Sunday, June 20, 2010

Song Insight: “Spiritual Honeymoon”

Composer: Greg Hintermeister, ©2000
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister
Recorded: 2005 in Hint of Light Studios
Emotions: Sad, longing, regret, faint hope

Other song insights

I love my wife. A lot. It’s a fact that she adds the sparkle to most things in my life. What we share is a deep and profound love I hope to capture in a song someday. We will have been married 17 years this fall.

However, back in 2000 we had a bit of a rough patch. Nothing big. Nothing external. Just a period of feeling blue when we didn’t connect very well. Too busy, too distracted, and a bit too much arguing.

One night we had some friends over and we they asked where we had our honeymoon…so we ended up showing them photos. That really made me blue.  It had only been 7 years earlier but we were already looking and feeling older; the pressures of life were taking their toll (at least on me).

I got to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the way things were on that honeymoon?
Young. Crazy in love. Completely care-free. No mortgage. No kids. No stressful job. No commitments.

Just us.

Just me and my beautiful wife, in a beautiful location, with nothing on the agenda but beach, love, food…and mini-golf.

To go back to a place, a time, a spiritual anchor-point where we could just be with each other. A sense of clarity where looking deep into her eyes, watching her every breath, and exploring the world with her was what I was meant for.Deck

From that brief glimpse back into our first weeks of marriage, this song emerged.

A few years later in 2005 we ended up playing this song live at our church during a week focusing on relationships. In a way our rough patch, and this song, provided healing not only to our marriage but possibly to other relationships as well. Crazy how God works to provide good out of the not good.

Today, nearly 17 years later, I am grateful that our marriage is stronger than ever. We’ve learned that it’s a lot of constant work…and worth every effort. My wife has become even more beautiful, patient, adventurous, lovely, chef-like (a very important characteristic in a beautiful marriage) and Godly. Me? I hope I’ve become better, too. All I can say is that I look forward to every chance we can spent together…from travel to NYC (to see each season), to Paris, Florida, or even 40 minutes taxiing our four kids around town…

…as long as we’re together…

…everything sparkles.

Technical Specifics: Recording Unit: Cakewalk MIDI software, Soundscape DAW
Drums: Alesis DM-Pro
Guitar: Paul Reed Smith Hollowbody II – 1 lead track (clean and solo), 3 rhythm tracks 
Guitar Effects: Line 6 Pod Pro
Bass: Keyboards (Roland RD-500)
Keys: Piano Roland RD-500)

Lyrics ©2000 Greg Hintermeister
Verse 1:
Here we are - in the aftermath
of the 115th argument we’ve had
You said your bit I said mine
now we’re spiraling down another emotional pit

Remember when - we were young
All we had were hopes and dreams for two
I loved you “Happily Ever After” was coming true

Verse 2:
Now we sit - in the afterglow 

of passion so strong it burned within my eye 
Now we lie 
Next to each other wondering where did it go?

Remember when - we would kiss 

The earth would shake and stars fall to the sea 
You loved me I held you close enough to feel you breathe

Lets go back to the way we were 

a love so strong I’d need a rendezvous…with you 
What we need is a spiritual honeymoon

Verse 3:
Here’s our chance - no more afterthought 

Tonight we make a vow to start again 
no more you….versus me 
We’ve got to stop this fighting and agree

Remember when - we would pray 

We’d hold hands and fall down to our knees 
We believed Nothing could come between us…how naive

Lets go back to the way we were 

a love so strong I’d need a rendezvous…with you 
All we need is a spiritual honeymoon


We’re still here in the afterwards 

Struggling to find reason to go on 
Our eyes meet….the spark is gone 
How do we decide….to stay or move on

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How I Cope at Work

I’m a dork. I know. You know. But I didn’t know if you know I know. (Ya. I know).


Over the years, work has certainly had its ups and downs. Through it all I’ve developed a unique way to cope during peaks and valleys.

Some people read, some people run, some people golf or fish.

Me? What do I do to cope?

I write Haiku. English Haiku to be precise.

