Recording Journal Vol: 27: “Red Light” - Kevin Bulmer (
Recording Journals: The Making of the No Schedule Man CD

Recording Journal Vol: 27: “Red Light”

By January 4, 2010No Comments

It was two weeks ago (less a day) that KG and I last lit the red light by hitting the “record” button on our music project.

Thankfully, the last two times we worked on the CD, we caught some nice momentum, which surprised me a little bit. On the evening of December 21st, I went to KG’s place having followed his orders for “vocal prep” to the letter (he’d told me to wear a scarf when I was out – to keep my neck/throat from sudden changes in temperature – and to drink lots of water). I was proud that I’d done what he told me. I drank so much water I was constantly running to the washroom to get rid of it. And the scarf makes me look like a real artist.

But I got a cold anyway.

Nonetheless, I could still sing, so we managed to get the lead vocals recorded for “Sunny Day in November” that night.  The following evening, I felt worse. I didn’t think we’d get much done, but we started in on the lead vocals of “Do Better.” After three or four takes, my energy dropped and my voice started to give out. I could feel it. The same thing happens sometimes when I do my radio work; it’s like a switch gets flipped and then you just don’t have it anymore.

Kev called for a break. At that point, I thought we might be done for the night. But Kevin wanted two more takes of “Do Better.” I thought he was crazy. I suggested perhaps we try something a little softer (though “Do Better” is not really very demanding vocally) and then to come back to “Better.” KG said to go ahead and try that.

But then I changed my mind and said, “Let’s do those two takes right now. I’m ready. Let’s go.”

We did the first and KG said, “Wow – I don’t know what happened during our break, but it sure worked. That was the best yet. Now give me one a little better.” So I did. And Kev was happy.

I don’t know how my voice recovered, but it did. Perhaps it’s all in your head? Could be. As Yogi Berra said: “The game is ninety percent half mental.”

If we’d called it quits then, I could have been tricked into being pleased about it. But we kept at it and a funny thing happened: not only did we finish the lead vocals for “Do Better,” but we also did the vocals for three other songs, including “Bagley Avenue,” “Kevin’s Prayer” and “Awake (But Not Alive).”

In fact, sensing some momentum, we pushed it a little longer. With only about 20 minutes left in our scheduled session (and already three lead vocal tracks in the bag) I asked Kev if he was up for another one. I said, “I figure we’ve got just enough time to for me to sing ‘Awake’ about four times.”

So that’s what we did. I think I ended up singing that song six times in total, just to give KG some choice as to what sounded best (plus, in my opinion, that song is all killer and no filler so I’m happy to sing it as many times as KG asks me to).

I don’t know how we got that much done on that night. Perhaps the universe knew what was to come, and squeezed all it could out of us. Immediately after that, I sniffled and coughed through most of the days surrounding Christmas. It was nothing debilitating, but not good for singing. And of course, if you’ve been following this story, you know what happened next:  The break-in at the studio on Christmas Eve (for more about that see last week’s blog).

For a quick update on that situation, Kev is recovering from it okay, but it is by no means over with. He’s had a ton of extra work to do because of the thefts, not to mention dealing with the psychological burden that goes with being violated like that. Add in Christmas (“holidays” … yeah, right) and other day-to-day stresses, and he’s got a lot to deal with right now.

He’ll get through it. His other buddies and I are doing our best to keep his spirits up. But by and large, he does a fine job of that on his own. We have great admiration and respect for him and love him very much. No person who has that need ever worry, as he’s already earned everything that really matters. It just doesn’t feel like it sometimes; times like these. But he’ll get through it.

Meantime, I managed through Christmas as well. During that time, I largely put the brakes on anything related to the music project, other than playing guitar here and there and noodling with some new song ideas for down the road.

A highlight of the holiday season was getting to see my sister Karen who was here from St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I love my family very much and wish I got to see my sisters more (my kid sister, Janna, is in Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, of all places. Not exactly a day-trip).

Another great good friend of mine zipped off to Vegas and married his better half (who is also a great friend), so that was a terrific piece of news.

And beyond that, I was pleased that I finally gave myself a little bit of time to just sit. I enjoyed watching the first two “X Men” films just prior to Christmas (I never thought I’d say that), got completely wrapped up in the Canada vs. USA World Junior Hockey Game (that hasn’t happened since I was a kid), began reading a great book by Jeffrey Deaver (lent to me by the same friend that got married) and started watching the newer version of the “Battlestar Galactica” TV series on DVD, and I absolutely love it.

Oh yeah – I also managed to be on the radio on BX 93 for 6 hours every weekday around Christmas and New Year’s too.

But other than that, nothing happened.

Meantime, getting back to the point of this journal, while KG and I are unable to record, we are getting together at his studio for our regular Tuesday night session tomorrow night. The show goes on. We’ll be rehearsing. Singing. Playing. Having fun.

And when the time comes for that red light to go back on, we will be ready.


Leave a Reply