I'm making The Last Q*Ball Album. My first album in 7 years.
What does that even mean anymore?
To most music fans nowadays, it means nothing. But to me, it means everything. Never mind that I'm a purist, that I'm an audiophile. I lost over a thousand vinyl records, over two thousand compact discs after Superstorm Sandy. Box sets, collectibles, memorabilia. My electronic analog babies.
I've been through a lot these past few years. A lot. I'm not dead, I'm not dying. I'm not bankrupt. I'm not disabled, I'm not depressed, I'm not on the decline. I'm on the rise. I'm energized and independent. But I have been through a lot. And I can't help but think that what I've been through will ultimately lead me to my destiny, to happiness.
I can't help but think that all this mess has ultimately led me to the making of this album.
And living through this mess is what making this album is all about.
More than anything, this album is about reinforcing what I've largely been missing in my musical misadventures these past few years. Kinship. Collaboration. There is no greater feeling as an artist, as a musician, than to be surrounded by fellow talented and passionate people who are on board with what you've created, willing and able to add their unique touches to your musical canvas.
I have no expectations for how this album - these songs - are received. When I released my last album, This Is Serious Business, in 2007, I was a different man living a different life. Not much happened with that record, the biggest footnote involved my longtime collaborator Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, who had, in the middle of making that album, been recruited to join Guns N' Roses, effectively ending his full-time contributions to my electronic rock passions.
Seven years later, Bumblefoot is still in GnR. He has toured the world over with Axl Rose, he's finally doing a tour in support of his own excellent solo material. He is chiseled and slim, he's revered and recognized. He has reached his peak, and he deserves every moment of glory that he has experienced these past 7 years. I'm happy for him. Shit, I'm damn proud of him.
But Bumblefoot and I are no longer partners in crime. And his departure from this project a few years ago essentially signaled the slow death of Q*Ball. Ron Thal made Q*Ball a worthwhile collaboration for nearly a decade - our first two albums garnered favorable reviews thanks to his awe-inspiring guitar work and his invaluable production skills. The songs from both albums were licensed to the likes of MTV, Red Bull and Bunim-Murray thanks to his connections and persistence. Money I made from those licensing deals was used to start my record label in 2005, Bald Freak Music. Love him or not, I owe Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal a debt of gratitude. He was an important part of my musical career.
Less than two years ago, Superstorm Sandy buried Bald Freak Music in a tomb of dirty ocean water. The albums, the merch, the gear, the computers, the office space - all drowned, all gone. But my relationship with Bumblefoot was already underwater before the storm came.
So this is The Last Q*Ball Album - this is the album I'm choosing to make in the wake of all this mess. Part of me has always truly felt that for me to ever release another album - to ever effectively write any more quality music - I would have to do so from a dark place. Certainly getting to that place was never my intention, never my choice. But here I am. And here these songs are, songs that will appear on The Last Q*Ball Album. Songs that I have worked on and practiced and tweaked for the past 3 years. Songs that I'm damn proud of.
It will be formally released in late October - on iTunes and Amazon and thru my Bald Freak site.
This song will be on it.
And this one.
And 10 more like them. It's a dark departure from my last three releases, and justifiably so. Most of the songs were written on my Yamaha P22 upright piano, one of the few musical instruments that survived in the wake of Sandy's destruction. Composing most of the pieces from the new album on this piano seems like another destiny of sorts. It's beyond satisfying to know that the rescue of this one vital instrument - its transport from a cold and moldy post-Sandy grave on Staten Island to the comfortable confines of my radio production studio in New York City - has played its part in the release of this new collection. Thank you Adam. Thank you Elvis.
As for me? Fuck, I'm right where I want to be. I'm free - of obligation, of all the nonsense that has dominated my life these past few years. The house is sold, the lies are over, and the hard truth has been revealed. I have moved on and I am moving forward. I'm spending a week in the Pacific Northwest with talented guitarist Daniel G. Harmann, tracking three tunes at Electrokitty Studios in Seattle. Then off to Dirty Jerz with my Return To Earth band mates Brett Aveni and Chris Pennie to track four more Q tunes, then two more at Brooklyn's Thump Studios with my childhood friend Joe Milazzo and talented vocalist Alexa Criscitiello.
I'll be documenting the making of the album, the time in the studio with my collaborators, here at this blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This is my destiny. This is The Last Q*Ball Album.
You may have heard the last of Q*Ball, but you haven't heard the last of me.