Disposable Project: 9/25/2008  

Frozen Hands and Quarter-Inch Tape : Joel P West records at Daytrotter

As the years roll by, I am learning that "why not?" tends to be the best reason to do something because with no expectations, you are always impressed with the outcome.  Last February, an invitation to record a session for Daytrotter.com, a four-day weekend, random people to visit, and a need to escape the false San Diego winter was enough excuse to buy some cheap tickets to Chicago and take a little vacation.  I boarded a plane with Kelly, Kenny, Donovan, every warm garment of clothing we own, and some disposable cameras to explore the Midwest.

KENNY: A more random crew could not have been assembled: Joel, a high school design teacher; Kelly, a journalist; Donovan, banker extraordinaire; Suzi, a young activist; Justin, our Chicago native and myself had so much fun on this spontaneous trip. I laughed sooo much.

DONOVAN: This is my cousin Justin.  He’s the coolest kid ever and was born and raised in Chicago.  He picked us up from the airport at like midnight and proceeded to be our chauffeur/tour guide for the rest of the trip;  Four days straight including the four-hour drive out to Rock Island where the studio is.  The most mellow kid ever.  And was soooo pumped that the studio had free beers (note the double-fist) and let you smoke inside.  AWESOME.

JOEL: I also didn’t find out until the last day of the trip that he wasn’t 21 yet.  Who would’ve guessed?  I suppose that explains why he was so excited about the drinks all weekend.

DONOVAN: Joel never lets me play drums.  Here’s a prime example: triangle, tambourine (which Justin was pumped to play as you can see), maracas, and an old Starbucks cup we filled with rocks.  Just kidding though, I totally rock out on the other songs.

KELLY: When Sean showed up to the studio to let us in, Joel and I were crouched at the foot of a tree in a planter, scraping around in the dirt and ice for stones to fill this Starbucks cup with so we could make a shaker.  Almost blew our we’re-totally-professional-don’t-worry-about-it cover.

JOEL: This is me acting like I understand what Pat is talking about.  The guy is an engineering guru and has this studio so dialed in. It was an honor to work with him and to join the unbelievable list of alumni who have recorded Daytrotter sessions there.  We weren’t sure whether or not we were allowed more than one take on each song since it goes straight to tape, so I asked right before we started.  We were all relieved for a second when he said we could do additional takes if we weren’t happy with something, but then he finished by clarifying that he would just tape over the first one.  At the end of every song, the question wasn’t. “could we play it better?” but rather  “will we play it better?” since we would lose what we had just done. 

KELLY: Except for our friend Suzi, who lent her sweet vocal chords to the Daytrotter effort, these four days found me the only girl among a bunch of boys.  I think Donovan had just said something on the edge of being appropriate in mixed company, and I’m laughing because I don’t know what else to do.  It was a pretty entertaining weekend.

DONOVAN: This is how Kelly looked the majority of our trip.  Kind of an awkward “you did not just say that” laugh.  She is a trooper for sure.

JOEL: Donny’s uncle put us up for the weekend but we ended up being pretty awful guests.  We came home between two and four a.m. every single night and when we’d open the door, these dogs would bark ridiculously loud for at least ten minutes and then Jonny would have to spend another half hour calming them down.  The dogs were pretty uneasy about us being there the whole time and I don’t know if it was malicious or accidental but when I woke up on the first morning, I found myself staring at a huge pile of dog poop about fifteen inches from my face.  Thanks guys.

KENNY: Upon meeting Dono's uncle he had with him these two dogs. I just remember seeing Joel kneel down for a friendly greet and pet when one of these dogs about ripped his face off! Within inches of a serious trip to the hospital and the dogs still barking inches from his face, Joel just fell back giggling!

Yeah, Max got me in the lip but I felt bad telling Jonny since he was up at two a.m. to let strangers move into his house for four days.

KELLY: And so began a day of taking photos of ourselves in reflective, rounded surfaces.  Joel and Kenny and I exited the subway, found this mirror in the station, and took a bunch of pictures of ourselves looking nonplussed.  We found some great other spots that day in downtown Chicago and spent a good chunk of time in front and around and underneath The Bean, a gigantic reflective sculpture in Millennium Park.  Taking photos of your face warped by a round metal surface – never gets old.

KENNY: We went to the museum down here on a free day.  I was the only one with a back pack and the line to check your bag was about a 30 minute wait. so I put my coat on over my back pack, slipped past the unsuspecting adolescent guard, and observed the 'icons of divinity from South and Southeast Asia' like a super sweaty turtle man. I couldn't wait to get out of there and back into the cold!

JOEL: The only change that happens to Kenny's ever-consistent wardrobe from San Diego to twenty-degree Chicago is a pair of gloves and his hood.


Tags: joel p west, Disposable Project, Dust Jacket, Daytrotter


i love every inch of it...and every inch of kenny and Joel floors me
samo4prez made this post on 9/25/2008 at 12:34 pm
One of the best daytrotter sessions I have heard... well worth a download.
Zack Nielsen made this post on 9/25/2008 at 12:46 pm

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