My Music Career (Part 2) Tucson 1994-1999

(This is the 8th chapter in my autobiographical series. This chapter was initially in the form of an email sent to my music fan email list on June 3, 2020. It has been edited for this blog. All the previous chapters in this series can be found on the column to the right. Go here to start at the beginning.)

Faded Innocence

In 1994 I met songwriter, singer and bass player Kurt Loken. I can’t remember if I answered his ad, or he answered mine. Kurt had written a bunch of songs on bass. I figured out guitar parts to go with his bass lines, and also made arrangement suggestions. I wasn’t really a songwriter yet, although working with Kurt motivated me, and I wrote two songs. We recruited a drummer and began practicing. We played one open mic, and then I decided we needed a demo tape to get gigs. I bought a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and other equipment, and recorded and mixed the songs. We had our photos taken, and sent the master cassettes off to companies to reproduce and for the artwork. But when the tape was done, and it was time to get gigs, the drummer had disappeared, never to be heard from again. I wanted to get a new drummer but Kurt wanted us to just play as an acoustic duo. I think we just played one gig, and then Kurt took a job in California and moved away.

The first Faded Innocence album, with the drummer, is called “Charlie’s Dream.” The cover photo is of me at Boy Scout camp in Mississippi when I was 11 or 12. I thought the photo captured the Faded Innocence band name well. It contains two of my early songwriting efforts– “Coward (Fear of Love” and “Just Another Sheep.” The other 7 songs were written by Kurt, with me creating the guitar arrangements. I incorporated everything I had learned about “modal” chords into these arrangements– you won’t find a 3rd on this album very much (see Part 1 of this series for more about that). I’m quite proud of my guitar playing this record; it was a milestone in my development as a musician.

The second album is called “Seasons Change.” It was made after the drummer disappeared. Since the first album had a childhood photo of me, for this album, we used a childhood photo of Kurt walking on the beach with his father. Perhaps an even better example of “Faded Innocence.” For the drums, I bought a Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine, and programmed the drums for the songs on Side One. Side Two is acoustic songs with no drums. These were all Kurt’s songs, although I had a lot to do with the arrangements. In fact, I’m quite proud of my arrangements and guitar playing on this tape as well.

Last Years in Tucson

After Kurt moved to California, I was thinking hard about leaving Tucson, too. I needed a change, and wanted a city with a bigger music scene. I visited Denver in 1997 and liked the vibe there. Meanwhile, I met another songwriter named Shanna Kovacs and played a similar role with her that I did with Kurt, playing lead guitar and helping with the song arrangements. I think we only played one open mic because I moved to Denver. I recently found some 4-track cassette recordings that we had done. I hadn’t heard these in 21 years. It was pretty cool to hear those songs again.

I have made the Faded Innocence songs, and the demo recordings I made with Shanna available to members of my fan club, the Misfit Club You can join the Misfit Club for as little as $5/month.

Next: Denver 2000-2004

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