Blogosphere #2: An Autobiography of a Rock And Roll Record

Forward:

Brad is doing his first collection of blog posts about his record. He is going to be telling the story of how the record went from idea to action to product. Brad was an active musician for years but as life went on, life got in the way.

Love for art never goes away, however.

Shortly after we got 5/4 rolling he and I began work on his new Album. It is still in progress but it is moving quickly. This is his narrative. This is the beginning of his venture with his music rekindling and restarting, in many ways, right where it left off several years ago. 

This is

"An Autobiography of a Rock And Roll Record"

by Bradley Lenz

Once upon a time in a college town far away, for some people that is, I started performing with alternative Rock and Roll bands. I was lucky. There was plenty of venues and college kids that provided a scene that reflected what was going on all over. It meant music had a place to thrive. The fraternities could not get enough of the new Rock and Roll emanating from college radio. I played Bass in some bands. Guitars in other bands. I played cover tunes; other peoples music. And, I wrote and performed songs that I wrote. It was an experience. 

Ultimately you finish school, Grad school, Blah Blah Blah… not important for this story. Let us just say time passed. I stopped playing music. Then one day I saw Joe Smothers in a restaurant. He played for years with Doc Watson; and taught me to Travis Pick when I was sixteen. But I was many years away from the young man Joe met at the Mill House in Valdosta, Georgia. He asked me about my music. I said I did not play anymore. He looked upon me as if I was sick. We talked. I wondered If something was wrong. With me. 

That being said, who am I you might like to know. I am one of the five partners of the 5/4 Management Group. We have a recording studio and rehearsal space that we rent to musicians and any artist that can come up with at least $150 a month for work space, and a showcase venue for bands and visual artists. The Space is meant to incubate new art. We want everyone to be involved. 

Yet there is, of course, more then one reason why I'm telling the Autobiography of my record. I am a song writer and musician. After all these years of obscurity I admit I am looking forward to telling a little of that tale. Know that people create art for themselves first, without others, hoping to share something of our collective human experience. As for Fame… Who Knows… I never was…and the few famous people I have met, in the varying fields they represented, seemed perfectly normal, with the same shared aspirations as everyone. I think the consensus is, it is hard to be famous with everyone.

5/4 gave me the opportunity to work with a great studio and the sound engineers that really make the music happen. I wanted to be back around music. However, I was sitting in the stands at a Braves Baseball game when I thought; could I play my music again? I asked my brother Dan, “do you think I should play music again?” The response I got was unexpected. He said, “I think you should; What was that song…?” And he proceeded to sing varying lyrics to songs I wrote and performed, some of which, I had not thought of in nearly 20 years. I did not think anyone remembered; I was wrong.

A Rock and Roll record! The cover art of the albums we love are as familiar as pictures of old friends. Music is associated with these images that participate in the biographies of our lives, loves, hopes, and tragedies. And, as familiar as the sound of our music becomes few of us really know the story behind the records and music that define the margins of a time, or friendship. The purpose of this story is to tell the tale of one Rock and Roll record; My Rock and Roll record, from the beginning of the story to the end: For You. 

My hopes are that we all learn something from the process. I would like to learn more about myself and the people that play music with me. And my hope for you is that you learn something concerning the recording industry, music, aesthetics, and hopefully…Yourself Too. Documenting a process provides us a moment in time; with an open future. I am excited to watch this future unfold, and I hope you are too. Recording a record is about choices. We all hope to make good choices in life; as in art. This journey we will share.

So an older man looked at a picture in an old newspaper of a younger version of himself. And that is when I decided to see if I could still write and sing songs. That’s me, second from the left.