Guitars Guitars Guitars!


Hello my lovely and fabulous friends!
It dawned on me, I’m overdue to share some precious life with you all. As just one small being on one small planet, I forget to reinforce the importance of a single Creature’s contribution, by sharing what I’ve been learning and doing. Every one of you has made a rippling effect on my life experience, on my writing, my inspiration and collectively reinforced my courage. When you write me and share your big ideas, your small ideas, your music appreciation, your thoughts on all things creature, I love hearing from You! So, what’s going on with little Mz. Michael lately…
Well as you all know, we successfully opened the Pink Elephant studio for business and have been spending the last few months breaking it in and tracking bands! The sound in the rock room is phenomenal, and so far the musicians who have chosen our studio to be the birth place of their records have given us nothing but praise! We have an artistic and strong professional team, including our partnering engineer, Kent Arnold, a vibrant work environment, a state of the art acoustic design, and I think the new headphone monitoring system is just a bonus! I don’t think I have ever had as much fun patching instrument cables with my team as I did recording Sciborg and the Robopimps recently! Designing your own studio sure makes it pleasurable and efficient to work in….when a musician has a creative idea, we are able to corner it quickly and keep the focus on the music where it should be, and not on the technical side of things. The studio has been well thought out and it just works! The worst thing in recording is trying to get an inspirational take and messing around with wires, or not having ways of getting mixes quickly in the headphones, wasting band time and money, or worse, losing that spark of inspiration. I am overjoyed that the studio is proving to be all that I had imagined it would!
We have a brand new STUDIO page on just for the Pink Elephant! Please check it out, share and contact us with your exciting musical projects! It is very true, that when you make a recording of your work, you are making history! It’s a huge accomplishment to make an album and share it with your friends, family and the world. It’s a magical, bonding experience that takes you to a new level of awareness in your music. I have to say, being on the other side of the glass, listening and helping capture the voices and sounds of other peoples’ musical expressions, in the studio we built with all that we have, and seeing players having fun in there, and feeling so comfortable with us, is tremendously fulfilling! I’m on the beginning of an adventure of meeting so many talented people and helping uplift their visions, it’s thrilling!

One crew of very talented people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, are the craftsmen at Collings Guitars! These guys know good acoustics when they hear them! I was invited to take a tour of their facility after the opening of Pink Elephant and I was in awe of the beauty and precision, the artistry and presence of the instruments they are making! They are based here in Austin, only 20 mins from the Pink Elephant Studio!  Collings Guitars are a class on their own. They have provided axes to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Brian May of Queen, even Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards… and they are quite an astonishing group!  Handcrafted archtops, dreadnoughts, mandolins, and ukuleles have all been worked over by the individual contributions and man hours of these fine craftsmen in their modest, but world class workshop! They have even embarked upon the world of electric guitars in the finest of woods! I’m definitely a fan of their guitars, having always been a Martin acoustic and Gibson hollow body electric girl; I’ll have to save a while, but hope to one day own one of their gorgeous sounding beauties. I always say, every handmade instrument has a bulk of songs inside them, unique to them, waiting to be revealed..
Speaking of handmade instruments… How could I forget…. The lead man of the band I just recorded makes his own wild electric guitars!! Sciborg Guitars!! Three of these babies were hanging in my studio rack recently! Check them out!!!
So, yes, I’m still working on my book, seems like it will take a lifetime, but I hope not. I have some travels planned to concentrate on my writing, and will spend the summer months working on a new LP! Songs inspired by the piano, a love affair with the sun, love and hate, yin and yang, a love affair with horse racing… did any of you follow the Triple Crown?
I’m very excited to be heading off to New York, in a few days to play and write with one Mr. Barry Wedgle, legendary jazz guitarist and owner of Exit Records. I was very proud to be signed to this label years ago back in Colorado. Exit is a jazz label. How cool to even work for them for the year I did. Exit has expanded from Colorado to N. Manhattan, and also has a branch in Shanghai, China! Jazz is the rock&roll of China 🙂

But truly, as with jazz, improvisation is the informant of life’s most inner dimensions. Let’s talks about improvisation! I am greatly rooted in the foundation of playing the moment! Which in turn make me respectful for the music Barry and the musicians at Exit have spent their life exploring. It seems improv is mostly associated with jazz, or a style of acting, which I also love. But I want to stress to you that improvisation is the most natural and masterful form of music making, from all cultures in all genres, around the world. Improv is Universal!
Arnold Schoenberg wrote,” Composing is a slowed down version of improvisation; often one cannot write fast enough to keep up with the stream of ideas.”
I often feel this way. Writing a rock opera, which i am still undergoing, is a mixture of improvisation, captured through craftsmanship and costume!! I do love the Art of Costume.
Leonardo di Vinci was a violist as well as an artist. He and his friends used to put on entire operas made up on the spot, using poetry and music. That is so my idea of a good time! All of my favorite classical composers, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven among many others, were known to be fiery, imaginative, and entertaining improvisers! I sometimes secretly attend drum circles on a lake near my place. It’s so satisfiying when everyone plays off of one another and feels their way through a living rhythm. That’s when I hear the heat and the heart of the music. Songs have a life of their own!
Huge appreciation to all who are feeling their way through their thrilling, unexpected, pulsing life!
See you very soon!
Cheers,  Creature heart on a string… Very literally, a piano, guitar, string…
P.S. Jazz, horse racing, pink elephants, and rock operas rule!!

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