Yep. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my robot innards, there’s a satisfaction about funneling all my thoughts and feelings about a stressful work situation into that deceptively complex 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. Not much space to say much, but at the same time, much can be said.

Here are some excerpts from over the years…

…like when my job is going really well…

I love my job now
I invent things all day long
Time to change the world



…like when our product really shines…

Look at the Blue Clouds
What makes them look so perfect?
Our team, our designs!


But sometimes things don’t go well at work, and the Haiku gets a little more sarcastic…

…like when our product goes out and the marketing is so over-the-top that only super-human software could meet expectations…

Our product blooms high
What made the product succeed?
Much fertilizer


…like when those who view status and schedules as more important than the user experience we release…

Project manager
the death of all that is good
smell the rotting flesh


…like when a customer review goes bad…

Smell the aroma
Even the dogs run away
my UI design



And sometimes they turn personal…they try to bite at work, but turn around and reveal true emotion…

…like when it’s really overwhelming…

Status reports suck
I want to burn them with fire
but I drown instead


…like when they reflect my perceived performance compared to others…

Kickball team chosen
The best players run and play
I sit on sideline



…like when they are an honest reflection of how my work values me compared to how I value myself…

I bring great value
Users feel joy and peace here
Me? Lost. Without hope



And sometimes they make me cringe at the truth they shout…

…like how work adventures affects my family…

Exotic travel
Feeds my exploration bug
Hear my kids cry "bye"



Finally, sometimes a thoughtful Haiku just doesn’t dig into the emotions that burn through a tough project when daily status meetings are occurring…

…so what else can be done…

…but parody a Christmas tune…of course…

…to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas”…

On the thirteenth day in Status Hell the devil* gave to me...

...thirteen bitter arguments
...twelve performance lectures
...eleven stop-ship defects
hours of debug
...nine scrums a scrumming
...eight design rejections screams of agony
...six dropped enhancements
...four status charts
...three broken green threads
...two design debates
...and a product that still doesn’t work

* editors note: Apologies to the devil. I am implying project managers because they run Status Hell, but ‘project manager’ just didn’t fit the rhythm of the song. I mean the devil is mean, but not THAT mean.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song Insight: “The Rock”

Composer: Michael O'Shields
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister
Recorded: 1986 in my home studio
Emotions: Rockin! Fun, Excitement, Thrilling, Future awaits!

Listen: Other song insights

While I didn’t compose this song, it’s the first song I arranged and recorded that I felt I had at least a shred of talent at this whole playing, arranging, performing and recording thing. While the sonic quality isn’t the best (the only master I now have is from a cassette) It still has the energy and passion I hoped for.

It was the song that impressed my youth group leader, Chuck who helped get my confidence up for future songs. I remember that a lot of our worship songs from our youth group could sound great if rocked up many notches. This one was pretty schmaltzy in its original form “I Will Call Upon The Lord”. It was time to see what my Charvel could do!

Notice no vocals?

Notice no lead melody in the verses?

I had full intentions of singing this and even recorded some vocal tracks but really didn’t like how it sounded. My voice was just too weak for the power this song needed.

Here is a couple shots from ‘back in the day’ playing this song live. I think we must have sung the lyrics live because the wife (then girlfriend) could (and can) really belt it out.
Scan0001-4 Scan0001-3

I recorded this on my cassette 4-track in my home studio in my parents basement. I had quite a detailed process of mapping out songs measure by measure, instrument by instrument before I even hit the record button. It was quite a matrix! I learned that process from 2 years of Electronic Music class in high school.

I can’t remember exactly how many tracks but I had quite a few and bounced the tracks several times in order to get all of them on 4 tracks.

