A week at Pat Mastelotto's studio
First time to Texas
Pat Mastelotto suggested I visit him in Texas last year. He's going to have one week free in the second half of January 2023. He wants u
s to start recording new music and planned to introduce me to his musical colleagues. He arranged for me to be interviewed by Johnny Goudie for the podcast How did I get there. You don't turn down an offer like that.
I flew to Austin on January 15th. Pat was waiting for me at the airport. We stopped for a real Texas burger on the way to the studio, which he has in his big family home.
His friend and producer Bill Munyon was waiting for us at the studio. Bill had previously worked on our Komara album and King Crimson projects. He offered me his guitars and bass. I didn't take my guitar to the US just to be safe. It still irritates the customs people. They ask me why I have it, if I'm going to the US to play gigs, etc. Those interviews still stress me out. I think about them the whole flight.
"Why did you come to the US? Who are you going to stay with? How much cash do you have? Are you going to drink alcohol and do drugs? Show me the return ticket..."
I was terribly tired from the trip. I flew from Budapest to London for over three hours. In London, I had two hours to change for an intercontinental flight to Austin, which took over 10 hours. The airport was pure chaos.
We flew during my European day, so I didn't get any sleep on the plane.
I watched the movies: The True Story of Ned Kelly and His Gang, Séraphine and Maudie.
I picked out a Fender Jaguar from Bill's guitar collection. We tuned up and got ready to record. I prepared some musical sketches over the Christmas break. We recorded over 17 minutes of improvisation and went to dinner. Pat's wife Deborah was with us the whole time. We talked about Slovakia, Ukraine, and of course our experiences on the King Crimson tour. Pat and I plan to have all the recordings produced and finished in June 2023. That's when he'll return home from tour. It will probably be a double album. It could be Komara 2 and my Siddhartha project by Hesse which I am slowly starting to work on. I have brought with me the poems of Valery Kupka. Pat loaded them on the microphone last night and we tried to put them on our first improvisation. Debrah was intrigued by my concept of Siddhartha and printed out sketches on paper that we could use to compose the atmosphere of the album. In the evening, I took a high dose of melatonin and went to sleep. The night passed very quickly.
Pat's cat knocked on my door this morning. She wanted to eat. We got up at 7:30 in the morning. Pat exercised for half an hour while watching the news. Debrah was busy with her hair salon. Around 8:15 a.m. Pat and I sat on the patio. Pat was checking his emails while practicing with chopsticks on his pad. He sipped tea and went upstairs to the studio. Every day, 7 days in a row, the mornings were the same. Before 9:00 we were up in the studio working. The last evening till half past two in the morning. At the most we ran out for lunch or to Pat's new property where he would soon start building a new house.
I learned a lot in that week. Seeing the drummer of King Crimson, Mr. Mister, The Rembrandts work every day is incredibly inspiring. Plus Bill Munyon and Adrian Benavides were in the studio with us all day. Adrian has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, etc. It was a creative marathon. I was also able to meet a real Texas cowboy. We went to Pat's place for an arranged meeting with a guy who assembles cesspools. There was an original cowboy, like in the movies. He had the perfect leather boots, hat, well just a real cowboy. I told Debrah that I liked his boots. She said he had them as protection from snakes... Then I noticed that Pat and Deb had similar boots. I immediately got in the car in my sneakers. It was the great American Track. Pat allowed me to drive on his property. I love the sound of American engines.
On the 12th we returned to the studio. I was about to start my Johnny Goudie podcast. He was a very nice guy. He had recorded an interview with Eric Johnson a couple of weeks before me. I loved Eric as a teenager. Especially his song Manhattan. He also inspired me with his triads that he uses in his melodica. Johnny told me he'd never heard music like mine before. Jeff Beck died and Johnny felt that Jeff was the last guitar innovator, but with my album he realized that wasn't the case. I mean, it was, but within certain confines. I had to tell him about my role models. They are Eivind Aarset, Rick Cox, Arve Henriksen, Fennesz, Adrian Belew, Stian Westerhus, John Hassell, Robben Ford and Robert Fripp. Johnny was interested to know what music I listened to as a kid, because he feels from my music that I never listened to rock music, that I probably find it funny ... Of course I grew up listening to Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Gary Moore and later on I started listening to John Scofield and so on. It was a very enjoyable conversation that lasted less than an hour. Johnny learned quite a bit about music and new musicians. Hah
Anyway, I have to say that what I like about the Americans (that I have met) is their positive mental attitude. They focus on my good points, our good points. I don't know this, but I know that. Let's work on what we're good at and not cry about what we're not. I just felt a wash of goodness. I brought back from Slovakia skeptical views on the future of music, the music business, relationships... blah blah...
Pat and Deb and Bill always told me that all remains to be seen. Let's keep our focus on the work and always keep in mind that something truly miraculous can happen. That's what Rick Cox used to tell me:
"David, the fact that humanity exists is a great coincidence. An explosion in the universe and millions of years of evolution before we became human. That we're standing here talking today is a huge accident. Human life has no meaning, it leads nowhere. It is only here and now. We are here, we are together so let us be well and let us behave in such a way that those around us can be well too. That's all..."
I love Rick! I'm looking forward to seeing him in Los Angeles. We have musical plans and I'm sure I'll learn something new.
The week at Pat Mastelotto's was a miracle. Old David stayed at the front door of the house on January 15 in Dripping Springs, Texas.
The new one is leaving after a week away.
I'm off to LA.