awbvious | Take It to the Limit

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Take It to the Limit

by awbvious

Cover of The Eagles, all vocals and instrumentation by awbvious, a Californian who has had his spirit here since 1979.
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
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1. Take It to the Limit
4:47 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Remember that scotch-drinking, politics-talking guitar player I mentioned in the notes for “Already Gone?” Well, we would sometimes do Eagles songs (along with lots of other classic rock), and it happened that he had Showtime, and that the “History of Eagles” documentary had just come out on it. So a few of us watched it. The single most memorable moment in that entire documentary was when Glenn Frey said he’d threaten to punch Randy Meisner if he didn’t sing that song in concert. Randy was worried about hitting those high notes (which are definitely high) and I guess Glenn wanted him to be more worried about him getting hit by Glenn.

The few of us watching were mostly on Glenn’s side. Although I personally did not approve of the threat of violence (and come to think of it, I think it actually came to violence), we’d all kill (metaphorically) for the opportunity to sing the same dang song over and over for cheering fans rather than obscurity and soul-killing jobs. I don’t know if I mentioned it then, but it reminded/reminds me of some comedian’s routine regarding Lionel Ritchie and “Easy.” The comedian said he respected him singing the song over and over, though he’s sure at some point it gets annoying, because it definitely beats a lot of other alternatives. And so what if Randy Meisner didn’t hit the note(s) every time? People want to hear the song they love, even if you can’t do it “live” as well as maybe another song they don’t know and love.

But, of course, no one really knows the pressures of being in a super-star band except the super stars themselves. However, I think it just as safe to say, that super stars also don’t know what it’s like not to be one—certainly not as an adult, because they usually get there young. In a fantastical scenario where he could live and see both timelines, one in which he is in obscurity, likely doing something else over and over for pay but it was far less enjoyable, and another with him in the Eagles… Would he feel the same? And further does he feel the same now? In a fantastical scenario where I could see/live both, would I feel the same? If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this shot-in-the-dark, hail-mary attempt at making music at this age.

“But the dreams I’ve seen lately… Keep on turning out… And burning out… And turning out, the same.”

Speaking of lyrics, I really like these. I’ve thought many times of what the meaning might be behind: “You can spend all your time making money / You can spend all your love making time.” A big reason is that these two lines do not have auditory cues as to which word is coming up next (“you can spend all your” is sung the same each time and it’s pretty similar instrumentation as well), which means you need to memorize how each “time”/“money”/“love” comes up temporally. I’ve decided it means that a lot of people use their waking hours in pursuit of financial goals (“spend all your time making money”), and probably to be appealing to the opposite sex, particularly if you are male. Then once they have acquired that desired partner, they then ignore that person (“spend all your love”), in the pursuit of leisure (“making time”). I’m not sure if that’s what “making time” is, maybe The Creation would say its “always singing the same old song,” regardless of the high notes. However, I did think recently that if you wanted to complete the circle, if there’s love -> time -> money then there would also need to be money -> love, in other words “You can spend all your money making love” a.k.a. going broke on prostitutes. It could all just be an excuse to hide a dirty joke.

I definitely believe Meisner wrote the beginning, which is about “runnin’ around,” but the later part is written by Henley/Frey which has the “coming back or more.” Hence the “different course” the song takes, according to Meisner in the documentary. One might even argue that explains what happened with the band as well, and the different directions Meisner and the rest of the Eagles went. Oooor, it’s just a pop song. Mike Love said cars and beach and surf is their brand, so the Beach Boys songs have those. Maybe Henley/Frey thought going down the highways, not settling down, and looking for freedom is the Eagles brand. Maybe they just tossed that in and whatever else came out of the lyrics is unintentional.

As for the recording, it was pretty straightforward. I recorded lots of vocal/guitar takes. Pretty much over and over, they were all pretty similar, so I just took the one I thought was best based on how it handled the outro. Then I recorded another guitar take. When I do guitar-only takes, I almost always have a mic on the left channel and a line-in on the right. I liked the way the guitar sounded on the mic, so I used almost all left channel.

Then I thought, I needed some percussion. I was getting sick of using kitchenware and stomping and slapping the guitar and whatnot. The only percussion instrument I had that I had not used was some shakers (they look like little drums and sound like maracas) someone gave me. I figured, what the heck, and I’d swish around the shakers, hoping they’d sound a little like a brush on a snare, and then hit it with two spoons that would clack when they’d hit the shaker. Then I did a vocal back-up take.

But two things bugged me.

One, I didn’t like the “one more time” where it goes high and holds for a bit. So that part I actually stole from a different take. The rest is all the same take. I really struggled with whether to keep the last “one more time” because you can hear it falter at the end. But, that’s “taking it to the limit” so, in my love of eponymous puns, I kept it in.

Two, the “please” “come on” and “aaahs” at the end were just too loud in the original take, they sounded grating. Like I did in “One of These Nights,” I decided to re-add the main vocal but with those parts muted. Of course, I read there were tools for this, like an “amplify envelope” that could supposedly do this without me having to manually copy the whole thing and then erase the parts I wanted quieter. But seeing as I couldn’t figure it out immediately, I just did what I knew would work. I was also resisting any normalizing, per my previous proselytizing against the loudness wars, etc.

You know, I’m not remembering exactly what happened in the documentary, if it was said what happened. Wikipedia uses the words “physical confrontation” and “altercation” and who-started-with-what and how-far-it-went does matter. And apparently Meisner’s own Wikipedia page describes him as kind, peaceful, and docile--I'd like to think people would say the same about me. So, that suggests that if it did get violent, then probably either it was one-sided or the situation had gotten so bad that it made him act out of his nature. And maybe just because of the substances involved. I mean, if there’s a real threat of violence and/or an extremely toxic environment, or maybe just the perception of it, well, then I can understand. I don't know what it was like, and I don't think I should try to armchair analyze it. I have tons of respect for everyone involved. Regardless, we all got our limits. It sounds like he at least tried to take it to his.

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