The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

JCHRants

The Plan

The Plan. Two records next year! Remastered Epics! New stuff! Unsightly midriff bulge. Chris Squire

Roger CortonSo you’ve got news.

JCHYes. This is my two year plan.

RCNot a five year plan?

Our entire world now is based on always moving forward; like sharks. We can’t even imagine that anything will stay the same anymore.

JCHThis ain’t some commie social realist deal. Two years is quite enough for me, comrade!

RCSo… shoot.

JCHFirst, I got the high-school ready score of Detroit done and sold. And there will be at least a couple of rentals next year. So there’s a enough money to keep going. Which means there is gonna be a new record next year; actually two new records.

RCTwo? And you’re touring. And there’s work on the opera? It’s a Renaissance.

JCHNice reference.

RCYou’re not a big fan, but that’s a rant for another day. Let’s have some details.

JCHOK, the easy bit. There’s gonna be a second ‘Remastered’ record.

RCYou’re remastering? Which record?

JCHIt’s gonna be a compilation; the long form pieces from Beautiful Sounds and Home.

RCWhy?

JCHWell let’s get practical. I’m literally mostly out of CDs. When I put together Nice Cuts, I let fans vote and they voted for the more poppy tunes. But the more time goes by, the more the hardcore people want the epics. Also, as we discussed last time, those large pieces are the ones that need revising. I get out and play them a few times and it becomes immediately clear that they need adjustments.

RCYou’ve ranted about that before. Classical composers would frequently revise their works.

JCHAbsolutely. Of the hundreds of myths about composition, there’s this idea of the guy writing Fin! on the last page of a giant piece of score paper and history is made! But in reality, from Broadway shows to Beethoven, most music gets tried out then revised over and over before it finally settles down to what we consider ‘the piece’. Anyhoo, it’s been seven, eight years and it’s time. You heard the new arrangement of Beautiful Sounds we’ll be doing on tour?

RCYeah. It’s something else.

JCHSo that turned out well and it seems appropriate to try to make the same improvements to the others. And not simply re-mastering as I did before. As you can attest, the body of each piece will change; some, like Beautiful Sounds a lot and others only a little. But it’s more than just a buff and wax.

RCCan’t wait. I’m not kidding. If the other sound as cool as BS, that might be worth buying a real CD! (laughs) And the new record?

JCHObviously, there will be more to say later, but it’s about progress. The rate of change. Did you ever take calculus?

RCYou’re kidding, right?

JCHWell, anyways, I keep seeing this picture in my mind of the equation for acceleration. It’s like the first concept of Calc 101. The world is not only moving faster but the rate of change keeps increasing. And I keep visualizing that as that equation. Does that make sense?

RCI get it. We’ve talked before about how things used to stay the same for hundreds of years. Styles. Technology. Then it was fifty years at a time. Then a few decades. Now it seems like everything shifts every five years. Facebook is only ten years old and people act like the world didn’t exist before it.

JCHSo I wonder two things: what happens to the world if there is no such thing as ‘tradition’; you know, nothing persists between generations. No shared values. And two, and this is even freakier to me, at what point do our bodies no longer cope with this stuff? At what point do we decide that ‘progress’ itself is no longer intrinsically good.

RCIs progress intrinsically good?

JCHI will end this blather by saying I think the whole of our culture is based on that very notion. In the Old Testament, what’s the very first thing God says after creating people: Be fruitful and multiply. Establish dominion over the earth. Our entire world now is based on always moving forward; like sharks. We can’t even imagine that anything will stay the same anymore.

RCRight. All corporations must grow now or investors freak. No investor will accept how utilities used to work; flat earnings, but a reliable dividend year after year. That’s just not how the world works now. I see what you’re getting at. We all accept that things must keep getting faster. It’s like global warming: nobody thinks they can do anything about it so they don’t think about it.

JCHThat’s a great point. I hadn’t made that connection, but yeah they’re both man-made situations. But all this talk of ‘speed’ connects with the ‘why’ of all the recent activity.

RCOK. Bring it on home.

JCHLook, most guys who are making money at music do it 180 degrees away from what I’m doing. You record a few songs, then hit the road to make money. The CD is the razor which you give away to sell the blades.

RCThe gigs and t-shirts. You’re saying that’s where the money is now.

JCHRight. But for better or worse, that ain’t me. I make art. The performance thing is secondary. Firstly because that’s not what I signed up for and secondly because my body won’t allow for it.

RCWe really gotta have that marketing discussion. Most people have the completely wrong idea about how music sales work now.

JCHI know. I’m also gonna have more to say about this later, but as everyone knows, Chris Squire passed last week and that affected me a lot. I mean, he was only sixty seven. But frankly? For all his greatness, the guy coasted after what, 1975? I mean, he puts out one great record and then Yes slowly unwinds for the next twenty five years.

RCSacrilege!

JCHLet’s be real. I don’t care about how rock is supposed to be ‘entertainment’ and so on, but they did some great stuff early on and if yer gonna keep going? Keep going.

RCIn short, life is short.

JCHRight. I’m not feeling exactly great nowadays but it’s better than in a good while and who knows how long it will last? Without sounding all whatever I don’t wanna get to the next stage of this and realize that I coasted.

RCWell, you can’t really ‘coast’ in any sense of the word so I wouldn’t worry about it (laughs). With all due respect, you have to have a few platinum records before you can ‘coast’. Plus, you’re not a coaster.

JCHAin’t that the truth. Maybe Chris coasted because having a couple million in the bank was a groovy way to live. He certainly looked ‘well fed’ as he got older.

RCYeah, not to speak ill of the dead, but I take your point. You can almost track the quality of a band’s music by their profile.

JCHExactly! When your body starts to need ‘shapewear’ you gotta ask yerself whether or not yer music might be experiencing a similar level of what they used to call ‘unsightly midriff bulge’.

RCI hear ya. I hate to admit it, but there probably is a strong correlation. So… timeline for all this stuff?

JCHThe ‘Remastered’ thingee will probably be out early next year. The new stuff? Christmas-y. I’d like to think that by this point in life I can schedule things fairly well. But my track record ain’t been exactly great in that regard so we’ll see.

RCBut that’s the plan.

JCHWhat’s that line from Hunt For Red October? “The Russkies don’t take a dump without a plan, son.”

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