, Tony, from church/high school to play tuba and bells for the shows. We rehearsed a couple times and played to a combined total of 15 people but it still was a lot of fun.
So the next January came and we decided to redo a few of the songs we recorded with a full-band so we booked a day and headed back in to give it a go. It took a little longer to get everything set up and recorded with all the extra musicians but we still only spent about a day in the studio. We just did less songs this time around. On the way home from the studio that night, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous, remembering what had happened the year before. And fate would have it I was nervous for a good reason. I made a left turn just as another car was running through a red light and smashed up my car to the tune of $1300 and a hike in insurance rates for the next year. I continue to get nervous that tragedy is going to strike every January but keep pressing on anyway.
A couple weeks passed and Tom sent me some rough mixes. He had done some “producing” jazzing up the songs with ambient guitar sounds and added drums to some of the songs from the session we did the previous year. Some of the “producing” was a little much for me but it was cool to have someone to collaborate with in this way. I noted songs that I wanted to redo vocals on, or at least clean up my mistakes and big-ideas-gone-wrong a bit. We talked about when we could get together to finish the record. We had both invested so much time that we just wanted to be done with it.
The next round of studio time never happened though. Tom’s computer that we used for the recording crashed and he lost the original track files that could be edited and remixed. He was at least able to salvage some of the rough mix files from another hard drive but several of the songs were still missing. Luckily, I had uploaded the missing songs to my MySpace (What’s that?) page and was recently able to retrieve them by using third party software to (ahem) borrow them from myself since Myspace will let you upload your songs but they won’t let you have them back.
So here we are five year later and I’m releasing The In-Between Times. I was originally planning to dump the whole project since I couldn’t fix the imperfections or do a final mix. I reconsidered recently as I’ve begun thinking about my next musical project. I just didn’t want to leave this undone before moving on to the next thing.
The In-Betwwen Times was recorded during bits and pieces of stolen time in 2007, 2008, and 2009. It was never officially finished. While the sounds and performances are not perfect, this album gives you a picture of a particular time and a particular group of people having fun with creativity and collaboration.
I’m giving it away on a “pay what you want” basis. You can even download it for free if you want to. If you do decide to buy the album in the next two weeks (until March 9th, 2012) I’ll be giving all of the proceeds to an organization called SEED and My Brother’s Keeper. SEED is a ministry that faciliatates sustainable business development for groups of people needing opportunities. Check out their website to get a glimpse of the awesome work they are doing. My Brother’s Keeper is a shelter that provides a meal, a bed, and hope for homeless men in Flint. I hope you will consider supporting these important organizations.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my project. I hope you’ll share it with a friend over the next couple of week.