The Ballad of Calamity Part 2
At the hight of my Calamity persona
with my two little helpers!
Getting into mischief! And shots!
Geez someone get me a hat or something!
Life in the studio is a most creative and yet daunting task… there were times that the day would be just Robinson and I cutting, pasting, tweaking, fading, and listening to hundreds of tracks to pick the best drum, bass, guitar, horn, piano, mandolin, violin or vocal for each song. To the benefit of Robinson, he is a master at perfection. My recordings and the sound he got is exemplary. Especially, when he had to work with my chronic Calamity cantor (had to alliterate) and troubled motivations. This is when I, Jena Douglas, began to emulate my persona, Calamity Jane, in the flesh! And so, for the next few paragraphs the story will be told in third person. Because I am she as she was me! I’ll tell you her story,Calamity’s story. As much as I can remember anyway!
A lot of turmoil was going on with her, all the years previously and even while recording. Yet, she needed to keep working on the MUSIC because creating this masterpiece was so important! It kept her coming back! The MUSIC helped her heel and the studio created a room for escape and yet life was tugging at her insides. She felt at times lost but at the same time comforted in knowing she was finally making an album.
Calamity Jane is a soft, loving and mischievous soul who sees the best in everyone and then cries when she finds out that they are not who they seem. Okay, she was a sucker! In all aspects of her life! She was feeling vulnerable and felt she had no direction except for music. Then, she was ripped off for a lot of money. So, when the going gets tough, the tough spend more money. Calamity produce with her friend, Robinson Eikenberry, a CD. And they made it to be a beautiful Album. She wanted this album to be something she could be proud of. Calamity wanted everyone involved with the album to remember the jollification in making it! A part of her merry making motivation was to spoil the musicians by spending lots of money on them for snacks and drinks!
Each day to set up she had to make several trips from her car to the studio. She brought in bags of food and drinks, stopping off downstairs at the fridge to keep the afternoon drinks cold and start the Peets Coffee for the guests before they arrived. Then she would haul up a flight of stairs a card table (with a table-cloth) and adorn it scones and other goodies that she bought at Trader Joes. Calamity loved to be the hostess with the mostess!
Another thing that added to her troubled trial of tears was that, while in the mist of recording, her dad was in the hospital. Sometimes she had to leave the recording studio early to visit him. He was not expected to make the operation. It was a miracle he survived and that was because his spirit for living was strong. However, the only spirit Calamity had at the time was coming from a bottle of tequila and her troubled persona began to match the chaos she was feeling. Calamity was sad, unhappy and drinking way too much. She felt like her world was falling down around her and there was no way out, but recording the album did helped her to stay focus on something!
Some of the songs recorded really emphasized those feelings like, “I am Powerless.” In 2004, that song began with a journey so detrimental that she just could not raise her head above all the shit she was going through. One of the only things that saved her was to write that song! With writing that song, she was then able to rise above her own despair.
And now to return to my own person, Jena Douglas, being able to define a person feelings about things by releasing them in a song you can finally set them aside like a jar of poison. That complex feeling is out and good feelings are restored almost instantly. You are refreshed. The burden of “powerlessness” is lifted off and you’re feeling powerful! Recording, “I am Powerless,” took on a life of its own.
Robinson and I had a great time driving around Santa Barbara recording sounds for the CD, in an effort to create an essence for each song. We thought to record live sounds or some may call it a soundscape for some of the songs. It was kinda funny cause for the song, “I am Powerless” I thought to record sounds from the slums of Santa Barbara!!!! When it came to finding something for “I am Powerless,” we just had to laugh because it was a beautiful warm evening in Santa Barbara and not a sleez or slum in sight! Santa Barbara’s not called the French Rivera of California for nothing! I don’t remember if we were trying to do a video for that song as well but we did get a lot of laughs.
Later in the evening we got a lot of downtown sounds including, Jazzy Dave on sax in front of The Palace restaurant, a few drunken babes, a Harley Davison and many other late night sounds that followed our Indian Dinner. What a treat! This album was turning into a masterpiece and I was becoming a master creator. There was nothing to be sad about! But Calamity insisted on moving into my life. More Calamity to come!