Technical Specifics:
Recording Unit: Yamaha MT1X cassette 4-track
Drums: Oberheim DMX
Guitar: Charvel - at least 2 lead tracks, 1 rhythm track
Guitar Effects: Digitech GSP21 Pro
Bass: Keyboards
Keys: Yamaha DX-100, Oberheim Matrix 6

Lyrics (If I had sung them at the time): 
I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted
The Lord liveth, and blessed be the rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted

Song Insights

I had dreams of being a rock star. No, not dreams…full fledged plans. I wrote, recorded, gigged songs that I wrote with a business plan to '”make it” as a songwriter.
…I sent demo cassettes (I know…I’m old) to record companies
…I got rejection letters
…I started to gig around
…I toured the world with Up With People, assuming that would catapult me into the music industry
20 years later I’ve arrived at a much different destination. I’ve been quite blessed in my life but I’ve discovered I still need to write songs and share them (thanks Jewel). Whether from my old archives, from my rock star days, from the recent past, or new and fresh, I need to share these songs in hopes that they might impact you as much as they, and the events that inspired them, impacted me.

Songs by a Robot

A moment of clarity, and 13 months of crafting lyrics, and a rockin' finish to a song based on a favorite blog post.
Composed in 2011, finished in 2012. Recorded in 2012

Gonna Get High
It all started with an inside joke about my new guitar. It ended with a surprisingly uplifting and passionate song.
Composed and recorded in 2011

Pocket Man
About a boy who loves life, explores with all his senses, and tries to capture all that this beautiful world has to offer...and crams it ALL into his pockets.
Composed 2007, 2011. Recorded in 2011

Hello, Happy!
Sometimes I’m happy. Really happy.
Composed and Recorded in 2007.

Everything’s Gold 
What’s your top priority in life?
Composed in 1999. Recorded in 2011

Be to Me
The yearning of a son longing to have his dad’s attention. Fictional story :-)  
Composed in 2000. Recorded in 2010. 

Alice Wonders
Sometimes, in order to take a BIG BITE out of life, you need the right soundtrack for life.
Composed and Recorded in 2002.

No Uncertainty
”Dedicated to all the ladies out there…”.
Composed in 1992, 2010. Recorded in 2010.

Spiritual Honeymoon Looking back and longing for what was.
Composed 2000. Recorded 2005.

I've received some amazing gifts on Christmas morn.
Composed and Recorded in 1995

The Rock
The first song that hinted at some skills.
Recorded in 1986.

…more to come…

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010-06-02 Jewel

06-02-2010: Jewel 
Where: The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul MN
Went with: Myself, Wife
Times: 4th

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful blonde body…then the flower-laced neck…then the delicate curves decorated with elegant gems.

…and then Jewel walked out on stage.

Boy, I could have stared at those guitars all night:
IMG_3212 IMG_3211
But then I would have forgotten how great Jewel plays those guitars. The cutaway (left) was standard tuning with a capo for most of her songs. The right one was in open G tuning and her alternate tuning guitar…open G and some crazy ones using a partial capo. Rich and lush tones. Since it was an acoustic concert it was a special treat to hear those great guitars with that great voice.

Oh, I also loved the lighting she had on stage…

Top concert memory? Her new songs.

What blew me away? The songs were so good that they were quite moving after the first listen. Especially the song “10”. (counting to 10 after a fight)

Another? When she couldn’t think of how a song went because it was one of the 500 she’s written…so she looks at her cheat book (a gift from her fans)…and another time when the song was so new she’d never played it before.

Jewel concert 014-crop
Yet another? Her story of “Hands”. She was in a dark place at 18, shoplifted, then looked at her hands holding a dress she wanted…and  realized you can tell a person by what they do with their hands…she wanted to make music and tell stories. Years later, she returned from camping… Sept 12…2001… and heard her song “Hands” being dedicated to the country…because it was in a dark place too…

Top memory of the night? Experiencing Jewel with my wife. Everything sparkles more when my wife is nearby.
Here is a movie of some other great memories:

Final thought:
I think it’s time for me to write more songs. Record them and move on. Maybe the songs I’ve already written but not recorded are clogging the creative pipe (I've got a stack of 8 songs complete with charts in my studio...just never recorded). If Jewel is 36 and has over 500 songs, I’m sure some are duds but many are wonderful.

I’ve got dozens of songs, but the last new one was years ago…and several have never been recorded.

It’s time to change that.

It’s time to have my hands show what I’m all about.

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