"The Meaning of Life"



I wrote this song when I was 15, and it was the first one performed in public by a band I was in. The words definitely sound like they were written by an idealistic teenager (or John Lennon, in his later days).



The organ is unmistakably a Hammond B3 with a Leslie cabinet and the famous rotating trumpet speaker (electronic keyboards still don't imitate that well enough). The lead guitar riff I play at the start of the song is without a pick and with the treble down, so it sounds almost like a bass guitar way up high. Speaking of bass guitar, check out the walking bass line I played during the Trumpet extravaganza - I'm real proud of that. The Trumpet extravaganza in the middle of the song was a lot of fun too. It's not often you get to record yourself playing Trumpet with yourself playing Trumpet with yourself playing Trumpet, and then end it up with a tight-harmony, multi-Trumpet riff that sounds like it's right out of Chase. Oh - yes, the last notes in the song are supposed to sound that way. They came out just the way I wanted them (even though nobody else ever liked them that way).


Behind the Scenes

I recorded my Hammond organ part in the living room of my parents' house (you don't want to move a Hammond B3 and Leslie cabinet if you don't have to). I used a 4-track recorder with multiple microphones, and then pre-mixed those tracks into two stereo tracks on the studio machine. The three brass tracks at the end were Trumpet, Sax, and de-tuned Flugelhorn. I found that the Flugelhorn gave me the sound I wanted, rather than a Trombone. But, the lowest note in the Flugelhorn part for the song was one-half step lower than the normal note a Flugelhorn can play. So, I pulled out the tuning slides until I was in tune one-half step too low, and then transposed the music up.